Rod’s Togs – Another Cycling Shirt

I had my eye on a tasty looking Bradley Wiggins cycling shirt from last season’s range but when I went in search it seems I missed out on it. After roaming around the internet I still couldn’t find it but came across this one instead:

Sunglasses – Ray Ban New Wayfarer
Cycling shirt – Fred Perry X Bradley Wiggins
Jeans – Levis 501
Desert Boots – Clark’s

The Drugstore Challenge

image

I have very scant knowledge about The Drugstore Crowd, a group of proto-Mods from Paris. I wonder whether they were influenced by the original London stylists (or vice-versa?) and if there was any cross-pollination in the respective evolution of their styles.

Recently my cyber-pal Gilles, himself a Parisian, posed the following challenge on Styleforum:

“Between the early 60s and the early 70s, a wild bunch of young, rich, and beautiful people gathered at the Champs Élysées Drugstore in Paris.

They liked beautiful clothes, gorgeous girls, fast cars, and to party as often as possible.
They were soon called ‘La bande du Drugstore’. They had MtM fitted suits and blazers made by one of their friends… Maurice Renoma. But they also appreciated the best French, English, Italian, and American clothes – and shoes. They were also influenced by Ivy style, soon to be called in France ‘Le Kennedy look’.
Late 60s, most of the originals from the ‘Drug’ had moved on. They left the place to their little brothers nicknamed ‘Minets’.

So in this challenge I want you to re-create a Drugstore look.”

Admitting my ignorance about this scene my entry posted below was a re-creation of the picture above of original Drugstore member Marc Zermati:

Sunglasses – Ray Ban New Wayfarers
Suit – INC (Macy’s)
Polo shirt – Sunspel Riviera
Shoes – Allen-Edmonds Cavanaughs (navy suede)

Rod’s Togs – A Tale of Two Popover Shirts

 

Regular readers may recall that as I travel often for work I’m always on the lookout for clothes that will be comfortable and appropriate for air travel and still remain sharp.

I’ve worn long-sleeved polo shirts to avoid the inevitable airline chill, but I don’t like the way the collar sinks down beneath the collar of a blazer. I finally got over my aversion to the ubiquitous button-down shirt some months ago, and this solves the problem of the sinking collar, but more recently I wondered if a popover shirt might be an interesting item to bridge the practicalities and formalities of a button-down shirt and a long-sleeved polo.

During a recent trip to New York I went to the Proper Cloth showroom in Greenwich Village to be measured for their made-to-measure version. Whist waiting for it to be delivered, I read on the internet that Lean Garments was having a sale, so I took a punt on their popover for a very low price. Here is the Lean Garments version:

image

Much has been written on various internet sites about Lean Garments, with deep discussions regarding their authenticity as a modern day Ivy supplier and the minutia of their seemingly endless size tweaks. I’m not an Ivy nerd so I don’t care about their credentials, and whatever version of the popover I got, it seems to fit me very well.

For the price, the quality is hard to beat. The seams appear to be solidly stitched and the quality of the cotton after one break-in wash feels substantial, but soft and durable like a pair of well worn jeans. I don’t obsess over collar rolls and how many fingers can fit under the collar but it appears to sit well enough to my untrained eye. The chest pocket had to go of course, but this was removed without any visible evidence, and I still can’t stand unstitched centre box pleats. They look crap, they’re a nightmare to iron and they serve no purpose if, like me, you’re not shaped like a pear. As this shirt will likely be worn under a blazer I can live with it, but I don’t have to like it!

Other details which button-down fans obsess over but which are lost on me such as the centre back collar button, locker loop and pointless gauntlet buttons are all present.

image

The sleeve length may be slightly longer than optimal for me and I may think about getting them shortened after a few more washes to assess any shrinking. Still, for the price, especially when compared to other options out there, this shirt will be difficult to beat.

Shortly after acquiring this shirt I learned that Lean Garments, a company started by a couple of undergraduate students in Finland, was temporarily closing for a re-boot. I received an e-mail today announcing the site’s re-opening with their new sale including a pair of gray wool trousers and button down shirts in three colours (again with a centre box pleat – grrrrrrr). This may not please fans of the Ivy style who were hoping that LG would be a go-to brand for many staple Ivy items, but time will tell if the strategy is a success. I’ll be keeping an eye on their site to see what comes up in the future.

Sunglasses – Ray Ban
Shirt – Lean Garments
Strides – Club Monaco
Shoes – Clark’s

The day after submitting the above post, the Proper Cloth version arrived.
Again.
I say ‘again’ because after the initial delivery it had to be sent back for alterations. Here is the initial Proper Cloth version:

The material I chose was light blue royal Oxford. I would have preferred some variety in colour and thus a darker shade but I have to say the quality of the fabric is great with a smooth hand and nice texture close-up. Details I chose included hidden button-down collar, along with – predictably – no pocket, no locker loop, and no back pleat. Curiously, the option to NOT have pointless gauntlet buttons does not exist.

As can be seen, the fit of the body of the shirt was way less than acceptable, especially considering this was made-to-measure, but equally egregious was the wrinkling of the sleeves from shoulder to wrist. I realized that this was due to the sleeves being pitched at ninety degrees to the body.  See below the LG version laid on top of the PC version to compare sleeve pitch:

image

So this version went back for alterations. The Proper Cloth Customer Service was very agreeable as I believe they have a guarantee to make the shirt right or you get your money back. Turnaround took several weeks and the revised version can be seen below, now with rear darts and adjusted sleeve pitch.

As with the LG shirt, the sleeves are longer than optimal but I’ll see how the length responds to a few more washes before deciding if I’ll get them shortened. Despite the addition of darts the body of the shirt remains loose. Among the many things Ivy fans discuss to an infinite degree is button placement. The Proper Cloth shirt has a button so low on the placket that it becomes superfluous but I don’t believe their popover template allows for any flexibility on this to either remove the button and shorten the placket or else make the placket longer to allow the button to be functional. A too-short placket will make donning a challenge, whereas a longer placket starts to look like a standard button-up shirt, especially if worn under a closed jacket.

The revised version is clearly a big improvement but still some way below expectation, so at the time of writing I’m undecided as to whether I can be bothered with another round of alterations (along with an undoubtedly long turnaround of several weeks). The Lean Garments version is made from a less luxurious cloth and has the unnecessary back pleat but still fits better than the revised Proper Cloth shirt and was a third of the price. The search for perfection continues!

Sunglasses – Ray Ban New Wayfarers
Shirt – Proper Cloth
Strides – Levi’s LVC
Desert Boots – Clark’s Originals

Side-by-side comparison – Lean Garments on the left, adjusted Proper Cloth version on the right:

Rod Does Rod – Another Breton Shirt

I feel bad for Rod Stewart. He could rightly make a claim to be an icon of Mod style, and for the last several decades has been photographed in a series of well-made, well-fitting sharp suits, but he just can’t seem to shake off that unfortunate association with the period during the seventies when he famously sported too much spandex and cheetah skin. (Any amount is too much!) I think it’s time to give the fella a break, that was almost forty years ago! What did you dress like in the seventies? He was likely under the influence of Britt Eklund at the time (among other things) – how many of us have made unfortunate choices in pursuit of a beautiful girl?

Anyway I continue to keep an eye on Rod for style cues. This photo was on a tour t-shirt from several years ago and may have influenced me to get my first Breton-style shirt. Perfect for a sunny Autumn day in Florida with cooler temperatures!

Sunglasses – Ray Ban New Wayfarers
Shirt – L.L. Bean
Strides –  Cubavera
Shoes – Clark’s

Rod’s Togs – Breton-Style Shirts

image

Decades ago when I was first learning about Mods I recall reading somewhere that hooped shirts were a popular casual item. I don’t know why that stuck with me as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of pictorial evidence of this.

In Richard Barnes’ ‘Mods!’ book, he describes the experience of visiting Carnaby Street as being “… all very St. Tropez – boutiques, tight hipsters and white flared trousers and matelot shirts.”

I had no idea what a matelot shirt was and of course there was no access to Wikipedia, which notes that the matelot shirt is also knows as a ‘breton’ shirt and originated as part of the uniform of French sailors in Brittany.

Anyway, nautically-influenced hooped shirts have been hovering around for a long time and have been famously worn by Pablo Picasso, James Dean in ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ and Cary Grant in ‘To Catch A Thief’, among many others.

I’ve come to look upon round neck t-shirts as underwear or for lounging about the house and don’t really feel dressed leaving the house unless I at least have some kind of collar. These shirts are a rare exception for me – I don’t need anything so substantial as a sweat shirt here in Florida but if it’s cool enough for sleeves, they fit the bill perfectly. I now own four in different variations.

Sunglasses – Ray Ban Wayfarer
Breton shirt – Uniqlo
Strides – Levis Sta Presst
Driving mocs – Clark’s

More Hats

Hats don’t seem to have been particularly popular with original Mods. Stingy brim bluebeat and pork pie hats can be seen sparingly in old photos but maybe they were seen as a badge of the old and stuffy scene that Mods were rejecting in their subtle way. They also may not have sat well on those with more elaborate hair styles – and then came JFK!

I’ve written about hats before and in the right circumstances I like them, especially when they perform a function and can thus fly in the face of accusations of ‘trying too hard’.  Panama hats can provide a cool addition to the right hot weather outfit, and will both shade the eyes and protect the skin from burning. Here in Florida the dog days of summer are coming to an end but it stays sunny year round, so I’ll be looking forward to testing out these latest acquisitions from the sale at J.J.’s Hat Center in New York.

image

I really like like this twist on the traditional Panama hat. Made in Ecuador, but along with the traditional natural beige they are available in a variety of colours to compliment the more adventurous summer wardrobe.

 

 

 

Rod’s Togs – Green Linen Jacket

Another acquisition from Suitsupply with the usual adjustments. It looks like I’ve got over my previous rejection of ‘earth tones’.


Sunglasses – Garrett Leight Harding
Jacket – Suitsupply
Shirt – Tyrwhitt
Tie – E.G. Capelli via Exquisite Trimmings
Pocket Square – Macy’s
Strides – Banana Republic
Socks – Uniqlo
Shoes – Polo Ralph Lauren

The sage green Panama hat I posted pics of with my tobacco brown suit was also bought with this outfit in mind …

image