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Showing posts from October, 2014

A Little Late October Style. . .

Yours truly, looking a bit reflective and/or tired by late afternoon the day before Halloween 2014.
A chilly, gray, and slightly drizzly late October afternoon, so let's liven it up a bit with some seasonally appropriate garments.  Above, the full ensemble, including a thrifted  houndstooth tweed jacket with 'natural' shoulders by Corbin, a Phi Kappa Phi necktie that I trot out once in a while to remind myself of my membership in the society, those recently acquired Allen Edmonds 'longwing' brogues yet again, and a brand new pair of Merino wool socks from Dapper Classics, in an orange & brown herringbone pattern, that I purchased on sale earlier this week.  Dapper Classics is, by the way, offering all of their orange socks at 25% off through midnight on October 31st as part of their Halloween sale.  Be sure to check it out, and use the promotional code TREAT.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

And here is a close-up of the socks.  These are not simply Halloween novelty socks, but th…

Casual Need Not Mean Slovenly, Part II. . .

Heinz-Ulrich strikes a pose before burying wife and child in a shower of crunchy fall leaves.
It's amazing how something as simple as tucking in your shirt and putting on a belt can make a guy look a lot more pulled together for a weekend outing with family or friends.  Nothing new or particularly expensive here.  An old, comfortable blue oxford cloth button-down collar shirt, some old cotton shorts, a battered, old hat that I've had for about 20 years, an equally old leather belt, and the recently acquired, but now well broken in Sperry Tops-siders.  Perfect for an extremely relaxed and warmer autumn afternoon.  Yet more proof that dressing presentably need not cost scads of money, require lots of time or effort, or be uncomfortable.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

An Ideal Autumn Afternoon. . .

The latest acquisition (for less than US$8), a Harris Tweed jacket by Land's End when they still produced their items in the United States.  A medium weight 40 Long with moderate shoulders, fully lined, a working boutonniere hole in the lapel, and just roomy enough for a thin sweater underneath.  How could I pass it up?
Every once in a while, you have one of those incredible fall days.  You know the kind I mean.  Besides the bright sunshine and warm temperatures, it has been breezy, quiet, and calm.  After a quick trip following lunch, to browse my best local thrift/charity spot (where I found the jacket above), we loaded into the car and rode five minutes over to a large local park where we usually ski and toboggan in the winter.  

Once there, the three of us spent a glorious 90 minutes or so there, walking the paths, playing in the leaves with the Young Master, taking some pictures of him, and letting him run up and down the huge hill where we toboggan in the snow before we piled …

The Mindset of Dressing Nicely. . .

The late Cary Grant (nee Archibald Leach) remains, in the minds of many, the very embodiment of urbanity where attire, actions, and personality are concerned.  Perhaps somewhat ironically, his origins were decidedly humble and somewhat less than happy.
Besides making the decision to start dressing better than average and acquiring the various skills and items to make that possible, average guys with more than a passing interest in kicking up their everyday style several notches need to develop a particular mindset when it comes to dressing nicely.  

"Dressing nicely" might come across as a somewhat arbitrary and subjective concept, so let's clear the air and define our terms before continuing further.  What I mean by "dressing nicely" is when a man presents himself in such a way that he comes across as having a bit of polish and sophistication behind him.  More directly, he ain't coarse.  Naturally, a guy doesn't have to come from a privileged backg…

All Creatures Great and Watkyn Bassett. . .

Tristan and Siegfried Farnon?  The Earl of Grantham?  Or Tuppy Glossop?  Nope.  It's Heinz-Ulrich, channeling his best 1930s country gentleman on the way to the local village fete.
Going for a 1930-ish English country vibe today. . .  although sadly my horse, riding boots, and pack of hounds are nowhere to be found.  The above combination of clothing consists of various items all anchored by an old tweed jacket that I found almost right off the bat when I began visiting thrift/charity shops in the summer of 2010 and discovered that there was all kinds of good quality classic menswear for the taking at rock bottom prices.  

Here's a breakdown of everything:

*Hunting Horn brand Harris Tweed Jacket (thrifted)
*Land's End Sweater (seasonal clearance)
*Land's End Dress Chinos (new in 2005 or '06)
*Club Room Oxford Cloth Button-down (a sale item in late '06 pr early '07)
*Rooster Plaid Wool Necktie (thrifted)
*Allen Edmonds Long-wing Brogues (Ebay)
*Italian Silk Pocket Sq…

A Damnable Popinjay, Part II. . .

"Unchain my heart!  Baby set me free.  Unchain my heart!  For you don't care about me. . ."  Doing my best Ray Charles on the way back to campus for a late afternoon class today.
Double-breasted suits, despite apparently being trendy once again from what I see here and there online, still get a bad rap.   Apparently, lots of people feel they are the preserve of old, fat guys like the late actor Sydney Greenstreet, early-mid 90s Frasier and Niles Crane wannabees, or guys aspiring to resemble a young Jimmy Spader, who wore some double-breasted stuff in a few of his late 80s-early 90s movies. 

On the contrary, double-breasted suits are classic garments with a long history.  Indeed, many public figures -- celebrities, politicians, and the like -- wore double-breasted suits during the mid-20th century.  So long as you wear a jacket or suit coat that actually fits you, they are not the huge, lawn&leaf bag monstrosities that some maintain.  Instead, double-breasted suits and…

Keep Your Mind Nimble. . .

How does an average guy, who is working to kick up his everyday style several notches,  exercise his mind and keep it nimble?  Not by dulling out on whatever loud and lengthy professional sporting event happens to be on the idiot box, or online, at any given moment.  Neither do you keep your mind in fighting trim by surfing internet porn sites, or killing 'people' and stealing their virtual stuff with any of the apparently hundreds of computer games available for Playstation or Xbox (or their online cousins).  Nope.  How about instead trying the following to raise your level of mental acuity, maturity, engagement, and awareness, making yourself a more interesting and well-rounded person in the process?  


1) Readings is fundamental.
As the old RIF public service announcements on Saturday morning kids' TV used to say.  Reading is an excellent way to engage and broaden your mind, but read books about something else besides sports, the American Civil War, Vietnam, or anything b…

Casual Need Not Mean Slovenly. . .

The attire for a mid-October Casual Friday at home in the basement den.  Or as we like to call it around here, Zum Stollenkeller.
You know, it's entirely possible, and not that difficult, to look presentable and 'be comfortable' (an apparent obsession for the 99% here in the United States).  For instance, throw on an old oxford cloth button-down collar shirt (tucked in) with a sweater over top, a well-worn pair of tan corduroy jeans (with a belt), and a pair of leather docksiders, or the suede version thereof, on a cool, crisp mid-October morning, and you're all set.  Drop off the Young Master at preschool, vacuum the rugs on the first and second floor, and put away said boy's clean laundry.  Or just sit down for some quiet 'me time' with the felines and another mug of coffee before getting to all of that.  You look relaxed, yet pulled together. . . Nice even.  Three-piece suit and tie not required.

The Norwegian fisherman's sweater pictured above -- the …

A Damnable Popinjay. . .

Today's ensemble, built around a wool flannel three-piece suit made by Ralph Lauren for Mark Shale.
Not the greatest of photographs, but today was the first wearing of that Ralph Lauren woolen flannel three-piece that I stumbled onto for less that US$5 back at the start of September.  When I wear the suit again next week, and the weather, hopefully, is better, I'll ask my wife to snap a brighter photograph outside and replace these with better ones.

Apropos the title, I wore an Italian silk necktie featuring parrots that dear ol' Mom and Step-dad brought me 18 or 19 years ago after they spent the summer in Trento one year, where the latter was doing some things for the U. N.  They also had quite a bit of time to visit several places in Northern Italy before coming home, and Mom picked up the tie for me during several days in Milan.  My first really good necktie by the way, and it still gets worn often.  I figured it offset the very traditional suit with a bit of playful irre…

Dressing for a Damp, Cool Autumn Day. . .

Look!  Up in the sky!  It's a bird, it's a plane, it's. . .  Bertie Wooster?
Nothing like tweed, corduroy, and a pair of vintage 'Phi Bates' brogues by the Bates shoe company on a chilly, wet mid-October afternoon.  Besides the cheap IKEA umbrella, the ensemble pictured above includes a tweed hacking jacket by Hart, Schaffner, and Marx (made in the U.S. of A. and featuring a functioning boutonnière hole and leather buttons), the old Phi Bates shoes (still in remarkable condition given their presumed age***), and a hand-printed and unlined wool Ravetz necktie made in Great Britain. . .  all worn with a pair of Land's End corduroy pants, a Ralph Lauren oxford cloth button-down collar shirt, and a tweed vest whose precise provenance escapes me at the moment.  

My wife remarked that I had a jaunty look going today when she snapped this picture on the front walk of our schloss, and, indeed, jaunty I felt when I dressed this morning.  All very fitting since tomorrow (W…

How are your 'other' social skills?

Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes, the highly clever and sadly defunct comic strip by Bill Watterson, being rude as only Calvin can.
In today's post, we're not talking about various 'soft skills' like the kind beloved and espoused by human resources folks in the workplace.  Neither are we considering more basic social skills like firm handshakes, listening attentively when speaking with someone, pleasant table manners, or certain exceedingly unpleasant personal habits that too many adult males still revel in and consider funny.  We're going to take a a quick look, instead, at 'other' personal habits and behaviors that average guys working to kick up their everyday style several notches should remain aware of and do their utmost to practice. . .  Or not as the case may be.  Ready Teddy?  Then, here we go.


1) Control your temper!
Losing it now and then is ugly enough, but when it happens routinely, the inability to control your anger is inexcusable.

2) Avoid offensive…

Make It a Double-Breasted Flannel Fall Friday!

Today's clothing combo included a nice, warm pair of salt and pepper, charcoal wool flannel pants, barely visible here, along with the wool flannel sports jacket shown, which is terrific on a cooler fall day.  It also has a fantastic shape with just enough waist suppression, although I must confess that the sleeves still are a bit too long and need to be shortened about 3/4" to allow some cuff to show.  However I threw caution to the wind and wore the jacket anyway.  I know, I know.  The shoes were some nice, shiny black Allen Edmonds short-wing brogues along with a black leather belt.  Oh, and a Phi Kappa Phi pin on the  lapel, which is an academic honor society I've been part of since my undergrad days.
Some days, everything goes just right.  It's Friday, always a good thing.  I wrapped up early for the day.  It's a crisp, cool autumn afternoon, my favorite kind.  I felt reasonably good about today's attire, even with the too-long jacket sleeves.  And I picke…

That Boy Took My Love Away. . .

This model of 3/4 size acoustic steel string by Ibanez is on the way to Stollen Central!
A completely unrelated post here, but I'm excited.  At the end of the month when he celebrates his 5th birthday, the Young Master will receive a guitar like the one above from Ol' Dad.  Like many children, he loves music, often requesting Diana Krall for suppertime listening when we sit down at the table together.  Sting, Peter, Paul, and Mary,  and The Beatles are among his other favorites, and he enjoys listening to me play the guitar on rare occasion.  Yours truly first received a guitar on the day I celebrated my own 5th birthday way back in 1971 (truly the Stone Age), and it seems like a sound idea to continue the tradition.  I think he'll be thrilled when he unwraps it.  For my part, I'll certainly be thrilled to present a guitar to the Young Master on the big day.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Wool Flannel, Ancient Madder, and Suede. . .

Today's clothing combo, featuring the Canali jacket once again, pants by Zanella, a hand-made Ancient Madder tie, and chocolatey brown, suede wingtip brogues by Allen Edmonds.  All items shown, except the shoes and shirt, were thrifted.
Wool flannel.  As comfortable as a t-shirt and sweatpants.  But much more presentable, polished, and sophisticated.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Critical Mass, Part II: Dressing Well Made Easy. . .

Today's ensemble: navy wool flannel blazer, gray wool flannel pants, cotton oxford cloth button-down collar shirt, silk necktie, and silk pocket square.  Black leather belt and tasseled loafers not shown.
Forget for a moment how exciting it is to rediscover forgotten items twice each year when you switch from warmer weather clothing to cooler weather gear each fall and vice versa in the spring.  Let's return to one of last week's posts about reaching critical mass with your attire.  Here's the magic formula according to my way of thinking.  If you've got three or four sports jackets and a blazer, four or five pairs of dress pants, and four or five pairs of dress shoes -- all of which can, more or less, be mixed and matched easily -- along with two dozen dress shirts, maybe 6-10 neckties, and two dozen pairs of dress socks, you've reached the critical mass.  

You've got enough items in your wardrobe that you won't be wearing the same thing every seven days…

Autumn Is Underway!

The bottom half today.  These shoes by Allen Edmonds are by far the most comfy of my four such pairs of long-wing brogues.  Time to donate or sell a couple of the others I think.
Cooler weather is here, and I actually managed to get out the warmer attire for the fall and winter months yesterday and brush down and stow the lighter weight clothes in the hall closet at the top of the rear staircase.Today is mostly sunny, cool, and breezy, perfect for a tweed jacket, wool necktie, corduroy pants, and a pair of brogues.  Here's a breakdown of the various items worn today:

* Gray and Charcoal Herring Bone Harris Tweed  jacket w/real leather buttons -- Thrifted
* Land's End OCBD shirt with light blue and yellow tattersall pattern -- Thrifted
* Navy Wool Necktie w/mustard yellow and green foulard pattern -- Thrifted
* Brown, Dark Green, and Yellow Italian Silk  Pocket Square -- Thrifted
* Land's End Forest Green corduroy pants -- Purchased On Sale
* Brown and Charcoal Argyll pattern sock…

What do you wear on a chilly fall day at home?

Perfect for a chilly Saturday in October.  Allen Edmonds 'Catskill" loafers in chocolatey brown suede, Land's End corduroy jeans, and an almost worn out but extremely soft blue and white 'university stripe' cotton Land's End oxford cloth button-down collar shirt on top.  Oh, and a comfy old 'oxblood' colored leather belt to keep the pants up.
As I've written before, or at least strongly suggested (I think in a February 2013 post), it is entirely possible to dress very comfortably during evenings and weekends at home, yet you can still look more than half-way decent if you need to answer the front door.  Or you've got to make that all-important milk run down the street and around the corner to your local convenience store or super market.

Listen, I enjoy snuggling up in a pair of flannel pajamas, or my University of Wisconsin sweatshirt and sweatpants, as much as the next guy on a chilly autumn or winter's evening.  But I don't want to liv…

Time for Tweed, Flannel, and Corduroy!

"Do ya feel lucky?  Well?  Do ya?"  Dirty Harry Callahan as portrayed by the fabulous Clint Tweedwood.
The weather has at last turned really cool here and looks to remain so for the next week according to the National Weather Service website.  

Hurrah!  Looks like it's time to brush down and zip up the warm weather gear and bring out the flannels, tweeds, and corduroys.  I've also got a newly acquired pair of Allen Edmonds 'longwing' brogues to give their inaugural wearing next week.  

Now, if only my tailor had not been inexplicably and maddeningly closed when I took that load of stuff by late this morning, things would be toppermost of the poppermost.  It doesn't seem like I'll ever manage to get that darn double-breasted Glen Plaid suit in delightful cream and charcoal flannel in for alterations.  Grrrrr. . .   Go ahead.  Make my day!

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Reaching That Critical Mass. . .

Ignore the stiff, goofy expression, please.  My wife either snaps a photo after my natural smile has waned and a pained expression takes over, or before I've relaxed and can give her a genuine smile.  Maybe one day, we will get ourselves coordinated a bit better.  A mix of Brooks Brothers and Land's End items here with Cole Haan tasseled loafers on the feet.  These shoes my black rainy day pair, the reason I have not yet replaced them with something a bit better.
How do you know when you've got the right amount of stuff?  When you can easily assemble a different combination of clothes at the start of your day almost without thinking about it.  A guy does not need a huge amount of stuff in his wardrobe either.  Neither does kicking up your everyday style several notches and dressing better than average need to take a lot of time (a common misconception).  The main thing to keep in mind is, with all acquisitions, add only items that can be combined, without too much trouble, …