12
Mar

WIWT: 03-11-2013 — I tried something new yesterday and wore a leather jacket. I’ve long contended that i’m not as comfortable dressing in a more casual manner, but I think the colder season has pushed me along in that direction and gotten me out of tailored jackets and into more rugged pieces of outerwear. 

I’ve wanted a leather jacket for a while, but wasn’t really sure it was something that fit my personality or style. The really slick and refined ones with a sleek, European cut just didn’t set well with me. Lately, I’ve been moving away from slimmer clothing, so quite a few jackets weren’t appealing to me. 

Instead, I’ve grown to like the look of the A-2 bomber jacket. I won’t pretend to be a historian on this piece, but the details are rather simple: zippered front, turndown collar with snaps, dual flap patch pockets with snaps and hidden side pockets. While some models you can buy are more refined, I was looking for something that looked like it came out of a military surplus store. 

My biggest fear was buying something online and not having it fit correctly in the sleeves. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to stumble across a vintage L.L.Bean model in a 38 Long on eBay and as the only bidder it was mine for $50 — shipped, from Lithuania (yeah, I have no clue either). 

You can still buy the jacket, new, from L.L.Bean in their Flying Tiger collection, ranging from $309-$409. Sadly, they’re no longer made in the United States, however, I’m lucky enough that mine wasn’t made overseas. My jacket’s not insulated, so it’s probably best paired with a sweater underneath, but I’m glad the sleeves were long enough and it fits quite comfortably. 

Admittedly, the quality of the leather could be much nicer. It seems like the nicer A-2 bomber jackets are made from horsehide, but the prices do tend to go up quite a bit on those, even on eBay, and I haven’t seen any “long”-sized jackets, yet. 

Keeping with the military look, I wore it with a button-down collared shirt, khaki chinos, boots and a warm scarf. Oh, and aviators, because I couldn’t resist doing the “Top Gun” thing. 

If I had to critique this look, I’d probably point out that darker boots would look much nicer, ideally a deep brown shell cordovan pair. Perhaps next winter. 

Fit details:

  • Jacket: Vintage L.L.Bean Flying Tiger A-2 leather bomber
  • Shirt: brown & white button-down from Hall & Madden
  • Pants: English drill trousers from Khaki’s of Carmel (review)
  • Belt: vintage slide buckle on Beltmaster tan leather strap
  • Boots: tan pebble-grain military captoes from Charles Tyrwhitt (review)
  • Scarf: cream cashmere from John Hanly 
26
Feb

WIWT: 02-26-2013 — Chicago’s received some serious snow today. It’s the kind of snow that creates slushies on the sidewalk and deep puddles of brown water along the curbs. And that’s why I bought a pair of Bean Boots when I moved here. Huge five-foot puddle that’s up to your ankles? Who cares! Walk right through it, because your feet are waterproof now. 

I’ve spent the entire winter wearing my vintage Barbour Beaufort. It’s not extremely warm, but it’s really useful. The game pocket in the rear stores my gloves, hat and scarf when not in use. The bellowed pockets up front are large enough to store whatever you want to carry (I’ve used it to carry my Fujifilm X10 in the past). I know some people find the jackets too baggy, however, I think they’re just fine and it allows you to layer up underneath — like with a thick fisherman’s sweater from L.L.Bean or a tweed sport coat. 

The rest of the outfit is pretty basic: tan suede gloves with cashmere lining, a cashmere scarf striped with olive, brown and charcoal tones, Levi’s 501s, and a navy wool knit cap. 

Nothing is particularly trendy or fashionable here, but it’s useful, relatively affordable and I don’t care if it gets dirty and beat up. Clothing you don’t have to care too much about is something I’m beginning to appreciate a bit more. 

18
Jan
WIWT: 01-18-2013 — Job interviews are a good reason to wear a suit, right? Admittedly, it did feel a bit weird to be wearing a suit during an office’s casual Friday. 
Nothing too out of the ordinary here, just a basic dark navy suit, light blue spread-collar shirt, a conservative navy pindot tie and a TV-folded white linen square (unseen: black shoes, navy socks, black belt). In other words: business attire. 
Fit details:
Suit: Proper Suit (review)
Shirt: Cottonwork (review)
Tie: Vanda Fine Clothing 
Square: Howard Yount

WIWT: 01-18-2013 — Job interviews are a good reason to wear a suit, right? Admittedly, it did feel a bit weird to be wearing a suit during an office’s casual Friday. 

Nothing too out of the ordinary here, just a basic dark navy suit, light blue spread-collar shirt, a conservative navy pindot tie and a TV-folded white linen square (unseen: black shoes, navy socks, black belt). In other words: business attire. 

Fit details:

08
Jan
WIWT: 01-08-2013 — Winter monochromatics
I’m trying to remember if I thrifted this grey donegal tweed suit or if I found it on eBay. Regardless of how it was acquired several years ago, I remember it being rather cheap and spending a decent amount having it altered. It’s been well worth it, in my opinion. 
The tweed has tiny flecks of yellow, red and teal in it and is somewhat scratchy in texture. The patch pockets make it more casual in nature, but not quite what I’d call a “country” tweed suit. I see it as more of a casual city suit to be worn with black brogues. 
For a while, I did find it difficult to decide what shirt and tie to put with the suit. White seemed like a natural fit, but could be seen as slightly too formal. I’ve opted for barrel cuffs, a front placket and chest pocket to take down the formality of the shirt somewhat. 
As for neckwear, I went with a dark grey flannel tie from Commonwealth Proper (which I’m in the process of writing a review on). Normally, I only wear ties with a navy ground, but it seemed like an appropriate fit to keep the entire look monochromatic. It’s darker than the jacket and provides enough texture and visual contrast against the tweed. 
In the past, I’ve tried wearing and ecru or blue OCBD along with a navy or paisley wool challis tie, but thought the entire thing was too complex and didn’t look right. Maybe I’ve watched too much “Mad Men”, but going monochromatic with grey suits just seems “right”. 
Fit details:
Suit: Vintage Cricketeer donegal tweed
Shirt: Spoon Tailor MTM white broadcloth
Tie: Commonwealth Proper dark grey flannel
Socks: Lands’ End charcoal wool
Shoes: Allen Edmonds Bel Air black shortwings
Belt: Black calf strap with Sterling silver slide buckle
Square: Howard Yount white linen
Tie clip: Gift from my brother

WIWT: 01-08-2013 — Winter monochromatics

I’m trying to remember if I thrifted this grey donegal tweed suit or if I found it on eBay. Regardless of how it was acquired several years ago, I remember it being rather cheap and spending a decent amount having it altered. It’s been well worth it, in my opinion. 

The tweed has tiny flecks of yellow, red and teal in it and is somewhat scratchy in texture. The patch pockets make it more casual in nature, but not quite what I’d call a “country” tweed suit. I see it as more of a casual city suit to be worn with black brogues. 

For a while, I did find it difficult to decide what shirt and tie to put with the suit. White seemed like a natural fit, but could be seen as slightly too formal. I’ve opted for barrel cuffs, a front placket and chest pocket to take down the formality of the shirt somewhat. 

As for neckwear, I went with a dark grey flannel tie from Commonwealth Proper (which I’m in the process of writing a review on). Normally, I only wear ties with a navy ground, but it seemed like an appropriate fit to keep the entire look monochromatic. It’s darker than the jacket and provides enough texture and visual contrast against the tweed. 

In the past, I’ve tried wearing and ecru or blue OCBD along with a navy or paisley wool challis tie, but thought the entire thing was too complex and didn’t look right. Maybe I’ve watched too much “Mad Men”, but going monochromatic with grey suits just seems “right”. 

Fit details:

09
Nov

NoDN #09 — Off to get Italian food for dinner with friends and to see my roommate’s Second City show. Felt like wearing something a bit more sporty. 

08
Nov
Proper Suit review fit details: 
Suit: Proper Suit navy blue Loro Piana wool All-Season sharkskin
Shirt: Hemrajani Brothers
Tie: Vanda Fine Clothing navy fina-weave grenadine
Pocket Square: Howard Yount white linen
Belt: Beltmaster strap & vintage silver slide buckle
Socks: Pantherella
Shoes: Allen Edmonds Bel Air
Proper Suit review fit details: 
06
Nov

NoDN 06 — It’s Election Day and I avoided the temptation of wearing elephants on both my pants and necktie. Party affiliation in moderation.

01
Nov
NoDN 01 — I am not cheerful during mornings. Working this week out of the Merchandise Mart with rest of the startup team at 1871, which is a really casual work environment (and pretty darned awesome co-working space). 
Outfit details:
Sweater: LEC double-breasted navy jersey cardigan
Shirt: Brooks Brothers blue OCBD
Tie: Vanda Fine Clothing donegal blue wool
Jeans: 3Sixteen SL-100x
Shoes: Tretorn white Nylites

NoDN 01 — I am not cheerful during mornings. Working this week out of the Merchandise Mart with rest of the startup team at 1871, which is a really casual work environment (and pretty darned awesome co-working space). 

Outfit details:

10
Oct
mrdanger:

kiyoshi
caught him at the launch party for the lookbook i styled.

Fun party, even more fun people. 
Since I rarely do WIWT shots now, here’s a breakdown:
Suit: Vintage donegal tweed
Sweater: Brooks Brothers merino cardigan
Shirt: Brooks Brothers OCBD
Tie: Vanda Fine Clothing donegal wool
Scarf: John Hanly & Co.
Square: Rubinacci “samurai” (via)

mrdanger:

kiyoshi

caught him at the launch party for the lookbook i styled.

Fun party, even more fun people. 

Since I rarely do WIWT shots now, here’s a breakdown:

04
Sep

WIWT: Wandering the beach — I had no plan for my trip to Lake Tahoe (more specifically, Incline Village), so I just took my rental car along the highway that circles the lake and looked for “scenic overlook” signage to pull over at and public beaches to wander around. 

I’m not an “outdoors-y type” of person — I’d rather not camp, hike, mountain bike, ski, etc. — I really do prefer civilization and being an urbanite. But I do enjoy sitting still, thinking and looking at something that’s impossible for man to ever make on his own. And if I ever have the opportunity or idea to take such a trip, I’m glad to go. 

Next time though, I’ve got to remember to pack a lunch. 

01
Sep
From "Roughing It", Mark Twain on Lake Tahoe:

"We were on the north shore. There, the rocks on the bottom are sometimes gray, sometimes white. This gives the marvelous transparency of the water a fuller advantage than it has elsewhere on the lake. We usually pushed out a hundred yards or so from shore, and then lay down on the thwarts, in the sun, and let the boat drift by the hour whither it would. We seldom talked. It interrupted the Sabbath stillness, and marred the dreams the luxurious rest and indolence brought."

From "Roughing It", Mark Twain on Lake Tahoe:

"We were on the north shore. There, the rocks on the bottom are sometimes gray, sometimes white. This gives the marvelous transparency of the water a fuller advantage than it has elsewhere on the lake. We usually pushed out a hundred yards or so from shore, and then lay down on the thwarts, in the sun, and let the boat drift by the hour whither it would. We seldom talked. It interrupted the Sabbath stillness, and marred the dreams the luxurious rest and indolence brought."

30
Aug
Labor Day vacation — A long weekend of FU trousers, linen shirts and the wearing of white. 
Jacket: Rugby cream linen-cotton sport coat 
Shirt: Spoon Tailor MTM sky-blue linen
Tie: Vanda Fine Clothing unlined navy grenadine
Pants: Howard Yount madras trousers
Belt: military surplus navy canvas web belt
Shoes: Mark McNairy x Pro Keds white canvas sneakers
Hat: Capas Headwear

Labor Day vacation — A long weekend of FU trousers, linen shirts and the wearing of white. 

09
Aug

WIWT: 08-09-2012 — I went to visit the tailor today to pick up two pairs of white linen trousers I was having altered around the thigh and seat area. He remarked to me, “How many pairs of white pants you do have?!” when he saw my white jeans. 

Oddly enough, I don’t care much for the white denim in this outfit and would’ve preferred to have worn the trousers instead. Denim, in my mind, doesn’t always work with some sportcoats — including this one. 

The jacket has structured shoulders on it, making it slightly more formal than an unconstructed or soft-shouldered jacket. It’s for this reason that I also think it must be worn with a necktie. I picked the knit tie for its pattern, to contrast against the solids that surrounded it, and for it’s texture, which also contrasts with the linen jacket and linen shirt. Still, it remains monochromatic. 

The pocket square I picked to specifically break the monochromatic scheme, yet its gold color easily compliments the navy in the tie and the blue in the rest of the outfit. The silk’s sheen also contrasts against the slubby, flat texture of the linens. I tend to think that silk goes best with sportcoats made of highly textured casual fabrics like linen and tweed. 

But those jeans are not ideal.  I don’t think the denim fits with the structured jacket, even if the color is right. It doesn’t feel cohesive or correct the more I think about it and trousers would’ve been a more optimal pick. I’ve worn this look several times and hadn’t come to that conclusion until now. 

I think many posters of WIWT shots could stand to be more self-critical of what they’re wearing (notice, I’m not saying you should go and be critical of others), and ask themselves if their entire outfit is cohesive. This is something I’ve begun to do more lately, asking myself if I’m just throwing things together or if parts are built to work with each other in the best way possible. Admit to some places where you’ve fallen short, perhaps because you’re copying streetstyle shots of people peacocking. 

I know I definitely copied this look straight out of photos from Pitti Uomo, but I didn’t ever give much thought to if it’s coherent. The colors and fit might be there, but the details of the type of jacket this is throws the choice off balance and is in need of adjustment. 

If I were to really nitpick, the buttons on the jacket need to be replaced, too. They’re actually a super dark blue, but look like black from afar. Considering the jacket’s color, it’s meant more for wear during the day and would benefit from either brown horn or even mother-of-pearl buttons. I’ll replace them eventually. 

Fit details:

  • Jacket: John W. Nordstrom blue linen
  • Shirt: Spoon Tailor MTM light blue linen
  • Tie: Suit Supply navy w/ white stripe cotton knit
  • Square: Ashear (vintage)
  • Pants: Levi’s 501 white denim (tapered)
  • Belt: Filson
  • Shoes: Cerbero chocolate suede tassel loafers
31
Jul

WIWT: 07-31-2012 — Off to a fundraiser dinner tonight at a place that’s not quite formal enough for a suit. A navy blazer seems to fit this kind of situation: not too formal, not too casual. Blazers work well for those kind of situations, especially evenings and dinner. 

Keeping with the idea, a spread collar shirt with a slight white pinstripe pattern on a sky blue linen-cotton fabric. I typically think white works best for evenings, but I didn’t want to go too formal. The placket front and chest pocket also keep it in the “between” category for dress shirts. 

The necktie is a navy grenadine garza grossa weave. I picked the grossa over the fina weave because I wanted some textural contrast between the shirt, jacket and tie. The jacket has a very open weave, somewhat similar to the fina grenadine. So, I went with the grossa for its depth and larger textural pattern. 

The shirt and tie together (light blue, navy) form the so-called “Italian background” that’s moderately conservative, but adding the white stripes on the shirt and a larger texture to the tie makes the combination more casual. If you want to take a more formal combination and make it more casual, just add a bit of pattern and texture. 

I picked grey tropical wool trousers because it was the evening. Had this been during the day, I would’ve gone with stone or tan cotton trousers instead. The sheen from the wool trousers works better under artificial light and at night. It also is more appropriate for formality reasons. 

Like the trousers, I picked black shortwings based on both formality and time of day. The broguing and blucher-style prevents these from being overly formal (I wouldn’t wear these with a suit), but they work well for evenings paired with a blazer. Unseen is a black leather belt on a sterling silver slide buckle. 

The one thing I’d stress here is keeping the elements within the same level of formality, which is something I’ve been trying to do more often. I tried to not wear things that were either too casual or too formal. I also tried to push this outfit toward the conservative end of the spectrum rather than add a “peacock” element because of the situation.

Fit details:

24
Jul

WIWT: 07-24-2012 — It’s been pointed out to me by acutestyle that I no longer do WIWT shots anymore. It’s true, as I rarely leave the house and wear something slightly interesting. But today I had lunch downtown with a friend and with temperatures in the low 80s, and took the opportunity to wear a necktie. 

I’ve still been keeping my color palette toward blues and neutral tones. I feel like that’s more a part of my uniform now than anything. It’s much simpler to deal with. I get the appeal of color in the summer (I have some colorful items still in the closet), but I feel it’s easier to make an outfit seasonal for summer by just wearing lighter tones and shades of white. 

Summer has caused me to jettison wearing denim regularly in favor of linen-cotton trousers, but I also give these seersucker trousers frequent rotation, too, that I orphaned from a suit from Haspel I bought a few years ago. 

The shirt is from MyTailor.com and is a linen-cotton blend in a light blue with a very subtle white stripes. The Hemrajani brothers still make the best MTM shirts in my opinion and I’m glad I got this made for summer. I got re-measured while at the StyleForum 10th anniversary party’s vendor showcase and it arrived just in time for the heatwave. 

The necktie is from Sette Neckwear, which I also picked up at the vendor showcase. It’s got a neat story behind it that I’m saving for a future post. 

Other items: summer navy blazer from Howard Yount, belt from Bill’s Khakis, socks and shoes from Paul Stuart, and pocket square from Kent Wang. 

About The Silentist

A menswear blog on finding your personal style, written by Kiyoshi Martinez.

I work at Khaki's of Carmel and live in the Monterey Bay area. Formerly from Chicago.

E-mail me, I'm fairly nice: thesilentist@gmail.com

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