Working from home doesn’t exactly encourage you to do things normal working folks do — like “take a shower” and “wear pants”. However, once I make the effort to appear like a functional member of the outside world, I’ve found myself reaching for the same items from my wardrobe every day.
This isn’t a far departure from my uniform experiment from a while ago. The selvedge raw denim jeans and the blue OCBD shirt have reappeared. As far as I’m concerned, these items can be worn for three seasons of the year, taking time off for summer (during which I substitute in linen shirts and linen-cotton trousers).
But with the cooler weather, I’ve been grabbing one of five wool sweaters from a cedar chest my parents gave to me as a birthday gift. It’s a combination of two v-neck lambswool sweaters from Howard Yount, a shawl-collared chunky-knit cardigan and two L.L.Bean crewnecks that I’ve become fond of lately for their warmth and quality.
When I leave the apartment to grab lunch at the Italian grocer, I’ve thrown on my vintage Barbour Beaufort that I rewaxed myself at the beginning of the season (a tremendous pain in the ass if you’ve never done it before). The jacket’s pockets carry all the stuff I need with me and the game pocket in the back can stow stuff while you’re at a bar — like gloves, a knit hat and scarf. I’ve even put a portable umbrella in there once.
Footwear has been a pair of ranger moccasins with Vibram soles, which have been insanely comfortable to wear and perfect for slightly rainy days. Otherwise, I’m still reaching for the Clarks desert boots, but I imagine L.L.Bean Boots will be making an appearance once snow becomes an issue.
I suppose ”country” attire of both American and British influences inspired my desire to swing toward a more casual wardrobe — basically the kind of stuff that ends up on Thornproof. While I particularly like the look of tailored clothing in the spring and summer, I don’t have the same affection for it in the colder months.
A tailored jacket in the cooler months means a tailored overcoat and every time you go out you have to find a place to stash that heavy thing if there’s no coat check (and we all know there’s no coat check at dive bars). Dress shoes are quickly rendered useless unless you choose to constantly wear overshoes or willing to buy at least two pairs of dress boots with Dainite soles for traction. Rock salt and sludge become enemies of flannel trousers.
I might be overthinking it all, of course, and I certainly keep some cold-weather tailored clothing on hand, but it’s the exception for my daily wardrobe — not the rule. I really do prefer to wear workwear at this time of year, especially since I don’t work in an office.
My one gripe would be that it doesn’t offer much of an opportunity to wear a necktie. I think ties look awkward under v-necks, are impractical under crewnecks and if I’m wearing a shawl-collared cardigan at home, there’s not much need for a tie.
It’s relatively simple and takes zero real thought in the morning (or early afternoon) when getting dressed. It will look rather appropriate for most instances and you can dress it up with a nicer pair of tweed trousers if you’d like. But let’s face it: In the sea of black North Face fleece zip-ups that seems to reappear each winter, you probably won’t need to go to such lengths.
I was lucky enough to pick up this silk scarf from Barney’s. I’d been debating on getting it for a while, but it sold out online. On a whim, I decided to contact their customer service department, who managed to track the last one in their inventory down to their Beverly Hills store. A sales rep there was kind enough to find it in their store, ring it up and mail it to me.
Silk scarves have been on my mind for quite a while now. Admittedly, I first noticed them on Roger Sterling in the past season of “Mad Men” and thought it complimented the suit and overcoat look rather nicely. I don’t think it’d look coherent with more casual pieces, like waxed jackets, peacoats and duffle coats, but its smooth vibrancy contrasts quite well against heavy wool and cashmere coats while mimicking the sheen on your necktie.
Unsurprisingly, they can be quite expensive, especially so if you want one that’s backed with wool or cashmere as well. I also preferred to find one around 65” to 70” in length and around 12” wide. You can go shorter, but you’d have to wear it mainly as a muffler, which restricts how you can tie it around your neck.
As for where to buy, you best bet would be stopping in at a “trad” retail store. I recall Cable Car Clothiers in San Francisco having a great selection in stock when I visited in a paisley and medallion prints.
Drake’s London seems to have the widest variety of prints and types, ranging from silk in a tubular construction to an ancient madder and cashmere reversible scarf that looks phenomenal. Different stores stock different items, so you’ll want to poke around if that’s in your budget (or even if you want to drool over .JPEG files).
Should you get a silk scarf instead of one made of cashmere or wool? Probably not. Your run-of-the-mill wool and cashmere scarves will be much more versatile and still work with tailored overcoats — and will be quite warm. But if you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious and you find yourself wearing suits daily, it’s hard to argue against having a silk scarf as part of your wardrobe.
I’ve compiled a roundup of silk scarves below, but I didn’t show all the colors an variations the different brands and retailers have available. The prices vary quite wildly and I suppose it’s just a matter of what your tastes and budget happens to be.
Can you help me out with seasonal style advice? I'm confused as to what sort of patterns (Shirts, pants, jackets, and ect) and fabrics (shirts, pants and ect) to wear for each season, all of 4 of them. I know tweed and wool is for the f/w, seersucker is for the s/s, as is madras.
Question - like most of us, I do plenty of #menswear blog reading. With the fall season among us, I'm picking up on respective color hues but how do these hues change as we move into the dreaded Chicago winter season? One color that I'm stuck on is this burnt orange/rust movement. It's an ideal fall color but what about in the winter? I know at the end of the day, it's all about what you're confident & comfortable in but what color hues are more suitable for the winter. Grays & blacks?
I have a question about cold-weather wear. I recently moved from Miami to Philadelphia and I'm really cold. I have a great wool overcoat that I got second-hand, but I have a feeling I'll look a little silly wearing it in October. I've been trying to get by with just a sportcoat and a sweater, but I was wondering if you could recommend something in between. (for reference, I too am a grad student, and I usually wear oxford shirts & chinos, so not too formal.) Thanks, and I love the blog!
So I picked up some Gant plaid shirts on Gilt last week; one short sleeve & one long. The short was in anticipation for next S/S while the long I thought I could get away with this fall (burgundy color). The only issue though is the long is madras material. Does the color necessarily trump the fabric to wear it in the fall?