Ivory Tower Style goes through some of StyleFourm’s best threads, and gives some pretty funny commentary on each.
The Most Important Step in Storage
Every time we transition into fall or spring, I pack away the clothes I know I won’t be wearing for a while. Sweaters go into plastic bins; out-of-season shoes are moved to the back of the closet; and last season’s sport coats and outerwear are placed into garment bags and hung in a hallway closet. This not only makes room in my main closets, but it also helps protect things that won’t be worn for six months.
This only works, however, if the clothes are cleaned beforehand. The reason why we use things such as plastic bins and garment bags, of course, is because we want to protect our wools and cashmeres from moths. However, it’s not actually moths that eat our clothes; it’s their larvae. An adult moth can lay up to 200 eggs per cycle, and have a few cycles in its short lifespan. Thus, if you have a moth problem, you most likely have eggs embedded into the fibers of your clothes. If you store these clothes away with eggs in them, you might find them six months later with holes.
So, before you store anything away, I recommend doing a few things:
- Dry clean anything that’s made with animal hair (wool, cashmere, camelhair, angora, etc). This is especially important if you own anything that was bought second hand. We have a useful guide on how to find a good dry cleaner, in case you don’t already have someone you rely on.
- Wash any cottons or synthetic materials. Moths usually ignore these fibers, but if you’re storing stuff away, you don’t know what might have eggs.
- Vacuum the floor and shelves. This will remove any eggs and larvae that might be living in your closet. Pay particular attention to the nooks, crannies, and corners where things might be hiding.
- Once you’re done cleaning and packing, you can throw a few cedar balls or satchels in with your clothes. Some argue these aren’t much of a deterrent, but they’re better than nothing. Dried lavender is also sometimes used as an alternative, but there’s not much evidence that it’s as effective as cedar.
All of this can take a bit of time and money. I spend about a full day packing things away, and admittedly, pay a lot in dry cleaning. However, since you have to clean things anyway, you might as well do it when it counts the most. Imagine how you’d feel if you open up that garment bag six months from now and see a hole in your favorite sport coat.
(Photo via My Messings)
“In L.A. for the opening of his Beverly Hills store, [Ralph] Lauren received a last-minute invitation from [Cary] Grant to go to the racetrack. “I told him I had on jeans and a blazer and he said, ‘You can’t wear that.’” After a quick trip to the store for some proper flannels, the two took off to the track—in Grant’s Buick.”— WWD’s interview with Ralph Lauren, where he recounts the time Cary Grant wouldn’t let him wear jeans with a blazer.
Our Beloved Sponsors
As an independently run site, we feel very fortunate to have companies sponsor what we do. So twice a month, we like to give our sponsors a quick “thank you,” and say a little about what’s going on with them.
Our first sponsor, Ledbury, is doing a massive giveaway. It’s called “Outfit Your Office” and if you enter and win, you and everyone in your office will get a $150 gift card. That amount is meant to cover the cost of a free shirt, but you can use the card towards any other purchase as well. As you can guess, given the contest’s design, this means that if other people in your office enter the giveaway, your chances of winning go up as well. And, for the winning office, Ledbury will also fly out and host a party (complete with bourbon) and do a shirt fitting for you.
Our next sponsor, The Hanger Project, just put a bunch of new products up on their site. Included are ton of new Drake’s ties, such as the bold, heavy silk prints and conservatives Tussahs you see above. Tussah, for those unfamiliar, is sort of like a distant cousin to raw silk. It’s a bit lighter weight and looser knit, but it has the same slubby texture that makes it great for the warmer seasons. There are also some new leather products by Daines & Hathaway, a premier English leather goods maker. This Kensington Zip Case, for example, features a brass key lock and can hold important documents, as well as 13” MacBook.
Gustin also has some new things in. Lately, they’ve been doing things with heavier weight denim, such as the 26oz denim jeans they did last week (the heaviest used by an American brand), and the 23oz they’re releasing this week. As their business model goes, people sign up for pre-orders and then Gustin goes into production. In this way, the company can offer lower prices, as their customers don’t have to pay for middleman mark ups or the brand’s need to account for overstock. All of Gustin’s products are designed and made in San Francisco, and you can see how their jeans fit above.
Lastly, Proper Cloth just added thirty new fabrics to their cloth selection. Included is everything from fun multi-colored ginghams to basic fabrics for the office. You can use these to design a custom shirt through their online made-to-measure program.
Our sincere thanks to all four sponsors. Their support is greatly appreciated.
If you want to advertise on Put This On, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’d be a polo sweater. Like a v-neck short-sleeved sweater. It was white, but I’d dye it a ruby red color. Then I’d get some Guess jeans and dye them ruby red too. And then some Tretorns. Like the Tretorn sneakers? I’d dye them all red. That’d be my Raspberry Surprise.”— Big Boi from Outkast, giving an example of an outfit he used to wear in high school that involved DIY dyeing.
It’s On Sale: Nigel Cabourn at Marrkt
Derek and I are both enamored of the British menswear designer Nigel Cabourn, whose work tweaks archival military and expedition clothes in just-right ways, making a sort of Platonic ideal of classic streetwear.
Cabourn’s rarely on sale, but the English flash sale site Marrkt is currently offering a selection of items, along with some stuff from Highland 2000 and Edwin Vintage. Lots of beautiful outerwear for those of you who need coats for the fall and winter cold.
As usual, the site is by invitation, and if you’d like to use ours, we get a kickback.
The man who first took Rene Lacoste’s brilliantly simple sport shirt and replaced the original logo with his business’s name and phone number should spend eternity pursued and bitten by embroidered crocodiles. Because that first corporate swag shirt was the nail in the coffin of the pique polo as a respectable summer shirt. Arnold Palmer looks like he’s about to cry over it.
Fortunately, the pique polo is not the only worthwhile summer shirt.
Guayaberas and Guayaber-ish
The guayabera—button front, woven fabric, usually short sleeved, with decorative pleats and four pockets—is a staple in tropical climates and with American anthropology professors (anecdotally). Traditional guayaberas are relatively loose, as is most clothing worn where it’s always hot. Check out Jesse’s experience with Miami guayabera makers Ramon Puig. If a real-deal ‘bera is too much for you, there are a decent number of similarly styled shirts available that omit traditional details for a subtler take. My favorite is probably the Engineered Garments Chauncey shirt. Like with any short sleeved, woven summer shirt, a trimmer fit will look cleaner and less Guy Fieri, but will also be less functional in the heat.
Hawaiian/Aloha shirts have been pigeonholed in the past but island patterns add some welcome brightness to the hot weather uniform of simple cotton pants and shirts. Aloha shirts have a long history in Hawaii, but entered the American consciousness largely in the 1950s, as tourists from the continental U.S. brought them home. Bold prints and colors are the standard; subtler takes will use only two colors, and some use reverse printed fabric, a Reyn Spooner standard that’s less loud. The vintage market for Aloha shirts is very competitive; old versions in rayon or silk blends fetch crazy prices. Personally, I prefer newer versions in cotton or cotton-linen blends—the multicolor print above is an overdyed shirt from surf brand Lightning Bolt.
Popovers are essentially just normal button front shirts with a placket that doesn’t reach the bottom of the shirt, which is the way all dress shirts used to be made (some makers will still do this for you). The popover as summer shirt is often short sleeved and made in oxford cloth, so a summer version of the unimpeachable OCBD. Does a popover really “wear” that much cooler than a simple button front shirt? No. But it’s traditional warm season wear and looks more “dressed” under a sportcoat than a polo. We’ve highlighted a number of solid popovers before; Jack Spade has a short sleeved poplin version right now and I know Winn Perry is expecting some Individualized-made popovers soon. One thing to remember: most pullover clothing is knit and has some give; a very trim, woven fabric popover will be a pain to get on and off.
Another option is just avoiding the polo shirt as practiced by Lacoste and Ralph Lauren—so, fewer logos, different collar styles, and different fabrics. The cult of James Bond is a little silly in my opinion, but Daniel Craig’s Bond has brought due attention to Sunspel’s Riviera pocket polo, which has a mesh, self-fabric collar and close fit, even if you aren’t packing Craig-caliber guns. UK knit specialists John Smedley make a number of polo style shirts in knit sea island cotton, with slightly longer sleeves and bigger collars than most slim, modern takes. Banlon-style polos, with a waistband rather than tails, are arguably neater than a standard polo, but they’re a rare beast these days. I haven’t tried one, but I’m intrigued by Land’s End’s similar banded hem polo.
There are some really great shoes and ties in today’s roundup. I particularly like these suede Edward Green loafers, Alden shell cordovan loafers, and Carmina longwings. For ties, there are these in dark olive silk, grey cashmere, and blue raw silk. This tan, abstracted print tie also looks like it would go well with a summer jacket.
Suits, sport coats, and blazers
- Corduroy work jacket, S
- Mackintosh navy mac, S
- Tan vest, S
- Buzz Rickson A2, 38
- Green shawl collared Engineered Garments jacket, M
- Black horsehide jacket, M
- Striped shawl collar coat, M
- Belstaff Trialmaster, M
- Barbour Bedale, 42
- Nigel Cabourn parka, L
- Engineered Garments cagoule, XL
- Alexander Leathers horsehide jacket, 44
- Engineered Garments green shirt jacket, XXL
- Flat Head t-shirt, 42 (fits like a small)
- Stevenson Western shirt, S
- Flat Head shirts, 40 (but fit like a 38)
- Graph check shirt, 15.5
- Tan Barbour Beacon shirt, M
- Beams summer plaid shirt, M
- Beams flannel shirt, M
- Green gingham shirt, L
- Willis & Geiger flannel shirt, L
- Willis & Geiger button down shirt, 16.5
- Willis & Geiger safari shirt, XL
- White night shirt, XL
- Denim shirt, XXXL
- RRL wool pants, 32
- Mabitex nailhead trousers, 32
- Left Field selvedge jeans, 32
- Grey houndstooth pants, 32
- Real McCoys chinos, 32
- Strike Gold jeans, 33
- Brooks Brothers Black Fleece flannels, 34
- Flat Head jeans, 34
- French blue linen trousers, 36
- Ivory linen pants, 38
- Brooks Brothers shell cordovan tassel loafers, 8.5
- Alden suede longwings, 9
- Alden suede penny loafers, 9
- Oak Street plain toe boots, 9
- Edward Green tassel loafers, 9
- Carmina navy suede Chelsea boots, 9.5
- Edward Green suede penny loafers, 9.5
- Quoddy moc toe boots, 9.5
- Alden oxford punch caps, 10
- Common Projects Original Vintage Lows, 10
- JM Weston semi-brogues, 10
- Alden shell cordovan penny loafers, 10.5
- Carmina suede split toe bluchers, 10.5
- Crockett & Jones tassel loafers, 10.5
- RRL work shoes, 10.5
- Vass cap toe oxfords, 10.5
- New & Lingwood double monkstraps, 11
- Carmina longwings, 11.5 (pictured above)
- Holland & Holland punch cap bluchers, 11.5
- Alfred Sargent suede jodhpurs, 12
- Allen Edmonds shell cordovan tassel loafers, 12A
- Edward Green oxford punch caps, 12
- Billykirk x Taka Hayashi saddle shoes, 12
- Faconnable brogues, 12
- Ralph Lauren shell cordovan penny loafers, 12
- Allen Edmonds shell cordovan semi-brogues, 12.5
- Blue Rubinacci tie
- Solid dark olive tie
- Blue Drake’s tie
- Solid grey cashmere tie
- Blue Charvet tie
- Blue dotted raw silk tie (1, 2)
- Green striped tie
- Burgundy pin dot tie
- Grey glen plaid tie
- Battistoni floral tie
- Douglas Hayward puppytooth tie (nice clip on Hayward here)
- Tan abstracted print tie
- Blue striped tie
Bags, briefcases, and wallets
- Opera glasses
- Framed Vanity Fair drawing
- Screw backs, nails, and knobs
- Vivienne Westwood woman’s scarf
- Barbour hood
- Omersa footstool
- Tan leather belt, 38
- Straw hat, 7 3/8
- Howard Yount gloves, 8.5
- Brown fedora, XXS
- Wallet chains and key hooks (1, 2)
It’s on Sale: Levi’s Vintage Clothing on Vente Privee
Vente Privee is just playing the hits these days and brings back LVC for a flash sale this morning. VP’s LVC sale includes both their reproduction denim cuts (LVC’s repros are some of the best out there) as well as leather jackets and other clothing at significant discount (I bought my Menlo leather from a previous VP sale). If you haven’t joined VP yet, feel free to use our link.
Charcoal grays, deep navys, and dark browns work well in the fall and winter months, but spring and summer provide an excellent opportunity to wear lighter colors. My favorites include the various shades of mid-blues you see above. These include French blue (which used to be common in men’s dress shirts), slate blue (a powdery color), and Air Force blue (a pure blue that’s similar to the color of the sky on a clear day). With a tailored jacket in one of these colors, you can have a great sport coat to wear with cream or tan trousers. With a suit, you have something smart for social occasions.
The only trick here is to wear the right shirt. With certain shades, you can wear a light blue shirt, but once the jacket’s color is light enough, you’ll want to use a white or ecru shirt in order to ensure there’s enough contrast.
Unfortunately, sport coats and suits in these colors aren’t easy to find. The most affordable ones might be at J. Crew and Suit Supply. The styling on Suit Supply’s website is really fashion forward, but the garments themselves are often much more classic looking than their site suggests. There’s also this really nice Camoshita suit at No Man Walks Alone. The price is expensive, but the store is having a sale this week on all their Japanese brands (which includes Camoshita). You can take 20% off with the code BLOSSOM and see how Camoshita’s jackets fit here, as they’re modeled on Kyle (a No Man Walks Alone employee).
Of course, the color works just as well in non-tailored clothing. If you’d like something more casual, try knitwear. Inis Meain has a fantastic (albeit expensive) one made from linen. Their linen yarns are unique in that they have a subtle “bounce back” quality to them. Like wool, this helps their sweaters retain their original shapes, and makes the fabrics feel like they have a bit more “life” to them (as they’re not just hanging limply on your body). More affordably, Brooks Brothers has a Saxxon wool sweater in deep teal, while Howard Yount has some lambswool sweaters in brighter blues.