Cheap, high-quality, ethical, American-made outerwear guide from Commerce With A Conscience.
It’s On eBay
New Phineas Cole Sportcoat (44L)
I love the way that Mark from Dallas has transformed the most basic ensemble a man can wear - blue blazer and tan pants. Not just the gingham shirt, but a pocket square in a completely unexpected color. Rather than picking up colors from his shirt and tie, he’s picking up the color of his pants and his skin tone. Well done!
David, from Canada (and Hong Kong) looks lovely in this photo, doesn’t he?
Another great example of patch pockets, soft fabrics and natural shoulders making tailored clothes a little less formal, without making them any less elegant. Also a lovely example of the Churchill dotted tie in white-on-navy, which is about as versatile a tie as exists in the world. I also love the pocket square, which (unlike most pocket squares) actually takes the formality down a notch. It’s poking out of there saying, “hey, don’t sweat it, we’re all friends here.”
It’s On eBay
Vintage J. Press Donegal Tweed Sportcoat
I love Harris Tweed, but my stepmother is from Belfast, and Donegal is her favorite place in the world, so I have a soft spot for the Donegal stuff.
Saw this photo in an advertisement in this month’s Esquire.
After a few years of Mad-Men-ish narrow ties and lapels, it’s refreshing to see Polo’s lapels blossoming outward. It recalls their heyday, in the mid-to-late 1970s, and to my eye, it looks decadent and luxurious and just great.
Of course, everything else has to be on point to rock a look like this - and it’s interesting that they’re blending some traditional American elements in with this very louche Euro 70s look. I just love the lines of this thing. The shoulders are slightly broad, but not extraordinarily so, and the body remains tightly tailored, but not in the too-small-my-buttons-are-straining way that you see on a lot of guys these days. The two-button front functions to lengthen the whole look, as well, which is quite flattering. The combination of big lapels and tailored elegance reminds me of 70s Saville Row - Michael Caine in Get Carter for example. But like all RL, it’s also very American, with the button-down collar and fake-heraldic graphic tie.
I’m not prepared to trade in all my suits for big lapels and long lines, but it’s certainly an inspirational idea, and it’s exciting to see as big a ship as Polo sailing against the current.
Q and Answer: The Three-Roll-Two
Benjamin writes to ask: I inherited a handful of my grandfather’s tasteful suits a few years ago and am slowly having them tailored and integrated into my wardrobe. Among my favorites are a very classic Brooks Brothers navy blazer and a cotton khaki suit. Both include three-button jackets, however the lapels were folded as two-buttons leaving the third button hole exposed on the lower part of the lapel. Being under 6’, I tend to prefer a two-button jacket, so I would like to keep them folded the way they are now. But I would also like to know a little more about the style, what’s the deal here? Was it a style years ago? Is it considered tacky?
What you’ve got is probably the most classic suit buttoning style, the 3-roll-2: three buttons, with a roll in the lapel that rolls under the top button, making the coat functionally a two-button.
Three-button suits were the style of the “Friends” era, and two buttons the style of the “Cheers” era. The 3-roll-2 is a compromise. It’s found on many Savile Row single-breasteds, and is the classic buttoning for the undarted Ivy League-style “sack” suit. It’s the opposite of tacky - the epitome of class.
The great challenge will be preserving the lapel roll as such. On cheap and mishandled suits, the lapel doesn’t roll at all - it folds. Often dry cleaners will press the lapel down into the chest of the suit, flattening out the suit’s three-dimensional shape. They’ll also often press a 3-roll-2 into an awkward three-button, so be vigilant. A good tailor can steam the lapel roll for you to preserve its shape.
It’s On eBay
Huntsman Covert Coat (Dated 1963)
The covert coat is a spring riding coat - durable and mid-weight. It was originally designed for riding, and the stitches on the sleeve are for extra durability in the face of brambles. They’re tough to find in the US of A - even finding the cloth, a wool twill, can be hard. This one was bespoke for someone in 1963 and is in lovely conditon. And who can deny an eBay seller with a Hudson’s Bay blanket in the background and the username Mr. Wooster?