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I am a new member, haveing discovered this amazing forum yesterday, while conducting a web search for "Troy Shirtmakers Guild". From what I have read so far (looooong American/Trad thread; assorted threads comparing BB with JP; assorted threads bemoaing a shocking decline in quality), I feel that I am truly among kindred spirits. Going forward, I anticipate monitoring this forum on a regular basis and participating when appropriate. To that end, I thought I should introduce myself.

Male, age 41, married to a traditially minded wife and attempting to rear two traditionlly minded children !

Proffession: Institutial Bond Sales
Residence: Charleston, SC
Backround: Born and bred in NJ, college and proffessional carreer in the south.

I grew up in an old line section of NJ, and while public school educated, I was brought up in a family with a very Trad sensibility. Not only in dress, but also in conduct. My parents divorced when I was young and I lived with my mother. As a result of this, my Grandmothers (on both sides) took a keen interest in my upbringing. Manners were taught at an early age and being polite to all was not only understood, but expected. Until my mid teens, I dressed in whatever was purchased for me and I rarely cared where the items came from. Even then I had corduroy trousers, colared shirts and crewneck sweaters, while others were running around in jeans, t shirts and sweatshirts. When I began to express an interest in what I wore, my maternal Grandmother sent me to the 346 BB store with intructions to see Mr. so and so, who would take care of what I needed. No bill was presented or seen; later I discovered that we had a house account. This was the late '70s by the way. I have been clothed by Brooks (mostly) ever since.

Luckily my HS years coincided with the first wave of "Preppie" and I fit right in. While my friends were shopping at the mall, buying whatever looked the part, I was wearing the real McCoy. Pressed chino and corduroy trousers, BB shirts, blue blazer, Harris Tweed jacket and crewneck sweaters. My HS topcoat was a navy duffle. Footware was dirty bucks, Bass Wejuns or Topsiders. In warmer weather, chino shorts and Lacoste shirts in "go to hell" colors. Even though I was attired roughly the same as everyone else, I was the one that received compliments from the girls in our set.

Flash forward to the early 1980's and I am off to college (small private liberal arts college in Atlanta) where my freshman class initially appeared to be a mostly egalitarian group. Over the first few weeks however I began to encounter others who looked and acted as I did. What was interesting is that when Fraternity Rush began, we all dressed in coat and tie, and we were the only ones to do so ! We did not confer with each other beforehand, yet we all were dressed nearly alike: 3b sack Navy Blazers, plain front dark grey worsted or khaki chino trousers, white or blue bd, rep tie, Bass Wejuns. The rest of the rushees were in jeans, shorts etc etc. On the other side of things, there was only 1 house where all of the brothers were attired as we were. It was unspoken at that time, but we all pledged that same fraternity. As I began to get to know my pledge brothers better, I found that most of my pledge class were from old line southern families that resided in traditional southern towns. A majority were private day or boarding school educated. We all shared a similar outlook on life, clothes, and politics. And we were are relieved to finds others who shared the same feelings. As we began to visit each others homes, it was understoon that gifts would be brought with us or sent from our respective homes and that following the visits, Thank You notes would be sent as well. What was interesting about all of this is that nearly everyone could not belive I was from New Jersey- southerners assumed I was from Virginia, while the few northerners in our house assumed I was from Connecticut.

My college experience was one of learning, both inside and outside of the classroom- I developed a fondness for good bourbon.... What most amazed me were the southern girls I encounted. Not only were they preaty, but they also expected that a man would act like gentlemen in their presence- so different from the girls I grew up with. A number of us spent a considerable amount of time with girls from Agnes Scott college. There we found girls whose backrounds and outlooks were similar to our own. Throught connections made there, I met the girl who eventually became my wife.

I spent a total of 16yrs in Atlanta before my wife and I moved back to her hometown of Charleston, SC. The contrast between the 2 towns could not be more pronounced. In the time I spent in Atlanta, I watched (and participated in) the city's metamorphasis from the biggest city in the South, to a truly international city that could rival any in the world. While living in Atlanta, my wife and I regularly visited friends and relatives in Charleston, so that I knew my way around by the time we did actually move. That said, Charleston still is a town where family connections count far more than your net worth. Those not born here are still refered to as being from "Off". In many ways this is now a prototypical "Trad" town- in attire and conduct. That fact that I have been accepted here (while being from off) is as much a testiment to how I conduct myself as it is to how I am dressed or who I married. I went through what was very much a prolonged "rush" process if you will, that will not be found in other parts of the country.

What I am trying to say is that adherance to the "American/Trad" sensibility is as much about conduct as it is about attire. Polo et al have conditioned much of America to believe that by purchasing the correct clothing, one can be accepted. A vulgar personality can not be hidden by a well cut suit. On the other hand a gentleman will always be recognized regardless of his attire.

Dear readers, thank for indulging me the space to put down the preceeding comments.

Best,

Ross
 
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