Men's Clothing Forums banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,207 Posts
Gentlemen, we have to confront the elephant in the room which is that our preferred mode of dressing is increasingly anachronistic in a world of sweatpants, hoodies, and crocs. Perhaps if we are retired and our biological age is close to how long it's been since the heyday of the Ivy League Look, this is less of a concern. But for younger working age folks we face both situations where we'd like to stand out and where we'd like to blend in. Without capitulating to athleisure or skin-tight Italian caricatures, I think these are some concessions we can make that allow us to wear our favorite "trad" items as much as possible, while not standing out too much or be considered over-dressed by the hoi polloi.

The idea of "high/low" (which I read about from Simon Crompton) is purposely mixing items of different formalities. Presumably the original intent is to evince a certain cool/aristocratic nonchalance. But used differently, this can confuse the sartorially uninitiated and minimize getting asked "Dressed up for an interview?" when all we got is a striped oxford shirt and tucked in khakis. I find we can still preserve the Ivy uniform, if we substitute one piece for a decidedly working class (workwear) or athletic garment.

Jeans: As much rise as possible, and legs should be straight or fuller. Better if selvedge, as it is just a scooch more tasteful. With this you can wear with the dressiest shirt, sweater, overcoat, and even sport coat. You'd still be considered well-dressed in this day and age, but a bit more "normal". The tricky thing is so many shirts, sweaters, and blazers come in shades of blue or green, which IMO doesn't offer enough contrast with the pants. But on the other hand this allows for red, yellow, beige, pink tops to be worn with more frequency.

Patagonia fleece vest: Let's face it. Just a shirt tucked into proper slacks, or with a saddle-shouldered sweaters is considered old-fashioned and stuffy in 2022. A zip vest kills that sense by more than a half. If it allows me to look more normal taking out the trash or getting the mail, then Midtown Banker overtones be damned.

Rugby shirt: Good overall, but let's face it, not seen too often these days, and can be considered "weird" by the masses.

Western shirt: Theoretically a good choice to dress down an otherwise formal(er) outfit, but I don't own one at the moment. So can't speak from lived experience.

Zipper coats: Baracutas, Barbours, Filsons: I'll take them over Canada Goose and North Face any day. Also the Vietnam army field jacket (M-67?) when worn with otherwise formal ensemble (I think this is one of Simon Crompton's original examples) Truth be told they are getting rarer by the day, but they are the best I can come up with.

Ball cap (3 seasons) or beanie (winter): Not only casual and common, but handy if you can't be bothered to apply hair product during these WFH times.

Hawaiian shirts: I like popovers with button down collars, but this option seems to be summer-specific. Ditto tennis shirts and shorts.

Footwear: This is tricky if we wish to be traditional all the time (I say no running shoes unless actually running). I think suede is generally better than shiny (because if you have say calfskin you brush often and polish periodically right? that gives luster that sadly sticks out in 2022). I'm partial to dirty bucks (can look like white/beige tennis shoes from a distance), low-contrast saddle shoes entirely in suede or nubuck (easier maintenance is a plus too). Blue suede comes in handy with darker trousers. Not to leave out boat shoes, Bean blucher mocs, loafers and the ilk. Wear LL Bean hunting shoes whenever it's wet enough (they are comfy too with thick socks). Perhaps the Red Wing Moc Toe boot is also a good idea? But I doubt it, and I'm not interested in adding it to my collection.
To be honest it's hard not to stand out when others are wearing Nikes, crocs, flip flops, and lumberjack boots. But I think my choices above beat cordovan longwings and captoes, and hopefully people don't look down as often.

So these are just some thoughts in no particular order about strategies to ensure we can still wear heydey Ivy League clothes as often as we can, and not look too outlandish when "out and about" in public in 2022. Feel free to engage, flame, or glorify
Some interesting thoughts and I like the overall concept that you're exploring here, but I unless I missed something, this seems to be a bit too general. It may be of more value to list the various categories of dress and then determine the desired additions/deletions. One of the problems with the way many men dress today is that they fail to make distinctions, i.e., they wear essentially the same thing for nearly all occasions. Some specific categories to consider:
  • corporate work environment
  • business casual environment
  • dinner at upscale restaurant
  • dinner at casual local restaurant
  • attending elevated performances (plays, musicals, concerts, etc.)
  • attending casual social events (movies, school shows, ball games, etc.)
  • attending special occasions (weddings, graduations, etc.)
  • relaxed gatherings of friends at someone's home
  • running errands
  • relaxing at home during the day (where one might have interaction with others)
  • being in bum mode (where there's no expectation of seeing anyone)
I'm not implying that I dress differently for each instance above. Rather, I will dress similarly for a bunch of the above categories, but very differently for others. What I wear for dinner at upscale restaurants and elevated performances is different from what I wear for a casual get-together with friends and attending school shows. Maybe we can generalize by labeling the categories a) well dressed, b) smart casual, c) casual and d) very casual and then see how each can be tweaked, if at all?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,207 Posts
As usual, Tiger is right on point. "The failure to make distinctions." I don't think hybrid dressing makes much sense. A crude analogy, wearing sneakers with a tailored dinner suit, but,
it seems to be an awkward trend. Seems to be a favored look of some of the less than sartorially educated elite persona , Just one example.
Why keep complicating such basics of good taste?
Tiger, love your "bum mode" when the only person I plan on seeing is my landscaper when I pay him, who couldn't give a fat rat's arse when I pay him.
Cheers.
Thank you for your very kind words, EclecticSr.!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,207 Posts
I guess in the short decade since I joined, what I once thought this forum was about, fine dressing ,,,,,,,has evolved......... I have no bones about my. opinions be they political or
things sartorial. Perhaps there should be a seperate catagories to the forum. eg. slobwear / hybrid wear. Then, fine dressing as a seperate catagory.
I'm sure many would pick the catagory of their choice to post on, seems very diplomatic, does it not?????

It has been a while since I have posted and I guess if ever I post again.








I don'tn know what happened here with this repative post but you are more than welcome.
Wish i had your knowledge and ability to express in words that you have.
thank you.
That repetition stuff was very strange. I am grateful for your kindness, but not enough to repeat myself a half dozen times!:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,207 Posts
Good points here for highlighting the different types of social occasions. A main attraction of the Ivy League style is that it straddles multiple formality levels so well. (That is, until recently when slobby is the trend.) I don't know much about you, but I'd rather not have to change clothes between work, home, errands, dinner etc.

And the focus of my OP is on what can we do during informal occasions (which are ever-multiplying in 2022), so that we can still wear our favorite Ivy items as much as possible. If you are dining in an upscale restaurant, attending opening night at the opera, giving away the bride etc., then obviously this post does not apply. Cherish the chance to dress up and not stick out from the social milieu! I think we agree that short of being maitre d' or a security guard, such formal occasions are fleeting in 2022.



Personally to me this is rather fussy. Do you really keep so many mental categories in your head all the time? Me, I just want to throw on the basic cuffed slacks, button-down collar shirt, sweater if it's chilly, and go about my day. Obviously special occasions that necessitate dressing up are an important exception, but other than that I wish to de-clutter my routine and not over-think clothes.
Maybe I wasn't as clear as I could've been. I'm not changing multiple times per day; typically, I get dressed for the focal activity of the day. Sometimes changing clothing is unavoidable - a casual evening out on a work day means a change in attire, agreed? I'm not going out for pizza in a business suit! If I'm running errands in the morning on a rainy day, I'm going to wear something a bit better for an evening with friends. If I'm home all day lounging, I will wear something different if my wife and I go out - anywhere. Make sense?

You wrote, "I'd rather not have to change clothes between work, home, errands, dinner etc." - that appears to mean that you're essentially wearing the same thing for most events in a typical day. In my view, that will invariably lead to you being either overdressed or underdressed, depending on which part of the day's activities you're doing. One size fits all usually doesn't.

I don't keep "mental categories" at all, nor do I "over-think clothes." I simply try to dress in an appropriate manner for whatever it is I'm engaged in. Isn't that a basic thing to do? I don't wear sport coats and ties at barbecues, nor do I wear boat shoes and rolled up OCBDs for business wear. Avoid extremes, and simply dress appropriately for the activity. I think the trick is knowing what constitutes "dressing appropriately." At one time, sites such as AAAC was a resource for that. I hope it will remain so, and not become a place of compromise and synthesis to the point where little matters.

P.S. - Anyone remember Cruiser?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,207 Posts
Clearly put. Contextual dressing is still relevant. The difficulty is figuring out what that means in today's era and our own individual lifestyles. For example, the business suit and tie is extinct in all my social circles. They're strictly wedding/interview/funeral tools. Fortunately, I found blazers and sports coats useful at my internship. I wore them traditionally, and also with fatigue pants.

This quote I found on a blog has resonated with me, despite being the polar opposite of contextual dressing. I mention this because I don't think I'm the only one who makes up reasons to wear tailoring. I wore an olive linen suit the other day to eat pizza and play some board games with friends. Not appropriate in a traditional sense, but I sure enjoyed doing it.

"[When my yoga teacher] was younger, his mom was very conscious of what she wore and how everything had its time and place. Even the china set. She would never bring them out unless it was for a very special dinner. However, when he was about 14, his mom got cancer and was very close to passing away. She recovered, but he distinctly remembers the day that she embraced the idea of FUCK IT. She put on her most beautiful dress and busted out the china, and they ate meatloaf on a regular Tuesday. At that point, he realized that she started to live. Like really live. So he always wears designer whatever the fuck he wants, whenever the fuck he wants. Since he told me that story, I’ve sort of adopted that. I used to try to dress like everyone else. Like at my niece’s bday. Shorts and a nice top. This year I plan on wearing a beautiful dress because fuck it. I wanna do it. I will be the best-looking motherfucker at that damn pool party anyone has ever seen! "
Hard to disagree with the sentiments (if not the phraseology) of the quote above. Many have experienced this epiphany - "Stop saving the good stuff; use it before it's too late!" - and I agree with it. Yet, I think this contradicts what the OP (TimF) was trying to accomplish. He was looking for ways to insert more casual/street wear into traditional (I know, not the same as "trad") clothing, and the quote (definitely) and your comments (somewhat) lean in the opposite direction.

Social circles differ. I recently retired from a private school where jacket and tie were required, and many corporations still expect employees to dress well. Certainly not the way it was twenty years ago, but also not a streetwear fest, either. There's an enormous middle ground in there!

I trust my instincts. At a recent charity fundraiser, I wore a suit and tie; I was not out of place. At dinner last week, I wore cords, a Viyella shirt and dressier boots; the only people who would've thought that was overkill might be the three obese guys sitting nearby who were in their sixties, and were wearing combinations of cargo shorts, stretched out t-shirts, sloppy sweatpants and sneakers. No need to worry about their opinions, if they even exist. At a recent school musical, I again wore cords and a nice button down collar shirt with casual boots. I was better dressed than most, if only because so many people there were wearing ill-fitting jeans, sweatshirts or sports jerseys, and sneakers. Didn't make me uncomfortable in the least, as I was confident that I was dressed appropriately for the occasion.

But here's the difference: I would not dress the way I described above if I were going to a ball game, running errands, or cleaning out the garage/sweeping leaves. Unfortunately, many people who typically wear jeans, sneakers, sweatpants et al. wear that stuff for everything - dinner with their wives, ball games, social gatherings or washing their cars. I will never acquiesce to that standard, assuming it is any sort of standard at all.

Hope this isn't viewed as being confrontational; not my intention at all!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,207 Posts
Glad you enjoyed it. I do hope tailoring hits another renaissance with younger generations and lives on.

Mad men was the last cultural movement that made all of this cool and appealing.
No worries man, not a confrontational word in this post.

I agree that my quote and comments contradicted what the OP was looking for. I did try to meet the initial premise of the thread with my pictures of "Rugged Ivy" and "Casual American Look", but it didn't stimulate as much discussion as I would have liked. It didn't help that Instagram no longer embeds here for some reason. (@Andy Can you please help with this?)

I then went the opposite route to play devil's advocate, but it may be better for a different thread rather than this one.

I'll try again to fit the theme of "High-Low". I didn't know @oxford cloth button down still posted here occasionally, so I can just embed from those posts. I feel like he nails the spirit of Trad, high-low dressing, and still manages to avoid falling into the bland sphere of business casual.





Reading your "going out" situations, it sounds like you were appropriately dressed in all the circumstances.

I think we are on the same page for contextual dressing, feel free to correct if we're not.

For me, it goes further; it ties into a healthy mindstate. A couple years ago, I wore pyjama shorts and a t-shirt for 3 months straight. Mentally, I felt horrible.

Once school started, I made sure to wear either chinos/cords + OCBD/chambray shirt every morning for Zoom lectures, and I always felt better because I was dressing with intention.

I agree, that's not for me.

If he swapped the bit loafers for penny loafers, untucked the pants, it'd be a much better look.
We are definitely in alignment on just about everything you wrote!

I often dress in a similar manner to Oxford Cloth Button Down when I'm casual. The big exception for me is that I don't wear sneakers (other than for walks or sports) - don't like how they look with chinos and cords, and they seem far more at home with athletic wear than anything. Swap out OCBD's sneakers and insert suede chukkas or loafers, and I'm all in!

P.S. - Sorry to hear about your unhappy state from a couple of years ago, and EclecticSr.'s son's eye issue. Clothing differences shrink in importance when compared to actual problems...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,207 Posts
In response to post #19 above, I remember Cruiser and miss his postings. Nuff said. ;)
I liked him and miss his posts as well. However, I remember that he was often criticized (vilified?) by the AAAC masses for not adhering to any particular standard, for a "wear what you like, it really doesn't matter" mentality. Back then, he was a bit of an AAAC pariah; now he would be quite mainstream!
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top