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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do forgive me if this has been beaten to death already. However, in following this forum for the last few months, I have come to a conclusion about what attracted me to the 'trad' style in the first place.I enjoy the apparent effortlessness involved--except most of you put quite a lot of effort in to dressing in a particular way.

Much like GHWB I grew up in a family in which it was normal for men to dress in this particular style; plain front trousers, a properly fitting jacket, and a presentable pair of shoes were de rigeur for the men in my family, even after we ceased to have an abundance of wealth. My grandfather certainly had a favorite haberdashery or two, but I never recall him fussing over whether or not his jacket had darts or a rolled lapel. He always insisted that a gentlemen must never try too hard to dress well, because in doing so he was likely to appear pretentious. There's a certain austerity in that statement, I suppose, but that particular ideal is one that many older "WASP" families cherish deeply.

I suppose that what I'm saying is that I find it very difficult to fuss quite this much about what I'm wearing; I prefer a sack cut when I have the opportunity to wear one, but I wore a darted 2b charcoal suit last Friday evening (to a business casual dress dinner) and received a number of compliments. I also don't feel awkward when appearing without a jacket on a day-to-day basis; I enjoy them, but if it's too warm and humid, I'll dispense with the jacket. I wear a tie when the mood strikes, but I'm more comfortable in the heat with the first button of my collar undone.

I wear an OCBD and plain front khaki trousers on a daily basis. They look good; I can meet with students and administrators informally dressed this way. I don't have to spend too much time considering what I'll wear in the morning; I own 14 OCBD shirts, one polo, a pair of loafers, a pair of slip on Sketcher's, and a pair of captoe oxfords. I rarely experience a moment of indecision when the available choices are light blue, French blue, white, ecru, and pink.
 

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I was not familiar with the style of dressing that we call Trad until one day when I was in the Army that I saw a couple of fellows in my company who were from the Upper East Coast (I think) dressed that way and I knew that when I became a civilian that was the way I wanted to dress.

We did not have much need for tailored clothing where I was stationed and could wear any civilian clothes when off duty except for denim. The Army got that right 50 years ago and today most restaurants are unable to do so alas.

All I had in the way of 'dressy' clothes was a sort of tweed like jacket, gray trousers, a knit tie, and tassel loafers. I think I was trying to model my dress after Jack Web in the old Dragnet series.

When I got out of the Army I found a number of shops in Westwood, Calif. that sold what was called Ivy League if we called it anything.

We who shopped there did not have to fuss about such things as the number of buttons, pleats, darts, side vents, or other such details because the clothing only came one way. Probably the biggest decisions were whether to wear a button down, which was the most popular, a tab, or a straight collar. I think there were a few club colored shirts around too.

If it seems that we fuss about details today, I suggest that it is because there are so few shops that sell the type of clothing that we fancy. I believe that even Brooks might be selling more darted suits than sacks.

There is certainly nothing wrong with a two button darted jacket like the one you wore, but it is not the look I choose for myself.

If one only has a few solid colored shirts, I suppose it would eliminate most indecision when getting dressed. I had no indecision on what to wear when I was in the service, but it did get a bit boring.

Cheers, Jim.
 

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Do forgive me if this has been beaten to death already. However, in following this forum for the last few months, I have come to a conclusion about what attracted me to the 'trad' style in the first place.I enjoy the apparent effortlessness involved--except most of you put quite a lot of effort in to dressing in a particular way.

Much like GHWB I grew up in a family in which it was normal for men to dress in this particular style; plain front trousers, a properly fitting jacket, and a presentable pair of shoes were de rigeur for the men in my family, even after we ceased to have an abundance of wealth. My grandfather certainly had a favorite haberdashery or two, but I never recall him fussing over whether or not his jacket had darts or a rolled lapel. He always insisted that a gentlemen must never try too hard to dress well, because in doing so he was likely to appear pretentious. There's a certain austerity in that statement, I suppose, but that particular ideal is one that many older "WASP" families cherish deeply.

I suppose that what I'm saying is that I find it very difficult to fuss quite this much about what I'm wearing; I prefer a sack cut when I have the opportunity to wear one, but I wore a darted 2b charcoal suit last Friday evening (to a business casual dress dinner) and received a number of compliments. I also don't feel awkward when appearing without a jacket on a day-to-day basis; I enjoy them, but if it's too warm and humid, I'll dispense with the jacket. I wear a tie when the mood strikes, but I'm more comfortable in the heat with the first button of my collar undone.

I wear an OCBD and plain front khaki trousers on a daily basis. They look good; I can meet with students and administrators informally dressed this way. I don't have to spend too much time considering what I'll wear in the morning; I own 14 OCBD shirts, one polo, a pair of loafers, a pair of slip on Sketcher's, and a pair of captoe oxfords. I rarely experience a moment of indecision when the available choices are light blue, French blue, white, ecru, and pink.
Welcome to the Catch-22 of AAAC: you can only be trad if you effortlessly dress in trad clothes; you can't be effortless if you're taking the time to read and post on forums like AAAC.

Embrace the hypocrisy.
 

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other related areas of focus on this board. It's not just a matter of style.

1. back in the day, the only resources comparable to this board were face-to-face conversations with one's family, friends, peers and the guys who worked in the local clothing store. Nowadays, this board may be more accessible and relevant than the face-to-face conversations noted above.

2. for me, it's not just a question of "trad" vs. non-trad (or whatever we want to call it). It's mainly a sensitivity to the great loss of quality and workmanship that pervades most of what is available for sale these days, in any market but very especially with respect to clothes. I tend to prefer and treasure the well-made, in whatever area of life we're talking about. In many cases this leads me towards the past, rather than the contemporary. for example, a new car may be marvelous, it may perform better than those of the past, but I'm likely to see it as somewhat devoid of character. I realize this is a highly personal and subjective matter, whether we're talking about clothes, saddles, rifles or automobiles.

3. for those who don't care about tracking down three-button sacks, I say congratulations. It will make your life much easier to be able to go down to any men's store or men's department in one of the big chains and pick up whatever they're selling. I don't even necessarily find that such clothes are always ugly. I just don't care for them.
 

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I agree with the above comments.

-- In most things -- professions, art, craft, however humble or fine -- seeming effortlessness is part of mastery, even though underneath the surface, those legs are paddling like crazy. But does the audience really want to see the dancer's face straining?

There's nothing wrong with taking effort to make things seem effortless.

-- As mentioned above, clothes are a much bigger challenge today. There are exponentially more choices contriving to bewilder the picture. Even more signfiicant is our throwaway culture.

A few decades ago, if a guy needed a pair of decent, versatile, and durable shoes, he might just pick up some penny loafers. Even at a modest price, those shoes were well made (in the USA, even!) with good leather. Today the same quality shoe must be sought after through a maze of confusing choices, and a much greater price.

Today, most people just buy stuff that lasts a year or two and then throw it away. That wasn't always the goal.
 

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heimskringla, your point is well taken. I think one of the fundamental differences between your grandfather's time and today is that in his time, a man could typically rely on his clothier(s) to give him guidance so that he did not have to really think about what he wore. Traditional clothiers "stayed the course" - Brooks was Brooks, Press was Press. This was true of the many small clothing stores throughout the East and the Southeast. This guidance was not necessarily even verbal, but a clothier knew his customer and knew what his customer felt comfortable wearing. Any changes were introduced gradually, if at all, and stayed within a fairly narrow spectrum.

Another key difference is that young men (boys) learned to dress by emulating fathers. There were no designers, stylists (God help us), or GQ magazine. The sixties brought about radical change, with young men wanting NOT to look like their fathers. Now we deal with fathers wanting to dress like their sons. I am, at 47, amazed at men my age who turn to their sons for clothing advice.

I tire of the "Is this trad?" questions found here, but at least there are young men seeking the "way". I do greatly appreciate the tips on where to find certain articles of traditional clothing. The purveyors are dying off, and every new find is a help!

I am no TNSIL purist, mostly due to budget and resource constraints, but I do appreciate a place where ideas, resources, and advice can be shared.
 

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Welcome to the Catch-22 of AAAC: you can only be trad if you effortlessly dress in trad clothes; you can't be effortless if you're taking the time to read and post on forums like AAAC.

Embrace the hypocrisy.
The OP makes a very good point. And I find it true that at the (wealthy east coast) roots of Trad/TNSIL men gave only a bit of thought to their clothing and had relatively few items. Somehow they always seemed to have looked quite good and had consistency in the items they did own (all 3/2 sack jackets for some reason, all shirts were button-downs for some reason, etc.). I will always be confused as to how such a non-chalance can result in true style. Hell - a lot of these guys even looked great in stuff that was handed down from their fathers and presumably didn't fit perfectly, was shiny, frayed...

But the points made about the relative lack of information in those days are definitely true. Maybe if they had the internet they would be more fastidious.

As to the line quoted above - and this highlights my confusion about how fastidious and good results may be mutually exclusive - what do you have to say about all of the very dapper Brits from years ago. SR customers are most certainly concerned with detailing, etc. By default.

I'm still confused by this whole topic :confused:
 

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It's the same thing with manners; just because you weren't born with them doesn't mean you can't learn them (even if it takes much exertion).
Yea but somehow it seems to cheapen your style when you've put effort into in certain peoples eyes. You always here people say that a look is contrived or someone "looks like they are trying too hard"...
 

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I really like the clothing on this section of the site but I get kind of turned off by what sometimes seems like an overwhelming list of restrictions to this style of dress. I think, for some people, finding these exact styles is part of the fun and that's why we here about the restrictions so much. As for me, I let the trad style influence what I wear but not dictate it.
 

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Good OP. I came here after searching for some time for a distinctly American take on non-fashion. By that I mean (1) clothes with American heritage if not roots, (2) made in the US, and (3) not subject to the vagaries and trends that define fashion. Trad works for me according to these criteria. My purposes include supporting the US economy, defining myself on foreign shores--during a time of war and rampant anti-American sentiment--as an American (but hopefully avoiding the "ugly American" thing), simplicity of combining elements (I don't choose my clothes in the dark, but I could without fear that they won't match) and not worrying about what is in and out of style.

My biggest worry when it comes to Trad is that now that "preppy is in" there will be a time when people look at what I'm wearing and say "That is so 2008".

I am for the reasons cited self-aware about my clothing, but not to the point (I hope) of excessive self-consciousness once I'm out the door.

Oh yeah, and my feet feel better since I started wearing quality American shoes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mm. Dapper Brits and my grandfather don't have much in common; my grandfather grew up in a time when ostentation and "foppishness" as he liked to call it were frowned upon for members of his social class.

Despite the rather advantageous start I received, I grew up in a household of very modest means; We certainly couldn't afford to purchase the latest styles of clothing, and I was quite content to dress in polos and khaki trousers or shorts of similar make. My brother on the other hand felt disenfranchised by my mother's inability to procure the latest and greatest fashions, and he did everything he could to do so himself--even turning to theft in his teens and early 20's in order to do it.

I will never object to purchasing quality items over purchasing what is readily available but poorly made or simply currently fashionable. Even the inexpensive Old Navy OCBD's that currently comprise much of my day to day wardrobe will last for at least a couple of years--although I intend to replace them sooner rather than later; they fit a student budget at the moment.

I don't suppose I took issue with the quest for quality items, but I personally don't care to give the style a very rigid definition. If you want to be trad, be trad. Approach life with simplicity, frugality, and a stoic demeanor and everything else will follow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My biggest worry when it comes to Trad is that now that "preppy is in" there will be a time when people look at what I'm wearing and say "That is so 2008".

I am for the reasons cited self-aware about my clothing, but not to the point (I hope) of excessive self-consciousness once I'm out the door.

Oh yeah, and my feet feel better since I started wearing quality American shoes.
I'm quite pleased people have managed to take something positive from a thread fueled by multiple gin & tonics :) I really don't care what people have to say about my wardrobe. This has essentially been my "style" since I was 8 years old; it was essentially my grandfather's style; it was the style many of his friends and successful associates wore.

I'm presentable; I rarely have to worry about being over or under dressed for my workday or social gatherings after. Not to mention that women around my age seem to admire my 'style' when compared to that of men in my age group who wear the latest fashions. I've dated more than a few women whom I would consider out of my league and they've all complimented my sartorial sensibility; granted, charm, intellect, and random eccentricities all played a factor.

Do your best not to fall into the trap of putting too much stock in other people's opinions of you. They'll probably end up replacing their entire wardrobe within the year, and you can use the spare cash to dote on your charming partner or other pursuits.
 

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The OP makes a very good point. And I find it true that at the (wealthy east coast) roots of Trad/TNSIL men gave only a bit of thought to their clothing and had relatively few items. Somehow they always seemed to have looked quite good and had consistency in the items they did own (all 3/2 sack jackets for some reason, all shirts were button-downs for some reason, etc.). I will always be confused as to how such a non-chalance can result in true style. Hell - a lot of these guys even looked great in stuff that was handed down from their fathers and presumably didn't fit perfectly, was shiny, frayed...

But the points made about the relative lack of information in those days are definitely true. Maybe if they had the internet they would be more fastidious.

As to the line quoted above - and this highlights my confusion about how fastidious and good results may be mutually exclusive - what do you have to say about all of the very dapper Brits from years ago. SR customers are most certainly concerned with detailing, etc. By default.

I'm still confused by this whole topic :confused:
I think a good portion of what is "trad" is mythology invented by members of this board. Not trying to knock you Louche, but these ideas you have about how East Coast establishment guys dressed in the 1950s...are these personal observations that you made in the 1950s? If not, what's the source?

Speaking only for myself, I never even heard of a 3/2 sack until I came on this board. "OCBD" is a term that I don't think existed before AAAC, and if you look at old pictures of, for example, the Kennedys, they wear plenty of clothes during what many here would say was the "golden age" of trad that don't fit into what folks here would define as trad.
 

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Do forgive me if this has been beaten to death already. However, in following this forum for the last few months, I have come to a conclusion about what attracted me to the 'trad' style in the first place.I enjoy the apparent effortlessness involved--except most of you put quite a lot of effort in to dressing in a particular way.

Much like GHWB I grew up in a family in which it was normal for men to dress in this particular style; plain front trousers, a properly fitting jacket, and a presentable pair of shoes were de rigeur for the men in my family, even after we ceased to have an abundance of wealth. My grandfather certainly had a favorite haberdashery or two, but I never recall him fussing over whether or not his jacket had darts or a rolled lapel. He always insisted that a gentlemen must never try too hard to dress well, because in doing so he was likely to appear pretentious. There's a certain austerity in that statement, I suppose, but that particular ideal is one that many older "WASP" families cherish deeply.

I suppose that what I'm saying is that I find it very difficult to fuss quite this much about what I'm wearing; I prefer a sack cut when I have the opportunity to wear one, but I wore a darted 2b charcoal suit last Friday evening (to a business casual dress dinner) and received a number of compliments. I also don't feel awkward when appearing without a jacket on a day-to-day basis; I enjoy them, but if it's too warm and humid, I'll dispense with the jacket. I wear a tie when the mood strikes, but I'm more comfortable in the heat with the first button of my collar undone.

I wear an OCBD and plain front khaki trousers on a daily basis. They look good; I can meet with students and administrators informally dressed this way. I don't have to spend too much time considering what I'll wear in the morning; I own 14 OCBD shirts, one polo, a pair of loafers, a pair of slip on Sketcher's, and a pair of captoe oxfords. I rarely experience a moment of indecision when the available choices are light blue, French blue, white, ecru, and pink.
Let be on record as saying that:
1.) I like clothes
2.) But I don't spend a lot of time thinking about them
3.) I follow this forum because the members seem like sharp fellows and I can't stand the nattering about the latest fads and fashions found in the other forums (I get enough of that at work each day)

With that in mind, I think far too many people think way too hard about what they wear, and what attracts me to this trad idea (though I haven't a sack-suit in the closet) is not what people are wearing, but their attitude towards what they wear.

Wear what you like (as long as you don't look like an idiot) and wear it well.

Someone once said the best dressed men choose an outfit carefully, then put it on and forget all about it.

Well said, says I.
 

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I think a good portion of what is "trad" is mythology invented by members of this board.
Sorry, but that's just nuts.

I never even heard of a 3/2 sack until I came on this board.
And that means it was invented here? Give me a break.

"OCBD" is a term that I don't think existed before AAAC
And "EVOO" probably didn't exist before Rachael Ray. Nonetheless, Italian chefs have been cooking with it for a long time.
 

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I am interested in men's clothing, which, I suppose, is obvious since I post here. One aspect of men's clothing that does not interest me in the least is what is in fashion or what is likely to be in fashion. I am happy to leave fashionable garments and this season's hot color to the women.

I started buying tailored garments in the 1950's and if they still fit, I can only think of one suit that I have owned that I would not happily wear today. What we call Trad looks good to me, but one of it's beauties is that it continues to look good over the decades without the blessing of some designer.

Many of us who like Trad clothing might be interested in who the maker of our tailored clothing is, but we don't need no steekin' designers.

Yesterday I went to the optometrist to inquire about a new pair of single vision eyeglasses for computer use. I just wanted a sturdy pair of frames and there were certain design elements, but not many, that I wanted.

He showed me a number of frames that were $260.00 before the cost of lenses. Why so much? They all had some designers name on them. He finally showed me a pair of non-designer frames that looked good to me and were only $99.00 including lenses and that price difference is the effect that I think designers have on goods.

I do have one pair of glasses that I really like and that I have had for about 10 years that had a designer's name on the temple, but my optometrist at the time was able to remove the name with a little acetone before I bought them.

I hope you will excuse my rant, but increasing the price of goods because they have a designer's name on them is a pet peeve and happily not something we need with Trad clothing.
 

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I have many thoughts on this thread, first & foremost was whether or not I should even bother to reply. Bottom line for me, dress however you like, but if you want to dress Trad (or whatever you call it) there are some "rules" to follow.

Brian
 
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