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Trad and Effort

19128 Views 118 Replies 37 Participants Last post by  heimskringla
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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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 just read Topsider's post above mine and I agree with all of his comments.

Before I came to Andy's I might not have known I dressed in a Trad style, but both I and the shop where I buy tailored clothing knew I dressed in a Traditional style. Same thing I think - just a handy abbreviation.

3/2 sacks have been around for decades.

OCBD is another handy abbreviation and I have no idea about it origin, but the garment with a box pleat predates me and I have been around a pretty long time.
I was a 1950 wearer of what we now call Trad (I think) and at the time I did not know there was such a thing as a darted jacket - perhaps I was just not very observant.

I graduated from UCLA which is probably as far from an Ivy League school as one can be.
I've seen these ads, and understand what you're saying. I think you're responding to a slightly different point than the one I was trying (perhaps poorly) to get at. I say that what is "trad" has been totally mythologized by AAAC. What people wear now and call "trad" (needlepoint belts, grosgrain watchbands w/ Timex, pink oxford shirts, Alden 405s) has nothing to do with the look in those ads. Indeed, I suspect a pink OCBD would be as foreign to those guys in the 1950s-60s as pleated pants a and a darted suit.

Let be be finale of seem.
Of the items and during the time period that you mention, I remember wearing the watch bands and pink OCBD shirts. The shirts also were avaible in ecru and, of course, blue. I don't remember about yellow. I bought a lot of my shirts from Lew Ritter's in Westwood Village, CA. They would send the shirts to a shirtmaker in Beverly Hills to be tapered for an additional charge of either $1.50 or $1.75.

In the 60's I bould one white OCBD from BB, but did not care for it as it was huge and I was thinner and they charged $1.00 extra for a pocket.

If I had a Timex, it would have been only because it was a cheap watch and not because of any status that brand had. I mostly wore a Hamilton which I still have, but don't wear much anymore.

I did not know a lot about shoes, but did have some A-E shoes because they were sold by Mark's Boot Shop in Westwood Village. I expect there were a number of good shoes made in this country during that time period.
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Although I typically disagree with PrterSq, I can see where he is coming from. For example, where did the obsession with pocket squares on this board come from? I could be wrong, but I don't think kids in the 50/60s carried anything but a white hankie - and they certainly certainly didn't go to great lengths to display it from their breast pocket. Maybe AP can cite an ad/article that says otherwise.
I started buying Trad suits in the mid 50s and as I recall did not wear pocket squares until some time in the 70s for whatever that is worth. I don't think many others wore them much before the 70s either, but I could be wrong.
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