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Trad and Effort

19125 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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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"...
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.
You make a good point Porter. I guess I get sucked into some delusions about "the way it were" from reading these boards. I have no actual basis for comparison as to what East Coasties wore inthe '50s other than here-say (both pre- and post-AAAC/T). I do know that my granfather went to Penn Law around 1950 and he dresses quite trad by the definitions of this board (not spot on bu damn close); the pictures I've seen from him through the years indicate that he and his friends maintained this style as well. He's actually a perfect example of someone who seems to nail it everytime - almost as if by accident.
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