Saturday, January 30, 2010

All for eBay

Though some would dispute the validity of eBay as a thrift source and therefore stay away from it, I find it an excellent place for the items I can never otherwise attain.

These are my eBay rules. I'll only buy from a reputable seller who verifies item authenticity, and I'll only by an item listed at least seventy-five percent off of retail price (including shipping). Otherwise, I might as well stick to shopping only clearance sales. Like with thrifting, patience is key. The best items are worth waiting for to find at incredibly reasonable prices.

This one day winning haul saved me over a thousand dollars, getting all nine pieces for just over the price of one. Again, eBay's not so bad.

Shirts: button-down Polo ($90.00/6)

Sweater: silk Polo ($13.00)
Sweater: silk Polo ($10.00)
Sweater: pima cotton Polo ($21.00)

Grand Total: $124.00

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Bow Tie in Every Home, Around Every Neck

In my two years of thrifting, I've become quite a collector of classic ties. If nothing else, I can walk out of a thrift shop with a couple of great ties. However, I've found only five bow ties in this time and none of them completely fit my style. For Christmas, I decided to treat myself to the cotton Brooks tie pictured below, as well as one with pink/white stripes.

While these two are great, I've more recently discovered the Cordial Churchman. I'll soon be placing my first order for these incredible, hand-made bow ties. Selections range from silk to cotton to wool in fabric, and from butterfly to straight to diamond point in shape. Also, custom orders may be placed for special styles and sizes. Aside from a great and ever-changing collection, each piece is a remarkable $23.00! Check it out and show your support!

Also, please support Ellie LaVeer Stager, the creater of these amazing ties who has her own blog!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter at Bay for a Second Day

Another sunny day brought about any brightly dressed day. I utilized two of my most recent eBay finds, which I'll be discussing in my upcoming posts. Today marked only the fourth time I've worn a bow tie out and about since my early youth, when my parents dressed me the way I prefer to dress now.

The classics never go out of style. Then again, style never goes out of style.

Hat: Merona ($5.49)
Shirt: Polo ($12.00)
Sweater: silk Polo ($10.00)
Bow Tie: cotton Brooks Brothers ($22.50)

Grand Total: $49.99

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sunny Spring Day During Mid Winter Morn

Today has been the first truly sunny day in some time. While I love the snow and cozy appeal of a hot fireplace, I despise the unceasing clouds, wind and gloom that come each winter. But, as the sunshine brightened my room this morning, it also brightened my mood and wardrobe. This springy day also gave me enough courage to sport my new pocket square as an almost-ascot.

Hat: Merona ($5.49)
Pocket Square (as ascot): Japanese silk, hand-rolled ($0.25)
Shirt: green/pink stripe Polo ($17.25)
Sweater: pima cotton Polo ($12.65)

Trousers: twill jean Polo ($29.99)
Shoes: Bass Weejuns ($2.99)

Grand Total: $68.62

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Few Reliables and a Few Surprises

I had some extra time before class today to hit the two big thrift shops in town. They're usually good for a couple ties and polos, as seen below. However, today I was excited to find two red/navy striped bow ties. Given the rarity of finding a bow tie around here, I couldn't resist. These seem to be at least thirty years old, but what I'm more struck by is how narrow these things are - less than an inch wide. After looking at photo archives I can't find a single bow tie quite like these. Any ideas on the era? I've always preferred butterfly style, but I can't wait to try these out!

Average find...
Shirt: l/s Polo ($2.99)
Shirt: s/s Polo ($2.69)

Good find...
Sweater: lambswool Polo ($2.00)

Great find...
Pocket Square: Japanese silk, hand-rolled ($0.25)
Pocket Square: Japanese silk, hand-rolled ($0.25)

Simply Surprising find...
Tie: New England Collection ($1.00)
Tie: Churchill Collection ($1.00)
Bow Tie: London Beau ($1.00)
Bow Tie: London Beau ($1.00)

Grand Total: $12.18

Monday, January 25, 2010

What is Style

"I'm not a fashion person. I'm anti-fashion. I don't like to be part of that world. It's too transient. I have never been influenced by it. I'm interested in longevity, timelessness, style - not fashion." - Ralph Lauren

It's always more important to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. Last Saturday I attended my cousin's engagement party. The invitation contained no dress requirements, but of course I wasn't expecting a casual affair. The invite did, however, mention dancing and an evening start time.

My point is this. Style isn't about simply looking good. Style is about feeling good while looking good. Engagement parties can be awkward enough when you're among the next in line to get married. Functionality in one's wardrobe will always allow personality to take the forefront over the look of one's outfit. Therefore, I came to the party in very comfortable yet stylish brogues and a pima cotton sweater, instead of a merino wool one.

The shots will get better - more clothing, less me. The whole look cost under $100. Thanks to thrift shops and taste among other things, style is never about money.

Shirt: Polo ($15.50)
Tie: Briar ($1.00)
Sweater: Express ($19.50)

Trousers: Polo ($44.99)
Socks: Merona ($5.00/3)
Shoes: Allen Edmonds ($2.99)

Grand Total: $85.65

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back to the Routine

Thanks for the great feedback from my first post! I'm hoping to have photos up soon, but I'm still working out details of my new camera. School started again Monday and life will only get more busy.

In my thrifting travels this week, I found a red Ralphie polo ($2.69) and a blue/yellow striped Lacoste polo ($2.69). I recognize that Rene Lacoste modernized the true polo shirt as a tennis shirt and that Ralph made the garment the icon it is today. However, when it comes to classic style, I see any Polo piece as far more traditional than the modernized Lacoste lines.

Aside from the polos, I came upon a brown/gray two-button Brigadier suit ($5.00). The pants are a little snug for now, but the coat looks great. I also found a totally new navy three-button jacket by Loriano ($5.49). I've never heard of the brand and I generally hate a three-button stance, but the silk weave is beautiful and reminiscent of corduroy. Actually, I wore it yesterday with my navy Polo cords and several people thought I had on a suit.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Welcome, from the Cable Knit Collegian

Welcome to the Cable Knit Collegian! Before any further introductions, I'd like to thank An Affordable Wardrobe, Maxminimus and The Natural Aristocrat, above all, for inspiring me to finally extend my thoughts beyond the constraints of blog comments. Many things have led me to this point. I hope to inspire anyone who reads this blog to think deeper, dress more creatively, and simply enjoy the little things in life.

I recently turned 22. Not even two years ago, I was not much more than the standard collegian in terms of style credentials and confidence. I wore American Eagle and Abercrombie. Those were the big two for me, before Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers came to the forefront of all my sartorial choices.

Growing up, I followed all the fashion trends a boy could pursue. I had my years in loose shirts and jeans, , band tees and black chinos (of course at the time, I had no idea what chinos were), and even Hawaiian shirts and cargo shorts (though never with hippie sandals). Not until my junior year of high school did things start to turn around. The son of a single, school-teaching mother, I felt I never had the money to even concern myself with true style. My many rich friends started dressing like their fathers, wearing Ralph and Lacoste polos on a daily basis with chinos and boat shoes. I did my best to compete, picking up my things from Walmart and such. I lost weight at the start of college and saved up the extra cash to start buying from the likes of American Eagle to fit in even more.

Coming home the summer after my freshman year, I went thrifting for the first time on a whim. I recall going to yard sales, flea markets and antique shops with my parents when I was a young boy. Going thrifting brought back the memories of those times and allowed me to reminisce on my own past, while giving me the ability to build a future from other people's old memories and things given up. I began finding Polo and Brooks galore. A world that had long been closed to me opened up and my venture into true style emerged.

So over the past two years, I've learned to appreciate the past more than ever. I've come to realize what being an adult is all about. I've certainly learned, and will continue to learn how to best dress myself in the classic style we should all aspire to capture.

Scott Alexander