Wednesday, March 31, 2010


With the oncoming warm weather, I've been inspired to start writing poetry again. Can you guess the traditionally preppy sport about which I'm writing?


Like a heart
Slicing through
The crisp
Azure ripples
As tension builds
So effortlessly
With each precise
Yet so free stroke

Crashing with ease
Cutting with grace
Knowing the water
Sweat meets sea

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sporting My Style

It's always better to be overdressed than underdressed for an occasion. I certainly have more sport coats than I need at the moment, as I have few occasions to wear them outside of church. However, I'll likely be entering the job market in the next year and need to be prepared for any occasion. I'm among those to despise the relaxation of business attire across the country. Though I'll be entering a creative industry where dress standards have been down for years, I still plan to look my best in no less than sport coats and ties. I picked up these pieces on my last thrift excursion, each under seven dollars.

This lightweight wool jacket is versatile enough for year-round use.

This silk jacket has the wintry appeal of tweed with the weight of linen.

A camel hair jacket is a rare thrift find and essential luxury for cold weather.

Another lightweight wool, in an amazing light gray plaid, works throughout the year.

I'm calling this my challenge-jacket. Its light blue color, wide lapels and brass buttons are straight from the '70s, but I'll make it work with a switch to marbled-white-bone buttons and bold colors for the corresponding outfit to make this piece a spring and summer staple.

Suit yourself. Really, learn how to suit yourself.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tied Off

To make up for my lengthy post on sewing and such, I've posted the newest ties in my collection, purchased between last Saturday and today. I've had my various collections of toys and such over the years, but now - ties. Though moved on from the Transformers and sports cards of my childhood, I don't think I'll be moving on from these any time soon. The thrift shops here sell ties for no more than a dollar and after a long drought, I seem to be getting luckier with every stop-in.

My rules for tie shopping are as follows - no polyester, no stains, no rips. Some of the greatest designers had periods of polyester production, but there are always better pieces to be found in silk. Though I prefer to not buy stained or ripped ties, I don't mind wrinkles. Most wrinkled ties can be straightened if left hanging or, if necessary, slightly stretched and pressed in a heavy book.

The nautical tie on the left is one of my all-time favorites. The tie on the right is a brilliant paisley which, though without a label, I believe to be Paul Stuart.

Here are four by the brothers o' Brooks.

I finally came upon my first silk knit tie (on the left). The other three are wool and cotton.

Wear a tie. Wear it well.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Piece Precision

This is a reminder that thrifting is a practice of precision and patience. Be thorough in browsing the racks. When you find something you'd even think about buying, be sure to look over the garment for any holes and stains. Upon closer inspection, what seem like quality pieces usually aren't in such great condition. Chances are, that great cashmere sweater will be moth-pilfered or that button-front shirt will have a ripped seam. Though remember, if you (or your tailor) have the sewing skills, you may still have a diamond in the rough. Every wool or cashmere sweater I've thrifted has contained at least one hole yet still been worthy of purchase and quick repair. And while a tailor might be necessary for larger fixes, sewing is easier than most men realize and nothing of which to be ashamed.

Coming from a traditional Lebanese family, I grew up with distinct lines between the roles of men and women. However, like Italians, Lebanese men learn from early on about the value of clothing and how to build and care for a wardrobe. I've known how to sew since childhood, but here's my advice for those yet to take on the challenge.

Go to a place like Walmart and get a basic sewing kit for no more than $10 - a few needles and a rainbow of threads included. Don't worry about buying an overpriced booklet when a Google search is far more efficient. Before taking on your target piece, practice with an old tee or jeans. Get the hang of a few stitches and you're ready to go and salvage a great garment somebody else foolishly surrendered.

Save a cent. Self-sew.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saturday's Searches

Yes, I know. I have an incredible amount of Polo. However, it's usually the only quality brand I find at the thrifts. I took a weekend trip to visit friends and family, and of course I hit up all the thrift shops at my destination. After visiting four thrift shops, I found over fifty pieces by Polo and only eight by Brooks Brothers. I bought almost twenty items between the two. Truly everything else was of poor quality.

Good - essentially neutral wardrobe staples.

Better - a Brooks Brothers polo and three American-made Ralph polos.

Even better - two Easter-minded polos and pima cotton in the center.

Best - three long-sleeve polos and a cotton crewneck sweater in the center.

Best...est? - a cotton-linen vest, Black Watch button-down, and lambswool sweater

Look longingly. Search steadfastly.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pocket Piece

I'm on spring break this week so the next few posts will be heavy on photos, light on words. Here come the thrift finds.

Accessorized in acetate. Styled in silk.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Photo Shootout

This is my 25th post, and I'm surprised it's come so quickly. Instead of focusing on my achievements so far, I'm continuing with my advertising spread. However, I'm proud that today's photos truly capture my style. I hope you enjoy viewing the photos as much as I enjoyed putting the outfits together and shooting them. I'll reveal the final ad draft tomorrow. Thank you for your readership and support!

Dress for the occasion. But dress with timelessness.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Photo Shootout

Check out the last post for details. Here's part II of my Advertising shoot.

Control the throw. But let it flow.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Photo Shootout

Over the next few posts, I'll be displaying images from my mock Polo photo shoot. I'll explain. for my current advertising class, I'm required to construct a mock print campaign for a real product of a real company. I chose the Polo Ralph Lauren classic polo shirt, deciding to emphasize the shirt's timeless quality, durability and style. In the final post of the series, you'll see the initial ad I've put together.

Don't shoot the messenger. Shoot the copywriter.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Knit Wit

After two years of thrifting, I've come upon countless knit ties. Every single one has been neutral in color and made of either cotton or wool. With the resurgence of preppy style (or whatever you choose to call it), I've had the luck of picking up several striped knits by Chaps last summer. They feature thin stripes of orange/blue, red/blue, black/purple, respectively.

Stepping into Macy's last week I discovered a number of knit ties by Club Room. For those unfamiliar with the brand, they produce a full line of classic pieces at incredibly reasonable prices. These ties were $45, but 50% off as Club Room pieces usually are. I buy maybe five ties at retail price (on sale/clearance only) each year, and here are the first two.

I must admit, these are made of polyester (and are the only polyester ties I own), but they feel and look silky enough for me. Besides, these work with practically any look and I can't wait to try them out!

Wear yourself well. Carry yourself stylish.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Carrying the Banner

If you're around my age, you saw Newsies when you were young. If you're a parent, maybe you watched it with your kids. If you haven't seen it at all and enjoy classic, simple style at its finest then watch this movie! This Disney film came out in 1992 and for 18 years, it has been one of Disney's most unrecognized, underrated films.

Newsies has history - depicting the forgotten yet influencial New York newsboys strike of 1899 (Robert Duvall is great as Joseph Pullitzer). It discusses the essence of communication, advertising and public relations - my area of study. The musical scores, lyrics and choreography are excellent. But most importantly to this blog, the style is brilliant.

As you've seen, I love bold colors in my wardrobe and I love pattern mixing. Of course a movie about poor newsboys isn't filled with color, but these outfits are full of depth and elegance. If only all men held themselves to such standards today! Think about this. Until the past fifty years, most boys were brought up dressing in such sophisticated manner. These penniless, orphan newsboys could walk around New York City right now and be among the best dressed on the streets.

Notice the interesting lapel on the left and the excellent proportion of the vest on the right. The newsboy would make a fine addition to my collection.

The kid on the left makes me wish walking sticks were part of modern style. I would proudly wear the entire outfit of the next newsie over.

Here's another wonderful photo, just added thanks to Old Trad. The newspaper industry may be fading, but Newsies and its style are timeless.

Carry the banner. Live that gentlemanly manner.

Photos: courtesy of the Walt Disney Company

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Country Club Classic

Okay, so the heading might be misleading. I certainly don't have the money to join a country club, but I feel I carry the classic style reminiscent of one. I also must admit that I watched Caddyshack the night before coming up with this outfit and played tennis on this morning, so you might appreciate the interpretation. Spring is very near and the outfit reflects that as well.

In case it's not so clear, I'm wearing a vest, not a full sweater. Probably no surprise, the whole outfit is Polo. Not pictured are my navy chinos and go-to brown Aldens.

I love cable knit sweaters - hence the blog title. I also love cricket/tennis sweaters, especially those with contrast collars. This sweater in pima cotton is perfect for any season.

Though I feel it's not essential to match the tie to the sweater collar, the pairing ads understated sophistication. While I love button-down shirts, I again went for the more formal look with a semi-spread collar and made sure to wear a thick tie to fill the gap.

Thanks to both my new and old commenters for the support! How's the pattern mixing this time?

Strength in security. Stability in steadfastness.