Monday, January 31, 2011

101 Trad-Nations: My Style

101 Trad-Nations. 101 Dalmatians. The occasion of my 101st post wouldn't be complete without such a contrived title. The rest, however, is of total sincerity. A year ago, I couldn't have imagined how many people, from just over 101 nations, would be reading my ramblings. Through this blog and all those that inspire me I've grown greatly in my writings, my style, my sensibilities. Several of you have been immensely supportive and for that I'm ever grateful. Aaron, David, Giuseppe, James, Spoozy. Thanks, gents.

Thanks to my Purple and Yellow Panache post, Mister Midwester was quite thoughtful and generous to send me this beautiful Polo tie. Here's how I matched it up, keeping in mind all the things that make compose my personal style.

Starting from the top, literally, is a wool/cotton glen plaid fedora from Target. Usually I go for driving caps, but this was a great deal for around $3. I always try to take my style one step further with a nice hat, pocket square or bold socks. I think the key to not overdoing it is sensibly building up the look for yourself, not simply to show off to others.

The shirt here's a standard Polo white broadcloth. Sure, I have a love for Polo and I get some criticism for it. Here's how I see it. Ralph Lauren had to start somewhere, and for a number of years his pieces were made in America (and a few still are). But even Brooks Brothers is producing overseas to stay competitive. Polo's been around over forty years, as much an innovator and cornerstone of American style as Brooks in a quarter of the time. The fit of clothing is far more important than brand, and with Polo I find a perfect fit in most pieces and incredible quality. I'd love to see a resurgence in American garment manufacturing jobs, but I'm not willing to pay crazy prices for what's out there now. I cherish thrift shopping for the quality American goods I occasionally discover, but I can't limit myself because of the thought that my quintessential Americana clothing was made in a communist country.

Granted, the tie isn't too prominent but it certainly inspired today's outfit. This tan cotton blazer comes from my store's 626 Blue line. Its herringbone pattern adds nice texture to the look. This light purple cotton sweater was yet another amazing find recently acquired from Target's Merona line. In just a year or so of shopping Merona products, I've picked up numerous lightweight v-neck sweaters like the one pictured, basic tees, brilliantly colorful socks of patterns and stripes, driving caps, and luxurious cashmere scarves. Remember, fit and quality should be present before worrying about labels. I've written several posts featuring my Merona pieces at work, and in an upcoming post I'll show you another brand making very nice, affordable goods worth checking out.

Polo olive corduroy pants and brown suede oxfords. When I purchased these shoes a couple months ago for a grand total of one dollar, the labels had already been rubbed away but the craftsmanship was evident. I'm now getting use of these at every opportunity, and there's plenty of life left in them. Always realize the potential in a frayed oxford shirt, a sport coat that might be just a size off before a little tailoring or in this case, beat up shoes that just need a good brushing.

One last thought on building style, something I've noticed in cleaning out my closet and putting this outfit together. Green and purple are often underused yet go with just about anything. Most everything I own divides into greens and blues, purples and pinks, oranges and yellows. I wear almost no red, black, brown or gray. My point is to utilize all aspects of color, texture and pattern in your current wardrobe and all you'll ever buy.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

CKC Shoppe New Lineup

Three new tie collections have been added to the CKC Shoppe and will be on sale for a very limited time. Remember that each purchase will include a free, bonus tie! More bonus pieces to come if you post your purchased items in use on your blog! Questions or requests? Email me here.

Silver Tie Collection (including Paul Stuart tie valued $130)

Valentine Tie Collection - Only $4 a piece!

Polo and Brooks Brothers Collection - only $6 a piece!

Robert Talbott Tie Collection - only $10 a piece!

Brooks Brothers Tie Collection - only $4 a piece!

For what it's worth, I'm now PayPal certified. Thanks for stopping by! More normal posts to follow.

Official PayPal Seal

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Magic (Bargains) of Macy's

I'd much rather find a deal at a thrift shop or on eBay than pay full price for anything. Fortunately, there are great deals to be had every once in awhile at retail shops. Stopping by Macy's yesterday I discovered a number of pieces up to 80% off. I'll be showing off most of these in upcoming posts.


One can never have enough basic polos...

Okay, well I probably have far too many.

I have plenty of pima cotton sweaters, but vests have been harder to come by. Quite happy to have discovered these.

I've also been on the hunt for another warm, durable flannel. Check.

Super soft striped oxfords? I'll take two.

 I'll be getting great use of these when the temperature rises.

White broadcloth should be at the heart of a shirting rotation. A nice tattersall notches it up.

Though it might seem like a flannel, this shirt is a lightweight broadcloth with a nice spread collar.

For some time I'd been wanting a pink and navy striped rugby for chilly spring and summer days. This one comes with a rugged oxford collar.

Eleven items for under $300. Full retail would be over $1000. Not my standard savings, but at an average of 70% off, I don't mind paying out for totally new pieces that are guaranteed to last for years.

What's been your best retail deal?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CKC Shoppe Two New Collections

An additional update for Tuesday: I've lowered the prices on all items! 

Two sales in two days and I couldn't be happier. I've already made two new sets of ties available. Feel free to check them out here at the CKC Shoppe. Remember, the first five purchases will earn bonus pieces!

Brooks Brothers Tie Collection.

Silver Tie Collection (including Paul Stuart Tie).

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Shoppe is Open for Business

The Cable Knit Collegian Shoppe is officially open! Click on this link or on the image in the upper right of the screen to check it out. I've started off with a number of classic ties, and there's far more to come. Let me know what you'd like to see in the shoppe - ties, shirts, sport coats, etc. I promise to offer reasonable prices on every vintage item, in hope that my amazing finds can be yours.

I'll include a bonus tie for each of the first items sold. Inspired by Mister Midwester's Style Share, all purchases followed up with a blog post or email picturing the item in use will receive more free pieces on future orders. Let's call it a... blogging brotherhood rewards system?

Wool Tie Collection.

Liberty of London Collection.

 Paul Stuart Tie.

Harrods Repp Tie.

Hart Schaffner Marx Collection.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ralph Lauren Bedding

Not only do I turn to Ralph Lauren for many of my menswear selections, I buy Ralph's bedding pieces as well. Mine, however, come from places like Home Goods or Marshall's. On a weekly basis, I seem to find anything from pillowcases to comforters around 75% off. Like with any good wardrobe, mixing and matching is essential to finding the right ensemble. Here are a couple pieces in my rotation, currently in use.

"Channeling the majestic elegance of a hand-woven Persian rug, our Poet’s Society bedding makes a grand statement with an intricate, sweeping floral pattern. Duvet, shams and comforter are trimmed in decorative navy cord and feature an engineered printed front and slightly textured back. Duvet and sham feature a button closure."

I found the duvet, regularly priced $400 for only $40 at Marshall's a couple months ago. I suppose it was marked down so far because the original packaging was missing. This is so warm I haven't needed to insert a comforter. Best bedding find ever

Currently underneath the duvet I have a Millbrook foulard flat sheet (couldn't find an image) and this Bedford Hunt tattersall fitted sheet. Along with matching pillowcases of each sheet, the light tones play off the bold patterns of the duvet. All 75% off at Home Goods.

Of course, my winter bedding isn't complete without a little Black Watch. Though the graphic on the pillow is simply annoying, I don't really notice it any more. What's important is the way the tartan's colors add to the atmosphere of the overall collection. I purchased several of these from Ralph Lauren Online at 70% off during a White Sale.

I realize the combination of styles might seem like a bit much, but it works. What better a place to feel at home than one's bedroom? Did I mention my Club Room Green (yes, that's the paint name) walls, Persian rugs, and antique pictures? I must have been very British in a past life.

How do you carry your wardrobe's style into your bedroom?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pierrepont Hicks Revisit

Last month I wrote of a great deal from Gilt Groupe. With a $30 coupon I picked up this $85 Pierrepont Hicks bow tie for $15.95 total.

First time I've seen any tie with a blend of silk, wool and linen.

So now that I have a working camera, I thought I'd show off my favorite new bow tie. A subtle use of red, green, navy, orange, brown and tan make this piece work this just about anything.

This time I've matched it with a fine gauge cotton sweater from Target's Merona line and a Polo tartan oxford. With these I sported Polo golden brown cords, Merona brown/tan rugby socks, and Polo tan driving mocs.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another Flash of Spring

My thanks to the Eccentric Orange Gentleman and Mike of Inner City Style for following! I'm getting a few hundred views a day from across the globe, but I'd love to get more great feedback from everyone! I'll be sure to return the favor when my online store opens in the next week.

A couple days of warm weather have come recently. Of course another six inches of snow will be falling by Thursday, but until then I'm feeling some spring inspiration in these early season items by Polo.

The switch from dark tartans to bright plaids is long awaited.

I'll likely pick up each of these when the first Spring sale arrives.

But until then...

Let it snow!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inspirational Ladies

I love mixing old, traditional pieces with updated, unexpected ones. Also, I appreciate the amazing styles women pull off that never really get featured on blogs like mine. Here are three looks from the archives that truly inspire. And speaking of which, be sure to check out Fashion Steele NYC, one of my new favorite bloggers with incredible taste and creativity in style. These photos aren't from Monroe, but I'll be featuring her in an upcoming post.

Each look has a touch of menswear inspiration I can appreciate. First up is this tan blazer.

The second look features a waistcoat and brogue heels.

Lastly, a leather travel bag that I'd actually love to have.

Which look might inspire your own style? And remember, check out Monroe's blog!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

C.K.C. Suggests L.L. Bean

I don't shop L.L. Bean too often, but lately I've come upon this excellent, very reasonably priced set of flannel shirts. Where I live, the temperature drops often enough to need a couple durable flannel shirts. These run $29.50 and are composed of premium Portuguese brushed cotton flannel. The cloth is yarn-dyed and roomy enough for extra layering. On top of all that, they're sold in four of my favorite tartans.

Royal Stewart. Bright and Bold.

Dress Thomson. Less seen, just as bold.

Dress Gordon. Always a classic.

Black Watch. My favorite, of course.

What's yours? And what's your favorite L.L. Bean piece?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Style Share and eBaffled Continued

Thanks to Mister Midwester's December Style Share, I've been blessed with two more great ties for my collection. My new camera has already stopped working but I'm tired of waiting to do this post. I've already tried out these Lands' End ties a couple times, and they're on par with my favorite Polo and Brooks pieces. Please check out Mister Midwester's latest posts featuring Style Share images from David at the Natural Aristocrat and Spoozy at Kleidsam.

My new eBay acquisition is this Polo sweater featuring thick cable knitting, a shawl collar, and a perfect blend of cotton, linen and silk.

It's crazy how well these colors match up. I started off the day with my olive tie and cords. After work I switched into my red tie and cords for the evening. I paired these with my madras driver's cap (with hints of olive and red), green/white striped oxford, shawl sweater and shearling boots.