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.



  1. Congrats on making past 100 posts! That's a big milestone for any blog of good quality. After seeing Spoozy's multiple takes on purple, and your pairing with purple and olive makes me want more purple haha. The color combo is very complimentary and works well together.

    You of course know I second you on the Polo RL bit, knowing I can scour the thrift store racks and find anything Polo, see the size and know exactly how it will fit cannot be shrugged off either because of country of origin or it's mainstream appeal. To the naysayers of the first order, buying foreign made goods second hand has no impact on our trade, it has already been purchased new and the damage has been done. In fact, purchasing from a thrift shop is usually good regardless since there is usually a charity that benefits from said shop. To naysayers of the second order I say it's all in how you wear it. You won't see me wearing the big pony polos or anything with his name plastered all over it, but you will see me wearing his goods tastefully and stylishly in a manner where you may not know who made it.

    Eventually we'll get through to these people haha!

    I also force myself to use different colors and styles, they may clash sometimes but more often than not I come away with great new pairings I may not have done traditionally.

    Perhaps we should all do a once weekly challenge to come up with new outfits from our existing wardrobes.

  2. Thanks for the incredible feedback. I'll admit, I have a couple old pieces with the Dual Match logo or some random crests, but I just wear them around the house or for sports now.

    Since writing this post, I've challenged myself the past two days to wear some red, black and gray together. I'll be sure to post on it soon. While I suppose the outfits might have turned out well, I still didn't feel comfortable in those colors. Oh well.