Monday, February 28, 2011

Staying Grounded

Many of you have been e-mailing me, asking when I'd return to posting my own stuff. I've tried to balance my posts on style inspiration and the CKC Shoppe, but I certainly haven't been taking the time each day to photograph my own looks and write about them. Today I get back to my style with some of my favorite pieces.

I've started with a Polo tartan oxford, one of my favorite shirts to wear this time of year. With it I've matched a vintage Gant rep tie. The incredible menswear shops that used to exist in town all carried Gant in its heyday and I'm very fortunate to have discovered around fifty ties over the last three years.

The sweater vest comes from Lyle and Scott for Elder-Beerman/Bon-Ton. A decent pick up from the clearance racks. The cords are from Polo and the wingtips are Florsheim. I've had this pair for months but am just now getting around to wearing them. A thrift shop find at about one dollar, these now rank among my favorite and most comfortable shoes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brooks Spring Selections

Just a few of my favorite things.

Argyle. Shawl collars. Rugby stripes.

Nantucket Reds. Madras. Lobster and whale embroidery. 

Happy heat wave!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saint James Womenswear

While thrifting earlier this week, I came upon a very old sweater from a brand called Saint James. A classic hand-knit fisherman sweater is hard to pass up, but this thing was stained and full of moth holes. Though I didn't buy the sweater, the craftsmanship was evident so I decided to look into the brand. Here's an overview from the site.

The SAINT-JAMES Company has been established in Lower Normandy, in the commune of Saint-James, close to Mont Saint-Michel, since 1889.
Its fame is based upon a cult item of clothing "the genuine pure new knitted woolen Breton seaman's sweater". Originally intended for deep sea fishermen, then adopted by known seafarers, and amateur yachtsmen.
Its pure wool, pure cotton, "seashore" lines attract a large clientele on the coast, but also in the major cities of France, and equally throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, and Japan. 

Most of the menswear was pretty basic and the overall quality was questionable. Certainly not the brand it used to be. Like a French version of Nautica. However, in going through the entire spring/summer collection, I discovered some excellent womenswear photography. A bit eclectic, quite nautical, all very beautiful.

               Come sail away.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CKC Shoppe Spring Style

Instead of padding item prices with shipping costs, I've dropped prices greatly and set low shipping rates with opportunities for combined shipping so you can save even more! A free tie still comes with each item.

I've listed several pima sweaters as well as another Fair Isle sweater, discounted for the winter wind-down.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Remember This

I have several hundred ties, a couple hundred more than I need.  I've remedied this by starting to sell a bunch of pieces at the CKC Shoppe. However, now and then I'll find a few more great ties at thrift shops or on eBay. As I continue trying to edit down my wardrobe, I've added these four to the rotation. Up first is a Polo wool challis foulard, perfect for the season with a tweed sport coat and cords. Next is a cotton paisley, washed out for spring with a cotton blazer (madras perhaps) and worn-in oxford. After that is a gorgeous silk foulard, much brighter than it appears in the photo and great with just about anything. These first three came from from eBay, accompanied with tags and at only $8 a piece. Yet, the final tie is my favorite. Why?

It arrived last month as a graduation gift from Mister Midwester.  Already featured in my 101st post, I've worn it several more times with either my purple oxford or one of my purple sweaters. 

I have my particular style and love finding good deals for myself, but nothing means more than a gift. Something I've been thinking of lately in trying to find the perfect gift for my mother's birthday. With Valentine's Day coming up, it's important to remember all the special people in your life. Remember what they've done for you and all the things you can do for them, and carry those thoughts with you each and every day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Patchwork Madras Blazer

The rare and long-awaited, coveted, warm weather classic. Yes, I'd been wanting this thing pretty badly and it finally came today. I'll show it off personally at the first true sign of spring. But until then...

Make mine madras. Any suggestions for a first outfit?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

CKC Shoppe Sweaters

Just added several pieces to the CKC Shoppe. The discount code is available until Sunday, and you'll still receive a free tie with purchase.

Don't miss out on these wonderful Fair Isle and intarsia sweaters while you can save an extra 15%!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CKC Shoppe Restock

After a couple quick sales since yesterday, I've restocked the CKC Shoppe with eight new items! 15% off when you enter CKC15.

Christian Dior Foulard Tie.


 Envoy Silk Tie Collection.


 J. Crew Sailing Repp Tie.


Paisley Clip Suspenders.

Robert Talbott Diamond Paisley Tie.

Robert Talbott Wool Tie.

Wembley Indian Silk Tie Collection.

Wool/Silk Tie Collection.

CKC Shoppe Updates

Just in at the CKC Shoppe are these three new items! The previously listed items are still available, and I've upped the discount 15% when you enter CKC15 at checkout.

Email me here with questions and item requests. Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Response to Fit

In response to my last post, Dutch Uncle asked...

Is it really necessary for trousers to be at least one size too small in order to qualify as
ivy/prep/trad/WASP, whatever? 

While I'm not sure of the question's sincerity, this is my take on the general matter. I'm certainly not among those in favor "slim fit" or "custom fit" trousers and shirts. Those that reveal too much and show a couple inches of ankle without having to cuff or roll. I appreciate this return to well-fitted clothes after seeing trends of oversized, baggy clothing since the 1980's. However, I think this movement has gone too far in the direction of constricting or even skin-tight pieces. Personally speaking, I'm a big guy and I don't buy anything unless it fits well and fits comfortably. Part of the whole ivy/prep/etc. lifestyle is sartorial ease and comfort. Those who are following this new "trad" trend tend to look somewhat childish and not the least bit elegant. Look at photos from the Take Ivy book or one of the vintage-photo blogs out there. You won't see any "true prep" who had to hold his breath to squeeze into his trousers.

Don't try this at home. In fact, don't try this anywhere.

I try to avoid the cliche labels, but which do you usually go with? Trad, ivy, prep, WASP, etc?
As the term trad, though simply short for traditional, has been played out I tend to go with classic.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

CKC Wears the Preston Chino

The common factor in these shots is Polo's Sun-Faded Preston Cotton Chino. I'll explain the choice in a moment. As I've said many times before, the simplest looks can make the greatest statement. Here you have a neutral pant and two subtle colors. No pops of color necessary, just similar brightness to each garment. Besides, it's hard to go wrong with pink and green.

I need to get back to posting more of my own outfits, but there's little I'd change in these looks if I were to try them for myself. Again, a neutral pant and solid vest are combined with a muted check. Plain yet elegant, though I'd have gone with burnished golden brown shoes to contrast the dark pants.

I cannot put into words my disdain for the overuse of the hooded sweatshirt, the "hoodie," in American culture. People rarely wear simple sweatshirts anymore but love their completely oversized and graphic-filled fleece. A nice and stylish alternative for chilly winds is a french-rib model like this. In subdued colors up top, you can let other parts of your wardrobe make a statement. Case in point, these madras sneakers. I could also see this working with solid shoes and a madras belt instead.

Finally, my reason for featuring this collection of pants. Very recently I ordered one of my all-time wish list pieces - a patchwork madras blazer I'll be posting upon arrival. Now I've found the other summertime staple I've wanted as long as I've had this crazy love of prep/WASP/trad whatever style. Nantucket Reds. At least, as close to the original as I'll get. Polo calls this color Brick Red, but for me it brings to mind summer at the cape around saltwater-sprayed woods.

From dreaming of an early spring vacation and back to reality. These pants run $98, twice as much as I'll put up for almost anything. However, these just came in at my job and the employee discount really helped.

What's your quintessential (ugh...) preppy item and how do you wear it?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Before the Shoes

Here's a look at look at some of Polo's springy socks. When a tie or hat isn't quite appropriate, you can make a big statement with some colorful socks. I'm rather fond of the rugby stripes. Given the prices of similar styles, these aren't such a bad deal. Thanks to the new followers I've picked up this week!