Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Street Violinist

"I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water." ~ Ray Charles

Astounding what happens when music meets modern technology. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Summer Snapshot Contest Results

So much for a 10:00PM post. Sorry fellas, my internet has been down, but the results are in. Judged by two of my most trusted friends, the results of the Summer Snapshot Contest came down to a tie between Toad of To the Manner Born and Kionon of Kyoto Maiko. You'll each be receiving two madras ties and bonus ties of some sort. Please email your addresses to ckcshoppe@gmail.com so I may send out your prizes. Thanks to all who entered!

Here are the winning looks.

Toad in summer whites. Simple yet elegant with a crisp polo, shawl-collar jacket and seersucker pants.

Kionon looking casual yet refined in white shorts and a blazer. Nice touches with the grosgrain watch band, plaid belt and boat shoes.

Below, we see another classic look from Toad, next to the equally outstanding ADG of Maxminimus. And the ever-creative Kionon has overloaded with mad madras mayhem.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gone Cricketing

Two new cricket vests in the rotation.

After playing some club-level cricket in school, I've decided create a local team. 
It's no surprise that players have been hard to find, so I'll be scouring the baseball parks this spring for potential converts.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lovely Lavender and Groovy Green

 From the wild world of Tumblr.

Suede shoes. Emerald green cords. Lavender cardigan. Plaid jacket.
It's all great, but what really draws it together is that this guy had the sense to tone down the bold colors and pattern with a subtle shirt and tie combination.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wish List

 Perhaps more dandy than prep, but I like this blazer from Etro.

If you bust out something like this for the Summer Snapshot Contest, your chances are pretty good. 

Here are the details, again.

I've noticed a number of bloggers, myself included, have been whining about winter and singing the praises of summer for the past week or so. In the spirit of competition and madras madness, I'm launching the Summer Snapshot Contest. Submit a photo of yourself in your most fun, bold, summery outfit to ckcshoppe@gmail.com for a chance to win a set of vintage madras ties! Your photo does not have to be a new one, but it must be original. The winner will be chosen by committee, this Sunday at 10:00PM Eastern, so you have until 9:00PM to enter! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Summer Snapshot Contest

I've noticed a number of bloggers, myself included, have been whining about winter and singing the praises of summer for the past week or so. In the spirit of competition and madras madness, I'm launching the Summer Snapshot Contest. Submit a photo of yourself in your most fun, bold, summery outfit to ckcshoppe@gmail.com for a chance to win a set of vintage madras ties! Your photo does not have to be a new one, but it must be original. The winner will be chosen by committee, this Sunday at 10:00PM Eastern, so you have until 9:00PM to enter!

Some inspiration to get you started.

Basically Blue

Polo Ralph Lauren poplin shirt - $20
Crooks and Creed pin-dot tie - $1
Merona lightweight cotton sweater - $15
Vintage charcoal wool pant - $5
Club Room Argyle socks - $2
Bass Weejuns - $5

On blue... sort of:
"Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid." ~ Jules Feiffer

But I'm an artist who dislikes red, so my skies are cerise

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Casual Cricket Day

Polo Ralph Lauren pink oxford
Polo Ralph Lauren pima cotton cricket sweater
Polo Ralph Lauren silk tie
Vintage blue/green wool scarf

Not pictured:
Polo Ralph Lauren tan cords
Merona light blue ribbed socks
Cole Haan walnut penny loafers

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back in Black

It's not often I wear black, but it's nice to change things up once in awhile. Besides, there's never a bad time to break out the winter Fair Isle.

Polo Ralph Lauren lightweight flannel shirt - $20
Merona Fair Isle merino wool sweater - $12
Damon paisley silk tie - $1
Merona tartan cashmere scarf - $5

Not pictured:
Polo Ralph Lauren mallard green cords - $40
American Eagle marled cotton boot socks - $4
Eddie Bauer green shell duck boots - $1

"Knowledge is not a passion from without the mind, but an active exertion of the inward strength, vigor and power of the mind, displaying itself from within.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Laundry Day

Over the course of the week I've attempted to wear a different pattern each day. Through Friday, I've worn (from top to bottom) gingham, stripe, tattersall, plaid, and tartan. 

And yes, I realize tartans are plaids.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Messing Around

My apologies for the washed out photo above. I tried this shot five times and this was the best result. Anyway, I wanted to mix up some patterns and colors today. Without much thought, I left the house wearing this stuff... and 501's which aren't pictured.

I figured the Polo Black Watch tartan shirt to be muted enough that I could pair it with something bold. In comes a silk/cotton vest from Kenneth Roberts which I picked up for a few bucks on an Elder Beerman clearance rack, as well as a Polo tie I received from the ever-generous Mister Midwester. Atop all that is a cotton cardigan I recently picked up from the Merona line at Target. Once again, I strongly suggest checking out this stuff. Aside from thrifting, the bang-for-your-buck factor is unbeatable. Though I probably would've been better off with yellow or purple socks, I went for turquoise. Yep. Last up are my favorite black shoes, in fact, the only pair I ever really wear - Allen Edmonds silver-bit loafers.

I have no doubts that I managed to pull off this concoction, but it's certainly not my standard fare. What do you think? Decent or disaster? Creative or cluster****?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Today From eBay

There are two particular sweaters I've been wanting for awhile, two pieces I've been hoping to come across on eBay since spotting them at RalphLauren.com in the past few seasons. Today, I purchased both on eBay for $49.85.

Up first is this argyle sweater. I enjoy the vivid color combination of green and purple, which remains understated against a chocolate brown base tone. A great blend of cotton and cashmere, it will be perfect to wear throughout most of the year.
Next comes a special take on the classic cricket sweater. A cable knit has been substituted by intricate herringbone and the collar holds several rich colors, as opposed to the traditional two-tone take. I couldn't have been happier to discover this piece in the middle of winter, as I'll be getting immediate use of this wool and cashmere blend.

Please remember to visit the CKC Shoppe and use your 10% discount with code CKC10, which expires Friday.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Return of the CKC Shoppe

New opportunities in this new year have me feeling excited to work on the CKC Shoppe again. I'm looking forward to once again giving people the chance to score on the unbelievable thrift shop deals I come across. I'd like to thank each of you made a purchase last year, and I hope you're all still enjoying your goods! I've reopened the shop with sevel new pieces, and I'll be adding a great deal more in the near future.

All tie purchases in the USA will now include free shipping.

And to help kick things off, enter CKC10 at checkout for an extra 10% off your purchase!

Click here to check out the details on these seven beautiful ties. 

Purveyor of second-hand goods for first class gents.

The Suit and Saw

Nothing like bringing home that freshly chopped Christmas tree from the forest when you're wearing a suit. Good one, J. Crew.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Sort of Room

From the random world of Tumblr. 
I love the subdued green walls, nearly identical to the color in my bedroom.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Questions from the Audience - Ties

Visiting your posts, you seem to have established a pretty interesting tie collection. What do you look for in your ties?

There are a number of criteria which lead me to buy ties. Aside from my bow ties, almost every tie I own is second-hand, so I'll address how I go about making my selections amongst a thrift's cacophonous cravat collection.

1. Design - If the design doesn't appeal to you, move on. Otherwise, pick up the tie. Before anything else, make sure the tie is long enough, that you've not picked up a boys' tie or a tie so old its dimensions are outdated.

2. Cleanliness and Composition - A number of wonderful ties are donated due to stains, rips, fraying, and so on. Examine every inch of the tie with your eyes, but also feel it for any problems not easily noticed under bad lighting (I do this because every thrift shop in my town is very poorly lit). If you haven't already figured out the composition by touch, check the tags. Stick to natural materials - silk, linen, wool, cotton. A good silk will be quite smooth and have nice weight to it. If you're not satisfied with the tie at this point, keep looking.

3. Maker's Labels - You can tell a great deal about the quality of a tie before you reach this step. In fact, this step may be superfluous for the experienced thrifter. However, if you're just beginning to build your collection and are not sure what to look for, consider country of origin (which you probably noticed while checking composition). If the tie was manufactured in America, Italy, England or Scotland, you've likely come across a quality piece. The last thing worth noting is brand. Countless tie manufacturers have come and gone. Don't be surprised to enjoy a tie from a company with which you're not familiar. Also, don't submit to the notion that because a particular company's production quality has dropped, all its pieces are inferior. This holds true for not just ties, but all clothing and accessories. For example, I have a number of vintage Chaps Ralph Lauren ties on par with any of my Polo ties. I also own a great deal of vintage Gant ties that far outweigh the make of the company's current pieces.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Outerwear

Following up on my last post, here's an overview of my outerwear. Luckily, these pieces are all up on the Polo site, so I didn't have to raid my closets for photos.

(left) Polo cotton barracuda. Essential summer wear.
(right) Polo bi-swing windbreaker. Great on the golf course.

(left) Polo Stratford jacket. Just right on a rainy day with its hideaway hood.
(right) Polo Richmond quilted jacket. My go-to for cool weather camping, hiking, etc.

Polo Kempton car coat. The perfect balance of style, utility, comfort and warmth.

These all came from either eBay or clearance sales. The Kempton jacket alone runs over $500, but I paid just over $300 for all five.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Questions From the Audience - Outerwear

Not long ago, the Daily Prep covered the topic of preppy outerwear - Patagonia vs. the North Face. Given your anti-prep position, what's your take? 
First of all I'm certainly not anti-prep, I just don't enjoy the preppy fashion trend of the past year.

I'm not partial to either brand. At my high school, North Face jackets (black on black) were quite the prevalent status symbol for guys and girls. I never owned such a jacket and never will. I saw brands like Patagonia and Penfield neither in high school nor college. Locally, it seems those brands are relegated to year-round wearers of flannels and carpenter jeans. Lands' End, L. L. Bean, and Eddie Bauer also weren't popular through my schooling, personally or amongst my peers. Although, L. L. Bean boots and monogrammed backpacks have always been a preppy staple. Not to call it preppy either, I've noticed Columbia to be immensely popular across the board.


I don't find the use of Polar Fleece or any such techy material to be very preppy. Perhaps this is more a trad standpoint, based on neo-prep (another contrived term) oppositional convention to use newer materials. I feel nylon windbreakers or anoraks, even quilted nylon/polyester hunting jackets, even super-techy ski coats have a proper place of use among the most traditional of us. These modern synthetics provide weather protection unlike anything natural. However, I take issue when synthetic fibers needlessly fill the rolls of natural ones. Why wear Polar Fleece when wool, cashmere, angora, even camelhair are just fine?

If we can agree that preppy lifestyle revolves around tradition, sartorial sameness through generations, why ditch that J. Press Shaggy Dog when it will always outclass a North Face Denali?

As for my personal outerwear choices, I'll cover the topic with some photos in my next post.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Questions From the Audience - Basics

Where do you buy your basics, and what rules of style apply? Tees, socks, etc.?
I stick to solid tees at all times, which I wear only underneath other shirts. I've seen several blogs recommend packs of heather grey v-neck tees to wear under shirts. Why grey as opposed to black or white? Black absorbs heat, while white reflects light and may show through your overshirt. Grey keeps you cool while absorbing light. I have no problem with this choice, aside from the fact that those Hanes or Fruit of the Loom multi-packs are cheap for good reason. The shirts are quite flimsy and wear out quickly. I prefer v-neck tees from Club Room at Macy's. These run $9.99 but you can generally purchase them under $7. If you check Macys.com on a regular basis, you can load up during a sale at under $4 a piece. The tees are 100% cotton, very soft, quite durable through wear and washing. 

I appreciate more variety in my sock selection. Target's Merona brand puts out a wonderful selection of quality socks each season. You can pick up combo packs under $6.50 and individual pairs under $3. Club Room also offers excellent socks under $5 a pair. I find the two brands to be similar in overall quality and variety, and at almost any time you can find styles on clearance for practically nothing. Discount stores like Marshall's and T. J. Maxx offer designer selections between 30%-75% off original retail. I most often buy any Polo socks here, as well as boot socks and athletic socks. I just bought my first few pair of Woolrich boot socks at Marshall's, and I've found them to be very soft and thick but uncomfortably warm. I enjoy athletic socks from standard athleticwear brands such as Adidas and Puma.

Also, a Wish List item for the day.

Sperry olive suede brogues.

Please discuss.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Problems with Prep

Oh, when will the trend pass? YWP, I have a feeling you'll appreciate this. Feel free to repost!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Questions From the Audience - Shoes

I started thrifting recently but I'm yet to find any decent shoes. I'm good on my clothing brands but I'm not sure what to look for in old shoe brands. Any suggestions?
Premium British labels include Crockett & Jones, John Lobb, and Edward Green. Other top Euro brands include Ferragamo, Gucci, Mezlan, Bally and Bruno Magli. Allen Edmonds and Alden from any era are unbeatable. Vintage Cole Haan and Johnston & Murphy made in either the USA or Italy are very nice as well. Vintage Florsheim, Dexter, Bass, and Bostonian are solid, if made a few decades ago. With the exceptions of Allen Edmonds, Alden and a handful of other companies, many of America's legendary shoe makers have either closed or have exported production. In the latter case, prices have continued to rise while quality drops. If you can't find any shoes of great quality at your local thrift, be patient. If you're looking for something in particular, search eBay before ever considering buying at full retail.

In my time thrifting I've walked away from great finds without realizing it, only to do some research back at home to discover I missed something rare and valuable. Do your homework on company histories, logos, shoe production and leather types. You'll save lots of time in the long run and walk away with the best deals.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Questions From the Audience - Denim

Reader questions have been filling up the inbox lately. I'll take this week to address the most frequently regarded subjects. Today I'll be paraphrasing on a number of questions about jeans.

What do you find to be the most reliable brand/style of jean?
I most frequently wore Lee's in high school but found them to wear out quickly. I've tried several styles of Wrangler jeans over the years but none were cut comfortably. Levi's work quite well for me, especially the 559 relaxed-fit model in Tumbled Rigid. The straight-cut is timeless, and not so snug as to give that ridiculous neo-prep, shrunk-to-sh*t-in-the-dryer look. I also have some 501's but I don't wear them as often, as they're slightly heavier than I like. Overall, I feel Levi's to be constructed quite well in terms of design and durability. Also, Agave jeans are made very well for casual use but lack the toughness one might expect from Levi's. I wouldn't pay even half price, but I was glad to snag a pair at around eighty percent off last summer. The same goes for Polo jeans. Solid quality but a high price tag lead me to pick them up on clearance.

You seem to wear the same dark jeans in each post. What's your take on different washes?
I have a rotation of around ten jeans, all of similar dark washes. I find some lighter washes to be fine, just not for me. Darker washes go with far more and tend to wear better and longer, as they tend to have endured fewer chemical treatments. All of the fading, creasing, and fraying in my jeans occurred naturally. These jeans with embroidery, rips, holes, studs, and so on should be burned. I'm talking to you, Abercrombie *ssholes and Ed Hardy idiots.

What's the best wear to take care of jeans?
I wash my new jeans before ever wearing them. This removes extra dye which might otherwise rub off to your skin, other clothing, or even furniture. After that, there's little reason to wash your jeans with each use. However, concerning odor prevention, don't wear the same jeans two days in a row as they need time to air-out. Following every three or four wearings, turn your jeans inside out (for color retention) and throw them in the washer with only other jeans. Washing in cold water with Woolite Extra Dark Care has worked incredibly well for me. Dry on low heat for a full cycle. If your jeans are still damp, find and ideal place to let them air-dry. This is a good way to prevent shrinkage.

Any other questions or comments on denim? Let me hear them below.

Also, check out Ivy Inspired. This kid has classic style and taste, unlike countless Tumblr-teens out there.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lucky Colors

Actually, I don't believe in luck. I believe a man's fortune to be determined by wise decisions and a bit of chance. Every time I pair pink and green, I have success in the events of the day. This has proved true both in business and my personal life. I could go on about the psychology of color, something I've read far too much about in my studies of advertising, but somehow these colors just work for me. Perhaps it's the confidence I display while wearing these colors together? Perhaps it's the attention-grabbing combination, itself? 

I just know that red and blue are not and will never be my power colors, unlike a vast majority of badly suited businessmen. You should wear the clothes, the colors, with which you're comfortable, though it never hurts to step outside the realm of comfort to be bold and daring. It's a new year. Take a chance and challenge yourself to experiment with new colors and new, yet classic, pieces of clothing. The results might surprise you.

Also, get out there and hit the thrift shops!

Shirt - Polo semi-spread poplin
Tie - Lauren Ralph Lauren
Sweater - Polo pima cotton
Cardigan - Merona marled cotton
Jeans - Levi's tumbled rigid 559
Socks - Scott Nichol
Shoes - Bass Weejuns

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

So Far From Summer

It's the coldest night of the year and I couldn't be missing summer more. 
See you in a few months, madras and seersucker.