Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


First time breaking out the patchwork madras this year.

Polo Ralph Lauren blazer, shirt and vest; Robert Talbott patchwork repp tie
Oak Hill tan linen trouser, Chaps white bucks (not pictured)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

River Island Socks

Just in from ASOS is this five-pack of River Island socks. At $17.40, shipping included, these socks are quite a bargain. A nice cotton-blend, these socks don't compare to those of Smart Turnout, but they're solid nonetheless. Though more styles are available through the ASOS site, you'll find a far greater variety at the River Island site (however, international shipping applies).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Colorful Cables

My aunt just opened her pool for the summer, so I've spent much of the past week poolside. Despite sweltering daytime temps, evenings have been dropping in the sixties, causing need for something more than a polo or towel to stay warm. While relaxing with a good book and mellow tunes, I break out a favorite cable knit. Colors this bright belong next to sand and surf (well, a suburban pool, anyway).

Side note: All five of these came from eBay in the past year, at around $20 a piece. You can't find Ralphie's cotton cable knits anywhere else these days.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bowling for Idiots sells some pretty interesting stuff, but I can't imagine who would buy this. 
I find several of these old, ugly, polyurethane bags each week at the thrifts for no more than five dollars, usually with ball included. What's more dumbfounding than somebody paying $46 for this bag is that it had a retail price of $111.11. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Phoenix Story: Part II

We had no choice but to start over. It made little sense to waste time thinking about what was lost. Unfortunately, in the days and weeks following the fire, it seemed that every moment was filled with talking to others about the experience and what was lost, not to mention filling out countless insurance forms that required listing every possession of value.


When you go think of every item in every inch of every room, you can't help but be angry. You think of what had monetary value for the sake of filing the insurance claims, then you think of the poems, photographs, paintings. My life's work was gone. I was left with memories but that didn't seem like enough. The whole occurrence didn't seem fair. A few months passed before I began to emotionally rebuild. During that time, we also debated whether it was better to rebuild the home from its framework, or start house hunting. After several months of searching for the perfect house, we found a home.

In time, I realized how the fire gave me a fresh start. I began to understand the importance of caring for each moment, something I still seemed to take for granted even after nearly losing my father to a heart attack and two strokes little more than a year before. At the time of the fire, I'd only just begun to visit thrift shops. My wardrobe was nothing compared to what it is now. I started to dress better, eat healthier, give to my friends and family more. With a new home, I gained a new outlook. I rededicated myself to my passion for arts and literature, to my education. I engaged in teaching church school and advising the church youth group.

Months after everything had seemingly been stolen from me, I was able to see all that was around me to cherish and enjoy. Sure, I've experienced numerous troubles and stumbles along the way, but I have a thirst for life like never before. From flames, from falling apart and falling down, I'm now stronger than ever.

Thank you.

~Scott Alexander

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Phoenix Story: Part I

I'm not talking about Arizona, nor am I talking about Jean Grey of the X-Men. So, moving on...

I'm talking about my personal story of rising from the ashes and starting anew. This is something I've never liked to share, but after three years and encouragement from my dearest friends to write about it, here we go. At 9:00pm on May 20, 2009, an electrical fire started above the ceiling in my bedroom. (I learned from the fire inspector this was the flash-point.)

My mother had called me while I was at a friend's house a few miles away, telling me to hurry home because she heard loud noises on the second floor. Fearing somebody had climbed a ladder to break in a back window, I raced home while my mother locked herself in the first-floor bathroom. A moment before reaching my street, not even five minutes after the initial phone call, Mom called again to tell me the house was on fire and that she and my dog had made it out safely. Pulling on to my street, I couldn't reach the driveway, as it was blocked by the first of many firetrucks that would arrive that night. After parking and running to the neighbor's yard to see my mother, I learned that the door had shut behind her and she didn't have a key to let the firefighters inside. I ran to my front door to unlock it before the firefighters tried to break through, something that would've taken precious minutes, as the antique door was made of three-inch-thick solid oak. I ran back to my mother, who by this time was surrounded by a few neighbors who happened to be walking down the road at that time.

The next four hours are a blur. Too often, people say they're in a state of shock. That night I felt a searing pain in my head and the rest of my body nearly shut down. I did all I could to act strong and keep my mother's spirits up while trying to avoid passing out. I remember very little, and the night plays out in my mind like simple photographs. At some point, a dear friend from down the street walked over. He stayed with us for hours just to attend to my dog. Mom called my aunt (her sister) to give her the news. She drove over to check on us then returned home to make room for us later that night. Though the fire was out within an hour, about 25 firefighters from five stations ended up working throughout the night to tend to the fire and its aftermath. Around 1:00am, I was allowed to enter my home with two firefighters for a very brief moment to gather possessions from the dining room and bathroom at the front of the house, the only two rooms not to have received fire or water damage. I scooped up some of my mother's things from the bathroom then managed to find a few pieces of clothing in the foyer closet. After this, the remaining firefighters left, and I left with my mother and my dog to stay at my aunt's house.

I still understand how I made it safely to her house. I remember shaking while holding the steering wheel, yet I don't remember a second of the drive there. I also don't remember passing out in the living room recliner, only waking up there the next morning with my mother near me on the sofa. I guess we were both too far gone to make it to the guest bedrooms. Within moments of waking, I had a complete breakdown. I couldn't breath, couldn't speak. I dug my hands into the recliner's arms with all my force as I realized, item by item, what was lost in the fire. It took my mother's yelling to startle me back into reality.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this. I'll share the rest of the story tomorrow, and I truly wish you get something out of it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wish List - Seed Watches

Going out on a limb to tell time... I might just have to branch out and buy this watch.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Today at the Thrift


Call it a brief, an attache, a portfolio... 

At a not-so-grand $1.99, 
I'm just glad to have it.

Though I'm a brown leather guy, already equipped with a Wilson briefcase and the J. Peterman mailbag, this thing will find its uses soon enough.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Manchester City F. C.

Though I'm a Liverpool fan, I'm happy to see Manchester City pull one out over Queens Park Rangers and win the Barclays Premier League. Congrats, fellas!

Maybe next year, Man. U.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The East End Yard Sale

Tomorrow marks one of my favorite events of the year. A bargain hunter's paradise, the East End Yard Sale covers Charleston's most beautiful and historic neighborhood. With sunny weather on the horizon, I'm expecting to come upon all sorts of unique antiques and terrific treasures from across several hundred homes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thirty-Two New

Thirty-two new ties from the thrift. 
These fourteen for me, another eighteen for you, soon to appear in the CKC Shoppe.

(top to bottom, left to right)
Robert Talbott, J.S. Blank
Breuer, Briar, Peter Blair
Countess Mara, Michael Reed, Robert Talbott, Countess Mara
Robert Talbott, Brooks Brothers, Cerruti, Keys & Lockwood, Damon

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Perfect Pairing

It's not often I love an entire look. Browsing the blogosphere each day, I find plenty of inspiration in individual items I'd wear. However, I rarely come across an outfit and say, "I want that!" This is that rare exception, an example of a look with which I identify completely, a look from which I wouldn't change a thing.

I don't know this gentleman and I'm not familiar with the photographer, Rose Callahan. I pulled this image from Tumblr because not only do I enjoy the outfit, I truly appreciate the casual confidence required to pull it off. Take away the incredible blazer and you still have a guy with a simple, clean look and the nice touch of a collar pin. The tie falls to the proper spot, the trousers aren't neo-prep skinny, and the hat is an absolute classic. So, it's the combination of this simple base and the plaid on top that make me want this look for myself.

So much of pulling off an outfit is carrying yourself with confidence and panache. You think fellas at the Kentucky Derby, wearing pants in every color of the rainbow, give a damn what anyone else thinks about those pants on Derby day or otherwise? You think the gent above cares what you have to say about his blazer being too loud? Too bright?


As I said, I'd gladly wear this setup, piece by piece. But, without that jacket, I'll be turning to my supply of madras. After all, isn't that the root of style - taking something you see and making it your own. We'll see how it goes, tomorrow.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

For All Seasons

This is a favorite outfit of mine, from an old Ralph Lauren runway show. I've had this image saved for awhile so I don't remember whether this is a spring/summer or fall/winter look, and the blurriness doesn't help. However, I'm rather glad about that - it speaks to the functionality of color and pattern rather than fabric. Too often we limit ourselves to bright colors for warm weather, dull colors in the cold. I say that anything goes, anytime.

Were this a spring/summer look, the tie would likely be made of silk or cotton, the blazer of silk/linen, and the trouser of lightweight cotton twill.

For fall/winter, the tie and jacket would certainly be heavy wools, with the trouser composed of corduroy.

With the weather warmed up a bit, it's time to utilize madras and such, but you shouldn't have hesitation in going bright and bold now when such opportunity is yours all year. This is the perfect time to stock up on off-season sales of corduroys and tartans. So, get to shopping now and you'll be ready to move straight into lavish lavender lambswool and cozy cranberry cashmere.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Could Be Worse

When you enjoy the beautiful flowers, the weather that's just-right, and the unbeatable thrift shop finds of spring, it's hard to let anything get you down. So I'm not feeling too down, really, considering that in the past twenty-four hours someone in another state stole my credit card number and I spent fourteen hours waiting for a service visit from the phone company.

However, it could be worse. My bank's Fraud Security called me and took care of the credit card situation immediately. I'm just grateful I wasn't mugged and had someone get my card number that way. Also, being stuck at home while waiting for the phone company gave me the opportunity to garden, to read on my deck and enjoy the birds, and to prepare some items for the CKC Shoppe for you wonderful readers.

Like I said, things could always be worse. Take the coming day to be as optimistic as ever, thanking your family and friends for the joy they bring to your life.

~Scott Alexander

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Melodious Madras

Another $20 down. Another three ties to the rotation.
Older Polo, Brooks and Polo Indian bleeding madras. The real stuff. 

May = madras season.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Casualization of an American Man's Clothing

To some people, dressing down means wearing a polo and chinos, as opposed to the usual office-only suit. To others, sadly, dressing up means wearing a polo and chinos, with a suit or even a sport coat out of the question.

I'm not much of a suit guy - I own five - but thanks to my bargain-hunting efforts, I own around forty sport coats. To me, wearing a tuxedo is dressing up; wearing a sport coat is simply dressing well.

On three occasions whilst running errands today, I was asked in one way or another, "Why are you so dressed up?" I could only affirm that this is how I often dress. The casualization of the American man's wardrobe, something that seems to be be very slowly reversing, is just absurd.

Shouldn't the guy in camo cargo shorts and an embroidered muscle tee be the person in question? (Yes, that guy was standing behind me at Target checkout.) I realize I'm not spot-on with every outfit, but I'll proudly hold my style against that of the Affliction-afflicted, Tapout-tapping, Abercrombie-abominating masses.

I'm all for artistic freedom, the freedom of sartorial expression and such, but I believe a certain level of respect should be upheld when out in public. I dress in such a manner as to look well for myself, while respecting my surroundings (both people and places).

To succumb to a routine of dress which doesn't at least attempt to best display one's attributes is an injustice to oneself.  I don't expect anyone to change who doesn't want to change. But you see, that's the problem - the lack of effort to wear something appropriate, to wear something that fits, even to wear something clean.

What passes for proper is preposterous.

Michael Kors gingham blazer, Polo shirt and pima sweater, Breuer tie, Oak Hill linen trouser, Club Room socks and Bally loafers.

A little effort, fellas.