Friday, August 31, 2012

Good One, Ralph

Nothing says badass biker like a knockoff Harley logo and spikes that will most certainly jab your back as well as the crotch of anyone riding with you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Personal Paisley Perfection

I have a very specific, personal rule when it comes to buying ties - don't ever buy new ties.

However, there are two even more specific exceptions to this rule. Countess Mara bow ties are fine, as they're a great value and decent bow ties are hard to come by on eBay and in thrift shops. And, if I'm to buy a regular necktie, it has to feature an incredible design. This is not to say I'll go out and buy a polyester piece of junk because it looks great, because there's no exception and no excuse for buying synthetic materials. I have to be really wowed by a tie's pattern (though construction is still important), and this happens maybe four times a year.

I discovered this Chaps tie at Kohl's recently, on sale for approximately $19. Though reminiscent of some Ralph Lauren Purple Label designs of recent years, I'd never seen anything quite like this. With only one of these ties on the rack, I took the plunge and came away with this tie for $16 (after coupon). Easily the loudest tie I own, I'm very proud of my purchase. What do you think of it?

All this makes me think of what it means to be stylish. Sure, we often feel compelled to spend more on nicer brands to feel stylish. Yet, style begins with fit, with suitable colors and patterns for the proper occasion. Does my new tie look expensive? Maybe. Does it matter? What matters is that I pair it with a well-fitting shirt, trouser and shoe, and I'll be more stylish than the guy who buys an oversized (insert flashy designer name here) suit just because he can.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Astounding Amaretto

I have several pair of boat shoes from brands such as Ralph Lauren (the premium shoe line, not Polo), L.L. Bean, Sebago and Sperry. While each of these companies produces quality shoes, nobody makes boat shoes like Sperry. The classic Top-Sider has been in my rotation for years. When my sole ripped and the time came to pick up a new pair, I scoured shoe sites for the best deal and found nothing under $55. I had decided to give up my search until December, when even the classic model is relatively cheap. 

Then, I found this one and only pair of amaretto Top-Siders at Macy's for $16. It turns out somebody ordered these from and returned them to the store. Given that this particular color isn't carried in store, the shoes were marked down to $30. Following a coupon and two discounts, I took these home... and I still can't believe it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

JCP Gets Happy

I've never really shopped JCPenney, I'm more of a Macy's guy. However, due to mall renovations, I found myself taking a shortcut through JCP last week on my way to another store. There, I stumbled upon a great selection of Happy Socks. Priced $8 a pair, you're paying mostly for style, not quality. I wouldn't place the construction of these above Target's Merona socks or Macy's Club Room socks, but you'll find a variety of colors and patterns not offered by other stores. Also, at a price of $8 in-store and $6 online (with purchase of at least two pair), this line runs cheaper than designs available on the Happy Socks site.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

CKC Pop-Up Shoppe

I'm quite proud and pleased to say that the CKC Pop-Up Shoppe made its debut yesterday. My cousin held a grand opening for his pharmacy, and he granted me the opportunity to feature the CKC Shoppe alongside the booths of several local businesses. In preparation of autumn, I offered a selection of tweed, corduroy and Shetland wool sport coats, as well as a vintage cowichan Abercrombie sweater-coat. Wool and heavyweight cotton sweaters were coordinated with a variety of flannel and twill sport shirts. A collection of silk and wool foulard were interspersed with cotton flannels and wool knit ties. Small sets of lambswool scarves and tweed hats were also available. Unlike Giuseppe of AAF, my city doesn't offer quite the same options to hold a pop-up flea, so I've long anticipated the fruition of a real CKC Shoppe. I'm very happy with how things turned out, and I'm so grateful for those that have supported me both online and in person.

Plenty is left over, so expect to see some of these items online pretty soon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wish List - Black Watch Bag

This fall, everybody's favorite plaid will be offered in messenger bag form at Target. Not yet available in store, I snagged this image from the Target press site. The price was not listed, but I'm guessing $30-$40.

As much as I love Black Watch anything, I'm not sure I would buy this. A few years ago, when my only bag was a vintage canvas messenger, I would've picked this up immediately. However, as my style as become more refined, several thoughts come to mind.

The price will be fair, but that's because the bag will be made entirely of synthetic materials. I can't expect leather and wool under $50, even $150.

I have a leather attache for business, this will be for casual settings. So, while my style has progressed beyond the junk I wore when I was 18, do I sacrifice quality for aesthetics? 

Who's to say that, despite the bag's construction, it isn't sturdy and well-designed in general? Perhaps it will last for years.

What are the chances I'll find anything even slightly similar at a thrift shop? 

Crazy, right? I know this decision will be easy when I finally see and hold the bag in store, but until then I can only speculate. Perhaps I'm spoiled by my eBay steals, thrift shop discoveries and such.

Does this bag pass the eye-test for you? Would you buy it based on the Black Watch pattern alone?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wool and Windowpane

Polo Ralph Lauren yellow oxford
Robert Talbott repp foulard tie
Polo Ralph Lauren cardigan

(not pictured:)
Polo Ralph Lauren navy chino
Allen Edmonds brown tassel loafer

More than an entire year I waited to buy this cardigan as it made its way from $445 to $222.50 to $111.25 at a local menswear shop. At last, I pulled the trigger when I received an extra 30% off the final price.

Is $77.88 a lot to spend on a cardigan? Yes. For an avid thrifter and eBay shopper, that's a lot to spend on anything. Yet, the value of something like this goes beyond original price and the amount I saved. With a soft wool outer shell and pima cotton inner shell, this cardigan is incredibly well made. The lightweight wool makes for three-season use, while the very presence and styling of the cardigan serves as an acceptable substitute for blazers in not-so-formal occasions.

It make have taken a year, but my patience paid off and I couldn't be happier.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Stacking Away the Shorts

Polo Ralph Lauren seersucker and oxford shorts

Polo Ralph Lauren madras shorts

See you in spring! (shorts... not readers)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kickin' It in Campsides

Polo Ralph Lauren linen shirt
Rooster Indian madras tie
Merona cotton shawl cardigan
Polo Ralph Lauren chino
Sebago Campsides

Just picked up this vintage Rooster tie for $6 on eBay. Tagged "Bleeding Indian Madras," I can't wait to boil it and see how the colors turn out. The Merona cardigan is one of my favorite knitwear pieces - so much so that I own two. I keep one in place of a sweatshirt for trips to the gym. The other gets worn around the house when it's chilly, as well as for basically any other occasion. The American-made Campsides were a $1 thrift shop find awhile back. Aside from needing fresh insoles, they looked new when I bought them two years ago and  they've held up very well since then.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


As someone who works in advertising, I love a clever layout and copy - even when written in chalk.

But this could end very badly for all parties involved when an already-drunk bar-hopper stumbles into the pub that displays this sign.

Oh well. 
Still funny.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gant Gone Wrong

So many things are so very wrong with Gant's new campaign. Aside from ridiculous prices, the clothing itself isn't bad. However, what the **** is unkempt sprezzatura? A connection to the passion of food making and fashion? A denim apron?

Clearly, unkempt sprezzatura is achieved when a hipster chef wears a denim apron and fully buttons his shirt yet doesn't wear a tie. Maybe his shirt is buttoned to keep a stray chest hair from falling on to his authentic artisan pizza? No, that would be too practical and not the least bit unkempt sprezzatura... especially given the mop on top. Perhaps its the superfluous waistcoat worn with the apron that unleash the unkempt sprezzatura-ness? Sure.

That's unkempt sprezzatura.

*YWP, I'm sure you'll have something to add here. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Shawls and Stripes

Polo Ralph Lauren plaid poplin shirt
Polo Ralph Lauren Irish linen tie
Merona cotton striped shawl sweater

(not pictured)
Polo Ralph Lauren Prospect olive chinos
Club Room olive socks
(Unknown) chocolate suede oxfords

Aside from the chinos, each piece of this outfit cost under $10. The socks came from Macy's while everything else was gathered from the thrifts and eBay.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mellow in Yellow

Bad photo, good outfit... at least I'd like to think so. As autumn slowly rolls in, I plan to get back to posting more outfits. I'll start here.

Polo Ralph Lauren oxford
Polo Ralph Lauren cotton vest
Countess Mara linen bow tie
Polo Ralph Lauren Stanton jean
Smart Turnout striped socks
Cole Haan Country bit loafers

I happened to pull this look together at the last moment before a party. After picking the yellow bow tie, I realized the vest and socks would complete the outfit nicely. Jeans keep the look casual while the bit loafers are an upgrade from standard pennies.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wish List - 1901 Shoelaces

I'm a big supporter of the Knottery's shoelaces and other excellent products, but this deal can't be beat. From Nordstrom's 1901 line comes this pack of colored shoelaces. I'm still warming up to the idea of colored laces, but muted tones like these seem like the perfect way to liven up the standard lace-ups.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wish List - Florsheim by Duckie Brown

The prices on Duckie Brown's Florsheim line may be quackers, but I'm down with Duckie on these styles... pending some tremendous markdowns.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Cotton, See Ya

Clearing out the cotton, it'll soon be time to break out the winter wools.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fall Fair Isle Sneak Peek

Loving the sliver of Fair Isle under this waxed cotton jacket. While the jacket's already available for purchase, it looks like I have awhile to wait on the sweater.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Collegiate Cool

Once in awhile, Rugby puts out some pieces that don't bear ridiculous faux-insignia. These pieces actually tend to be quite nice, like the shawl cardigan seen here. Though not yet available on, I would assume this to be Shetland wool, much like the shaggy Shetlands Rugby has offered the past few years. While I will certainly be putting this sweater on my Christmas wish list, I really like (almost) the entire outfit.

Though a jacket is pictured hanging from the duffle, a substantial cardigan offers an excellent substitute for casual occasions. The orange-red chinos compliment the yellow nicely and offer the outfit a pop of color not found in the subtle yellow. I would simply switch out the ball cap for a driving cap and, of course, roll down the pant legs.

It may only be the start of August, but I'm warming up (or would it be cooling down?) for my winter wardrobe.

What's your take on the cardigan?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012