Wardrobe Maintenance

source tomford.comTony’s Personal [edit: dream] Closet

I had a few inquires about my own clothing collection, specifically how I take care of my garments. As such – for when the masquerade ball bids adieu and yours truly departs to his solemn dark cave; the cape hung, the walking stick mounted, and the mask shed to reveal a beastly hideousness kept self-imposingly away from the scorn of thy princess’ innocence, for she shall never know the pained lengths to which I keep my dark desires anguished away fromstop – stop – actually that’s too melodramatic of a metaphorical opener. Even for me yeh? I think I just referred to you the reader as my princess? Okay, let’s skip my usual elaborate imagery and tantamount loquaciousness (< see did it again!) and get to the point. Provided below for your consideration are my thoughts on maintaining your wardrobe, based on how I personally keep my clothes. You’ve invested all of this money and energy into a wonderful collection of fabrics, patterns, and tailorings – no shame in keeping it tidy to ward off the moth balls, extending the wardrobe for decades to come.

Before I go further, how exactly is this a relevant topic to Trad&Prep anyhow? Well in our strictest definition for my ongoing Style Advice editorial series, it’s not necessarily a pure mannerism – “trad” or stylishly otherwise – that the Brothers of Tau Pi (Trad&Prep) religiously follow in secret ritual that only those in the know abide by. But taking care of one’s wardrobe likewise reveals the same kind of detail-oriented mentality in daily practice that all the other mannerisms and tidbits of my advice just as likewise birth from. Because just like how we put extra attention to fitting, with our tailor on speed dial and Xmas card recipient list, we put in just as much effort in making our clothing last. How we approach maintenance still tracks by the same distance that keeps our parenting sense of style apart from the mainstream masses. Because before you were enlightened and started paying attention to how you look, were you not one of those kids who just threw his clothes off on his bedroom floor after school for mommy to pickup later? Or when your jacket was forced into the closet, was it not lucky to just find itself mantled on a cheap wire hanger, if it were hung up at all as opposed to on the floor of your disoriented closet where it normally rested; perhaps sitting on a pile of the love-torn Romeo & Juliets of sneakers and dress shoes that all jived together in a dizzying unintentional sex party of swingers? The Brothers of Tau Pi expects more from its Pledges, and before you ascend to the highest ranks of knighthood and are able to sit with our Grand Regent – Sir God Mode Prep himself – at the round table, then you have to dive in the nitty gritty of what it takes to have the responsibility of hardened shiny armor bestowed upon you. It takes upkeep like anything else, and in our modern chivalrous times, you’ll soon see that the careful polishing/ironing of your closet/horsestable will go a long way in keeping your suit/destrier ready for the next day/battle.

Storage

Seasonal

I divide my whole collection of garments in accordance with how the brands do it: by catalog seasons of S/S and F/W. Clothes that are clearly meant for one season and not the other (i.e. Nanny Red lightweight chinos for the warmer months) are put away in a few large luggage cases or units and put into storage until the following year. Hence, I do bi-annual changeovers usually around the transition months of May and October; letting climate dictate when it is time to have lighter or heavier fabrics readily available. Or another good practice is to correspond with Daylight Savings Time.

These changeovers serves 3 purposes. The first is to have ample space for my respective seasonal wardrobes in my always-getting-smaller closet space. The second is to direct my ADD-ridden attention to rightful outfits that pair well with that season’s mood and climate, which lessens the potential to make faux pas mistakes out of spur (i.e. having the sudden urge to wear my cotton-linen cocaine white slacks in the middle of January). Thirdly is the unintended opportunity to critique your fluid collection by removing what you no longer wear, or in my case, justifying why I still need a backup ghastly Fun Shirt that I have the occasion to wear about once-in-a-never.

Seasonal storage does not apply to items that I can wear throughout the year. For instance, articles that can go into The Uniform like my standard weight chinos and OCBDs will stay in my closet all year. In fact, I have 15 or so button down shirts and 6-10+ pants that are always prominently featured, taking up the majority of hanging space in my closet. This allows for these primary staple pieces to be worn at a moment’s notice if need be without significant or no ironing, since they should have no creases from folding, making up my first line of defense that allows me to quickly armor up and gallop out the iron gates.

When my current season’s garments are ready for action sitting in my bedroom closet, I like to help preserve the wardrobe with a few ceder wood blocks and moth ball repellent packets lying around in there. The blocks help prevent moisture/odor and the packets keep those pesky little demons away. I also throw a packet into each storage luggage just to be safe.

10024035CedarBlocks_600

13816363Button Down Shirts

Of the 15 or so easily reachable hanging shirts in my closet: 3 whites including a single spread collar dress shirt, 2 blues, 1 red university stripe, 2 blue university stripe, 2 tattersalls, and a variety of checks, tattersalls, and minipatterns. This illustrates the precedence evolved from the starter shirt set as seen in The Guide. The rest of my button down shirts (OCBD or dress) that are not worn as often are either folded neatly in my hamper drawers, or kept in storage as previously mentioned until needed.

It would be nice to have ceder wood hangers if you can afford the luxury for your shirts, pants, etc. sitting the closet, but otherwise as long as your hangers do not damage the shape of your clothing (i.e. the cheap metal ones from dry cleaners that you must always throw away when you get home) then you should be okay.

57100gPremiumCedarHanger_600Pants & Shorts

Again, my go-to pants are hanging in my closet or in storage; typically 3 khaki variations, 2+ odd slacks of wool, corduroy, etc, and most all of my dress slacks. For the rest, such as fun pants like my GTH colored chinos and summer fabrics like seersucker or oxford, I too keep folded and placed in my bedroom hamper with the exception being all of my denim located on the closet shelf that affixes the hanging bar. During S/S my shorts are also folded and squeezed on my top shelf next to my denim, while in the F/W this hole is switched out for my four Fratagonia Snap T Fleece Pullovers and Retro X Vest that I love to throw on for quick errands during the colder months (although I usually keep one of the lighter vintage pullovers out during the summer too just to have for brisk mornings.)

Sweaters & Outerwear

Speaking of my pullovers, since sweaters tend to be inherently thick, I like to keep them individually wrapped in those free gift boxes that you can acquire during Xmas shopping (or niftily recycle extras as reused gift packaging.) This is particularly true for my nicer sweaters that I want to give extra focus to. Protip: Always check “Yes this is a gift item” on online orders if it is offered for free!  My boxes have been stocked over the years from mostly Brooks, Press, and Crew since I am such a brand whore. And yes. I keep branded boxes and sweaters in twin sets. Since it would be shear utter madness to have my Brooks Brothers Saxxon Wool Cable Knit Cardigan in a JPress box, and my JPress Shaggy in a Brooks Box. I mean, really….C’mon. C’mon guys. Let us not be like our barbarian brainless foe, my Grace!

Thankfully there is such a thing as a coat closet near the front entrance of your apartment/castle, so I keep my staple jackets there year round. I reuse old plastic coverings from the dry cleaners to cover each individually when not in use.

Suits & Delicates

Unless you are pimpdaddy Barney Waitforit Stinson and have a suit to wear for each day of the calendar year, I will assume that you don’t have 365 handsome suits hanging in a walk-in closet the size of my childhood home, where a personal Alfred dresses you as the rightful Earl of Downtown Friggin’ Abbey that you are. And if you are, then I will assume your closet looks like the Tom Ford dressing room as shown in the title photo, and that you have the corporate bank account to fund such pleasurable purSuits. For the rest of us drafted conclave of serfs and townsfolk, we have to defend the kingdom with our 2 or 3 staple suits – of armor – until we can rise the feudal ladder to the top ourselves. Until then, we have to keep our few precious suits mended from past blows and continuously polished in upkeep for the next surprise internship interview/pillaging.

I always have my suits kept in their suit bags. No brainer . But say that you bought your slightly used Navy 2 buttoned Fitzgerald from eBay for a budget saving $200 (Nice job! Shout out to Rule#10!) instead of from Granddaddy himself. Protip: walk in to your local Brooks Brothers store, or whichever the outfitter in-question is, and request a suit bag. Smile and be charming when you say to the cute sales representative gal at the front desk, “Hello ma’am, I bought a suit recently from the website and they must have forgotten to give me the complimentary suit bag. May I have one from here if possible? Also, my name is….what is your number…call you soon……..will you marry me?” In that order, preferably over a few years of dating. Protip: Say you had three purchases. And this actually has happened to me before, from that very staple 2 Button Navy Fitz I bought on BrooksBrothers.com all those years ago, and they really did forget the complimentary suit bag. Maybe that eases any racing worries just a bit.

For my nicer pants and dress slacks, I do something similiar to my outerwear where I hang them those free plastic coverings that you get from your tailor or dry cleaner. I never pack them up for storage due to the delicate wool fabrics that you would want to preserve away from harsh fold lines.

Shoes

Shoe Trees…..Of course this is the big one. You know of them. You should already be using them. And in my humble but expert opinion, you can even get away with a single set of cedar wood shoe trees if just starting out, because you only require one to reshape a pair after a day’s walking. But the big lesson here: Use ceder wood shoe trees! Let those trees sit in them for a night. Then the next day, take them out and put them in your next well-worn pair. Rinse. Repeat. The natural cedar helps the leather breath and reduce odor, while the mold restructures the shoe that has warped and expanded from wear. Related Protip: Give that particular shoe at least a day of rest as well (I mean…you do have more than one pair of penny loafers…right…) so it fully recovers. Both strategies will give your shoe collection ensured longevity. And I like keeping my dress shoes in their respective brand whore shoe boxes, unless just directly worn which I’ll let them breath in the open for a day with the trees in them.

I currently own three from Nordstrom that I picked up on sale for about $10 each during their annual big summer sale. Although another great cheap source is Jos. A. Bank (which is one of the very few times you will actually see me recommending this otherwise super-nasty terrible excuse of a “mens outfitter”). They often run their trees at less than ten bucks when on sale and often throw in free shipping. It’s such a grand deal that much of the online fashion community/blogosphere has become obsessed with the next JAB shoe tree offering so you can find abundant PSA’s. Typically come out to $8.50 w/free shipping per.

Could watch this guy for hours…wait, it’s 7pm already?! (There used to be a HD version of this clip but can’t seem to find it, shame)

The other popular shoe topic: Shining. Some of you more Type-A Haberdasher Extremists love to obsess with keeping their shoes shined. Makes sense if you are a corporate man or in the military, but as many of you readers are younger and still in college, I will break the almighty rule here and say that you can have your dress shoes shined Prorenata. Have the Park Avenues spit-shined before the frat formal or the big internship interview, and then have it done again a year from now. Maybe you can get away with it 3-5 times a year if excessively worn. This is because I am assuming you are not wearing your nicer pairs on a daily basis. Plus, there is also that other yet-to-be-published trad mannerism that adds to the GoToHell mentality championing that “Yeah my pennies are scruffed and worn-in to pieces. So what? F*ck off dude. I was born in these loafers. ” attitude that praises the old and the frayed articles that have seen some days. Remember that the original WASPs of the mid century we used look fondly to as model tradsters used to put duct tape on their old Weejuns to keep them falling apart. This was seen as a badge of honor, whereas now it would be seen as a badge of hobo. This is why I resorted my first pair of pennies ever, those Cole Haan Pinch, acting now as my sh*tkicker loafers that I can wear barefoot and trudged through the mud and gravel without a second thought.

Confessional: Yours truely is actually not that well-versed in shoe shining. But I don’t yet as of this point in my life require weekly shines. I do however like using a horsehair brush to remove dirt and particles before and after wear. Maybe when I’ve become a Fortune 500 CEO, or ya’ know, just as close in my career – as Purple Label suits worn daily to the top floor office does need it spiffy wingtips! I have mine shined when I visit my cobbler…

If your tailor is on speed dial, then your shoe cobbler is at least in your list of contacts. Go ahead and look at your smartphone. See, right there, listed as “Cobbler, Shoe”.  Mine is an old grandpa who has been in the same mom&pop location for three decades. Maybe even just once a year I visit him with one of my hard soled shoes ready for its tune-up, with each pair lasting about 3 years for me, again depending on amount of wear. My guy also throws in free shoe shining too. Or you can send it in to the original shoemaker if you are more anal. Both Allen Edmonds and Alden for example each have cobbling and touch-up services provided at a higher premium. I plan on going this route with my most formal of dress shoes, such as my Park Avenues and my eventual GMP-level Alden Leisure Hand Sewn (LHS) loafers in colors #8 and whiskey….soon.

Think of the elements. Grain leather is great for hiding scruffs, and a Dainite rubber sole – the famous British contribution to shoe history – is awesome for gripping slippery surfaces (precisely why my second pair of staple boots is a light brown grain leather Chukka from British shoemaker Herring). Suede is nice for your summer saddle bucks and autumn desert boots, but are allergic to rain.

Polos, Tees, Underwear, etc.

Folded and kept in my bedroom hamper. Separated by polos, tees, undergarments, and miscellany. Iron if must. Keeps your girlfriend’s nakie pics and spare condoms hidden under. Not else much to say.

Neckties

I use this ceder tree hanger that I got on discount from my local Allen Edmonds location. But a ceder hanger is just a nice extra, as long as you hang your ties and don’t let them get thrown together in a pile. Hanging will prevent creases. Also, you NEVER want to send your ties to your regular dry cleaner since the service can make your silk ties loose its “springy-iness”. There are special services you can mail in your ties such as this one. But this will obviously be a rare thing to do, so in the mean time try not to spill spaghetti sauce on them. (Fun fact: this is also a reason why some physicians no longer wear ties since they are fomites, or objects that harbor bacteria, since ties are rarely if ever washed!)

allenedmonds_cedar-products_tie-hanger_lAccessories

I have a stacker that I got from The Container Store that sits on top of my bedroom hamper. This stores my watches, sunglasses, cufflinks, tiebars/pins, wallet, and any other small miscellaneous item. Just a good organizer to have to get into the habit of using so that the next time you’re all “Where the flying f*ck are my keys?” you know the first place to look.

10064361gWellingtonStackerBrn_x

Basic Washing Rules

Washing your clothes is a whole ‘nother ball game. So barring any special circumstances, here are my basic instructions:

Dry Clean your delicates like dress slacks, suits, sportcoats, blazers, outerwear, and the very delicate. This should be obvious, but what may not be is the fact that dry cleaning can also SHORTEN the lifespan of your clothing. So being mindful of individual circumstances regarding to amount of wear, I only have my formal apparel dry cleaned once every 4-5 outings for suits and slacks and 10-15+ for my outerwear.

Cold Wash your colored non-delicate natural fabrics like cottons, linens, etc. I like using Tide Alternative Bleach which helps keep colors bright. Usually can pick up these badboys at Costco or Target but you can find it at all major chains. I just throw in my non-white colored clothing all together because the Tide Detergent does a good job of non-bleeding. Then I use generic Softener Liquid and/or Dryer Sheets (usually Costco Kirkland brand).

15071680Warm Wash your synthetics like fleece, polyester, etc. This is for your techprep stuff. Do NOT use Softener because it can ruin the effectiveness of the synthetics. And you can cold wash too, but many of my synthetics are activity wear that I use for the gym or running so I warm wash to help kill the bacteria. But do NOT hot wash since it may be detrimental to your synthetics.

Warm or Hot Wash your whites, separate from your colors. NEVER use chlorinated bleach since they will make your whites into that nasty yellow color over time. That is why I like using the Tide Alternative Bleach as seen above.

Cold Wash your semi-delicate natural fabrics like wool, cashmere, etc. TUMBLE LOW or HANDWASH settings only. Wool tends to shrink under warm water and heavy tumble, which you may already know from trial and error (RIP Shetland Fair Isle Sweater passed down from my Gramps….you will be missed!) I use Woolite Dark since most of my items are dark colored.

I also use this process for my expensive raw denim – which is a subject that can be an entirely new article on! But for now, the basics are to TURN INSIDE OUT and then cold wash/tumble low as before. I also use the Woolite Dark for this. Aim for washing raw denim 1-3 times a year if you intend on being a hypebeast denim expert enthusiast like the rest of us.

13296095Machine Drying can be for your non-delicate natural fabrics like cotton. Although, I prefer to hang dry my shirts and pants for half a day, just to assist in removing excess moisture (which in turn saves on the energy bill too). Protip: if you want to hang your clothing all the way dry, then you can use a wet cloth thrown into the pile which gives up some moisture for the dry tumble. This allows for a short 5min low heat, energy-saving tumble that is more to give the non-crease effect as opposed to drying. But always make sure to remove your garments right after drying no matter to ward off those creases! Protip: hang your chinos and slacks “sideways” which gives it an artificial loose front crease when they cool down. **I will explain why in a bit.

Hang Dry your synthetics. They are not meant to be exposed to heat.

Lay Flat Dry your semi-delicate natural fibers.Especially true for your upperwear like wool and cashmere sweaters. Laying flat allows to retain the shape while hanging tends to mess up the shouldering and neck. I like to lay them on my bed in the daylight sun. Then when totally dry, you can either iron them or machine dry on tumble low using that protip I explained earlier of a damp cloth thrown in. This will help remove any excess creasing.

Removing Stains can be used with my favorite tool, Shout Stain Remover Brush. I pretreat about ten minutes before wash. And I am sure there are other affective agents and brands out there, but I like using this one in particular because of the top brush you can use to scrub in the gel so it seeps in deeper to fight against the stain. The mechanical action of scrubbing really seems to help remove or at least lessen the really bad food, wine, and marker stains. Or use an old toothbrush. Do NOT brush your teeth with it after. Sicko.

13750473Ironing

Many of your button downs and pants that have been hanging in your closet may not need too much ironing, but it’s still nice to look presentable if the occasion calls for it. And admittingly, I will press my polos and even my tees if they have too many creases from sitting in the hamper for too long (or execute that earlier Protip with the wet cloth; does the trick just as easily with less work).

My major piece of ironing advice is to press flat-front pants with a front crease, as this not only gives you a cleancut look but it also makes it easier to walk since it keeps your flat front pants from having that Saturday Night Fever-flared bottoms-aesthetic to it. ** If you hung your chinos and slacks they way I described earlier right after machine drying, then it will be easy to press that already-set artificial loose front crease in.

Other than being weary of which iron setting to use for each fabric in-question, there is no specific guide I can further give. Takes practice on developing perfect ironing form. Used to take me more than 10min to get a cleanly pressed shirt, but now it takes me less than 5 if I am not in a hurry. And I prefer to press my clothes instead of the dry cleaners anyhow. Not a fan of starch which can also decrease the life expectancy of your wardrobe.

I use the Panasonic NI-E650TR. That retractable plug was a blessing sent down to us from the fashion gods! But any cheap ol’ iron will do. Don’t need a fancy one or anything. Prior to this Panasonic that I’ve only had for less than a year, I used a cheap Black&Decker that I got from Wal Mart my freshman year. Still works too.

NI-E650TR_400_1

That should take care of it. Your House of Knightly Refinement should be in working order, since you now know how to maintain Battle Ready Preparedness. The Brothers of Tau Pi will be pleased of the progress you’ve made in your apprenticeship. Now forgive me, as I must bid adieu and depart ways and head back to my underground lair and perve out on my princess…

 

Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Tony’s Column: Ralph v. The Brethren

 Ralph Lauren innovated the concept of fashionable lifestyle branding. This video is a perfect example of the idealistic imagery Ralph is selling (and we find ourselves enthusiastically buying!)

One of our readers had recently emailed me with a personal essay of his own opinionated narrative. It is simply too good to not share with you all, so I assigned his much appreciated message as an excuse to not only give my direct reply, but to post my own dwelling into the very topic he had brought up; going evermore deeper into the rabbit hole as I attach my resultant exploration of this subject.

The Given Prompt: How does Ralph Lauren compare to Brooks Brothers? The latter decisively being Trad&Prep’s “GrandDaddy” as our most esteemed outfitter? I now leave the Senate Floor to the Gentleman from Ralph Island [edited for publish]:

Lets Talk Ralph Lauren

“Dear Tony,

We both know the greatness of Granddaddy Brooks. However, I’m starting to believe that maybe Ralph is up there. Growing up, I watched my father wear Ralph Lauren polos, sportshirts, and dress shirts. He had a black leather Ralph Lauren wallet, which I now proudly use. Now he opts for his brown leather Ralph wallet that his old college roommate bought him. 

In the past year, I’ve spent more time studying Ralph’s clothes in stores. I had the pleasure of purchasing a beautiful gingham OCBD from a Ralph Lauren store in the Abu Dhabi International Airport during a layover. Now, we both know Ralph Lauren and his pony is very mainstream. The majority of people that I speak to about his clothes only buy them to sport a little pony on their chest. That is obviously a big turn off for someone like me that knows better. Instead, I go off to Brooks Brothers, or marveling at J. Press while in D.C. 

Now as much the brainless masses go to Ralph Lauren just because they believe the pony makes them look cool, they’re also benefiting from their ignorance. Regardless of the stupidity of Ralph’s customers, his clothes are indeed of superior quality. The polo’s that my father has passed down to me are still in excellent quality. It is so easy to look at PRL with disgust because of the mainstream crowd, but the reason why he also does well is not just his branding, but also the quality of the clothes really do speak volumes. To be honest, my decade old Ralph Lauren polo’s are doing better than my year-old Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece polos, which is very odd. Another thing I’ve noticed that Ralph does really well is the cut of his clothes. The fitting , to be frank, is more modern. That OCBD I bought in Abu Dhabi fits better and tucks in better in my chinos than my OCBDs from Brooks Brothers here. Maybe the mainstream crowd does know what it is doing with Ralph Lauren? Of course, I naturally aspire to be wearing Purple Label one day…

Sincerely, P.K.”

Foreword(I)

Thank you Mr. PK for humoring me with your correspondence and for using my blog memes to tell your position. For those with a confused and/or horrified look on his face, please refer to this glossary. And to my psychiatrist.

Foreword (II)

Master PK and I both assuredly agree with your rolling eyes. Why does it matter to decipher the relationship between Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers? Afterall, the following consequential forum between our two parties (The Honorable PK and Tony) involves an increased level of intuition that the  brainless masses will likewise have increased disdain for. And not that they are wrong either, since this exercise is purely out of trivial pursuit. Because lets stay grounded and be meta on our outlook…we are diving into the dichotomy of two fashion houses and their individual merits, as judged by some mystical barometer of unofficial final conclusiveness…I mean, how #firstworldproblems can we get?!

Preface

Tony would like to acknowledge Supreme Commander PK for his voluntary inquest and this proceeding forum.

Introduction

His Excellency PK purports to establish Ralph Lauren in the same grace as an already-chiseled face on our Mt. Rushmore of Greatest Trad&Prep brands. Similar to the formulating origins of the Holy Trinity, this superior mountain range of select fashion houses is known for their respective major contributions and influences to our style lexicon, and live prominently on in our wardrobes just as they had for generations before us. They are the revered tailors that you can trust your entire lifetime’s wardrobe to if need be, and Brooks Brothers is easily the utmost peak of these highly regarded few. Tony seeks to comment on Sir PK’s thought process in this reply, as well as put forth corollaries from his own narrative trajectory.

Bodied Response

Dear PK Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the Tradly Empire,

I too have had similiar fondness for Mr. Lauren in my childhood memories with growing up in my patriarchal Generations of Style. My older brother and I are the lineage torchbearers of late, carrying our namesake’s Pride of the Sartorial Arts on our chests. And oh my, what is this marked impression on our said marked chests, that overlays my family’s eternal symbol of gentlemanly guile? Yes. Of course. A champion polo player on his galloping steed and swinging his mallet towards eternal victory. Multicolored signature logo embroided on a frayed, worn-in, classic white oxford cloth button down shirt.

I just described my single most favorite clothing item out of all of the apparel in my bountiful closet. These days, it hibernates in my shirt drawer for the rare cherished moment, but more than a decade ago that shirt used to be my one and only white button down. Period. As in for all occasions ranging from casual to formal. That would be unimaginable to me now! Since right at this moment I now have more than half a dozen white duplicates hanging in my closet, from a rumpled JPressFlap Pocket OCBD to a pressed Brooks Brothers Dress Shirt with French Cuffs and preset holes for a tie pin. Yet, that original white classic Ralph Lauren oxford remains as my most cherished. Maybe it’s because it is one of my oldest items still thriving in an always-maturing wardrobe. Maybe it’s because of its authentically frayed collar and worn softness. Maybe it’s because it was originally my father’s, and hence in true tradly spirit, passed down to his youngest son out of need for a quick fix for 4th grade class photos. Then: super baggy and stiff. Present: perfectly boxy and soft from two decades of wear.

If you closely, you can spot the natural fraying of the tag, collar, and cuff. Solid Oxford Sport Shirt circa early 1990′s.

1 2 3That’s the thing about Ralph Lauren. While true that I would never put RL wholesomely with the creme of the crop Mt. Rushmore brands that make up the right-most end of a metaphorical balance beam, where traditional TNSIL weighs in at its heaviest; we shall not deny its own far reaching impact on the modern American East Coast Aesthetic. It just isn’t on Mt. Rushmore simply because Ralph came in a tad too late to be considered a real heritage brand. ie) Your grandpa wore Hamilton OCBDs when he was a freshman at Ohio State in 1967, when Ralph was only a mere tie collection in that year of its birth. Mr. Lauren would not catch Gramps’ eyes as a fledgling newcomer until probably the mid-1970s at its very earliest of its fledgling popularity, especially since the Pony really found its groove as it stampeded into the original prep era of the ’80s. The Pony gave us the initial reason to be self-conscious of logos, as a serious contender to that other big competitor in Lacoste’s Crocodile. Then Ralph innovated his multimedia platform through the years by emphasizing the WASP lifestyle, which effectively brought high class tastes to the availability of the mainstream masses. This new approach to lifestyle marketing is what Ralph Lauren is best known for, with the flagship Polo Blue Label becoming one of the most prominent brands that built its reputation on projecting dreamlike imagery. Making the once-unattainable preppy look, perpetrated by the WASP elitists who shopped at the likes of Brooks and Press, and now accessible to the rest of us commonfolk who did not live within a twenty mile radius of Hyannis Port. In fact, the classically interpreted “Polo Shirt” as the mainstream masses know it today may as well be in the same reference to a Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt, by way of brand generification over the past three decades that Ralph climbed the unclimbable Mt. Rushmore and graffitied its Pony Logo all over his Granddaddy’s monolithic face.

Again, it is this aforementioned timeline why I can never technically label Ralph as an American Heritage Brand. Which means RL will never be considered to be in the same grouping of tradliest outfitters in terms of outright birthright. Grandaddy Brooks obviously rules them all with an 1818 establishment and its multitude of clothing inventions that are taken for granted today (including the OCBD – the Original Polo Shirt as we already know it to be). Yuppy twin peak, that is also a choice favorite of GMPs, set up his shop in 1903 with Jacobi Press’ founding across Yale University. And so on. Hamilton Shirts in 1883. The Alden Shoe Company in 1884. Gant in 1949. You see where I am getting at; I guess we can call Ralph Lauren one of the oldest neoprep brands with its 1967 arrival, if we applied the very neoprep definition loosely in this light.

But going with that same logic, Mr. Lauren is easily the greatest of the neoprep brands, no? We can start off with the origin story already mentioned earlier, and shadow RL Polo’s rise to fame in the original prep era that helped it eventually become synonymous with the classic American WASPy lifestyle – whether in truth or not – that is how it is perceived by the mainstream majority. He certainly outlasted Tommy Hilfiger and other rivals, in that epic High Stakes Race for the champion breed of lifestyle branding over two decades ago. We all remember Leo’s portrayal of New Rich Jordan Belfort and his money-making scheme set in the early 1990s? I like to think the movie costume below was decided upon with educated precision, since the Pony was still somewhat exclusive in those pre-mensfashionblogosphere days. Justifiably equipped for a nonchalant scene of a yuppie on his big yacht. Unlike now, when that same Pony can be found sitting under a dust cover in the clearance bin at a Ross Discount Store.

Toast to a time when the Pony was once praised.

source wolfofwallstreetI pay credit to Mr. Lauren moreso for his ingenuity than for what questionable items of his I can buy at Macys. His lifestyle branding and vertical implementation is unparalleled in stature compared to all the other fashion houses, much less Granddaddy Brooks in particular. Polo Blue Label is Ralph’s ambassador, serving as a homing beacon that introduces new customers into a world of an idealistic preppy livelihood. Then once he has you hooked on his version of a WASP Heaven, he has you riding on Blue Label’s saddle to his latter end luxury diversification. Mr. Lauren’s brilliant portfolio is why we now have the pleasure of wearing (or in my case “waiting desperately for the day I can wear”) luxurious apparel from the RL Black and Purple Label variety in a fashion-forward sentiment I can actually agree with. These campaigns have marketed lifestyles that are less Blue’s Harvard Row Team and more Black’s New York City Sophisticated and Purple’s Excelsior Class, and lead to why I have a strict allegiance to Mr. Lauren even if I continuously rebut 90% of Blue Label’s collection in my recommendations. I see it for what it is: Ralph Lauren is a fashion-forward brand through and through, and the very best American mainstream brand in my discerning opinion at that. We cannot deny the success he has built upon feeding a fantastical illustration of our beloved Trad&Prep affliction (and other Americana visions like with Western and Native American themes). There is a reason he is chosen to represent the USA Olympic Team. So Blue Label may have gone too downhill for our advanced groupthink in the name of appeasing an authentic form of Trad&Prep, but credit should be payed when it is due.

Ralph Lauren’s Olympic uniforms are often misunderstood by the brainless masses. “Too preppy, too old looking, too ugly!” But we shall not place blame too easily, since not everyone knows the nuanced impact that Ralph has as the definitive American Designer. “Why the preppy old world look?” the indoctrinated exclaim. Because that is what we Americans do best. This uniform of blazer and chinos is our nation’s export to the global fashion scene when a semi-formal kit is needed. Italians have their dandy soft fit suits, the Germans have their skinny dark muted suits, and the Americans have gold buttoned double breasted blazers in a structured but formed fit. Beret, white chinos, and club collars in ode to sporting regalia of days of yore.

Team-USA-Olympic-uniforms--Ralph-LaurenThis all condenses to a blanketing conclusion that reflect my sum of feelings about Ralph. If I want an updated outfit from the newest runway collections, I look to Mr. Lauren as the credible source for American fashion-forward design. He is the guy that competes against other vogue designers like Gucci, Prada, and Valentino. Not Brooks Brothers. Not JPress. Not Hamilton. He is our nation’s champion facing the whole of European secularism. So in terms of where Ralph fits in the grand lexicon, if the Mt. Rushmore of heritage brands are on the farthest traditional right in our distinguishing spectrum, then Blue Label is placed somewhere at the focal point that is not to trad for mainstream appeal, and Black and Purple come in at the farthest creative left that make up the “looking ahead” runway fashion front.

As Royal P.K. mentions, we can look to Ralph for ushering in the newest sartorial aesthetics in contrast to our olde-world TNSIL persona. Mr. Lauren gives us the updated personalized fits and quality sourced from all majestic corners of the world in support of his massive reign over the luxury apparel segment. Although I won’t go as so far to necessarily agree that my own Blue Label articles are any more superior to my Brooks paraphernalia (though I’d easily stand by a USA-made Brooks OCBD.) And almost by sweet irony, we now find heritage brands being the one playing catchup. Whereas Ralph Lauren was the aspiring newcomer who mass produced his own copy of the providence lifestyle that Brooks and other tradder than thou tailors sold to the Olde Money New England Brahmins, we now find Ralph leading the contemporary front and Mt. Rushmore crumbling behind. Out with the old. In with the new. The Noveua Rich of today seem to be exponentially growing in number, especially from the international front, and they want the newest designs to satisfy their thirst for haute fashion. Which Ralph had positioned himself to garner long ago. I am willing to bet RL’s womens collection easily outsells Brooks, just as Purple Label probably easily chosen over Brooks Golden Fleece in any affluent market outside of stuffy Washington D.C. (arguably the St. Alamo of the #1 Repp). We find JPress and Grandaddy Brooks only recently introducing their own lines of fashionably forward and youth-oriented diversification to keep up with changing customer demands: York Street ,Thom Browne’s Black Fleece, and Flatiron & Red Fleece….(Though it is important to note that RL Rugby, which would have been York St. and Red Fleece’s direct competitor for the youthful and fashionably preppy market, was the first to establish in 2004 but had since liquidated in 2012 due to a directional strategy by Ralph Lauren to concentrate its resources away from a small niche to the more profitable international market for luxury goods. Only time will tell if Press and Brooks’ entry into the questionable niche market that Rugby left will prove to be profitable)…Other heritage brands have followed en suite, such as Gant collaborating with Michael Bastion at the helm of its newest relaunch into the luxury segment a few years back. All the while, Ralph having already made his name in cornering both the mainstream and the fashionably elitist crowds for quite some time now. Simply no other outfitter can match his monopoly on today’s version of the American East Coast Aesthetic.

Ralph likes to make a grand statement in his marketing campaigns that match the grand depictions he sells his clothes by. Welcome to the World of Ralph Lauren. Bold print captioning a snapshot that offers a glimpse of the exemplary American lifestyle. Here, a seaside polo match. Vintage Mercedes to match a sporty vibe of long tie with shorts. Too contrived for the real world? Yes. But you are not copying this handsome dude’s outfit per say, but instead you are dressing to his WASPy decorum. Ralph is conveying more than just a need to buy his clothing. He asks you to commit to this ultra romanticized vision in fortifying spirit.

source art8amby.files.wordpress.comYou can spot entire folds of RL print ads in high brow publications like The New York Times and Vogue, whereas Brooks and the other heritage brands had rarely done so in the modern era until perhaps very recently.  source httptheefface.blogspot.comWomen fashionistas resonate with the slender contours that often seem to explode right off his print ads. Notice the common themes here: Attractive feminine models in juxtaposition of powerful prose. Again, Brooks loses out to Ralph in approaching high end womenswear.

urlNacho Figueras as the face of Black Label.

soure httpfashionindustryarchive.com

Epilogue

Where does that leave me at the end of this thought process? I’ll let my wardrobe speak for itself: My current Polo Blue Label pieces are typically my second tier players that support the staples. Meaning if you had all of the basics I recommended in my Starter Guide, then you can now explore other alternatives such as from that of Blue Label.

Conclusion #1

Ralph Lauren, especially Polo Blue Label, is one of our primary solvents for all staples in your closet. This is in addendum to the special brands that I recommend for specified and original items as your go-to’s (i.e from The Guide and Ask Me sections).

For instance, if Bill’s Khakis are your go-to chinos, then Ralph’s Khakis can certainly be your backup for when your M3′s are worn out and sitting in the laundry hamper. However, if you could choose a single pair of Nanny Red Chinos, then you would opt for Murray’s Toggery Shop as the authentic proprietor of red pants. Only your second pair can be from RL. Do you see what I am getting at? Let Blue Label fill in the cracks of your wardrobe.

Classic Fit Preppy Chino

Source Polo.com1

Conclusion #2

Ralph is a fashionably-forward brand at its core, meaning it is one of our regular mainstay sources for unique and “fun” seasonal items.

My “fun” shorts in summer casual patterns, like gingham and plaid, are most all Blue Label that I was able to stockpile over the years from department store clearance sales.

Straight Linen Gingham Shorts (**Hurry, reduced to $24 from $89 as of this posting!**)

source Polo.com2Conclusion #3

Polo Blue Label may be a common denominator for the mainstream masses, but the upsides are its easy availability and subjectivity to great discounts. Just know which items to incorporate (ex. basic chinos) and which to avoid (ex. articles with oversized Pony logos, as well as generally the infamous Polo Shirt due to its extreme ubiquity among the brainless masses).

Blue Label is essentially a mall brand. Polo is regularly seen across the country in department stores and outlets, unlike many of the heritage brands that only have a few boutique locations in select focus markets (ex. JPress found only in New Haven, NYC, Boston, and DC). This is a good thing in that you can easily drive to your closest shopping center to acquire basic apparel with the added advantage of a good chance of a clearance sale. Many major department stores offer the best reductions when the timing is right, as for example with Macys and Belk often honoring stackable coupons. This makes Ralph Lauren one of the very few labels that I actually do appreciate as a mall brand (unlike Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, and other such causes of my contempt). The majority of my Polo collection were purchased at great discount in continual ode to Rule #10 from The Guide.

Conclusion #4

One of the main blog themes is: Go with the brand that innovated first. I look to Mr. Lauren for the pack leader of runway looks that have an American influence. He is the epitome of sartorial artistry for high fashion meeting Trad&Prep influence.

His global empire speaks for itself. Yeah, I do ask that you stay away from your tenth Pony Polo shirt and opt for a Golden Fleece instead, but that’s because I want you to strive for an enlightening that separates you from the brainless masses. Still, we cannot overlook the Pony’s world wide effect either in Ralph being our one true Trad&Prep Ambassador for today. Because of him, we have an international prep in Abu Dhabi who look just as regal as his Massachusetts penpal at Philips Academy. Perhaps you are reading this very article within European or Asian borders in growing interests of the American preppy and traditional look (if that is the case, welcome to the blog!) I am betting that you had placed RL as one of your top brands to shop from, because really and truly, that brand is one of the few that you actually know of. Proving Ralph’s international popularity over the heritage brands.

Polo Blue Label is where Trad met Prep met Mass Marketing. Others have come and gone riding on that lifestyle pony (*cough* Tommy *cough*), yet Polo remains THE preppy outfitter to plebs and kings alike. Mind you, this is the exact reason why I want to transition you away from all-to-common Blue Label Polo shirts and humongous Pony logos that take up half of a shirt, because those exact plebs and kings usually makeup the mainstream masses that I always enjoy ridiculing. But nonetheless we can still look to Ralph Lauren as a proven one-stop supply. Just try to keep with authentic clean cut pieces by staying away from the contrived (i.e. Tyler Shorts look good on the campus of Furman University. False Athletic Patches on a predistressed Rugby Shirt – do not.) As alluded to earlier, I typically like 10% of Blue Label offerings in their simplicity and/or uniqueness. These are the items that have absent or unnoticeable logos, are not sandblasted or predistressed, and do not have fake rugby patches. The rest that do can be left on the discount rack.

Climbing up from Blue Label to the next rung on Ralph’s ladder of vertical integration: I like Black Label for an urban, upwardly mobile type who just oozes sexy manliness. He is the kind of guy who sips brandy as he reads WSJ and relaxes on his Eames Lounge in his New York Upper West Side penthouse on 55 West 81st Street. There is a reason why esteemed polo player Nacho Figueras is the face of Black Label, since his chiseled looks and graceful aura exemplifies Black so well. If Patrick Bateman were, well real first of all, and lived in our 2014′s “sophisticated personal style” timeline and not in 1986′s “full-metal-WASP” era, then he would be wearing Black. And for the record, I place Black miles above the Grandaddy Brooks standard line in regard to this modern approach, with maybe the Black Fleece akin in exclusive nature.

The 1818 Fitzgerald is my recommended go-to for your starter suit. But when you eventually climb the corporate ladder and have enough disposable income to branch out, then Black Label is one of my top places to look for an even higher bar than where the 1818 line is set. Black exudes confidence with the Label’s typically sharp lines in an aggressively tapered silhouette and slightly broad shoulders. You won’t see the usual GTH colors here like you normally would with Polo Blue. Instead, Black Label stays true to its name with a dark palate of sleek suits. You are not going for the WASP look, but instead the Cosmopolitan Man who commands his destiny. Perfect for when you broker a multimillion dollar acquisition deal as your firm’s rising star hotshot.

On my to-buy-whenever-I-reach-well-into-the-six-figures list is the Anthony Suit. Much like how Brooks Brothers has the Fitzgerald and JCrew has the Ludlow, the Anthony is Black Label’s slim fit stronghold.

source Polo.com3Purple Label, on the other gold ring-clad feeding hand, is strictly for the top brass executive who loves the very best that Earth has to give, such as exotic leathers and supple fabrics (okay, the Seven Natural Wonders too). This refined older gentleman drives his Rolls to the Hamptons getaway estate on the weekends when he isn’t jetsetting to his pied-à-terre in Hong Kong. Maybe slightly above Golden Fleece, which is extremely luxurious as The Bretheren’s Cadillac label as it is; only because I put Purple in the most sublime order of menswear tailors. Purple Label sits comfortably next to the likes of Brioni, Cuccinelli, Kiton, Oxxford, and any one of the Savile Row Masters.

That Youtube clip in the title of this article sums up how I feel about these two Labels: Pure Elegance.

$4500 for a white dinner jacket I can wear maybe once every two years? I’ll buy five.

Source Polo.com4

PostScript

Look to the World of Ralph Lauren for the in-betweeners. For the “so ridiculously reduced in price that you would be insane to NOT buy a third pair of kelly green pants”. For the Cosmopolitan. For the Sublime. While Brooks Brothers is the top billed actor who headlines the stage, Polo Blue Label is your supporting cast whom the star owes his brilliant performance to. Black Label is the handsome fella’ sitting front row wearing a peak lapeled tuxedo and holding the soft hand of a Victoria Secret Angel. Purple Label is the benefactor that owns the whole damn theater.

Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – See more at: http://www.debretts.com/forms-address/titles/knight#sthash.PmNy330B.dpuf

 

 The Uniform. My cherished RL Sport OCBD paired with RL Classic Fit Flat Front Shorts (tapered and hemmed to 7″).IMG_0573

Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter

Joys of Hunting, Part II

First posted a few years ago, this updated editorial celebrates our continuous sartorial Hunt of Patience & Virtue, in the endearing fortitude of Rule #10. Looking good does not have to cost an arm and a leg and a kidney and half your soul. When you want a particular item, no matter how rare and expensively out-of-reach it may appear, you have to keep marching forward no matter the monstrous size of the task. And maybe one day, whether it be a month or a year from now, you’ll taste the satisfaction of playing the long game. You’ll will certainly lose many battles along the way, but you will be the ultimate winner in your personal vengeful war. Don’t let the House win. The game is all yours to overcome.

What I am actually talking about? In the continuous mission of proving to you the reader that style can indeed be had on a budget, I present to you my latest victory as a prime example of Rule #10 in action.

From my sunglasses article, you will know that I have a huge fondness for Persol eyewear. I own the PO2965V in “Havana” Tortoise Shell as my fashionable prescription pair, and the James Bond-esque PO2803 in polarized Black shades. I wanted to complete my Persol addiction with one more pair that serves as a topstone jewel to my Italian-bred pyramid of eye protection. And once I get in my head this kind of bloodlust, I start an unrelenting Hunt for it that will not end until the trophy is mine. Moby Dick had his Great White Whale. I have my Persol 714SM.

source httpgearpatrolcomwp-contentuploads201210persol-714.jpgSome background history: The 714 is arguably the most iconic frame design in the history of eyewear. Our Patron of Cool, Saint Steve McQueen, made the 714 model (along with the classic 649 that is an icon in its own right) world-famous almost half a century ago in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair, seen with the the above instantly-recognizable cinema still. The dual designs have since been inspiration to many other venerable eyewear outfitters. If you see any modern pair of sunglasses with a “bug eyed” circular appearance and/or an angular “keyhole” nose bridge, then it has the 714 & 649 signature blueprint written all over it. The 714 also is known for its trademark collapsible engineering that allows it to be doubly-folded internally for portable use, say in your pants instead of your chest pocket like with your other regular single-folded frames. Countless other modern generations of the Hollywood Elite have been seen sporting the wide-eyed portfolios that Persol is so known for, and that all started with the 714, as in direct contemporary homage of our Patron Saint; with Efron, Brown, and Gosling, among others.

To celebrate Saint McQueen’s famously attached name to the Persol brand (as he is to other 1960s/Mod-era imagery: turtlenecks with sportcoats, suede desert boots, and so on), the house that gave us the Supreme Silver Arrow introduced a few years ago a special edition offering of its popular mainstay 714. The limited quantity series designates itself with the “SM” label, that obviously alludes to the holy man’s namesake, and comes in special pairings that differ from the standard produced 714 line. Namely, the unique features include an extra Supreme Silver Arrow on the midlength of each temple that makes up the internal folding hinge. This is the most noticeable identification of the special edition, as you’d see not one but two Supreme Silver Arrow logos on the sunglasses’ side profile, while the normal 714 only has a small unassuming metal hinge for the folding mechanism. The SM folds its arms horizontally inward while the normal 714 goes downward, and lastly, the SM comes with special edition packaging and a light grain leather carrier pouch with “Steve McQueen” imprinted on it.

Additionally, the SM version was made in exclusive color trims that are not available for the standard series, with the most quintessentially recognized being the Havana Tortoise Shell with Blue Tint lenses. Affectionately called the “Honey” trim by groupthink sourced from our fellow community of online menswear enthusiasts, this specific trim represents what I believe is the single most prized item in the entire Persol collection. If Persol is the most supreme name in eyewear, and if the 714 is the most supreme design in eyewear history as worn by the Patron Saint of Cool Himself, and if the 714SM is the supreme special collection that was limited produced in His Honor, and the Honey is the most supreme trim of them all; then the Honey is the supreme trim of the supreme collection of the supreme design of the Supreme Silver Arrow that is the supreme name in the whole of eyewear spectrum.

And this was the supreme pair of sunglasses I began my Hunt for.

Say it again – impossibly cool. Notice the double Supreme Arrows on the temple that I had spoke of. The 714SM is as close as an authentic reproduction to Steve’s own pair from five decades ago.

mcqueen 714What makes the Hunt so nearly impossible to beat, hence rising the stakes and eventual winnings, are the parlay stipulations that go into the joys of the game. See, I can just as easily buy the 714SM for retail price and be done with it. But that isn’t the point, right? That would be a hypocrisy of Rule #10, as well as a major blow to my personable budget. No no no! I had to win in a honorable way that I could be proud of, making the taste of winning that much sweeter. Therefore, I officiated my rules for the championship match:

1) MSRP for a store purchased pair of the 714SM is $400. I will find my new or slightly used pair at less than $300. Granted, this is still a lot of dough for my own strict budget, but $300 is the ceiling dollar amount I was willing to spend for such an exclusive item that the 714SM is. Plus, I know that unlike a few other articles in my wardrobe, these sunglasses were built to last in both timeless design and quality. Truly is one of those privileges items that you can wear fifty years from now and still look good, as we have already seen proven by the 714.

2) The supreme Honey is my only choice. No other trim will satisfy the craving.

3) The 714 comes in size 52 and 54. My initial coordinated research lead me to the deduction that the 52 was the best size for most heads, as apparently the 54 was portrayed as too large by groupthink in longer width and consequently taller height. This made the Hunt even tougher, since the 52 was made in less quantity than the more readily available 54. Still, I kept to my guns and focused on finding the supreme 52.

4) The SM series came out around circa 2010, with only a few reissues since then (mostly in size 54). The original Honey came without polarized lenses while subsequent updates did. I wanted the updated version.

Yummy Honey.

source persol.comI went out on my epic journey with these four unrelenting boundaries in mind. My departing Bon Voyage was almost two years ago, with the bow set on finding the rarest Whale of them all.

Moby Dick and I encountered much rough seas and near-catches. There was the occasion early on, when I thought I caught my White Whale on an eBay listing set at under $300, but it turned out the final bidding had reached just over $350 at the last few minutes. There was the time that I found a member on the StyleForum exchange selling his 714SM at a great deal, but unfortunately turned out to be the Dark Brown trim and not the Honey Havana I desperately wanted. On and on it went like this. There were periods that I gave up, only to restart once again my weekly search on eBay and Craigslist and my favorite clothing forums. On multiple occasions did I find almost everything that fit my criteria, with usually just the size 52 requirement being the regretfully lone absentee. Frustration came and went. Outbidded here. Unrecovered there. Would this White Whale ever come within my sights? Will I ever get the satisfaction of defeating my adversary, or will I be swallowed up by my own maniacal cause, just as Moby had?

Flash forward to three weeks ago. I made a bid on my coveted Honey on eBay. $290 in a slightly-used quality. Only to end at $350 by a fury of eBay sniping at the last moments. Crushed yet again.

But then a week later, I happen to wake up at the crack of dawn to start the work day. This was unusually early for my weekday habits. There I was, sipping on my daily cup of steamy joe and watching the morning news, when I decided to check my eBay App on my iPhone on a haphazard whim with no particular heading in mind. By now, my 714SM search was my top-listed “Starred Favorite” (amongst other presently ongoing Hunts) that automatically checks for the latest listings I had not seen yet, which *protip* is a rather helpful setting on the App. Again, this was quite unusual for me to do this time of day, as I am barely awake to groggily type anything into my tiny sized phone-computer-camera-source-of-life. But perhaps it was a blessing sent down from the Sartorial Heavens by the Patron Saint of Cool Himself, as there it was at the top of the query results! “Buy It Now” for the steal of $275.

Wait, can it be? Check the criteria. 714SM, and not the regular series nor the 649, as many eBay selling tricksters try to put off as? Yup. Havana Honey? Yes. Size 52? Holy crap, affirmative! Quality? Brand new…seriously? Wait, not a fake? From a reputable powerseller which thousands of reviews and a return policy. Could it be? It took me all but two minutes to triple check the details and pull the trigger. Enter Paypal code. Confirmed. Will ship within two days.YESSS!  Two years of searching for two days of highly anticipated delivery for two seconds of pure tradgasssmm.

2 miracles to become a Saint. 3 miracles to become The Patron Saint of Cool. “Buy it Now” was my first saving grace. If it were set to “Bidding” then I would have undoubtedly been outbid to over the $300 ceiling, just as I had a week prior. The second miracle I figured was that the seller had made the listing just moments before I checked my smartphone that early morning, as I knew for a fact it was not prior listed from a search that I ran that exact last night, and this listing would have been probably sold to someone else by lunchtime. Afterall, I knew the rarity of this trim and size coupled with that kind of bargain would go by all too quickly. There were already 3 watchers on that listing. Sucka’zz! Waited too long! And my last miracle was that the seller and I were in the EST time zone, meaning that only a few of us lucky CONUS Americans living on the East Coast were up at the crack of dawn to see that posting. My Central, Mountain, and Pacific competitors were still sound asleep.

I thanked Patron McQueen and prayed 10 Hail Prince of Wales affirmations for my gratitude. The Hunt was done after nearly two years of sweat and tears. My sunglasses collection is now complete for all intents and purposes, since I really don’t need anything else. My American Optical Original Pilots are my cheap but durable daily drivers. The Persol 2803 is my sleek sophisticated pair. Those free Ray Ban aviators that I luckily found on the beach are sitting at the back of my closet for that once-a-year opportunity I actually care to wear them. My Bolle sport shades are in my glove compartment for my afternoon runs.

Finally now, the holy grail trim of the  Persol 714SM in Havana finishes out my stable of pure bred champion racers. As my most fashionably forward pair, the 714SM is the peacock of the hardy bunch. I can see these complimenting any occasion. Spring picnic at Central Park in a green gingham and tan wingtips. Summer vacation to the French Riviera in a white linen suit. Lounging in an Aspen ski cabin in a tweed overcoat and burnt orange corduroys. Perhaps this upcoming autumn, in the spirit of Mr. McQueen, I will take a drive through the Appalachians in a black turtleneck and plaid prince of wales sportcoat, with the brown Havana frame mirroring the earthy tones of foliage. These 714s are my flagship in my personal eyewear collection, just as it is the flagship paradigm that captures all of the ideals that beset the extraordinary ethos of the Supreme Silver Arrow.

 

CollegeTrad Recommends:

If you can’t wait for two years like I did on eBay, then you can buy the Havana 714SM at only a few select approved retailers. For the 2014 S/S Season, Persol came out with a small reissued batch, with the two below presently selling them as of this posting date.

SunglassHut. $400. Only currently offered in size 54.

Mr. Porter. $400. Both 52 and 54 are currently available. Better hurry though, since Mr. Porter typically features merchandise in sampled showcase with only a limited quantity.

*Protip: If you do buy from a third party then remember to look for the identifying details that separate the SM from the standard 714 series that I described earlier.

As taken from my IG.

Persol 714SM CollegeTrad

Game. Set. Match. Next!

 

 

 

Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestSubmit to redditSubmit to StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on Twitter