Swim Trunks

 

I had received a few messages from you guys asking for swimwear ideas for the upcoming summer season. Unfortunately, I am too late catching you before heading out with the Brothers on your Spring Break road trip from Columbia to that coastal SEC stronghold that is the one and only Gulf Shores. But we’ll have plenty more sunshine to bake under while we have our drunken fun, as Summer Term I rolls out (time to take that blow-off general ed. credit!) and the first round of the midyear holidays arrives with upcoming Memorial Weekend in a few days,  bringing us short shorts, and even-shorter skirts kind of weather. Perfect for “studying” for the Western Civilization midterm while you tan shirtless on the bell tower quad, taking glances from behind the safety of your Persols at the incoming barely legal frosh girls, still sweet and innocent as they tour the campus with their parents, in those awesome thigh-revealing Nike athletic shorts that all Daddy’s lil’ future sorostitutes start collecting for the dorm/gym/everything.

Or maybe instead of sticking close to College St. for the break, you find yourself heading home and catching up with your high school buddies. (Who got fat and pregnant this year?) Undoubtedly you will be invited to someone’s friend’s backyard pool party, where you can hit on your little sister’s 10th grade friends. Perhaps your cousin invites you out to the Lake Michigan on his Yamaha with a few beers chilling in his ol’ Yeti that his college Theta sweetheart decorated for him (married now for 5 years strong!). Or maybe you just want to head out to the pier with you golden retriever to the pier to catch a few fish as the sun sets well into the night.

All of these spirited occasions call for the most casual of preppy attire. I’ll loosely label this topic as “Swim Trunks”, alluding to aquatic use, but it can also cover all the times your toes dig deep into the sand or when your neck gets attacked by mosquitos at a poolside barbecue. For all the times a body of water is nearby or if you just want an alternative to stuffy chino shorts while sunbathing at the deck. Thus keeping to our preppy and fratty tradition, below are my personal picks.

CollegeTrad Recommends:

Swim Trunks

For the younger crowd who are still in college or are post grad by a few years, you can easily get away with TFM. I prefer only two shorts for this theme: Patagonia 5″ Inseam Baggies and Vineyard Vines Chappy Trunks. Those two brands obviously come into play as amongst the ultimate fratdaddy approved, but their swimwear also coincides with my short inseam campaign by hitting well above the knee (which is not only fratty but also has utility too: less fabric to weigh you down with water log). Having one of each should carry you through, as I currently do, but feel free to collect more colors and patterns if you visit the beach more often. I especially like the classically popular Chappy motifs of preppy paisley graphics.

Patagonia does offer a 7″ Inseam Baggies, but since these shorts have a high rise, the inseam is not short enough for our purposes, causing it to hit just above the knee and not well above for our tastes. So I recommend the 5″ unless you are a freakishly tall manmore.

Source Patagonia.comSource VineyardVines.comPerhaps noticeably missing are the shorts from Ralph Lauren. These tend to also be a fratdaddy favorite, but I personally advise against them solely because Blue Label apparel with the visible Pony logo has now fallen out of favor. I’ve talked about this transition before in past writings, but simply put, a Pony is not as fratastic nor preppy as the Whale or the Dusk Mountain Range in the curriculum of preppier than thou’. Sorry Ralph! But your staple polo shirt (and in this instance your trunks) with those increasingly larger and larger pony logos are just too mainstream to be considered novel by our elitist tastes.

But if you must go against my wishes, I will concede and recommend the Hawaiian 5″ Inseam Swim Boxer.

Source RalphLauren.comAnd speaking of logos, I am also adverse to our usual suspects such as Brooks Brothers or J Press York St. Yes, they too offer trunks, but I like the Golden Fleece as it was originally intended: for trad attire and not for athletic and swimwear. I like to keep my brands separated within their realm of perceived expertise. You wouldn’t buy an expensive timepiece from a fashion house like Burberry, and instead opt for a real watch maker like Omega. Same deduction.

Which then leads me to the newer crop of frat goodies. The likes of Southern Marsh, Southern Tide, and Chubbies have entered the swim market, but I will refer you to the caveat of the above explanation. Although, I can see a freshman buying one for his third or fourth pair. But my bounded idiosyncrasies about these matters pull me back to the null statement: you only have a relatively short window of time to wear these options. I’d say anything past a few years out of school gives you the hint to retire the frat labels.

I’ve endorsed Chubbies before because I like their spirit and dedication to my #ShortShorts (or #ThighsOut) campaign. Their selection comes in Swim and Boat Shorts. I especially like the unique “Sperry Top Sider” leather detail at the back. Recently they also came out with a Nautical collection with some interesting and flashy designs, but don’t appear to be necessarily water proof. Good for eating crabcakes on your yacht though! If I had to choose a fratdaddy company then Chubs’ would get my take.

Source ChubbiesShorts.com

But to play it safe for your staple pair, and to keep me from having an aneurysm,  just take my word for it: Baggies or Chappies.

So what does happen a few years down the line after your college days? What would a Fratdaddy turned Trad-actually-is-a-daddy wear? I think the Baggies and Chappys are still fair game to a certain extent, although possibly no longer of first tier preference. Here again, I keep to the classic school of thought for the answer, and go to the established experts, and in particular to two highly established surfing companies.  Quicksilver was one of the first of the major surfing brands to offer short-inseam styles (a welcome change from the low hanging, baggy boardshorts that makes no sense in practical terms…water log!) about five years ago as an ode to the hip hugging 1970′s. And Sundeck Rainbow board shorts actually lived famously during those times, adorning the pioneering Califronia Dreamin’ wave riders, and finally coming back to prominence when the company was reintroduced as a higher-end swim trunk option in 2008.

I would get a funky print or vintage pattern with Quicksilver. They go by outseam; the below model is 18″ which translates to 7″ inseam.

Source Quicksilver.comSundek is what I’ll be wearing until I am a grandpa and creepin’ on the bikini clad ladies. The famous Rainbow is to swimwear as what Clubmasters are for sunglasses, in that they may trace their heritage to the mid-century, and therefore are what seasoned trads would wear.

Source Lyst.com

Flip Flops

Goes hand in hand with swimwear. Rainbow Sandals. That’s it. There is no wiggle room here. I remember when my older brother bought his first pair in 1998 when it was still just known among surfers (he still has that pair too). Now they’ve risen to the notoriety of being the only acceptable, non-el cheapo pair of flip flops for men. This transcends our sub community of trad/prep/frat btw; I say this as a blanket statement for all.

I got my first pair in freshman year of high school and only had to replace with a second just a few years ago because the soles had worn through – I suspect the switch away from Made in USA manufacturing that my brother was lucky enough to benefit from may have played into the decline in the historically very reputable quality. Nevertheless, I recommend Rainbow Sandals and Rainbow only. The single layer in brown leather is all you need.

Just don’t let me see your nasty ass jacked toes outside the boundary of dress code regarded in this article. Grown men in flip flops otherwise is just gross.

Source RainbowSandals.com

How To Wear:

As mentioned in the opening dialogue, you can wear trunks for its explicit use in the water, or to “pseudo aqueous” occasions like tanning or freeballing (*wink). The Baggies in particular can double as lounge shorts and can be frequently seen on campus, with Greeks mixmatching with OCBDs or frockets. I love them for swimming, hiking, or events of extremely minimal effort from my part.

Going into the deep blue. Besides the obvious like a towel and sunscreen, I always accessorize with headgear and sunglasses to keep sun exposure down. I also prefer to bring a sport watch but usually keep it in my beach bag once I get there to reduce tan lines or potential mechanical injury (just because it is water-resistant does not mean it loves salt!)

1

Frocket at the back! Sneak one past the lifeguard.

2Besides frocket tees, another TFM move is wearing an old lax or soccer pinnie (and I’ve seen some universities sell them too). Mind you, this is strictly for the boardwalk or for bathroom breaks between soaking up the sun. The point is that you will take off your top at some point.

I know. DYEL? fffffuuuUUUUUU

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If you don’t want to show off your belly ring then you can bring a tank instead. This one was freebie swag from Chubbies. Shown with my Vineyard Vines Chappy. I said earlier that I like the crazier designs, but ultimately chose this pattern to err on minimalism (as comparatively minimal as plaid can be I suppose) since this is my only pair.

Pushing arm fat for illusion.

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Thighs Out, agreed!

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Speaking of Chubbies- I reveal to the world my ‘Muricas! These aren’t trunks but can still be worn in similar fashion outside the water. Kept only for special occasions; notably a July 4th house party last year. And yeah, this does go against my own rules regarding such matters, flying against my earlier sentiment in related posts. I will probably withdraw them from its short run in a few years anyway, as my youthful window of excuse tick tocks quickly away (although I can reserve it for lazy afternoons around the apartment), and am indeed already past my prime for this level of fratitude. However, I do hope to enjoy these abominations of Going to Hell a little longer.

Worn for the pseudo aqueous stuff like cookouts or picnics on the lawn. Preferably during a summer holiday weekend.

6Put the back frocket to good use. I got your Stars and Stripes right here buddy! 7

 

Enjoy summer! Don’t drown.

Updated 5/30/14

 

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Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Pullover

Patagonia SynchillaBeen had Synchilla

 

I admit it. It’s an unhealthy obsession.

And with close to 30 years of one-of-a-kind mouth watering colors and patterns, there’s just too many to choose from. So far I have four trophies. A normal person would say that is enough. Why have so many of the same thing? Jeez, is that a new one? But the mind of a deranged fanatic doesn’t quit. There is always one more victim waiting to be hung on the wall.

It can be traced back to the pre-CT days when I was just getting into our beloved style. Wasn’t long before coming across a few threads at AAAC about the forefather preps of the 80′s and what they wore when they were undergrads. Before then, I had never heard of it, and never knew what to look for if ever chanced upon in public. But now, it’s one of the few clothing items I’ll instantly give respect to if seen across the room. To put it simply, the Patagonia Synchilla is the original fleece outerwear. A portmanteau of “synthetic – chinchilla” (homage to the fiber’s acting like a second skin, keeping you warm like a chirpy animal in the Andes), famous rock climber and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard helped usher in the era of fleece, with the Synchilla being introduced in 1985. It soon became associated with the prep scene and the likes of LLBean and Gap grabbed on with similar styles, with the path eventually leading to the tech prep fleece minefield of today. With these kinds of yuppie roots and longevity, it wasn’t long before I was scouring eBay. While everyone had their North Face Denali, I wanted to bring back the true champion, and found my first Synchilla for a cool ten bucks (top left in the title picture).

I’ve noticed that they’ve made a faithful resurgence. It’s why you’ll see me have an erection every time I find one in the wild in my Campus Pervert articles, as if I am trying to convince you of their awesomeness. But it’s not as out of the ordinary these days in my area compared to even a few years ago, since I can spot a middle schooler fresh from soccer practice at my Whole Foods wearing them, thanks to his older sibling who just pledged St. Elmos at UVA no doubt. But you can still see the divide between those who are and who aren’t cheekily “in the know” crowd. The Synchilla definitely goes with the imagery: the God Mode Prep kid driving his ’98 V70 wagon to the aquatic center at Choate, his Synchilla, passed down from his Dad who wore it in his pub crawling during b-school at Wharton, laying next to his goggles and jammer, ready to warm him up for the cool Connecticut evenings after the meet. They may not be truly “trad” as synthetic outerwear, but with each new generation of preps, yuppies, fratdaddies, and neo-trads, the word will evolve with its meaning. Surely the Synchilla will cement itself into our history with a final transcendence from prepdom to tradom.

And what’s not to love? The frocket to hold your sunglasses and chapstick. The bright, alternate coloring of the piping and patch pocket. The somehow majestic mechanism of the pullover itself, and not some dime a dozen fleece zip up, especially with the oh-so-lovely touch of croakies and Costas peeking out the neck. It comes in an array of different colors each season, and with the return of the Native American prints two years ago (the vintage ones go for over $100 on eBay) for the frattier-than-thou folks to GTH each other out, yours truly guilty, it would be a crime to just have only one! I decided to break the basic color spectrum for my third, the Yanaba Forge Grey pictured bottom right, which was the phoenix flagship of the patterned Synchilla in 2012.

Dress them up, dress them down (given the appropriate kind of formal occasion of course- think brisk walk to the family reunion dinner at the beachside restaurant). They look good with a bow tie and an OCBD for the weekly brother’s meeting. Or to the gym. Or out with the guys. The Synchilla is my mainstay casual jacket, worn the most out of anything else in my closet for day to day wear. Shaggy dogs and Synchillas: these GMP-level items debut each new F/W season with a limited assortment of colors offered that often may not appear for a long time again…these are my drugs.

As alluded, I don’t own any North Face gear, and especially keep away those black jackets with a white logo. They’ve overstayed their welcome and have lost its preppiness, best left for the sorority chicks in their “don’t wanna dress up for class” uniform of NF, Uggs, and yoga pants [pumpkin spice chai latte optional]. So don’t be like this guy or this guy playing that guy. North Face lost it’s cool somewhere in the mid 2000s, because that’s when I remember them making its way into high school. Same could be said with the Synchila of course, but it’s the original fleece, man, and Patagucci is hard to beat in terms of frattytude legendary status. So leave the Denali to “it’s cold enough to wear a jacket but warm enough to wear flip flops, or my body has blood circulation issues ” guy or “baggy jeans with running sneakers because I’m a guy who just doesn’t care about money, fame, and looks” guy.

Although that Zuckerberg guy wears NF and he shouldn’t be made fun of. He has billions you know.

Where to buy

If you’re a Synchilla virgin waiting for marriage, I’d suggest buying your first wife on eBay, where you can find vintage ones for under $25 (wait for the warmer months where demand is not as high). It’s also my resource for finding the hard to get colors, like the Rust with blue piping, top right in the title, that took me almost two months to find. I’d also suggest buying a coveted “Made in USA” for your first, before Patagonia made the switch to off shores. My most recent buy, the Oatmeal with dark green piping at bottom left, is especially tough to find and took me almost a year (unhealthy obsession, I tell you!) of varied searches. I’ve seen them go well over $100, and I was luckily enough to score mine for less than $50 ;) . Sadly, the American made Oatmeals only come with the dark green piping, while foreign made ones come with blue or red which I preferred if not outweighed by the country of origin. But can’t have all the luck I suppose! The reason the lighter colored Creme and Oatmeal Synchillas are so prized is because they hadn’t been offered for the mens collection in probably over a decade, and while everyone has a black or navy blue, I have yet to see any guy with a clean, crisp shade, great for matching with dark colored chinos or athletic shorts. However, for those of you not wanting to put in the relentless work that I did, lucky for you there is a  “Bleached Stone” offered for the 2014 Spring. Good for Patagonia to recognize the demand. The only difference between mine and the newest appears to be the coloring of the snap buttons and the white gradient variation. Oh, and mine is Made in USA, yours in Nicaragua. Suck it.

Patagonia Synchilla USA

Along with the callback of the sweet Native American patterns (the newer ones have the patch frocket, the older ones do not), Patagonia also introduced a Lightweight version, less by about 4 oz than the original. If you want a popular color or pattern, I’d suggest buying them brand new for $99, and since we are nearing the end of F/W season, you can buy the winter weight for $83 if you can find your size, discounted from the regular price of $119. Otherwise, hunt for deals with several third party retailers, such as AfterSchool and 6pm.

I was able to buy my Forge Grey, the only one I purchased new actually, from ShoeBuy which usually offers 10-20% discount off of regularly priced items plus free shipping if you do an internet search for a code. So I was able to get mine for under $100 from the regular $119 at the start of the season for maximum savings.

Patagonia Synchilla Logo

 

Turns out I’m not the only one with this obsession after all. A few more readings for your unabated pleasure: A Trip Down South, Dreams of Perfection, Red Clay Soul, and good ol’ Muffy.

 

 

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What is “Fratty”?

Ahh…college.

Around this time of year, soon-to-be college students all across the country depart from their mediocre high school existence and prepare to enter a beautiful rite of passage known as Freshman Year…just as supposedly-wisdomed and matured Seniors graduate with their Bachelors Degree and a beer pot belly.

Some of you who are from the sunny West or across the blue Atlantic have inquired about the “Frat Daddy” label. What exactly is fratty style? And how can I do it right? Well, just like my trad mannerisms, there are some do’s and many don’ts, but the style should not be confused with authentic trad and prepdom. Because technically, fratty style consists of all dont’s. But I do realize that the name of my blog prominently directs your attention to collegiate fashions, and a little walk off the beaten trail doesn’t hurt every once in a while, which is precisely why I have this fratty category to begin with.

Here is what Frat Daddyism certainly is not:

Not necessarily fashionable nor correctly preppy.

Not necessarily endorsed by me, Tony from College Trad.

Definitely not to be worn past the age of late 20s at the very extreme.

So paranoid am I about this message that I have added caveats to the more extravagant demonstration pictures following below, just in case some of you bastards Pin or Tumblr my pictures for all the world to see. Frat Daddyism does not accurately represent the backbone of College Trad and flies in direct opposition to the advice put forth here. I am trying to get you away from looking like a dorm room coed, and more into a knowledgable and fashionable youthful appearance. Thus, there goes my admonition.

Here is a general gist of what Frat Daddyism is:

A style of dress influenced by preppy East Coast style. As such, usually seen on the American East Coast and Southern campuses.

Very prevalent among Greek Members, although any Geed can wear it too.

Regional preferences between the Northeast, Southeast, South, and Southwest affects the style, but in essence, they are all equally bad. (lol)

Frat Daddys are associated with douchebags, debauchery, and disgust. Awesome.

Reference TFM for more info or watch the title Youtube clip and their channel.

Dressing fratty is about combining adolescence, athleticism, and the Go To Fucking Hell attitude of mix & matching with aspects of traditional American styling. It’s become an elaborate “tag you’re it” game these days, like who can out-frat the next brother. Lots of in your face clothing that looks wonderfully hideous and usually chaperoned by a zero chance of remorse. Frat daddies represent a herd culture like any other group of like-minded people on your typical college campus. They like to bastardize trad clothing and call it their own. But, unlike the hipsters or sandals-wearing folk, there is some potential for growth into true, fashionable prepdom. For many 18 year olds, fratty style is the first foray into dressing well, introducing fresh faces to the enjoyment of tradition and heritage. Blue blazers with gold buttons. Chinos with cuffs. Leather shoes with hard soles. Hell, even boat shoes. The finer things in life, as it turns out, can be sourced from the not-so-elegant. That Vineyard Vines frat kid can very well turn into a successful, Oxxford suited executive one day, and all because his Big Brother first introduced him to the uniform years ago.

Here are some highlights of Frat Daddyism. You’ll see some reoccurring themes, like the croakies and the high top athletic socks for example. Enjoy and take it all in but keep the snickering to yourself, you clothing elitist snobs!

Typical fratty attire. During the warmer months, your standard guise consists of a pocket t shirt (aka fratty + pocket = frocket), pastel shorts ending well above the knee, high top athletic socks, fratty approved sneakers, and a cold brewski. Good for casual events or sleeping in the classroom. Just don’t let the professor see the alcohol.

3When it gets chilly, add a Fratagonia Synchilla pull over fleece and you are good to go. Plus those socks will keep your calves warm. Because that was totally the intent.3abA less obtrusive and more trad-honoring costume, so I figured a warning sign wasn’t needed here. Worn for times you feel like dressing up a bit more. Garden parties, rush dinners, and taking out your Kappa girlfriend perhaps. Don’t forget to GTH your outfit any chance you get, with a cult classic Brooks Brothers Fun Shirt (one of the guys in the video has the same one actually), The Game College Bar hat, GMP level Duck Head short inseamed shorts, and sockless pennies. Fraternity belt and croakies to show off the letters, or any other motif belt would suffice given it is a navy tone and doesn’t have too much of a pattern so it can ground the GTHellness of the Fun Shirt.

1Utilize your pockets. On game days, you can put the cheering stick in your back pocket if you don’t already have a beer bottle there. I have my College Bar hat in my side pocket but I have seen fratbrahs stuff it in their backside into the shorts, with the brim flattened and flushed against the lower back.2There are many southern lifestyle brands out there, but stick with New England preppy Vineyard Vines and original frat hard Southern Tide from the start. Many newer companies have become too much of a copy cat and should generally be avoided unless they bring something unique to the table. Like motif state belts from Volunteer Traditions. And Chubbies.

Here is a Southern Tide polo with the famous Skipjack, Stand Ups with 7″ inseam, and devilishly mixed and matched high top socks and Sperry Topsiders.

4a

What’s the deal with those high top athletic socks anyway? It is custom to wear high tops on the field for prep school sports like lacrosse and soccer, and since a part of the whole Frat Daddy experience glorifies being a jock, you want to appear like you can jump into lax stick drills while dodging pesky GDI nerds at the gym and fast breaking to the lunch line. I prefer New Balance high tops to match my 993s, and to be different from all the other Nike worshiping kids. I swear, entire chapters swarm the nearest Foot Locker and buy out the entire Nike sock section.

But…but…athletic socks with boat shoes? Yup, seen it before numerous times. Nope, I don’t approve of this at all.

At the lakehouse or the beach. Old lax pinnie, Fratagonia 5″ Baggies, and classic Rainbow sandals- only to be worn near a body of water or in between bouts of tanning on the quad. I’ll trust you guys to know that this is for days of abundant sunshine and aquatic fun, so I left off the heed of caution.

5The classic blue blazer and bowtie combo. To all incoming pledges: learn this well! Have fun with it and incorporate colors or patterns that match the event. For fraternity galas, splash in your brotherhood colors. At football games, wear Pennington & Bailes stadium pants. At fratastic horse derbies or outdoor sporting events like the Carolina Cup or the Harriman Cup, go classy with a seersucker or madras sports coat. Since this picture was taken around Memorial Day, I wore ‘Murican Red, White, and Blue bowtie and oxford cloth pants. Smathers & Branson needlepoint flask hidden in your jacket inner pocket is basically required.6In the autumn, a popular look is pairing a vest with a tattersall OCBD. Ideally, you’d have a fleece Fratagucci vest or a quilted Barbour waistcoat but I do not personally own either so I used my Brooks Brothers inner lining vest which seems doable on a whim. Add cuffed no-break chinos and you are game set for beerpong at the Pike house party. And as always, croakies and college hat pairs well. Sure. Even when it’s night time.7One more outfit to assault the senses. Worn for dorming around or a quick trip to Redbox. Brooks Brothers long sleeve frocket, old game lax shorts, high tops and Bean Boot Mocs. Captain Morgan pose and brewmeiski cozie not included.

8a

Some general tips:

Keep the inseams short.

As with trad clothing advise, keep to one GoToHades piece at a time.

The more beat up the leather or cloth, the better.

Pair formal with informal (i.e. high top socks with loafers).

Trust these fratty companies for branded apparel: Vineyard Vines, Southern Tide, Southern Marsh, and Southern Proper.Then donate them to your younger cousin after college.

Don’t forget the classic brands like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren.These can actually be worn well into adulthood.

Speaking of which, logos matter a whole lot to the sheep crowd. Golden Fleece reigns supreme. The Polo is too mainstream in my opinion.

Take advantage of regional differences. Wrangler jeans and Roper boots at TCU. Columbia PFG fishing gear at Ole Miss. Barbour oiled coats for Georgetown. Perlis polos for LSU. Look around and take note.

Teen brands Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle are so not TFM. Neither are huka shells and popped collars. They haven’t been seen on a true Frat Daddy since the 90s.

Dressing and being part of a fraternity doesn’t mean you have to partake in every sinful act. That’s just my general piece of advise. You don’t want to actually be a douchebag with multiple STDs and Skoal breath. Stay safe.

Most importantly: Be fratty at school. Be classy everywhere else.

Fratty style is okay when you’re young. You are allowed to make mistakes at this age. Yours truely used to dress this way, and still adopts some bearing of Frat Daddyism while still in his mid 20s and graduate school. But I can hear the sirens calling over the horizon. At graduation, please leave the TFM and croakies to the new generation of foreveryoungin’s and learn to appreciate your new found inkling for gentlemanly haberdashery.

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