Spring & Summer Wardrobe

Madras Plaid Tie

Official party anthem of Summer

I apologize for the absence of updated porn stash pics (…completely disregarded Winter ’13…), so finally here are a few select outfits I have worn in the later parts of spring through the current first half of summer for your inspiration. Keeping to the mission statement of CollegeTrad, I highlighted below a few pick clothing items that obey Rule #10.

Birthday dinner on a temperate afternoon in early April. This chino sportcoat is a repeat offender you’ve seen a few times in past articles, but with good reasoning. I think an unstructured khaki or stone colored sportcoat in cotton or linen is essential in your closet because it’s so versatile as a semi-formal jacket during the mid seasons. The lightness of the neutral tone visually compliments the warm weather and sunshine so impeccably well, creating a relaxed and airy vibe for the rest of your outfit. Great for dressing out on those fashion-forward occasions like a hot date with a classmate from your graduate program or out to a hip gastropub with your coworkers. This should be your third or fourth jacket, after the staple blue blazer and a versatile wool sportcoat (the other 3rd/4th would be a winter coat, like tweed or herringbone.) And the lightweight 14-Whale corduroy is perfect for moderate spring and autumn temperatures.

JCrew Unconstructed Ludlow Sportcoat
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Spread Collar Dress Shirt, Slim Fit, $35 via “3 for $179 everyday deal” plus additional 30% off Corporate Double Discount Day and stacked $20 Brooks Card Birthday gift card (originally $92)
Brooks Brothers Country Club Fine 14-Whale Corduroy Pants, $30 via eBay (originally $108)
Cole Haan Pinch Penny Loafers, $50 used via eBay (originally $158)
Brooks Brothers argyle socks, made in England
The Cordial Churchman Seersucker Pocket Square, made in USA
American Optical Polarized Original Pilots, made in USA
Hamilton Khaki Field Watch with NATO strap

Study brunch with friends on a humid morning. I recently scored a great wholesale deal on a few pairs of Ralph Lauren shorts in novelty colors from a JCPenny Liquidation Store, just in time for this year’s heat wave. Had them all hemmed from the standard 9″ to 7-7.5″ inseam.

Lacoste Classic Pique Polo, inherited from my father
Ralph Lauren Oxford Cotton Shorts, $15 via JCPenny (originally $80). Hemmed to 7.5″
Rancourt & Co Gilman Camp Moc in Horween Chromexcel Leather, made in USA
Hamilton Khaki Field Watch with NATO Strap

Worn for Easter Sunday and again for a spring wedding. This suit is one of my best treasure finds of my budget hunting career thus far. Beautiful mid-navy sharkskin wool (the below pics don’t do it justice) that was custom made, but returned and ultimately copped by me. Will be my new fashionably forward go-to suit for formal attire. I did have to make a sizable investment to drastically tailor it, which included recutting the pants from a size 36 to 32 (waist altering can be within two inches but anymore will require a more expensive and surgical recut). Definitely well worth the extra $100 though. Total cost of the suit was about $220….originally $2300. Less than 10% of MSRP!

A belt with a suit is unnecessary for non-business occasions. Perfectly fine and even preferred for joyous times like a wedding, where the minimalism replaces conservative overtones that are inherent to a belt meant for the board room. Just be sure your pants waist fits like a glove, or use braces.

The details. In this new hyperstylized climate we now find ourselves in (a stark contrast to the pre-”mens style tumblr” days that were void of personal sartorial education and refinement), I find myself making the effort to go against the grain with what has entered the apex of the mainstream fashion demand curve. Mens accessories are a great example of this, where it seems like everyone these days has a pocket square+tie bar+lapel thingy+wrist bracelet+penis ring. This is why I have designated my own tie bar as a benchwarmer for now; worn as an occasional treat instead of as a standard practice (mostly if I am going for an urbanprep look, like a sportcoat paired with a 2″ knit tie and denim) But I still want to have a little something extra for times I want to be noticed and admired. Enter: the collar pin. This niffy byproduct reminiscent of the Gordon Gekko-ian years is a tad more subliminal than a tie bar, but still gives a wink and a smile to your gawking fans. And unlike a tie bar that is ruled by the width ratio of the bar to the tie, a collar pin works for any tie size. Worn best with a french dress shirt with finished holes at the point collar.

The yellow socks and the yellow/navy cotton cuff links nicely compliment with the yellow accents in the tie plaid pattern and the suit’s navy blue. Dress shoes in cordovan and dark browns are the traditional match for navy suits (as well as black), so I played it safe with these burgundy Allen Edmonds Cliftons. But I think a light brown or walnut color looks good as well, even if it breaks the hard fast rules, as long as the occasion welcomes it (i.e. peacocking at your parents’ anniversary luncheon is great, peacocking at an interview is not).

Brooks Brothers errrythang…

Custom Made Sharkskin Suit in Mid-Navy, made in USA, $120 via Garland NC Clearance Center (originally $2300)
Madras Plaid Tie, made in USA
French Cuffed Dress Shirt with Tie Bar Point Collar, made in USA
Dress Socks in Yellow, made in England
Allen Edmonds Clifton in Burgandy, made in USA, $60 used via eBay (originally $295)
Bucherer Dress Watch

Decided to go full metal preppy for a day outing.

J Press Flap Pocket OCBD, Trim Fit, made in USA
Ralph Lauren Seersucker Shorts, $15 via JCPenny (originally $80). Hemmed to 7″
Allen Edmonds Westchester Loafers in Walnut, made in USA,
$130 used via eBay (originally $385)
Leatherman Ltd. Surcingle Belt, made in USA
Seiko SKX009 Watch
Persol Polarized Sunglasses

One of the codes of conduct I follow in accordance to an authentic preppy lifestyle is the theme of staying “true to yourself”. It is the reason why I praise motif belts that show your hobbies, or buying a souvenir frocket tee from a favorite restaurant as opposed to Vineyard Vines. I am against fabricated representations: logo sport patches selling a brand instead of a real athletic club, predistressed graphic tees, garish oversized logos, and so on. Furthermore, this resilience to the contrived seeps into the occlusion of other cringey clothing habits. Let me illustrate: You know that one kid who walks around campus in a crimson red tee with HARVARD displayed proudly for all to see? Wait…you guys are still enrolled at William & Mary, right? And you’re pretty sure he is an undergrad student since you see him run around with a broom between his legs at Quidditch practice. Then unless that dude transferred (doubt it) then there is no reason for him to wear another school’s shirt that he did not attend, at another school’s campus no less….That kind of cringe.

But not to say there isn’t a small grey area either. I happen to have grown up in Durham, just a stone’s throw and a window cracking away from Duke University, and have quite a few connections to the institution and health system. Friends who currently attend or graduated from there, a few family members work there, I used to work there, and I see Coach K often enough that it isn’t mere coincidence. Living on Tobacco Road forces you to pick a religion (baptism into a local ACC college basketball house that is), so naturally it was easy for me to like the darker, *cough* correct *cough* shade of blue. We have no other major sports teams in Raleigh-Durham other than from the NHL, so the Blue Devils and Kevin Costner’s minor league Bulls fight for the pride of our town. I vividly remember all throughout grade school the bragging rights or the walk of shame each person had the morning after a big game. And seeing how our excellent men’s LAX team won the national title again this year, I don’t mind wearing this championship shirt around my hometown. Just not at the schools I actually attend and rarely anytime outside of NC. And I draw the line at university gear that are not team affiliated. Indeed, yes you can represent a faucet of interest in your own life as long as you can back it up with some inkling of familiar connection. I like to think of myself as a psuedo Duke alumni, even without that really really really expensive piece of really expensive paper.

TFM: interplaying casual clothing with formal loafers. Nothing frattier than lacrosse.

University Bookstore T-Shirt
Columbia PFG Half Moon Shorts
Allen Edmonds Westchester Loafers in Walnut, made in USA
Seiko 5 Watch

Another combo suitable for a King Fratdaddy. Worn to an outdoor nature exhibit where I wanted to be in comfortable shoes.

SEWE Frocket
Ralph Lauren Chino Shorts, $7 thrifted (originally $70). Tapered and hemmed to 7.5″
New Balance 993, made in USA
The Game College Bar Hat
Seiko 5 Watch

Business casual. Fun socks to brighten up the bland.

Brooks Brothers Non-Iron OCBD, Houndstooth Light Blue, Slim Fit
Brooks Brothers Advantage Chino, Milano Fit
Brooks Brothers Argyle Socks, made in England
Cole Haan Pinch Penny Loafers
Trafalgar Engine Turned Plaque with with brown calfskin strap
Seiko 5 Watch

Dinner and a movie. Lavender (and Lilac) is one of my favorite colors for spring. Think of it as a spiritual descendant of that other standard choice of vanity…Lavender is the new Pink is the new Orange is the new Black. Going for a sophisticated neoprep look, I wore my tortoise shells that match the rich tannery of the belt that match the texture of the bucks.

Brooks Brothers Non-Iron OCBD, Lavender Gingham, Slim Fit, $35 via “3 for $179 everyday deal” plus additional 30% off Corporate Double Discount Day and stacked $20 Brooks Card Birthday gift card (originally $92)
Raleigh Denim, Jones Fit, made in USA, $110 used via eBay (originally $285)
Cole Haan Saddle Bucks, made in USA
LL Bean Chino Belt, 1″ width, vintage, made in USA
Banana Republic loafer socks
Persol Tortoise Shell Eyeglasses

Memorial Day church service and family picnic.

The details.

The bowtie has a nautical theme on the reverse side. I liked how the light blue backdrop matches the oxford pants.

Brooks Brothers Windowpane Sport Coat in Navy, made in USA
Brooks Brothers OCBD, Slim Fit, made in USA
Brooks Brothers Reversible Bow Tie, made in USA, gift
Brooks Brothers Pocket Square, made in USA, gift
Lands End Oxford Cotton Pants
Allen Edmonds Grayson Tassel Loafers in Merlot, made in USA, $100 used via eBay (originally $365)
Trafalgar Engine Turned Plaque with brown calfskin strap
Bucherer Dress Watch