These days, 'trad' or 'preppy' or whatever-you-want- to-call-it is enjoying a minor spell of youth popularity. I'll admit, I own some of these clothes myself. Not because they're trendy, but because, like everything else I've ever purchased, I managed to find them cheap (or should I say, priced at their real value). One thing I've noticed is that they all have silly, contrived details. Two examples:This shirt from Rugby has made more than a few appearances on this blog. It may be something of a piece of sweatshop junk, but it only cost me a couple of bucks, it's hard wearing and it looks well even when I don't iron it, which can be a handy quality in a shirt when I find myself in a hurry. And say what you will about the brand, if it makes the young'uns think that critter pants and striped ties are cool, it can't be all bad. At least a few of those kids might outgrow it and move on to the real stuff. But:
Down at the tails, it has these silly bits of imitation necktie sewn in, and worst:this silly little guy on the chest relegates this garment firmly in the "sweater shirt" column. Insufferable. I'd like this so much better if it were just plain.
These khakis provide a less egregious example:
Again, sweatshop junk to be sure, but they're cut well, the cloth is sturdy, they were only $5.49, and so on. But again we see the fake neck tie sewn on the inside.
Why do so many of these brands feel the need to add these silly suggestions of the classic repp tie all over everything? Can't a guy just wear an actual striped tie with these things? These kind of details make me feel silly owning these things. I know enough about menswear to feel like a chump when I give in to this sort of ham-fisted attempt at the old university vibe.
The problem is, I can't really afford the good stuff.
The trick is, mixing this junk in selectively, among the good stuff, and keeping your mouth shut. That, plus wearing it with style and confidence, is the key to building An Affordable Wardrobe.