01 September 2009

One For The Road

As I write this post it strikes me that a whole Summer has passed on this blog without a single photo involving the classic but enigmatic "Nantucket Reds". It's strange, because I've probably worn these pants at least twice a week for the past three months. They're like khakis, only better, because they're pink.(Nantucket Red, Coral, whatever..they're pink) The only other person I know who wears pink pants more often is my six month old daughter.
Polo blue university stripe oxford, $5.49, J. Press 3/2 sack blazer, $7.49, Lands End "Nantucket Reds", $6.99,
and my new favorite Brooks Brothers fishing themed surcingle belt, $0.99,

and of course, the ubiquitous "Beefroll" pennies.

I know, real Nantucket Reds come from Murray's Toggery Shop.(Located on "the island", as it's known around Boston...that other place is "the vineyard".) I have a pair of those, too. But to be honest, I like these better. For one thing, even though the course canvas sailcloth of actual Murray's Reds may be more hardcore New England go-to-hell than anything, I frankly find them stiff and uncomfortable in a way that is anathema to the very nonchalance they are supposed to embody. Also, since my pair is now, post two children, at least two inches too small, that doesn't help either. This pair is soft as anything. I wash them frequently, mostly because the pink pants wearing baby has a tendency to spit up on me, but also because they get softer, less constructed and more faded every time, and that's the point, isn't it? Sure, they'd reach a state of transcendent perfection over the course of many years in the sun and salt air of the open seas. But when a guy writes a blog about punking a style of dress steeped in old money by scouring the charity shops, you can bet he's not in line to buy a yacht any time soon.

There you have it, my Nantucket Reds, one more time before Labor Day. Good thing I have my red cords to replace them come Fall, because what gentleman's wardrobe would be complete without some kind of crimson leggings?

p.s...mini rant

I'm sure this Mark McNairy cat is a nice enough guy. But why is it that when a fella lives in New York and has all the right friends, he can put out repp ties and oxford button downs in white and blue university stripe, of all things, and have every wanna-be hipster on Earth drool and scream on the internet about it as though he's saved menswear for a new generation? I know, marketing. But he's really just handing us back the stuff he saw at J.Press with a higher price tag and an "updated cut" that's bound to be dated as soon as this whole "Ivy League" trend reaches the inevitable down slope of the bell curve in a year or two. I almost wish Brooks Brothers would hire him and let him bring them back to what we all wish they still were. I bet he could do it.


Paul said...

G - the whole outfit looks great! All the right colors.

As for McNairy - I'm all for more of Ivy style - traditional wear - keep it coming -

I think this upsurge of trad wear may show the BBs of the biz what the customers truly want.

Charles said...

Looking good. Re McNairy, I think there are shops where customers expect to pay $150 for a shirt and someone's gotta provide them. It's kind of crazy, but that's america for you.

SCO said...

On the bright side (groan, I know), almost time to dust off the red cords!

Young Fogey said...

Your wearing belts like this inspired me to try one, too. I picked up a nice Vineyard Vines "fishing themed" canvas belt at an off-price retailer for $7.00. Now, that's more than you like to pay, but considering that it was new, and that on the VV website they go for $49.50, I think it was a deal. Better yet, their belts are made in America, and are clearly of high quality materials & craftsmanship, so I can handle that.

Incidentally, I'm wearing it today, with my white ducks--gotta wear 'em at least one more time before Labor Day!

A Modernist said...

Giuseppe: I loved your summer posts! However, I can't wait for the fall to roll in... It's so much more fun to get dressed in October, especially in Mass.

I have a question: is there really such a thing as a "whole 'Ivy League' trend"? Sure, there are several blogs on the topic, and a few recent mentions here and there in the mainstream press. But really, I've been living in Cambridge for a few years now, which is supposed to be one of the few remaining places where these clothes can still be spotted, and really, you hardly see people wear them...

In fact, I think it's kind of self-serving for blogs like ACL and Ivy Style to say a full on trend is upon us, as they (unlike blogs like yours, which are just for the fun of it) have a vested interest in the fashion business.

Anyway, what do you think?

Anonymous said...

I'm getting ready to bust out my dark green cords.....I own a pink shirt but I don't think I could pull off the pants...

Giuseppe said...

A. Modernist,

I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling there are a lot more trendy fashionistas running around New York in $100 striped ties and fashion forward boat shoes...and Mark McNairy shirts.

For me, this stuff isn't an "Ivy League" thing. I think that even such terminology is trendy, which is why I try my best to avoid it. I see it simply as gentleman's clothing in the American style. I never graduated college, Ivy League or otherwise, and I'm a dark haired Catholic full of European blood, but I've never felt out of place, or dressed in costume in this stuff.

I figure, as long as we've got every wannabe hot shot in New York suddenly kissing the ass of J. Press like it's the latest new designer, the trend is on. Maybe you've got your eyes peeled for tweedy old types in frayed dress shirts walking around Harvard Square buying cigars at Leavitt and Pierce. But it's the skinny pants hipster crowd that seem to be all over the boat shoes and oxfords these days. So be it.

But what are you gonna do? New Yorker cool-makers have a long history of stealing and distorting every cultural achievement that Boston, or all of New England, has ever made, then stealing the credit because they tweaked it just a little. No one ever thinks of anything new there, they only know how to steal it and market it. Think Babe Ruth or that awful red crap they call clam chowder, or the fixed gear bike trend...you name it.

Oops, I seem to have gone off on a tangent there. Apologies.

A Modernist said...

Good points! I think you are right about New York appropriating styles from New England and selling it back... The way of the world, it seems.

I wear pretty much the same type of second-hand things you do, and am of Italian descent, and never in my life have I felt out of place. These are clothes that students and intellectuals have worn for decades, trend or no trend. I'm not too big on names either, but these clothes are timelessly modern, not "trad", and not necessarily Ivy League.

This is actually something that I find refreshing about your blog --- you go out of your way to say you are not some blue blood American. In my mind, the "out of sight" rich Americans sporting Nantucket reds at their house in MV do not blog about it... When I read some bloggers' spiel about recently re-discovered "Americana" and a sense of "old money" privilege, it seems horribly solipsistic and conceited... Oh well.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

Toad said...

I have a pair of Bills poplin that look the same color as yoiur reds. i wear them part of every week.

luap said...

How can I find outfits like that at the prices you get them for? You're a genius.

Question: I've gotten conflicting stories about whether it's ok to wear the Nantucket Reds into the fall. You and Richard at WASP 101 seem to suggest that the Reds shouldn't be worn after Labor Day. But I was on the Facebook for Ivy Style and was told by the chap who runs it that he lets the weather rather than the season govern his selections with a few exceptions. (He said he wouldn't wear madras shorts on an unseasonably hot October day, for example.) He said he was from CA and that's the way they apparently do things out West. Do you agree. I have two pair of the Reds from Murray's and a canvas longsleeve shirt, too, and I would hate to think that I have to put them away in less than a week. I assume that the shirt can be worn into the fall because it's rather heavy for the weather we're still getting in Philly. I look forward to your response. Thank you.

F.E. Castleberry said...


Nice post...and rant ;) Completely understandable, however, when someone does the classics and does them well, I think it's only natural that people flock to it. Especially right now in this "return to the classics" trend. Honestly, it's a return to good taste.

I've been living in my Nantucket Reds all summer long as well...cheers.

p.s. You're on my blogroll...enjoy reading and really admire the price points you garner your warddrobe at. Impressive!

Anonymous said...

I have a pair of navy blue boat shoes from LL Bean that would have gone well with your outfit.

Hipshot said...

No gentleman wheres pink or Nantucket Red especially in a dark blue blazer combination. Thats the special problem of American "style".... Its not timeless it embarrassing.

Giuseppe said...


That must be why it's been so copied by so many designers in so many countries for so many years.

Young Fogey said...

It seems to be a West Coast/East Coast thing. I'm from the former, and other than high school kids intentionally dressing awfully, have never seen red or pink pants on men, and have seen almost no loud plaid pants, either.

Reading your blog (and a few others) have opened me up to new sartorial possibilites, but red pants is one line I will not cross. It's just not my style.

Which is not to say I don't appreciate how you do it, G.

Giuseppe said...


I agree. In fact, I probably wouldn't cross those lines either if I didn't live near the sea in Massachusetts. Reds may not even make sense in New York. They might work in Portofino, the guys there are so over-the-top nautical that no one would notice.

tintin said...

I had an assistant back in '94 who told me I should stop dressing like I was stuck in the 80's.

Cool duds. Even cooler observations.

Giuseppe said...


I didn't forget about your quastion. But it's got a long and complicated answer, best left to it's own post. Coming soon, I hope/promise...

prince snow farm said...

I adore these.

David M. said...

i was on martha's vineyard for the first time a couple of weeks ago. i walked into brickman's in vineyard haven and there were a rack of pants and a rack of shorts in "red" right at the front of the store. i almost bought a pair.