30 November 2009

The Jams

On my recent trip to New York, I killed an enjoyable hour at Bleecker Street Records. I'll tell you, if you're an analog record maniac like me, New York is something of a Mecca. I managed to pick up two absolutely killing slabs of vinyl. I could easily have drained the bank account. Seriously, my weakness for records is second only to my weakness for gentleman's finery.

Firstly, "The Complete Yusef Lateef", released on Atlantic Records in 1968:

The words "mellow" and "cool" spring to mind, but don't do this record near the justice it deserves. Think of it this way: If you were a "real swinging" bachelor in the late sixties/ early seventies, and your house had a room in it that looked like this (I wish), then this would be the record to put on in the wee hours when you've brought a lady home for a nightcap of brandy and whatever else.

I tried to find some footage of Yusef circa late sixties. Best clip I could come up with was this Bossa Nova jam from when he was with the Cannonball Adderly sextet, which is really nothing to complain about either:

Second, "Ornette Coleman/ The Empty Foxhole":
Ornette's always been one of the most "out" dudes around...just read his liner notes or poetry. Add his ten year old son, Ornette Denardo Coleman (Denny) on drums, with Charlie Haden on bass holding things (sort of) together, and avant garde jazz reaches a new level for its time. Mrs. G. and the kids can't stand this stuff. I'll be the first to admit it can be a bit abrasive, so it will be the rare occasion that I get to listen to it. But damned if it ain't a good one.

Unfortunately, again, footage directly related to this album was hard to find, but watch this instead:

Sure, it's more than a little jazz dork-ish, but what can I say?

$25 for the two slabs. A fair price by any measure.

28 November 2009

Breaking the Law: A Dressy Suit Goes Casual

I love to wear suits, but my lifestyle simply doesn't "require" them that often. And when it does, there's invariably a wedding or a death involved. I buy a lot of sports jackets and nice trousers, because they fit my game better...but being an avid thrifter, it's sometimes hard to say no to a good looking suit.

Back in January, I picked up this double-breasted chalk stripe suit, courtesy of Polo Ralphie. Today, I wore it for the first time. Funny, in my original post on the day I bought the suit, I talked about how the only way to wear it was to break numerous sartorial laws, and match it with a button down collar, v-neck sweater, and brown suede shoes, all of which I did today.

No tie, to boot. I've been itching to wear this number. The problem is that a double breasted striped suit is a pretty dressy rig, so I had to tone it down. I have to say, I like it as a casual kit. The weather was ripe for it, too. Cold enough for flannel and a sweater, but not quite cold enough for a coat.

Which means I had to consider how the whole thing would look sans jacket. I'm officially convinced, every man needs a bright red wool v-neck sweater, it's a staple.

Just to keep the "rule breaker" aesthetic complete, I opted for cream colored socks with my best brown suede shoes.

Accessorized to death with a Brooks Brothers merino wool scarf, an old grey herringbone driving cap, vintage tortoise shell wayfarers (thanks again, Egadfly), and wool lined brown leather gloves ($2.99, thrift).

The moral of the story is: rethink your dressiest items. Try wearing them like they weren't even dressy. Ralphie has built an empire on this rationale.

In other news...

I don't know how many of you read the comments around here, but I've recently been accused of hypocrisy.(see comments here). That really stings, since hypocrisy is something I simply do not abide.

Apparently, since I don't divulge the specific name and location of the sources of my "scores", I'm some kind of self indulgent hypocrite. Have I ever been anything but honest in my intentions in writing this blog?

Anyone will tell you, the first "rule" of successful thrift shopping is keep your mouth shut. No one ever told me where the hot spots were...I found them myself through perseverance and hard work. Back in the old days, when I didn't have a computer or a cell phone.

Is it so hard to Google "Thrift store Boston"?

Hypocrite indeed.

p.s. "The Tyrant" wrote me an email suggesting I work on my overall photo/lighting skills. And he's right. So today, I used the tri-pod, found a new location in the house, and shot during the day, in natural light. Better?

25 November 2009

Back To Normal

So, after instigating some lively discussion over the past few days, I've decided to take this blog back in its normal direction tonight. And nothing says "back to normal" like some "zesty" (Mrs. G's word, not mine) wool tartan slacks:
Remeber this pair? I bought them when the weather was warm, for $3.99, and have been absolutely dying to wear them. Some of you laughed, and said I was crazy...and you were right. But the minute I saw them, I envisioned them with a flannel blazer and a white shirt. I guess clothing like this puts holiday season in top gear.
When I got this pair, they were too long, and bell-bottoms. I find a lot of these pants from the 70's made of the nicest wool, but with awful flares. Remember, a good tailor can taper them back to normal. Also, bell bottoms tend to have a very trim fit through the thigh, so when tapered the cut becomes quite current, for not that much scratch. Red socks and tassel loafers finish the look. The only things missing are the fireplace and the Scotch.

And for good measure, an un-matching Tartan cap. I'm really digging the whole multiple Tartan thing lately.

Sheesh, I really have taken the whole "go to Hell" pants thing off the deep end this year...I need help...

p.s. read this.

24 November 2009

Pop Up Flea: Voice of Dissent, part II

Just for laughs:
Wool shirt by Chippewa, $5.49, down vest by Lands End, $12.50, wool/shearling hunting hat by Woolrich, $3.99, jeans by Levi's, $30 (at Sear's, where they also sell tools), L.L.Bean "Original Maine Hunting Shoes", $12.99, rugged no-name belt, $1.99, Lands End canvas tote...I forget, it's old...

Let me begin by saying how absolutely overwhelmed I am by the response to the last post. Guess I was just sayin' what you all were thinkin'. 50 comments...a new AAW record!

My special thanks are extended to "Joe", for disagreeing with all the disagree-ers. That's what discussion is all about. To date, the only comments I have rejected were the inevitable spam. Note that our Mr. Williams, in his own self-congratulatory post on the Pop Up Flea, published only six comments, one of them his own, in which he basically states that any comment that disagrees with his aesthetic and/or opinion will not be considered for publication. "Pat me on the back or get out".He did not, however, hesitate to list all the press his fiasco received, sans yours truly, or any other writer/blogger/journalist who dared call him out. Such an attitude is neither democratic, American, or professional, in any sort of journalistic sense.

And people wonder why Boston has always hated New York. It's got very little to do with Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter in the long run.

Let us speak no more of it. I don't want my blog to become the argumentative, negative "bitch-fest" that some others have fallen prey to.

p.s. ACL is now officially off the blog-roll. He's as bad as ASW, as far as I can tell...maybe worse.

p.p.s I think a ban on the terms "Heritage Americana" and "Well Curated" is in order...at least temporarily.

23 November 2009

The Pop Up Flea: Voice of Dissent

You my be wondering, what with all the hype I threw at my trip to New York over this last weekend, it took me until late Monday evening to post my thoughts and reactions of the second Pop Up Flea, brainchild of Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean fame, and friends. The answer is simple: I didn't want to come off sounding like some provincial New York hating Bostonian, so I decided to sleep on it, and gather my thoughts, the better to choose my words wisely. This post may contain a fair bit of vitriol, nonetheless.

The Internet is already a-twitter with rhapsodic ravings on the matter, and there are, no doubt, more still to come. So in the interest of democracy, I will speak in the voice of dissent: Pop Up Flea just wasn't "all that" ( as the kids were saying when I was still a kid). I didn't snap a single photo, because, frankly, we've seen everything they had on offer over and over ad nauseam for at least a year now. You know the scene by now: overpriced boutique-issue "heritage Americana"...read, replications of poor peoples clothes at rich peoples prices.

I get it, but I don't. Sure, there's beauty to be found in a well made piece of hard wearing, rugged clothing, but something about "designers" trying to sell me a wool flannel shirt for hundreds of dollars in a "trim cut" just rubs me the wrong way. How can you call this "design"? These things have existed for a century. Perfect replication at a high ticket is not design...its a marketing and p.r. game....which should come as no surprise, since the vast majority of the "too cool for school" hipster NYC blog clique has clearly been acting as a p.r. firm for the brands that produce this stuff since at least mid-Summer.

Every table at the thing had the same "look", which generally consisted of:

-gourmet work boots

-gourmet wool flannel

-gourmet raw denim jeans

-gourmet "tool bags" (?) (My friend Pasquale, a stylish gent and carpenter by trade, was particularly infuriated by a display of a natural canvas bag with leather fittings full of hammers, a tape measure, nails, etc...as though any of these high rise office kids would actually carry tools in the thing, let alone build anything with them.)

-gourmet frontier leather goods.....if I want gourmet leather, it's Gucci all the way, or something.

-gourmet old fashioned pencils (seriously ?)

Everything came in gingham check...Gitman Brothers was selling gourmet oxfords for $185, but they came sized S,M, L. For that kind of scratch, can I please have a neck size and sleeve length (!)

We were there for about a half an hour, before we had figured out what was up and left in mild disgust. Not for nothing, but where I come from, this ain't what we calla "Flea Market". Maybe I don't "get it". Cripes, J. Crew had a table...

My other old buddy, who lives in Brooklyn, made an especially good point. To para-phrase: "this is just the new Fall line of a bunch of places within a three block radius of here...at full retail. Whats the point?"


But, I had a great time visiting some very old and dear friends. I ate well, bought some killing jams at Bleecker Street Records,(look for an installment of "the jams"coming soon), and drank a bunch. Don't take me for all sour grapes, because I really had a great time. The only bump in the road was the 1/2 hour we wasted at Pop Up Flea.

The Great and Powerful Voice of Dissent Has Spoken.

20 November 2009

Travel Kit

The New York over night travel kit:

  1. -Harris Tweed jacket
  2. -Army issue khakis
  3. -2 university striped shirts, 1 blue. 1 lavender
  4. -2 repp ties
  5. -2 pair argyle socks
  6. -Coach belt
  7. -dirty white bucks (because white bucks and tweed will be all over NYC next Fall...wait and see)
  8. -Black Watch cap

and for warmth, should the evenings turn chilly

  1. -Navy merino wool Brooks Brothers cardigan
  2. -charcoal grey Brooks Brothers scarf

+attendant toiletries, underwear, photographic eqipment and reading material for the ride.

Total cost of the entire kit, sans camera, aprroximately $50

19 November 2009

An Affordable Business Card

It occurred to me this morning that business cards might be a handy thing to have in my pocket this weekend for my trip to the Pop Up Flea. I'm sure we'll see some cool stuff, but to some degree I expect it to be a hipster/designer/fashion/menswear/blogger networking party, so a little of the old shameless self promotion couldn't hurt, right?

But I only thought of it this morning, so what to do? Sure, I could just use some business card making software and get some of those perforated card stock sheets for the printer, but that just isn't my style. I like to do things in the most obsolete and time consuming way I can find. So,

I went to the stationary store and picked up a couple dozen of the oak-tag tickets, complete with strings attached, the ran them one by one through my Dad's old Smith Corona 'Super Sterling' manual typewriter.
Yes, this thing actually still had ink on it's ribbon. Remember the smell of a typewriter? I didn't, until I opened the case. It was comforting. Before I got working, The Boy had a grand time banging things out on this quaint machine, as I explained to him that nearly all of the people he meets his age will likely never have seen a typewriter, let alone used one. My Dad wrote all of his college papers on this machine. Hell, I even remember doing a book report or two on it in the sixth grade. How can I get rid of such a thing? Besides, the uneven look of typewritten text, some letters faint, some heavy, some dropped below the line, is a particular something impossible to reproduce with a computer. If you run your finger along the type, you can feel the impression of the letters made by the hammers.

Dig especially the fraction key...seriously. What could say "An Affordable Wardrobe" better than hand typed oak-tag business cards? I almost feel compelled to drop some off at Thom Browne, as long as I'm in the city.

With that, I bid you all farewell until my return on Sunday with reports of the Pop Up Flea. If you're in New York, perhaps we'll run into each other.

18 November 2009

Cheap Luxury

So, the past few days, if my last post was any indicator, I've been embracing my more fashion conscious side. That's why I don't like to label my sartorial sensibilities...because the instant you step outside the lines, folks get all up in arms.

Today was an exercise in cheap luxury: a bunch of cheap gear brought up by a few luxury accessories...which were also cheap, score one for the good guys.
A Burberry scarf, 50% wool, 50% cashmere(heisted from Mrs. G., $1.99), goes well with a Lands End down vest, $12.50 at end of season sale last year, military issue khakis, $5.49, and a vintage wool varsity sweater.
Completed by a grey herringbone driving cap I bought eight years ago.

Indoors, the luxury carries through in the tie by Mr. Sid, $0.99, coupled with a uni stripe oxford by Ralph, button down collar pinned in a fit of hopeless affectation. I know, its an egregious affront to a million things, a shameless aping of a trick found on Polo mannequins and in Polo ads...but our boy Fred Astaire was known to be doing it at least 30 years before Ralph launched Polo, and that's good enough for me. I pull this trick about three times a year these days...besides, admit it, this foolish detail makes the outfit, doesn't it?

If I seem to be flexing my less than ripped "fashionisto" muscles today, it's because I can't help it. Old buddy Pasquale and I are traveling to New York this weekend, to visit some ex-patriot Bostonian friends, eat, drink, and attend the Pop Up Flea on Saturday. I'll be traveling in the clothes on my back, plus an extra large tote bag containing a clean shirt, tie, socks, underwear and shaving kit. I'll be honest with you, the prospect of running into Michael Williams, Mr. Mort, the Sart and even Tin Tin in the same place scares me to death, and already has me on my toes. I've been thinking the matter over for weeks.

Cripes, I might as well be a teen-age girl...yikes!

16 November 2009

Go With Your Gut

This is the first, possibly only, "rule" in dressing with style, as far as I'm concerned. Know what suits you, know the conventions of whichever general "look" you decide upon, but more importantly, develop your taste and follow your instincts. To wit:
I found this shirt recently. A 100% wool pop-over half zip in red buffalo plaid, made in the USA by Chippewa, probably in the 70's:
Now, I know that every hipster in Manhattan will go nuts for this shirt, not to mention the Japanese. The very fact that blue collar, hard wearing clothing is such a "thing" with fashion set of late actually makes me not want to like this piece. As my old friend Pasquale recently said "I can wear my Bean boots and hunting jacket and not go hunting with any New York hipster."

I'm a city guy, and I will likely never find myself cutting firewood on a cold day.

I'm (more than) a bit of a fop. For me, it's more about being overdressed....jackets, pocket squares, ties when they aren't required, a million pairs of impractical shoes and so forth.


This shirt is the absolute jams. I saw it, it called my name, and now it's mine. Will I wear it with the full kit of L.L.Bean accesories? Probably not. Will I wait until some weird outfit presents itself to me that absolutely requires this shirt? You bet!

It doesn't "go" withe the rest of my wardrobe. It doesn't "go" with my lifestyle. It also doesn't matter. Because I like it, and I plan to wear it with all the confidence and aplomb I can muster.

So I go with my gut, I buy the damn lumberjack shirt, and I'll figure out how to wear it when the time is right. That's how I like to think about style. Sometimes, you gotta throw a curve ball...keep 'em guessing.

14 November 2009

The Best New Things Are Old Things That Are Older Than the Old Things I Had Before

Today, a package arrived in the mail from our man Egadfly. It contained a pair of vintage Ray-Ban wayfarers, tortoise shell, with green (G15) glass lenses. Just like the ones I was whining about the other day, only, I suspect these are even older. Look at' em, they're perfect!

After posting my lament over the loss of my own Ray-Bans, Egadfly was kind enough to offer this pair to me. Story goes: he bought these in a vintage shop, with the intention of having prescription lenses put in. His optometrist informed him that this was not possible, that the frames wouldn't survive the surgery. This was years ago. After reading my sob story, he decided to send them to a loving home. There are no words to describe my gratitude, really. I didn't realize what a treat it was to own "real" sunglasses until I didn't have any. Thank you, Egadfly.

So how do I know (or guess) they're older than my old ones? The first clue is the hinges. On these glasses they have seven "teeth", three interlocking with four. Newer glasses tend to have five, or even only three, teeth.
This feature, coupled with the glass lenses, which the new pair also has, led me to believe that my old pair was 1960's vintage, or older. But the glasses which arrived today have led me to rethink this hypotheses. It's all in the little details.

Today's pair reads "B&L Ray Ban USA" etched in the right arm...so did my other pair:

But on the left arm, this pair is labelled simply "Wayfarer", where my other pair read "Wayfarer II".

I didn't figure my old glasses to be from the eighties, not that I would have minded. They were big, and heavy, and had all these old fashioned features. I thought that glass lenses were a long gone thing of the past by the time Risky Business came out. But what really threw me was this little detail:

You see, this pair does not have a Ray Ban logo on the side of the arms where the hinges are attached. My other pair did. This leads me to believe that this is clearly the older pair, hailing from a time when things simply didn't have brand names splashed across the outside of them. Perhaps these truly are late fifties/early sixties vintage. I'd been pestering Mrs. G. for a new pair for my birthday. They would have cost around $125, and even this cheapskate will admit that is a fair price for a nice new pair of specs. But the would have had the logo not only on each side, but printed on the right (plastic) lens as well. I probably would have spent most of the night I got them trying to devise a way to scrape the logo off the lens, in the process defacing them. That's how I roll...punk style (or something like that).

So the kicker is that these will give me a private pleasure. People will see them, and their lack of logos, and assume that they are not real. But I will have the satisfaction of knowing that not only are they real, they are in fact more real than other real ones which proclaim their very realness on the outside. (The logic's convoluted to be sure...was it existentialism, or something?)

Again, thanks, Egadfly. Next hook-vented-tweed-sack-in-a-couple-sizes-big-for-me I find has got your name on it, pal.

13 November 2009

Cold Nights are Nothing to Complain About

Because hot, spiced alcohol drinks are a fine way to relax after a satisfying meal.
Recently, I learned of the pleasures of a good hot apple cider, spiced and laced with dark rum. Being hot and consumed from a mug, it gives me some of the better pleasures of coffee, but without all the jittery, can't fall asleep parts. It goes well with dessert, a course I eat on a fairly regular basis. (tonight it was homemade pumpkin pie...could explain why my weight has somehow become a topic of discussion at WASP 101...sheesh).

It's a good drink for the cheapskate in me, too. Living in New England, apple cider is cheap and plentiful this time of year. A half gallon of fresh, local cider can usually be had for less than $3.00. As for rum, I like Brugal. It's rich and fragrant, with a big creamy texture. For a better description than I'll ever give, see here. Note especially the part about the old Dominican saying: " Si tomas Brugal tu resuelve o peleas.--If you drink Brugal you either fight or have sex." Gotta love it. Besides, it can usually be had for less than $20 a fifth, in my case $17.99. Not bad for a good bottle of 80 proof brown spirits.

In a saucepan, boil cider with one cinnamon stick and a hefty sprinkle each of allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Pour a healthy whiff of rum in your favorite mug, fill to the top with hot cider, stir and enjoy with your favorite sugary, fattening treat....unless you're afraid what others might say about your girth.

Cheers and a yo-ho-ho!

11 November 2009

Dollar "Bill's"

Khakis are nearly a disposable commodity in my wardrobe. I always keep at least four pair on hand, in varying shades, and I wear them a lot...like some guys wear jeans. Eventually, the bottoms get frayed and a hole starts to wear through the hip pocket wear I keep my wallet, and then they become gardening pants, or something to wear for painting projects. As such, I'm always looking for new pairs, but this is never really a problem. Khakis in general are so popular that the thrift stores are always teeming with them. Often, one can find an entire rack filled with nothing but khakis. If you're lucky, you may even find a pair of Bill's Khakis, new with tags, for a dollar. (no joke):
Priced at $8.99, they were a steal. But yellow tags were a dollar today, which is a downright un-heard-of bargain. That's pretty nearly 99% off the going retail price. Even better, they're model "M2", which is the trim cut version. Perfect.
They haven't even been hemmed yet.

I've read a lot of raves about Bill's on the Internet these past few years, but being a total cheapskate, I'll never pay the better part of a hundred bucks for khakis. Guess I finally have my chance to see what all the hype is about.

10 November 2009

House and Home: The Dining Set

(warning: this post contains lots of photos, but almost no content pertaining to clothing)

Today marked the completion of a project that I've been thinking about since September. In my quest to rid the house of much of it's Ikea (mentioned previously here), I had recently been turning my sites to the dining room. Our kitchen is extremely small, so we actually eat in the dining room quite a lot. I like that. Many people with apartments like ours keep a computer in the dining room, or use it as a living room and use the living room as a bedroom, but, to be frank, I always thought that was kind of crappy...fine for a college flop house, but not for a young family of four.

So, we've had this chair forever, but it's a bit worse for the wear. Recently, it was down in the basement beside the table where I built my architecture models:
Living in a college town, the first weekend of September is like a trash picking holiday. You can't believe some of the stuff people leave on the sidewalk when they move. I'll admit it, this year I was crappy enough myself to drive around on trash night looking for treasure. I found this chair, probably late 1960's vintage. I liked it, I took it home, but I had no specific use for it.
Then I had an idea. Being home with the kids in the day-time, and an artsy-crafty type, I came up with a plan. I bought these two chairs for five bucks each at the big thrift store with the furniture warehouse in back:

Then I took off the seats and sanded them down. We had a bit of "Indian Summer" this weekend, temps in the seventies, which is good since sanding old furniture is best done in the yard, wearing a t-shirt. Mrs. G. and Mom took the kids out all day Sunday, and I got to work, using my Dad's electric sander...still new in the box. It's funny, my Dad is the least handy guy on Earth, but he buys all of these power tools, and then never uses them. I think he does it unconsciously knowing that I'll appropriate them when the need presents itself.

Mrs. G. likes to sew. In her fabric box, I found this beautiful piece of wool in a black and white hounds tooth check. She purchased it years ago, but never found a use for it. It would have made a hell of a sports jacket.I appropriated that, too.

My Mom had this idea years ago that she would re-upholster her dining room chairs. She went out and bought foam and cushion batting, then five years later just bought a new set of furniture instead. I appropriated these supplies as well.

And I bought a can of high gloss oil based black paint and a new brush from the hardware store.

The end result is pretty damn sharp, if I do say so myself:

This chair was the most challenging, being the only one with a cushioned back.

I call this one "the New England"
This one's got a little bit of an Eames/ Herman Miller vibe

And this one ain't bad for the garbage.

Taken all together, with the white Formica table,they make a nice matched/not matched set, don't you think?

Mrs. G. is talking about making black and white tie-dyed canvas curtains to complete the look. I'm all for it.

Sum total for chairs plus supplies: $30

09 November 2009

The Debut of Patch Paisley

A while back, I picked up this borderline awful patch paisley necktie. Some of you loved it, more of you hated it, but I thought it had potential. Today, after months in the closet, said tie made it's debut:
Robert Talbott patch paisley tie, Polo university stripe shirt, vintage Brooks Brothers "University Shop" tweed, pocket square that kind of doesn't match, but it was in the pocket from the last time I wore the jacket...close enough...sprezzatura...whatever...
finish with brown suede wingtips by Cole Hahn, red socks (#$%@^&* New York Yankees!!!) and tan cords.

I knew I could pull this one off. Even Mrs. G., my fiercest critic, thought I looked nice today.

In other news...

Toad is back (whew!). Today I finally got around to putting his link back up.

Drinkin' and Dronin' has been added to the list of instructions as well. Don't know how I could have ignored that kid for so long, even if he is a New Yorker...

06 November 2009

R.I.P. Ray-Bans...x2

Living the affordable life isn't all a bed of roses. Recently, I have had the grand misfortune of laying to rest not one, but two pair of vintage 1950's RayBan Wayfarer sunglasses...real ones, with lenses actually made of glass.Even worse, both were gifts of Mrs. G.

I had one pair in brown tortoise, with lenses tinted green. Being a brown shoe sort of guy, these were quite the thing, and damned if they didn't look murder with a Barbour jacket. Then one day I dropped them, and they broke, but I kept them, always hoping that salvation would come.

Recently I posted about some other broken eye wear, and a commenter put me wise to Hilco, in Plainville, MA. According to their website, you simply mail them your busted glasses, and for $25 plus s&h, they fix them and send them back. Score!

So I sent them off. But today I received a call from a very nice lady at Hilco. She said they received my glasses, by they were unable to fix them. She felt so bad, she said they would eat the cost of mailing them back to me. Ashes to ashes.

Back when I broke these glasses, I had in reserve a second pair of black Wayfarers, also the gift of Mrs. G. I lost those back in August. Damn it!

Now, I wear these bad knock-offs that I bought for eight bucks some place. Sure, from a distance they look fine, and they do keep the glare out of my eyes when I drive, but they really are junk.

Back to pestering Mrs. G. for a new pair in brown tortoise shell for my upcoming birthday. She reads the blog, so feel free to leave comments in support of my plea for her to see.

03 November 2009

Stadium Gear

Mrs. G. had the day off today, and so, of course, we set off in search of other peoples cast offs at cheap prices. Good thing , too. I picked up this really killing old style football coach sweater for $6.99:
Check those big wide lapels, they really make the sweater...
and those wooden buttons ain't half bad either.

I'm sure Ralph pays people to scour the thrifts in search of items like this for "inspiration". Think of it, with a silly skull and bones patch or fake varsity letter on the chest, this thing could be selling at Rugby for $150 or so...

...perfect with the red cords and some new argyles, another pair of socks recently acquires at Target. I would have preferred my penny loafers, but the blucher mocs will do. You see, after this thrift excursion, I had to go straight to work. This sweater completed my outfit better than the brown goose down vest I left the house in...so I left the vest in the car and immediately put on the sweater. Call it good fortune, or mild craziness...which ever you prefer.

Made in Italy for Filene's. That name really meant something once. This label tells me that the sweater has likely spent it's whole life in the Boston area. 50/50 wool/acrylic...I would rather all wool, of course, but believe me, this thing is nice, bullet proof and warm, so I'll take the compromise. Though this sweater has a decidedly 1940's football vibe, the acrylic, in my educated guess/opinion, dates this piece firmly in the mid to late 1960's...I'll take it.

Also procured, the elusive university striped button down in Lavender, courtesy of Ralph, $3.99

Maybe I'm in the wrong line of work. Hey, Ralph, wanna give a fella a job? On second thought, never mind. You'll just make me move to New York...

02 November 2009

Happy Autumn!

Since I fell asleep on the couch last night, I think I'll take the liberty to combine last nights post and tonights post if you don't mind.

Last night, I decide to kick off November with a rustic Autumn meal. I know this is a clothes blog, or a style blog, or whatever, but I like to cook. Every now and then, I get so excited I feel the need to share. Here is my own recipe for a fall pork tenderloin roast.

You'll need: Pork tenderloin, bacon, maple syrup, mildly spicy grainy brown mustard (I like Gulden's, country style Dijon is also a good choice), plenty of fresh sage (preferably from the yard), an onion and some potatoes.

Mix together a half-and-half mixture of mustard and maple syrup, then brush the entire pork loin with it. Add a layer of whole sage leaves to the top and sides. Wrap the whole thing in bacon (nothing like pork wrapped in pig).

Brown the loin in a cast iron skillet over high heat, until the bacon just starts to crisp all the way around. Toss the cubed potatoes and chopped onions in on either side, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat in the bacon grease, which by now should have collected in the sides of the pan. Throw the whole thing into a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, occasionally tossing the potatoes.

The finished product should look all delicious, like this. Served with a salad of baby spinach, apple, red onion, dried cranberries and shredded English cheddar in a simple vinaigrette, it was really quite yummy.

The whole thing was inspired by my purchase of the last 22 oz. bottle of Cisco brewer's of Nantucket pumpkin ale. I'm not usually a big fan of the pumpkin beers, but those guys at Cisco really know what they're doing. The stuff is pricey, but good. If you can find it where you live, spring for it. It's worth it.

Follow the whole thing with a slice of homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and a mug of hot spiced cider with rum, and you can see why I fell asleep all content on the couch an hour later.
In keeping with the Autumnal theme, here's a bunch of brown, green and tan punched up with a yellow (didn't they used to call that color 'Goldenrod'?) shirt. Dig the houndstooth pocket square in earthtones...a silky scarf heisted from Mrs. G.
Down below, J.Press grey flannels and some stripey socks. I bought those socks at Target yesterday...I have to go there periodically to procure formula and diapers for the baby, cut me some slack. Anyway, they came in a package of three for $5.00! The other two pair were an argyle in the same colors, and a pair in solid grey with a brown toe, yellow heel and orange band around the top. Not bad. I bought another set in a navy blue/ kelly green color scheme. File under 'cheap commodities'.

And of course, the now famous dirty white bucks. I promise to stop yacking about them soon, but I am way into this look. It may seem shocking and out of line, but I think it's got a real "class of 1959" kind of vibe:

(photo, Life by way of Ivy Style)

Enjoy the sage and white bucks now, before the Winter sets in.

p.s. see what I mean...bad ass.