For days I figured I should come up with something profound to write about, maybe a lengthy and thoughtful article about some completely esoteric aspect of the meaning of our clothes. A real smarty-pants article, no pictures even. Then I thought, nah, just keep going. So I think I will.
When discussing the iconic button down collar, menswear geeks like to get into deep discussions of the "roll" of said collar. For the un-initiated, a brief explanation: A classic American (style) button down collar has the buttons placed in just such a way that the collars points will not lay flat. This is referred to as "roll". You may think this is a mistake, but you'd be wrong. The more "roll" the better. It's the perfect combination of Yankee conservatism and an inherently American casual-ness. You know, the abstract concept upon which our boy Ralph built an empire of epic proportion. Some of you may remember that I picked up a couple of shirts in the cheaper-than-dirt sale section of landsend.com a while back. One of them was this "classic oxford", in classic blue. It has been discussed ad nauseam how Brooks Brothers invented (or more likely imported and marketed) the button down collar around the turn of the 20th century. It has also been discussed ad nauseaum that no other collar has had quite the "roll" of a Brooks Brothers Makers shirt from the glory days of the company, say 1960-1985-ish. But I gotta tell ya, this Lands End jobby is pretty spot-on, no?
And just look at how it wrinkles after 14 hours of wear, just like a real shirt. "No-Iron" cotton is an outright abomination, and must be avoided at all costs.
That tie called my name yesterday. It's knit, not a knobby knit like everyone is used to, but a soft, smooth knit. A good friend told me it looked like it should be a sock, which I of course interpreted as a giant compliment. Anyway, I don't think there is any denying the strength of this tie with a recently acquired flannel blazer and some classic cavalry twill pants.
100% wool, made in (what?) Italy? Let's recap:
A classic blue oxford button down, from a classic American retailer, made in Indonesia.
A classic navy blazer, with some whimsy about it, made in the U.S.A., albeit at least 30 years ago.
An undeniably American preppy tie, made in Italy.
A classic pair of British style cavalry twill pants, by the inherently American company Brooks Brothers, made in Canada.
I mention all this because I had some idea of expounding on the discussion of "Made in America" that has been going around of late. Conor recently wrote thoughtfully on the subject, and was kind enough to point us to others who did as well. But...
I bought all these things, save the shirt, second hand, from charity run stores. At what point in a garments history does it become more important how one came by it than its point of origin? And the shirt, though not domestically produced, is well made, cheap, and has a great looking collar.See? Now I went and opened up a big fat can of worms. I'll save that long winded dissertation for another time, when my thoughts have been collected and I've got the gumption. In the meantime, feel free to share your own thoughts, readers.