18 August 2012

Simple as That

We around the nerdy corners of the whacked out phenomenon that is menswear snobbery can get awfully tied up in outrageous minutiae. It can be easy to forget that simplicity, while always a good starting point, is often a refreshing reminder that all those rules, tricks, and tips you've been reading about (my own included) are to some degree so much hooey.

Few things bring it all back down to Earth like a blue oxford shirt and a crisp pair of khakis. True, I will always advise that quality should take precedence, but.....In the world of thrift shopping, few things are constant. The availability of khakis and blue oxfords is, for now, one of those constants. Good stuff does turn up, but for less than ten bucks each, there's no end of serviceable options out there. Ralphie and J. Crew do me just fine with this stuff.

Together, they provide the nucleus of comfortable casual for any man whose wardrobe is in any way classic. Here, with a navy surcingle belt and penny loafers, the effect is casual but smart. Swap the loafers for boat shoes, blucher mocs, or even canvas sneakers, and we're comfier still. Wear it all all un-ironed and we're downright slouchy. But for all that, you can be as laid back as the guy in the flip flops and children's t-shirt....albeit infinitely better appointed and taken ever more seriously by fellow grown-ups everywhere. The garden gnome agrees.

Add a classic blue blazer and repp striped bow tie and you're , ya know, like, all dressed up, or something. Foulards and knit ties, cotton or silk, work just as well.

It's as simple as that.

p.s. we're on vacation. I'll be up North with the wife and children all week, in a place that looks like this:
I'll do my best to write a post or two...or maybe I'll just drink beer on the deck of the cottage in the evening. We'll see.


Young Fogey said...

Leave the blog alone for a while and take a well-deserved rest!

Great post, by the way.

Frisco Trad said...

The essence of traditional style is simplicity.

Brent Kryda said...

I agree completely, blogging is a nice way to reach out to the world, as I well know, but sometimes you just need to drop it for some downtime before it becomes an obligation rather than a joy.

As for the post, I have a feeling that this "constant" will remain as such for a while. You can dress up the combination, you can dress it down, and the presence of a blazer, neck adornment, or shoes is all one needs to go from a picnic to an impromptu office meeting. There is a reason it is favored by most men working in parliament offices in Ottawa; reading the mail and catching up on paperwork can be done "smart casual", while a blazer and tie can be thrown on for a randomly called afternoon committee meeting. For that matter, it's pretty much the basic components for most boy's school uniforms (as we can both testify to).

It's a shame that jeans beat khakis in the mid 80's casual pants war. Both could have got along quite well, and we would be seeing a smarter looking (but not pretentious) society around us as a result. What's so uncomfortable about a different weave of the same material?

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

Handsome rig, Giuseppe. Enjoy the lobstah rolls!

oldmoney said...

Have a great vacation.

notanymore said...

Take many pictures, post them when you get back.

PW said...


For the love of God, man! Skip posting and open a Narragansett or three.

C.L. Young said...

Right now I am laughing my *ss of because Just yesterday I bought some Banana Republic khakis and won a bid on some Polo Ralph Lauren khakis on e-bay with the intentions of sporting them with a few blue and blue and white striped ocbd's I bought earlier in the summer.

One can NEVER have enough khakis! Every year, at this time of year, I seem to buy at least one pair of khakis to replace a pair of "worn to hell" khakis I abused over the summer. They are my "blue jeans" and have been since highschool, when I bought my first pair of Duck Head brand khakis (popular down south). They were so affordable...they got me through college on my miniscule budget and seemed to hold up more than I did at the frat parties ;)

In response to Brent about khakis and jeans, Levi's and their Docker's brand of khakis really did alot to put khakis back on target...especially for casual fridays at work or for general office/casual professional attire.

I will go out on a limb and say (with gut instinct) that Docker's helped alot of the smaller brands because of their "big brand name" noteriety get the spin-off sales for those buyers wanting a "boutique" khaki (think Bill's Khakis) rather than "everyman's khakis (think Docker's).

I can remember buying denim Docker's just to get "the best of both worlds" in the loose comfort of khakis and the universal appeal of denim. I have never felt comfortable wearing blue jeans to work and I liked having both combined into one! (but that's my silly hang-up!).

Unknown said...

I've been reading for a couple of months, but this is my first time commenting..

Since I recently began to learn to dress like an adult and finding what style fits me best, I've found that this combo is my favorite! I can make it work in any situation. I'm nearly inclined to ditch my whole wardrobe in favor of blue oxfords and khakis (although, that might get boring). Such versatile pieces!

BTW, thanks for the blog. As a fledgling thrift shopper it has been inspiring.

C.L. Young said...

@Marcus Smith
Keep up the thrifting. You will be surprised at what you find, sometimes when you least expect it! I have found some great items that would have cost me $100's of dollars! I recently found a great pair of Nettleton longwing wingtips for a mere $9.56 in near new condition.

My wife complains about my "endless khakis" and oxford shirts but for me comfort is king and I dress 'em up with a nice tie or blazer (navy, tweed, madras, or linen) and the focus shifts from the "endless khakis" to either the jacket or tie (or both).