Thursday, March 31, 2011

A tale of two Weejuns

First, a recently eBayed (strap penny) pair that have been reheeled (it's practically new) and resoled (and needs it again, it's squishy at the ball of the foot).

Second, a thrifted pair of beefroll pennies I had redone by NuShoe.

Notice that both appear to be of the same approximate vintage; both made in USA, so that should provide at least an outside date; and both have interiors that are practically spotless, and uppers in good shape.

The previous owners must have been "loafers with socks" guys.

And just in case you haven't twigged yet that I am completely insane, here is a portion of the loafer collection.

Negatory, Good Buddy

No, no, a thousand times no.

Dockers D3

In the never-ending quest for decent chinos I bought a couple pairs of Dockers D3.

They are comparable in fit to Bill's M2 model — in 36 x 29, after washing in cold water and drying 15 minutes on low heat, they shrank a little, to a 18.5 x 2 = 37 inch waist (so vanity sizing is in play here), 12-inch rise, 28 inch inseam, leg opening at the bottom 9.75 inches, which might be a deal-breaker for some. I have a shot with a loafer above — the pants leg doesn't appear to overwhelm the shoe, but that's at least partially a function of the short leg.

The pants have a non-alterable waistband, a stupid slogan and two mysterious orange loops.
The fabric is fairly hefty. I won't even try to wear these in dressy situations, these are casual or knockaround pants.

I like them because the rise is long enough that they're not hip-huggers but the cut in the back is such that I don't have a lot of extra fabric billowing around.

Grade: B

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Update — Just got the Brooks Bros. shirt today (top photo). Hint: If you're searching eBay for madras shirts, try "sport shirt."

(Original post)

In the warm weather I divide my spare time between two remote locations about 75 miles apart, in NW Connecticut and the Catskills in New York.

The goal is to be able to throw a dop kit and spare shorts into the duffel bag and go. No trundling clothing around.

So I've been amassing sport shirts on the cheap — some from the thrift shops, but most from eBay — including these two just today.

From the same seller, these two short-sleevers came to just under $30 shipped. I might have been able to argue the seller down a couple of bucks on the shipping — but naaah.

These are, frankly, better than what I'm likely to find thrifting. And $15 per isn't all that much different than two $4 thrift shops shirt plus the gas to drive to the place, 15 miles round trip, plus the time involved.

Right? Right.

Monday, March 28, 2011

PT Boats?

Everybody loves their Alden or Florsheim gunboats, but what would you call these? Besides Tom, Dick or Harry, which has to be the weirdest shoe name ever.

From the Allen Edmonds customer service desk:

Thank you for your interest in our Allen-Edmonds Shoes. The shoes were manufactured in the late 80's. There is really no story behind the name of the shoes.

The name came up in a manufacturing meeting and stuck.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Skinny Lapels

Along with the wide tie question I was thinking about some of these older jackets I've picked up. If you're going with the theory that lapel and tie width should be correlated, a lapel like this one really leaves no alternative to a knit tie — except maybe a sort of Ric Ocasek deal, ca. 1981, which would also demand a mullet poufe and red leather pants.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Large Pattern, Wide Tie?

I am thinking about the ties. I have stripes galore. I've got solids, plaids, neats, repeats; reety- all-righties, swirls, twirls, floops and zoops; marching sperm, dancing girls, leaping trout, doghouses and golf clubs, and the insignias for The Episcopal Church, the Gibraltar Club and something mysterious from the local Masonic lodge that found its way to the thrift shop — and probably shouldn't have.

But what I don't have are a lot of ties with large patterns and the reason why is I think large patterns probably demand a wide tie. And I like my ties no wider than three and a half inches.

Consider this Rooster:

I like the pattern a lot. Would it look abbreviated on a slimmer tie? I think so.

A guy in Pennsylvania who just bought a couple of things from me saw my plea on the sales blog and is sending me this J. Press paisley, which he says is massively wide.

We'll see how this goes.

I am thinking specifically about wearing wide ties with double-breasted suits. The peak lapels on the jackets should offset the extra tie width. I'm thinking a little in the Edward G. Robinson mode here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big Time

The Connecticut Yankee sales blog caught the eye of Megan Baldwin, a web producer for the NBC affiliate in Hartford.

We emailed back and forth a bit, and this was the result.

The Feast Connecticut

Pebble Grain Longwings

Stuart McGuires, with a cushy insole that's mighty comfy and a sole that seems to resist everything, as they look exactly the same as when I bought them at a garage sale two years ago.

Allen Edmonds MacNeil

Older pair of the same shoe, with the patented "Death Heel"

And finally, Florsheim, with the patented "V-Cleat Death Heel"

Outerwear Bonanza

It seemed a little, well, stupid.

I was trying to sell things and clear some much-needed space in my apartment. Yet when the opportunity to buy this Golden Bear jacket and an antique Brooks brothers car coat I just couldn't resist.

And today it's been snowing and it's cold and bitter out, so I feel very clever.

Total for both (one clothing forum find, one eBay) about $95, funded by the PayPal slush fund. So it's not even real money, right?

(With economic thinking like that I could be a star in the current administration. Hell, that's delusional enough for a congressman.)

And they even say "railroad"

I was hoping these boots would find a buyer, but time is running out.

Do you suppose it might be the $1400 price tag that's keeping even the most determined hipsters away? I mean, $1400 buys a lot of espresso, Dunhill cigarettes, grey Goose vodka and, uh...oh wait, that is the hipster diet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Overpriced, the Bad, and the Ugly

Update — This old coat from the real Abercrombie and Fitch started off at $99, which is within the bounds of sanity, but there were two bids immediately for $500. How that will work out I don't know, but I suspect...

Hipsters...with trust funds

Original post:

Sometimes I find things that are so preposterous they deserve our attention. Like these shoes on eBay for a mere $29.99 plus shipping.

I'd pay that to make them go away — which, come to think of it, might be what the seller has in mind.

To be continued...

Here's a nice old suit with skinny lapels, short side vents and all that Lee Marvin in "The Killers" stuff. The seller's connecting it with "Mad Men," a tedious television show with some interesting clothes and a whole lotta hype.

Purveyors of "vintage" gear have to take advantage of the golden moment when something stops being old and outdated and starts being hipster. (Notice I didn't say 'hip," because hipsters aren't.)

Hipsters have large budgets and the attention span of a gnat, so the window for selling something to them is short but lucrative.

That means that this nice suit, for which I might pay $100 if everything was just right, has an absurd asking price of $299. Nothing against the seller; I've bought from him before, and he's honest and reliable.

I blame the hipsters. Luckily the wind seems to have gone out of the "Mad Men" balloon, so maybe these old gems — which happen to suit me — will go back down in price soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Under the Influence

Under the influence of John Mordock, a fishing writer out of Ulster county, N.Y., who says the bugs on the Esopus have gotten smaller over the years, I got my initial lineup of new flies from Wally Allen, who runs Ligas Flies out of Boulder, Colo.

He's got a terrific selection, great prices, and he writes cheerful notes on the invoice.

Top row: salmon egg, Dark Cahill, Light Cahill. Bottom row: Leadwing Coachman, Adams, Blue Dun
Bottom: San Juan Worm, dark red

All the wets are size 16. The other two are 14.

Small and wet is the ticket this year. Opening Day nears.


Books by Mordock are hard to find, apparently he likes to sell through small retailers. I applaud the goal but it does mean you have to work for them. For his guide to Catskill streams and ponds I went via Feathercraft, a fly shop in St. Louis.

For my money the best general book on fly-fishing remains Taylor Streit's Instinctive Fly Fishing

There — I Said It (Gorilla version)

I found a DVD at the thrift shop of a film called "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla." It's so bad even I can't take it.

Speaking of gorillas, the last one seems to have left the room. It was extremely satisfying to come across several electronic reminders of the ex and get rid of them without a pang or the slightest urge to reread them for old time's sake.

I'd rather watch the entire Lugosi/gorilla movie. There — I said it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Handy Tips for Bachelors

We have unusually high electric rates in Connecticut — the result of an unfortunate combination of greed and stupidity among utilities, politicians, and the sort of environmentalists who secretly wish we could all live in huts and eat dirt.

Here are two easy ways to save on the Connecticut Light and Power (CLAP) bill:

1. Turn off the power strip that controls the cable box. Yes, it takes a few seconds for the thing to reorient itself when you switch it back on, but when I began doing this the bill went down 40 percent. That is not a typo.

2. I was using the dishwasher a lot, but at the N.Y. cabin, where there isn't one, I just put the evening's dishes in the sink, run hot water, add soap, and let the gentle motion of the waves do its thing overnight. A quick rinse in the morning, into the drainer, and no running the machine.

This method also allows me to use the dishwasher for its traditional bachelor function — storing really filthy dishes.

Here are some other tactics that make life easier.

1. Keep the bathroom clean. You do not, I repeat do not want to have a girl come over and need to use the can and have to wait while you dash in with cleaning supplies to give the toilet a quick swipe. A clean bathroom will give the entirely erroneous impression that you are, in fact, civilized.

2. Keep the weirdo DVDs in a box somewhere, out of sight. In the above scenario, you do not want to have to explain the presence of "Caged Heat" or "Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS" — especially if you just had to clean the toilet.

There is plenty of time for the lady to get to know you before revealing the Dark Side of the Force. With a little luck she will have a Dark Side too and they'll balance out.

3. Women hate cigars the way men hate modern dance. These are genetic, atavistic prejudices, hard-wired into the Western psyche. They cannot be changed, just dealt with.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Suit week

I'm wearing suits this week, no special reason, just a general what the hell attitude.

DB today, and, God help me, an Armani tie.