Necessary Things: Tweed Suit.

Politicians and business men wear Power Suits. These are usually navy or gray, often chalk-striped and paired with white dress shirts and red power ties. I submit to you that is not a power suit; that’s the sartorial equivalent of khakis and a button-down. It’s what everyone wears.

Do you want to look powerful, confident, be an individual? Then go for Tweed.  Really want to stand out, then add a waistcoat. Three pieces finish the look.

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The Author in Tweed

The three piece Tweed suit looks like an archetype. It is the suit of academics, bankers, and explorers. It is the suit for Lairds, Country Squires, and English hunters. It has the look of the outdoors, but coupled with a civilized cut. When Aleister Crowley climbed K2, he did it in a Tweed suit. When Indiana Jones was in the classroom teaching archeology, he did it in a Tweed suit. What will you do in one?

I wear mine on weekend adventures; strolling through the Museum of Fine Arts, or along Bellevue Avenue in Newport. I wear it to the office where I am happy to have the pockets for my reading glasses.

Do you want the look? I recommend, as I often do, Cordings! They rarely go on sale, but sometimes they do. The good thing about Cordings is that they always have the same Tweeds and so you can build your suit one piece at a time. Start with the Jacket.

Leave a comment below and tell me what you think of Tweed. Do you like mine pictured above?

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Best!

Dare to Wear Red

There are few things as audacious as red pants. It is a clear sign that you are confident, you know what you like, and you may not always play by the rules.  Red cuts through the crowd, contrasts with a sea of khaki; you cannot sink into the shadows when you are wearing the brightest color in the crowd.

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The author in Cordings Red Chinos in front of Turner’s masterpiece. 

When you think of red pants where I live, in Massachusetts, you think of Nantucket Reds from Murray’s Toggery in Nantucket. That is a distinctive faded red, almost pink. However, there are many shades of red. As much as I love our unofficial State color pants, I prefer a deeper red; the type of red pants that you see in England. I prefer the ones from Cordings.

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The author in Nantucket Reds in Philadelphia

And then high summer rolls around and nothing looks better with a blue blazer than a faded pair of reds.

Why choose? Buy both.

Want the look?

Murray’s Toggery: Nantucket Red Collection

Cordings: Cordings Dark Red Chinos

Cordings Summer Red Chinos

Pro tip, a couple times per year, in spring and autumn, Cordings has a buy one pair of trousers and get one at 1/2 price. Sign up for their emails and wait for the sale. It makes the shipping cost worth it.

 

 

Necessary Things: A Typewriter

Why on earth would you need a typewriter? This is the age of the mobile device, voice-activated speakers; soon texts and emails will be writing themselves. Why on earth would you need a heavy piece of outdating technology

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For that very reason. Typewriters are writing machines; much closer to your hand with a pen in it than to a computer. The typewriter is the medium through which you express yourself directly onto the page. It is a portable printing press. Each word is fashioned by hammering a key into the paper and imprinting some ink there, permanently.

Using a typewriter shows that you intended to say what you said, that you thought about it, that you created the letter with a measured intensity because you knew that if you made a mistake there was no backspacing, there was no deleting; the word was there permanently.

Typewriters show a boldness, an affection for times past. When someone receives something that you have typed, they will recognize it as something unique,  one-off. The keys would have made their marks in a unique manner, the spacing, the cross-outs, the type-overs, the notes that you may have written in the margins. Your letter is an unique thing; it has weight and meaning and it was mad only for them.

Each machine is different. You may find yourself buying more of them; different typefaces: cursive, Art Deco, robo-script, italic, pica, sans serif. Each one reflects a different mood, a different purpose. I have one from the 20s in an Art Deco script that looks like Scott Fitzgerald just invited you to a cocktail party. I have one from the sixties in a modernist script meant to look futuristic, Space Age. You can match the typeface to the person. Whatever you are feeling. You could easily buy more than one. I have 15.

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I use a typewriter because I like them. I like the ratta-tap-tapping of the keys against the platen. I like the satisfying low-tech bell ring at the end of the line. I like the metallic sliding sounds of the carriage as it clicks back into place. Most of all, I like the delight that it gives my family and friends to receive correspondence from me.

Have you every used a typewriter? Would you every again?

 

 

Decorating From Things Found in the Yard.

I love the idea of finding things in the yard, bringing them inside, and using them to decorate the home. This ties the inside and outside together in a very direct way and when you see these things, it reminds you of all the natural beauty around you.

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Feather of a Hawk or Great Horned Owl found in the Yard.

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Abandoned Bird’s Nest Found on the Ground After A Storm.

I always marvel at the beauty of natural items. It’s amazing the artistry of a bird’ nest and the fact that a creature with a beak is able to fashion one of these out of sticks.

What items have you brought inside? What creative decorating ideas have you thought of?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matching Your Socks to Your Shoes…

A man is walking across the plaza in a dark suit. With each step you see a flash of bright red, a bright signal of individuality, a flashing code that there is something else to this person, something slightly unorthodox and interesting.

Many people wear wild socks, bright socks, brightly patterned socks. Justin Trudeau, the PM of Canada, is famous for it. We’ve seen his “sock diplomacy” to whatever effect all over the globe.

I wear bright socks too, but when I do, I do so with specific intent: my socks match my shoes. Further, that color is also in my tie as the dominant color.

I like the harmony between the similar colors of socks and shoes. One color enhances the other, makes tans a bit orange, oxblood a bit red. Light plays between them differently, alluringly, and allows me to express a hidden eccentricity in a subtle way.

Do you want the look? Uniqlo has socks in nearly every color of the radio and for about $3 each, sensible, since they do not last long. However, I do not know where they are made and I generally like to buy from countries that I support. More on that in the weeks to come.

What do you think about matching your socks to your shoes???

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Red socks from Uniqlo with Bostonian Brogues.

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Orange socks (are these orange?) from Uniqlo with Allen Edmunds Brogues.

The Romance of a Barbour Jacket

People love their Barbour jackets and it’s easy to see why. Barbour jackets are like old reliable friends. If you’re out in the rain, it will shield you. Need protection from the cold and damp and it is there for you. Get your truck stuck in the mud and need more traction? Put your Barbour jacket under the wheel and get out of the hole; take it home and hose it off and it is none the worse for wear. True story.

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The author in Portsmouth, NH

Barbours have the smell of the wax and oils used to infuse them with breathability and waterproof qualities. This coating makes them tough, impregnable. If you get a stain, just wipe it off with a damp cloth. The coating makes them nearly impossible to snag or rip, so they are great for walking the dog or hiking. Over time, it will wear off, after years; but this will give it a unique quality, worn in to the way you move, wrinkling in the perfect spots, fading by the elbows, from where you keep your keys. After time, no two Barbours are alike.

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The author in Port Gaverne, Cornwall

Of course, you can always send your Barbour back to them to get re-waxed, but where is the fun in that?

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How to Tie a Bow Tie.

A very wise man once said to me that the mark of a gentleman is the ability to tie a bow tie. He then taught me how and that began a lifelong love affair with this natty piece of knotted silk!

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Here are some instructions on how to tie one.

  1. Loop the bow tie under and around your collar. I find it easier to tie with your collar folded down. The left side should be a few inches longer than the right. Basically, the same way that you would with a necktie.
  1. Loop the long end around the short end like the first step in tying a shoe and pull it tight.
  1. Bring the short end up, lay it across your collar, and fold it into the shape of a bow.
  1. Wrap the long end around the center of the short end and allow the long tail to dangle down.
  1. Now, bring up the long end, fold it in half at the widest point and stuff this fold through the loop in the center of the bow and toward the single side of the bottom bow.
  1. Pull the bottom of both loops in opposing directions away from the center to tighten, straighten the bow, and you’re done!

Alternate ending step:

Steps 1),  2), 3) & 4) remain the same.

  1. Take the tail of the long end and stuff it through the loop in the center and toward

the folded end of the bottom bow.

  1. Pull the bottom of both loops in opposing directions away from the center to

tighten, straighten the bow, and you’re done!