Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Seersucker as an Odd Jacket.

I love seersucker but dislike wearing it as a suit. Instead I enjoy it as an odd jacket. I particularly wear it with light colored chinos; cream, stone, and white are excellent in this capacity.

How to pull it off: take a look at the pictures and emulate. You can dress it up or down. You can't go wrong with chinos and open collared shirts. I even wear polos with them occasionally. I would avoid stripes of similar size and don't match the color of the seersucker to your shirt. Another thing to avoid is spending big money on seersucker, it isn't very versatile and stains very easily. You typically can only wear it for one spring and summer. You can get away with two if you stay away from people and live in a sterile environment. Just kidding.

Happy summer! I'm getting ready to take an exam hopefully you are doing something fun.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Club Collars a Rarity That Deserves Attention.

I've recently been in need of shirts. A few where shrunk and some are showing there age. After a discussion with my alterations tailor, I discovered that they actually do MTM and bespoke clothing. There pricing scheme is fair for MTM shirts, at about +-$70. That is only about $3 more than the English shirts I import because I like the french cuffs and bright colored stripes. I have been wanting to try some club collared shirts and collarless shirts. Well club collared shirts are hard to find Off the Rack and because of that a rarity. Since, these are MTM I get to try it out. Now, I already have one in a red and blue double stripe so, I am familiar with what works for me and how to wear it.

How to do it, they are like any other collar so, wear them that way. Big, round headed gentlemen should wear straight, long, more pointed collars. Thin, long headed gents should wear short, rounder, and more spread collars. They can be worn dressed up or casual, formal or sporty, and even without a jacket. I personally don't go jacket-less unless engaged in sports or wearing a something to cover my sleeves.

For me, I think I'll go with 2 different ones. I'll try a contrast collar one and a spread collar like the one Merkin is wearing with the bowler.

Here are plenty of examples:

Photo Credit: I have no idea where these were borrowed from, a few are from 2 Japanese blogs don't remember which ones, and the Richard Merkin photos are from the London Lounge and Ask Andy forums. If they are yours and you want them down shoot me an email at orange gentleman dot gmail dot com.

The Leisure Suit is Still Alive!

Yes, you read right. The leisure suit is still worn. In East Africa and Asia, it is still worn. Some parts of Mexico and Central America wear a highly modified version as well.

Like you I was completely surprised a few years ago when my brother returned with one. The novelty of it was quite nice and refreshing. Then the reality snuck in is it really wearable as a normal item. After questioning, he revealed everyone wears them back home and they come in a few varieties. He had a short sleeved version that is typical of young men; it is designed to be worn with an open collar, untucked, and with sandals or canvas shoes. The other two versions are both long sleeved with safari suit styling but much softer and less hard wearing cloth. They are worn untucked or tucked and have 4 to six pockets. The most popular colors for the cloth are navy, pale yellow, cream, oatmeal, brown, tan, white, and a red that fades into pink. Now the way they are worn is really interesting, it is treated like casual dress. While, the American would wear chinos, a golf shirt, and some loafers the East African would wear a leisure suit, a long sleeved version of coarse, with sandals or canvas shoes.

Is this wearable outside of East Africa; yes! The safari suit version in a khaki or cream looks just like a safari suit. Something everyone is familiar with. It definitely isn't as hard to wear as an ascot. If designed with tasteful details, really nothing '70s, it isn't that different. A shirt jacket with matching pants is all it is. I believe I've made my argument; me lord's I rest.

So, there you have it. An item written off by the Western sartorialists is accepted as a staple in other parts of the world. Dandyism is truly regional and that only adds to its beauty!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where Have You Been Orange Gent?

Well, let us just say that school, work, career prospects, and the untimely death of one's father have really caused be to take some time off and relax.

I will get back to posting regularly but I have been behind in my school work. Well until I am ready for a regular posting know this: summer sales are on. Take advantage of the deals. The economy, the lack of loose funds, and the amount of unemployed former spenders have left many sizes available. I have always found myself at a size that is average enough to warrant very few items remaining when sales are on. I suggest you take advantage of the current conditions. Arbitrage opportunities are far and few in between. In the meanwhile enjoy another of my nephew's tartans.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Nephew's Tartan!

Today I had to call out from work to babysit my nephew. Between rounds of video-games and wrestling, I showed him my laptop. We then went to play on several sites, watched a cartoon, and made a tartan. The tartan is awesome. We made it at TartanMaker.com. It is an awesome way to spend time with the little guy.

New Template!

For now this template suits me and my blog. I am looking for one more appropriate to my eccentricities as we delve deeper into what exactly I fancy. I also want to develop a heraldic identity for my blog. I am an amateur heraldist and enjoy the science. I told you I was mildly eccentric.

I've found a person who can help me get all this done at a reasonable cost to me. I'll explore it and let you know how it goes. As always, this is a hobby and the changes do not mean I am monetizing my blog in any matter. Anyway, I would boldly proclaim it if this blog was making money. Why? In these times people need to believe that there is hope and entrepreneurs are not in decline.

Tire Soles in Action!

No one ever believes me when I say that tire soles work. Well here is proof. Avarcas are a traditional style of sandals worn by Catalan farmers in Spain. These ones use re-purposed tires for soles. I knew it wouldn't be too long before this idea spread from poverty to trendy. What once was a way of getting by is now a trendy way of being eco-friendly. Pick them up at ancientindustries.com

Warning: No recommendation here; I just thought you might want to see what I spoke about in action.

Photo Credit: Ancient Industries @ ancientindustries.com

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Canvas Shoe and The Dandy!

Dandies must maintain their unique sense of style and know when to break the rules, when to bend them, and when to create new rules altogether. Other times an idea from thriftiness, poverty, necessity, or accident spurs some creativity. Canvas shoes and suits is one of them.

In East Africa, canvas shoes are a staple of anyone who can afford to purchase more than a few pairs of shoes. Why; they are cheap, resole-able with some African ingenuity, easily dyed, customizable, de rigeur for school children, and easy to clean. Another one of my father's stories comes to mind, when I was growing up he always was trying to find canvas shoes and buy them for us. He finally gave up on getting them and realized American school children wear sneakers and one pair of dress shoes to school. Well, after one of his relapses I decided to ask him why he was obsessed with them.

He replied, "I remember wearing them to school. We were supposed to wear dress shoes but the British under funded education and we were too many for my father to afford proper shoes. Instead he bought us canvas shoes. After sometime it caught on how much value could be had from canvas shoes. Everyone had to have a pair. Especially when someone learned how to jerry-rig old tires in to soles. Oh black is the best color. You could do anything in them. Dirty them up and all you had to do was rinse them and occasionally use charcoal to dye the black back on."

After awhile of hearing this I still wasn't sold. Then he told me they used to wear them with suits and odd jackets. He said they were smart enough not to look out of place, cheap enough that everyone could afford them, and were multipurpose. All those reasons are why they wore them in such a manner. I also think the lightweight helped in a humid environment like, where my Dad grew up.

Summer time is the best time to pull these on and give it a try. Stick to blazer combinations, light colored suits, and stay away from formal clothes. The shoes are versatile; I'd wear them with a khaki suit or jeans and a dress shirt. Now, in regards of what colors conservative dandies should stick to the trinity of blue, red, and black. Adventurous dandies only your mind is the limit. I've just ordered a pair in peach so, I suggest you push your boundaries and explore an exotic color. After all, most pairs can be had for well under $50. These will be some of the cheapest shoes you'll ever own.

These following gentleman all could wear canvas shoes in the East African tradition:

This is the kind of suit that I would wear with a pair of navy or black canvas shoes; linen is a summer cloth that works with the casualness of the canvas shoes. Keep everything just change the shoes.

Tan suit would work well with any number of colored canvas shoes. I'd just as easily go with brown, oatmeal, or a pale orange.

This is the most prized of occasions to wear said shoes while lounging leisurely in a sport coat and odd trousers. Here I would probably go with a navy or light blue colored shoe.

Here are a few models that merit consideration:
Original Keds in Peach, this is the very pair I ordered for x<$40 shipped. I plan on wearing mine with a linen, tan, double breasted suit; a blue, striped shirt; a red, Churchill dot bow tie; and some red, checkered, Happy Socks socks.

Bright yellow Asos Pilmadrille model. Has the jute sole like espadrilles but is virtually a copy of Keds. It is quite affordable at $30.

Toms in a navy canvas. These cost $48 with tax and maybe shipping a little over the Jackson($50) benchmark. Considering the company donates shoes 1:1 for each pair sold makes it less expensive. These are perfect for the philanthropist in us and the conservative in us as well.

Toms in a madras canvas shoe for $48. This pair is lovely dandified fun for southern gents or preps.

These are true espadrilles that tie up around your legs; the Roberto model from Espadrilles Etc. For the brave dandy, pair with shorts and a French striped shirt while vacationing on the beach somewhere. They are price at $38 from Espadrilles Etc.

Warning: Like most modern mass marketed goods these usually have some logo tag on them. They are quite easy to remove and pose no serious trouble to remove. Also, do not have them resoled from old tires; it is not safe or ideal for dandies to pursue thriftiness to such an extreme manner.

UPDATE: I can no longer recommend Asos canvas shoes. They have plastic sole grips and I am concerned about quality. Since I have never owned a pair, I cannot in good faith recommend them. Plastic in shoes is generally a sign of poor quality construction; I do not know if this maxim is true for Asos. For their sake I hope not.

Photo Credit: Vintage Esquire, Keds.com, Asos.com, Espadrilles Etc., and TomsShoes.com.

How to Make the Blazer Yours!

Blazers are the most common odd jacket worn or seen around town. Do you want to look the same as everyone else? If your answer is no keep reading.

As a member of the sartorial brotherhood you should be made aware of the options you have to solve this problem. Some are simple and others require more time, work, or effort. Here is a picture essay on a few options

Regular Buttons

With Side Vents and Club Colors

Obnoxiously bright Colored Cloth

On a boat with self colored buttons

Accessorize with a Skimmer and a bow tie

Taping for the Club look

Wear it with University Stripes or get it in a different colored cloth

Bright Club Colors

Larger Buttons


So, do you still want to wear the blazer you've had for a while. Okay get out there and have some fun. A word of advice; don't use club patches, colored jackets, or any special insignia unless you are affiliated legitimately. It could lead to a terrible offense that could have been easily avoided.

The blazer can be made in several options and we should get creative and customize blazers so, that we will not all be wearing the same blazer.

Photo Credit: This one's all over the place. I also can't remember so, if they are yours and you want them pulled down contact me at orange gentleman at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Posting Schedule

Hello Dear Readers,

I'm going to try something new for me. I will try to post something at least every other day. This means I will no longer post marathon style, doing two or three every time I had time to. I will also make time to blog. It has become a way to relieve stress, express myself, and share my knowledge.

I'm even thinking of starting another blog just for my really eccentric passions. We will cross that bridge when we get to the end of the path.

Good Day,

The Eccentric Orange Gent.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rhodia Pad Holders 3x4 Review

I have a need, okay more of a compulsion, to carry a 3 by 4 pad with me at all times. It is invaluable at work and helps me capture ideas, lists, to do items, and other GTD captures as the day progresses. After destroying a few of them I decided it would be great if I had some sort of holder for them. Well, Rhodia preempted me.

I bit the bullet and purchased the black. Secretly I wanted the orange. Who am I kidding? The orange was my preference. The choice was taken out of my hands because I couldn't find a single dealer who had them in stock in that particular color. So after 3 weeks with one I think it is time to give it a review.

  • Looks: Well the leatherette is okay but real leather is always nicer.
  • Portability: Extremely portable. Can fit in my shirt pockets, pants pockets, jacket pockets, and breast pocket even with 2 pads in it.
  • Usefulness: Extremely. It adds 2 pockets to my small pads and offers me a place to store torn out pages. The protection it offers my pads is great.
  • Durability: Well, I'm not sure which would be more durable between leather and its imitation counterpart but I'm certainly sure this is pretty good. It definitely took a beating from my nephews, being stomped on, and falling out of a moving car pretty well. I'm going with Decent.
  • Price: +- $10.00 online it includes a 3x4 pad.
Overall: I say the pad holder is a great purchase for individuals who need an extra pocket with their palm sized pads and need a little protection, too. Would I purchase another one? Yes in orange. I'll keep the black for business and the orange for pleasure.

I used the pad it came with to plan my father's funeral and memorial service. I keep everything in the pad holder, cards, ideas, my pad for captures, and even cash. It was invaluable and I don't know how I would have kept up if I wasn't writing everything down. It also was useful for shielding my pad while writing in the rain.

Keep your eyes open for more updates and reviews. I'll probably go on a posting run of a few at a time in the next week. During my formal mourning period I constantly was finding ideas for posts. I found it a little disturbing considering my circumstances; maybe this is one way for me to heal. Blogging through the pain. Maybe writing is another thing I inherited from my father.

The Return of Eccentricity and Silver Elephants

I have been absent from the blogosphere for a sad yet, happy occasion. My father passed away on May 16th at 6:33 am. I am still grieving and trying to work out the whole estate process. As the first born son, it is my duty to handle most of the process according to tribal tradition. I am perplexed by the amount of paper work that is required in this, my adopted nation.

Okay, enough of that let us move on to a much happier topic; cufflinks. My favorite classic men's accessory. I recently, okay today, I won an ebay auction for a pair of 3d elephant links from sterling silver. I love animal cufflinks because they are formal yet, informal. Plus, the symbolism. As an African I can tell you that all things carry symbolism when in the form of personal items. Animals, an African favorite, are typically present in our art and decor. In regards to my tribe elephants symbolize manliness, strength, memory, remembrance, protection, military might, strategy, and order. In my tribe, heads and tails carry different meanings. The elephant in its entirety is all those things; considering the components the head stands for memory, remembrance, protection, strategy and order; the tail or posterior symbolizes strength, steadfastness, order in troubling times, and support.

These links feature a separated head and posterior. It has heads on one side of the links and tails on the other. They are connected by a chain; a symbol of joining, restraint, and responsibility.

All these things were told to me in stories by my father; just like his father taught him, and so on. So, I will wear these in appreciation of the oral tradition of my people and in remembrance of my father. After all, an elephant never forgets...