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THRIFTY THURSDAY: Louis

When it comes to bags and the necessities that go into your everyday carry, you have to decide what works for your lifestyle.
You’ve got a big-boy office job: Try a briefcase.
You’re one of those guys that carry a messenger bag: Fine.
You’re a snot-nosed liberal arts undergrad rat (like I was): Give a backpack a go.
You’re not a fan of carrying any of those: Tote along, friends.
Carry what fits with your setting and lifestyle. Bags with top handles are particularly my game. I love a good Filson tote, as well as a Jack Spade dipped-canvas coal tote. Durable, beat up and broken in.
My preference comes from not wanting to carry something across my body. It cramps my style, usually dishevels my blazer, and I don’t want scoliosis. Enter the tote.

Hold up, what is this guy doing with a Louis Vuitton? Hear me out. I got it for a killer deal and it’s a freaking Louis?! Do you know how many middle-aged, Gold Coast housewives armed with LVs, hauling strollers and pumped with Botox have stopped me on the streets of Chicago complimenting this bag? Well, three this week and I don’t know if that’s a really good indicator of “cool” either, but who’s keeping track….Not me. Nope.

Plus, tell us you’d turn down this Louis Vuitton luggage from Darjheeling Limited if you had the chance. No? Neither would we.

I thought you guys were about thrift. It’s in the title. Thrift can be relative. Sure, we generally mean it in the Salvation Army sense, but occasionally a thousand-dollar piece comes along for a couple hundo, and we call that a deal. I snagged this sucker off of eBay from the wonderful ladies over at eDrop-Off. I was Googling leather handbags one day and stumbled across this one on their eBay page. It was very clear in the description as it being “well-loved and worn” which I read as, “generally beat up and perfect.”
With my interest peaked and time ending soon on the auction, I called the store and asked to speak with an associate. They promptly answered my questions, and I went for it.
Bidding ensued, and I had a price point where I was going to stop bidding (It goes without saying, but always have a figure in mind where you’re going to stop. It’s too easy to get sucked in to simply wanting to win. And boom: Immediate and brutal buyer’s remorse.)

I also happened to thrift this oatmeal-flecked wool cardigan by Pendleton a few years ago when I was in undergrad. If you want to burn up, look for anything wool and itchy. You’ll be nice and toasty.

On Jeff: Vintage “Monogram” collection tote (eDrop-Off, $222) made in America by Louis Vuitton; oatmeal-flecked wool cardigan (thrifted, $3) by Pendleton; blue cotton oxford (Legends Shopping Center, $60) by rag & bone; selvedge “Henley” denim ($220) by Baldwin Denim.

Look for Less: Cost or Quality

This or that?
Buy designer digs or buy the less expensive option.
You decide. It’s your money that you earned, but let’s look at the options.
  • Designer quality goods generally have, well, a higher quality. Nicer factories, more substantial garment construction techniques, higher quality fabrics and more luxurious blends are used, such as cashmere. Designer brands usually have specialty characteristics, such as seaming and fit, yanno, a little personality. You get the tag with the designer’s name on it. “Hey, this was constructed and dreamed up by the imaginary, or imaginaries, under this brand that saw this as something worth constructing and associating their name with as a part of their intimate collection that fits within the brand’s lifestyle and identity.” I mean, some of my favorite pieces are designer, because they fit so damn well and have a story behind it.
  • Off-brand, or “house” brands, generally use fabrics of lesser quality along with less strict quality control procedures. For example, your sweater may fall apart because a seam wasn’t secured after one wear. You get something mass produced. It’s not as unique or poorly made (see: Forever 21.) What’s interesting is that if you look closely at a clothing line or when you walk into a store, you can tell if the store is pushing a product or a lifestyle. Is this store trying to sell me something? Or is this store trying to sell me a lifestyle, an identity, a sense of community— a story.
Left to right: Speckled jersey sweatpants by 3.1 Phillip Lim, $350; Salt & pepper sweatpants by American Apparel, $38; Shetland Varsity Letterman Jacket by Thom Browne, $1,298; Brown Varsity Jacket by Abel, $110.

$350 is a bit much for sweatpants. I totally agree, but do I want these? Absolutely.
Are they necessary? No way. But here is where the bridge splits and you can decide…



Left to right: Fairisle crewneck by CPO, $60; Fairisle shawl collar cardigan by Burkman Bros, $250; Gameday chinos by Bonobos, $88; Hayden pant by Theory, $195.

Certain designers cut their pieces in particular fits. Huge Boss suiting runs slim, so does Ben Sherman, A.P.C., D&G, Prada, etc. If you need a suit and you’re built like a toothpick, you’ll probably have to fork out the extra dough to get a suit that fits you well… off the rack, if you don’t have time for a tailor. Same goes for chinos, sweatshirts and Lord, don’t get me started on dress shirts.

Hear me out, there is nothing inherently wrong with designer brands, off-brands or mass-produced pieces, although some would argue in relation to relativism, ethnocentricism and ethics. Save it for a family meal.
Ultimately, you’re the consumer and you have the choice.

midweSTYLE: Bridge II

Jeff’s post a few weeks ago got me thinking about my own fall uniform. The ensemble that automatically pops into my mind when I get out of bed in the morning. This is what I came up with. It’s not necessarily limited to these exact pieces, but they do represent the basic formula. It goes something like this: plaid shirt, shawl-collar cardigan, and a lightweight jacket on top of denim and boots. The variations are endless. Nonetheless, this is perhaps my favorite.

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If I could, I would be completely content with only wearing Gitman shirting, for the rest of my life. The fit and details are spot on (their mediums are ideal), and every season seems to improve upon the last. There’s a consistently wide array of fabrics and patterns – chambrays, oxfords, tartans. There’s something strangely familiar about a Gitman Vintage shirt, like you’re ninety-five percent sure you saw your dad wearing the same thing back in ’74, but you can’t be sure.
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This service blazer by Apolis has been my go-to top layer for fall. I was turned on to Apolis a few summers back when they teamed up with Katin to produce some chambray board shorts. From there, my interest in the brand and their philosophy has only increased. If you’ve got the time, take a moment to read up on their story and check out their new fall arrivals, which happens to include some beautiful Italian-crafted suiting. Truly a brand worth supporting and investing in.

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These boots were a gift from my dear friend Travis Craig. And get this, he gave these to me on his birthday. If he ever finds a pair of shoes or boots a size or so too big while thrifting, he grabs them anyway and then tells me hes got something I need to try on. Talk about generosity. It’s thoughtful people like him that I aspire to be like and hope to be lucky enough to surround myself with. Thanks again, Trav. You’re the man.

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A NOTE ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: When she’s not petting stray cats, tweeting in all caps, or rocking a quasi-middle part, Mallory Wiegers is busy working on her undergraduate degree in graphic design at the University of Kansas. She’s a longtime friend and compadre. She’s also a huge asset to the blog. That header up there – her doing. We’re lucky enough to have her input and expertise at our disposal when it comes to all things design. She’s currently working on some more projects for the Midwestyle, and considering her 21st was just a few short days ago, I’m sure she’ll be reimbursed with pink champagne. Or kittens. Be sure to check her online portfolio and give her a follow on the Twitter machine.
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On Cameron: chambray service blazer by Apolis; green plaid button down by Gitman Vintage; grey shawl collar cardigan by J. Crew, slim-straight selvedge denim by Wings + Horns; watch by Timex for J. Crew; vintage tracker boots; vintage belt.
Photography by Mallory Wiegers.

THRIFTY THURSDAY: Duck hunt

I love novelty sweaters.
And by novelty, I mean obnoxious.

This “Duck Hunt” sweater triggers memories. Memories of my brother and I sitting in front of our large, practically furniture-sized television in our basement, non-stop clicking the Nintendo gun for pegging ducks off the screen. We spent hours mastering this game, totally cheating when the other got suckered into to running upstairs to grab the pizza rolls that Mom so kindly prepared for us.

I snagged this sweater at Arizona Trading Company in Kansas City when I flew back to see my baby niece. (Yeah, this guy is an Uncle! Congrats, Brother and Sister-In-Law.) Per usual, I did the rounds in Kansas City in hopes of scoring glorious plunder. I’d call this sweater alone a win in itself. If you wanna shell out the big bucks, Mr. Porter and Need Supply have a few options for the animal at heart.

On Jeff: Thrifted “Duck Hunt” sweater ($6) by Montgomery Ward from Arizona Trading Company; thrifted denim shirt ($1) from Salvation Army; thrifted bomber jacket with faux shearling trim ($12) from Salvation Army; grey slim-fit “Davis” chinos ($70) by Club Monaco.

midweSTYLE: Campus

7:57 A.M.
It’s midterm season. You hit the quad, half walking, half running, panicking because your bike got a pinch flat back on University Avenue and you had to lock it up and ditch it by Mumford Hall, but your class is over off 6th St.
You had five minutes then. Now you’re down to three.
You didn’t sleep last night; you didn’t have that luxury. Eating, that wasn’t exactly on the agenda either. You’re breathing though, running over a general timeline of early medieval history again in your head. Professor said exact dates weren’t necessary, so you subconsciously purged those. Diocletian. Constantine. The Council of Nicaea. You know this is all living in your short-term memory, trying to bleed back out.
You need to get this down on paper. Now.
You bust through the auditorium doors. Heads turn, people stare. Whatever. You’re past embarrassment. You sit, loudly. That TA, the one who always wears the sweat-stained Cardinals hat and a smug, condescending frown, he hands you the exam. Your eyes close. Open. You check the essay questions first. You always check the essay questions first. Pressure releases, you’ve got those on lock. Multiple choice takes care of itself. You write, and write, and write, shaking slightly from the triple espresso you put down a few hours ago. But it’s not long before it’s all over. You turn in the exam, with an unexpected confidence in your performance. You leave content. You’re walking back across the quad, tired, but more than elated that that midterm is over. Maybe just more excited that you have an opportunity to relax.
And it’s then that you stop and look around. You take it in. The leaves. The colors. You’d been ignoring them for the past few days—too busy. But your studying is over now. You hear the soft rustle of leaves being trampled underfoot. You inhale the crisp air. It feels good. And your once overwhelmed and over distracted mind can ignore it no longer.
Fall is here.
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Fall, for me, is primarily about two things: layers and fabrics. Flannels, wools, thick-knits. Jackets over sweaters over shirts, with scarves on top. Hats too, sometimes. Put on boots, any boots. And don’t forget tweed. Fall is your time to experiment. It’s your chance to find who you are, sartorially. Throw on some sportcoats. Or don’t, it’s your call. But really, above all, have fun. Clothes can be fun. They should be fun.
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Wear a watch. You should know what time it is without fishing your iPhone out of your pocket. Plus, watch straps are the new way to display your personality (sarcasm). But in all seriousness, start collecting. Or just buy this.

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Fall is also a great time to break in a fresh pair of raw denim. Or, if your selvedge collection is already three or so deep, get on that duck canvas jam. You’ll be glad you did.

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On Cameron: thrifted herringbone blazer by Hill and Archer, thrifted heather grey sweater by Ireland Group; Kurabo denim in the 77 fit by Baldwin Denim; thrifted blue oxford by Gant, beeswax desert boots by Clarks; military watch by Timex.

Photography by Mallory Wiegers.
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