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Gay Talese on embellishing suits off the rack

For most of us, it doesn’t make much financial sense to have our clothes hand-made by a tailor. It’s one of the regrettable facts of modern life.
Enter Gay Talese, one of the most skilled journalists of our time. (A lot of people think that his story about Frank Sinatra for Esquire was the best profile ever written.) Talese’s dad was a tailor, so he’s used to having custom-made clothes since…forever. Now, he gets his clothes made in Paris by the son of the guy that taught his father. (Gahhh—if only. Who does Talese think he is?)
Of course, Talese is hardly Midwestern, but Katie Roiphe’s interview with him in the Paris Review touches briefly on his style philosophy. The article is about lot of things—most of which are far more important than style—but here’s something to get you thinking:

“He is so beautifully dressed that strangers will talk to him in the street, that waiters and hostesses in restaurants will want to do things for him, like find a special place to put his hat. Talese’s father was a tailor, his mother ran a successful dress shop, and he says his first idea of how to be special was through clothing.”

Then there’s his post on Gilt MANual about how to throw some elbow patches and cuff-work on an old jacket to spice things up.
He says:
“I think every well-dressed man should have something to wear when he does not particularly feel like being well-dressed, but still refuses to blend in with the ranks of men who clearly care little about what they look like.

That said, this is really a knockaround jacket. It’s afternoon material; I don’t wear it at night. (I sometimes dress two or three times in a day.) If I’m going to the dentist, I might wear this, because I’ll keep the jacket on while I’m down in the chair. Now, if I’m going to have lunch with someone, I wouldn’t wear this. I’d wear a suit.”
I mean, c’mon!! Not only is guy decking out in bespoke clothes, he has a sport coat that he doesn’t think is nice enough to wear to lunch. AND he’s updating them every 30, 40 years to make sure nobody else is wearing what he is. What a guy.

Our advice to you? Get yourself to the thrift store, pick up a wool jacket that fits you like a glove, then take it to the tailor and embellish the hell out of that thing.

To read more of Talese’s philosophy on tailoring, check out Gilt MANual by clicking on the photo:

midweSTYLE: Hay

ABOUT THIS LOOK: I’ve liked the idea of mixing vintage items, Americana goods and designer apparel. Plus, I really wanted to type out “Marc by Marc Jacobs” and “Pendleton” in the same blog post. I wanted to create a faded and dusty look for the field. Warm colors, like the 1901 camel colored shoes and MBMJ warm mauve undershirt, were already being drawn out from the Pendleton shirt.

This leather bomber jacket is one of my favorite pieces that I own. I’m always scared for some reason to pair it with dress shoes and think I need to wear it with boots of some sort. However, I’ve been rocking it with my bucks, wallabees and even Sperrys a few times. Why not, eh?

ABOUT THIS LOCATION: I grew up flying kites in this field. It’s at the bottom of my street from my childhood home. Besides, dodging cow shit as we ran unto the ends of the earth (or so it seemed), I loved looking down the hill—the hill that I hated to bike up so much. But I became so thankful for where I grew up. I didn’t have to stare off into an endless suburban wasteland of cookie cutter houses nor at any brick apartments outside my window. The cows down the street in the field, the airport farther up the road a couple of miles and a general store up the street near my elementary school.

Bomber jacket (thrifted, $6) by “Made in Ecuador 100% Leather”, size 38; wool button-down (thrifted, $6) by Pendleton, medium; “Rat” long-sleeve mauve T-shirt (retail, $9) by Marc by Marc Jacobs, medium; “The Henley” 11.5-ounce dry selvedge denim (retail $198) by Baldwin, size 30; 1901 camel suede bucks (retail, $44) by Nordstrom, size 11; Camper Watch(retail, $18) by Timex; braided leather belt (thrifted, $1).
Photos by Jarred Donalson.

LBJ orders pants

Nothing new, but still hilarious…and moreso thanks to this snazzy video made by the good folk over at Put This On. LBJ orders pants, stressing that he needs about an inch let out in the crotch (“you know, where your nuts hang”) because they cut him—”like riding a wire fence.”

This was a time when men understood fit.


Put This On: LBJ Buys Pants from Put This On on Vimeo.

Thrifty Thursday: Wool and Alpaca Slacks

On my way home from getting a haircut last week, I happened upon the Village Discount Outlet—which was almost a warehouse. (Or should it be wearhouse?) It was packed, both with clothes and with scarf-covered women cramming their shopping carts full of stuff.
The sizes run big for a little guy like me, but after significant rooting I snagged these incredible wool/alpaca slacks that fit perfectly.

Yeah, they’re pleated. I’m okay with that.
A couple of drawbacks: There aren’t any dressing rooms, which isn’t the worst problem; as long as you’re wearing a T-shirt, you can throw other shirts over it. Pants—that’s another story. I did figure out a way to try them on, but it was tricky and I don’t really want to talk about it.
The place isn’t curated well, but that means prices are dirt cheap. Saw a decent trench coat for 90 cents. And I walked away with a slim-fit Italian dress shirt for $6 that’ll make a perfect gift for the brother.
And these pants? $4. Believe it. Inspect carefully, though. When I got home I found a worn hole in the seat, which will mean a trip to the tailor.

But at 4 bones? You gotta dig, but that’s hard to beat.
//SJP

midweSTYLE: East Campus slumdog

What is “East Campus” you might ask, dear reader?
East Campus is a tragically beautiful (yet awesome) slum place to live during your undergraduate years at Mizzou. It’s a big, magical, non-stop party with all your friends. Imagine a place where a thick layer of cigarette butts and shattered beer bottles litters the rundown lawns and crooked sidewalks. A place coated by a thin residue of shame that comes up easily when you scrape at it with a fingernail. A place where the brick-lain streets are bathed in streams of sorority girl tears flowing richly into the Natty Light-filled sewers. East Campus, a prime place for the housing of Who’s Who in Mizzou. We mean this when we say it: It’s the best place ever.

Options include but are honestly limited to:
  • Hodgepodge Fraternity Housing = Questionable Living Conditions & High Rent.
  • Freshly Remodeled Housing = Great Living Conditions & High Rent.
  • Likely Unlivable Housing = Subpar Living Conditions & Cheap Rent.

These are your options on East Campus, choose wisely.
Choose cheaply.
Seth and I chose cheaply, as did Cam.
And here is your East Campus midweSTYLE in option, “Likely Unlivable Housing”:

WHY THIS LOOK WORKS: Nautical and military style? Sure. It’s called, the navy.

TRANSITIONAL FROM WINTER TO SPRING? Why not, switch up the denim with some chinos or khaki shorts for a warm spring night? Or swap the sweater out for a tee and rock it with them boat shoes.
STAPLES OR TRENDY?: I would say that all of these items are staples to have in your closet, or rather, on your floor ready to be used again. Classic pullover, military jacket, selvedge denim, desert boots. A beard doesn’t hurt the situation either.

You can get these shoes at Famous Footwear. Is anyone listening? Famous Footwear, I say.

Cadet jacket (eBay, $40) by J.CREW, small; Binic II (on sale for $150, reg. $215) by Saint James, medium;The 77” 14-ounce Karabo by Baldwin Denim, size 31; Beeswax Desert Bootby Clark’s, size 11.

Photography by Erica Steinbach,
our dear friend at 504 who is always down for a dance party
and doesn’t mind us coming over just for baked goods.