Fall Dapper Day

Dapper Day, the twice annually event that both well dressed folks and Disney lovers look forward to every year, was last weekend. Last fall Dapper Day I wore a western ensemble with slacks, and I enjoyed that so much I decided to go with a similar outfit, and as the weather was quite cool, Patrick finally wore a jacket and tie ensemble! And I actually managed to snap a couple pictures of him.

Patrick’s jacket is honestly one of my favorite pieces in his wardrobe. And believe it or not, I thrifted it years ago! His whole outfit was a hit, and I’m pretty happy the man put the outfit together on his own!

The wooden Disneyland inspired D brooch is a new gem from Match Accessories, who recently launched a Frontierland inspired collection. When I ordered this new D they made mine a little special, and swapped out a boot for the Smoke Tree Ranch brand. Smoke Tree Ranch was a beloved getaway spot for Walt Disney and his family. He loved the Palm Springs club so much that he regularly wore ties embroidered with the ranch’s brand. In fact the Partners statue in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle features the brand on Walt’s tie. Read more on Walt and Smoke Tree Ranch here.

The only sad thing about this outfit, is that the hat is the same one I wore last fall Dapper Day, and as much as I would have loved to have worn a different one, I don’t actually own that many cowboy hats, mainly because I am extremely picky. Like this hat is absolute perfection, and I would love to own this exact hat in a variety of colors! The trials of vintage!

Outfit
Hat: Orange Circle Antique Mall, Orange, California
Blazer: Red Light, Portland, Oregon
Blouse: Frock You, San Diego, California
Slacks: Paper Moon, Los Angeles, California
D Brooch: Match Accessories
String Tie & Ring: I don’t remember…
Belt: Found by my dad
Shoes: Re-Mix

 

Patrick’s Outfit
Jacket: Thrifted
Shirt & Pants: Nordstorm
String Tie: Borrowed from me, of course! But I don’t remember…
Shoes: Allen Edmonds

Real Fashionable Men Vol. 1

In my last vintage photo post I highlighted more fashionable ladies, and while most of the time I look for well dressed gals from days gone by for inspiration, every once in awhile I come across a photo of a gentleman I just can’t pass up. I think it’s time we highlight some of these dapper gents…

Other Vintage Photograph Posts
Clowning Around
Real Fashionable Ladies Vol. 1
Bathing Beauties
Boys and Their Cars
Friendship
Trouser Wearing Gals
Real Fashionable Ladies Vol. 2
Animal Friends

Manly Mondays: Hair

When I started styling my hair with a side part about a year ago I used molding paste, a thin hair gel that went in easy, but couldn’t hold my thick hair, and hairspray which would lock the style into place. The combination of the two worked but I had to wash it out and redo it everyday. I also hated the smell of hairspray and the fact that it made my hair feel rock hard.

Enter pomade.  For the uninitiated pomade is often made of a combination of oils, waxes and petroleum products that were the way to style hair from the 60s on back. There are a huge number of varieties, which vary by the amount of shine, hold, and stiffness. When I started, I used Murray’s Brand pomades, which are nice and light but lacked the hold I was looking for. I finally found Bees Knees which is made by a Portland barber who wanted something with a really strong hold without any petroleum products.

Why use Pomade?

  • Pomades are really easy to work with has a great hold even on really, really, thick hair
  • Most pomades have some kind of nice smell, Bee Knees has a great peppermint scent
  • Because pomades are not water based they are not affected by water or sweat
  • You don’t need apply more pomade everyday. It stays in your hair and you can just spend a minute every morning brushing it into a new style
  • A little pomade goes a long way a $13 tin of Bees Knees will last me about 2-3 months
  • Pomade adds a nice healthy shine to your hair

How I Style My Hair

I usually apply pomade right after I get out of a shower. I towel dry my hair and then get to work.

Before doing anything else, I comb in my side part and clean up the rest. This helps me get a good idea of where all the pomade needs to go. If you are doing a part, try to get the line as clean and straight as possible.

Quick Tip: To set a part, just drag the comb long ways along your hair where you want your part. Then comb your hair away from the line you just drew.

Start softening up the pomade with a blow dryer (or in my case the hose from Janey’s bonnet dryer, since she refuses to purchase a blow dryer) until you can build up a quarter size glob on your fingers (use less if you already have some left in your hair). Spread your glob around on your fingers and then work it evenly into your hair. Over time you will learn that some places need more then others, for me my bangs and right side often need a little more then everywhere else.

Once you have it worked into your hair start styling. Use your blow dryer to soften the pomade up in a particular area and then comb it.

And done!

Washing and Maintaining

I’ve started washing my hair every 3-4 days just to keep my scalp and hair clean, this doesn’t totally wash out the pomade so afterward I apply a little more (if I want to wash the pomade out thoroughly, I use common dish soap such as Palmolive in conjunction with my normal shampoo and conditioner). In between washings I just wake up and comb my hair again with the help of the dryer or a run my comb under hot water. It’s really easy to restyle.

Other Brands

There are loads of different pomades on the market with different levels of shine, thickness, hold and scents. Just because I love Bees Kness doesn’t mean you will, it would probably be terrible for someone with finer or thinner hair. The Rebel Rouser does regular reviews of pomade on his blog to give you some idea of the variety you can have. Here is a list of some of the best.

You can buy most of these at The Grease Shop and check out Rebel Rouser’s pomade reviews for some more ideas of what to buy.

What’s Next?

This wraps up all seven of the posts I had pre-planned to do. However next week I’ll pull together a lot of links and lists of items you might want to be on the lookout for.

What do you want to see next on Manly Mondays?

Manly Mondays: Shaving

Let’s face it most guys hate shaving. I used to. It’s irritating and the razors cost an arm and a leg.

Around 8 months ago I started shaving with single bladed safety razor, and all the annoyances of keeping clean shaven have went away. If you haven’t shaven with a real razor before I highly suggest you try it out. Using a single bladed razor, shaving mug, a block of soap and a brush is one of the best things I have done to my morning shave. And here’s why…

Less Irritation and a Closer Shave

The biggest difference from moving from a five-blade razor to a very nice single blade razor is that my skin is much less irritated after my shaves. Five-bladed cartridge razors would leave my whole neck red, irritated and dry feeling for the whole day. In contrast the single bladed razor leaves almost no irritation.

This is because when you shave with a fave-blade cartridge you are actually shaving your face 5 times! When I used cartridge razors I would usually go over everything twice which meant that at the end of my shaves my whole face would have been exposed to 10 razor blades. With a single bladed razor, I can get a close shave with only 2 passes, which means much less exposure to the blade and much less irritation.

The fastest way to a close shave is to shave against the grain of your whiskers. This is tricky with a longer and more unwieldy cartridge razor and which is also light weight meaning you have to apply more pressure (increasing irritation) to get the same close shave.  In contrast my single bladed razor is very short and quite heavy meaning I have more maneuverability and can apply less pressure and get a good against the grain shave with less work.

If all of that doesn’t convince you, Janey thinks that I get a much closer shave with the single blade then my old Gillette cartridge razor. Which is really the only metric that matters.

Costs Less Per Month

In addition to the irritation, I also was tired of spending an arm and a leg on new razor blades. When I started out shaving I bought everything at The Art Of Shaving so I am using their prices here.

  • Pre-Shave Oil: $25 – Lasts about 3 months
  • Shaving Soap: $30 – Lasts 3-4 months
  • Aftershave: $40 – Still haven’t run out after nearly 10 months
  • Razors: $1 each – These are sold in packs of 12 and I use 1 a month

You can get loads of different soaps and pre-shave/aftershaves for about half of these prices online. A good source is  Classic Shaving which has a pretty complete inventory.

There is a fairly high upfront cost to starting to shave this way. You will need a nice badger hair brush, which will run at least $40-$50 (trust me it’s worth it) and a good razor. I use the Merkur HD 34C which runs about $50 on Amazon and everywhere else.

Once you get over the upfront investment the month to month cost if quite low, and for the quality of shave it’s really excellent.

How To

There are lots of good tutorials and videos out there on the internet on how to do a good shave so I’ll give you a few links and then a quick step by step. Put This On has a great video and Art Of Manliness has a good article with links and another step by step guide.

  1. Get a hot very wet wash cloth and warm up your face. This opens up your pores and gives you a close shave with less irritation.
  2. Apply your pre-shave oil to stand up and soften your whiskers
  3. Wet your shaving brush (using hot water) and put a tiny bit of hot water in your mug and build up a lather.
  4. Lather your face up this should go on thick, not watery
  5. Shave using short strokes with very little pressure with the blade about 30 degrees to your face go with the grain or you beard for the first pass
  6. Repeat 3-5 one or two more times going against or across the grain
  7. Wash your face with cold water. This will close your pores and redice irritation.
  8. Pat your face dry and apply your aftershave.

Tips & Techniques

If you are coming from shaving with a regular cartridge razor here are a few good things to keep in mind.

  • Keep the blade of you safety razor at about 30 degrees to your face.
  • Use short strokes with light pressure. Using too much pressure was the #1 reason I cut myself early on.  The razor has just the right weight and balance you need to get a close shave. Trust it.
  • Don’t shave it all in one go. It takes 2-3 passes (lathering between each) to get the best shave go slow and don’t worry about getting it perfect the first time.
  • An Alum Block is your best friend. When you do cut yourself (not if) this handy block an aluminum sulfate is a natural way to stop the bleeding fast. Buy one from Art of Shaving.

Shopping List

  • Brush – Whatever you do don’t get a boar hair brush. Stick with badger hair (about $50) or splurge an get silver tipped badger (about $150)
  • Razor – Look for something with good weight.  The Merkur HD 34C is generally regarded as one of the best you can buy
  • Pre-Shave Oil – This helps soften and standup your whiskers
  • Shaving Soap – Look for something that is all natural and has a good scent (or no scent)
  • Aftershave – Helps cool down your face after you shave
  • Alum Block – Closes up cuts and stops irritation

Downsides

There are a few downsides to shaving this way. My biggest complaint so far is that the FAA doesn’t allow these kinds of blades in your carry-on bags, meaning if you want to shave this way on the go you are checking a bag.

The other is that is much, much easier to cut yourself. The blade is much more exposed to your face and the wrong angle or too much pressure will make you cut yourself. Although it doesn’t take to long to learn the right way to avoid cuts.

Manly Mondays: Jackets

Mens jackets can be a huge hit or miss for me.  While most men can’t go wrong with a good leather bomber jacket, I can’t pull that off and I’ve lost my taste for sports coats, so I have to look for vintage jackets. I started looking for vintage jackets to replace my classic Dickie “garage style” jacket a little over a year ago, and didn’t find anything for months until suddenly I had found two within a few weeks and another one shortly after.

Early 50s Homemade Green Jacket

I got this from Carla at Bohemian Vintage in exchange for taking some photos of garments for her website. Originally I didn’t like it at all. But Janey insisted I get it and it has since become my favorite day to day coat. It’s light enough to wear in almost any weather and compliments almost all of my shirts. It’s also long enough not to have to tuck in shirts.  This is something to keep in mind when trying on jackets and coats. Many mid-century jackets are of “Ike” length.  This term comes from the army jackets from WWII and the Korean War that were known as “Ike Jackets”.  These short, waist-cropped military jackets were made at the request of then General Eisenhower, thus their nickname.

50s Copper Coat

Janey’s dad found this beautiful wool copper colored coat in Eugene. It was super cheap (I’ve forgotten how much but I think it was around $20) as the lining was trashed. Janey patched up the lining with some new satin and it looks as good as new.

50s Gabardine Ricky Jacket

I bought this amazing 50s Gaberdine “Ricky” jacket from a friend a few months ago. It has bright red satin lining and looks like it was never worn. He kept it in his closet for the last several years. Good Gabardine jackets like this one regularly go for $150 and upwards. More expensive jackets tend to be reversible and/or have a design to in the fabric.  The source of the term “Ricky” jacket is debatable. Some claim that it is named for Ricky Ricardo (the character portrayed by Desi Arnaz in the 50s hit I Love Lucy), while others argue it was after singer Ricky Nelson.  Regardless of the name’s history, Ricky jackets tend to be of Ike length and have a fabric collar and either flap or slash pockets.

New Wool Overcoat

This overcoat occupies a special role in my wardrobe, it only gets worn when I dressed up for a nice night out and it’s very cold outside. I picked this up at Peacock (now closed) for only $60 and considered it a steal.  Overcoats tend to lend themselves to special occasions and are long due to the fact they need to covre up the suit jacket or tuxedo jacket underneath.

Buying Coats

When you are looking for coats there are few things to look out for.

  • Older coats and jackets are generally shorter.  If you don’t tuck your shirts in all the time pay attention to length.
  • Inspect the lining. This is one of the first things to break down in older coats. Just make sure there are no holes or rips and you should be fine.  Otherwise you will be paying a rather hefty price to replace the lining, but it is worth it if you really love a coat.

Care and Storage

Jackets need to be dry cleaned.  When you store your jackets, get high quality wooden hangers.  They help hold the shape of the jacket better. Like shirts make sure you button or zip your jackets to help them hold shape.

Manly Mondays: Evening Attire

Up until now I’ve spared you from dress shirts, ties, and suits. But now its time to man up and look fantastic for a night out. Finding a nice dinner jacket and pants can make it a breeze to get dressed for a fancy night out.

Shirt and Cufflinks

French cuff shirts are the only thing to wear under a dinner jacket. Cufflinks look better then a normal buttoned cuff and and are one of my favorite accessories.  Cufflinks can be sleek and simple or creative and whimsical, and often have a matching tie clip.  Cufflinks can be found everywhere from Goodwill to antique malls to high end vintage shops to Etsy.

Like a lot of other mens clothes, shirts were often tailored to fit the wearer, so finding a vintage one is difficult. I ended up getting one at Nordstrom for my wedding and had it tailored.

When you go out to buy a new shirt, suck it up and ask a sales associate to help. Shirts are fitted based on your neck size, shoulder width and how long you want the sleeves to be. If you already have your jacket, bring it along when you shop for your shirt so you can get the right sleeve length.

Because shirts are measured at the neck and shoulders, they often run to large everywhere else to accommodate larger body sizes. The downside to this is there can often be a lot of fabric left over when you are done tucking you shirt in. Without tailoring, my shirt would resemble a small tent hanging from my neck. Get your shirt tailored, it costs less then $20 and you can often get it done when you buy your shirt.

Jacket

Your jacket is arguably the most important piece of your ensemble, it sets the tone for your entire outfit so its important to get it right. Fitting at the shoulders is essential, as almost anything else can be tailored. A quick tip to check shoulder size is to lean against a wall, if the shoulder of your jacket touches the wall before your arm the jacket is to big. Getting things tailored can be expensive, but fortunately you can find dress pants and dinner jackets just about everywhere and they tend to be cheap. I just picked up a 1930s dinner jacket with matching pants for $25, so my total cost after tailoring the set shouldn’t be too much.

Pay attention to the width of your lapels, they should be proportional to your  shoulder width, if you have larger shoulders don’t pick a huge lapel because it will make your shoulders look even broader. Thin lapels will also make your narrow shoulders look small and wearing fat lapels with narrow shoulders will be overbearing. Start at around a two inch lapel and go from there. Your lapel width will also determine how wide your tie can be. Try to keep your tie width within a 1/2 inch of your lapels.

Tie

Ties are a staple of vintage shops and thrift stores and since almost no one ever looks you can afford to be picky. Your tie is the central visual piece of your outfit so its important to pick something that looks good and stands out. Be unique with your choice of ties.  It’s a great way to reflect your personal tastes and style. Just remember to keep the width of your tie around the width of your lapels and make sure the style matches.

If you don’t know how to tie a tie, start by learning the Four-In-Hand knot. It’s the easiest knot to learn and will get you through about any situation. If you want a good link this site has a few different kinds of knots if you are looking for something different.

Tie width and design vary a lot depending on the decade.  The 1940s saw wide ties with some fabulous and, at times, flamboyant designs.  The 1950s started with the wider ties of the 40s, but as the decade went on, they became very narrow and by the 1960s, one inch ties were all the rage with more subtle designs.

Pants

Black pants and nicely shined black shoes compliment just about any tie and jacket. Pants should either be the same color as your jacket or a solid color that compliments your jacket.  Navy jacket? Black pants.  Brown and tan fleck jacket? Brown or tan pants.   Additionally, you want to be careful with where your “break” is. The break is how much fabric gathers at your shoes when you are standing. If your pants are too long it will show because to much fabric will gather. If your pants are too short you will show some ankle and look like you don’t know how to dress yourself. Effortless Gent has a great guide on how to get the right break.

Finding Everything

Check out your local Goodwill. Many resale stores such as Buffalo Exchange often don’t take mens formal wear because they think they can’t sell it. If you find something at a thrift store, you will probably have enough money leftover to get it tailored. Look for a simple style that will go with just about everything.

Often, the menswear section at vintage shops is small, however there are a handful that tend to specialize in menswear. In Portland we have Hollywood Vintage and Avalon. You’ll find a lot of good stuff in one place, but the price goes way up. A jacket and pants might cost you $70-$150.

When you shop, make sure you know your shoulder measurement (the width from tip to tip on your shoulders) as well as your neck, waist and inseam measurements.

To get you started here is an Etsy treasury of vintage cufflinks. They range from about $10-$200 so you should find something in your price range.

Manly Mondays: Shirts

Contemporary mens fashion can sometime seem a little dull… Jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, etc., everything emblazoned with logos and brands. Vintage shirts however can often be found for less than contemporary shirts and come in a variety of styles and fashions, not to mention they tend to be of better quality.

60s Button Downs

I’ve come to love these 60s button down shirts where the stitching contrasts the fabric. The have a nice loose fit and work well with any pants and jacket. They can be found fairly easily at any vintage clothing store and are usually $35 or less.  I found this one at Elsewhere Vintage in Orange, California.

Western

Western wear was especially popular in the 40s and 50s and was often handmade and embroidered of gaberdine wool. These shirts are incredibly hard to find and expensive, often going to over $200. Fortunately there was a western wear revival in the 70s (with folk music) and through the 80s (with the release of  the film Urban Cowboy) as a result there is a lot of newer western wear that is still of high quality that is more affordable than to 40s and 50s pieces. Much of these later pieces are made of either cotton or polyester, and most sport some fantastic designs. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t find a style you like, there are loads of different designs, so keep looking and you are sure to find something.  I have had lots of luck with western wear at various Buffalo Exchange locations.

Linen and Gabardine

Shirts made of linen and gabardine occupy a space between everyday wear and dress shirts.  They are very, very nice, but tend to be a little more expense around $40-$60.  Gabardine is a very tight knit of wool generally found in 4os clothing. It’s incredibly high quality and very fashionable.  Linen is great at keeping you cool and breathes well, it also feels strong and smooth. The downside is, as Janey puts it, “If you look at linen wrong will wrinkle.”  So buying a linen shirt is not to be taken lightly. This one was just too great to pass up.  Portland’s own Living Threads Vintage has a great selection of menswear, which is where I picked up this linen shirt.

Taking Care Of Your Shirts

You can save yourself extra laundry and extend the life of your shirts by getting some plain white undershirts. These can help protect your vintage shirts from sweat and reduces the need to wash them. I can wear shirts for a few weeks without washing if I wear them with undershirts, just wash your undershirts and keep everything clean.

Another tip to extending the life of your shirts is hang drying. After washing your shirts (in cold water), take them out of the washer, put them on a hanger, buttoning the first two buttons, and then hang them on your shower rod. The heat from dryers can weaken fabric over time.

Gaberdine, since it is wool, should be dry cleaned whenever possible.  If not, hand-washing with Woolite, and laying flat to dry is the best alternative method.

If your shirts get wrinkled you can take this quick tip from Janey: hang your shirt up in the bathroom before taking a hot shower, the steam from the shower should get out the worst wrinkle and keep your shirts nice without washing or ironing.

Always hang your vintage shirts if you can. Folding them into a drawer damages the shapes and lines of the collars (and the rest of the shirt). To persevere the collar shape button the first one or two buttons up near the collar, this helps keep the shape of the collar intact.

Sizing

For the most part you can safely look for mens shirts that match the size of t-shirt you wear, but before you rush out an buy shirts, get your wife or girlfriend to help you take three simple measurement to help you fit your shirts right.

  • Neck: Measure around the lower middle part of your neck (where a dress shirt collar would sit). 14-14 1/2 is small, 15-15 1/2 is medium , 16-16 1/2 is large.
  • Shoulders: Measure from the middle of the rounded portion of your shoulder to the same point on the opposite shoulder.
  • Chest: Measure around the broadest part of your chest

Most shirts won’t have all three of these measurements.  Many have just the neck, but it gives you a good idea on how to quickly size things.

Vintage Shirts On Etsy

To get you started, I made an Etsy Treasury with a selection of shirts for you to get some ideas and possibly purchase.