The Traveling Sartorialist

Where traveling is a state of mind, and dressing well is an altered state.
I’ve always pictured myself — taking a selfie.  In San Francisco.
Stefeno Panama Hat, Ray-Ban eyeglasses, UniQlo “Oxford”, not sure about the satchel strap.

I’ve always pictured myself — taking a selfie.  In San Francisco.

Stefeno Panama Hat, Ray-Ban eyeglasses, UniQlo “Oxford”, not sure about the satchel strap.

Traveling in Pasadena today—where, for now, “…it always rains in Southern California”.  Time to break for a music lesson and a good mystery.

Traveling in Pasadena today—where, for now, “…it always rains in Southern California”. Time to break for a music lesson and a good mystery.

Putting my acrylic on
When not Traveling, I make my home in the Bay Area (of Northern California) — where winters lack snow and sport relatively mild temperatures.  It can still get rather chilly — and as shown in the first photo a generously cut peacoat leaves a gap, making a scarf a practical necessity.   But, traditional scarf fabric of wool or cashmere can be too damn hot round here!   Silk is too light, and relatively expensive.
Not knowing any better, I decided to score me a couple scarves made of—drum roll please—acrylic.   As a cheap man-made fabric, it has no serious loft properties, but does a good enough job keeping out a 50 degree Bay Area “chill”.  I find it can be had in just about any color or pattern — to add some relief hues to an otherwise inky black coat.  Feels comfortably soft too, no itch.   It may not last as long as its natural and heartier brethren, but winter by the Bay won’t either.
Blue scarf, $10, Valencia St., SF
"Plaid" scarf, $15, Nordstrom Rack
Indian Summer is here in the Bay Area—stay protected.

Indian Summer is here in the Bay Area—stay protected.

Black denim jeans — when a dark hue will do.

Where I hail from, blue (indigo) is the dominant go-to denim color.   Jeans of a black hue are not seen much—perhaps due to style preference, or as a minor casualty of the ‘avoid black in day attire’ thinking amongst the menswear-atti (did that make sense?).  Few I know would pair brown shoes with black jeans either—but with blue, no problem.  Can’t get started on the black shoes thing either.  So pity the black jean hue, it seems.

But I think you can at least get away with a casual pair of denims in black dye.  Maybe even thrive a little.  After all, they still have that rugged, work-wear image, not the ‘black is elegant’ vibe.   And get this, the Levi 514’s that I’m donning are not truly ink black — more closer to charcoal.   I freely wear them with a very functional set of, yes, brown leather boots while on the trail.   Better still, a few washings have softened the inkiness and brought out that distinctive denim mottled texture or “twill weave”.   

So now my Levi’s suddenly get confident with the dark side — pairing them up with a solid off red t-shirt, or an earthy brown jersey (yeah, brown), sometimes mixed in with a blue cloth belt.   Grey-striped casual jersey too.   I shy away from a white t-shirt, though — needs ink black, I think, and no one would sure in hell mistake me for an emerging ‘rocker’.


I like to think I’m no style fool, ok maybe just a little.  Blue still rules the jeans realm!  But sometimes a rule can work for you, when broken now and then.

edwinzee:

SanFo Uomo

A well-dressed crowd featuring Anthony, Ian, JasonDustin, Nick, and Marcus.

Awesome meet-up of top Bay Area menswear bloggers (links above) and enthusiasts, where Jason clued me in on how to order some fine shoes from abroad without a sweat.   Ian pithily proclaimed it a ”Pitti party”.   Sprezzatura everywhere, but nary a sign of spezzato.

I do my best.   A little inspiration always helps.   From the Esquire “Big Black Book — Summer issue 2013”

I do my best. A little inspiration always helps. From the Esquire “Big Black Book — Summer issue 2013”

Tie Thrifting

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Clothes thrifting can be fun, but it’s challenging to find a garment that fits, is free of rips or blemishes, and fits within your wardrobe.   But in my experience, you can never go home disappointed when ‘tie thrifting’.   Ties are nearly all of the same length, so size-matching is never an issue.   Rips, tears, blemishes that can’t be removed are uncommon (how often does anyone wear out a tie?).  

But what about finding one of a decent style, and not some booby prize someone got stuck with for Father’s day?   Well, when your local thrift-store has dozens, sometimes over a 100 ties (mine does), the chances of finding a tie that fits within your wardrobe actually goes up dramatically.  I usually find more than one.  And of course at a truly rock bottom price.   Finding a good tie just becomes a simple matter of matching to your own tastes — that is, seeking patterns / colors that complement a clothing ensemble you had in mind.  

Yes, it does require a willingness to sift through what is often a loose hanging and eclectized spaghetti of patterns, colors, and materials.  But the search is part of the charm, fun even.

Then you might end up with a tie like this, which I like paired with my dark navy Theory blazer (thrifted as well — it was a good day). Tie-spirational:

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Or this Hardy Amies tie:

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Mr. Broke & Bespoke — menswear thrift master bar none — regularly features thrifted ties himself.

Polo shirt — texture, color, and details.

Polo shirt — texture, color, and details.