Bills Khakis Best Dressed Man Contest

The good folks at Bills Khakis are having an Instagram/Twitter contest. Apparently, the best dressed gent sporting his Bills will be the winner of a $500 shopping spree.

The prospect of a shopping spree at one of my favorite makers of American clothes is an enticing one, so yours truly donned his Bill Khakis seersucker trousers and uploaded these photos to the Classic American Style Instagram account.

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Those trousers are one of my favorite pair. They’re American made clothing at it’s finest and most distinctive–an item every well dressed American male should have in his summer wardrobe.

Hickey Freeman Tie

Last year, we extolled the virtues of Rochester, NY-based Hickey Freeman, the venerable maker of men’s tailored clothing.

Given my penchant for bespoke tailoring, I’ve had little opportunity to sample Hickey Freeman’s suits and jackets, which are an off-the-rack product. However, several of the company’s American made ties have found their way into my closet, and they’re a regular part of my wardrobe.

A recent visit to a local discount store brought this newest Hickey Freeman tie into my orbit. It’s a wonderful cravat: a gray woven silk with navy repp stripes. My only beef is its narrow width; at 3 and 1/4 inches wide, it’s a fraction of an inch narrower than I prefer, although still well within the range of acceptable dimensions.

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Bills Khakis Sale

A few weeks ago, the good folks at Bills Khakis were having a sale, divesting themselves of excess summer goods. As warm weather endures well into early November in my part of the country, it was a perfect opportunity to pick up a few items for a very reasonable price.

I purchased a pink cotton polo and a couple of pair of boxer shorts, all, of course, manufactured in the United States. Once I’ve had a chance to wear these items, I’ll post a fuller review.

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Dapper Classics Redux

I have fallen in love.

Strong stuff for a blog that’s principally about clothing. But the outstanding American made socks from Dapper Classics inspire me to those heights of affection.

Last month, on the way to dropping Frannie off at school, we made an afternoon detour to New Orleans. There, I stopped in a store where, a couple of months earlier, I had picked up my first pair. This time, I bought a second and third pair.

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I’ve heard some complaints that the Dapper Classics socks are a bit too snug for certain folks. But to my mind, they’re a perfect fit, far less snug than a certain pair of Brooks Brothers over the calf socks that caused me excruciating pain every time I wore them.

I’m looking forward to adding to my collection, particularly the merino wool over the calf socks Dapper Classics offers for the fall and winter.

Vintage Family Portrait

The year is 1917. My family has gathered for a formal portrait. Photography, despite the popularity of the Kodak Brownie, is largely a professional enterprise, particularly for something like this.

In attendance are my great-great-grandparents, their three sons (one of whom is my great-grandfather), their daughter-in-law (my great-grandmother) and their two grandsons (my grandfather and great-uncle, respectively).

Each wears his Sunday best. Not yet old enough for long pants, my grandfather sports a Norfolk jacket and a pair of knee breeches. His younger brother wears a sailor’s outfit. As is common practice at the time, no smiles dawn across their faces. Forbearance and rectitude are the virtues of the day.

Every inch of cloth that covers their bodies was almost assuredly made within the borders of the United States. It was a time when much of what we wore was produced locally, often in the home itself by a family matriarch in front of a Singer sewing machine.

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Vacation, American Style

One of the most memorable slogans from early 20th century advertising was the “See America First” campaign. It was an effort by the Great Northern Railway to cajole the well-healed into forgoing the Grand Tour of Europe for the discrete charms of America’s National Parks.

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With two kids in school, my vacation plans are more the See-America-Only variety. Slender means translate into more local travel plans.

So, after dropping Frannie off at school, I made a delightful detour to Virginia’s Mountain Lake Lodge. The more astute, female and middle aged among our readership will recognize the lodge as the shooting location for the execrable 1987 film Dirty Dancing.

Located about 30 minutes away from Blacksburg, Mountain Lake Lodge is nestled high in the Virginia Appalachians, at an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet above sea level.

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I stayed in one of the cabins a brief stroll from the main lodge, which dates to 1937, constructed by Galveston’s Moody family. The lodge had hiking in abundance (being only five miles from the venerable Appalachian Trail), tasty meals and enticing microbrews. Given the high elevation and a reinforcing cool front, the nights were cool and the days were mild–at the end of August no less!

Of course, an American vacation calls for American made vestments:

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Enjoying a post-dinner beer in the lodge. Wearing a custom shirt from Hamilton Shirts, a pocket square from Kent Wang and a pair of socks from Dapper Classics–all American made.
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A morning hike in a made in Maine wool shirt from Ramblers Way Farm.
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Reclining in the afternoon sun, wearing outstanding made in America clothes from ColumbiaKnit (Breton shirt), Leather Man Ltd. (belt), Jack Donnelly (khakis) and Wassookeag Moccasins.