My mother was a notoriously sharp-tongued woman. Of all the derisive epithets in her arsenal, none was as cutting as “tacky.” To be caught wearing something tacky was to be instantly downgraded in her estimation.
As the proverbial acorn does not fall far from the tree, I often find myself calling out those things that miss the mark of good taste.
What brings this to mind?
Last month, I purchased a tandem of face masks from Rowing Blazers, one in a broad navy and mint green stripe and the other in a black watch tartan. I bought these particular masks because of their American made pedigree.
Here’s the rub: They came with labels prominently and intractably attached to the front of the mask. The front, dear reader.
While I can appreciate the occasional discrete logo on a shirt, the tag goes on the inside. Full stop. End of story. Either by intention or out of ignorance, to do otherwise is unquestionably gauche–tacky in extremis.
Maybe I’m not quite as enamored as others are of Rowing Blazers regurgitated Tommy Hilfiger-esque take on the Ivy style. Some have called it “streetwear meets preppy.” It’s a sort of post-modern trad, a melding together of diverse influences, and I suppose there’s some value in that.
Which brings us back to these particular masks. On one level, I regret having to give them a middling review. They’re comfortable, well made and, aside from the glaring billboard for Rowing Blazers stitched on the outside, aesthetically pleasing. But the issue with the tags is simply too much to overcome.
For quite some time, I’ve been a follower of the Richter Goods Instagram account. I’ve taken note of their interesting take on classic shirt styles, all made in San Antonio, Texas.
But, for a while, one was unable to purchase shirts from their website; this has since been rectified.
So I’ve waited patiently until a trip to San Antonio materialized.
With Hurricane Laura churning in the Gulf, a mandatory evacuation of Galveston Island became the perfect excuse for visiting Richter Goods in person.
Richter Goods is the brainchild of Mario Guajardo. He’s a native of Mexico City–and a descendant of native Texans–who relocated to San Antonio in 2001. In 2011, he launched Richter Goods, with a commitment to producing his wares in the Alamo City.
His shirts are classic, with a generous nod to the Western aesthetic, hearkening back to classic cowboy inspired clothing from the 40s and 50s.
It was a genuine privilege to have the opportunity to speak with him in person. While there, Mario offered me a shirt free of charge. I demurred. He insisted.
I’ve found that I tend to took at items we receive gratis with a bit more of a jaundiced, critical eye. But I can find nary a disparaging thing to say about this particular shirt. It’s cut in a classic 1940s style, with pleated front pockets. The fabric is a sumptuous cotton/wool blend, with a thickness perfect for shoulder season weather.
Many items in my wardrobe occupy a very specific space. So I admire those pieces that can do double or triple duty. This shirt is definitely one of those. It can be a shirt unto itself. It can be layered over a button down when the mercury drops. Or it can be worn untucked for a casual, shirt-jac look.