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Sunday, January 5, 2020

Review: Made to Measurement 8 Wale Corduroy Trousers by Spencer's Trousers

This review has been a long time coming, but Life is busy and that is my only excuse for the delay.  I had had these trousers made by Spencer's Trousers a couple of years ago and that been enjoyed having my sticks swaddled in their well-made warmth in the cold months of the years since. For those of you not yet aware of Spencer's Trousers and the excellent service they provide, please see my previous review from March of 2018 of a pair of tweed trousers they had made for me with greater details of the process.

I had commissioned my Corduroy Trousers in Corn and Navy and must say the colors are fabulously rich.

These wonderfull 8 Wale Corduroys were ordered and amazingly were delivered to my door as is Spencer's Trousers standard procedure, in less than 10 days including shipping from the UK to me here in Germany, which quite frankly is a level of service that I find to be astonishing.  The fit, as usual, is perfect.  While I ordered these with belt loops I nearly always wear them with braces, since the weight of the 8 wale cloth has them slipping off my waist and riding on my hips without the braces to keep them where I like them.  Knowing this for my next pairs, I will order them without belt loops and just perhaps or back adjusters and braces buttons (I might even be tempted to go full vintage with fish backs).  These trousers are button fly, but I like zippers just as well or more, so I will probably go for that option next time for ease of use.  Spencer's are happy to add or delete any design details I like and now that they have got the general measurement proportions that I prefer, ordering is just a matter of a couple of emails and a credit card payment.  I will say that I do wish that they accepted PayPal, as this would make the purchase process even easier. 

In any case, the hefty corduroy 8 wale cloth they use is warm enough to keep my pegs warm in even the harshest weather that Bavaria has to offer.  The result of which I generally only wear them in the colder months, but when I do wear them, I can be assured that coziness (at least from the waist down) is guaranteed.

Here shown touring the grounds of Nymphenburg Palace in Munich and the Castle at Nuremberg respectively:

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Krawatten Hoff - My Favorite Tie shop in Munich!

Kravatten Hoff (House of Ties in English) is without a doubt my favorite tie shop in Munich - an old-world shopping experience without the stuffiness.  The selection is incredible especially considering that the shop is only about 25 square meters.  Their offerings are continuously revolving, so you will find a new treasure on each visit and in all price ranges.  Best of all the proprietress is a joy to shop and visit with. She has got an encyclopedic knowledge of ties and has a real passion for helping her customers find just the right tie, bowtie or day cravat.  This shop represents a dying breed in the retail trade - a boutique run with joy and passion for their speciality and for serving their customers.  I can't recommend this shop enough.  

Located at Maxburgstra├če 4, 80333 M├╝nchen, the shop is a bit tucked away, but totally worth seeking out if you find yourself in Munich with a bit of time for tie shopping, it's just a short walk from the famous Bayerischer Hof hotel in central Munich.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Brown Glen Check Tweed Jacket by Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Glen brown Check Tweed jacket

I had been on the hunt for a brown Prince of Wales tweed jacket for a while now and had just not been able to nail down an example at a price point that I could justify.  However, recently perusing the offerings on Ebay.co.Uk, I came on just the thing.  Best of all, it was a made in Italy (by Corneliani) from Ralph Lauren in NOS unworn condition still with the tags on!  After working out shipping to me here in Germany with a very kind and accommodating seller (Thank you Sarah),  This beauty arrived at my door.

Of course, being in NOS condition this jacket overall including the lining was in perfect condition:
Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket back view

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket lining view

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket label view

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket label view

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket label view

Nice deep brown leather buttons are my favorites on tweed sports coats:
Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket sleeve button view

The Weave Close-ups:
Provided for my own enjoyment and for that of my tweed obsessed brethren: The pattern of this tweed weave is sort of a classic brown Glen Check (aka Prince of Wales) tweed with the major pattern carried out in deep browns on a tan background and featuring a really subtle, but wonderful over check with green (horizontal), light blue, burnt orange and burgundy (all vertical).  All these colors mean that matching this jacket with other wardrobe items is a snap.  The overall color and pattern of this jacket gives off a wonderfully old monied traditional vibe.

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket weave detail view

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket weave detail view

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket weave detail view

Overall Design and tailoring:
In addition to great traditional design by Ralph Lauren with flapped patch pockets and a very nice 2/3 roll button stance that is perfect for my 6'  2" frame, Corneliani (Ralph Lauren's Italian manufacture partner for premium tailoring starting in the late 1990s) has really done a spectacular job constructing this jacket and it got a marvelous premium feel from the first time one slips it on.  These jackets by Corneliani for Ralph Lauren are very highly regarded by men's clothing aficionados and I can now certainly understand why

Listed as a 44 regular but actually wears closer to a traditional 42 regular.  I would say generally it's not quite as close-fitting as many modern cut 44R jackets, but certainly not as generous as a traditional 44R.  I think the fit is about perfect for me and gives enough room to wear a sweater or a waistcoat without the feeling that it is at all confining.  Of course, I requested detailed measurements from the seller so that I was assured that the jacket would be a great fit with little or no need for adjustments,  To see my guide to buying pre-worn jackets online, please follow this link: 

I love all the details given on the Original Manufacturer's tag:

Here wearing the jacket with:
College strip wool scarf by Ryder &Amies 
Silk Repp Tie by Smart Turnout London
Blue and White Stripe button-down shirt by Samuel Windsor
Navy Merino V-neck sweater by Lochcarron of Scotland
Chinos with Black Watch Flannel lining by Lands End
Silk hunting motif silk pocket square by Cordings Piccadilly London
Eyewear by Persol
Tan leather Brogues by Gordon & Bros

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket wearing view

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket wearing view

Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket wearing view

Overall, this jacket fills a nice nitch in my wardrobe and I will look forward to wearing it for many, many years to come!
Ralph Lauren Glen Check Tweed jacket pocket square view

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Head to Head Comparision Flannel Lined Chinos from LL Bean and Lands End

I had been looking to get a pair of flannel-lined chinos for the winter months this year.  Typically for very cold days here in Germany, I wear Tweed, Wool flannel or 8 wale Corduroy trousers, but the flannel-lined chinos have been very popular for years back in the states so I thought I should give them a spin.  Now a number of US-based brands offer these at various price levels, the LL Bean and Lands End have been some of the best known to offer these and at a price that won't break the bank.  I have been wearing Lands End Chinos and Oxford shirts for a while now and have been very happy with everything that I have bought from them.  LL Bean is a true old-line American brand and I have been wanting to purchase from them for a while, so I decided to buy an example from each and to provide a brief review.

Lands End:
These chinos care available in classic fit which is fuller in the leg and the straight fit, which are a bit narrower overall. I tend to like my trousers closer fit, so I opted for the straight fit.  I know from my own experience that Olive or Navy chinos, which they also offer will not get nearly as much wear from me, so I purchased their Antique Bronze color, which featured a solid brass zipper, nice darker horn style button-through back pockets and are lined in cozy Black Watch patterned cotton flannel.  The fit as you can see in the photos is still roomy but not vintage style baggy with a smaller leg opening.  The rise is what I would call a nice medium.  I opted for 34-inch length, which provides enough length to roll the bottoms to show off some of that great looking Black Watch flannel.   The Black Watch pattern which Lands End uses is a bit brighter and bolder also than the LL Bean version.  The Chino fabric is 97% cotton/3% spandex and the lining is 98% cotton/2% spandex, which allows for both the inside and outside fabric to stretch a little bit and to stretch together.  Build for these trousers is solid and obviously well made as will all the Items I have purchased from Lands End, these feel like great quality.

LL Bean:
The LL Bean if not the inventor of the flannel-lined chino is perhaps best known for its offering in this speciality.  LL Bean only offers what they call 'Natural Fit' chinos, which as you will see are quite baggy.  I purchased the standard chino khaki color rather than their Dark Kahki because I wanted to differentiate them from the color of the Lands End chinos above.  After a brief inspection, I can pronounce them also very nicely put together, however I did notice a slightly different construction method with these which results in the seam edges showing on the inside of the pant legs.  Typically this would not be an issue, however, since I would prefer to wear them cuff to show the contrasting flannel, I would have preferred that they use the method used on the Lands End Chinos:

Tidier Lands End Construction method along the side leg seams gives a cleaner cuff look:

The LL Bean otherwise has been constructed very well overall.  These chinos are, however, much fuller in the leg, probably closer to the Lands End traditional fit which is generally much fuller in the leg than I typically prefer.  Indeed, I would go so far as to call them baggy (I guess I've got skinny legs).  It first I didn't think that I would like them much but after a day or so wearing them, I much say that I began to appreciate the old school baggy fit.  I will note however that since they are not as close-fitting as the Lands End Chinos, they don't keep me quite as warm in really cold weather.

You can really see the difference in the cut in these photos.  Please bear in mind that both of these chino trousers are 35-inches at the waste and 34-inches in length.  One good thing is that leg opening is about the same, otherwise, the Bean chinos would have been returned:

LL Bean Chino at left, Lands End Chino at right:

However, having overcome my initial hesitation with the fullness of the Bean chino trouser legs, I came to really like the fuller leg old school look and have quickly determined that I can happily live with them.  I do also like this slightly higher rise and the 100 percent cotton fabric:

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