Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Introducing Archibald J. McNeil

Friends, lend me your ears.  

While I’ve been neglectful of my commitment here, it has been for a worthy cause.  The Modern Traditionalist and I have established an enterprise, Archibald J. McNeil.

Archibald J. McNeil is a portal to a world of classically elegant style and grace.  Here we offer appurtenances for maverick gentlemen.  This is not about mere fashion.  This is about life lived well.  Our cuff links are hand made in the United States by a skilled metalsmith of the finest materials.  We ensure each item meets our exacting standards in the humble hope they will satisfy you.  

Our plan is to expand beyond cuff links as soon as possible, but please take a gander, tell us what you think.  Oh, and if you feel so inclined, pass along the good word.  

Happy perusing.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Liberty or Death

I wish you a glorious annual celebration of the Declaration of Independence!  We have liberty, but let us remember with all the due that which was wagered in the cause of liberty: a man's sacred honor.

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall hang separately"
~Ben Franklin

Let us also keep in mind that this is the day two of the most famous patriots passed fifty years after having signed the hollowed document.  Jefferson and Adams both died on July 4, 1826.  An occasion for sober minds this may seem, we should by all means imbibe grog and be thankful for our sacrosanct liberty.  The Modern Traditionalist and I created a beverage to commemorate this noble day in honor of the Father of these States United, George Washington.  The concoction is named for his solemnity of manner, the Gravitas.  More on that back to celebrating.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sartorial Icon: Thomas Crown

One of my favorite films is the Thomas Crown Affair (yes, the 1968 version).  The recent '90s version is entertaining, but the original has far more character, which is often the case in my opinion.  The risqué scene where Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway seduce each other over chess is far more entertaining than the ubiquitous state of undress one confronts in today's films.

What do you get for learn from the man who has everything?  Perhaps, we learn a look is more about an attitude of confidence than mere attire.  His confidence comes through whether sporting a bespoke suit or ball cap.

Interesting waistcoat.

 Pink shirt, Persols & Pin in the collar.

Blue with Prince of Wales.

Mr. Crown is a man about town.  I advise you to note well the nuances of his personal style and the prominence of his comfort as well.  Sure, he's just a character, but it's been said that "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players."


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Classics: Aviators

Many styles come and go, but few persevere.  I prefer the classic aesthetic.  Few sunglasses have endured as the classic aviator has.  Above are my current pairs.  Having always loved the look, my first pair was procured on a budget during my college days.  They were quickly misplaced.  Keen to keep with the sartorial statement, a second pair was purchased a few years ago on a whim.  I was pleased with my now second (read replacement) set of American Optical aviators.  I was until Randolph Engineering sent me a pair this fall to see - and eventually keep.  They are the genuine article.

At first glance, the differences are hardly noticeable.  The moment you put them into service the distinctions are apparent.  RE frames are curved slightly, contouring to the natural curve or your visage.  This makes them infinitely more wearable on a consistent basis.  They are far more comfortable and block more light because of this simple distinction.  Take a close look at the image below and you see the difference in build quality.  Hinges are important on glasses as they are constantly stressed when used.  The folks at Randolph include a useful cleaning cloth, hard case and maintenance kit with each pair or glasses.  It's a nice touch, but it affirms theirs are built to be repaired not replaced.  That is something to be commended these days as most goods aren't durable.

My AO glasses were quickly weighed, measured and found wanting.  In sum, if you want to look good like the gentleman below you should purchase AOs.  My AOs have held up and have much use left in them, but they aren't as sturdy as their competitor.  If you are, indeed, the man shown below, put your money down and get the best.  Once you go RE, you wont go back.

I didn't purchase the glasses, but I gladly would have. The review is truly my own findings without any input from the manufacturer.  In fact, the glasses are so good I've worn them too often and am in the process of purchasing replacement lenses.  These glasses are a staple in my wardrobe.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Leg Up - Thermoregulation

I've seen the issue come up lately and wanted to say my two cents on the matter.  Being Manly did an excellent post on men's shorts over a year ago.  When considering looks alone, pants claim the trophy.  Exculpatory factors do exist in my world.  Respectfully, I must disagree with my The Rt. Hon. Vir Beatum and the conclusion most make, which is to not wear shorts.  The arguments for the aesthetically disagreeable nature of shorts by comparison to long trousers are quite accurate.  Also, one must wear shorts correctly, taking into account time and place.  I prefer the look of a woman's legs to any man's.  Having said that, compliments have been extended on my own legs by members of the opposite sex (and come to think of it, one awkwardly memorable comment from male friend).  So then, were these ladies being polite or do women find men in shorts attractive?

In short, much of my life has been spent in the dreary cold climates of the middle Western states of America.  Yes, I wore shorts as a boy, even suits with shorts.  My blood is of Irish, German and French lineage.  The Irish being the vast majority must have something to do with my personal thermometer - as it is always ready for a cold and damp climate.  I'm very nearly perennially excessively warm, even when others are chattering their pearly whites and fighting to keep extremities from hypothermia.  Perhaps this make me exothermic? In any case, I endeavor to keep from perspiring without added external variables like weather.

For undergraduate studies, New Orleans was my home.  More sweltering places are few and far between.  Yes, here I frequented the Bermuda as was the necessary convention to beat the heat.  Frequently, oppressive humidity and heat taught me great love for the short.

Today, I am settled in the District, formerly swamp land, with all due tropical meteorological significances. It is once again necessary don the short pants for sake of thermoregulation.  When on days like today the temperature approaches triple digits with similar figures of humidity, the short is a savior.

Length is an entirely problematic.  These days the term shorts seems to be a misnomer...

These are not short.  Equally problematic are the too short shorts...

This really flatters no man.  Then again I wont be telling these Gents to bare less leg...

Navy SEALs at Buds from Valet Mag

 Tom Selleck as Magnum PI, the character was a Navy SEAL 

Then again:
As Bond could wear just about anything (from here)

These are perfectly acceptable forms or resort wear in my opinion, but let's keep this length for destination holidays.  As for the adequate length, shorts should sit above your knee when standing while concealing your undergarments, especially when sitting.  Evidently, Mr. Selleck makes the cut.  The fit should be close to the body so as not to sag off the frame.  See below for length and fit.

My personal choice from J.CREW

JFK and Jackie (from here)

I resolve to wear shorts, of proper length, at the proper time and with the proper majesty.  Ideally, few will notice I have them on if I've played my part well.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not Nattering: Jefferson's Ten Rules

There is value in codifying a list of rules to guide your future behavior.  You probably do it all the time without realizing.  These days, it seems we make more to do lists for the completion external endeavors. For instance, I make to-do lists daily and weekly.  I do this for personal and professional tasks.  To do what Jefferson's has above requires quite a bit of introspection and reflection to know even where to begin.  

It would behoove us to reflect then write down areas where we can improve based on past behavior.  Make a quarterly appointment with yourself to sit for quiet introspection about how you can improve.  Jefferson's rules are a great starting point for everyone.  George Washington, Ben Franklin and others took a crack at it also.  MT and I have a framed copy of TJ's rules in our office at home above where we keep our house keys.  Once in a while, I find myself breaking the rules.  In particular, the first and fourth rules seem to sneak up on me from time to time.  The point is I recognize it.  I have begun to question myself in the moment.  Sometime between TJ's and our own, we discarded the goal of perfecting ourselves  (or maybe it's just me).  We are caught up in our profession, or like affairs, instead of the business of self-actualization.  Let us no longer forgo this noble ambition.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Article of Affection: My Double Monks

Yes, these are the much discussed Sid Mashburn Double Monk straps made by Alfred Sargent.  Yes, they are mine.  Yes, I love them.  No, I don't sleep with them on my feet.  I procured them in late January this year to mark the conclusion of a very significant program I completed at work.  They feel as good on my feet as it does to know that program is over.  I have long been fascinated by monk strap shoes especially the clean simplicity of their design combined with their unique functional charm.  My father introduced them to me when we were on vacation in England and Ireland.  There I acquired a pair of Church & Co. tan brogue monk straps until my foot sadly grew.  If those shoes ever cross my path, there won't be a hesitation.  Having seen the post on A Headlong Dive, it occurred to me I needed to share this purchase here.  

The Pavlovian Response may have had me at this point.

Fresh from the box.

Unlike Mr. Simmons of AHD, I did not call Sid Mashburn to place my order, but instead joined Taigan, where Sid Mashburn has an online store.  After placing my order, the genial and obliging gents at Sid Mashburn called me to confirm my order.  They wanted to make sure I would be satisfied and had ordered the correct size, which was a half size down per their recommendation.  The purchase has been more than satisfactory.  Perhaps the only issue is it left me wanting more...

The initial shine to protect them with my go to penny loafers bottom right.

More on the belt and shades later.

Despite the current trend to leave shoes in disrepair, I will be taking care of these excellent shoes for many years to come.  The shoes were made by Alfred Sargent in England.  The company's blog has many brilliant pictures of their quality products.  Without question, I will go back to them for more.  Mine are breaking-in nicely.  I love wearing them with just about anything.  They always attract a comment or approving glance from the well turnedout.  Classically styled quality footwear will always get the job done.



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