College Trad: advice to young men, from another young man.

inq89

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Cool to see this thread still going. I am the OP. I wrote the original article almost two years ago and have since started a blog and updated my writing in the article (which reading it now, seems a bit scattered and needed to be revised haha)

I urge that all new readers refer to my blog. /noselfpromote



In response to Chadwick and others, I write the blog and the article as soley for advice to young people ages 18 to mid 20s who have never been in "prep" and "trad". I target those who are complete beginners and are assumed to have never worn penny loafers or educated in prep academies. Myself included when I first got into this style. So I approach it in conventional terms and in a language as I would speak to someone my age. Also, I advertise largely my own style (a self described mix of past and current trends, both regional and overall), which I believe is representative and appropriate of present prep/trad tradition as a college student would wear right now in the 2010s. I accept and respect that there is some advice that is disagreeable to others.
 
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inq89

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
My question then becomes: In what ways can a younger man remain true to the trad principles while retaining his youthful appearance? Maintaining an athletic physique, well tailored/sized clothing, etc. etc. all of course apply here but what other measures can a man take?

Just saw this and wanted to add my 2 cents. Besides remaining physically well kept and paying attention to fitting/tailoring, it depends largely on being able to wear different masks in terms of clothing choice.

I don't wear "trad" every single moment of my life. When I go out on dates, to the bars, clubs, etc. I switch from trad to fashion-forward and sexy. Clothes gets slim, modern, sophisticated. More so GQ than Take Ivy. But I don't go overboard with the hipster jeans or anything. I like J.Crew's aesthetic, albeit not necessarily their clothes (although they've been getting better recently).

My go-to attire for such occasions is a perfectly tailored sportcoat with pocket square, slim wide spread collar shirt, maybe a 2" knit tie with tie clip, engine turned buckle and belt, Levis 501 stf or APC New Standards, and chukkas. Something you'd see in J Crew catelogs. Clean, simple, mature but not old. Then have fun with the standard...switch up the denim with slim wool slacks, wear loud socks, mix patterns, etc.
 
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chadwick

New Member
Cool to see this thread still going. I am the OP. I wrote the original article almost two years ago and have since started a blog and updated my writing in the article (which reading it now, seems a bit scattered and needed to be revised haha)

I urge that all new readers refer to my blog. /noselfpromote



In response to Chadwick and others, I write the blog and the article as soley for advice to young people ages 18 to mid 20s who have never been in "prep" and "trad". I target those who are complete beginners and are assumed to have never worn penny loafers or educated in prep academies. Myself included when I first got into this style. So I approach it in conventional terms and in a language as I would speak to someone my age. Also, I advertise largely my own style (a self described mix of past and current trends, both regional and overall), which I believe is representative and appropriate of present prep/trad tradition as a college student would wear right now in the 2010s. I accept and respect that there is some advice that is disagreeable to others.

I'm still trying to figure out what the purpose would be for someone who is completely outside of a natural appreciation for a certain kind of clothing "look" to need some "guideline" help in "pulling it off" unless the purpose is to portray some postured image that isn't already instinctively compatible with that person's lifestyle -- in which case it just looks farcical and manufactured. People should just wear what they like and be who they are. If it is considered "trad" fine, if it isn't, who cares?

...I would assume that when someone goes shopping they already have an understanding of what they like and don't like based on their taste and aren't adhering to some list of what is an "okay" pattern or "cut" that helps them to maintain some kind of supposed "tradyness".


Basically, if it needs to be explained or validated through a "dos & dont's" checklist...it's just silly IMO.
 
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Canadian

Super Member
I suppose to define being trad, one defeats the purpose. The "look" is best defined as being the anti-look. For example, the subset of trad, being American preppy is defined primarily as a joke. If you have to be told how to look, how to live, who to date, etc, you are ceasing to be a person and are in fact a reflection of a concept which was defined as being a subculture.

A good way to explain it, if you need to be told you're a prepster, or a tradly person, you probably aren't. I was into classic trad well before I found AAAC or bought an OPH. By the time one defines oneself as trad or any subset, one is rejecting the idea that the culture is self-taught and lacks a definition.

As for this forum, I don't care how one spends one's summers or where one works. I am instead interested in how we dress, what classic styles we can obtain, where to buy such items and where to get good prices. I have no interest in defining "trad" or threads like, "Is X trad?".

Thomas
 

inq89

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I'm still trying to figure out what the purpose ....


Chadwick, you'd be surprised my friend! Many young guys, "who [are] completely outside of a natural appreciation" of trad/prep make up the majority of my readers. You're right in assuming that many of these young guys didn't grow up in the NE, went to Yale, or came from wealth. Neither did I, and like them, have used the internet to gather 100% of our sartorial personalities. As you say, "people should just wear what they like" Well, some grow into prep, just like you and I have. So I don't personally believe that it creates conflicts of "farcical and manufactured" lifestyles for a freshman in college to want to dress preppy even though he was not raised in Connecticut. Assuming that trad/prep is just a clothing style as I consider it. I was in that kid's shoes once just a few years ago, knowing what I liked but not necessarily how to get there. And so my blog is set up to educate that young man on what I have learned. Since creating this thread, I have received a few messages from new AAAC members thanking me for the advice. They were curious in the style but just didn't know where to start. That is exactly my intent.

Touching on your second paragraph....I'm afraid you are giving too much credit in making that assumption. Most young guys don't event think about what is an "okay pattern or cut", much less aware of said pattern and cut that makes something trad, i.e. a Trad Mannerism that I talk about on the blog. Some guys my age think that shorts below the knee are fine, while in reality they look like overgrown clowns.

Don't you check the style forums and blogs to see what's approved and what isn't? Approved, as in what is the best of the best in quality and style? What's been proven to work? Isn't that the point why we join AAAC or SF...to not just converse about clothes, but to learn? 5 years ago when I was 18 years old, I literally never heard of Allen Edmonds, much less knew about their high quality for the price point. So its safe to assume that the average 18 year old doesn't have that knowledge either. So "adhearing to some list" is my way of informally pushing the reader towards what we already know. That, Brooks Brothers 1818 Fitzgerald suits are a good starter suit for the first interview. Or that Shaggy Dogs are classic sweaters. And that Alden is a great shoe company. All of the above are completely new concepts to the beginner, no? It may come off as a checklist, but I'm sure its the same advice you'd give too right? The basics and the essentials for what we consider to be classic style.

Chadwick, let's say for the sake of argument, you attended prep school in the NE, your father and grandfather dressed in trad, and you knew and wore all the trad brands from a young age. Now imagine someone like myself, growing up in the south, whos father and mother were immigrants and lacked any form of trad style, and up until High School, wore Abercrombie and Hollister. Once I became attracted to prep and trad, I needed guidance on where to begin. What brands were good and which weren't. How to wear button downs casually. Why penny loafers are cool and not just for people over 40. I purposely write in a matter-of-fact penmanship to "maintain some kind of supposed tradyness". That I freely admit. Because Express is not trad. Pointy shoes are not trad. Tommy Hilfiger, as it turns out, is not fashionably accepted as I once previously thought. That thrifting is not only cheap and great for a college budget, but is absolutely trad-approved and should be encouraged and not shamed upon. 5 years ago I didn't know that, and neither does today's 18 year old freshman. And the culmination of information I've learned since my humble start is now in the guide and the blog.

I would like to add, not specifically for Chadwick but generally:

As stated in the OP, the guide was not originally written for AAAC but for another forum, and I just reposted it here on the off chance that my targeted reader (young men under 25) happened upon it. When I first joined, I searched for a beginner's guide and advice for college kids. It's obvious that the average age on this forum is older than other forums. I found maybe one or two threads, and years later I made the OP to fill that gap. I'm not going to link to that forum (i.e. think 4Chan or Reddit), but it serves as a perfect example of college-aged guys just getting into prep, and the reason why I write. I give out my advice to them on that forum and a lot of them read my blog. Which is a feeder to AAAC, The Trad, Ive-Style, and so on...to help further educate their interests. Maybe they like the prep lifestyle or maybe they dont...but there's no rule against wearing nantucket reds in Montana. Especially for my generation, with things so accessible these days, there is less of putting up a facade of WASP imagery as just expressing oneself in clothing. I am not a WASP. But I do love prep/trad. That reflects in my target reader. Someone who never grew around prep clothing but wants to learn and dress it. And doing so does require some sort of rigidiy, or otherwise, the beginner may end up thinking American Eagle is still cool, while really its just a bastardization of prep. So the guide and my blog is set up like a Trad 101 class, the 19th credit hour for the freshman reader.

I suppose to define being trad, one defeats the purpose....

Canadian, I always abide by the fact that, to me, trad is just a clothing style, and the clothing style I exhibit on my blog is my own interpretation and therefore its up to the reader to decide what he likes. So I don't try to be finicky with instances as "Is X trad" in anything more than just tounge-and-cheek and for the fun of it. I can't define trad. You're right...it's an anti-look...most of Generation Y and Z think its boring and for old men. Alot of guys on the forum I talked of above think that Sperry boat shoes are hideous. So I made the guide and the blog with that approach. It's why I use stupid knockaround terms like "tradly", "waspy" and "frattastic" in my writings. It's not meant to be black and white and I hope the reader understands that. It's all for fun, but it is also easier to say "this is X" in cases of Allen Edmonds is trad-approved and Nunn Bush is not because of quality...an actual question that I answered from a reader.

Canadian, why would you rather buy a BB OCBD and not a Nautica? The answer is exactly why I write in defined principles. Beginners actually do have to be advised on what is accepted and what isn't, and I don't mean that in a negative way saying that they can't make up their own minds. But beginners are simply ignorant and uneducated on "what the best brand of chinos are" and "what's the difference between dress shirts and OCBDs?" I sure as hell was ignorant too when I first joined AAAC. I'll save them the mistakes I made and lead them to what you and I already know as seasoned veterans of trad. Those are the issues I address. Most 18 year olds consider a button-down tucked into chinos to be formal, and have never heard of J Press or Alden. The guide and blog is for them.

Not sure if I touched on everything that Chadwick and Canadian said. But I do highly appreciate and respect their comments. Just adding in more .02 to the bank. Sorry for the long response and for further distracting from sartorial discussion.
 
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chadwick

New Member
Chadwick, you'd be surprised my friend! Many young guys, "who [are] completely outside of a natural appreciation" of trad/prep make up the majority of my readers. You're right in assuming that many of these young guys didn't grow up in the NE, went to Yale, or came from wealth. Neither did I, and like them, have used the internet to gather 100% of our sartorial personalities. As you say, "people should just wear what they like" Well, some grow into prep, just like you and I have. So I don't personally believe that it creates conflicts of "farcical and manufactured" lifestyles for a freshman in college to want to dress preppy even though he was not raised in Connecticut. Assuming that trad/prep is just a clothing style as I consider it. I was in that kid's shoes once just a few years ago, knowing what I liked but not necessarily how to get there. And so my blog is set up to educate that young man on what I have learned. Since creating this thread, I have received a few messages from new AAAC members thanking me for the advice. They were curious in the style but just didn't know where to start. That is exactly my intent.

Touching on your second paragraph....I'm afraid you are giving too much credit in making that assumption. Most young guys don't event think about what is an "okay pattern or cut", much less aware of said pattern and cut that makes something trad, i.e. a Trad Mannerism that I talk about on the blog. Some guys my age think that shorts below the knee are fine, while in reality they look like overgrown clowns.

Don't you check the style forums and blogs to see what's approved and what isn't? Approved, as in what is the best of the best in quality and style? What's been proven to work? Isn't that the point why we join AAAC or SF...to not just converse about clothes, but to learn? 5 years ago when I was 18 years old, I literally never heard of Allen Edmonds, much less knew about their high quality for the price point. So its safe to assume that the average 18 year old doesn't have that knowledge either. So "adhearing to some list" is my way of informally pushing the reader towards what we already know. That, Brooks Brothers 1818 Fitzgerald suits are a good starter suit for the first interview. Or that Shaggy Dogs are classic sweaters. And that Alden is a great shoe company. All of the above are completely new concepts to the beginner, no? It may come off as a checklist, but I'm sure its the same advice you'd give too right? The basics and the essentials for what we consider to be classic style.

Chadwick, let's say for the sake of argument, you attended prep school in the NE, your father and grandfather dressed in trad, and you knew and wore all the trad brands from a young age. Now imagine someone like myself, growing up in the south, whos father and mother were immigrants and lacked any form of trad style, and up until High School, wore Abercrombie and Hollister. Once I became attracted to prep and trad, I needed guidance on where to begin. What brands were good and which weren't. How to wear button downs casually. Why penny loafers are cool and not just for people over 40. I purposely write in a matter-of-fact penmanship to "maintain some kind of supposed tradyness". That I freely admit. Because Express is not trad. Pointy shoes are not trad. Tommy Hilfiger, as it turns out, is not fashionably accepted as I once previously thought. That thrifting is not only cheap and great for a college budget, but is absolutely trad-approved and should be encouraged and not shamed upon. 5 years ago I didn't know that, and neither does today's 18 year old freshman. And the culmination of information I've learned since my humble start is now in the guide and the blog.

I would like to add, not specifically for Chadwick but generally:

As stated in the OP, the guide was not originally written for AAAC but for another forum, and I just reposted it here on the off chance that my targeted reader (young men under 25) happened upon it. When I first joined, I searched for a beginner's guide and advice for college kids. It's obvious that the average age on this forum is older than other forums. I found maybe one or two threads, and years later I made the OP to fill that gap. I'm not going to link to that forum (i.e. think 4Chan or Reddit), but it serves as a perfect example of college-aged guys just getting into prep, and the reason why I write. I give out my advice to them on that forum and a lot of them read my blog. Which is a feeder to AAAC, The Trad, Ive-Style, and so on...to help further educate their interests. Maybe they like the prep lifestyle or maybe they dont...but there's no rule against wearing nantucket reds in Montana. Especially for my generation, with things so accessible these days, there is less of putting up a facade of WASP imagery as just expressing oneself in clothing. I am not a WASP. But I do love prep/trad. That reflects in my target reader. Someone who never grew around prep clothing but wants to learn and dress it. And doing so does require some sort of rigidiy, or otherwise, the beginner may end up thinking American Eagle is still cool, while really its just a bastardization of prep. So the guide and my blog is set up like a Trad 101 class, the 19th credit hour for the freshman reader.



Canadian, I always abide by the fact that, to me, trad is just a clothing style, and the clothing style I exhibit on my blog is my own interpretation and therefore its up to the reader to decide what he likes. So I don't try to be finicky with instances as "Is X trad" in anything more than just tounge-and-cheek and for the fun of it. I can't define trad. You're right...it's an anti-look...most of Generation Y and Z think its boring and for old men. Alot of guys on the forum I talked of above think that Sperry boat shoes are hideous. So I made the guide and the blog with that approach. It's why I use stupid knockaround terms like "tradly", "waspy" and "frattastic" in my writings. It's not meant to be black and white and I hope the reader understands that. It's all for fun, but it is also easier to say "this is X" in cases of Allen Edmonds is trad-approved and Nunn Bush is not because of quality...an actual question that I answered from a reader.

Canadian, why would you rather buy a BB OCBD and not a Nautica? The answer is exactly why I write in defined principles. Beginners actually do have to be advised on what is accepted and what isn't, and I don't mean that in a negative way saying that they can't make up their own minds. But beginners are simply ignorant and uneducated on "what the best brand of chinos are" and "what's the difference between dress shirts and OCBDs?" I sure as hell was ignorant too when I first joined AAAC. I'll save them the mistakes I made and lead them to what you and I already know as seasoned veterans of trad. Those are the issues I address. Most 18 year olds consider a button-down tucked into chinos to be formal, and have never heard of J Press or Alden. The guide and blog is for them.

Not sure if I touched on everything that Chadwick and Canadian said. But I do highly appreciate and respect their comments. Just adding in more .02 to the bank. Sorry for the long response and for further distracting from sartorial discussion.

Well, you get props for being very passionate about the subject and defending your point of view. You did manage, however, to take an awful lot of dangerously assumptive liberty in suggesting that I'm as interested in "growing into prep" as you are. I do not consider myself "preppy" and I quite frankly find it to be a dirty word. So, I appreciate your generosity in wanting to share but I'll let you keep all of it. :)

I just assumed when I first found this place that people were here to discuss the kinds of clothes they were already wearing (how would one even find the place without knowing the proper terms?) -- Strangely, it turns out that category is in the minority.

You did raise a very valid point that someone does not need to grow up in Connecticut to have a natural appreciation for the more classic/timeless clothing pieces. Heck, Connecticut is home to some of the most irreparable plebs around -- have you ever been there? Even fairfield county itself houses both some of the richest as well as poorest neighborhoods/towns/cities in the country. Bridgeport is a universe away from New Canaan, for instance.

My main point was that someone shouldn't be following a guideline in order to portray a certain image of what they don't naturally find appealing. Think along the lines of a genuine individual liking what they like regardless of what others think.

IMHO, many of the people on here take their fantasized immersion into this "trady/waspy/preppy" lifestyle way too seriously. I find myself wearing athletic attire, T-shirts and hoodies just as much as polos, chinos/chino shorts, oxfords, sweaters, etc. It's about wearing what's appropriate for the activity. Ever heard of comfort? Why do I like neat/classic/timeless styled clothes? Because I like the look and that they don't go out of style and I hate the idea of having to constantly update my wardrobe to fit with a fashion trend.
 
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hookem12387

Elite Member
I guess this is inherent in a forum about clothes, but some of yall seem to put too much thought into what you're wearing/going to wear. It sounds like a lot of work.
 

Tilton

Elite Member
I guess this is inherent in a forum about clothes, but some of yall seem to put too much thought into what you're wearing/going to wear. It sounds like a lot of work.

Right?

Also, I didn't know anyone in college who wore athletic apparel or "hoodies" unless they were doing something athletic or pulling a marathon study session. T-shirts? Fishing shorts? Sneakers? Sure. But a little less often than polo shirts, ocbds, chinos, and topsiders. But that comes with the territory when you go to a small private college that is 80% greek. Your location is missing, but I presume if it was commonplace to wear athletic gear to class, you either go to a large state school or don't go to school on the East Coast, which is fine. Fashion and style differ immensely from location to location. Case in point, few people on this forum wear cowboy boots with a suit but I do it all the time and so do many people I work with but on the other hand I would never wear a tie with jeans but plenty of people are doing just that when I visit NYC.
 

inq89

Active Member with Corp. Privileges

True, I made the assumption that we both feel as strongly on diehard prep/trad, but really its just me that takes it too far! Actually I have always agreed too with wearing what is right for the occasion. I trade my chinos with denim after 6pm (don't tell Muffy Aldrich!). And study sessions in the library for me=sweatpants and coffee stains.

And I agree with your main takeaway point as well. Which is why I leave the caveat that the "guide" is from my biased perspective and its up to the reader to decide what he likes and can adapt into his own fashion.

Nope never been to CT. I don't spend much time in Yankee country! Cheers

...but some of yall seem to put too much thought into what you're wearing/going to wear. It sounds like a lot of work.


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