Nimzowitsch

Starting Member
18
Sweden
Sweden
Stockholm
Hi dear community,

6 months into this passion and I can't get enough of it. With the help of the community and some independent reading I have done, I have acquired so much knowledge about fabrics, knitwear patterns, construction, shoe making, etc. I can see this being a passion for life :)

However, now I am at a point where I have refined my taste and know exactly what I want, and which garments I need to get to plug holes in my wardrobe :) Unfortunately for me, the frustrating part is that I am located in Vienna and am finding it impossible to find anything resembling Ivy (British leather shoes / boots and Barbour notwithstanding)

The European style seems more sleek, unlike the laid back and relaxed feel of Ivy Style. I could not even find a blazer so I had one made by a decent tailor at the bank where I work. Even though I used *many* references to give to the tailor as guidance, the jacket turned out British! He could not understand why anyone would get a bespoke made Tweed jacket with no structure :) Luckily, I was able to convince him to just blindly follow my instructions and got the jacket of my dreams!

Alas, I am lacking many other garments, such as J Press sweaters, Fair Isle Vests, OCBDs, etc.. which are impossible to find in Vienna or in the big cities around me - Munich, Prague.

My question to you is what do you do when you find yourself in this situation? Do you make concessions and try to find something similar (tho not quite what you had in mind, thereby compromising on the aesthetic) or do you hold out and buy when you visit a location which carries the stuff you are looking for?

P.S. Fellow community members from Europe, what is your go-to Ivy Style shop in Europe?
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
8,978
United States
New York
NY
Three thoughts:

1. I love your passion for American Trad.

2. Have you visited this place: http://johnsimons.co.uk/index.html

3. Can't you buy from US stores on-line and have the items shipped to you? I've bought things from UK (and other parts of Europe) stores on-line and shipping to the US was always an option.
 

drpeter

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
143
United States
Wisconsin
Stevens Point
I agree with the suggestions made by @Fading Fast. I also recommend that you look at a few websites like those for J Press, O'Connell's, Andover Shop and other bastions of the Ivy trade. Can't be that expensive to mail-order items. I don't know if there is some American equivalent of the dreaded VAT or some such tax, or if that is waived for overseas buyers, but these companies will let you know.

Also, if you ever manage to come to the US on a visit, a day or two spent browsing in thrift shops and vintage clothing stores could be very rewarding. In that connection, auction sites like eBay or Etsy (their US branches, that is) can also be checked out from where you live. I have found excellent items, often dead stock or old stock, at bargain prices. This is the same approach I take as a collector of stamps and first editions/printings of books. Many of the items I want are overseas, but it is fairly straightforward to buy them through the great variety of online sales or auction sites put up by philatelists and bibliomanes.

LOL, one BIG question: Your bank houses a tailor? An entire tailoring establishment, perhaps? If so, Sweden has become a far more advanced country than most!
 

Nimzowitsch

Starting Member
18
Sweden
Sweden
Stockholm
Three thoughts:

1. I love your passion for American Trad.

2. Have you visited this place: http://johnsimons.co.uk/index.html

3. Can't you buy from US stores on-line and have the items shipped to you? I've bought things from UK (and other parts of Europe) stores on-line and shipping to the US was always an option.
@Fading Fast @drpeter
I will reply to both of you in this post since you had the same suggestions.

The reason why I avoid buying online from US stores is two-fold:
0) The dreaded import tax, but far more importantly
1)The fit. I fear that I will get the sizing wrong and returning items is such a hassle.

However, I considered @smmrfld 's suggestion and booked myself a ticket to DC for March 6st.

Other than Brooks Brothers and J. Press, are there any other trad shops in the DC area that you could recommend to me?

> LOL, one BIG question: Your bank houses a tailor? An entire tailoring establishment, perhaps? If so, Sweden has become a far more advanced country than most!
I now live in Vienna, but yeah, the bank offers tailoring services as part of the benefits. Of course it's not free of charge, but we get something like 1/3 of the price off :) Not too shabby
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
8,978
United States
New York
NY
@Fading Fast @drpeter
I will reply to both of you in this post since you had the same suggestions.

The reason why I avoid buying online from US stores is two-fold:
0) The dreaded import tax, but far more importantly
1)The fit. I fear that I will get the sizing wrong and returning items is such a hassle.

However, I considered @smmrfld 's suggestion and booked myself a ticket to DC for March 6st.

Other than Brooks Brothers and J. Press, are there any other trad shops in the DC area that you could recommend to me?

> LOL, one BIG question: Your bank houses a tailor? An entire tailoring establishment, perhaps? If so, Sweden has become a far more advanced country than most!
I now live in Vienna, but yeah, the bank offers tailoring services as part of the benefits. Of course it's not free of charge, but we get something like 1/3 of the price off :) Not too shabby
I'm sure you've thought of this, but when you are over here, try on as many items as you can from as many stores as you can (obviously, stores that you are interested in) and record your fit / size, so that you can order from them in the future.

I'm not familiar with DC, but if you include NYC in a trip one day, I'm happy to recommend places, but to be honest, after Press and Brooks (which isn't that Trad anymore), there aren't that many of the "old guard" left.

Alden and Paul Stuart (if you're very rich :) ) probably count, but most of the small trad ones are gone. However, if you do come, I'll work hard on a list for you. For example, while a "new" company, Kamakura shirts (two blocks from Brooks in NYC) makes some very nice shirts with a heritage approach - and at reasonable (not cheap) prices.
 

Dr.Watson

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
348
United States
South Carolina
Columbia
There is a lot of overlap between trad and English country clothing, and on the continent “old money” people tend towards anglophile clothing. I noticed this especially in Hesse and Bavaria. The result is that some of the larger cities have “English” stores with Barbour, tattersall shirts, shetlands, etc. There is a particularly good one in Koblenz called Oxford Modem. Sometimes these stores also cater to the hunting crowd. You might also just consider a trip to the UK, where things like fair isle sweaters are quite common. This won’t help you for ocbds/sack jackets of course.
 

drpeter

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
143
United States
Wisconsin
Stevens Point
@Fading Fast @drpeter
I will reply to both of you in this post since you had the same suggestions.

The reason why I avoid buying online from US stores is two-fold:
0) The dreaded import tax, but far more importantly
1)The fit. I fear that I will get the sizing wrong and returning items is such a hassle.

However, I considered @smmrfld 's suggestion and booked myself a ticket to DC for March 6st.

Other than Brooks Brothers and J. Press, are there any other trad shops in the DC area that you could recommend to me?

> LOL, one BIG question: Your bank houses a tailor? An entire tailoring establishment, perhaps? If so, Sweden has become a far more advanced country than most!
I now live in Vienna, but yeah, the bank offers tailoring services as part of the benefits. Of course it's not free of charge, but we get something like 1/3 of the price off :) Not too shabby
I suspected as much -- import taxes! I can understand your reluctance.

Regarding fit, the way I deal with it is twofold: First, I know my own exact measurements and tolerances (that is, how much a garment can deviate from my measurements and still be fine for me). Second, I find out as precisely as possible what the measurements of the garment I am buying are, and several other details about it, including manufacturer and country of manufacture. In fact, I have a template of questions for these measurements and details from which I select the appropriate ones. Most sellers, especially on eBay, are good about getting back to me with the information I requested. This will enable me to buy a garment that will fit me quite well, with only minor alterations, if needed -- and I have an excellent alterations tailor. Over the years, I have had to return garments only on a small number of occasions, and usually because of damage that was unknown or hidden until I examined the garment closely. In every case, the returns and refunds were immediate and carried out with polite negotiations.

As for your bank and its benefits, in different circumstances I would probably have applied for a job there, but I am retired and have no wish to work, and in any case, I am a scientist by profession and not a banker! But I commend your employers -- this is the first time I have heard of such a lovely benefit.
 

Yuca

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
137
Cali, Colombia
Colombia
Valle de Cauca
Cali
I was living in my home country of the UK for many years whilst I became enchanted by natural shoulder clothing and I had more than my fair share of customs duties, plus items shipped from the US at great expense then returned at further expense due to being the wrong size.

Personally if I ever get the chance to visit the US again I would visit the following as a priority: O'Connell's; Rancourt; Alden and Mercer. (Mercer I don't think actually have many shirts ready to wear but if you have any doubts about your exact size it would be a good place to confirm it plus to see some of their cloths and shirts in the flesh and to order some.) Between those 4 shops you could get an extensive collection of very tasteful, high quality, classic ivy clothing. I'm sure Brooks and Press are also worth visiting but for me the 4 retailers I have mentioned would definitely come first.

One other thing: I would recommend that you get Shetland sweaters direct from Scotland.

Good luck!