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Advice on building a high quality wardrobe but in the style of an English Literature Professor / Wes Anderson character

sdsurfer

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Feel like I'm at the point in my life, with some grey in my beard, that I want to build a wardrobe heavily influenced/styled in that of an English Literature Professor or even more so of a character from a Wes Anderson film. Things that come to my mind are corduroy suits, blazers/hunting jackets with elbow patches, thick framed glasses, etc. At this point I'm trying to figure out the best way to do it. I may be able to start with 3 suits that I could interchange the jackets and pants with? Also it would be nice if I could throw a sweater and jeans on with one of the jackets. You get the idea, some versatility. Instead of going to the mall and getting something from a place like Banana Republic I'd like to get something of better quality if I can. Could a tailor pull off a suit like this for $500-$1000? Is it worth having a tailor make something like this vs just going off the rack and getting it altered? Lastly are there any particular brands/shops I should checkout that would have this kind of clothing?
 

zissou

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Hello!

My first question is: do you need to wear suits? Very few Wes Anderson characters wear actual suits, unless you are trying to be over the top like Royal Tenenbaum. Your better bet is to invest in some mismatched pieces, like a tweed jacket and wide wale corduroys, or wool trousers and chore coat. To me, the style of Wes Anderson characters can be summed up as '70s/80's New England Ivy/trad just over the line into slightly absurd. Believe it or not, it's a lot of the stuff I wore as a kid, like red corduroy pants with a tan shaggy dog sweater. Some brands I really like that fit this bill are Nigel Cabourn, RRL, Brooks Bros., Frank Leder, De Bonne Facture, J. Press. I feel like I have a great wardrobe at this point, but I've been buying stuff for over a decade, mostly finding really good sales. So, I would recommend building slowly. If you don't have a ton to spend, I recommend finding some vintage tweed/corduroy and getting it tailored. For glasses, you could go with Warby Parker, which are pretty affordable, or go full Jacques Marie Mage. Banana Republic cannot help you.
 

maxalex

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Good advice above. You will not find bespoke suits or even jackets for $500-$1,000; in fact quality OTR (from the shops listed above) can easily cost more than that. For more inspiration you might also browse the Ivy Style blog although it's "under new management" and, like Brooks Brothers, not for the better. Still plenty of stuff in the archives.

Thrifting is a good idea, as a hallmark of ivy/academic style is the purported disdain for buying clothes (too busy translating Winkelman's Greek essays for such frivolities) and, thus, the ostentatious display of frayed collars, elbows and cuffs. Vintage tailored clothing is, shall we say, "ready-made" for the authentic trad look.
 

zissou

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Thrifting is a good idea, as a hallmark of ivy/academic style is the purported disdain for buying clothes (too busy translating Winkelman's Greek essays for such frivolities) and, thus, the ostentatious display of frayed collars, elbows and cuffs. Vintage tailored clothing is, shall we say, "ready-made" for the authentic trad look.
This. We were good friends with an old UNH professor (RIP) who lived on Martha’s Vineyard and I swear the only thing I ever saw him wear were tattered Brooks Bros shirts and khaki chinos, and a navy blazer he thrifted that was two sizes too big.

If you are anywhere near NYC, Crowley Vintage would for sure be the place to go.
 

maxalex

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This. We were good friends with an old UNH professor (RIP) who lived on Martha’s Vineyard and I swear the only thing I ever saw him wear were tattered Brooks Bros shirts and khaki chinos, and a navy blazer he thrifted that was two sizes too big.
RISD professors wore the same uniform, but with artfully applied paint splotches on the khakis.
 

sdsurfer

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Hello!

My first question is: do you need to wear suits? Very few Wes Anderson characters wear actual suits, unless you are trying to be over the top like Royal Tenenbaum. Your better bet is to invest in some mismatched pieces, like a tweed jacket and wide wale corduroys, or wool trousers and chore coat. To me, the style of Wes Anderson characters can be summed up as '70s/80's New England Ivy/trad just over the line into slightly absurd. Believe it or not, it's a lot of the stuff I wore as a kid, like red corduroy pants with a tan shaggy dog sweater. Some brands I really like that fit this bill are Nigel Cabourn, RRL, Brooks Bros., Frank Leder, De Bonne Facture, J. Press. I feel like I have a great wardrobe at this point, but I've been buying stuff for over a decade, mostly finding really good sales. So, I would recommend building slowly. If you don't have a ton to spend, I recommend finding some vintage tweed/corduroy and getting it tailored. For glasses, you could go with Warby Parker, which are pretty affordable, or go full Jacques Marie Mage. Banana Republic cannot help you.
Great info. I've been wearing old vintage frames for well over 20 years now (most of them have come from Allyn Scura) so I think I've got that part covered. Regarding suits, I was probably thinking of Wes Anderson himself too but to answer the question I don't have a need to wear suits (in fact I'm in Southern California so the climate probably isn't the best for it). I checked out all the brands you listed as I was only familiar with RRL and Brooks Bros. Are there other brands you would recommend that are high quality (ideally not made in China) that you could add to the list? I'll be thrifting at this point but would like to have a fairly comprehensive list so I can try to build a wardrobe with the best quality items I can find. For example, I have a handful of 2nd hand Kiton shirts I got years ago and feel like I can use them for many years to come (they may even work with the items you're recommending). Thanks for all the advice.
 

jc8715

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You might want to look at the spier Mackay website. They carry many traditional things in colors that are a bit different than other makers that I think Raleigh St Clair would wear. Prices are reasonable.
 

nsgmd

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Take a look at O'Connell's and Andover Shop - right up your alley, Professor.
 

Duckuardo

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I did my BA in English so I have known quite a few English professors. Turtlenecks and relaxed fit grey or faded blue jeans were a very popular style choice. Very versatile too with the other pieces you are considering.
 

maxalex

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Great info. I've been wearing old vintage frames for well over 20 years now (most of them have come from Allyn Scura) so I think I've got that part covered. Regarding suits, I was probably thinking of Wes Anderson himself too but to answer the question I don't have a need to wear suits (in fact I'm in Southern California so the climate probably isn't the best for it). I checked out all the brands you listed as I was only familiar with RRL and Brooks Bros. Are there other brands you would recommend that are high quality (ideally not made in China) that you could add to the list? I'll be thrifting at this point but would like to have a fairly comprehensive list so I can try to build a wardrobe with the best quality items I can find. For example, I have a handful of 2nd hand Kiton shirts I got years ago and feel like I can use them for many years to come (they may even work with the items you're recommending). Thanks for all the advice.
Other than sneakers, the Chinese clothing industry has largely moved to Southeast and South Asia where labor is cheaper. As such you will have little trouble these days avoiding “made in China,” whatever your motivations.

Chinese immigrants sew much of the luxury clothing here in Italy because they are skilled and dedicated workers who drink tea (not wine) at lunch and for whom making mistakes brings dishonor on the family. And yes they work for less than Italian natives who are themselves low paid by European standards. I have worked with many Chinese, here and in factories in China.

Like good clothing, shoddy work also knows no borders. There is shit made in Italy and excellent clothing made in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh. I’m old enough to remember when “made in Japan” meant cheap crap. The world keeps turning…
 
Last edited:

Adsky Luck

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just don a bow tie. job well done

To its devotees, the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.
 

ValidusLA

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Other than sneakers, the Chinese clothing industry has largely moved to Southeast and South Asia where labor is cheaper. As such you will have little trouble these days avoiding “made in China,” whatever your motivations.

Chinese immigrants sew much of the luxury clothing here in Italy because they are skilled and dedicated workers who drink tea (not wine) at lunch and for whom making mistakes brings dishonor on the family. And yes they work for less than Italian natives who are themselves low paid by European standards. I have worked with many Chinese, here and in factories in China.

Like good clothing, shoddy work also knows no borders. There is shit made in Italy and excellent clothing made in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh. I’m old enough to remember when “made in Japan” meant cheap crap. The world keeps turning…
Agree with most of this. If you're really trying to avoid MIC, kinda have to ask yourself:
1) Why?
2) Am I really?

Even if your clothing isn't sewn there, they are still producing a huge amount of the fabric, and are the origination point of a huge amount of the raw goods used to make the fabric.

EX: Company I work for contracts with factories in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India. But pretty much all the denim comes form China because SEA's factory capacities have advanced much faster than their milling.

So if you really want to take an anti-MIC stand, you would have to do a lot more research on sourcing.
 

JIMIG

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Would love to see some example/inspiration photos in this thread. Anyone have some good ones to share?
 

Adsky Luck

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