Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Redux: Snatch Madras-Mary Poppins-New Peeps and a Square

It all started with this post from Toad. I’ve worn patch madras shorts without a sabbatical since college. I do put them away in the winter. I haven’t however,worn a madras sportcoatsince undergrad…patch or otherwise. I’ve always admired them but just hadn’t had one in the ADG lineup in years.But before I unfurl the rest of my sportcoat story, let me seek your opinion. I have enduring trad items in my lineup-they never go in or out of style. However, it seems to me that patch madras is everywhere this year. Or is it that because I’m dialed into this patch mad coat, I’m just seeing more of it? Who knows?I’ll offer this little sixteen dollar find as an example. Last Saturday, LFG and I walked down to the Potomac and back. Pretty day, lots of street performers down at the river-we live in a fun place. On the way back, we stop at the Gap Outlet store on King and Washington streets. Great place to buy knit shirts and kid’s clothes. LFG gets jeans, t-shirts, socks etc. there all the time. We go in and she spies these little patch madras slippers-kind of an espadrille hybrid-for sixteen bucks. We pounced.
Here’s another patch mad contingent. Cute-yes. However, these two boys are meaner than p*ss. My nephews. It’s fairly transparent that I love kids but Ioathe poorly behaved ones. Patch mad-saddle shoes or not. I hide from these “Mini-Mephistopheles’”.
So my buddy Toad posits this great ditty about his Jos. A. Banks patch madras coat. I loved his comment about “getting the Banks out of it” and know completely what he meant. I’vehad all my stuff made for so long that off the peg coats never seem quite “right”.

Everyone knows the story about Astaire dancing in his suits in Anderson and Sheppard to assure that the fit was right. Ditto the Astaire lore about “throwing my clothes against the wall to get the new out”. Not many people know the great story about clothes addict Gary Cooper’s habit of “getting the new” out of his fabrics before taking them over to his tailor for assemblage. My buddy Alan Flusser interviewed Cooper’s daughter years ago and she told the story of her father taking fabrics out to their Malibu house and letting the bleach in the sun for a few days. That’s the ultimate example of “getting the new out”

So, back to Toad and his coat. I decided that I wanted one. Two hundred and fifty bucks at Banks. Alas, the local store doesn’t have my size and I’m not interested enough to have the guys call all the locations in the country to round one up. I want it-but not that bad. So a few weeks ago Banks begins the big fire sale. I go online and snag the patch mad for one hundred and twenty five clams! Sweet. However, I had to order a slightly larger size and the work to get the “Jos. A. Bank out of it” will cost another hundred. Still worth it though.Here's LFG's effort in knocking some of the "new" off of the patch mad before we take it in for major surgery.
Where does one go to retain such sartorial adjustment-intervention-fabric editorial skill? In my neighborhood you go to Mr. SuhSuh made his way here from Vietnam and is one of the kindest men walking. He loves LFG-his daughters are grown so he delights when I bring her along. Everyone needs a good alterations tailor and Suh excellent. He can do it all. His culture is grounded in simplicity and respect however; he is never shy about laughing at some of my contrivances bought in for adjustment. This coat was no exception. He crackedLFG up when in his pidgin english he said… “Dis coat make me dizzy!” Dizzy or not, Suh will have my tuned up patch mad ready to go for the weekend.
I think I'll wear this exact outfit over the weekend. This rig oughta draw the gals in-no?

On a more sublime note, Sunday was LFG’s dance recital. Her dance team performed Supercalifragalistic from Mary Poppins and of course, she was just stunning. If you don’t have an eight year old daughter, niece or god daughter-go rent one. There’s just nothing better.
This little patch mad trad boy sat behind me during the dance recital. Complained the entire time. I don't blame him. Can't think of anything more torturous on a summer day than a boy watching his sister dance in a hyper-airconditioned dark auditorium at the community college. I puked at one of my sister's recitals.
LFG with her Medal
Not sure where she gets that whimsey
Post recital...on the way to dinner with LFG and her mom. Ms. LFG prefers to not be seen in blog land...thus the cropped picture.
After LFG performed, I could have split but that shows poor form so I endured the rest of the impertinent acts. These two little mermaids though, are indeed post worthy. Cute.

Lily had to be at the theatre at 2pm for rehearsals-costume stuff etc. even though the event 
didn’t kick off till 530pm. So, I dropped her off and had a couple of hours to kill in the Bethesda area. The weather was great so I enjoyed hanging out.

My wanderings landed me in a great Army-Navy store on Wisconsin Ave. Just tons of good stuff for the Neo-Nazi and Survivalist groups as well as a thing or two to capture my attention. Hollister Hovey would have been impressed with all of the Pith helmet oriented gear from other countries. I’m not a hat guy-other than baseball hats but if they’d had the khaki covered grommeted-leather strapped pith helmet in my size, I would have pounced. At thirty five bucks, I’d have simply used it as a plant pot or something.
What I did find to my delight, was a pair of military sunglasses identical to the ones I had in high school. I like traditional stuff. I hadn’t seen these in years and at forty bucks-I procured.
If they are good enough for the Guards at Arlington National Cemetery then they are good enough for my mug.
And on a final note…thanks Conor for the nuclear-nad sturdy pocket square. Still can’t believe you passed on the brassiere.
Strong with the seersucker rig.
Knocks the navy linen out of the park.




NCJack said...

American Optical shades: the real thing and reasonably priced. I have two pair, and can't imagine why anyone would pay $$$$ for sunglasses with these on the market. But I only wore "workwear" when I worked in construction, so what the hell do I know?

Paul said...

I can't wait break out the patch mad jacket- hey its March!!!

I've seen lots of Spring offerings out now - loads of madras! It will be big again this year. Buy it up, and hang on to it.

James said...

Can that kid get any cuter? I love the reduxes. Does she still dance? You and Toad have more brass than I have.I love the coat, but I can hear my daughters now. I had those glasses in high school too, but as an Army brat I got mine for a couple of bucks.

LPC said...

Ha! She stomps your jacket like Lucy stomping grapes!

ADG said...

NCJack...I agree. When I saw these at the price asked I pounced at once. And of course, the fact that you don't "get" why people pay frickin quadruple the price for a pair of Red Wing boots and a flannel shirt indeed....makes you clueless.

Paul...I'm seeing it already too but remember my declaration from the end of last summer...patch mad is overexposed...they were selling it in the Head Shops at the beach. Gonna need to take a one season sabbatical.

James...thanks as always. LFG is truly a gift and yes, she is still dancing...it's really her thing.

Capt. Mike said...

The shades are bitchin' and LFG is RFA as usual (really frickin' adorable).
Real madras was on the top of the style list 4 or 5 years ago, and as of last year was at its lowest. When you can go into any closeout store and see 50 super cheap ill fitting board shorts, short sleeve button ups, and sport coats in a once-select fabric (or knockoff thereof) you know it could not be more "over" stylistically. Which is why you should keep the jacket.
Given a couple of seasons, it will be back to "uncool" in the eyes of the Polo pony/Hollister/AE crowd, which means it has a chance to be genuinely cool in the GTH spirit in which it was intended. I think it is a bit soon yet, which is why I've stocked up on pastel linen sportcoats (teal, pinkinsh red and yellow so far) for the upcoming summer. Don't like 'em? GTH!
Anyway, I'm eager to see the madras after you've fixed the drape and "patina." Good luck!

M.Lane said...

Absolutely great post.

A great pal of mine came down from Chicago to W&L to school the same year I did and he discovered patchmad as one would expect. The next summer he was clerking back in Chicago and walking down Grant Park at some festival or another resplendant in his patchmad shorts. Two gangsta fellows came strolling his way and called out "hey man, hey man". My pally, a Marine, was trying not to pay attention. "Hey man, HEY MAN!!" My friend stopped and said hello, expecting at minimum serious ragging about the shorts. One gangsta fellow says "my friend and I have a bet...you're from South Carolina aren't you?".

He laughs about that all these years later...the societal-gap-bridging powers of PATCHMAD!!!


boatshoe said...

I don't have the stones for patch madras.

Unrelated, but I was walking on East 23rd st and was reminded of one of your posts when I saw this place and took a shot for you:


Charles said...


ADG said...

LPC...yes! Just like Lucy. I hate to admit this but I've laughed till I cried at a clip on YouTube where a woman falls out of the wooden barrel while grape stomping.

Capt. Mike...I'll have to take a snap of the final outcome...not bad for cheap sportcoat.

M.Lane...that's a CLASSIC story.

Boatshoe...thanks. I left a big part of my liver at Live Bait in the late 1980's.

LongWing..."snatch" as in grab up quickly-procure efficiently-steal-take ... as in buying the Patch Madras coat for very little money. Or as you are probably thinking...a woman's private bits.

ilovelimegreen said...

Perfect post to warm up a dreary day - and thanks for reminding me of how much patch madras I own. Love that pair of mermaids!

TJ said...

I've Used Mr Suh for 15 years and he does a great job. But he should not close for 2 weeks right after new years-need someone readily available to let my trousers out after Christmas!!!

Anonymous English Female said...

ADG - Must get myself to Washington so I can gather sunglasses and pith helmets for my summer wardrobe from the Army Surplus store - but only if I could meet you for cocktails at 18th Street Lounge afterwards...

ADG said...

LimeGreenGal...yes, those little mermaid gals were too cute. Wish I was feeling trace elements of emerging better weather and sunshine but it's so far lost on me.

TJ...yes...Suh is a really good tailor. Funny, I've never known him to be closed for vacation.

AnonEngFem...yes indeed, if you ever get to DC I'd say we must have a drink. But I'd need to see a picture of you first. Sorry.

Anon. Eng. Female said...

ADG - suit yourself. I'll be wearing the sunglasses anyway... 18th St Lounge is so much more sophisticated than my local - the Admiral Codrington round the corner on Mossop St.

GWS said...

So, getting 'the Banks out' with this particular piece... what did it entail? Were there any actual changes to the style of the jacket, or was it just adjustments to get the size right? I noticed it's a 3-button... all the JoS Banks 3-button pieces I've tried on button far too high for my taste. Did you have it altered to 3/2 roll?


Laguna Beach Fogey said...

I heard that. ;)

ADG said...

LagunaTradCod...figured you would.

GWS....realize that I only paid 120 bucks for it so I had nothing much to lose. I had the sleeves shortened...nothing else from a tailoring angle. I then soaked it in hot water with a little bit of bleach. After that-I let it dry in the hot summer sun to further fade it. That's what you do to get the Banks out. I like the high button stance by the way.

Anonymous said...

Mr. ADG,
How is the Banks madras coat working out? I'm considering buying the same. I was in Brooks last weekend and a salesman mentioned your blog. Where is the best place to buy madras shorts in the Northern Virginia area?


ADG said...

Hilton...the coat is great but I've gotta give it a rest for a while longer...too much patch madras on the street. I DID though, see a couple of cool ones at Polo in Boston the other day.