Eight years ago, when I first interviewed Charlie Davidson of The Andover Shop about dressing Miles Davis, he used a simple but delightful phrase “my kinda clothes.” The phrase stuck with me and now, after all these years, I’m finally employing it as a new recurring feature. “My Kinda Clothes” will give Ivy Style readers the chance to share their favorite half-dozen or so items and how they come together to craft the man’s personal style.
We start with Al Castiel III who runs the site Regattas & Rep Ties, and whose summer is off to a charmed start. The Boston University student is presently living in New York and doing an internship in the custom department at Paul Stuart, where I met up with the precocious youngster last week. He’s staying in the NYU dorms where it’s safe to say he has more clothing than anybody else.
If you’d like to participate in the new series, use the contact button above and send me an email. — CC
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While my style of dress tends to lean more towards the English end of the spectrum and with some dandyish undertones, the base is very much rooted in classic American style. I tend to rely on having several of the same pieces in several different colors, utilizing them as my staple items. More often than not, most of the pieces in my wardrobe have their own unique stories.
Ray Ban aviators:
These pre-Luxottica shades are a testament to the longevity of a well made product. They were purchased by my father in 1982, back during his college days. He has since passed them down to me, and I break them out on every sunny day.
Alden tassel loafers:
Paired with suits, jeans, khakis, and even sockless with shorts, the Alden tassel loafers are the go-to shoe for me in almost any occasion, save black tie. Ever since lusting after a pair in high school, I knew I had to have a pair. My brown pair used to belong to John Tinseth of The Trad (coincidentally, his nephew and I attended prep school together). I got them from him my freshman year of college.
Silk knit ties:
I believe that the silk knit tie is one of the most versatile pieces of neckwear that a man can own. Women seem to love them as well, which is an added bonus. I have several from various makers, although this is rather irrelevant, as they’re all made by the same factories in Italy. They look equally at home with either button down or spread/cutaway collars. The more texture, the better.
Andover Shop suits and sportcoats:
I’ve been going to the legendary Charlie Davidson for my clothes since I arrived in Boston. Charlie and Larry’s English-inspired tastes align perfectly with mine, so it’s only natural that I’d use The Andover Shop as my primary tailors. I recently commissioned an Air Force blue summer suit with hacking pockets, ticket pocket, surgeon’s cuffs, side vents, and beltless trousers with side tabs. Since I never wear belts these days except for with khakis and jeans, I suppose you can call trousers with side tabs one of my signatures as well, which I credit Charlie for introducing me to. A gun club check tweed jacket was my first commission from Charlie.
While it’s clear that I’m a serious clotheshorse, I am also very interested in fine timepieces. I have one of the earliest Omega Seamaster Aqua-Terra models, and it features a see-through back. In addition to being a beautiful watch, it has a very strong sentimental value to me. It was a gift from my father for high school graduation, and I wear it proudly almost every day.
Oxford Cloth Button Down Shirts:
If I’m not wearing a suit or a Lacoste shirt, there’s a 99% chance you’ll see me in an oxford shirt. I usually stick to oxfords as my everyday casual shirts, wearing them to class, the bars, or on weekends with shorts or white Levis 501s. They’re also my go-to shirts to wear with sport coats, as the collar looks great tieless with an impeccable roll and a prominent pocket square to compliment it. Moreover, during my time working in sales at Brooks Brothers, I wore them quite regularly, as they were the quintessential Brooks item. In order to play with conventions and go against the grain, I’ll wear them with Hermes ties or hacking jackets. I’m a big fan of Sid Mashburn button downs, as well as those from J. Press and Brooks’ “new old” unlined model.
Cutaway Collar Shirts:
In “Dressing The Man,” Alan Flusser states that a gentleman with a narrow or oval-shaped face should opt for a collar with a wider spread. I take this to the extreme by wearing cutaway collar shirts that have the widest spread possible. I’m not afraid to show some of the tie on the shirt’s neckband, either. I usually tie four-in-hand knots when wearing them. I love the way they look with and without a tie, and sometimes wear them with jeans as well. I think they add a sense of flair and dandyism to a suit or sportcoat. — AL CASTIEL III
The eyeglass frames?
I only wish I had such great taste at such a young age. Good for him!
I bet those shoes could tell a good story or two.
You’ve either got it or you ain’t. I look at some of the supposed arbiters of sartorial taste in their incredibly expensive clothes and think how they look as if their wardrobe was picked out in the dark. Putting a great ensemble together is not just about spending money, it’s about understanding what works with what and possessing a sense of style to carry it off.
While I’ve got a couple of Harris tweed jackets from local thrift stores which, for all I know, someone could have expired in, I could never bring myself to wear somebody else’s shoes. Just seems unsanitary. Especially if, as sounds the case here, both the prior and the current owner may have gone/will go sockless.
Excellent posting and new theme for future postings.
Mr. Castiel’s civilized demeanor and ability to communicate in an articulate, succinct manner have raised my opinion of young 20-somethings about 500% above that of the ones I encounter locally on a daily basis.
I certainly wish I had his style at such a young age and have become a fan of his tumblr.
Pre-Luxottica aviators would be Bausch & Lombs. Pre-jet age ones have wrap around ear pieces.
I’m all for personal style, but I still don’t get Alden dress tassels with “Levis” or no socks. There are better alternatives in more casual shoes.
Thanks Al Castiel III, well written and enjoyable.
Al seems like a very fine young man. But…there’s something about his “kinda clothes” that is too fussy, too calculated, too neat and too self-conscious. It’s much too complex or eclectic to be “Ivy.” That’s just my opinion. I live in an East Coast sea-coast town where Ivy pedigrees are nearly perfect: boarding school, Ivy or “Little Ivy” colleges, marriages to women who went to Seven Sisters schools. The “my kinda clothes” style here is legacy Ivy, of course, but simple, sloppy, uncalculated and completely unself-conscious. They just wear what they’ve always worn and don’t give it a thought. They don’t like spending money unnecessarily and rarely buy new clothes. The idea of spending $950 on a tweed jacket at those stores in Cambridge or Charleston is unthinkable.
You obviously don’t live near Muffy and Clark: they buy new clothes all the time.
Thank god for coastal WASPs and their Yankee frugality and complete lack of originality, but Al has an admitted dandy streak and intends to move to New York and pursue a career in the apparel business.
Not sure why you’re comparing apples to oranges, or plaids to stripes.
OK, OK…I’ll admit to having a dandy streak too–in my younger and more vulnerable years. I even wore a monocle and smoked a churchwarden.
As noted, Al has admitted to a certain level of Anglophile foppery, and that’s okay. The kid pulls it off. Maybe the next installment, CC, of “my kinda clothes” should be from the T. Bearden school of thrifty/threadbare/coastal Yankee pragmatism? It’s certainly it’s own, recognized sub-genre. And if you ever want something from the Annapolitan school, you know where to reach me.
Please Christian, reach out to Paul! Al was great but I’d enjoy the more arcane representations. I’m sure we can move way beyond frayed collars and the Boston cracked shoe school without bringing up duct tape.
Paul reach out to me! Several brave volunteers have already come forth, and I and the Fogey will be doing them as well. Also, it’s really a season thing, which means everyone should get two shots at it.
I agree! Maryland Ivy style is very nuanced and I’d love some perspective on the Annapolitan School from Paul.
As a native Marylander and wearer of natural shoulder style, I second that motion. Represent, Paul!
CC – I emailed you about a submission; let me know if you received it.
I like your choices and they are surprisingly similar to mine. Shirt, tie, watch, shoes is almost exactly what I wore today.
To make Ivy Style work, the fit and tailoring needs to be perfect. The best Ivy League style is very well tailored.
I knew an Al Castiel in the Chicago area during the 70’s. Can’t help but think there is a link because that Al was was all about good traditional taste in clothing. Not to be too revisionist, but Al was at least briefly employed in the retail clothing business. Is there any way to ask III if his dad was perhaps the person I knew?