Riding It Out

Nothing’s worse than having to say “I told you so,” especially to yourself. It’s right up there with “Be careful what you wish for.”

Back in December, which feels like another world, I’d just arrived in Newport after a decade in New York. It was the Christmas season, and I felt charmed, bedazzled, and filled with a sense of freedom and possibility. But I was also about to unveil two projects — my work of apocalyptic fiction “These Are Our Failures,” as well as Trad-Man.com, which is subtitled “survival guide for an age of crisis” — both of which drew on my pessimistic side. Fortunately, as there is no night without day, I have an optimistic side as well.

One day I stopped by Royal Male, Newport’s longstanding Anglo-trad shop, as I was looking for a new lightweight jacket. I tried on all the Barbour models, but felt that I’d had a couple of them before and none matched my current mood. That’s when I spied the Belstaff jackets, which the proprietor Etienne said were outselling Barbour by a rather significant amount.

I put on the brand’s defining model, called the Trialmaster, as Etienne told me of the garment’s history. The Trialmaster was unveiled in 1948 as a waxed-cotton motorcycle jacket. It felt new and different, and I remember saying, “Those Barbours are too country gentleman. This feels like something I could wear in a zombie apocalypse.”

I ended up getting the jacket, and, well, here we are, quarantined with a virus. Today I learned that the Navy captain relieved of his duty — who was my childhood best friend — has tested positive for the virus. God speed to Brett and his family, and Palm Sunday blessings to you all as together we ride out this storm. — CC

28 Comments on "Riding It Out"

  1. No motorcycle yet, just a black Schwinn city bike.

  2. I’m sure there’s a rationale for that asymmetrical pocket. Can’t imagine what it would be.

  3. Yes, both of the top patch pockets look like they are out of position. Kind of ruins the look, to my eye –

  4. C,

    Happy Palm Sunday.

    Two things. First, your friend did not get fired; he was relieved of his command. In any event, best wishes for a speedy recovery for him and any of his former crew who got the virus.

    Secondly, you might want to drift on down Thames St. to Team One Newport and buy a Musto MPX jacket. You might look more in place. 😉

    Cheers, BC

  5. Yes, I used “fired” since that’s what the media is doing and it’s fewer syllables. But when has that ever stopped my sesquipedalian ways.

    As for the pockets, yes one is angled to facilitate ease of entry for right-handers.

    It’s part of the “aesthetic.” ; )

  6. And a happy Palm Sunday to you. You know, we hear a lot about nationalism in the news. At least we did prior to this current unpleasantness. Palm Sunday was just that, a cry from the Jews for nationalism. They wanted an earthly king (as they thought the Prophet Zechariah had foretold) to deliver them from the Roman rule. Palm branches were that nationalistic symbol, from their coins. In later times, Christians appropriated the term hosanna (save us), I suppose, b/c it had already made it into the official record. [Not sure if this comment is considered bullseye for this site, so will not be offended if it does not make it in.]

  7. the pockets are @ a angle for maps. keep in mind these were designed for riding before garmin existed! I prefer the barbour international! just my two cents.

  8. Just out: Trump told Defense Secretary Espy to get rid of Capt.Crozier the day before Modly did so. God bless Captain Crozier, his family, and the sailors who were under his command! My father,a WWII paratrooper medic and one of those who freed the 2000+ surviving American and Allied citizens at Los Banos Japanese-Run Internment Camp, would have been outraged about what happened to Captain Crozier. On a lighter note, I think your jacket’s pockets are cool and jaunty.

  9. Trevor Jones | April 5, 2020 at 7:53 pm |

    @Aaron, the pocket is designed that way so right handers can easily open it to access store-away maps.

    Personally, the jacket is a little too “biker-esque” for my tastes. Alas, I really like the Barbour International which is another belted waxed-cotton jacket — a little more “refined” in my opinion. Just goes to show to indisputables about the trad world: details are everything and personal opinion usually takes priority.

  10. BC has perfectly illustrated that form of typo known as Dark And Stormy Spelling.

  11. re: the honorable Capt.Crozier: read David Ignatius Washington Post 4-5, two articles by James Fallows The Atlantic,
    David Choi Business Insider 4-5, David Welna NPR 4-3
    you might also review who the navy secretary was before acting navy secretary Modly and why Trump go rid of him.
    Christian, I’m liking your jacket more and more.

  12. I seem to remember that, at one time, Barbour sold a belted jacket called “The Sapper”, which looked very much like this one, CC. Never bought one, but might have just for the name.

  13. I’ve been riding horses and MCs in Belstaff Trailmasters for decades. Not the very best weather or abrasion protection but often complimented for style. Tartan lining, corduroy collar facing, robust
    brass snaps and two-way zippers, embroidered logo patches and Made in England Union Jack pocket tab! Coincidently posted a pic on Instagram yesterday.

  14. Please delete first post. PS Belted waist is highly functional at speed

  15. Trevor Jones | April 5, 2020 at 11:37 pm |

    @Over Easy, not being Steve McQueen is a reality I’ve had to come to terms with when laying out what I thought would look good. A tough fact to face…. 😉

  16. Christian,
    funny story about this jacket..A couple of years ago I was in Newport on a family holiday (my wife’s family hail from Pawtucket) and of course stopped at the Royal Male, spoke to the young owner ( turns out we used to live less then a mile apart in London) and had a browse of the wax jackets. He showed me a Belstaff and that was it…I was smitten and wanted one right then but unfortunately my finances were not very healthy. I always had an eye on it and my wife finally surprised me with one for my last birthday. I had a couple of Barbours before ,but this one has a very different feel to it. It took me a while to get used of the cut and the belt but now it’s my favorite jacket by far.

    Sorry for waffling, just wanted to share it.

    Stay safe, Happy Easter ..

  17. C,

    Thanks for taking your red pen to by comment. Site is the real estate (and Dark `n Stormy) version of cite. 😉

    Ms. Linda,

    The Atlantic and the WaPo are both unbiased sources and so I am sure your opinions on the subject are well informed and accurate. Google Tweed Rosevelt’s NY Times opinion piece. He is psychic too and knows how his great grandfather would have judged the SECNAV. So many experts out there these days…

    Cheers, BC

  18. CDR Docere | April 6, 2020 at 9:40 am |

    This is a very tough time for everybody right now. Why not stick to discussing the darn coats and leave the editorials to another venue?

  19. whiskeydent | April 6, 2020 at 10:24 am |

    In the military, getting “relieved of command” is a near-equivalent to “fired.” The only difference is that the former does not force one out of the service. On the other hand, one’s chances for promotion are greatly reduced and the likelihood of a crappy next assignment is very high. An Alaskan radar station might be in the captain’s future.

    And when’s one’s assertions are proven false, one should consider gracefully admitting defeat instead of doubling down on a falsehood. It reveals one’s character and makes the internet more trash than treasure.

  20. whiskeydent | April 6, 2020 at 11:55 am |

    At your own request, Linda provided numerous articles asserting that “Trump told Defense Secretary Espy to get rid of Capt.Crozier the day before Modly did so.”

    Among the writers, James Fallow is the author of 11 books and winner of the National Book Award; David Ignatius who has won numerous honors as a journalist covering foreign policy; and David Welna has reported extensively on national security issues.

    You responded with a flaccid attempt to divert the discussion from Linda’s complete victory over you.

    This is my last post on this. I see now that you are one of those who enjoys “triggering liberal snowflakes.” I am not triggered or melting. Instead, I pity those who feel obliged to wring out their feelings of inadequacy by trying bring others down to their level.

  21. Leaving both Captain Crozier and President Trump aside, I think the most hilarious comment I have seen on this page since I became a member is that “The Washington Post” is an unbiased source. If most any President went out and walked across the Potomac their headline the next day would be “President Can’t Swim.” That’s an old LBJ joke he often told, so staying bi-partisan here in my comment.

  22. Chet Dartly | April 7, 2020 at 3:01 am |

    One can only hope that Trump will be relieved of his command by those voters who survive.

  23. @BC: “The Atlantic and the WaPo are both unbiased sources and so I am sure your opinions on the subject are well informed and accurate”. You may have been using sarcasm, but you did actually type the words: it’s right there above, in black and white. I know it’s perfectly acceptable, when you’re a condo salesman from Queens, to deny having said what you just said, but let’s give the Ivy Style readership a bit more credit.

    Or, if you’re of a different political stripe: it’s like Daryl Hammond, as Clinton, looking into the camera and saying, “I. Am. Not. Here.”

  24. ….and he’s gone.

  25. That is a well-written tribute to your friend, C.

    For those who might hang up their R and D cardigans for a moment and look for common ground and lessons from the sad affair, I offer the following.

    There has been a lot written on the subject from a variety of perspectives. We citizens in public may never know the full story on what occurred, who said what, and how the decisions, both good and bad, were made.

    Apparently there were failures in communications and procedures, both up and down the chain of command.

    There seems to have been a situation aboard the Roosevelt that created grave concern in the mind of Crozier. His concerns were such that he decided to take action outside the chain of command. There seems to have been a point where he felt that violating security and communications procedures, he was most certainly aware and knowledgeable of, were worth the cost which, again, he was fully aware of.

    Similarly, there came the point when the chain of command felt that the actions Crozier took were sufficient to demonstrate his lack of judgment, and he needed to get replaced. Those decisions most certainly did not come easily regardless of what the full motivations or reasons were.

    So, were both parties trying to do the right thing as they saw it? Probably. Were mistakes made? For sure. If both Crosier and Modly could have a “do-over,” would they take it? Probably.

    We must learn from mistakes and always strive to be better. Some mistakes are easier to understand and step up to than others. In the end, the actions of Crozier and Modly resulted in this not being a good week for the Navy.

    I wish both men well.

    Enough said by me…

  26. I like the jacket.

  27. I appreciate you penning this article and also the rest of the site is really good.

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