Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Now that’s Sharpe! Pea Coats and Modern Wear

Hello and welcome again ardent fashion friends to Metro Method. If you caught the Bernard Cornwell reference, +1 nerd points. Today’s post will address one of the most flexible pieces in any temperate weather wardrobe – the pea coat. As my significant other once appropriately stated “you could dress a horse in a pea coat and someone would make a pass at it in a bar” (to this day I wonder if I was that horse).

As usual, before we go any further, another history lesson! The pea coat in American dates back to at least as early as the 1720s. Nautical officers would wear differing length coats, dependent upon their rank. Bridge coats, which extended down past the thigh, were exclusively reserved for officers and chief petty officers. The term pea coat originated from the Dutch or West Frisian word pijjekker, in which pij referred to the type of cloth used, a coarse kind of twilled blue cloth with a nap on one side.

Today, pea coats are generally still made of wool (though heavier) and come in a variety of colors. The most traditional of which, of course, remains navy.

The pea coat is peculiar in the degree of flexibility it affords with most styles. Throw on a pair of jeans with a simple collared shirt under it with a tie or scarf for a splash of color or contrast and you’re set to go.

Prefer a more traditional play on the nautical background of the coat while maintaining a modern edge? Try a pair of slacks with a dress shoe or loafers depending upon your choice of pants (loafers are a good pick with lighter colors as you see below, with pencil grey and darker, you’ll generally want to go with a dress shoe).

Or hell, make an irreverent quip with the style by throwing a thin hoodie on under it that flashes your favorite sports brand across the chest and pair with jeans and all-star converse sneakers. The choices are near endless.

There are however, some things I suggest do NOT work well with pea-coats. They are as follows:

      1. Do not wear baggy jeans with a pea coat. With the exception of loose fit linen slacks, pea coats do not lend themselves well to baggy looks. While other styles can work, your best and safest bet is to stick with a straight or skinny jean.

      2. Beware of excess patterns with what you put under your pea coat. I like to peacock as much as the next metro man, but with the pea coat, what you’re really looking to highlight are the lines of your outfit as opposed to color blends per say, which is why you don’t see a huge variety in pea coat patterns. 

Otherwise, you've free reign on creating a look out of this wonderful outerwear that works best for you. As always, I wish you all the best in your fashion pursuits and in your other pursuits as well.

This is Cade signing out.

Editor’s Note:

Hi All,

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a friend pertaining to this topic and I thought I’d address it in this post, just in case others had similar questions. His question goes as follows –

‘Where I see a lot of skinny guys wearing pea coats, I don’t see a lot of heavier set guys wearing them. I tried one on myself with a dress shirt like you recommended and I could see why, it looked terrible. Are pea coats just not something bigger guys should try wearing?’

This is a serious question and as such I take it very seriously.  First and foremost, my golden rule of fashion needs to be restated here – never belittle yourself just because a look doesn't work out the first time. The fact that you tried something new is to be commended and you should be proud in having done so.
That said, there are things that you can add to your outfit to better fit your physique. My recommendation here is a dark vest that’s slightly looser fitting.

^ something like this but in a darker shade.

This will help draw more attention to your outerwear, rather than your dress attire. I do however recommend also adding a tie with this just to add a splash of fun and color to the look. It will help open your look up and make it seem less like your trying to hide behind your cloths, but rather, are more comfortable in looking your best.

I hope this is helpful to others and again please feel free to e-mail me if you've any other questions you’d like answered on this blog!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Faith and Fashion: a clandestine merger of self-expression

Hello all and for any new visitors welcome to Metro Method. In today's post we'll take a closer look at the transition from traditional spiritual wear to modern spiritual wear, and how you can make modern spiritual wear work for you.

First, a brief history discussion. Since their inception, religion and spirituality have universally institutionalized symbolism as a staple of worship. Some of the earliest evidence of symbolic behavior is associated with Middle Stone Age sites in Africa dating least 100,000 years ago, whereby people would use dyes to paint their bodies and living space with symbols representing transcendental icons. Moreover, as far back as 25,000 BCE, archaeologists have unearthed graves that have contained primitive ritualistic trinkets, including periwinkle shell necklaces, mammoth bone beads, and fox-tooth pendants, believed to be associated with pagan burial rituals.  
Symbols like these have been used to by cultures help define the undefinable ideas that are intrinsic to faith, the most commonly thought of in the United States being the cross. However, in today’s modern age, you’re just as likely as to see a conservative faithful wearing a small pendant, as you are a rapper dangling a cross-shaped edifice down past their crotch (a style that was made popular around the 1980s).   
Notwithstanding whether one group is holier than the other, the question then is, how has religious symbolism evolved into as much of a fashion statement as a faith statement? Without intending to sound cavalier, I submit that faith is as much about self-expression as fashion and can (and is) unanimously represented through our public persona. Simply put, when you feel strongly about two elements of self-representation, it’s likely that the two will bleed into each other and influence your decision making (you don’t see a whole bunch of nuns running around in hot pants…thank god).
So fine, that said you may be thinking ‘even if I’m willing to accept this premise about faith and fashion, I’m fairly conservative and I just wear a cross around my neck and I’m comfortable with that. Is that not fashionable or something?’
The answer: no, that’s just fine! If you feel comfortable having a small cross tucked under your dress shirt and suit, that’s no problem. But if your objective is to show off your faith, you’ll probably want to find a middle ground between bling-bling and illuminati.
To this effect, here are some cool, slightly edgy, ideas for showing off your beliefs.

1. Men’s bracelet bands. Very practical and trendy idea that’s flexible with many forms of self-expression. Men have been making use of bracelet bands to make a statement for a while now, the most memorable of which is probably Lance Armstrong’s yellow band, started in 2004. From a spirituality perspective this is easily adapted. A simple leather men’s bracelet like that below can be a great outlet for expressing ones faith. Buddha beads like those in the first image are another great option to capture general spirituality.

2. Belts. Not one commonly thought of, but believe it or not there are a lot of belt buckles that with a pair of jeans can look very well put together. Be careful here though, there’s a fine line between being obnoxious with a belt-buckle (which can be a huge fashion failure) and being edgy and Avant-garde.

^ NO


3. Necklaces. Yes necklaces as I said are fine. However, where you want to show them off, being slightly less conservative in this regard can go a long way in the fashion world. A typical cross and chain for example can come off as too expected. I recommend again raw leather necklaces in black for the greatest matching flexibility. Mix and match pendants and charms as you see fit, though I would recommend a smaller pendant, large pendants on men can again seem obnoxious (and too much like big blinging).
These are just some general tips and ideas, note that there are many other examples and ideas that are equally stylish that have not been listed in this post.
That’ll do it for me for this month’s post! Again, thanks to my supporters and your kind e-mails encouraging me to keep posting!

This is Cade signing out,