The Garmsman Dozen #10: Liam from the UK

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Welcome to the tenth instalment of the “Garmsman Dozen” question and answer session. The response so far has been tremendous. Did you miss earlier ones? There are links at the end of the page.

This week we welcome to the Garmsman Dozen Liam!

Who are you, where do you live and what interests you?

Liam Jefferies – 26 – UK – @SartorialChap – Sartorial Editor, Chap Magazine.

How would you describe your style today, and what are your influences?

I would describe my style as a sort of Anglo-American Trad. I like dressing by the book and the notion of a set of sartorial rules to follow or choose not to. The Ivy look has that in spades. It is a useful aesthetic to stick to. What I like about it is that it is an American interpretation of a traditional British wardrobe, which I have found a little too vast to really employ well with limited closet space.
Instead, I like to consider the mid-Century Ivy aesthetic as a sort of starter pack, a complete look, that has its mutations but is also very simple to encapsulate. Traditional clothing via a US-lens. When you get into the Japanese take on American Ivy (which is itself a take on British dress), it gets very meta, but it is very interesting to see what the different markets add and what stays the same throughout. Those are the staples.

How do you think others would describe your style and garments, do you get any reaction from friends and random strangers?

I’m sometimes referred to by friends and co-workers as “preppy”, which I choose to take as endearing. I wouldn’t consider my personal style to be very eye-catching, as its more about the little details such as pennies in the loafers or number of cuff buttons, the sort of thing that isn’t very noticeable, save for those in the know.  Some days, however, I do break out the Nantucket Reds.

When looking for clothes, what factors play into your selections?

Usually, a nascent requirement will lead me to look for a certain garment. We’ve had particularly heavy snows in the UK lately, and my US army-issue M65, whilst enough to keep me toasty, wasn’t the most streamlined of overcoats, so that has set me off in search of a camelhair polo coat. I’m still after one but methinks it can wait another year.

Most garmsmen will have a few “grail items” in their collection. Not to out you, but if your house is burning, which garments do you grab?

I’m attempting to build a capsule wardrobe of sorts, wherein everything complements everything else. I’m not having much luck with that, being somewhat of a magpie. There have been several items that I have regarded as “grail pieces” throughout the years, only to neglect them once they have been procured. One thing I always come back to is my 3-roll-2 navy blazer from Brooks Brothers. Somewhat of a sartorial cop-out, I know, being such a staple, but it does really tie an outfit together. It is good to know I could get dressed in the dark and throw that on and it will work (most of the time).

Are you budget-conscious or spendthrift? Are you a single-shot shopper, or go large and buy bulk? Where are you on slow-fashion and buying less?

I am very much a proponent of the slow-fashion ethos. Being fairly budget-conscious I want to know that what I am wearing will last. In my writing, I get to connect with a lot of brands that encapsulate the theory of ethical, considered clothing that takes time to make, and a long time to wear out.

Having a large collection of clothes can lead to changing outfit on a daily basis, but if you were going to wear a single outfit the next two weeks, what would it be?

Tweed sports coat, OCBD, Khakis, Weejuns. Because when in Blighty one must always consider the changeability of the weather, I never stray too far from my Barbour Beaufort.

What would you never wear?

I used to be averse to the idea of a T-shirt, without a shirt over it, but have since witnessed how well it can be dressed up. I try to avoid synthetic fibres as much as possible, I’m a bit of a purist that way. Save the polyester for the sleeping bag.

Anyone that buys clothes will have made mistakes, what is your most memorable bad buy?

My most memorable bad buy was a US-made vintage flannel suit that I got on the cheap. Beautiful thing but it didn’t fit well in the first place and I spent near enough the same amount again having it altered, by the end, I had to give up the ghost on my franken-suit, lesson learned. Even if something has all the right details and is made well from good material, it all comes down to the fit, and even a good tailor can’t fix everything.

Do you have any style icons, historic or current?

As well as the Ivy style staples, Anthony Perkins, Miles Davis, McQueen et al. I like F E Castleberry, his adoption and furthering of the “Wes Anderson style” is paramount. A favourite Instagram profile of mine (aside from yours, natch) is @HappyPreppy, whose mastery of the green blazer and the whole Go-To-Hell style renders me, well, green with envy.

If your clothes need repairs or alterations, do you do it yourself?

If it is simple enough, I’ll do it myself, when I was at college I apprenticed at a shirt-makers, so know enough to cope with the general maintenance, but if it’s something bigger, I have a go-to guy. It’s important to be on a first name basis with your doctor and your tailor.

Do you make any of your own clothes?

The closest I came was adapting a vintage Swedish parachute jacket for use when cycling, redo the rear pockets, it did not go very well.

How do you see your style evolving going forwards?

Going forward, I would hope that my style can safely stay as is. I’ve amassed quite a modest collection of well-made and reassuringly expensive clothes, and bar a few upgrades, they should serve as investments for the future. The best thing about the trad style is that you can wear it at 18 or 80.

Do you have a good style or garment based story?

Here’s one for you, about 10 years or so ago I was in a vintage store in Leeds, when who should walk in but US rapper (and host of MTV show Pimp My Ride) Xzibit walks in with his entourage. At the behest of a couple of fans, he attempted to purchase a keffiyeh scarf with what he referred to as “Francs” (they were Euros). Without skipping a beat I placed a two-pound coin in the merchant’s hand and gained (for the briefest of moments) the accolade of having “hooked up” the rapper-turned-presenter-turned-apparent vintage shopper. Still waiting for those free tickets…

Thank you for your Garmsman Dozen Liam!

Did you miss the first Garmsman Dozens?

PS: If you have suggestions for participants, let me know. Or have your mother suggest you, if you’re a bit keen to suggest yourself. My email is WellDressedDad (@) gmail.com

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2 Comments

  • Roland Novak 22/04/2018 at 13:42

    Great reference to the history of ivy tradition! Since I read the ametora book by Marx i try to close some gaps in my wardrobe and knowledge about it! Great!

    Reply
  • Arnold N Cohen,MD 22/04/2018 at 18:10

    I have a doppleganger on the other side of the pond!! His wardrobe and comments could be mine! I did attend a very preppy college and then two “Ivy” universities in the 60’s-70’s where I internalized the style. Since, I have found it to be a flexible, enduring, easy style to live with which gets nothing but complements.

    Reply

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