Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reader Questions - Men's Clothing, Wool Sweater Softening

Bills Khakis; Leather Man Belts; Brooks Brother's Shirts; J. Press Navy Blazer and Tweed Jacket (

1. Dear Muffy, I have been following your blog for some months now from my soon-to-be-ending exile abroad, and I truly appreciate the cornucopia of information you provide to your readers on so many subjects: clothing, skiing, sailing, village life, all accompanied by gorgeous photography. The reason I am writing this post is that I am in a quandary about my wardrobe. Due to my career, I've lived abroad for some 20 years now, but I’ll soon be returning to the States. In my official capacity, I've worn mostly suits to the office (no “work casual”) and for evening hours and weekends, I've managed to keep enough men’s preppy essentials to kit me out over time. The problem I am having is that since I've been away, I really have no idea how to do preppy “business casual” in America. I’ll be consulting with physicians and academics, and so suits, at least for everyday wear, are out. I must look “professional,” but at this point in my 40s, I’m not sure anymore what “professional” means. I've seen colleagues in jeans, tee shirts, khakis (creased) and wool trousers, kempt and unkempt; in short, anything seems to go. I feel as if I've crawled out from a cave and now must navigate this strange, new world back home. How does one strike the right balance these days between looking professional at the office in an environment of “business casual”? (P.S. Thank you for any thoughts you may have in this direction.)

2. Hey Muffy, Having both of my parents, as Princeton graduates, and while living in CT my whole life, I have been exposed to a lot of "ivy" culture and style as well. I've studied your blog like its my religion, and I have to say, I think it's amazing. I've taken many bots of advice from it and have incorporated them into my own style although I often come to the curiosity of if I am dressing a bit to old for my age. My style resembles my father more and more each day. Haha. I was wondering, being seventeen, are there things I should keep in mind when shopping preppy, things I should avoid, or look for? I see my friends wearing more Polo Ralph Lauren and Vineyard Vines. I sometimes think my taste far exceeds the years that I have! Is it inappropriate for someone of my age cherishing my Quoddy mocs and my Brooks Brothers chinos? Or are there things I should think about being a preppy male teen, as I do feel like I dress a little older than my age sometimes.

3. Thanks so much for the thorough review on Norwegian sweaters. Although I have enjoyed LL Bean sweaters for years I have never owned one of these - until this week. Which brings up my question: I found one of the original 80% wool 20% nylon sweaters at a thrift store - it is the charcoal version with teal and purple stitching. It was beautiful, looked new, and the LL Bean label sealed the deal. But when I tried to wear it I found it to be very rough - like coarse steel wool. I was wearing it over a cotton tee shirt and, when I took off the sweater, the tee had quite a few gray fibers stuck to it. My guess is the sweater was never washed - since I live in the AZ desert, it may well have been lying in a drawer for 25-30 years (judging by the colors). So my question is: Did you find that single, or even multiple, washings were necessary to soften the original sweaters to remove loose fibers and/or make the sweaters more comfortable to wear? Just for reference, I don't have a problem wearing other wool sweaters - even Shetland wool - over a tee, or lambs wool/merino/cashmere on bare skin. But the Norwegian was prickly even through the tee. Thanks for any help you can offer - the geekier the better.

4. What are thoughts on Vineyard Vines?  Tommy Hilfiger? J. Crew?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

When Precious...

“I revolted by becoming a sensitive person, which I am not. I hate folk music. I don't care for most of the sensitive people I feel obligated to hang out with...

I pour a round of Lowenbrau, being careful not to pour along the side but straight down so the beer can express itself, and they say, “Did you ever try Dockendorf?” It’s made by the Dockendorf family from hand-pumped water in their ancient original family brewery in an unspoiled Pennsylvania village where the barley is hauled in by Amish families who use wagons with oak beds. Those oak beds give Dockendorf its famous flavor.  

These beer bores, plus the renovators of Victorian houses, the singer-songwriters, the runners, the connoisseurs of northern Bengali cuisine, the collectors of everything Louis Armstrong recorded between August 1925 and June 1928, his seminal period—they are driving me inexorably toward life as a fat man in a bungalow swooning over sweet-and-sour pork. ”  

Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon Days

Monday, January 21, 2013

Camden Windjammers, 1964

Photos from our archives
Camden Windjammer Mercantile, now a National Historic Landmark was built in 1916,  and restored in 1989.  She is still in service today with Maine Windjammer Cruises, the first and oldest fleet.  Here are some photos from the archives of a Windjammer cruise from 1964.

The Schooner Mattie

I want every item he is wearing.

Going ashore on Campbell Island for a Driftwood  Fire Clambake


Pumpkin Island Lighthouse, at the Northwestern End of  Eggemoggin Reach near Little Deer Isle

Downtown Camden in 1964 was where Peyton Place. was filmed seven years earlier

Thanks to you, I have just spent the early morning in the salt water and air enjoying the decks of ships. I'll 'visit' this again many times.   
The Windjammers may see more sailors this summer. I hope they have as wonderful memories as I have from three outings with my folks. I can still smell the coffee on deck before dawn and the woodfire baking bread  for the day. Sounds, too, of the islands waking up. Birds, maybe a barking dog, maybe a bell...and the wonderful creaking of the wooden ship.