broke & bespoke

5

I promised some time ago that I’d say a few things about this new collar from Luxire, the BBBDC 2.0 if you will. I pretty much just added another ¼ to the length of the collar points, and widened the spread a tad. For my next batch of shirts I may try to make the collar band a little less tall, and hopefully get rid of some of the gathering of the collar towards the front. These were some heavier shirts that helped see me through some of the colder weather this winter; I especially love the heavy flannel of the middle shirt. 

Simplicity.

It was a pleasant surprise to receive this navy merino sweater the other day from Club Monaco and see that it had a nice marled effect. I’ve come to be a fan of their merino sweaters, and also bought a cardigan in the same color in that recent order; both were just a hair over $30. The Spring/Summer can be a great time to stock up on some cooler weather staples at sale prices. Shirt is a Luxire OCBD in their Sky Blue Oxford Cloth.  

7

I realized it has been quite some time since I’ve posted anything new here. I got a couple of bouts of sickness over the holidays and managed to sleep through the entirety of the new year, and thus forgot that new year’s day also happens to be this blog’s birthday. So a happy belated birthday to Broke and Bespoke–it’s been a very fun four years; here’s to many more!

Jacket: H. Freeman and Sons

Cardigan: Brooks Brothers

Shirt: OCBD from Luxire

Tie: Vintage 

Pocket Square: c/o Monsieur Fox

Jeans: Red Cotton Denim

Boots: Heschung

10

Dude’s Dinner X at Chez Panisse

Long-time followers of this blog know of the annual dinner my oldest group of friends have each year around Thanksgiving at our famed home-town restaurant, Chez Panisse. This year was the tenth anniversary of the annual meal–illustrated by the loaves of bread spelling out “10″ in the last pic. As usual, great times were complemented by great food and wine.

Topics of discussion this year included how we always spend the first 30 minutes of the evening congratulating one another on having full heads of hair and staying slim (I’m the only one for which this latter point is debatable), and the possibility that we suffer from delusions of grandeur.

Highlights of the meal included the amazing shrimp and scallop salad, that pork rib pictured above, and a delicious dessert wine.

And since this is a menswear blog, I’m wearing a red university striped OCBD from Luxire, a wool donegal sweater from Charles Tyrwhitt, and some Red Cotton Denim jeans.  

4

An Heirloom Restored

This is a watch that once belonged to my grandfather who passed away in the early 1980s. For much of my youth this watch sat in a kitchen drawer that held old rubber bands, random keys, twisty-ties, measuring tapes, exacto blades, a dull bowie knife, an eyeglass repair kit, and other miscellaneous items. Many of you probably have a similar drawer in your house–the place where random objects go to die. The fact that this watch sat in there for decades gives you a sense of the kind of premium placed on luxury items in my house. We didn’t really have them, so they weren’t on our radars. I’m sure there were times when its sale could have been a real boon to help pay for plane tickets to visit relatives in Taiwan, or some other costly expense that would be a strain on my parents’ finances. Perhaps my mother, who didn’t care much for such a thing, refrained from selling it because she thought I might want it one day. 

My grandfather was a professor of animal husbandry (his expertise was in pigs, which could explain–at least in part–my love of all things pork) at National Taiwan University in Taipei, and how he came by this watch is a story no one knows any more. Perhaps it was a gift from students (if only students gave Rolexes to their teachers these days!), maybe he bought it for himself. In any case, when I was in college, in the context of a conversation I’ve long since forgotten the topic of, my mother mentioned off-handedly that she thought my grandfather had a Rolex, and that it was in “that kitchen drawer.” Needless to say, the next time I went home I availed myself of the opportunity to find it and wear it. 

Despite having sat dormant in a drawer for over two decades, the watch kicked into gear with a few shakes and I wore it proudly for several years before it went haywire and started gaining hours within minutes, and the hands became grotesquely misaligned like its arms had been cruelly broken. I took it to several watchmakers to see if they could service it, but Rolex keeps a tight lid on parts so there was nothing I could do put take it to an authorized Rolex service center. When I pursued that route, it quickly became apparent that this watch would not be seeing any wrist time in the foreseeable future given that I was a graduate student subsisting on fellowships that did not include within their stipends disposable income that could cover any extraneous expense other than the copious amounts of alcohol that helped me through my Ph.D.

Having been gainfully employed now for several years, I began to realistically fiddle with the idea of getting the watch up and running last spring. This summer I decided to treat myself to the luxury, and to help finance the service by selling off some items I’ve not used for some time (lots of clothes, but some fountain pens too–I may yet part with a different watch as well). I must say the sell-off was well worth it, not only because I can now proudly wear this heirloom content in the knowledge that its innards are in tip-top shape and will be for years to come, but also because it was itself a real gift to be able to parlay things I’m not using much these days into something I’ll use quite a bit for decades. 

To top things off, I learned quite a bit about the watch from Rolex that I’d not known before, and was given quite a few complements by the watchmaker on some of the more unique aspects of the watch. I now know its from 1962, and that the combination of engine-turned bezel, this particular style of dauphine hands, a blued second hand (it’s now darkened with age, but knowing it was once blue I think I can see faint traces of blue at the point where it attaches to the dial), and the triangular indices was not very common. I wonder if it was a combination that was more common in the Asian market–I’ve found a few pictures of Oysterdates with the same configuration, but many more that have slightly different shaped hands, or, more common still, baton markers for the hours.  

If there’s a downside to this story it’s that my mother seems to recollect that my grandfather also had an Omega. Its whereabouts will forever remain a mystery though as the house I grew up in was sold several years ago.