Lately, I’ve noticed a confluence of nostalgia seeping into my daily life, probably replacing the brain space usually occupied by restaurants, bars, and retail stores I can’t visit right now. Between overly stressful grocery store trips, long walks through my neighborhood, and a so-far poor attempt at growing some facial hair, I’ve reached over and over for my desert island records, my favorite movies from when I was growing up, and easy, digestible TV shows. In college, I used to read The Lord of the Rings at the beginning of every year, and this has been a particularly great few weeks to rekindle that tradition.
Likewise, I’ve discovered just how much I enjoy the performative aspect of dressing, especially because I’m working from my dining room table as often as I am from our darkened sales floor. Some days, a well-executed four-in-hand and crisply pressed shirt may only be appreciated by me, but these details put my mind into the right space to ignore the existential dread looming and get down to working as well as I can.
First things first, a good polo like our Robert Barakett long-sleeve offers the ease of 100% Pima cotton, while the jacquard-knit collar has enough body to stay at attention rather than sagging open. The enzyme wash leaves the cotton with a uniquely slick hand more associated with upscale techwear rather than a classic, plant-based fabric. Blessed with a natural stretch due to the long-staple fibers, the shirt’s body is cut trim enough to wear on its own, but it feels properly luxurious against the skin beneath a sweater. If you’re feeling suspiciously dressy, I recommend trying it out with your favorite soft-shouldered sport coat. After all, this is the time to get comfortable with new things-- your ego is safely inside and hidden from public scrutiny.
Donning a good pair of denim five-pockets strikes the right balance of effort and repose. The straight fit of the Charisma jean from 34 Heritage is accented with a stretch fabric blend for easy all-day wear. Both the mid and dark washes look stepped up just enough to not be mistaken for tattered house-work pants, and the lack of prominent fades down the leg mean you won’t look like you’ve knelt in sand. At the shop, we like them with everything from silk camp shirts and sneakers to chunky sweaters and loafers, and to casual sport coats and brogues. To really get down to business, tuck your shirt into the waistband, as the higher rise complements even the dressiest of button-downs.
I’ve discovered that the true separation of work and the house lies between my feet and the floor. If I’m barefoot, it’s a harder to be motivated. New socks are a simple pleasure; well-made stockings are a treat that I fully embrace. I like Biella, Italy’s Marcoliani because of their fine fabrics and superb craftsmanship. If you lean toward the playful, try some intricate and vibrant patterns, and if you truly want to pamper yourself, there’s no better choice than their cashmere.
I may be the odd one out, but I must wear shoes if I am to concentrate on work. I like leather-soled shoes, as Allen Edmonds’ cork insoles end up forming to the feet rather nicely, so I recommend their Lake Forest penny loafer. A spring classic, the loafer’s sleek profile makes it dress up for suits and sport coats, but is really more suited to chinos, denim, and shorts. If you’re nervous about shoe break-in times, quarantine is the perfect time to wear new shoes just enough to get the leather stretching without squeezing your feet all day. You can always take them off, and grabbing a pair now means you’ll be set for years to come. Just don’t forget shoe trees.