Friday, December 30, 2011

Doin' lines at lunch, part II

(For Part I, click here.)

Crystal Mountain

Hers - tight turns right. His - big turns left.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Go-To-Hell" is Risky Business

Richard Westall's Sword of Damocles
Maybe because it's because I live in the sartorially-sheltered Northwest (we do have either mountains or water on every side), but I only just came to understand the phrase "go-to-hell" [insert article of clothing here].  Examples, "I wore my 'go-to-hell palm tree belt' from Eliza B last Friday," or "Did you see his 'go-to-hell' corduroy holiday pants last night at the Christmas party? What a chump."

castaway clothing

Well, I love this term and shall use it regularly. I believe it aptly conveys the spit & vinegar attitude one must have, at times, while trying to cultivate his or her own look.  Tweed & Velvet posted an excellent piece on the very subject (outclick here.) I can't tell where the writer is from in looking at his profile, but I highly suspect he is not a Cascadian. Therefore, I offer my own humble, Pacific Northwest perspective on going to hell with one's clothing.

The author is reminded of the dialogue between Joel and Miles in 1983's Risky Business.

Joel, you wanna know something? Every now and then say, "What the f**k." "What the f**k" gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future."
Say "what the f**k."... If you can't say it, you can't do it.

I know that the hair of the horse is thin and the sword sharp, but I would risk its peril to know what it's like living in an area whose people clad themselves as colorfully (and quirky) as they really want to be. 

So Go-To-Hell Seattle, Go-To-Hell Portland, Go-To-Hell Vancouver... and say "WTF!" It will bring you freedom, opportunity, and a brighter future!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

On Hating Walmart and Other Ruminations

Hating Walmart is not a new concept. Their treatment of suppliers, employees, and the towns and environs in which they operate haven't earned them too many accolades. Yet, business classes across the land caution students not to rush to judgment. Much may be learned from Walmart's business practices and much can be learned from observing their typical store patron.

Our former Dutch foreign exchange student asked me if we could really get bananas, paper towels, shoes, and guns in the same store, to which I shamefully had to reply, "Yes."  I mean, I've heard of lawyers, guns, and money, but WTF?! And then she also asked if there were whole supermarket aisles dedicated to breakfast cereal, to salad dressing, and to frozen pizza. Alas, I had to say "Yes."

People of Cascadian Walmart (use extreme caution)

I thought that by being a "Host Parent" to an exchange student, I would get to play tour guide for ten months or try out some parenting techniques on her, so that when my own daughter reached that age, I would have an idea of what works and what doesn't. I had no idea that on Day One of her living in the USA, I'd have to go into how having an infinite amount of choices is, in part, what it means being  American, and that if one doesn't have the discipline to manage the choices, financial (and other forms of) ruin could be right around the corner.

Often called "The Disease of More" (see The Paradox of Choice), this disorder has the basic premise that if we had to chose between three of four similar items, we would be much more happy than having to choose between five and fifteen items. I believe this is why authentic preps tend to gravitate to the same disciplined style and quality brands. Be it via "nurture" or "nature", we have transcended the need to chase fads, to want what's new, and other compulsions which we think will make us relevant to society.

Now if you will excuse me, I have some men's style blogs to peruse.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Duck Head Heading West

Since I grew up in the South, or is it the Southwest, or is it the Southcentral? STOP. Since I grew up in Texas (technically a "Southern state") I know Duck Head. Based in Tennessee, Duck Head  is widely recognizable by Southerners as THE prep brand where quality and value meet. In this case, I don't throw the word "prep" around loosely.

I was first introduced to Duck Head in the mid 1980s, while attending  Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas (just call it "Jesuit".) I was a wide-eyed Freshman clad in my khakis, loafers, white oxford cotton button down, tie (Full Windsor, please), and navy blazer. So were the other 200 entering Freshman.  We all looked alike and that was the point. But it didn't take long to learn to play in the margins and thrive in the gray area. Those of us with a unsuppressable streak of individuality looked for brands which complied with the school uniform, yet set us apart.  Duck Head was my brand. At first, it was all about the logo of a duck's head above the left rear pocket, but then it was clearly about the fit. These babies fit perfectly! And they were much softer than khakis of similar style and higher cost. 

Alas, since graduating from high school, and thus, not having the daily need for wearing khakis, I lost touch with DH.  My moving to the Pacific Northwest didn't help keep the brand present of mind either, as Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder didn't sport them. 

It was not until Red Clay Soul did a piece on this most hallowed of brands did I awake from my cryogenic sartorial slumber. ("Thank you" RCS). After seeing that posting, I rushed off to order a pair of the plain front khakis, a polo, and a cotton cap.  I wanted to ease back into it and see what, if anything, had changed over the past few decades. I was not disappointed. The pants fit and feel better than I remember, and here's a tip - if you are an odd size in the waist like me, order up to the next even size. After washing and drying the heck out of them, they will turn out perfectly. The polo has nice "longer" short sleeves - something I like - but if you are one of those chaps who enjoys showing off "the guns" - proceed with caution - you may not have the room with these sleeves. And the cap is perfect for that trip to the hardware store, to the coffee shop, or out to the grocery store for pre-game party supplies. 

So my advice to any Cascadian prep or any of my pals from the old school who are reading this, click over to and order some swag.  Start with the khakis. They will only set you back $29.99 - very little risk there and certainly less risky than wearing those g'awful Dockers you know you have. If on the outside chance you feel funny pioneering this classic Southern brand here in Cascadia or any other region in which you dwell, save them for the weekend.  They're more comfortable than jeans and they have more pockets than that polyester track suit you wear when no one's looking.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fly fishing

Yakima River - Cle Elum, WA, USA

Air temp: 30° F. Water temp: 33° F 

"The fish got lucky."

Cascadian preps love fly fishing because we love sporting brands such as Orvis (waders & boots), Patagonia (down jacket), and Eisbar caps. We also love fly fishing because it takes the type of patience, skill, and artistry not found in the crude camps of the bait fisherman.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Different [Preppy] Drummer

In Mark Twain's 1897 travelogue, "Following the Equator", he begins with his maxim, "Be good and you will be lonesome."  Now, I'm no English professor (yet), but I take that to mean that if you are well-behaved and tend to conform with the mainstream, you might not be too popular.  In fact, you might be viewed as a one dimensional bore. And that to do things a little differently - to PAVE the road less travelled - you stand a chance to live a better life - rich with a multitude of friends and experiences.

I couldn't agree more.

One thing I've attempted to do in The Cascadian Prep "blog" (really "experiment") this past year is to approach things a little differently than the majority of my Cascadian cousins; to challenge the norm, and, at times, to admonish the mainstream. I have done this all with tongue planted firmly in cheek. And I have done this, hopefully, with a "prep twist." I love "prep" because it's what I grew up with and I'm proud of my upbringing. So naturally, it's the sensibility I've sought in the lovely Pacific Northwest for the past 12 months.  Well, I have been disappointed with what I've found... the hipsters who wear fancy-stitched jeans, untucked dress shirts and black (always black) Euro-trash shoes have really dug in here, as have the hoodie & backward-hat wearing, skater shoes set. "Northwest Prep"... Cascadian Prep may just be for blogs.

I think it boils down to pride - pride in oneself and pride in where one was born and raised. "Original  Prep" (New England) and "Southern Prep" are as distinct and full of pride (not vanity) as their regional dialects and accents. Both of these parts of the country have rich history and deserve to be proud of their traditions. Cascadia, on the other hand, is a region with unparalleled natural beauty, but no distinct regional dialect, accent, traditions or hometown pride... NONE.

So I think to myself, we must be patient; we are the new kids on the block, after all. These things take time; give it another hundred years. But until then, don't be "good". Be a little uncommon... be a little unexpected... be a Cascadian prep!

You Are A Tourist [in your own town] - DCFC