One Man's Search for Preppiness in Pugetropolis... and Beyond
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 http://www.duckhead.com/ 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.