hi all, haven't posted in a while so i thought i would drop something in to show that my blog existence continues to persist, though in general hibernation at the moment:
- quick note about what in general has been keeping me off the blogosphere:
Grace and I have been in the hunt the last couple of months for our first long-term debt contract whose principal exceeds our annual salaries.... i mean, in the hunt for our first house! We found a well-designed one-story down just south of Houston, the commute from there to downtown being currently the least of all the Houston freeway evils.
I have tried to go through this the right way; I even, after unsatisfying hodgepodge efforts during free moments at work to look at mortgage lenders, took a full day of vacation to stay home and make numerous emails and phone calls until i found the right lender and best deal. can you not see that i am serious!!? (points to anyone who can identify that reference)
Currently scheduled to close on the sale at the end of this month but won't be moving into it officially until the later half of June. time to go buy a lawnmower. and a bed frame. and the widescreen TV i've been wanting for a while. and some new living room furniture. and a kitchen table.....
- quick FOX News rant:
displayed on-screen in large font during an article about the search for the three missing G.I.'s in Iraq:
"DO WE REALLLY KNOW WHERE THEY ARE?"
(cue me gritting my teeth about the lack of oversight)
- quick note about maturity and clothes:
there is no denying it: i am thirty years old and i have reached that point in my life where i have a fairly strong opinion about the design and construction of dress shirts.
for me, the key distinction of a good shirt is not color or pattern or whether the collar is buttoned-down or not; to each his own in those matters.
no, the cornerstone of a dress shirt (at least for the modern business casual employee) is this: the placement of the second-most top button in the middle of the shirt. you know the one i mean, not the top button that chokes your neck and you have to button up if you're wearing a tie; the one below it is the king of business casual shirt buttons.
properly placed, the king button allows the open-neck portion of the shirt to spread out to a short but relatively narrow V up towards the neck; this exposes a moderate amount of undershirt (or chest hair, if you go European with your dresswear) and keeps the collar of the shirt more neatly held near the sides of your neck.
if the designer places the king button too high, though, the V spread takes on a more extreme obtuse angle and the collar tends to not sit as well, not to mention the fact that a highly-placed king button can obscure the undershirt entirely and make it look like maybe you should be wearing a tie but you're not so what's up with that Mr. GQ?
this is all brought to mind because today i'm wearing the most expensive dress shirt i own; a Kenneth Cole, i believe. despite its premium cost, i've decided that it's the worst dress shirt i own because its king button placement is severely flawed. the king button is nearly up to the bottom of my neck; if, as right now, i leave it unbuttoned and rely on the button below it (the prince button?) which is a good ways down toward the top of my chest, i start getting this 1970s V-neck spread, very long. if i didn't have an undershirt on i think i would be required to be wearing a long gold chain around my neck and probably also be doused in cologne.
another problem with the Kenneth Cole is its regrettable collar size ratio (this is another key element of a good dress shirt, but not quite as crucial as the king button)
there are two main lengths in my mind of a dress shirt collar:
1) the height of the inside collar (where the shirt rises up around the outside of the neck
2) the height of the outside collar (the traditional flap of fabric that folds down and makes the traditional "collar")
i haven't put thought to paper on the actual mathematics of it but in general i'd say that #2 should be probably about 7/5 as big as #1. properly ratioed, #2 will stand up on your shoulders and look fairly crisp. if #1 is much too short or #2 much too long (or both), then the collar tends to spread out wide (again much like 1970s fashion dictated) and the whole collar looks a bit deflated.
i have a closetful of Stafford dress shirts i bought years ago, probably from JC Penney for half the cost of the Kenneth Cole, whose design in king button placement and collar ratio is just about perfect. just goes to show that high-visibility brands don't always have what you need; as for the Kenneth Cole shirt, i've ignored it for a long time but i think today is the day i decide not to wear it anymore (maybe for an event that requires a tie, but then again maybe not as it still suffers from bad collar ratio).
there you go, more than you probably ever cared to consider about men's dress shirts.