Friday, February 24, 2012
I would never seek to compete with the vaunted menswear bloggers such as ADG or Tinman or YWP...at least not on the level playing field of 3-2 roll and Flusser stuff. In fact, those guys a far more than mere "mens wear bloggers" and write some damn fine prose about a wide range of topics. That's not to say I do not have a closet full of quality suits for my professional persona as well as evening wear and full dress tailcoat, vest and related paraphenalia.
It is just I don't get charged up to write about it. I enjoy reading about it immensely. What I will write about is sporting sartorial blather. To wit...today's topic: The Pennsylvania Tuxedo and what I am now calling the "duck hunter's dinner jacket."
The Pennsylvania Tuxedo is a name given to a particular heavy wool red and black check suit of clothes,jacket and pants, made by Woolrich for deer hunters. The red/black contrast was an early effort to provide both visibility to other hunters for safety and form break-up to hide from the critters one is trying to blast with hot lead. Yeah...I know..Elmer Fudd and all. Yet this outfit is high utility. Warm, water resistant hunting gear from head to toe before the arrival of Goretex. Often combined with L.L. Bean knee-highs...this was the proper rig for a Keystone State deer hunter to have in the early and mid century before blaze orange became law of the land and cabela's offered 30 pages of choices.
The dinner jacket moniker I am attaching to a Stearns PFD in Max-HD camo...a life jacket.Note the open left shoulder for movement...such as operating an outboard and the shooting pad on the right shoulder for gun mount and comfort. These guys thought out their design. At 5:00 A.M. when you are in your 14 ft camo aluminum boat motoring along in the frigid dark of a Winter morning toward an off shore duck blind loaded with 3 dozen decoys, guns, excited Labs, 2 or 3 hunters and related gear....things can go wrong. You can hit a log or get your prop fouled by the line from an eel or crab trap. The water is cold and the mud is hip deep sucking mud. In other words...danger and life threatening events can screw up an otherwise fun morning of waterfowling. Law requires having life jackets on board. What good will they do you if they are on the deck and not on your torso if the boat flips after hitting a submerged log when you are doing 15 mph at Cedar Creek? Some guys complain they cannot fit over the coat.Without a vest... if you go over...your waders will fill with water and your parka becomes a lead jacket and you sink and you drown....monumentally fucked for lack of a more emphatic term. However, with the Stearns vest depicted, the waterfowler can have the vest on and still be mobile and warm. This type fits easily over heavy warm duck hunting camo gear and provides excellent form and function. Easy to put on and it can literally save your life. We are not discussing peak lapel or shawl collar, pleated pants or flat, pique shirts and wing collars....I can certainly weigh in on those debates over a pint or a glass of Bourbon at the Bar. But there is no room for discussion when we are considering being seen by fellow rifle toting deer hunters or dying a spluttering death with lungs full of brackish marsh water on the Eastern Shore.