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Charting the style of daily life...with the mouth of a sailor.

Army

The Classics: Trench Coat

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Effortlessly cool and classic, the trench coat is a no-fail staple that works with every wardrobe and every body type. Classics endure thanks to great design and versatility and there are few items of clothing that will serve you as well as a great quality trench coat. It adds instant polish to casual ensembles and can be a perfect complement to evening dress.

The trench coat is a key piece for anyone who loves to dress with a nautical or military flair, for a very clear reason. The trench was first developed (by either Burberry or Aquascutum, there's a debate here) for Army officers just before the First World War. Traditional styling is double-breasted, with wide lapels, 10 buttons on the chest and oversized, button-closed pockets for maps and such, as well as a self-belt and straps at the wrists (to keep moisture out while using binoculars in the rain) and buttoned shoulder straps for the attachment of epaulettes - yes, very real functions and features.

 

Movie stars popularized trench coats after the Second World War (Bogart in Casablanca, anyone?) and they've been mainstream ever since. While sizing of the original trench coats were roomy - because they were a layering piece over warmer woolen coats - modern cuts are slimmer, less bulky. And even though a civilian doesn't need to attach epaulettes or reach for binoculars on the regular, many of the basic features remain, while lengths, belts, textures and colors have expanded in variety. 

You simply can't go wrong with this classic. It will take you from weekends to work, then to cocktails and dinner, with elegance and ease. If you ever have the ability to splurge on the real deal from Burberry, do so. You won't ever f^ck!ng regret it. 

Daddy, the Colonel

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My father, a larger than life figure who was strong, brave and who possessed a killer sense of humor, lost his battle with brain cancer 8 years ago today. When he was diagnosed, he was given 4 months to live yet lived another 2 1/2 years. He was strong as hell and we all thought if anyone could scare the shit out of cancer, it'd be him.

He underwent surgery one month before my wedding and was strong enough to walk me down the aisle, give a kick ass speech before dinner and take me for a few sweet spins around the room during our father-daughter dance. 


Well before he received his own cancer diagnosis, he worked on behalf of families dealing with the devastating effects of cancer. The organization he gave his time, effort and money to, turned around and named a charity golf tournament in his honor, creating the annual #SteveDoddsClassic. My father, an amazingly skilled and talented golfer (and all around athlete), would be so humbled to know this event is still in full swing (sorry, had to).

I'm late to the phenomenon known as Hamilton, the musical. I've been playing the soundtrack on repeat these last two-ish weeks and it's made me think of legacy... "Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?" While my father's story has not been fully told (perhaps it never will be), he will always loom large in my life, regardless of the ups and downs of our relationship. I think he'd be more than pleased to know we speak of him often, sharing his many colorful stories and jokes, shedding tears when we think of all he's missed in these 8 years. This last weekend, we celebrated his mother's 100th birthday! It was a lovely day filled with plenty of laughter but he was greatly missed, his absence felt throughout the room.

Steven Craig Dodds, son, husband, father, and grandfather, veteran, hero, gifted athlete, philanthropist and much more, will live on through all who were lucky enough to know him and even those who didn't get the chance. My boys will know the stories as if they'd been there to experience them firsthand.


What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.
— The World Was Wide Enough, Hamilton

The Classics: Breton Stripe

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A Breton stripe boat neck t shirt is a fashion icon not only of classic French style but also that of nautical style. But why? In 1858, the shirt started out as the official uniform for French Navy seamen stationed in Brittany but quickly became popular among working mariners due to the comfortable, durable nature of the garment. The distinctive 21 stripes of the original design (one for each of Napoléon Bonaparte's victories) also made the garment easier to spot among the waves. 

Mademoiselle Chanel included a Breton stripe top in her 1917 nautical collection and later the Beatnik movement adopted the design as their own in the 50's & 60's with notable devotees such as Brigitte Bardot, Edie Sedgwick and Audrey Hepburn. Today, the iconic shirt is seen well beyond France on stylish ladies, gents and children. 

If you only purchase one, make sure it's from Saint James, the legendary manufacturer of the original design, which still supplies the French Navy and French Army with their official uniform sweaters.