There is something about a Shetland wool sweater. These sweaters have been around since the ninth century, when the Norse settlers brought their sheep to the Scottish Islands of Shetland. These sweaters are the perfect layer. The provide a layer of warmth that will stand up to the harshest winters, but that isn’t the best part. Shetland wool sweaters aren’t bulky at all. Their weave is dense, but somehow it is extremely lightweight. It’s like a cooler.
Shetland sweaters go through a brushing technique that is breaks down the wool’s coarse texture. It gives the sweaters some whiskers, and makes it much easier to break in. The sweaters are synonymous with Ivy Style, and have been popular in the States for years.
JFK knows what’s up.
The key to a good Shetland sweater is the fit. The body should be fitted, but not look like a sausage wrapping. The sleeves should be fitted, and not look blousy. I prefer a crew neck version in solid colors. They work perfectly over an OCBD or a plaid sport shirt with jeans, khakis, or fine wool trousers. With jeans, they work with New Balance runners, driving mocs, or even Alden 986s. Same goes for khakis. They dress down wool trousers a bit, but don’t let that stop you. That’s why I like solid sweaters…they are a bit more dressy. While they may be a bit on the pricey side, they are a staple for every man’s closet. Think of them as an adult version of a sweatshirt.
Some excellent options:
From top left:
1. Bill’s Khakis New England Shetland Sweater: Bill’s always does good work, and their Shetland sweater is no different.
2. J. Press Shaggy Dog Shetland Sweater: Probably the best in the business. The Shaggy Dog is iconic, and is as good as it gets.
3. Wallace & Barnes for J. Crew Sutherland Shetland Sweater: I almost bought this one during the recent J. Crew sale. I’m kicking myself now.
4. O’Connell’s Scottish Shetland Sweater: O’Connell’s is a seriously cool store, and they offer a ton of color options.
5. Drake’s London Brushed Shetland Sweater: Drake’s. I don’t need to say any more.
6. Andover Shop Shetland Sweaters: Go for an alternative color from Andover shop. Be bold.
7. L.L. Bean Shetland Sweater: You don’t have to spend a ton to get in the Shetland game. L.L. Bean offers a great cost-conscious option.
8. Pendleton Crew Neck Shetland Sweater: Pendleton makes excellent flannel, and their Shetland ranks right up there.
General service announcement: KP MacLane is having a sale on their Men’s and Ladies’ white polo shirts: 50% off…yep. Half off:
This is an excellent opportunity to get in on their action at a GREAT price. Check out the RCS review here.
The Fiance and I were lucky enough to score a couple of the hottest tickets in town: the Gregg Allman celebration concert at the Fabulous Fox in downtown Atlanta. What a night. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts, six of which were the Allman Brothers at various locations around Atlanta (mostly Lakewood), but I’ve never seen anything like this. It was a collection of some of the most talented musicians paying homage to one of the greatest artist of all time: Gregg Allman. The list of artists was a ‘who’s who’ of Southern rock, blues, and country. They all came out, one after another, and played an Allman Brothers or Gregg Allman song to a rousing audience.
For the most part, the four hour show had 100% audience karaoke participation. Come on, it’s the Allman Brothers; how do you NOT sing along? There were so many highlights…Wordpress won’t let me type them all. I’ll let the set list speak for itself:
“Come & Go Blues” – Warren Haynes
“End of the Line” – Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks
“Stand Back” – Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks
“Can’t Lose What You Never Had” – Devon Allman, Jimmy Hall and Robert Randolph
“Please Call Home” – Sam Moore
“Just Another Rider” – Keb’ Mo’
“Just Before the Bullets Fly” – Brantley Gilbert
“Let This Be a Lesson To Ya” – Dr. John
“Queen of Hearts” – Pat Monahan
“One Way Out” – John Hiatt
“Statesboro Blues” – Taj Mahal and Gregg Allman
“Just Ain’t Easy” – Widespread Panic
“Wasted Words” – Widespread Panic and Derek Trucks
“I’m No Angel” – Trace Adkins
“Trouble No More” – Trace Adkins
“Multi-Colored Lady” – Vince Gill
“All My Friends” – Martina McBride
“Can You Fool” – Pat Monahan and Martina McBride
“Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” – Eric Church
“Win, Lose or Draw” – Eric Church
“These Days” – Jackson Browne and Gregg Allman
“Melissa” – Jackson Browne and Gregg Allman
“Midnight Rider” – Vince Gill, Zac Brown and Gregg Allman
“Dreams” – The Allman Brothers Band
“Whipping Post” – The Allman Brothers Band
“Will the Circle Be Unbroken” – Full cast
Our seats were incredible. 16th row at the Fox. If you’ve never been to the Fox, let me tell you, the acoustics are perfect, and being so close was that much better. Being a lifelong Allman Brothers fan, this was more than a treat. It was like a religious experience. While it’s hard to pick favorites, here are a couple that stick in my mind from the show:
Warren Haynes’ “Come & Go Blues” to open the show set the tone for the night. That dude can rip a guitar.
Robert Randolph is 100% worth the price of admission. Go see him if you haven’t.
Taj Mahal and Gregg Allman absolutely shredded “Statesboro Blues”.
Trace Adkins brought the house down with “I’m No Angel”.
Martina McBride wore leather pants.
“Midnight Rider” by Gregg Allman, Zac Brown, and Vince Gill was as good a rendition of that song as I’ve ever heard. They could make that a single.
Let me specifically talk about the Allman Brothers’ set. They played two songs: “Dreams” (my absolute favorite ABB song) and “Whipping Post”. I don’t know how else to describe it, but their set was perfect. ”Dreams” was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. Period. I will rank hearing that song live in my top five life experiences (so far). I can’t wait for the show to be broadcast so you can hear it as well.
To finish the show, the whole crew came out for a touching version of “Will the Circle be Unbroken”. Very fitting.
Some images from our seats:
I talk about Barbours all the time, I know. I’ve gone from the ‘I want it to look perfect’ to a total redefinition of what ‘perfect’ looks like when referring to a Barbour. Now, when I think of a perfect Barbour, it has some wear. It has it’s own feel and smell. It’s like buying a used vintage Land Cruiser, and sending it in for a restoration. Vintage Barbour fans like Trip (A Trip Down South) and Matt (The William Brown Project) know what I’m talking about.
In the last off-season, I pulled the trigger on two vintage Barbour Bedales – one black one and one very vintage Navy blue option, complete with the flap chest pockets. I sent both of them to New England Reproofers to be overhauled, and was extremely pleased with the results (here and here). They are constantly in my rotation, and quite frankly, I love wearing the hell out of them.
As most experienced Barbour wearers know, the idea of the ‘look’ of a Barbour retreats to the utilitarian nature of the jacket. The most valuable real estate in any Barbour are the two large front pockets that act as pack mules for just about anything you can think of. In most newer models, the front pockets are lined, but in the vintage models (such as my Navy Bedale), they are unlined.
Yesterday as I was loading up to head out, I noticed that the bottom of one of the front pockets had torn, and was rendered useless. I was horrified.
I skipped wearing the Navy option yesterday, and gave it some thought. I was close to sending this in to be fixed, but then it hit me: this is a vintage piece, and I should be able to handle the light maintenance. So when I got home, I pulled out the trusty needle and thread and got to work:
By no means am I a tailor by any definition, but I can work a needle and thread. I have replaced countless buttons, re-sewn on-seam stuff, and shortened Leather Man canvas belts. One little tear should be a walk in the park. I started with a normal stitch:
I was very careful to only attach the pocket back to the seam, and not catch any of the lining on the inside of the jacket. I was also conscious about not pulling the stitch too tight. I wanted it to be a clean look, but not put any undue stress on the vintage fabric. The pocket will actually ‘flap’ over the tear, but I still went with navy blue thread so it would blend.
I carried the stitch beyond the tear about a half inch on each side so that there was extra support on the un-torn fabric. This should stop any future tearing from this spot.
After it was all said and done, I like the way it looks. It may not be a professional fix, but it was free, and I think it gives it a little character. Nothing wrong with that. It rings true with my belief in buying well, and taking care of what you have. I loaded up the pocket with all my daily stuff and it seems to be back in perfect working order. We’re very happy in Red Clay Soul-land.
Now, back to beating this bad boy up…
I’m an old school Braves fan. I was born and raised in Atlanta, and endured the Braves back in the day with Dale Murphy, Bob Horner, Bruce Benedict, Glenn Hubbard, and Chief Knockahoma. We were awful. The Braves were constant cellar dwellers, but thanks to TBS’s cable deal, they became America’s team. Some of my earliest childhood memories were going to Atlanta Fulton County Stadium with my brother and my dad to watch the Braves. Honestly, we didn’t care whether the Braves won or lost. All my brother and I remember is being in that huge stadium that was like a second church to us.
Then 1991 happened. Through some great signings and some excellent player development, the Braves went from worst to first, and took home the National League pennant. The Braves ended up losing to the Minnesota Twins in the World Series that year, but it was the first of a string of pennants that we’ll never see again. Tom Glavine was the ace of the staff that year, leading the Braves with 20 wins.
Here in Atlanta, former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone is on the morning show on the sports talk station 680 The Fan. He tells the story about Tom Glavine’s dominance during Game 6 of the 1995 World Series vs. the Cleveland Indians. According to Mazzone, Glavine was untouchable through the first three innings, and when entering the dugout after the third, told his teammates “All I need is one run from you guys tonight”. Glavine went on to pitch eight innings, giving up only one hit. With that win, the Braves won the 1995 World Series, and Atlanta rejoiced.
In 1993, the Braves signed RHP Greg Maddux. While it’s hard to say that he was the #1 (with Glavine on the staff as well), his artistry as a pitcher was unmatched. I don’t think he ever threw the ball more than 85 mph, nor did he ever pitch over the white part of the plate. He was a master at painting the corners. I remember watching hitters try to figure him out. It was the equivalent of a chess match, and it seemed that Maddux won before most batters ever stepped in the box.
In June and July of the 1995 Braves World Series year, Greg Maddux pitched 51 straight innings WITHOUT ISSUING A WALK. Think about that for a second. 51 innings. He won his consecutive Cy Young award that year…the icing on the cake was that they were both unanimous.
Yesterday it was announced that Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux are going to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. What’s more: they were both voted in (by a wide margin) on their first eligible ballot. There couldn’t be two finer Braves to grace Cooperstown with their presence. Joining them this year is Braves manager Bobby Cox. If Bobby didn’t embody what the Braves were all about in the 90′s and 00′s, then no one did. Hard work, fundamentally focused, extremely loyal. The rumor around the league at the time was that EVERYONE wanted to play for Bobby. I can understand why.
My heart is full. I am so proud to be a Braves fan. We’ll never see a run like that ever again in baseball. No way. What those Braves gave me as a fan I will never be able to repay. Beyond the wins and the pennants, the Braves became intertwined in the daily conversation with my dad and my brother, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful. Will be even better is when Smoltz and Chipper join them in a couple years. Anybody want to bet that either of them won’t be first ballot Hall of Fame guys?
In honor of the record cold temperatures in Atlanta, let’s talk about comfort food. By comfort food, I mean the screw-the-diet, calories-don’t-count, good-tasting, stick-to-your-ribs food. Hot food. Food that makes you forget about the cold weather outside. Food that makes you want to take a nap.
Atlanta has a great food scene, and I promise that we take full advantage. What we don’t have a lot of is miserably cold weather. To help get me through, these are the five comfort food dishes that get me through:
PB&J Burger from West Egg Cafe (Westside) - West Egg is well known for it’s brunch, which is great (if you can stand the wait). The rest of their menu doesn’t get as much coverage, including their PB&J burger. The P stands for pimento cheese, the B stands for bacon, and the J stand for tomato jam (I always skip that). So basically we’re working with a double burger with bacon and pimento cheese. Tell me how that can be bad.
Open-faced Brisket Sandwich from Leon’s Full Service (Decatur) – This hunk of goodness is a solid meal that features pulled short rib on top of two pieces of Texas toast. Smothered with black peppercorn gravy and fried onions, this one will keep me driving over to Decatur. Extra credit: Leon’s has such a cool bar, I rarely bring this one back to the house.
Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Rocky Mountain Pizza (Georgia Tech) – The first time we ordered this, it was served ‘hot’. By ‘hot’, it was a tongue-burning sweat-fest because of the extremely spicy buffalo sauce. While that’s not my speed, I now order it mild, which is more bearable. This isn’t your normal pizza; it’s very hearty with tons of chicken, onions, and cheese. After about three pieces I’m ready to plant on the couch.
Smoked Wings from Moe’s Original BBQ (Home Park) – Hands down, the best wings in Atlanta. They are smoked, not fried, and will knock your socks off. A platter is perfect: ten wings, cornbread, and two sides. I like the skillet corn and the brunswick stew. They serve the wings with white BBQ sauce for dipping…just what the doctor ordered.
Katsu Don from Sushi Yoko (Chamblee) – A little off the beaten path, but well worth the effort. Sushi Yoko is a little jewel off Peachtree Indstrial just north of the perimeter that serves outstanding and affordable sushi. They also feature a full menu, including Katsu Don, which is a bowl of rice topped with deep fried pork cutlets, an egg, and sauce. The combination is outstanding. And ‘katsu’ means ‘to be victorious’. Perfect.
Images: Google Image Search
So tomorrow night is the big BCS National Championship between the Auburn Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles. All things considered, this should be an awesome game…
Auburn may be the luckiest team in the land this year, with wins over Georgia and Alabama in some of the most dramatic football plays EVER. Auburn has TONS of talent, especially at quarterback, and should really send the UGA Police Department a hand-written ‘thank you’ note for their exemplary work in laptop thefts…
Florida State’s team reminds us of the old Charlie Ward teams of the early 90′s, with a defense that runs like an olympic 400M relay team, and a QB that can throw the ball a quarter-mile.
So the college football landscape descends on Pasadena, CA on Monday…and our good friends from State Traditions will be there in full force. Now, let’s have a little fun – for all of you lucky enough to make it out for the game, see if you can find the State Traditions tailgate tent. They’ll be tailgating all day long.
If you can find the tent, get a picture with John and/or Maury and Instagram or Tweet the picture with #StateTraditionsBCS. Let’s add a little juice – we’ll pick a winner at random for a $200 State Traditions gift certificate. Yeah, serious business.