Holland & Holland: Factory Craftsmanship (Video)

Holland & Holland shotguns are like nothing I’ve ever seen.  The company was founded in 1835 in London by Harris Holland.  They have four showrooms around the world; one of which is in New York.  I will be making a stop next time I’m in the city.  My first, real experience with Holland & Holland was at the opening party for the Atlanta Charity Clays weekend a few years ago, where they had some of the most beautiful examples of their craftsmanship on display, all at $150K plus:

I came across this H&H video on the YouTubes, and it enthralled me for nineteen solid minutes.  Watching these masters at work building some of the finest shotguns in the world is a sight to see.  I can’t imagine what it takes to get to that level of expertise.  Now, I absolutely love this sort of stuff – seeing how the preverbal sausage is made.  I hope you do too:

 

Anyone have personal shooting experience with H&H? I’d love to hear it.

Quick Hitter: Breakfast Slippers

Maybe it’s an age thing, but I find myself wearing slippers a lot these days.  I have a great pair of LL Bean fleeced lined slippers that I got for Christmas and wear all the time.  The problem is they aren’t really great to wear this time of year.  Fleece lined doesn’t work in Spring-Summer-Fall below the Mason Dixon line.  To supplement during the warmer months, I’ve been wearing Havaianas.

I came across these Soludos and honestly started to chuckle…check out these bad boys: bacon and eggs, folks.  For a pair of utility slippers that are going to be around-the-house beaters, these could be a GREAT slipper option for the warmer months.  Soludos have a good price point, and should get you a couple years with normal to moderate wear.

East Dane has an awesome selection of Soludos, but get them quick…they tend to sell out.

Memorial Day / Night Style

Memorial Day is just that: a day to pay homage to the dead.  The concept was born in 1868 after the Civil War, with the intent of honoring the dead by decorating their graves.  Ever heard the term ‘Decoration Day’?  Yep.  Memorial Day is also the unofficial start to Summer.  Buckle up, folks: pools are opening everywhere, and the temperatures are going to stay at a pretty consistent ‘warm to hot’ for the next five or six months.

It’s great that the last Monday in May is a holiday.  It gives everyone a chance to cut loose a little and get a little tan.  We usually end up at a pool during the day, and cook out at night.  Being that there is a patriotic theme to the weekend, here’s how to do the pool during the day, and the cookout at night:

From top left:

1. Orvis Americana Ball Cap:  Not that you have to wear a hat at the pool/beach/yard, but it’s always good to have one.  After wearing the stitching out of my Masters caps, I’m really leaning towards the trucker-style hats.  This patriotic option from Orvis is perfect for the holiday weekend.
2. Randolph Engineering Aviator II Sunglasses:  American made aviators.  They are as good as it gets.  Timeless, and stylish.  Check.
3. Sunscreen:  You know what’s not cool?  A sunburn.  I don’t care how old you are, there is no excuse.  Get some SPF on your mayo-esque skin.  Given that I’m married to a sunscreen Nazi and her best friend is a dermatologist, the SPF point has been driven home.
4. Aluminum Lawn Chair:  You know what else isn’t cool?  Sitting on the ground.  I know people that carry a chair in their trunk for situations like a Memorial Day party.  So sit back, crack open a #7, and relax.
5. Beachcomber Shirt from Bourbon & Blue:  I’m getting down with the short sleeve button up shirt.  For me, it has to check a few boxes: first, good fit.  Second, all cotton.  Third, beat to death and it still dominates.  It must patina well.
6. Birdwell Beach Britches:  Simple, California-made, and the appropriate inseam for a swimsuit.  The price point is really good for what you get.  These swimsuits aren’t overpriced, gimmicky, or too high-tech.  Keep it simple, and keep it short.
7. Tropicalia IPA from Creature Comforts:  Not only is this the best beer in Georgia, these are some of the nicest folks on the planet.  The beer drinks really well for an IPA; very pool/lake/beach friendly.  It’s has a nice citrus finish, but nothing close to the camo cargo shorts, tank topped, Kenny Chesney crowd’s level.  Tropicalia keeps it classy, and you should too.
8. USA Koozie:  Keep ’em cold; that way you don’t have to drink too fast and pass out like a chump.  There’s more work to do tonight.
9. Grateful Dead Flip Flops from Chacos:  Seriously, how cool are these?   (insert ‘Truckin” logo here).  It may be a case of idea vs. execution (we’ll touch on that in a bit), but for those that are down with Chacos and the Grateful Dead, it would be hard to say no to these…and how about the appropriate red, white, and blue theme?
10. $100 Bill Beach Towel:  C.R.E.A.M.
11: Holderness & Bourne Evans Tote:  By now, everyone should be on board with the tote bag.  Filson gets a lot of play here on Red Clay Soul, and Jack Spade does a great job as well.  A new player to the game is Holderness & Bourne (much more to come).  Their Evans tote is a dressed up version of a utility bag.  This is the masculine version of the traditional beach bag.

…and on to the night:

 

From top left:

1. J. Crew Slim Fit Secret Wash Summer Gingham Shirt:  I like that the dress shirt, but dressed down has essentially solidified as the go-to look for guys.  Continue to embrace this look at the cookout later that night.  J. Crew does a good job with their secret wash shirts; they are really thin, and actually wash really well.  A quick ironing gives them the casual, but crisp look you are going for.
2. Randolph Engineering Aviator II Sunglasses:  Just wash all the sunscreen off, and clean the lenses.  These sunglasses go with everything, and since the sun doesn’t go down until about 8:30 or 9PM, they should go with you as well.
3. B&O Play Beloit 15 Portable Speaker:  Whether you are down on the dock or on the back porch, you can bring the tunes with you.  The Beloit 15 is a serious upgrade from your Jawbone, but your music capabilities should mature as you do.  This speaker will make your “Athens, GA” playlist sound great during dinner, and your “Strip Club” playlist really hit the nail on the head as the night goes on.
4. A Bag of Ice:  Since you are going to be mixing, show up prepared.  Be sure to stash it in a cooler or in the shade.
5. Seiko SKX009 Diver Watch:  The Seiko divers watch is an outstanding daily casual watch for every man.  My man Trip did a GREAT piece on them a while back (read it here).  The SKX009 has that American flare that keeps with the theme of the weekend.  Be sure to change out the band to a cool NATO (pictured) or even just a navy blue strap.
6. Smathers & Branson Belt:  Some waist action.  In a good way.
7. Sid Mashburn Powder Blue Canvas Shorts:  The Sid Mashburn canvas shorts, along with Patagonia Stand Ups, are the best OTR shorts on the market.  They do not need ANY alterations; the inseam is just right.  Not to mention they break in like a dream.  They re-released the powder blue color this year after a short hiatus.  All good news.
8. After Sun Aloe:  You didn’t listen, did you?  Got a little sunburn?  Now that you realize you’d rather have a stomach flu rather than a sunburn, there is help.  Get some aloe on that roast.
9. Tretorn Nylite Canvas Shoes:  It’s so great to see Tretorns have come back into favor; by now they are starting to get good and ‘broken in’, which makes it look you you know what you are doing…and this condition is the best way to wear them.  They need to look like Bjorn played an entire Wimbledon in them.  If your Tretorns are still shiny white, leave them at home (get a pair of navy Swims or something).  You don’t want to look like you tied them up for the first time on your way to the party.
10. A Really Nice Non-Redneck Cornhole Set:  The other day I saw a cornhole set that was adorned with the Fireball whiskey logo.  DO NOT be that guy.  Cornhole is a great game, and nice sets like these are all over Etsy.
11. Tito’s Vodka:  John Daly recipe:  Fill #12 with ice.  2 shots of Tito’s vodka.  Fill to the middle with iced tea.  Top off with pulp-free lemonade.
12. Yeti 20 oz. Rambler:  The perfect vessel for carrying around multiple John Daly’s.

Dalton - May 16, 2016 - 12:18 PM

Can you get creature comforts beer anywhere besides Atlanta ?

JRS - May 16, 2016 - 2:47 PM

@Dalton – They are based out of Athens, so it’s really easy to find there. It’s tough to find in Atlanta, but can be done. I’m not sure about availability in the rest of Georgia, but seriously doubt they can sell it outside State lines.

Landy - May 17, 2016 - 8:22 PM

Headed to SGI for my first Memorial Day beach trip in many years. Will get my beach time in Saturday. Sunday is always devoted to manning the grill and watching the Indy 500

Jeff - May 19, 2016 - 4:41 PM

I have purchased Creature Comforts in Warner Robins before but it is rare to see it here in Middle GA. Thankfully I have a good relationship with my liquor store owner and he puts some aside for me then calls to let me know he has some in stock.

Vintage Banana Republic Wildlife Engraving T-Shirts

T-shirts don’t get a ton of play around these parts, as the only time they seem to get any wear are in very casual situations.  I’m a collar guy, as are most of my counterparts – especially in public.  For me, the t-shirt quartile measurement is a body of water, gym equipment, yardwork, and/or an afternoon on the couch.  Today, besides the updated Fraternity-style t-shirts, most t-shirts today are some sort of graphic, v-neck, ‘fashion forward’ design that isn’t my style.  At all.

There are some t-shirts that I miss dearly.  I don’t know what made me think of it, but near the top of the list are the old Banana Republic Wildlife Engraving t-shirts.  These were extremely popular in the late 80’s and 90’s when Banana Republic rated a ZERO on the metro-sexual scale.  They were actually a mall-based safari company, and made some GREAT stuff.  Side note: if you find any of the old labeled Banana Republic safari gear at Goodwill, it is 100% legit.  Totally worth it.  A catalog from 1984:

The old Banana Republic storefronts…at the mall:

Obviously you can’t find these t-shirts anymore, so this is a bit of a nostalgic post.  Here is the rundown from an old catalog:

Here’s some customer feedback for Banana Republic:  Why not do a line of your vintage safari wear for Fall?  I could see it being a huge hit: heavy duty khakis in an updated fit, a cool military-esque jacket, some Earthy bold plaid shirts with double pockets, some four button sweaters, and these t-shirts.  Boom.  Call it the Red Clay Soul Capsule.

Who remembers these?

Brad - May 13, 2016 - 9:03 AM

Love it.

Nem Howard - May 13, 2016 - 9:26 AM

Banana Republic of the 1980’s cannot be topped! I was in my teens then and remember those small catalogs with great illustrations and gear inside. Bought a Flying Tiger leather bomber jacket to take with me to college in fall of 1986 along with the elephant and giraffe t-shirts.

Trip - May 13, 2016 - 10:30 AM

Man, I miss these. And I don’t even wear t-shirts anymore.

MRS - May 13, 2016 - 11:08 AM

I worked in leadership at a BR store nine years ago, and we were closing out the last remaining of these. I snagged a few but they don’t fit and I ended up giving them away. Would love to see them return – talk about about a company with no direction. It’s not even worth walking through the men’s section anymore, though the wife can always find a few nice things. The men’s division needs a serious overhaul but I wouldn’t expect much. Shame.

Thomas - May 15, 2016 - 12:37 AM

Where do y’all find xl or xxl fit golf hats? Does anyone else have this problem?

Top 10 Movies for When She’s Out Of Town

Meeting that special someone is a momentous occasion.  Not only do you get the butterflies, a partner, and eventually a roommate, but your life changes – mostly for the better.  All of a sudden, it’s ‘us’, not ‘me’.  While 99% of that is absolutely outstanding, and something that we all strive for, there is one area where you, as the man, severely loses: movies.  Since it is ‘us’ now, that means she controls what’s on TV.  You know it.  Since your meet-cute, you’ve watched more ‘Real Housewives’, HGTV, and ‘The Bachelor’ episodes that you would ever admit.  Suck it up.

Well, I’m here to help.  There are those times when she is gone…whether it be for a bachelorette party, a work trip, or just for a long afternoon of shopping, there is time for you to stockpile some serious remote time.  You know all those movies that she hates, and you (should) LOVE?  The movies that she wouldn’t sit through, and would give you that look…the ‘you are an idiot’ look if you were to ever pollute the TV with this *trash*.  Well, when she’s away, it’s time to hit play.

I’ve come up with the top 10 movies for when she’s out of town.  These are some of the greatest cinematic movies that guys love, and she won’t have any part of.  This is an 80’s and 90’s-heavy list, but that’s when some of the best movies were made.  Next time she’s heading for the state line, crank up a few of these gems and get your groove back.

(In no particular order):

48 HRS. (1982): One of Eddie Murphy’s best, and must underrated characters: Reggie Hammond.  From IMDB: ‘A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him, in order to track down a killer.’.  Yeah, there’s that, but it doesn’t account for the excellent one liners, and Nick Nolte as a complete hardass that probably drinks a case and a half of beer a day at the beach.

 

Rocky IV (1985): This was the absolute peak of the Rocky franchise.  Sylvester Stallone is an animal, and James Brown did the theme song.  I dare you to get more American that that.  From IMDB: ‘After iron man Drago, a highly intimidating 6-foot-5, 261-pound Soviet athlete, kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, Rocky comes to the heart of Russia for 15 pile-driving boxing rounds of revenge.’  I can’t image how much damage this did to US and Soviet negotiations, but I assure you Reagan was high-fiving Nancy when Rocky started landing hooks.

 

Beverly Hills Cop (1984):  By now you’ll notice that there are a couple Eddie Murphy movies, as well as Stallone.  Whatever, they are man-time solid gold.  Let Eddie Murphy be a loud mouth cop from Detroit, put him in Beverly Hills, aaaaand GO.  From IMDB: ‘A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.’   One of the best, and underused lines in all of cinema: ‘Can you put this in a good spot? ‘Cause all of this shit happened the last time I parked here.’

 

Rambo First Blood Part II (1985): Stallone.  He’s John Rambo, and decides it’s a good idea to get released from jail to go back to Vietnam to whip some serious ass.  Apparently some POWs are in need of rescuing.  From IMDB: ‘John Rambo is released from prison by the government for a top-secret covert mission to the last place on Earth he’d want to return – the jungles of Vietnam.’  Rambo is a seriously pissed off dude with a bow and exploding arrows.  You’ll do conference call-esque push-ups during the entire movie.

 

Big Trouble in Little China (1986): I can’t image the amount of drugs that were done while writing the screenplay for this movie.  What came out of that heroin/crack/week/coke den is one of the best movies of the 80’s.  Kurt Russell shines.  No wonder Goldie stuck around for so long without a ring.  He’s a trucker that got the best of an old Chinese wizard.  Yeah – you heard me right.  From IMDB: ‘An All-American trucker gets dragged into a centuries-old mystical battle in Chinatown.’  Not to mention Kim Cattrall’s amazing pre-Sex in the City acting.  Bring it on.

 

Predator (1987): Ahh-nuld has to outsmart an alien that is equipped with a ton of go-go gadget weapons deep in the jungle.  There is NO way you should let your wife watch the scene where Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers see each other and hold the high five…there is so much testosterone; just watching it will end up impregnating her.  From IMDB: ‘A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.’  ‘Predator teeth’ is a good reference for those with a messed up grill.

 

Die Hard (1988): When men were men.  No doubt you’ve seen this 100 times, but on eggshells as your wife stared with contempt at your choice in movies.  Holly’s coked-up co-worker Ellis is worth the watch: “Hans, Bubby…I’m your white knight”.  From IMDB: ‘John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.’  Welcome to the party, pal.

 

Point Break (1991): Keanu Reeves could have retired after this movie and he would be deserving of a star on Hollywood Blvd.  Point Break contains some of the greatest lines that have ever been spoken.  “The little hand says it’s time to rock and roll”.  From IMDB: ‘An FBI agent goes undercover to catch a gang of surfers who may be bank robbers’, but it’s so much more.  There’s a good chance that my future dogs will be named Johnny, Bodhi, and/or Warchild.

 

Days of Thunder (1990): Hot off the heels of Top Gun (1986) and Cocktail (1988), Tom Cruise dominated as Cole Trickle, a race car driver that ultimately picks up Mellow Yellow as a sponsor.  From IMDB: ‘A young hot-shot stock car driver gets his chance to compete at the top level.’  Also stars Nichole Kidman, The Judge, and Cousin Eddie.  He ended up marrying the foot taller Kidman before he visited ‘Dawson’s Creek’.  Just like the poster says, you can’t outrun the thunder.

 

Lethal Weapon (1987): Danny Glover as the straight-laced cop, and pre-Braveheart Mel Gibson as a whack-job maniac.  From IMDB: ‘A veteran cop, Murtaugh, is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs. Both having one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.’  This movie doesn’t get a lot of play recently, but it’s actually a really good movie.  Your wife would hate it, but she’s not around…so press play.

I’m sure all of you have ideas of your own.  Let’s hear it…what movies fall into this category for you?

Please check out more comments and fun over at Onward Reserve’s Gazette

James - May 12, 2016 - 9:42 AM

You gotta throw Cobra in there too. That was peak 80’s action. The Last Boyscout was another underrated gem.

Lee - May 12, 2016 - 9:54 AM

Great list Jay!! Here are a couple more: North shore, Rad, Gleaming the Cube, Side Out, Tron

BRC - May 12, 2016 - 9:57 AM

Red Dawn!

Trip - May 12, 2016 - 9:58 AM

I think that “Over the Top” needs to be on the list. Nothing like 18-wheelers, arm wrestling, and daddy issues to make an evening great.

Also, having watched “Days of Thunder” only recently, I realized that it’s really a solid movie, even if you couldn’t care less about NASCAR.

Jay - May 12, 2016 - 10:13 AM

Clearly you were high when you wrote this. “Point Break” but no “Roadhouse”? WTF?

Landy - May 13, 2016 - 7:27 AM

Although both are great Roadhouse deserves to be on this list also. Not to mention the villain is peak 80’s WASP

JRS - May 13, 2016 - 8:36 AM

@James – Cobra is a top 20. VERY good movie that would take an act of congress to get my wife to watch. Last Boyscout is touch and go…I think she’d watch.

@Lee – All of those are perfect additions. Very anti-wife watching.

@BRC – I think the ladies like Red Dawn.

@Trip – Over the Top is legit. Good call.

@Jay & @Landy – My wife loves Roadhouse. That’s why I married her.

James Pressley - May 23, 2016 - 7:15 AM

Seriously? No Caddyshack?

The RCS Review: Sturgill Simpson’s ‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth’

From our music guru JH:

There have been a million bands in the history of rock and roll.  Of that million, probably one percent of those bands have released an album of any notoriety or greatness.  The good news is: Sturgill Simpson is one of those guys.  The bad news: “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” is not that album.  Simpson made a masterpiece of modern country music back in 2014 with “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”.  “Metamodern” was a perfect blend of psychedelia, modern production techniques, and straight ahead Country music.  Most importantly it had songs.  They were strong and had a strange kind of depth that still lets the listener discover something new with each listen.  The album was put together in such a way that each song fit together like a puzzle piece and seemed to communicate a clear and coherent thought.  That’s what I think is wrong with the new album.

After listening, I have to wonder if all that time on the road has limited his ability to put the kind of energy into his songwriting that was so apparent on the last record.  We begin with “Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)” which was pretty promising.  It sounds a little Roy Orbison and turns into a Stax like soul song.  But not really.  He’s got the vocal ability to throw down but this song is a prime example of what I think went wrong.  Two incomplete pieces of music put together to fill an album.  “Breakers Roar” might be the strongest song on the album.  Following the nautical theme of the album’s title, it’s a nice, dreamy ballad that would’ve fit nicely on “Metamodern Sounds”.  “Keep It Between the Lines” reminded me of the Memphis sound filtered through Peter Gabriel’s “Steam”.  As I was navigating Atlanta traffic, I heard the lyrics “Don’t sweat the small stuff..” as “I kicked the habit…”  Maybe that’s just me.  The rest of the songs are just kind of unremarkable.  There’s just something missing.  What’s not missing here is a strange cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom”.  I’m not sure why it’s here.  The arrangement totally castrates the rawk and recklessness of the original.  I like to think if someone is covering a song, there are two explanations:  your cover redefines the original or you’re just a fan.  In this case, I think it’s the latter and quite possibly more filler.

At the end of the day, I’m a Sturgill Simpson fan.  I’ve been in attendance at not one but two disastrous live shows and still recommended and attended a couple more.  I think he’s as an important an artist as there is in his field of practice right now.  Unless you’re the Beatles, every album can’t be “Rubber Soul” or “Revolver”.  Perhaps this album will buy him some time off the road and we can all be rewarded with something as strong as “Metamodern” one more time.  For now, there are other places to go to hear groundbreaking soul with a touch of retro.  I give this album five shots of NyQuil and a half a sleeve of Oreo’s.

Jeff - May 9, 2016 - 8:31 AM

I agree the album over all is bleh but I have to disagree with you about “In Bloom.” I was never a big fan of the Nirvana original but really like Sturigill’s cover. You are correct in that he covered it because he is a big fan. There is an article/interview out there where he explains how much that song/that Nirvana album meant to him in the 7th grade. He even explains how he misremembered the lyrics and wrote a letter to the Cobain estate to get permission to use the incorrect lyric. Sturgill added the “to love someone” lyric in the chorus.

PLF III - May 9, 2016 - 11:05 AM

Album is a bit all over the place. Disagree as well as I find his covers spot on.

MSM - May 9, 2016 - 6:36 PM

I actually enjoy how this album departs a bit from his last and think it makes sense in his growing catalog of albums. To each their own.

PBB - May 9, 2016 - 8:48 PM

I couldn’t agree more. I listened all the way through twice. What I liked so much about him was he struck a real authentic country chord. Almost a soulful throwback. He went away from that completely which is fine but also disappointing.

Townes - May 10, 2016 - 9:15 AM

Hot sauce and music reviews, this is why we come to the site

Great Lakes Prep - May 13, 2016 - 7:05 PM

Couldn’t disagree more. Give a listen to his interview with Marc Maron on WTF and I’ll think you’ll gain a new appreciation for what this album is.

AC - May 25, 2016 - 12:24 PM

It definitely deviates from his “alt/modern/contemporary country” what have you sound on his first albums. If people were expecting more of the same I can understand being disappointed. I think he set out with the intent of doing something different. The Dap-Kings are on 5 of the album’s songs; the sound they bring to the new album is nowhere to be seen on Metamodern (I don’t even thing there is brass/woodwind on Metamodern). If we stop trying to fit him in a country mold we might be able to enjoy it.

Late 90’s – Early 00’s Fraternity Style

It’s funny to look back at certain points in time, specific periods in your life, and directionally changing events that influence the future course of your life.  For a lot of us, it’s when we left home for college and pledged a fraternity.  Not only is it a tough decision, but it happened within weeks of leaving home for the first time, and being out on your own.  It’s a very accelerated ‘coming of age’ story.

The great thing about being in a fraternity is that no matter when you pledged, it was the best it’s ever been.  The years before you, and after you in no way compare to your time on campus in the house.  You and your brothers did it right, and were the best at it.  Don’t deny it…they very quickly become ‘the good ole days’.  It’s a common view that the guys that initiated after you graduated are wusses who have no idea what real brothers went through, and the guys that initiated before you are solid, but are basically a bunch of window-lickers who had to have all their wrongs righted by you and your class(es).  I’ve been to enough Alumni golf tournaments/homecomings/etc and seen the looks.  You know what I’m talking about.  Regardless, you are all brothers, and will always deny ’till you die.

Fraternity life shaped you.  It turned you into the guy you are, and the guy you will become.  It introduced you to a network of friends that will become business counterparts, golf partners, and eventually God parents to your children.  The Fraternity taught you about responsibility, leadership, how to entertain, how to party, and how to cut loose.  Fraternity life also has a certain style that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.  At least it does down here in SEC/ACC country.  We don’t wear hoodies.

Back in the late-90’s and early 00’s, Fraternity style was much more mystical than it was after the mid-2000’s adoption of camera phones and Facebook.  Back then, you learned about Fraternity style by looking at your older brother’s ZAPS photos, or by seeing it in person.  Let’s call this late-90’s to early ’00’s time period the pre-iPhone era.  Now sing it with me…starting from the top:

Headwear was relatively simple.  The gold standard was a white bar hat from The Game of some SEC or ACC school that wasn’t yours.  The key was to break it in quickly.  Everyone had their technique, and it was employed very quickly.  Some guys would wear it into the lake and let the sun bake it dry.  Some would be surgical, cutting the webbing out with Xacto knives and putting it into the dishwasher.  Others would just let nature take it’s course.  However the final, broken in destination was reached, your Game hat was as good as it gets.

Second in the lineup, but never second fiddle, was a hat from The Masters.  These hats eventually took over like a firestorm towards the end of the pre-iPhone phase.  This happened for two reasons: first, The Game hats went ka-put.  Disappeared.  It was weird; you couldn’t find them anywhere.  Second, The Masters hats became more accessible, as patrons would come back with a dozen or so for their brothers.

Tour visors were prevalent during this time, but they were worn with much more distain that today.  They were NEVER clean, and had been through some rough afternoons at the lake or at the beach.  Today’s visors may as well be a flat-brim compared to how it was done back then.

Lastly, everyone had a disgusting, vintage corduroy hat that got some serious wear in the colder months.  It was usually embroidered with a cigarette, beer, ski resort, or shotgun brand, and housed the top half of the winter frat-shag.  The corduroy hat was treated gently as it slept through the warmer months.

Remember, Costa Del Mar didn’t hit the scene until the mid-00’s, but sunglasses were just as important in the pre-iPhone era Fraternity style.  They weren’t as much of a financial investment.  There were Ray Ban Wayfarers, which were all the rage, as well as the Suncloud and Revo wayfarers.  But, if you’ll remember, similar knock offs found at a gas station on the way home from Florida were A-OK.  As long as they were tortoise shell.  Sunglasses were much more disposable back then.

Regardless of the sunglasses, Chums were a must.  Dirty chums.  They were preferred because they broke in and patina’ed a little better than Croakies, and because non-Fraternity guys started wearing Croakies.  And the sunglasses NEVER left the neck.  They were either hanging, resting on your neck with a Chums necktie, or being worn.  Sunglasses were on your person more than shoes.

There were a lot of Oakley’s that found the back of the drawer as soon as rush started.

I would credit the current t-shirt market’s success to the pre-iPhone era Fraternity t-shirt style.  There were three specific categories:  First, there was the bar t-shirt.  Brogen’s on SSI paid their rent off of the t-shirts they sold during Georgia/Florida weekend.  They were essentially a right of passage.  Second were concert t-shirts.  The old Widespread Panic t-shirts were a must have for any Fraternity man in the late 90’s / early 00’s.  Extra points for lot shirts.

Finally, deserving of a paragraph all it’s own, were Fraternity and Sorority shirts.  These have left a lasting impression that has carried through to today’s t-shirt designs.  Back then, the ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ was true for ANY fraternity or sorority event.  The coveted t-shirts were Sorority formal or date night t-shirts.  It proved that you knew how to talk to girls.  Next were theme party shirts, followed by rush t-shirts.  Rush t-shirts didn’t get much play, and we usually gave them to our sorority friends.  There was no better way to advertise…

The greek shirts weren’t restricted to your own campus.  Sorority date night shirts from other schools were choice as well.  Not only did that prove that you could talk to girls, but it showed that you were mobile.  With all t-shirts, they were worn until they fell apart.  They carried a lot more sentimental value than t-shirts do today.  And they were a lot cheaper.

It was a much simpler time for polo shirts 20-ish years ago.  The competition was relatively low, and so were the choices.  The pre-iPhone era Fraternity man had about three different styles: the Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece (always a size down), the Polo from Ralph Lauren (always on-size), and the original Patagonia polo, with ‘patagonia’ embroidered on the left chest in tonal thread.

Speaking of logos, that was a key factor: the logo had to be small, almost invisible.  Anything larger than a nickel was out (and quite frankly still is).

I learned how to wash my polo shirt the right way during this period: always inside out so the collar doesn’t get creased.  After about 40-50 washes, these polos were at peak performance.  Maybe a little threadbare at the seams and along the cuffs, but softer than a pledge that quits after the first week.

Oxford shirts were the bedrock of pre-iPhone era style, as Fraternity men were the only ones wearing them on campus.  Everyone else was wearing flannels, Abercrombie plaids, and Chaps sweaters.  Gross.  The oxfords – mostly from Polo by Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers, created a long-tail effect to the polo shirts.  If Patagonia had made oxfords, I’m sure the Fraternity man of the late 90’s to early 00’s would have worn it like a badge of honor.

Oxfords went with everything, and they were easy.  The choice colors were white, blue, and the blue university striped, with pink rounding out the top four.  Back then a pink shirt was not as common as it is in today’s Easter Egg palette.  The pink oxford was a dare – not to the wearer, but to everyone else.  Regardless, it took nuts to make fun of a Fraternity man wearing a pink shirt.  It was an insult to the entire Greek community, and the insulter paid dearly.

These oxfords became your ‘school colors’, as these were part of the gameday uniform.  These oxfords, along with khakis (we’ll get to those later), a tie (later) and a blue blazer (we’re getting there).  Christmas was prime oxford shirt time, as Santa seemed to know that post-football season was just the right time to restock.

These oxfords were rarely dry cleaned.  They washed well, breaking them in and softening them up.  They ironed well, which is a skill that seems to have left today’s Fraternity man.  Find anyone that initiated in the late 90’s to early 00’s, and you’ve found someone who can iron an oxford shirt lickity-split.

The Fraternity mans’ coat of armor.  The navy blazer screams Fraternity style, as much today as it did in the pre-iPhone period.  It’s included here because it has to be.  Back then, the green blazer got a lot of play as well, and seersucker was spotty.

As brothers, it was our duty to encourage pledges to go spend $100 on a Chaps dumpster navy blazer, as it was sure to get destroyed while they were pledging.  Never was a piece of clothing abused as much as a pledge’s navy blazer.  Precision cuts were made in the lining to sneak in airplane bottles to the football games.  There was always a tear in one of the pockets.  But after some abuse, it fit like a glove.  Even though it became a second skin, there was no pause when disposing of the pledge blazer.

After initiation, the workhorse was back in play, or you splurged and bought a new navy blazer.  This blazer would become your best friend over the next few years, until it needed to be replaced as a result of some arson-esque adventure that is likely still under investigation.

Brooks Brothers and Polo were leading the pack for neckties in the late 90’s and early 00’s.  This was before Southern Proper, Vineyard Vines, and the rest of the ‘fratty’ brands started pumping out all the nostalgic ties.  Either Brooks Brothers or Polo made a tie in every Fraternity’s colors, and that was a must.  Beyond that, it was regimental stripe after regimental stripe.

Towards the end of the pre-iPhone era, some nostalgic ties started popping up, as well as a few bow ties.  They proved to be significant, as it launched brand after brand serving the preppy, Southern demographic.

The outerwear stayed true to the Patagonia/outdoor-esque mentality.  The ski bums look, living well South of the Mason Dixon line.

The Patagonia Snap-T was a hugely popular item in the late 90’s to early 00’s, probably more so than it is now.  During that period, Patagonia was more refined, and generally found at outdoor stores like High Country, or in catalogs like Campmor.  Patagonia didn’t have as many crazy designs as they do now, usually sticking to the primary colors with a contrasting trim and pocket flap.  The Snap-T was the choice during the cooler months.

For the cold months, it was a North Face ski jacket.  These took hold like whiskey hangover.  Available in only a few colors, and a relatively simple design, that North Face logo on the back shoulder was the choice for the pre-iPhone era Fraternity man.

Belts were easy.  The Orvis shot shell belt was the go-to for the Fraternity man.  They don’t sell the original with the Winchester shell (to Orvis’ defense, it’s not their fault – it was a supply issue), but that was where it was at.  There were a lot of trips made to the old Orvis store in Buckhead after pledge pins were handed out.  In addition to the shot shell belt, The ribbon belts were starting to make their way around the waists of Fraternity men in the pre-iPhone era.

I had a friend at College of Charleston who got me a South Carolina flag belt, and it got a TON of wear.  It was a great alternative to the traditional leather, and was the precursor to the enormous embroidered/needlepoint belt market today.

Pants were very easy.  Khakis ruled the day.  Jeans were around, but they weren’t as prevalent as they are today.

Polo Phillip Pants were the choice of the Fraternity man.  They were a good, medium-weight flat front chino that washed well, and were easy to iron.  Ironing was a must for events that required a tie.  Otherwise, some ironed and some didn’t.  There wasn’t a formula.  Besides the Polo Phillip Pants, there was room for the original $25 Duck Heads, but they were on their way out after the Atlanta olympics in ’96.

Jeans were A LOT simpler.  For the most part, Gap Standard Fit was a sure thing, as well as Levi’s 501s.  Both with a darker fade.  NO whiskers…they hadn’t been invented yet.  No Fraternity man in the late 90’s or early 00’s cut their jeans to be more of a boot cut.  That was a trashy, preemptive move by people who would go on to frost their tips.

Khakis and jeans were a classic fit, not too baggy but not slim, with a leg opening wide enough to fit over boots, but narrow enough to look appropriate with loafers.  Regardless, late 90’s to early 00’s Fraternity men bought pants with enough room in your pocket for a pack of Marlboro Lights and a Bic lighter.

It’s hard to say that shorts are indicative of Fraternity style, but there was one, and only one, that screamed Greek letters: the iconic Patagonia Stand Up Shorts.  5″ inseams.  Tan, navy, and tan.  They only got better with age.  Cargo shorts were coming into style back in the late 90’s, and these were the antithesis.  Of course there were other shorts choices – the Polo Andrew shorts were a big hit, mainly driven by the short inseam.  That was the denominator back in the pre-iPhone era: inseam.  Anything longer than 6″ was considered trash.  Today, we may have given an inch, but that inseam rule still holds true.

When all was said and done, there wasn’t a clearer middle finger to non-Greeks than a pair of Patagonia Stand Up Shorts.

 

Footwear, believe it or not, was as straightforward as it gets.  The bedrock of pre-iPhone era Fraternity men was a pair of grey or navy New Balance running shoes.  The 990s (grey) and the 587s (navy blue) were interchangeable, and became a beacon for those that earned their Greek letters.  It didn’t take long for this look to dilute into the general population, mainly led by the GDI-friendly ‘trail running’ shoes.

For dress shoes, there was but one (two, really) choice: Cole Haan Penny Loafers.  These loafers were perfect for the khakis/blue blazer look, and could be worn with or without socks.  They upped the ante when it came to Sorority date nights, and looked the part during Homecoming weekend.  Once the penny loafers were toast, they could be easily replaced with the Cole Haan Tassel Loafers.  Same look, just with a little more flare.

For boots, Clarks Wallabees were a very popular choice, as they bridged the gap between casual and dress shoes.  These would become toxic hazards after about a year of wear, and you could just scrub them with a toothbrush.  Their low price point allowed for replacement when absolutely necessary, but no one ever did.

Wellington style work boots were another participant in the pre-iPhone era Fraternity man’s footwear lineup.  The Justin work boots were a go-to, as well as the Red Wing 1155s.  There were cowboy boots and Bean Boots, but they were spotty depending on the campus.  By the end of Junior year, all three were at the bottom of the closet.

Here’s what’s funny about all-of-the-above style:  I still wear 90% of it.  It’s funny looking at the images above and thinking ‘yeah, my closet still looks a lot like this’.  It’s funny how this style resonates.

I’ll ask you, dear readers, what is your take?  What was it like on your campus?  What did I miss?

Kenny - May 5, 2016 - 9:03 AM

You had to go no socks with the penny loafers so everyone could see your ankle letters tattoo

Jeff - May 5, 2016 - 9:15 AM

This may have phased out by this time but I remember two more footwear trends in the early/mid-’90’s that were big. The hiking boot (Vasque Sundowners beat to hell) and shorts look as well as the original Teva (royal blue or hunter green)sandal. Nothing said, “summer frat guy” like a defined “Teva” foot tan when returning to school in the fall.

CJ Adams - May 5, 2016 - 9:20 AM

Love this post, buddy!

I likewise still wear 90% of this. The classics never go out of play.

Robin - May 5, 2016 - 9:21 AM

Pretty spot-on. I arrived on campus in 2000 from the West Coast with lots of fleece and Gore-Tex and was told how preppy I was, when my style was anything but.

I would, however, quibble with the notion that Patagonia didn’t have as many crazy designs as they do now. Remember the Aztec print Snap-Ts from the early-90s, and all the teal and purple?

Sean - May 5, 2016 - 9:32 AM

Great post. Nailed it. Corduroy Breckenridge hat, Patagonia polo, you forgot the ubiquitous Patagonia frat vest (at UVA at least), a pair of polo Andrew shorts that practically deteriorated on my person by fourth year and a pair of well worn in Birkenstocks. A uniform that treated me well in the good ole days.

Kevin - May 5, 2016 - 9:44 AM

Great post. Definitely had a pair of oakley’s hit the back of a drawer during rush. What? we all make mistakes. Agree on the Andrew shorts, I think I still have a pair from college I have no chance of ever fitting into again.

Doc - May 5, 2016 - 9:48 AM

This was probably the best post you’ve had. Very nostalgic. I still wear pretty much all of the same stuff. It’s that the point of fraternity dress though? To carry you into adulthood? The only difference I have mostly is golf shirts have pretty much replaced basic polos. I thought Costas were already on the scene though? I think I got my first pair in 02. Anyway, great post.

Madison Roberts - May 5, 2016 - 9:56 AM

One of my favorite articles you’ve written. Brings back awesome memories of yes . . . the good ole days!

William - May 5, 2016 - 9:56 AM

While all of those shoes were optional, three were obligatory: Topsiders, grey NB 990s, and sandals (for the aforementioned letter tattoo). In the early 2000s at my school, Rainbow sandals and later Chacos were appropriate.

Trip - May 5, 2016 - 10:31 AM

I laughed out loud at the line “That was a trashy, preemptive move by people who would go on to frost their tips.”

James - May 5, 2016 - 10:33 AM

This is one of the Top 10 RCS posts! I pledged in 2003, catching the tail end of this era, and still wear 90% of this stuff as well. Still have a bunch of the college are stuff too though it’s a fight to keep the wife from throwing out old tshirts and oxfords….

Nacho - May 5, 2016 - 10:35 AM

Late 80’s early 90’s ACC Greek. Substitute the Standup shorts with OP cords, Duckhead khakis and a pair of Vaurnet glacier glasses.

JT - May 5, 2016 - 11:11 AM

Pledged in ’02, spot on. This past weekend I was looking at old photos (probably taken with a disposable kodak) and was also struck by the difference with today’s look. Sure, the broad strokes may be the same but somehow everything seemed more organic in the pre-iphone, pre-online shopping days. Now, there are ready made new companies offering a whole line of a fraternity “kit” that one can order without a trip to Dumas in Charleston the Buckhead Orvis, etc. The result is that the individual pieces are no longer just picked up along the way of a good time.

Also, conspicuously absent among the footwear selections are rainbows and sperrys. Those were pretty much daily campus wear: rainbows until it was too cold and then the sperrys would come out.

Great post, one of my favorites.

Jared - May 5, 2016 - 11:22 AM

WOW! great post and yes, you did nail it….this was very nostalgic reading this post…I was greek at UGA 2000-2004

WarEagleDG - May 5, 2016 - 11:27 AM

So what you’re telling me is that i’m still dressing like a ’90’s frat boy?

JRS - May 5, 2016 - 1:32 PM

First off – I want to thank all of you for the GREAT comments. It’s what I think makes Red Clay Soul great – it’s our community. Now, to some responses:

@Jeff – YES, the maroon Vasque Sundowners…they were a staple. I still have mine…I did a post on cleaning them up. Love those suckers.

@Robin – I agree, there were crazy Patagonia patterns out there, they just weren’t as accessible. Most of the stores just carried the primary color options.

@Kevin – Polo Andrew Shorts were the tits, pleats be damed. I know you are a short inseam guy…

@Nacho – Vaurnet sunglasses are incredible. I’d bet you still have a pair…and they will probably last another 20 years.

@WarEagleDG – I think that’s a badge of honor…

Garrett - May 5, 2016 - 1:50 PM

Great post – spot on. I still wear the majority of this stuff, and prefer it to the current look for fraternity guys wear grungy, thrift store clothes, and basketball jerseys.

Joseph - May 5, 2016 - 1:54 PM

Great post — A real walk down memory lane. Along with many others, this remains my casual go-to garb. Rainbow sandals and the Columbia fishing shirts (before everyone and their dog wore them) were a staple in the TX fraternity scene.

Tigue - May 5, 2016 - 2:12 PM

Fantastic and accurate

EWK - May 5, 2016 - 2:25 PM

In addition to the Wallabees becoming “toxic hazards” after a year of wear, they lost their “grip” and became as dangerous and as lethal as spraying a can of Pam on the floor – especially in more wet weather.

EWK - May 5, 2016 - 2:28 PM

The Wallabees at the one year mark also lost their “grip” and became as lethal as walking on a floor sprayed with Pam – especially on the floor of the beer-soaked Fraternity basement.

RJC - May 5, 2016 - 2:46 PM

I don’t remember Wayfairers that early. I bought a pair in ’08, and they were enough of a novelty that I got a lot of comments on them. When I was at UGA in ’99, there were a lot of Smith, Revo and other Ray Ban styles.

Josh Parks - May 5, 2016 - 10:17 PM

Wow. I just shed a tear reading this! Spot on. Truth be told I still ocassionally rock a Panic shirt!

BMA - May 6, 2016 - 10:52 AM

Perchance did you go to Georgia Tech. From the sounds of it you were in Atlanta and we have us, GSU, and kennesaw, but Tech has the largest greek scene.

Mark - May 6, 2016 - 11:10 AM

Very entertaining and brings back great memories. I’m pushing 50 and my wife says I dress like a 80s frat boy. Hey, at least we were onto something that lasted. By the way, I was at West Georgia and my little sister returned from UGA orientation in ’87 and said “cut off your Duckheads, it’s cool in Athens!”.

Brad - May 6, 2016 - 4:10 PM

Great article

Fritz - May 7, 2016 - 10:55 AM

Fantastic post, spot on

Patrick - May 7, 2016 - 12:32 PM

This could be your best post yet. I pledged in 03 and thank God it was pre-iPhone. Costas were everybody’s go to, GDIs hadn’t discovered them yet. Others mentioned it but Chacos, Rainbows, and Topsiders are also missing from your list. Don’t forget about the drawstring, elastic waist, short inseam Polo shorts. Southern Proper makes a version now. There could also be a whole category on random outdoors gear that was mixed in like PFG shirts, hunting jackets, etc.

Ryan - May 8, 2016 - 1:50 PM

Almost spot on. Only point of contention, I was at Auburn from ’96-’00 and we all had Costas.

Joel - May 8, 2016 - 8:01 PM

There is not one HAT on this post. Those are CAPS. Why can’t men use the proper names for clothing?

Same with, in other spaces, cleats and spikes. Baseball players, track athletes, and golfers wear spikes. Football players wear cleats.

Graham - May 13, 2016 - 5:48 AM

We get it Joel, you’re better than us. Now move along.

rl1856 - May 8, 2016 - 8:11 PM

I attended an Atl area college and I can say you captured the Early-Mid 80’s Greek look pretty well. I would suggest a few additions: Topsiders, Bean Boots in winter. Shetland crewneck sweaters a size larger than you needed- your little sister/ GF would steal it. Baracuda (or similar) jacket. Grey Herringbone Harris Tweed coat was an acceptable NBB substitute in winter. Madras short sleeve shirts, and shorts. Tail end of authentic Lacoste Alligator shirt era (before disappearing then coming back in the late 90’s). RayBan Aviators- Gold Frame, G2 lens, wrap-around temples. Socks ? Never. BB, Stocktons and Muses were the go-to places in Atlanta, along with a few small local “collegiate” mens shops, one in Buckhead and the other near Tech.

Landy - May 9, 2016 - 10:27 AM

Went to school in the mid-late 00’s and everything on this list was pretty much a staple. You could find The Game hats when I was in school although they fit very small which didn’t work for my 7 3/4″ head. This article serves as a reminder I probably need to ditch my freshmen year Sperry’s and Wallabees which I haven’t worn in years

Thomas - May 14, 2016 - 5:06 PM

I have the same sized head or bigger. Where do you find hats?

Bent - May 9, 2016 - 12:28 PM

Great post, I was greek from 2001-2006 in the southeast. Replace Northface jacket with Mountain Hardwear and add a pair of Aftco shorts, a Guy Harvey t-shirt (before they were everywhere), and Lacoste polos (before they fell out of favor).

nachdrock - May 11, 2016 - 12:29 AM

not to be that (shredder) guy, but…the kids we looked for on lot style…. #WHITEHATS #CUSTIES

WK - May 13, 2016 - 10:40 AM

Love the new expanded articles and opinions. Even when in genial disagreement, it’s a great read and a regular stop on my web travels. Now for a whiny, petty, side note from a professional editor: please, please stop re-using the same establishing phrase in one article over and over (i.e. pre-iPhone era). Keep up the greatness!

MEK - May 13, 2016 - 12:12 PM

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,1
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Stephen - June 2, 2016 - 2:30 PM

One addition…Columbia Half Moon PFG shorts for any sort of outdoor activity.

[…] is a body of water, gym equipment, yardwork, and/or an afternoon on the couch.  Today, besides the updated Fraternity-style t-shirts, most t-shirts today are some sort of graphic, v-neck, ‘fashion forward’ design that […]