Disaffected Prep

Monday, October 5, 2009


Things I Stole from my Old Man - Part I

A few days ago I came to the startling realization that a number of my favorite clothing items in my wardrobe I outright stole from my father.  As in, I raided his closet (or the attic) and laid claim to the assets - with or without his knowledge.  He has kindly acquiesced to my brutal takeovers, I imagine both flattered by my interest and glad to see the items get some additional use.

Beyond the personal history attached to it, a lot of these items just are not available anymore, which adds to their allure.  Here is a sampling.

Button Down from Roots Clothiers

From Dad stuff

I pulled this a few months back while digging for treasure items in my family's attic. It comes from an old clothing store in our hometown of Summit, NJ called Roots Clothiers. Back in the day the store contained items from Hickey Freeman & Alden, among others, and I imagine it was a lot like O'Connell's in Buffalo, New York. Unfortunately Roots closed up shop in the late 1980's or early 90's and there is very little record of its history on the web.

From Dad stuff

From Dad stuff

While the store is gone (and something tells me I really would have loved it as an adult) I have this smart shirt that lives on in my closet.

From Dad stuff

The shirt itself is as soft as silk from decades of washing and features a trim (but not too trim) fit on my frame. It's the perfect weekend shirt for a guy.

Harvard Business School Bag

I pulled this one from the same treasure hunting trip as the shirt above.  Immediately I knew I hit paydirt when I saw a crimson & white contrast bag.  The fact that it comes from his time at HBS makes it even cooler.

From Dad stuff

I feel like if I had to create a 1980's Master of the Universe starter kit it would include this bag, Oliver Stone's Wall Street (on VHS, natch), Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, and a HP 12C calculator for figuring out the interest payments on the debt you issued to take RJR Nabisco Private with your buddies at KKR.

From Dad stuff

Wool Surcingle Belt

Now, this is a pretty common belt (you can get a similar one at O'Connell's), but I like the natural distressing of the leather on this one that's occurred over a good two decades.

From Dad stuff

It also comes from Roots Clothiers.

From Dad stuff

From my understanding there is a bit of a "Roots cult" near my hometown, according to Bob at John Hyatt, so I'm quite pleased to own at least two items from the store.

Duck print dopp kit and tie carrier

I have no idea where this one comes from, but I swiped the dopp kit when I was a freshman at Bowdoin.  I took the matching tie carrier (holds three comfortably) the next year.  No labels or anything, but the pattern is terrific.

From Dad stuff

Thanks Dad.

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Roots had preppy clothing. Like Best & Co. and Brooks Brothers. I suspect their problem was expansion. They opened stores in Red Bank, Morristown, and Riverside Square Mall. Then at some point Brooks Bros opened some NJ stores. Until 1960 we shopped at Best & Co. in East Orange. We moved closer to Summit in 1960. From then, until after college and I was no longer living in the area, all my clothes came from Roots.

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