Category Archives: Fathers Day

Things My Father Taught Me: Chris Olberding

In a conversation about our fathers, Chris Olberding of Gitman Bros. Vintage, shared some funny tidbits about his dad’s style. I asked him to send me an e-mail outlining the keys to his father’s style.


My father dressed in a style that was a cross between mid-80s sportswear/workwear with a touch of post-hippie throwbacks:

Picture 2 * Helly Hansen Windbreaker, Patagonia Stand-Up Shorts, original New Balance, usually worn with a heavy wool sock
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Things My Father Taught Me: James Fox

Before I started this site, there were a handful of folks I looked to for inspiration. James Fox’s 10engines has an element of the personal that few others can match. He’s able to tie the actual in with the aspirational better than just about anyone, and he’s extremely knowledgeable on a number of subjects. Must be in the jeans, er genes.


Things my father taught me: how to shake a martini (aged 7), milk a cow, drive a tractor, tie a bow tie, sharpen a carving knife, polish shoes, make an omelet (hell, how to build a hen house, raise chicks, pluck feathers, keep a ‘chicken bucket’ under the sink for food scraps, collect the eggs THEN make an omelet).

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Things My Father Taught Me: The Parton Brothers

To know these guys is to love them. While I’ve yet to meet the youngest, Stenn, Shea and Raan have told me he’s the true winner of the family. That’s saying something. What I know of Raan and Shea, two-thirds of the operation that is Apolis Activism are kind, funny, long-in-the-tooth gentlemen truly of Southern California stock. They may act and sound laid back or devil-may-care, but these guys are taskmasters, with the growth of their brand to show for it. In less than five years, they’ve become players in the menswear game, and Apolis is as important a brand as anything out there. It’s with honor I let them wax for a while on their dad, Lindsay Allyn Parton.


FathersDay2Our father Lindsay Allyn Parton, is a man who has passed down values of hard work, generosity, and friendship. He’s always emphasized the importance of friendship and the difference between what is important (people) and urgent (the next task). His trademark style and taste helped us to realize at an early age that there is more to dressing yourself than neon Patagonia Synchillas.

FathersDay1Uncertain if we will be able to match his salt-and-pepper Mafioso pompadour, but his trademark monogram cuffs and his ability to make everything look effortless are key measures of style that we hope to inherit.

– continental
– timeless
– durable
– versatile: Work/Play; Day/Night
– tailored
– natural

– a 44” regular Canali suit
– a 17” by 35” shirt from The Custom Shop Clothiers in Washington DC
– reversible Montblanc belt
– a size 10.5 suede Gucci loafer
– a Panerai Luminor watch
– some classic Persols
– puffing on an Opus X cigar
– sport: baseball, football, golf, skiing, surfing, tennis
– authors (historical fiction, biography): James Michener, Saharras brothers and father, Dave McClough, Vince Floynn, Ayn Rand
– family vacations are essential

– b. Jan. 16 1953, Shannon Road, Campbell, California on the outskirts of San Jose, 1hr 15min South of San Francisco
– Jacqueline Parton and Stan Parton
– football accident: 15 yrs old, compound dislocation of tibia and fibula, never healed correctly
– in college played baseball, tennis
– 1975, Graduated from Westmont University, Santa Barbara, School of Economics & Business
– personal travel before raising a family: Europe, Mexico, 6 months Middle East / Europe
– Started in a building materials business, Duncan’s Home and Garden Center, role: General Manager
– Parton and Edwards Construction (1982), specializing in custom residential construction and evolving into commercial and institutional construction (1985-on)
– Wed Dec. 15, 1979 to Laura Lee Coulson, happily married for 30 years
– Three Sons: Raan Davis Parton (1981), Shea Michael Parton (1984), Stenn Garrett Parton (1986), Chuparosa Drive, Santa Barbara, California

– Raan, Shea, and Stenn, Apolis Activism

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Things My Father Taught Me: David Coggins

Thanks to early supporters of this blog, Miss Porter and Miss Hollister Hovey, I met Mr. David Coggins of Art in America and Interview Magazine and the blogs Definitive Beards and Exit Lines at speakeasy, Milk & Honey. Since then, I’ve leant on him for advice, many an opinion, and an edit here or there. He has always been very gracious with his time and his talents, and here again, he provides as only he can.

I’ve done my best to represent what was sent as it was sent. Mr. Coggins uses a typewriter, and I imagine he’s formatted Word to best estimate its look and feel. If you click on the image below, you can read what he wrote in its fullest splendor.Picture 1
F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Things My Father Taught Me: Jake Davis

Filmmaker and blogger extraordinaire, Jake Davis is attuned to an aesthetic so similar to my own, its remarkable how often I visit his site and think, “Oh, man! Beat me to it.” He’s a hero, hammering out the hits time and again, and he does such a good job of explaining style — something I struggle with daily. I’m so honored to have his words grace the pages of all plaidout.


I think more than anything my father gave me a level of taste. And as I’ve gotten older and have met a wide range of people from the cool street kid to the uber-celebrity you learn that taste has nothing to do with money. There’s an inherent taste level in all things. And there’s a value in that… Not a price tag but a value.

My father taught me to share that taste with the people. Now, there was never a sit down lesson. It’s just the way he is. So I feel with my music videos, commercials, and films there’s a certain taste level that I try to achieve. It’s not something you can put your finger on. It’s just there. And when I haven’t achieved it. He’s the first person to let me know. Tough love and shit.

There’s an endless influence when you have someone so willing to share themselves with you like that. But if I had to give one example of the lessons he taught me that have had the most resonance it’s the times where he provided me the opportunity to be the person I wanted to be, but always let me know there’s an origin to everything.

“Jake, that Beastie Boys record you love so much samples this Beatles album. And the Beatles were influenced by this album. Check it out.” He was never a hater like most older people are for the new shit. He always made it a point to understand the new shit and provide the necessary information to me to make tasteful decisions.

If at age six he hadn’t bought me that first Public Enemy cassette, gotten my pants tapered and hemmed, and introduced me to David Lynch films I’d be a completely different person. That’s for sure. I was able to understand what I like at a very early age. And for that I will be eternally grateful because some people spend their whole lives trying to figure it out.

So instead of a picture of the old man and me. How about a typical lesson. Here’s a still from my new video for U.S. Royalty featuring my friend lead singer John Thornley. And here is the origin… Martin Sheen as Kit in Badlands. Always do your homework just not necessarily at home.U.S.Royalty


Jake Davis

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Things My Father Taught Me: Jay Carroll

While on my tours of L.L. Bean and Quoddy Moccasin in Maine this March, Mr. Jay Carroll of Rogues Gallery was sending me text messages from afar. In the midst of preparing last month’s pop-up shop, One Trip Pass, a veritable, vintage dreamland stocked to the brim with his finds from a road trip through the American Southwest, Jay would send me text messages something along the lines of, “Two Lights Lobster Roll. Do it” and “Fore St. or Die.” Whether its his love of food, music, movies, or clothing, Jay Carroll is a kindred spirit, and it’s with great pleasure I share the latest in our epic correspondence.


Cannery RowHere’s my old man on Cannery Row, 1969. I think I found/noticed this picture when I was about 13, right after my dad had shoved On the Road in my face and subsequently sparked a “my dad is cool again” phase. I remember immediately scouring his closet for that shirt. It was a waffle weave thermal henley.
I still have it somewhere, but I could never pull it off like he did.

– Jay Carroll, Rogues Gallery, PTLDME

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Things My Father Taught Me: The Bray Brothers

I had the good fortune to meet the Bray Brothers of Billykirk recently, and I found their candor, their honesty so refreshing. Two nicer guys you’ll never meet. Billykirk offers a well-curated, well-crafted collection of new twists on classic, rugged men’s accessories that truly are things of beauty. Fashioned of leather and canvas, many of the products are made by a family of leather workers in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When I told them of my little Father’s Day project, they both jumped at the opportunity to take time to write about their dad, Tom.


60'sMy father, Tom Bray, is a pretty traditional Lands’ End, LL Bean, Bass Weejun type of guy. In the middle class suburbs of Minnesota where I grew up, this was the standard attire. My father was a medical sales rep for 3M for 35 years, and wearing a suit was part of the deal. He used to coach my brother Kirk and my baseball and soccer teams and he would come straight from work in his tan or navy suit trousers and white or chambray Lands’ End button down. He spent $1000’s with Lands’ End throughout the 80s and 90s. He is now retired and spends most of his time in Russell sweatshirts, Nikes and Levi’s.

While we may not have necessarily shared the same fashion tastes, my father was always well groomed and polished. That is the main fashion-related thing I gleaned from him. I remember nearly every night before dinner he would take out his shoe shine kit and clean and polish his loafers for the next day. He was not a lace-up dress shoe guy and I honestly doubt he owned a pair. Tassels or penny loafers. Period. I got my first pair of ‘adult like’ dress shoes when I was around 12. They were stiff-as-boards Bass Weejun penny loafers just like my father’s. I still remember how sore my feet where when I wore them for the first time. I also remember when he taught me how to polish and clean them. He also ironed his own dress shirts each morning. That was another important learning lesson. I remember all the dry cleaners he went through like water. None of them could do it right and all of them broke buttons or over-starched them. So, each morning, there he was in the living room wearing his v-neck, white briefs, and dress socks ironing away.
80'sWhile my father may not have had any sort of allegiance to a dry cleaner, he did when it came to his barber. His good friend Greg cut and styled his hair every three weeks for over twenty-five years. The style remained essentially the same, though it was a bit bushier in the early 80’s. Sadly, Greg passed a way a few months ago.

My father was also a huge stickler for long unkempt finger nails. His profession called for clean manicured nails and to this day, when my nails get just slightly long, I can hear him telling me to, “cut your damn nails!”

I think most men would agree, when you are a kid you want to look just like your father, then, you become a teenager and want to look nothing like him, then, as the years pass by, you start to look more like him again. I am sure my father’s closet has some old Lands’ End or LL Bean relics I wouldn’t mind having. Not to mention, they were probably bought back when they were still being manufactured in the US.

– Chris Bray, Billykirk, Selectism


todayI have borrowed quite a few nuggets from my dad over the years and there are quite a few I never would borrow (insert Mock T’s here), but the one that does stands out for me is all about hair and its importance. My dad’s hair hasn’t changed in over twenty-five years. He’s consistent to a fault. His hair is a modern low profile bouffant and when it’s not at its peak or when he’s fresh from the shower, he looks like a wet puppy. It is a handsome cut though and by no means gaudy. His methods for achieving his ‘do, however, were not borrowed by me. My hair is short at the moment, and besides a clean wash using Kiehl’s sport shampoo, it requires no product most days. My dad’s on the other hand; let’s just say he and the ozone are not too close. In fact, on a recent trip to visit us in Jersey City, he stumbled across his favorite hair spray at a Shoprite and proceeded to buy 8 cans. 8 cans! Apparently they stopped carrying it in Minnesota. You would think after twenty-five years it would stand on its own! My brother and I give him shit about it a lot, but he is one hell of a sport. And who am I to judge? I have had my share fair of bad haircuts over the years. Despite our difference in styling, he did teach me the importance of looking good and having good hygiene.

Happy Father’s Day, Pops!

– Kirk Bray, Billykirk,


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Things My Father Taught Me: Jeremy Kirkland

A recording industry whiz kid and a believer that quality is tantamount to style, Jeremy Kirkland of Start with Typewriters provides us with a few words on his grandfather.

pic 1My grandpa was a well-mannered man with average posture. He was polite and kind, and he had impeccable style. Like most Italians from Abruzzi, it was the little things in life that he was amazed by: good coffee, nice ties, and the occasional game of video poker.

pic 5My grandpa’s style was his own. There were very few times he wasn’t in a suit and tie. Always had his matching Jordache luggage on visits, tweed of course. Always at least one thing on his outfit that made it pop, an Italian nautical polo, or a striped dress shirt. It’s funny; as I was looking at these photos, I talked to my mom and said, “He never really wore jeans.” She shrieked as if I spoke blasphemy.

“Your grandpa never wore jeans. Ever.”

I guess — why would he? He valued a hard days work, and I assume there was something about workwear and jeans that threw him off. He wasn’t in that class he was a true gentleman. pic 2

– Jeremy Kirkland, Start with Typewriters

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Things My Father Taught Me: Jon Moy

Upon reflection, Jon Moy of Getting Beat Like You Stole Something admits that dressing like his father is inevitable.

dadsshoesThere are two things that stick out as early memories of my father. First, his hands are always warm, no matter what. We used to walk around a lot, and I’ll never forget how warm his hand would be when he would grab mine to cross the street. Secondly, he always let me help pick out his new briefcases. When he got a new one, he’d let me have his old one. I loved carrying around those hard shell briefcases. I stuffed them full of papers, pencils, and G.I. Joes.

I ended up taking those briefcases on a lot of adventures with my dad. Everywhere from his office, to a dairy farm, to a surprise day off from school. I’d always ask, “Where are we going?” and he’d always reply: “On an adventure….” My dad has always understood the importance of the small, quiet, fleeting moments.

My dad has always been my biggest supporter. He checks the blog every day and always has a comment or a new idea for content. This isn’t really anything new, though. My dad always knew where the coolest comic book stores were, no matter what city we were in at the time. And he always took the time out on Wednesdays (new comic day to us nerds) to take me to my favorite local shop. My dad has taken me to the newest shops and boutiques, dealing with loud, pretentious music and jaded hipster service. He’s helped convince my mom I was ready for a Red Ryder BB Gun and a Swiss Army knife. He let me watch Die Hard and took me to a midnight screening of The Crow. My dad also understood when I told him I wasn’t going to pursue a career in law for the time being.

My dad has always known his son and never asked me to be anything other than his son. He’s never tried to be my friend or my boss – just my dad. I think the greatest lessons I’ve learned so far from him are to cherish those you love, be kind and magnanimous, and keep you wardrobe classic and free of ostentation.

We talk a lot about style icons. We may like to talk about them, but I think we more often dress like our fathers. I carry a Swiss Army knife in my bag like my dad. I wear his Fell Co. pea coat all the time. He rode a motorcycle quite like the one I am working on. I really like gray suits, like the one my dad has. And one day I might be able to fill in his brown leather brogues. After all, they are large shoes to fill.

– Jon Moy, Getting Beat Like You Stole Something


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Things My Father Taught Me: Ryan Willms

In talking about his father, Ryan Willms, creative director of the h(y)r collective magazine and studio, reflects on one of the most important lessons in developing your personal style: have fun.RussWillms

Except for a story I’ve heard of him and my mom maxing out their credit cards on a trip to Italy and France while in their early 20s, my father was never much of a fashion plate or a style hound. The one major cue I’ve taken from him, in life, yes, but particularly in clothing, products, and style, is to keep an open mind. He’s never been one to push boundaries, but thanks to h(y)r collective, with a simple, clean look he’s managed to stay on trend. My mom has encouraged me to wear different things and to take a chance, but my dad’s interest has always been in supporting my direction. An Art Director, he has a good eye for detail; I’ve seen him set his mind on something he wants and settle for nothing less. I’ve inherited the trait — whether it’s a product I want or a photo I need. The quiet support and open-minded outlook really opens up a lot of possibilities people close off for no good reason. Also, I am grateful he took our family to Europe a couple times at an early age. This opened my eyes to the global aspect of style and gave me a wider perspective as to how things can mix together. It broke me of my regional aesthetic – something I now try to do on a daily basis. Mixing cultural, regional elements can make getting dressed fun, another life lesson my dad instilled in me: love what you do and have fun.

Ryan Willms, creative director the h(y)r collective magazine and studio.

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