237 Comments

Good morning, David

I understand that lawn care is limited in NYC, but what would David Coggins wear when mowing the lawn and what should the rest of us wear during lawn mowing?

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Ha! I think loose fitting chinos and some old work shirt.

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Jun 10Liked by David Coggins

Thanks, David! I will forward this to my neighbor who likes to go shirtless with chinos and a belt

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Jun 11Liked by David Coggins

Did not know you lived next door to Michael Williams! I kid I kid.

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I love this question! My wife gives me grief about how I dress for lawn work. Old chino's an old oxford cloth button down and an old straw hat that belonged to my grandfather.

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Is it better to file the piece you just finished at 11:49pm in order to *technically* make the deadline? Or just wait until the next am to make another round of edits/corrections even if that puts you a day after the agreed submission date?

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Ha! It depends. I always turn in long-term project on time (almost always, in any case). And if there's something that needs changing I just do that in the editing process. If it's less involved I write the editor (but not the day before) and say I'd like an extra day and will have on their desk by 9am. And then make sure you have it by 9am!

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Hi David,

Thanks for doing this! I bike or run to work at a law firm, which requires folding up my shirt and pants in my bag, and oftentimes biking home in my work clothes. Do you have any recommendations for shirts or pants that (a) can withstand packing like this, and (b) you wouldn’t be afraid to wear for a leisurely 20-minute bike ride in the evening? Thank you!

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Oh interesting. It's easier in the winter when clothes are heavier and can withstand more packing and unpacking (corduroy, tweed, etc). Certain poplin and Oxford cloth shirts don't wrinkle as much. And a good chino (possibly cavalry twill) could also handle that treatment. Good luck!

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Jun 10Liked by David Coggins

Very helpful, thank you!

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How do you like to thank friends or acquaintances for taking you fishing? I recently spent a few days tarpon fishing with a friend of a friend who was excited to have a fishing partner, but wouldn’t accept anything in return. I managed to buy his dinner but feel like I should do more.

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Oh this is a good question. There are a few things you can do. If you live in another place then you can host him fishing (with or without a guide). If that's not an option then send him a bottle of whisky (or whatever he likes). Or if there's some fishing-related gift you could give him then that would be good (a signed Tom McGuane book or a reel or something like that).

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Our office is really casual, perhaps three shades above what you would call ‘Tech’ but a bit more gold inspired. I love and appreciate fine menswear but find it difficult to strike a balance—I don’t want to be the guy who looks like he is trying too hard, but just can’t get on board with tech polos and joggers that look like khakis at the office. Any thoughts?

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A lot of people ask about feeling overdressed, either in the office or in the areas they life. I think an unstructured sport coat is totally acceptable. Maybe with a knit or a Lacoste shirt. And dark trousers and loafers. That is definitely not dandy-ing up or trying to hard. If it is then I would think about a good chore coat. And if you're feeling daring then try a knit tie. They'll leave you alone the third time you wear it.

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Golf inspired*

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To ask “What watch should I buy?” Seems like just too big a topic. I have my brothers Rolex I inherited, some vintage Hamiltons and an Omega Triple Date. I know I will never afford a Sub, but maybe an Omega Moonwatch if I can ever save the money (new radiator claimed my last saving endeavor). In short: Do you have an equation for what you think one should spend on a watch based on their income? Thanks so much!

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My thoughts about watches is that you should buy a good one every ten years and if it's expensive then you should love it so much you want to leave it to your son.

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Jun 10Liked by David Coggins

I bought my omega seamaster 20+ years ago and it hasn’t left my wrist since. I found it at a pawn shop for $750 and it’s probably worth around $2,500 today ( not my reason for buying it ). My son is 16 and I was planning on giving it to him at his HS graduation but knowing him he will pawn it for sneaker cash. I’m probably going to wait until he graduates from college to hand it over. Also, I’m quartz guy because automatic watches are ultimately higher maintenance. My next one will be a vintage speedmaster. Follow in the footsteps of James Bond and get an Omega. 💪🏽

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Hi David, I purchased a navy flannel suit last Autumn which, so far, I have worn more as separates than as a suit. While the suit will spend the summer in the closet I am wondering how you would style it both in the office (conservative NYC finance) and outside of work. The jacket has patch pockets and a 3-roll-2. I am finding navy flannel harder to wear than a more common navy wool suit. Appreciate the thoughts in advance from you and the group.

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Navy flannel is tougher than wool (as you note). I would definitely wear with grey flannel trousers. Pale blue shirt. Knit tie, or wool woven tie (which brings a lot of texture to proceedings). Brown suede shoes. Good luck!

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Hello!

I am not a fly fisherman. But a combination of the Optinist, sotol and late nights has landed me with a vintage fiberglass Trailmaster rod and a Vintage Pflueger Medalist 1494 1/2. From my research I think they can both handle 5 pound line. For a complete novice, is there a brand or set up you’d recommend?

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Well you're really done it now, Zak! This is fun. What we have to find out is what *weight* the line should be for that rod. Even vintage rods are mostly designed for a certain weight of line that they're meant to cast. I usually use Rio lines or Orvis lines. And I'd get some all around trout line that doesn't have an annoying color. Good luck!

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Hey David, Do you know of any good vintage clothing shopping in London? If so, what kind of thing would you look for that’s tougher to find in the States?

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I usually just go to the far end of Portobello Road. I look for Barbour jackets, Burberry overcoats, tweed jackets, and schoolboy scarves.

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Hornets in Kensington is worth a look

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Have you seen Perfect Days? I have a feeling you would appreciate it.

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Haven't seen it. Looks good! Is on the list. Thank you!

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Hi David, I was wondering if you have any advice for someone in their 20's trying to up their wine knowledge. I don't want to be a "wine guy", but feel completely lost navigating a wine list at a restaurant, or even picking a bottle to give to a more discerning host. The whole thing can feel very intimidating as someone who didn't really grow up around people who drink wine.

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Hi Nick, when I was younger I would order a mixed case from a good shop. They used to offer this selection, but you could easily choose it yourself. Then I would drink one bottle and read about it, in one of Hugh Johnson's books, in the Wine Encyclopedia. If Eric Asimov had written a column about the wine I would drink that. You can get a few bottles of a similar area--do it with friends, each of you bring a Chianti under $30 or something like that--and then try them side by side. Actually write down one line about each one. You want to get used to actually tasting. If you're in a restaurant you like sit at the bar. Ask the bartender to serve you something and try to discuss it. Get used to tasting (and analyzing) and don't worry too much about learning *everything* you really want to know what you like and then go from there. Good luck!

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You can look up Eric Asimov's "Wine Academy" or "Wine School" columns from the Times. That's helpful.

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Nick, I second the motion on reading Eric Asimov’s excellent Wine School column. I’d also suggest reading Jay McInerney’s wonderful books on wine - Bacchus and Me, The Juice, and A Hedonist in the Cellar. He’ll tell a story about a rebel winemaker, or perhaps a bitter rivalry between two neighboring vineyards. Some fine storytelling from a marvelous writer. I wish he’d continue to write more about wine. After you read an essay, you could then seek out a bottle and drink it, knowing the story behind the juice.

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Jun 10Liked by David Coggins

Hi Nick. I’m just finishing a book that I took a lot from called “Cork Dork” by Bianca Bosker. It made me a lot more comfortable with all things wine. Maybe you’ll enjoy it!

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Jun 10Liked by David Coggins

Hey Nick, this website https://winefolly.com/ and one of their books, https://shop.winefolly.com/products/the-essential-guide-to-wine , would make for a great start. Very approachable way to wine!

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Jun 10Liked by David Coggins

I took a WSET class maybe two years ago and found it really helpful - Michael had mentioned them in an article a few years ago, I think!

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An easy place to start is with the food that you love. Pasta, fish, steak — whatever it is — research grapes that generally pair well with the specific dishes that you like. And give those wines a try. That really helped me figure out what I like most because I was able to experience different permutations of the same grape across different geographies and vintages. Once you start to see patterns with your initial preferences, you can apply those patterns to selecting new grapes and bottles. For example, you might discover that you like high acidity, lower alcohol wines, and knowing that will help you select an unfamiliar bottle on any wine list or in a wine store.

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Good morning, David

Thanks for taking questions! So, like you, I often finish off my outfit with a hat. In fact I don't feel fully dressed without one. Also like you, I like a hat with character. Here's my question: how do you tell it's time to retire a well-loved hat? At what point does the wear and tear progress from "worn-in" to "worn-out"?

Side question, how many years of wear do you typically get out of your hats? I'm thinking of upping my game with a beaver hat, but unsure if it's worth it.

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I have a Stetson, Chris, that finally just lost its shape completely. It's basically flat and can't be worn (which is sad because I loved it destroyed). That will not happen to a good beaver hat. I love how my Wellema hats have aged. And I can't imagine them losing the shape completely. Having said that when they lose the shape I don't wear them as formally as before, they become fishing hats or something like that.

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Jun 10Liked by David Coggins

Thanks for the advice! I'm eying the Angler from Wellema - this really helps with the decision.

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Well you know I endorse that!

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Scotland in September. Unfortunately, there will be no time for Salmon fishing this go 'round. I am however looking forward to a drink at the "The Oxford Bar". Are there any other reasonably accessible places you'd recommend in Edinburgh, Oban, Skye or Inverness? It could be restaurants, pubs, bookstores, shops or the like (I'm already gonna try to swing by Campbell's). Thanks and loving The Believer! Got my personalized signed copy from Three Lives. A treasure of a book!

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Thanks, Timothy! Well Campbell's is really the move and it's on your list already but that is truly the priority and an all-time place. You might try Kay's in Edinburgh, recommended by Ruaridh (who is on this Q&A somewhere) which is a great pub. And I'd look into Stewart Christie, a traditional tailor. You might find something there. Good luck!

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Hi David. Is there one jacket that you would recommend over the rest to get you through the hot summer months in NYC? Not for work but for wandering out in the city, going for dinner etc.

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Hi Frank, I have a linen suit made by Jake Mueser that I wear all the time in the summer. Any linen sport coat is a good option. And you can basically live in it. Don't mind the wrinkles. If you're not into that then maybe a linen chore coat.

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Hey David, I got a €500 Drake's giftcard for my 30th birthday. I can't make up my mind wether to get a scarf (will I actually wear it?) or a chore jacket (is it really worth €800)? I currently own one OCBD by Drake's, could also just get one or two others. So many options! What do you think would be the smartest purchase?

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I would get something that feels like an indulgence but that you wear all the time. So a chore jacket. They're expensive for sure, but they make the best one. You'll end up living in that thing. Good luck!

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I have a tobacco cord one and use it as my go to for nearly everything. Looks better with age.

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It’s been a longtime goal of mine to have fly fishing in my life… medical school and residency and training, family and kids have pushed it down the road but FINALLY this summer I’m taking some lessons and heading out on the guided trip on some of the rivers in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. Since I’m in the early stages and doing everything with guides and lessons they obviously provide most of the real gear but any basic advice on some basic things to buy clothing wise?

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Hi Michael, well this is exciting. I would ask the guides if you're going to get out and wade, in which case you certainly need waders, which they can probably also rent. In a boat when I'm not wading I wear lightweight clothes that are in the khaki family. I have a waterproof duffle bag for things I might need, rain jacket, water bottle, etc. But I would try to wait as long as you can before buying gear. Once you're with a guide a few times you'll have a better sense of the fishing you'll be doing and of what you need. Then you can get a rod/reel and waders/boots, which are the main investments. Good luck!

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