James Bond has a new look in the coming film Quantum of Solace.
I approve of what I've seen so far, though the shoulders on that blazer are a bit strong. The clothes seem truer to the original to me. The three piece suit Craig wore in the final scene of his first Bond film seemed made for another man.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
My candidates for the best dressed men in the apparel business tend to be Italian. Mind you, Italian dressing is often over the top for my taste. But one man who always looks good is Luciano Barbera, nattily dressed in the photo for a weekend afternoon. Suede shoes (probably chukkas), flannel trousers and an odd jacket with patch pockets in a classic palette of browns, blues, gray, and green.
The pièce de résistance is the pocket square. It relates to nothing else. And yet it does. Brilliant.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I've written before that I like satin neckties for evening. The combination of a well cut navy or midnight blue suit, a white shirt and a red, light blue or gold satin tie is about as elegant as a man can get without his dinner jacket.
In the photo, Lorenzo Cifonelli (of the Parisian tailoring family) does justice to the look. Though I'd like to think that there's a bit of white linen in his breast pocket that's just fallen out of sight.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I came across this image of a model wearing Borsalino's "Cobra" hat the other day. The hat is one of those unfortunate creations with the maker's label on the band (it's barely visible in the photo). Too bad. If they'd tucked the silk square a little further into the guy's pocket and put a Milan style straw on his head he'd have looked rather dapper (it's a black suit but it's striped which makes it OK in my book).
As it is, it's not quite right.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
In a comment some time ago, you noted there were a half dozen excellent bespoke tailors in the United States, but you only named Chris Despos in Chicago. Since that time, I have often wondered who the other five are. Please name them.
There are hundreds of tailors in the U.S. that will make a suit. Only a handful can make one to the best standards. Off the top of my head, in addition to Despos there's Jack Taylor in Beverly Hills and Cheo, Nino Corvato, Leonard Logsdail, Vincent Nicolosi, and William Fioravanti in Manhattan. I'm sure I'm overlooking a couple.
Image courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I tried on a pair of Mephisto walking shoes once. They were very comfortable and I took a closer look. That was as far as it got. There on the side of the shoe was a label with the maker's name. On the outside of the shoe, mind you. Just look on the heel on the right side of the photo.
So let's get one thing straight right off the bat. As far as I'm concerned, external labels of the sort found on certain brands of shoes and hats are not venial sins. They're mortal. Unforgiveable, you'll-never-lunch-at-the-Four-Seasons-again class sins. The venial sort is the alligator or polo player logo on polo shirt type, like the one on Ralph Lauren's shirt in the photo below.
Now, in tolerating these I'm probably being generous, as those little icons were the first step down the road to the man-as-walking-billboard wear we see around us today. And I need to be clear that I don't possess a single one of those logo'd shirts so I hold the moral high high ground in any debate. But I consider them a minor sin. After all, if I took them more seriously I'd never find anyone to play golf with.
Don't even get me started on those neckties with the maker's logo woven in.
Friday, January 25, 2008
On the list of mortal sartorial sins the unsightly flash of bare leg between trouser bottom and socks is always near the top. Belt buckle bulge under a vest is high on the list as well, along with matching necktie and pocket square sets. But what of the smaller sins? This essay begins an occasional series on venial, or forgivable, transgressions.
One sin that I've never understood is the practice of leaving one or even two of one's jacket sleeve buttons unbuttoned in order to show the world that they really work. Of course, this has the opposite effect. Men who see those sloppy sleeves justifiably wonder whether the wearer has a closet full of jackets with buttons that are just sewn on.
When struck by the urge to undo a jacket sleeve button, walk quickly to a large public men's room. Unbutton and roll up your sleeves and wash your hands. Then dry your hands and button the sleeves again. You'll demonstrate that your sleeve buttons work to many men without embarrassing yourself and after a few repetitions the urges will cease.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I've always wondered how it came to be that the English close their shirt cuffs with cufflinks while the Italians and most of the Americans use buttons.
Curiosity aside, I like the informality of buttons with odd jackets and weekend suits and the dressed-up look of cufflinks with a city suit. The only knock on links is that they cost more than shirt buttons, but that shouldn't be too much of an obstacle. One good pair is all that's required for every day wear. After all, no-one notices if we wear white plastic buttons on our shirt cuffs every day.
If a man has but one pair, I think it should be gold and double-sided, with the two sides joined by a small chain. I've seen antique 14kt machine-turned versions on eBay for about $100 a pair. Of course, when money is no object, a pair that's hand engraved with your initials and family crest, like the links from the English jeweler Armour Winston in the photo, can be had for a considerably larger sum.
Another reason some men have avoided double-sided links is because they are perceived as more dificult to don than either buttons or the modern type of single sided link with a swivel on the other side. That's not true, of course. Links go into the cuffs before a man dons his shirt. The opening of a linked cuff is just large enough for a hand. Nothing could be simpler.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Travel was relatively free of wrinkling when men could wear classic 15 ounce (or heavier) tweed like the green suit in the illustration. Unfortunately, tweed is too warm for the much of the year. And most of today's year-round worsteds wrinkle like crazy when sat upon, which means they don't travel well. But there's a twisted solution out there.
Most suit cloths, particularly the lighter worsteds, are woven of yarns combed flat, which means they will bend and stay bent. But when yarns are tightly twisted together before weaving, they bounce back into shape much more quickly, because each twist acts like a spring. The combination of twist yarns and a porous weave makes for cloth that wears cool and resists wrinkling.
Traditional fresco is perhaps the best known cloth that's made with twisted yarn. Fresco (a trademark of Hunt & Winterbotham), and its relations like CrispAire from Holland and Sherry, is made by twisting a double and a single yarn together, producing a thread that, when woven into cloth, retains its shape. Which is exactly what's required when a man faces one of those days that will begin with a flight that will be followed by a meeting that's followed in turn by another flight.
Though it's usually thought of as summer cloth, heavier weight fresco can do duty most of the year. A travelling man can be impeccable all day long with a half lined charcoal gray single breasted suit made from the 14 ounce version.
Monday, January 21, 2008
It was nearly six years ago that Gabor Halmos and Andrew Harris introduced hand-made Vass shoes onto the internet forums, opening an important new market in North America for a small Budapest-based shoemaker.
Rather surprisingly, it's a new market that likes English-inspired shoes. In Hungary, 90% of Vass sales are from its 'traditional' collection of distinctive bluchers, comprised of the Budapest, Alt Wein and Theresianer models. In the United States, that percentage is reversed, with 90% of sales coming from models that originated with the company's relatively recent collaboration with Roberto Ugolini for the F and U lasts. The photos are of two new designs introduced for 2008 on those lasts.
These are really outstanding shoes. Perhaps the finish may not be up to the highest world class standards, but it's not far off. Vass construction is comparable to many bespoke shoes, the waist is better than any machine-made Northampton product and the price represents great value for the money.
Speaking of value, I don't understand a lot of the forum discussion about how to purchase Vass shoes in Europe at a savings because I don't understand where the savings are for U.S. residents. Gabor and Harris offer the line at roughly the European price (about $850) after taking duty and shipping into account. Better yet, they'll send a trial pair of oxfords to prospective customers to establish fit before the customer places an order. The average wait time is twelve weeks, the same as it is anywhere. And if there's a problem the buyer doesn't need to speak Hungarian.
There can be a few days email delay in getting a response from Gabor, who is living in Greece for a year, but I'm told that Harris is usually able to respond faster. Contact information for both of them is on the web site.
Personally, I'm thinking about a pair of Old English II semi-brogues in oxblood, on the F last.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
What is a 3 roll 2 jacket?
That's shorthand for a three button jacket with lapels that roll to the middle button. That's why you can see the (unusable) top buttonhole on the reverse side of the lapel, like the jackets on the suit and stroller wearing men in the illustration.
On a 3 roll 2.5, the buttonhole is hidden by the lapel roll. It's also never buttoned. Primarily an American look, I like it for odd jackets and less formal suits.
On a 3 roll top, the lapel is short as the top button can be closed. This is the classic vested suit.
As we both know, suit styles change. When buying a new suit, how long
should I expect to own it before it goes out of style?
If you are buying classic suits and not fashion items they can last indefinitely with care and reasonable wearing. I wear one or two suits that are more than a decade old every week.
I'll estimate that 400 wearings is a reasonable age for a high quality suit that's dry cleaned infrequently. So, perhaps eight or more years if a suit is worn 40-50 times a year, as it would be in a six to ten suit wardrobe where a suit is worn daily. In a thirty suit wardrobe a suit will probably outlast the wearer, as it also will when it's only worn for special occasions.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Hickey Freeman opened its third company store a few weeks ago, in the Four Seasons Hotel complex on Market Street in San Francisco. The American suit maker's new store follows two Manhattan outlets and is to be followed in turn by a Chicago location this year.
I haven't owned any HF clothing since I was a young man but I've kept a soft spot in my heart for the brand. And you can see why from the display of clothes for boys. It almost makes me wish I had a child the right age for that stuff. Almost, but not quite.
I was a little disappointed in the selection. I know the company makes some great looking tweed suitings but what was evident instead were the same racks of year-round clothing that they sell at Nieman Marcus. But I guess I can't blame them for stocking what sells, and there was a good looking seersucker in the store window.
I wish the new store well and I'll definitely be back to window shop. Turns out there's a delightful little cream puff store a few doors away that's also nice to window shop.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
American rapper Snoop Dogg and a gorgeous companion were the cover subjects of L’UOMO Vogue this past December, and looking relatively unrapper-like in two of the photos.
Thereby demonstrating that a borzoi and a walking stick go a long way towards improving the style of a would-be boulevardier.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Style icon Diego della Valle is, among other things, President and CEO of Tod's, maker of the iconic "gommino" driving shoe with 133 rubber pebbles on the sole. His signature look is comprised of Caraceni suits, the adopted idiosyncracies of L'Avvocato Gianni Agnelli (including the way he wears his watch outside his shirt sleeve and his necktie outside his vest), and a pair of his company's shoes on his feet.
I'm not sure about the shoes but the rest of him is usually impeccable.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
An older 3 roll 2 Alan Flusser suit made from a still older Hunters of Brora 15 ounce dress tweed. Worn without the vest on a dank Friday in San Francisco. Small burgundy on white check on the Turnbull & Asser shirt, pink silk pocket square (also from T&A), Nicky gold on burgundy necktie and Edward Green Rye oxfords in chestnut antique.
Hunters of Brora was a tweed mill in Northern Scotland that began operations in 1901 and enjoyed an excellent reputation. The original mill was shuttered in 1985 in response to a general decline in the European textile industry and the market's move to lighter cloth, and several attempts to re-start the business have enjoyed little success.
This make of jacket, which Flusser advertised as his Anderson & Sheppard influenced model, proved to be not very true to the original and too boxy for my taste. Like the textile market, I have moved on. But I still love this cloth.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I've had the pictured stack of Harris tweed swatches sitting in my office for a couple of years and thought it time to do something with them. So, here they are (click on the photo for a close-up that shows the colors better).
Beloved of American trads, Harris designs are relatively generic. Unlike the district checks, Harris tweed is not intended to disappear into the background "on the hill" or to identify a particular estate. This particular batch is 14 ounce (I know the tags say 7 ozs but Harris is woven on single width looms so that number is doubled to make it comparable to most cloth on the market) tweed from Harrison's of Edinburgh, in a variety of colorations. I especially like the lovat solid at the bottom but I don't know if I'll ever get around to having a jacket made from it.
Harris is distinguished as the only tweed with a brand. It's defined by law as "hand woven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the islands of Harris, Lewis, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra and their several purtenances (The Outer Hebrides) and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides."
Perhaps the biggest contribution of the Harris ecology to the world at large is not the tweed so much as the employment that the cloth provides for so much of the population of these remote islands. A substantial cottage industry of weavers works on looms at their homes to produce lengths of tweed in weights ranging from 12 ounces up to 20. While the looms are 'pedalled' by the weavers with no external power source allowed, the cloth provided to the weavers has been machine dyed and spun using methods similar to those of any other textile operation. And after the weaving is complete, bundles of cloth are collected for machine finishing at a processing center before they are sent on to be turned into all the variety of jackets, caps and other goods that the stuff is known for. The cloth is fine but the "hand woven" bit is over-hyped.
In the United States, Ben Silver among others offers a variety of ready to wear Harris tweed odd jackets (the cloth is too loosely woven for trousers) for the not terribly outrageous price of $595 each.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I regret that the attribution I gave to the above photo is incorrect. The photo is actually of Kris Van Assche's collection for Dior Homme and came from the Men's Style website. I got it from a third party. Thank you to the reader who pointed out the error.
Karl Lagerfeld, one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century, is known for absorbing culture around the clock so he can stay ahead of trends. Here, Chanel's artistic director shows that the process may have included channeling Thom Browne.
Of course, the trousers aren't really doppelgängers (a German term for one's evil twin) of Browne's work, because at least one of the models wearing them is reflected in the mirror (in folklore, doppelgängers have no reflections and cast no shadows). And the look is definitely more European than I've seen from Browne. But I'd still get a shiver down my spine if I were to pass these trousers on the street.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
His most famous character, Harry Paget Flashman, will live on but author George MacDonald Fraser, best known for resurrecting his literary anti-hero from a Victorian novel and chronicling his years of cowardice and vice, passed away January 2 of this new year at age 82. Fraser never sold movie rights and the dozen existing Flashman books may well be all we'll ever know.
Fraser's stories of Flashman's service in the British army are a politically incorrect survey of the late 19th century's hot spots. Based on "The Flashman Papers," the series was done so well that literally dozens of scholars have reviewed one book or another as factual - to the subsequent detriment of their reputations. It's one of the few times that a fictional liar, cheat and womanizer has been the center of so much attention, and Flashman's completely undeserved reputation for heroism means that his penchant for dereliction of duty is usually misinterpreted in his favor.
If you think you might enjoy a dose of tongue in cheek historical fiction and are unfamiliar with old Flashy, pick up a copy of Flashman at the Charge (1973), put on some music and sit down in your favorite chair with a glass of single malt. You'll be a while.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Earlier this week we looked at ways to store a wardrobe using reach-in closets. Reach-ins are all well and good, but it's complicated to store even a mid-sized wardrobe of forty items of tailored clothing and accessories in multiple reach-ins. By the time a man needs a fourth closet he needs to re-think. And re-thinking quickly leads him to walk-in clothes storage.
Now there are two principal types of walk-in storage: the bespoke closet and the converted bedroom. I know of at least one Manhattan bachelor whose spare bedroom is filled with clothing racks and I'll wager he's not alone. But he's missing a bet as he could store two to three times more clothing in that bedroom if he had it fitted out.
The details of a large walk-in warrant more than a blog post. At a high level of abstraction I will say that designing one is considerably simpler than carefully squeezing every bit of storage out of a reach-in. Take a bedroom sized room of 10' by 15' (three by 4.5 meters) or more, put shelves and double bar around the four walls, and build an island in the center that has a countertop for packing and under-counter drawers on two sides. Add lighting and it's done (men who insist on an easy chair and a television may have their priorities mis-placed).
According to my calculations, if the space isn't shared with another a 10' by 15' walk-in will comfortably hold a hundred suits as well as the rest of a suitably scaled wardrobe. That's comfortably into Duke of Windsor territory if not quite to the level of legends like Charles Revson of Revlon.
One point in favor of the converted bedroom approach is that it sets an important precedent. If the wardrobe eventually expands to overflow even this available space, no-one will be surprised by a plan to convert another bedroom. The kids should be grown by then anyway.
The photos are from the gallery of Southern Closet Systems.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
This essay began as an interview with Gabor Halmos, the U.S. agent for Vass Shoes of Budapest, and that interview will still appear in the future. But first I thought I'd show samples of two new offerings by Vass, the addition of ostrich and alligator hides to the product line.
Not every man appreciates the exotics. Other mens' hearts beat just a bit faster. They're not seen every day, and when they are they make a statement.
Vass is remains a tiny company of 18 craftsmen and Vass shoes continue to be entirely hand made. That means visibly more attractive waists and, on their traditional models, more interesting sole treatments.
The prices for their new offerings are exceptional. Alligator is HUF 390,000 a pair and ostrich HUF 270,000 in Budapest (tentatively $3,000 and $2,100 respectively in the United States after shipping and duty), which compares favorably to Edward Green's $5,000 crocodile offerings.
Prospective buyers should act quickly. There won't be many skins left once they hear about this in Moscow.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Until a year or two ago, I never so much as glanced at cotton pocket squares, preferring linen. That changed when I was formally introduced to pochettes from the venerable French firm of Simonnot-Godard.
The next time you're browsing the pocket squares at Alan Flusser or Paul Stuart in New York, Lanvin in Paris or Turnbull & Asser anywhere, pay attention to the cotton offerings. It's likely that the better ones are Simonnot-Godard products that were made the old fashioned way, to very high standards. Beautiful stuff. Reasonably priced as these things go. And recommended.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
UPS delivered a belated birthday present last week, a pair of Edward Green Buckinghams on the 101 last, in chestnut antique and some ecru not-quite-what-I-asked-for shade of suede.
Even though EG may be the only shoe maker on the planet that can't source white or pearl reversed buck, calf, goat or other suitable skin, I like the shoes. They are the same model that the late Duke of Windsor wore (he had at least two pair in black and white) and I'm looking forward to wearing mine in the summer.
But if I sound the slightest bit jaundiced about the color of the suede, know that this is the second time EG has accepted a spectator order from me and shipped shoes with different suede than the swatch I ordered, without saying a word. I think of it as their Made To Outrage program, a subset of the made to order service that affects nearly half of the shoes I've purchased from them these past three years. Isn't that an amazing proportion?
Anyway, as I wrote, I like the shoes. Their insouciance will work well with linen suits as well as all my summer odd jackets.
Monday, January 7, 2008
I don't know how my clothes manage to breed when I'm not looking but my sock drawers are looking over full these days and that's not the worst of it. Even with vigilant weeding, my clothes have expanded inexorably to fill every square inch available, so I thought I'd share what I've had to learn about getting the most out of perpetually inadequate clothing storage. Today I'll focus on reach-in closets, those shallow six or eight foot long spaces in most modern American bedrooms, as they are the most common.
First, the basics. The most important principle of clothes storage is that a man must be able to see what he has. In practice, that means that as little as possible should be stored in drawers. Underwear's OK, as are socks, and I haven't found a better way to store pocket squares. But shirts, jackets and trousers should be hung and shoes and knitwear placed on not-very-tall white shelves where they can be seen easily.
Good visibility requires plenty of incandescent lighting so no time is wasted wondering whether something is black or blue (flourescents don't show color accurately). Since few reach-in closets are built with lights, and incandescent bulbs can be a fire hazard in enclosed confines anyway, one good idea is to install ceiling lights angled to shine into the closet. A company named SoLux makes moderately priced closet lights (one model is pictured) that the company claims duplicates natural sunlight, but I have't tried them.
Of course, a closet's doors have to be open for that light to reach the clothes. Doors generally are a bother and the sliding version is one of the first things to upgrade. Sliding doors make it hard to access the center of the closet and always seem to be in the way generally. If doors are required at all, install folders. Killing two birds with one stone, they let the ceiling lights cover the entire space.
Once doors and lighting are handled, another useful principle is that clothes should be reachable without disrupting other clothes. Those very tall shelves minimize stacking. Seven inches is plenty of height for a pair of shoes or a sweater or two, 16" suffices for boots, and a foot at the top of the closet is the right height for hat boxes. Getting shelves in place calls for a man handy enough to install his own hardware, or one of the many closet remodel companies.
My own closets were built out by California Closets, not that it matters as there seem to be equally competent closet specialists in every city (another word of advice - I've yet to find a closet company that paints, so if you are thinking about having one re-do a closet for you, you should have them quote demolition separately from construction so you can have the closet painted after it's ready for the new shelves but before they put the new shelving in). The objective is to install all the double rack and not very tall shelves that will fit, so you can let your wardrobe expand to take advantage of them.
The drawing at the top of the post illustrates one way to fill a reach-in with shelves and hangar bars. I can't take credit for it. I found it on the Web a while ago and have forgotten where, so I can't give credit to the originator. But I thank him or her nonetheless.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
What is your opinion on the most traditional type of vest to have made as part of a conservative 3 piece suit? Previously, I have only had the standard single breasted 6 button vest. However, I have seen recent pictures and commentary on double breasted and vests with lapels.
Every style is rooted in tradition and what's correct depends on the type of suit. For country inspired clothes, like the glen check in the photo, lapels are a traditional vest detail. In the city, the single breasted vest without lapels is the least likely to draw attention on a pinstripe. And the double breasted vest increases the formality of a suit compared to the usual single breasted style. Try one with a solid charcoal or navy blue suiting.
As one of your readers who is in 'phase two' of his wardrobe I'd be interested in your opinions, the history of, and options for the following:
-Jacket Vents (one, two, none)
-Pant Cuffs (to cuff or not to cuff)
Briefly, single vented jackets came from riding coats. They don't look very good when a man puts his hands in his pockets, which is why I and most men that follow classic style prefer the double vent. Ventless jackets were the traditional option for formal wear but have the same unattractive-backside-bulge-when-hand-is-in-pocket problem as does a single vented coat. Go ventless only if you keep your hands in sight at all times.
Trousers at the turn of the 20th century were flat fronted and cuffless. Pleats were introduced during the twenties and continue to be the sign of good tailoring IMO. Pleats should be accompanied by cuffs except on formal trousers, which are always uncuffed.
The flat front came back after WWII for uniform trousers and working clothes, and the Italians brought it to dress trousers. Flat fronts are OK for younger men with washboard stomachs but should never be accompanied by cuffs unless the wearer doesn't care about history.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
"It was in the emptiness caused by this drift that the sportsmen of the richer South discovered the possibilities of the wild Highlands as a place for sport. The chieftains and old owners drifted to Edinburgh and to London and found that they could not support their old state when transplanted to the far wealthier society of the South. They found many of the nobility and gentry of the South, led by the Royal Family, willing to rent or buy their vacant mountains, moors and rivers. Thus was established a new race of masters of the Northern Lands. One of these new Ladies of the Manor, as her grandson said, was worried because she had no right to a tartan. It was the long-established duty of the Chief to clothe his retainers. There were shepherds looking after the sheep that had gradually spread throughout the Highlands, and these shepherds wore the old traditional plaids of the Borders from which they had come. Those plaids were usually four yards long and were worn wrapped around the body. In the folds a lamb or a lassie could be sheltered. These plaids were most often a small black-and-white check. Our lady saw the shepherds, and to seperate her men from the sheepmen who were not part of her family, she thought of the device of putting a scarlet check on the shepherds' plaid. In this simple way young Miss Balfour started a movement that spread right across Scotland and finally produced the great and varied series of designs we now know as our District Checks."
-Our Scottish District Checks by E. S. Harrison
Friday, January 4, 2008
A trademarked weave of Smith and Co (Woollens), Solaro is an open weave 11/12 ounce cloth that's actually heavier than most men's winter suits. It's the open weave that's important for summer wear in mild temperatures (I'm using the term summer in the English sense - Solaro would be too warm for truly scorching temperatures but that's OK as it never gets truly hot in the City) because it lets air flow through the cloth so it wears cool. Notice the red tinge to the weaves in the photo from The London Lounge)
That's because the underside of the weave is red to reflect the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Some unknown traveller first observed that natives in the tropics often used red and orange linings in their clothing to protect their skin and the idea eventually made it to Smith's, which turned it into a hard finished suiting that resists wrinkling. This photo is also from The London Lounge.
The final photo is one that I borrowed from the web site of Marc Guyot. His suit's styling is a bit extreme for my taste, but it illustrates how sunlight brings out the red threads in the cloth. It's a sophisticated look that's rooted in the past, just as I like it.
Of course, I won't be getting hacking pockets or cloth covered buttons, and I may be able to resist the lime green necktie. But I'll take the sunshine and the sea to show off my Solaro.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
This year, we celebrated New Year's Eve at our golf club's dinner-dance. Most of the men in attendance made the effort to wear black tie but I was a little surprised to see few formal shoes. More accurately, I saw only two pair, and I was wearing one of them. That represented a missed opportunity for about fifty men.
Now the advantage of patent leather shoes on a dance floor is that one's feet reflect the light as they move about, and I'm in favor of anything that makes me look lighter afoot. Silk laces and maroon silk hose are complementary.
Of course, patent leather oxfords are not the only style of evening shoe. The club dance is a low key affair, and I had been wearing green velvet slippers and a green velvet smoking jacket the past couple of years. Black calf dancing pumps with black silk bows would have been equally appropriate.
But, as I wrote, instead of formal shoes I saw a sea of black calf lace-ups on New Year's Eve. There's nothing wrong with black oxfords, especially considering the alternatives (I dread the day when black Crocs appear on the dance floor), but they are a bit dull in more ways than one. A man can easily improve his black tie look by investing a modest sum in a pair of patent leather evening shoes.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
On the Northern California coast, the cardigan sweater comes into its own on the winter golf course. I love the light gray flannel trousers and green cavalier's hat on the man putting in the illustration.
Most of all, I appreciate that his cardigan buttons rather than zips. I think zippers are fine when covered by cloth. But, rational or not, my eye just doesn't like looking at them on clothes.
Of course, that's not a problem in this mythical place where caddies wear wrap coats and neckties.