The basic necktie is purchased off the shelf as it were. I see something that will complement my new suit and I buy it.
The step after that is to think about things that are not on the shelf, perhaps in a length that's better suited to my body or a width that agrees with my taste. But that's only the beginning.
The obsessed among us think in terms of pocket squares that complement, but do not match, the necktie. Which may have tipping or a keeper from the same cloth as the suit it's to be worn with. Not to mention compatible braces.
In New York, obsessed men like these have probably already found John Kochis Custom Designs (no web site).
And once they've found Kochis, a man's wishes are the only limitation on the details of the neckties, bow ties, braces, cummerbunds, ascots and scarves he can command, in silk, cotton, linen, cashmere and wool. There are thousands of fabrics from which to choose, and an infinite variety of things that can be made from them.
It's best to have an idea of what one seeks before making an appointment.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I spent Wednesday afternoon walking around Manhattan and dropped into 9 East 53d Street with a friend to visit bespoke tailor Leonard Logsdail (no web site). A transplanted Londoner, Logsdail has been offering New Yorkers a Savile Row styled suit (many of them cut and sewn in England) since 1991.
Logsdail's use of remote Savile Row tailors pioneered a system similar to the one London's Kilgour uses today to make bespoke suits in China. The pattern is made near the customer and sent to the tailors, wherever they may be. Garments are returned needing only minor finishing.
The advantage of this system is that the work can be done where the skilled tailors reside, a considerable advantage for recruiting and training compared to firms like Oxxford whose staffing strategy relies on relocating tailors thousands of miles to higher cost locations.
It makes a lot of sense to me that the garment should travel instead of the customer. And if the results are consistently as good as the tartan smoking jacket in the photo, bespoke customers everywhere may owe Mr. Logsdail a debt of gratitude.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Some may disagree but if a man needs only one set of evening clothes for the fall season I think the midnight blue four button double breasted dinner jacket with black grosgrain facings is the semi-formal style to choose.
All things being relative, the double breasted is the informal approach to black tie. Less stiff than its single breasted, waistcoated relation it looks good with either peak or shawl lapels and an unstarched pleated shirt with a turn-down collar. Woolen merchant H. Lesser offers a 12 ounce midnight blue barathea that's just about perfect for tycoons and those who wish to look like them.
The opera diva is an optional accessory that can add considerably to the evening experience.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Tony Gaziano was in San Francisco yesterday representing Gaziano & Girling, the Northampton maker of high quality bespoke and, an even greater achievement in my opinion, what may be the world's best machine-made shoes.
Remarkably for a small firm, the company spent two months retooling production earlier this year to further refine the shape of the waists on its made to order line. It was a significant investment but G&G are now making the only machine-made shoes I've seen with a shape that's as elegant as many bespoke shoes.
The retooling meant that G&G's quoted five month order time extended by as much as six weeks, but they are once again reducing their backlog and expect to be back to normal sometime in December. Fortunately, the shoes that are being delivered later than promised have the new shape. That includes the first deliveries of the Suitable City Shoe (see A Semi-Formal Shoe for Day Wear).
G&G now show a range of traditional MTO shoes to complement the line-up of modern models that originally attracted attention to Tony's designs. The photo shows a Derwent blucher in dark brown suede, which combines some of the best features of each.
And with the recent strength of the dollar against the English pound, we can look forward to better prices for those slimmer waists.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I've corresponded for some time with Francesco D'Urso, a Milanese shoe lover and co-founder of the shoe company SW1 who, like me, has been looking for a rare copy of a three volume set of Apparel Arts images that was published in Italy in 1989. Francesco was surprised when a Sartorialist photo of Luca Rubinacci wearing a pair of SW1's tasselled loafers brought a wave of interest in their very tasty designs. He shouldn't have been.
SW1 offers four lines of shoes and slippers that look like what you'd expect from Milanese men who love to shop in London's St. James. The shoes, and a small range of accessories that includes some excellent knit neckties, are displayed in a good looking central Milan store that's adjacent to the Museo Poldi Pezzoli art museum.
I particularly like the Vendome loafers from SW1's Grandi Maestri Italiani line, but they weren't in stock in my size recently and it was summer casuals that I needed anyway. So I chose two pair of lightly constructed slip-ons, the Hampton model on the left and the Sloop on the right in the photo in shades of red, figuring I can wear that color with everything. The Sloop is the shoe Sr. Rubinacci is wearing in the photo that begins this story.
SW1's welted shoes are priced between 540 and 720 Euros (432 to 576 Euros ex VAT, or $544 to $726) and the Blake constructed versions like mine are 350 Euros (280 Euros ex VAT, or approximately $350 a pair).
To paraphrase the Michelin Guide, SW1 is worth a visit. But they know how to ship as well.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The American presidential elections are November 4. Whatever one may think of one or both candidates, it's important to participate.
A Suitable Wardrobe asks only that readers set a good example at their polling place, like the gentlemen in the illustration. A temperature around fifty (10 C) calls for a light topcoat over a suit, and neither a hat nor a silk scarf would be out of place.
Vote. And do it stylishly.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here's a jacket from the lightweight 10.5 ounce Shetland tweed that several readers joined me in purchasing a few months ago.
The coat still needs sleeve buttons but is otherwise ready to go. It's a three button with patch and flap bellows side pockets and a throat latch that will pair well with cotton drill trousers as well as tan or cream gabardines on dressier occasions.
I expect to have photos of the second lightweight tweed commission, a brown twill with blue and white overchecks, next month.
Friday, October 24, 2008
It's designed for the heat but I'd never been comfortable with the transparency of shirts made from cotton voile until recently. We've had a heat wave in San Francisco this past week, and that's given me opportunity to test what the weaver Tessitura Monti calls its textured voile shirting.
Viewed up close, the cloth looks like a high twist fresco of some sort, and it feels similar to one to the touch. On my body and in a breeze it almost feels as though there's nothing there, but the cloth's not transparent. That means I don't need to be concerned about ladies fainting at the sight of my manly chest unless I decide to emulate one of my irregular luncheon companions and deliberately undo several buttons. Not that I would mind you.
Summer may be over but after one wearing I ordered another of these so I'll be ready for a winter vacation. $165 made to measure at mytailor.com. And thanks to Joe Hemrajani for introducing me to the stuff.
Better late (in the season) than never.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Thomas Mahon of English Cut was in town this week and he brought sunny days with him as well as a chalk striped Minnis 9/10 ounce fresco double breasted that will be light as a summer breeze when it's ready. It'll be quarter lined with Emerzine for coolness and, as these things go, will no doubt be complete just as the iciest gales of winter arrive.
The prospect of the wait was nothing compared to the relief I felt when I saw the cloth. I'd had a pair of lighter eight ounce fresco made into trousers this summer and I've been disappointed with the way the stuff keeps its shape (it doesn't). Fortunately, the 9/10 doesn't have that problem.
Of course, there's cloth and then there's tailoring. This particular pair of trousers needs less work than the jacket, which isn't suprising since the jacket is much more complex. And I expect that the whole thing will take three more months. That's because each stage always has taken about the same time in the past, and also because Thomas says orders this trip have so far shown no sign of a downturn.
I will admit that my own attitude towards our economic prospects was buoyed considerably by the $1.60 English pound. That's a 20% improvement since Spring, which is every bit as nice as the unseasonably warm weather we're having this week. And I'm looking forward to having just the suit for it.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
As some readers have surely concluded from the Foster mentions this past week, shoemaker WS Foster is on tour in the United States last week and this one.
Photo: von Span
The company is showing new made to order models that are worth a look. For one thing, they're only available at the Jermyn Street store or on tour, which means that the well shod Foster customer isn't likely to see himself coming and going any time soon.
Photo: von Span
For another, this particular series of MTO shoes, made to Northampton's highest standards, is $757 a pair (£447) ex VAT and compares favorably to shoes retailing for $1,100.
Sarah Adlam and Emma Lakin are in New York tomorrow or Thursday and Friday in Washington.
New York: The Barclay, 111 East 48th Street Tel: 212 755 5900
Washington: The University Club, 1135 16th St. (NW) Tel: 202 862 8800
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
When money gets tight, shirtmakers find themselves replacing a lot of collars and cuffs. You see, the visible edges of a shirt are the first things to show wear, and they can be replaced for a relatively nominal cost that's generally less than half that of a new version of the same shirt. And voilà! For me that's another ten years of wear.
This savings is one of the many reasons why any suit-wearing man should have his shirts made for him. As a rationale it's not in the same class as having shirts that fit, or choosing from a wide selection of cloth at a cost that's no more than that of department store shirts, but it's still a respectable part of the total argument.
Of course, unlike the white shirts worn by Luca di Montezemolo of Ferrari and the men around him in the photo, colored shirtings may fade and the dyes become impossible to match. In that case, the maker will usually replace those colored collars and cuffs with white cloth. Certainly in my neighborhood this is the source of most of the shirts you see with white collars and colored shirt bodies, a look that some men are reluctant to try. To which I say that anyone over the age of thirty will never hear an uncomplimentary word unless he spends time in the wrong sort of drinking establishments and in that case I can be no help to him.
In conclusion, lest a reader be tempted to think that this practice is somehow beneath him, I can state that many of the world's wealthiest men have worn collars and cuffs replaced to help preserve their fortunes. Particularly in times like these.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Of all the bespoke arts, shoes are the greatest luxury to my mind. The fit is better than that of machine-made shoes, though for most men the improvements are marginal. But, though their beauty often isn't obvious until an observer is within six feet, the best of them, like these bespoke slipons from WS Foster, are as handsome on a man as the finest jewelry is on a woman.
Most of the bespoke English shoemakers are on their semi-annual U.S. tours now, and I can think of few activities so visually rewarding for men interested in clothes as twenty minutes at one of the trunk shows.
The danger, of course, is that, once on a man's feet, luxury may quickly become necessity.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Men who wisely spend their money on welted shoes, where the sole is sewn to the upper, can be more frugal than men who purchase fashion-oriented versions with glued soles (Gucci and its ilk come to mind here). When a shoe with a glued sole has worn through the bottom, the shoe has reached the end of its life and there's nothing left to do but dispose of it responsibly. Welted shoes, on the other hand, can have the soles replaced for a charge that's modest compared to the cost of a new pair. And that's an advantage in economically challenging times.
The relative ubiquity of shoe repair shops aside, welted shoes should be returned to their makers for the serious work of re-soling.
When shoes are returned to their maker, the re-soling process usually includes a new sock liner, minor repairs to the upper and a good polishing. But those are the icing and the cake itself is removal and replacement of the heels and then the soles, a process that should always occur on the last that was used to make the shoe originally (that's the last that WS Foster used to make shoes for Franklin Delanor Roosevelt in the photo). If a generic last is used the shoes will be a different shape, and perhaps a different fit, when they are returned to their owner.
A pair of re-soled shoes is good for a second lifetime, and with the benefit of years of patina, at a fraction of the cost of new shoes. Foster, for example, charges $260 (£150) to restore a pair of its machine-made shoes and $433 (£250) for bespoke.
That's shoe frugality.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
The rather haphazardly arranged pocket square in the photo sits in the jacket of Aristotle Onassis, the late Greek shipowner who was one of the biggest personalities of the twentieth century.
Known for wearing white shirts and black neckties with his double breasted suits, Onassis demonstrates that a confident man doesn't need to spend much time arranging the look of his square.
Just stuff it in.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Continuing the discussion of a few days ago regarding the wearing of strong patterns, here's a well-known photo of the late style icon the Duke of Windsor wearing a prominent check at his country house in France.
The lesson here, in my opinion, is how the shirt and necktie mirror the suit's overcheck, and the pocket square repeats both the suit's ground color and the check. The result is as subdued as such a bold pattern can be.
If the shirt and necktie introduced new colors, even colors generally considered compatible with navy blue, the ensemble might well have looked like a circus suit. Instead, it's powerful and restrained at the same time.
Truly, dressing as an art form.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The shirt in today's photo has orange stripes that are, if anything, more aggressive than the photo makes them out to be. And that's the point really. As the Jermyn Street shirtmakers have tried to teach us, bright color can be an effective accent in a man's professional dress provided that he doesn't get carried away.
In this case, the bold stripes are toned down by surrounding them in dark blue, including a dark oxford weave necktie. And the white Hermes pocket square has just a touch of orange for balance.
Put color in context.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Flannel is my favorite city suiting for fall, because the flannel wearer can be anything from flâneur to professional. That's not true of tweed, which at its most formal classifies its wearers as academic rather than executive, nor of worsted, which usually needs a light color to avoid automatic classification as work day garb.
Furthermore, I like flannel best when it's worn with a cashmere necktie. That's because both fabrics have a soft, nappy finish that complement a royal oxford shirt and a silk pocket square like the ones in the photo. The combination weights the scales away from the work-a-day, but not too far away.
I'll admit that a white shirt whould not have been my normal choice, but my shirt drawer organization is haphazard at best on most days and that's not going to change because I don't have space to hang the things. I unfolded this one early last summer thinking it was linen, and it's been waiting ever since for a day I could wear it.
And there we were.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
A cold front blew down from Canada this past weekend and Saturday was the first day I found cool enough to wear tweed around San Francisco. Tweed is a relatively loose weave and the gun club patterned jacket in the photo is only partially lined so it can be worn comfortably up to about 70 F (21 C) even though the cloth weighs 18 ounces.
Gun club tweeds are variations on the Shepherd Check, which in black and white was the original tweed pattern. According to E. P. Harrison's book Scottish Estate Tweeds, the basic gun club design was exported to an American shooting club in the 1870s for their club colors and then re-exported back to Britain.
The jacket is combined with old slip-on Peal shoes from Brooks Brothers, wide wale navy corduroy trousers, an ecru silk shirt, a paisley ascot and a silk pocket square in a second paisley. If I wanted to dress the jacket up a bit I'd substitute flannels for the corduroys and don a necktie.
Monday, October 13, 2008
It was once common to see well dressed men in strongly patterned suits but by today's "Don't take a chance or it won't sell at retail" standard this blue flannel is pretty bold. Improperly accessorized, the suit could easily look as though it's wearing me. I want to be able to walk down the street without turning heads, a trick that will require melding the pattern into the rest of the day's clothes.
A successful blend combines elements of dress so that none of them stands out. Each element in an ensemble must relate to the other so that the viewer's eye keeps moving and doesn't linger on the suit. In this case, that calls for a solid necktie in similar tones, a complementary shirting, and inconspicuous shoes.
The blue-gray twill necktie and gray on white striped shirt that I wore to the fitting is a reasonable start to the process of determining which combinations are going to work together. It's still too warm for winter-weight flannel during the day here but I'll be experimenting with slate blue grenadine and marine blue satin ties worn with light blue shirts as soon as the temperature permits. The twill necktie in the photo gives me cause to believe that the sheen of satin should be especially effective.
Photo: Von Span
But before I begin I need to throw the suit itself against the wall a few times to get some of the stiffness out of it. Heavy cloth takes a while to mold itself to the body and though the pattern may be strong, as Fred Astaire said, "You have to teach it who's boss."
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Visiting season began in late September when George Cleverley came to town, and there'll be one or more tailors or cordwainers making their semi-annual appearance in San Francisco every week during October.
The first visit that had an impact on my own wardrobe was that of Peter Harvey last week. Peter is a lovely fellow and the remaining partner of Fallan & Harvey, my not-quite Savile Row tailors located a block over on London's Sackville Street. They're so low profile they don't even have a web site.
I met Peter this time in the company of Jeff von Spangenberg, who I am pleased to write will be endeavoring to improve the quality of the photos in some of these essays, beginning with the ones in this post.
Photo: Von Span
The fourth member of our party was the blue flannel suit that was Peter's perfectly executed spring commission. The cloth is a 14 ounce flannel from Fox Flannel that was the first, or one of them, London Lounge Cloth Club offering. It's made up as a three button jacket with the lapels rolling to 2.5 and a double breasted vest with shawl lapels.
The strong pattern poses some challenges for wear and I'll have more to say about about those tomorrow.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Having occasion to think about blazer buttons the other day, it occurred to me that we could use more men who don't settle for brass. Oh, there are a fair number who opt for brown, and they are to be commended for their originality. Brown buttons turn the blazer into an odd jacket and make it wearable in situations where a metal buttoned coat might be over the top.
There is also the mother of pearl option, which is particularly appropriate for lightweight coats aimed at spring and summer. And, of course, solid gold as well as gilt. Personally, I think the solid gold versions too heavy as well as too tempting for the staff at the dry cleaner but gilt is a better version of brass that doesn't tarnish.
I've also seen at least one Frenchman wearing a navy coat with navy buttons. He was from an old aristocratic family which presumeably entitled him to do as he pleased and I will admit that I copied him on my next double breasted. The look may be too close to an orphaned suit jacket for some but I like it better than plain blue enamel like the center button in the photo.
Finally, so far as I know, there is the choice I made for next season's jacket, a polished sterling silver.
Any or all of the metal buttons may be engraved and/or enamelled with a symbol or coat of arms to which one has some attachment, such as fishing, golf or secret societies. The late Duke of Windsor enjoyed this practice on a number of his jackets and even some suits, but then he was born belonging to so many organizations that he probably couldn't fit all the requisite neckties on his rack and had to make other arrangements.
Irrespective of material, I think blazer buttons should have some symmetry. Three button coats and DBs with six on the front look balanced with three buttons on the sleeve. And two button jackets, or DBs with four buttons on the front, look better to my eye with two on the sleeves.
And, by the way, a man looking to refresh his look without too much expense should consider changing out the buttons on his blazer. It's an investment that pays dividends for a long time as the buttons can be moved to another coat when the current one needs replacement. Find them at Ben Silver in the U.S. or Benson & Clegg in Britain.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I found an old friend the other day. The current trend towards narrower neckties called for a visit to my long term storage drawer and there I unearthed the 3.25" (8.5 cm) wide gummed silk in the photo that I had put away to wait for its next time in the sun.
Quality neckties don't wear out if they're rolled up and kept in a dark insect-free place so it's only sensible to store them when their width is no longer in fashion. The name on this one's label is Mark Cross, a defunct leather goods chain that was the family firm of Gerald Murphy of Living Well is the Best Revenge fame.
Neckties have grown wider and narrower on a cycle of thirty years or thereabouts, and that's likely to continue as long as men continue to wear the things. On that same visit to storage I took out three ties from Sulka, another legendary source for great clothing, and added them to my rotation as well.
Into the depths went half a dozen Borelli cashmeres. I've never stored Italian ties before, which is probably a statement of some kind but I'm not certain what to make of it.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Most of us would find many of the clothes Apparel Arts thought of as summer wear years ago just too heavy for the heat these days, but those same things would be great for sunny days in the spring and fall. Take, for example, this dashing combination of a brown gabardine jacket and gray and white flannel trousers. Replace the white bucks with saddle shoes and the boater with a felt hat and step out on a shoulder season afternoon. It's two twists on items that are useful separately and just different enough so a wearer won't see himself coming and going.
I wonder how many readers would like to join me in a cloth commission for two of England's greatest mills to bring this look to life? The jacketing would be brown gabardine, and the trouser cloth a lightweight flannel that will appear pearl gray from a few feet away. The cost would be a total of $600 for coat and trouser lengths (2.5 meters of gabardine and two meters of flannel).
An order will require something in excess half a dozen participants. Email me if interested. I'll have swatch samples in ten days or thereabouts.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Hardy Amies, the late menswear designer from whom I have borrowed quite a bit (with no intention of returning any of it), once wrote about white linen trousers that "there is nothing more comfortable to wear or pleasant to see than these." I think that thought extends equally to cream colored wool trousers, whether venetian, gabardine or flannel, and this year Ralph Lauren is on the same page, with quite a few cream trousers in his spring 2009 collection.
Wool trousers generally are classified as cream rather than white as the oil in the wool inclines them towards that shade over time whether we want that or not. I like them for the sunny days of late spring and early fall (winter white is a different story that we are not telling today). Pair them with blue odd jackets of course, either the Tom Wolfian version in the photo or more mainstream offerings. They also work well with lightweight tweeds that have some white in the weave.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
London's Favourbrook is a reliable source for off the shelf odd waistcoats, and that's where I picked up the yellow one that's almost in the photo some years ago. For those seeking something more visible, the company's web site offers a range of less sedate choices.
Use the bit of extra warmth from an odd waistcoat to extend the season for lightweight jackets. On display is a ten ounce worsted coat with navy buttons (brass might have been garish combined with the waistcoat) that needed some help on a fall morning. It's paired with gray flannels, brogued bluchers, a glen check pocket square and a gray and purple striped cashmere necktie.
Monday, October 6, 2008
It's felt season once again, and this season's hat is Art Fawcett's version of a cavalier model in lightweight brown beaver felt. The cavaliers I'd seen in old Apparel Arts illustrations were small floppy hats, and, sure enough, Art's implementation is a smaller-than-his-usual-scale fedora with an unbound brim that should curl nicely over time.
Walking down the street doesn't really call for a hat unless there's a light rain in the forecast (as there was last week) but they are also very handy in an open topped car. I have probably written before that when the sun's high in the sky a hat brim is better than sunglasses for shading the eyes. And when the fog precipitates raindrops, beaver holds up better than other felts.
Like the rest of the day's clothes, hats should be compatible with but not match, and a wardrobe with brown, blue, gray and black hats gives a man the variety he needs to not match in any situation. On the day of the photo I was not matching my chestnut shoes.
And that's the hat for the season.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
More than just medicinal marijuana comes out of California's far north and that would include what Robb Report called the world's best liquor when it chose Germain-Robin's Select Barrel XO brandy over bottles priced ten times higher.
Now I'm not enough of an expert to be able to evaluate the claim, but I do know that the XO is awfully good stuff despite its position as only second from the top of the Germain-Robin line. Indeed, the top position is occupied by its $350 Anno Domini brandy, which was received with ho-hum statements like "one of the five cognacs of the century."
Happily, the XO is more affordable, so ordinary mortals who still have some of last year's bonus stashed away may consider it to counterbalance concerns that their check may be smaller this year. Retail is $120 a bottle and not unreasonable at that, but a little searching should find it for less than $90. That's only a bit more than half of the price of Hine XO, for example, and I haven't met anyone who has tasted the G-R and would go back to the Hine (I admit that I know no members of the Hine family).
Germain-Robin's claim to fame is that the grapes that go into its XO are premium varietals, 80% of them California Pinot Noir. According to the company, no other producer starts with grapes of this quality. The grapes are distilled in an antique cognac still and then aged for a decade in Limousin oak barrels.
None of this will be surprising to Germain-Robin fans, who already know that anything offered by the company is likely to be best in its class. Don't even let me get started on their apple brandy...
Saturday, October 4, 2008
"The essential qualifications for good fitting trousers, are a proper stride and a correct draft. These two are absolutely necessary - the one for the comfort in wear, and the other for elegance in appearance. In many respects they are dependent one on the other, although not entirely so, since a pair of trousers may hang with perfect freedom and grace, and at the same time be so crippled at the stride as to be almost unwearable; while, on the other hand, they may fit with entire comfort at the fork, and yet be altogether deficient in correct draft.
The stride and draft combined, are to the trousers what the balance is to the coat..."
Friday, October 3, 2008
The sweet white peaches of summer have disappeared from our Northern California stores recently, and in the past that's meant the end of Bellini season. The product of white peach puree and Prosecco (that's an Italian sparking wine), the Bellini was invented at Harry's Bar in Venice and is the best and highest use of the white peach so far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately it was a highly seasonal pleasure, or at least it was until last week when I stumbled across The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley, a company that makes a frozen white peach puree that works better than anything I've made myself.
Now both the peach puree and the Prosecco (the Venetians frown on those who use champagne) aren't the kind of thing that's on the shelf at your neighborhood store unless you live in a very unusual neighborhood. But neither is difficult to get, at least not where I live. If you don't think you need Perfect Puree's minimum order of six cans (about 96 drinks) that have to be kept frozen, Amazon has it by the single can for $22.50 apiece or about $1.50 per drink. And I get Prosecco dropped off at my office by the delivery guy for K&L Wine Merchants (I've been using Vettori Prosecco di Conegliano Extra Dry at $16 a bottle).
Nothing could be simpler to make once you have the ingredients. Pour one part peach puree into a chilled flute and add two parts Prosecco. Stir gently. Add an optional raspberry for color and serve on any day that the sun is shining.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
After disparaging tweed overcoats for cold weather travel yesterday, let us consider a suitable alternative.
The illustration, from a 1935 Esquire, shows a single breasted peak lapelled fly front topcoat in a gray herringbone weave for city wear (J&J Minnis have a nice 18 ounce version of the cloth here). It's worn by a young ne'er do well but that shouldn't stop men who are constructively employed. And, by the way, for those who may be wondering, a fly front means the buttons down the front are covered by a flap of cloth.
A topcoat like this one can be worn just about anywhere short of a bitter cold day in Moscow. Don it over a blue worsted suit and it's correct in the stodgiest office lobby. Or throw it on over flannel trousers and yesterday's tweed jacket to stand in line for a cab at the airport. Said another way, gray herringbone is among the most versatile dress coats a man can own and wouldn't be out of place as his wardrobe's go-to covering, assuming he's already got a raincoat with a zip-out lining.
Truly a better coat, for travel or other pursuits.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Savile Row tailor Richard Anderson is known for its tweed. And in the Northern hemisphere one of these October days will begin the time for tweed, which makes it a fair topic for discussion I should think. Tweed, that is. Not that Richard Anderson wouldn't also be a worthy topic.
It used to be that one of Anderson's specialties, the tweed overcoat, was considered just the thing for travel but I don't think that applies today. Most travel is between two city pairs, and takes place in heated conveyances. Tweed, on the other hand, is a country fabric and most tweed coats are intended to let the wearer survive an afternoon in the freezing open air. There's a disconnect between tweed and travel overcoats, in my opinion.
No, where tweed fits in perfectly is for odd jackets intended for suburban or rural wear. And the man who is considering one should think about a double breasted version like the jacket in the photo. Flapped pockets, double vents and the classic six button closing make for a handsome coat when the cloth is a nicely checked Cheviot, and it's something that you won't see on every other man on the street.
The DB tweed odd jacket also makes considerably more sense for modern travel than its overcoat relation. Dressy enough for any journey without a meeting at the end of it, the tweed DB is wrinkle resistant as well as warm enough to keep a man comfortable outdoors without an overcoat in anything short of a winter gale.
It's really an excellent choice.