Friday, February 17, 2012
I spent some time on the Frank Sinatra website the other day, in good part because I envy the quality of the style-related writing there. I had not visited for a while, but happened across an older ASW post called Arching The Necktie that featured a photo of Ol' Blue Eyes with his tie properly curved, and that sent me on my way.
Now an arch like the one sported by the tie in the photograph tends to be a transient thing unless it is supported by either collar pin or tab and who wears those any longer other than the occasional clothing hobbyist. But that does not mean we should not strive to be well presented. Sinatra himself was always well, if a bit flashily, turned out and men other than the most sober pillars of the establishment could do a lot worse than to use him as a model. The slightly too jaunty hats, mohair suits and orange pocket squares might not be a good image for the man who manages your money, but if we saw the normal twenty-first century celebrity in them we would give him props.
Sinatra of course purchased his own clothes, and the men who made them at Dunhill Tailors and the like knew what they were about. Unfortunately, the changes associated with celebrity these past couple of decades have hurt how we dress as a society. Tom Ford and his peers have done many good things but the distribution of badly fitted clothing for celebrities to wear to high profile events is not one of them. Jacket sleeves hanging down to the knuckles and trousers puddled on shoes do nothing for the athlete or actor and even less for the publicity seeking brand that should know better. After he or she watches a few awards shows it is hard to blame the department store salesperson who sends customers out into the street looking as though they stole their clothing off the rack.
That said, once they achieve success many celebrities learn how to dress. For example, when he first became a public figure Colin Firth attended an awards show or two in apparently unaltered clothing. Then there was a year or so when he appeared in what seemed to be the same set of properly fitted dinner clothes, and I speculate they were his first, at several consecutive events (nothing wrong with that either). Lately his photos show a man who combines fit and variety in his clothing. Good for him.
In the photo, a gray worsted jacket worn with a pink shirt, paisley madder square and that silk bouclé necktie with the palest of pink grounds.