Friday, March 9, 2012
As spring approaches, it seems only right to remind ourselves of the pleasures of warmer weather. And though the track (horses, not cars) may no longer be part of our every day lives, it once played a larger role in a man's wardrobe. After all, much the same proportion of men who drive cars today owned horses once upon a time, and horse racing then was as popular as NASCAR now. That required clothing.
Horse races were the home of the racetrack suit, that louder and more colorful relation of the grays and navy blues that define professional garb. Baseball, another spectator event of springtime, is an urban sport and photographs of the 1930's show stadiums full of city suits. Horse racing on the other hand is of the country, and though city suits were perfectly acceptable at urban racecourses, tweed or tweed-like pattern was also commonplace.
All this is but an excuse to focus upon Mr. Cary Grant's racetrack dress in the photograph. Grant is so well known for his satin ties and monochromatic ensembles that few of us would have expected to see him wearing something so obviously plaid, particularly paired with light socks and tasselled slip-on shoes. But the solid shirt and necktie blend the elements together and though the angle of the photograph means the socks and tassels draw our eyes to his feet, that would not ordinarily be the case. It is a well done dandy's look that would be just as appropriate in the city today (once it warms up), for occasions like Saturday lunch and gallery hopping. Or the horse races for that matter.