There was a piece on penis warmers in one of the fashion sites that I read from time to time (how else to keep up with Karl Lagerfeld?). Penis warmers were apparently worn in the depth of Croatian winters while the predecessors to Mr. James D'Arcy in the photo were dancing the night away in London. And frankly I will choose the dancing every time despite the starched collars of evening dress.
As everyone knows, both formal and semi-formal evening dress have all but disappeared since as a culture we stopped riding horses. Or, for that matter, having dinner at a table with eight to twelve friends and acquaintances, at least one of whom would be obliged to move to the piano afterwards and entertain us with his or her singing. Pianos of course have been replaced by sound systems, and evening dress by considerably simpler clothing to the point that I found myself self-conscious wearing a smoking jacket to entertain at home the other night. My usual evening clothes these days are a white shirt, black trousers and black house shoes.
Our dress of course has evolved rapidly since animal skins became accessories rather than all we had to wear. We have gone from skins to cloth robes to tailored clothing and beyond at an accelerating pace. And despite all that, penis warmers are still knitted in Croatia. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
Photo: Tom Munro for W./E.