Wednesday, April 18, 2012
There are few occasions that call for formal day wear any longer. In the United Kingdom of course, it is worn with some frequency: on Easter Sunday, to weddings and funerals, to work by certain bank managers and, for some reason that has never been explained to me, to the races. In the United States it is still seen at the Supreme Court, a minuscule proportion of weddings and that is about it. Given that weddings and funerals occur perhaps twice before we gain or lose twenty pounds, owning the stuff in America would seem prohibitively expensive on a cost per wear basis.
There is however another way to think about it. The classic day wear combination consists of black shoes, striped or checked trousers, linen waistcoat and cut-away coat. A conventional jacket can be substituted for the cutaway however and, when that jacket is double breasted, the waistcoat done away with. When trousers and jacket are worn together, as they are in the Esquire illustration, the semi-formal (in the same way that the dinner jacket is a semi-formal version of a tailcoat) combination is called a stroller. But together is not the only way to wear the components. Paired with gray flannel trousers, the jacket is simply a dressy black blazer that if anything is easier to wear during the work week than the usual navy blue. And the checked trousers can be worn separately with a variety of solid jackets (this is less true for stripes and is a good reason to choose checks instead). Then when an appropriate occasion does arise, the two pieces can simply be re-united.
This reasoning occurs to me because I wore my black jacket out a couple of years ago and have been procrastinating about a replacement. But I do need another city odd jacket and this time I think I am going to kill two metaphorical birds with one metaphorical stone.