Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays

Here's to you and yours having a beautiful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Solstice, Voodoo Man Day, or whatever you celebrate this time of year.

I'll be spending this Christmas Eve at home with the Anthony Cumia Christmas Show and the Bryan & Vinny Christmas Show.

But here is my outfit for Christmas with my family tomorrow:
  • Gray flannel Southwick chalk-striped suit   
  • New navy Chaps tie with Christmas dogs motif (I'm hoping to pick up the green one too on after-Christmas clearance)
  • Light blue Stafford shirt with white collar and white French cuffs, linked with red and green silk knots 
  • Red cotton ribbed over-the-calf socks from Viccel 
  • Brown suede Allen-Edmonds brogues
  • Dark green Brooks Brothers Tyrolean hat
  • Tan Glen Eagles trench coat 
  • Red plaid faux cashmere scarf

Friday, December 4, 2015

Knowledge: Christmas Ties

I love a festive Christmas tie this time of the year. 

However, to be tasteful, the motif should be discreet, in the vein of "club" ties with small, repeating patterns of things like dogs or tennis rackets that can be worn all year. 

This Tommy Hilfiger tie from my own wardrobe is a good example:


Here's another good example from Brooks Brothers, although a little smaller would be better:

Of course, you can always go with a more generic plaid; these can always be silk, but for Christmas they work better in a winter fabric like wool or cashmere:

Avoid ties that are too gaudy. Sometimes this is a gray area, like this tie from Alynn (which also makes some good Christmas ties):

I probably wouldn't wear this one; the motif is just this side of too large for my taste. 

Whatever you do, don't wear something like this (except as a joke to an Ugly Christmas Clothing party or something); there's no gray area here:

This kind of tie is what John T. Molloy warned against in his 1975 book (and revised 1988 edition), Dress for Success:

"Never wear ties with large symbols. Never wear 'storybook' or 'big picture' ties, I don't care what the prevailing fashion is."

It's also the type Paul Fussell addressed in his 1983 book, Class:

"The principle that clothing moves lower in status the more legible it becomes applies to neckties with a vengeance . . .  At the bottom of the middle class, just before it turns to high prole, we encounter ties depicting large flowers in brilliant colors, or simply bright “artistic” splotches." 

 Probably around five is a good collection.

If you're one of the dwindling few who still wears a tie to work, I wouldn't wear a Christmas tie every work day between Thanksgiving and Christmas; it's overkill. People will probably get tired of seeing the same five (or fewer) ties over and over -- but, if you have 20 or 30 and can wear a different one every day, that's probably worse because it's just weird. 

I would wear a Christmas tie in that situation once or twice a week, just for a change of pace. 

Or, if you don't wear a tie to work but are a church person, you could wear a different one every week for a month. 

You could also wear a different one to each Christmas party, etc. that you attend. 

In any of these cases, about five Christmas ties should be sufficient to get you through the holidays in fine style.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

My wardrobe for today:

  • Brown Polo Ralph Lauren suit  
  • Light-blue Stafford pinpoint oxford button-down shirt 
  • Brown Brooks Brothers tie with small blue autumn leaf motif 
  • Navy silk Polo Ralph Lauren pocket square with white dots 
  • Navy over-the-calf ribbed cotton socks 
  • Brown suede Allen-Edmonds wing-tips or dark brown calf Johnston & Murphy calf quarter-brogues (waiting to see of the forecast for rain pans out this afternoon)
  • Tan London Fog balmacaan raincoat with faux fur lining 
  • Brown plaid unbranded faux cashmere scarf 
  • Dark green Brooks Brothers tyrolean hat
I hope everyone has a great -- and stylish -- day.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thoughts and Prayers

If you've been on Facebook in the past day or so, you've seen people all over the place adding a semi-transparent French flag over their profile pictures.

Here's the message with the invitation to do the same to my profile:

How does changing your profile picture on Facebook "support France and the people of Paris?!" 

This "thoughts and prayers" BS is just a way for people to show off to others about how much they "care" and how "aware" they are without having to actually DO ANYTHING to help anyone affected by a given tragedy. If people had to, say, donate a minimum of just $5 to the Red Cross to add this French flag to their profiles, then I wouldn't be seeing 99% of them.*

*My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was offended by this post.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Link: New G. Bruce Boyer Interview

There's a new interview with G. Bruce Boyer on StyleForum. I could read anything by him or look at pictures of him all day. He has stated before that he doesn't intend to start a blog because he's a professional and wants to get paid for his writing. I understand, but I wish he would at least start a "what I wore today"-type blog.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gordon Jump in Making the Grade

Tonight I watched the 1984 prep-school comedy movie "Making the Grade" for the first time. 

I was especially taken with the wardrobe of Gordon Jump, who played the headmaster (and is best remembered, of course, as the inept but lovable Mr. Carlson on WKRP in Cincinnati). 

Natural-shouldered tweed jackets and navy blazers, oxford cloth button-downs and repp ties -- the stereotypical (and sadly dying) Eastern Establishment uniform -- with some silk pocket squares thrown in for an extra touch of flamboyant elegance. 

I was so impressed that I took some screen-grabs. (Unfortunately the on-screen displays apparently don't disappear on YouTube videos when they're paused, so I had to grab these while the movie was playing, which produced some less than flattering facial expressions. Oh, well -- the point is the clothes.) 

I wish I regularly saw men this well-dressed today! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Link: The Big Sartorialist

I'm always on the lookout for style blogs I've never seen before.

Last week I came across one from an M.D. who calls himself "The Big Sartorialist." (I think one of the Tumblr blogs I already followed posted something on theirs that he had posted on his, but I've already forgotten which one.)

For my taste, he looks a little too stiff, neat and uncomfortable, as well as often too "matchy" (as you'll see, he often matches the background color of his tie, pocket square and socks -- and sometimes even integrates them with the color of his suit's pinstripes) and a little too flashy.

But he still looks good overall, and certainly a lot better than the average person. He also obviously puts a lot of money into his wardrobe, and he's confident in what he likes. Good for him -- there's no reason that his style has to be the same as mine.

However, what struck me most about his blog was not his style, but the apparently near-daily harassment he gets from other people about his clothes; his blog is largely a "What I wore today" blog, and he often posts a quote of something someone said to him that day about what he was wearing, frequently followed by the quote of his snarky come-back.

Why do some people feel the need to comment on other people's clothes? People like him don't normally go up to strangers and say, "Why are you dressed like s--t?", so why is the reverse acceptable?

I'll try to write a follow-up post soon, exploring this phenomenon in more detail. In the meantime, congratulations to The Big Sartorialist for continuing to fight the good fight.