Sunday, October 31, 2021

Link: The Bespoke Channel

I stumbled onto this YouTube channel tonight. I had seen this gentleman post pictures of himself on StyleForum periodically, but I never knew until now who he is or that he's on YouTube.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Happy Straw Hat Day

 Apparently today -- May 15 -- was most traditionally "Straw Hat Day" in the United States, the day when it was no longer socially acceptable to wear a felt hat. 

The reverse, Felt Hat Day, was often on September 15.

I say "often" because apparently this varied somewhat by era, but also by region within a given era. That's only sensible, as obviously it generally warms first in the south and latest in the north; concessions to weather, rather than to a fixed date -- especially if that date is arbitrary, like May 15 -- seem to be a better guideline, within reason. An equally logical argument could probably be made for the first day of spring, for Easter, for May 1 or May 15, or for Memorial Day for Straw Hat Day, according to locale and even to that locale's weather in a particular year. 

For example, thankfully it's been unseasonably cool so far this year where I am in the Midwest, so it would make no sense to wear a straw hat when it's in the 60s -- or even 50s -- and raining, no matter how far it is into May. 

(For a fascinating history of all of this, see the book Hatless Jack.)

Anyway, I bring this up this year because I just saw these neat photos on social media.

According to Hatless Jack, the straw hats men wore back in the day were usually inexpensive and pretty much disposable, so it was common for men to throw them out when Felt Hat Day came in September. Hopefully the men below were just staging a photo and weren't really doing the reverse and throwing out their felt hats!

Of course, these arbitrary dates and rules are mostly antiquated trivia in 2021; today few men wear dress hats at all, and those that do are free to do what they want. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Link: Prince Charles hates 'throwing anything away': Royal talks sustainable fashion, patching his old suits

Prince Charles gave an interview last month to Vogue magazine, discussing (among other things) permanent style.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

I Find Roger Stone Guilty of Being Stylish

Say whatever else you wish about Roger Stone (but don't bother saying it here, because I don't publish political comments on this blog), but Roger Stone is one stylish dude, and he's doing about as much as one man can to keep the homburg alive. 


Having said that, I'm not sure that maintaining his usual style was the wisest strategy for a trial, because I could see his appearance causing the jurors to dislike him on a visceral, envious level -- irrational as that may be -- and to want to "punish" him for appearing to be wealthy.

I'm reminded of a story that John T. Molloy told in his 1975 book, "Dress for Success," as an example of how being well-dressed ultimately means using clothing as a tool, not necessarily being dressed up to the max. 

He once consulted with a criminal defense attorney who was defending someone charged with some kind of white collar crime. 

Molloy advised that the defendant ditch his usual stylish, expensive clothes for the trial, and instead show up every day in cheap, polyester slacks that were too long; cheap, heavily-worn shoes; a short-sleeved dress shirt; and a stereotypical lower-middle-class polyester, clip-on tie. 

The intention was to make him look like an unsophisticated lackey who could not possibly have pulled off whatever he was accused of, and who was set up to take the fall by the real guilty parties who were higher up in the company than he was.

He was acquitted. 

Molloy didn't comment on whether he was guilty (and probably didn't know and didn't want to know), and there's no way to know whether his appearance played a significant role in the verdict, but it's entirely possible that his clothes were the deciding factor in influencing the jurors, at least sub-consciously. 

Of course, that lack of subtlety is much harder to pull off in the internet age, when it's easier to look up what even non-celebrities normally look like -- and would be impossible for a celebrity like Stone to achieve in 2019 without his intentions being transparent, since there are tons of photos of him online from over the years -- and even more because he has frequently and publicly appointed himself as a style arbiter. 

But I would've subtly toned it down if I were him: probably a solid, dark navy or dark gray suit, basic white shirt (point- or basic spread-collar with barrel cuffs), and dark, discreet tie with basic black balmoral shoes and solid black socks, with a basic trench or fly-front raincoat if needed for rain and/or cold. No hat, no scarf, no pocket square with the suit (which I would advise under almost no other circumstances). 

Regardless, he chose what he chose; now all we can do is wait -- then we can speculate about whether his clothes helped him walk or helped do him in.

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Timelessness of Trad Style

This popped up on Ivy Style's Facebook page today; it's a textbook example of what people mean by trad style being timeless good taste:

  • Natural shoulders 
  • Three-roll-two button stance (not mandatory, but leaves less room for some designer to get too trendy)
  • Jacket just long enough to cover the rear end
  • Sleeves shortened to show 1/4" to 1" of shirt cuff (amount depending on personal preference)
  • Full-cut trousers (not too baggy or too tight) with a classic rise (placing the waistband on the natural waist, over the bellybutton)
  • Trousers tailored with a slight break, long enough to cover the socks when walking but not long enough to puddle (this is a matter of preference to some extent, but that length always looks good)
  • Substantial cuffs, 1 3/4" to 2" high (optional, but they always look good)
  • Lapels, collar points and tie all around 3 1/2 inches
  • Natural (or at least natural-looking) fabrics
  • Round-toe leather oxfords in cap-toe or some brogue variation (as in this case)
This ad is nearly SEVENTY years old. But, were this man to ditch the hat (not because it doesn't look good or that he shouldn't wear it if he wants to, but because it does date the look) and the cigarette, he could walk off of the page and onto the street in 2019 and look perfectly in style. (The fact that he's so dressed up by today's standards might turn some heads, but the point is the details of his clothes' fabrics and proportions wouldn't strike anyone as dated today.)

As Cary Grant commented in the Winter 1967/68 issue of GQ about his own wardrobe:

"I'm often asked for advice or an opinion about clothes, and I always try to answer the best I can, but I'm not inclined to regard myself as an authority on the subject. Many times during my years in films, some well-meaning group has selected me as best-dressed man of the year, but I've never understood why. The odd distinction surprises me: first, because I don't consider myself especially well dressed, and, secondly, I've never, as far as I can compare the efforts of others with my own, gone to any special trouble to acquire clothes that could be regarded as noticeably fashionable or up-to-date.
"Some of my suits are ten to twenty years old, many of them ready-made and reasonably priced. Those that were custom-tailored were made by many different tailors in many different cities: London, Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles. I believe that American ready-made clothes are the best ready-made clothes in the world: that the well-dressed American man makes a better appearance than the well-dressed man of any other country.
"No, it isn't only money that determines how well a man dresses—it's personal taste. Because of the demands of my work, I've purchased dozens of suits over the years and they all have one attribute in common: they are in the middle of fashion. By that I mean they're not self-consciously fashionable or far out, nor are they overly conservative or dated. In other words, the lapels are neither too wide nor too narrow, the trousers neither too tight nor too loose, the coats neither too short nor too long. I've worn clothes of extreme style, but only in order to dress appropriately for the type of character I played in particular films. Otherwise, simplicity, to me, has always been the essence of good taste."

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

I hope everyone has a great day.