Showing posts with label mens fashion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mens fashion. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Boy, I wish I could have a suit like the kind Connery wore in the early James Bonds.

I like that tailored look superimposed on a good fabric. The area around the shoulders and neck is especially important to get right. The fabric has to cling like a second skin.

Me, I can't afford a tailor-made suit. I get 'em off the rack.

They (above) never fit right. I probably look horrible in them.

How did Cary Grant do it? He looks like he was born in a suit.

Wouldn't you kill to have real, custom-tailored, Saville Row threads? You can have one like this (above) for just under $5,000.

Here's one (above) by Saville Row stylist, Tom Ford. It has an Armani influence and sells for a measly $2,700.

Since the hippie era men's suits have been regarded with suspicion as emblems of class distinction. They certainly are that, but they're also symbolic of efficacy, intellect, and sophistication. That last point, sophistication, requires a little history to appreciate.

In Louis XIV's time (above) men's clothes were all about ostentatious wealth.  

Beau Brummel, the great simplifier of fashion in Regency England (early 1800s), changed all that. He favored the look shown above. Even kings deferred to him.

Brummel later favored the modification shown above and, once again, everyone followed. Collars were lowered in imitation of the way naval officers dressed. Men like the military look.

Amazingly women's fashions didn't undergo a similar simplification. They continued to wear ornate, Marie Antoinette-style wedding cakes for a kazillion years or so. Sophisticated style was the domain of men from Brummel's time til after WWI.

England is a cold and damp country so eventually Brummel's sporty look gave way to the frock (above), which was long and sheltering, and always buttoned in the front. The frock favored the tie which was initially used to show off the wearer's school or regional colors.

The older Brummel design was kept alive by sportsman and military men who preferred the freedom of movement it afforded. Horsemen especially favored this cut and, since most people rode in the mornings, this type of jacket was called a "morning" coat.

The modern suit jacket is the inevitable result of combining the frock and morning coat in one medium-length jacket that can be worn all day long.

Buttons on the sleeve came about because physicians insisted on them so they could roll up their sleeves without taking their jackets off.  Saville Row began by catering to the doctor trade, so the buttons persisted, even when they were no longer in demand. Maybe also because they seemed to denote military rank.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


John K just put up a couple of great wrinkle posts and they inspired me to take a shot at it, in the belief that great and noble subjects like wrinkles can't be discussed too frequently. This is a post about wrinkles; beautiful, sumptuous winkles. Wrinkles, the cartoonist's friend.

Wrinkles look great on a suit, in fact a suit that doesn't have them (above) looks odd and characterless.

Of course you take a chance when you buy a wrinkle suit. The wrinkles won't always flatter you and indeed they shouldn't. You want a suit that has character, that is independent and has a life of its own.  The suit's idiosyncrasies are part of its charm.

The thing to understand about wrinkles is that the best ones are always a surprise. You expect a certain amount of wrinkles around a bent elbow, you don't expect really drastic wrinkles around the bottom of the rib cage as in the picture of President Kennedy above. The wrinkle connoisseur treasures surprises like this. 

Having lots of wrinkles serves to call attention to the areas that don't have them. Here (above) the wrinkled-up sleeve beautifully contrasts to the unwrinkled, clean sweep of the back.

The effort to vanquish wrinkles is doomed to defeat. You may as well grow to like them because there's not much you can do about them. President Nixon tried to banish them by wearing characterless felt (or felt-type) puppet jackets... a situation where the cure was worse than the disease.

I hate to admit it, but not all wrinkles are equal. Some are just plain boring. Here's (above) a velour jacket that's so thick and heavy that it looks like Ahab just stripped it off a whale. The heavy, lazy wrinkles have no character. They just can't take the trouble to assume interesting shapes.

Here's (above) another negative example: these (above) are the kind of despicable wrinkles you get straight out of the washing machine. The large wrinkles are too predictable, the small ones too random. 

Really interesting wrinkles occur when a well-groomed wearer tries to avoid them, but they occur anyway. That's an example of the suit asserting it's own personality, and not just being a toady to the wearer.

Some of the 30s and 40s suits were tailored with the deliberate intention of creating interesting wrinkles. These were fine in their own way, but the heavy fabric produced only predictable wrinkles. Not many surprises there. 

I prefer the baggy look of the early 50s. Slender suits were coming into fashion then but the older generation clung to the baggy look...only by then the fabric was less heavy. One day, when time machines have been perfected, wrinkle connoisseurs will take tours of this era and bring back lots of photos of the flamboyant oldsters.
It takes guts to be a wrinkle man. We relish what the rest of the world considers mistakes. Before I was enlightened I used to be appalled when I sat down and my puffy pants "tent-poled" up from the lap. Now I enjoy it, and do nothing to hide it. Er...well, actually I do try to hide it sometimes; I guess I still have to work on that one. I have a feeling it makes girls uneasy.

There's lots more to say about wrinkles, but I guess this is all I have time for now. One of these days I'll post about another interesting mens fashion: the slim, crimped waist look with the outrageously over-sized hats and spit-shined patent leather shoes. 

Sunday, October 29, 2006


These days men's fashion really sucks. How did that come about? Everything is shapeless and looks like it came from a one-size-fits-all store. I don' t mind skateboarders' fashions because they're funny. You have to admit that wearing parachute-size pants almost below the buttocks is hilarious. No, what I object to is the urban gangsta look. Gangsters should look debonair and swashbuckling. I can't imagine Bogart taking any of these guys into his gang.

What's with the dress-length t-shirts and the tuke (spelled right?) caps that cover the ears, even in the summertime? Well, at least they're flamboyant and that's something. What I really don't understand is the middle class suburban variant exemplified by Chicken Little's clothes. What's with the tight green Arnold-Palmer T and the shapeless, oversized shorts? Click to enlarge it; the shorts look like the bird has a load in his pants. What man who wants to attract women would dress like he was wearing a diaper?

 Ditto the buccaneer shorts that the kid is wearing in the tiny picture. Oops! Blogger deleted the picture but you know what I'm talking about: long, wide pirate shorts and thick, rippled sneakers that look like astronaut boots!

Girls won't wear this stuff. They ransacked the past and came up with tight 70s bellbottoms and bare midriffs.