April 17, 2013 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
George Frazierin 10 000-sanainen esseejärkäle “The Art of Wearing Clothes” julkaistiin Esquiren syyskuun numerossa vuonna 1960. Tämä pistäväkynäinen journalisti tuli aikanaan tunnetuksi jazz-kolumnistaan “Sweet and Low” sekä lukuisista tyyliä käsittelevistä kirjoituksistaan, joista ohessa lainattu teksti on mahtavin. Essee tutustuttaa lukijalle Frazierin kootut ajatukset tyylin olemuksesta, esitellen samalla useita aikakauden merkittävimmistä amerikkalaisista pukeutujista. Heidän suosimansa leikkaukset luetellaan koulutustaustan ja ammattien lisäksi. Myös raha, tuo todellinen aiheiden mörkö, ei ole este Frazierille. Räätäleiden sekä suosittujen miesten vaatehtimoiden muassa journalisti listaa myös hintoja, jotka tyyliniekat valinnoistaan pulittivat.
The Art of Wearing Clothes
The history of this rare masculine art and of the men who practice it supremely well.
by George Frazier
Many a vagrant vogue has prevailed and perished in the hundred-and-fifty-odd years since George Bryan (Beau) Brummell resigned from the tony Tenth Hussars upon being denied permission to wear a uniform of his own design, but the criterion by which men are adjudged either beautifully or badly dressed is still what it was in that dandified day when people cherished the belief that the Beau achieved the flawless fit of his gloves by having the fingers made by one man and the thumbs by another. Now, as then, an impeccably turned-out male is characterized by the same “certain exquisite propriety” of dress that Lord Byron admired so abundantly in Brummell. “If John Bull turns to look after you,” the Beau once observed, “you are not well-dressed, but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable.”
This was Brummell’s bequest—his irreproachably tasteful simplicity. What’s more, it is the one constant in the fickleness of fashion, nor has any mode, no matter how maniac, ever proved it spinach—neither the cult of pipe-stemmed perfection that caused any true Edwardian dandy to shudder at the thought of having, as Max Beerbohm put it, “the incomparable set of his trousers spoilt by the perching of any dear little child upon his knee”; nor the autograph-slickered, bell-bottomed callowness of the “cake-eaters” and “sheiks” who found their laureate in John Held, Jr.; nor the casual coolness of all the beer jackets of Princeton springtimes; nor the abortive and itinerant “Italian style”; nor, for that matter, even the natural-shouldered, pleatless-trousered look that is known as “Ivy League,” but that by any name at all would still be the Brooks Brothers No. 1 sack suit.
Prior to Brummell, men had dressed to almost freakish excess. Thus, according to Hayden’s Dictionary of Dates, Sir Walter Raleigh wore:
“. . . a white-satin-pinked vest close-sleeved to the wrist, and over the body a doublet finely flowered, and embroidered with pearls, and in the feather of his hat a large ruby and pearl drop at the bottom of the sprig in place of a button. His breeches, with his stockings and ribbon garters, fringed at the end, all white; and buff shoes, which, on great court days, were so gorgeously covered with precious stones as to have exceeded the value of 6,600 pounds; and he had a suit of armor of solid silver, with sword and hilt blazing with diamonds, rubies and pearls.”
Nor was Lord Buckingham, James I’s favorite, any shrinking violet either, for, as Hayden has it, he “had his diamonds tacked so loosely on [his robe] that when he chose to shake a few off on the ground, he obtained all the fame he desired from the pickers-up.” And then, too, there was Prince von Kaunitz, who achieved the desired shad of his wig by strolling back and forth while four lackeys sprayed it with different tints of scented powder. Indeed, in those pre-Brummell years, men were such peacocks that The Times of London used to describe their clothes in as minute and fascinated detail as it did women’s.
With the Beau’s arrival in London, however, restraint in male attire became the order of the day and, for that matter, of every debonair day thereafter. It is, in fact, almost impossible to exaggerate Brummell’s influence, for as Virginia Woolf has said, “Without a single noble, important, or valuable action to his credit, he cuts a figure; he stands for a symbol; his ghost walks among us still.” Indeed, because of him alone simplicity became the hallmark of the well-dressed man, whether he be a Victorian Prime Minister named Lord Melbourne, an American general named A. J. Drexel Biddle, a former Secretary of State named Dean Acheson, or a song-and-dance man out of Omaha named Fred Astaire.
But Brummell, far from being a prophet without honor, was a legend even in his own lifetime—a circumstance, incidentally, that he helped propagate by circulating rumors to the effect that, among other primping practices, he mixed champagne in his boot polish, employed three different coiffeurs to do his hair (one for the temples, another for the crown, and a third for the front), and had once jilted a rich and beautiful noblewoman because he couldn’t abide the way she ate cabbage. Nevertheless, his fussiness was genuine and it was a matter of record that he refused to take off his hat to ladies for fear that he might not be able to get it back on his head at the precisely rakish angle. Furthermore, his concern for himself was so rapt that he was able to identify his troop only because one of its members had “a very large blue nose.” Yet for all his affectations, he was possessed of a sense of beauty that bordered on genius. So flawless was the fit of Brummell’s coat that, according to Byron, “It seemed as if the body thought.”
Indeed, next to the Beau himself, Byron must have been Brummell’s most ardent admirer—a circumstance, by the way, that must seem a little incredible, for, as famous as he was, as handsome, as talented, as nobly-born, and as much a lion among the ladies, Byron, who achieved his own wind-blown “Byronic” look by putting his hair up in curlers at bedtime, spent sleepless nights tossing over his inability to tie a neckcloth with any of Brummell’s surpassing skill.
As it happened, the Beau, who took three hours to dress and used to change his clothes three times a day, made such a ritual of tying his neckcloth that the Prince of Wales, who, it was said, “would rather be amiable and familiar with his tailor than agreeable and friendly with the most illustrious members of the aristocracy,” considered it a privilege to be permitted to observe the ceremony. The trick was to wrinkle the twelve-inch-wide white muslin which was wound horizontally around the neck, into the five-or-so inches between the chin and shoulder blades. This “creasing down,” as it was known, was accomplished by Brummell’s reclining in his chair as if he were being shaved and, when the cloth was finally wound around his neck, sinking his head, ever so slowly, until the muslin wrinkled to perfection, for, as Virginia Woolf has said, “If one wrinkle was too deep or too shallow, the cloth was thrown into a basket and the attempt renewed.” Once, when a visitor inquired what Brummell’s valet was carrying as he descended from his master’s dressing room, he was informed, “These are our failures, sir.” This was what has since come to be known as “studied carelessness”—”the perfect art,” as Kathleen Campbell has said, “which conceals art, that satisfying spontaneity which can be achieved only by taking intense thought.” Nowadays, it is to be observed in such seeming trifles as the way that a well-dressed man wears a handkerchief in his breast pocket. Unlike the wrong way—a squarish effect which, though the handkerchief is merely thrust into the pocket, gives a highly contrived look—it consists of fluffing the handkerchief so painstakingly that it seems merely to have been thrust into the pocket. But even studied carelessness cannot make a man well-dressed if he lacks, in Max Beerbohm’s words, “physical distinction, a sense of beauty, and either cash or credit.” Moreover, if age cannot wither, neither, for that matter, can custom-tailoring stale the man who has those attributes.
It is scarcely a coincidence that not only are most “best-dressed” men more than forty years of age, but also that they rarely, if ever, wear ready-made clothes. For in addition to good looks and clothes sense, they have by and large, enough money to afford the invaluable collaboration of superb tailors like Bernard Weatherill and H. Harris in New York and E. Tautz in London; of such American shirtmakers as Dudley G. Eldridge, Brooks Brothers, and Sulka’s, and Turnbull & Asser of London; of bootmakers like Lobb of St. James’s Street in London (which is, incidentally, one of the most beautiful shops in the world) and the Boston Bootmakers of Boston; of tiemakers like Dudley G. Eldridge, Sulka’s, and Brooks Brothers in this country and Turnbull & Asser abroad; and, equally important, of barbers as skilled as, say, the celebrated Vincent Battaglia of the Plaza Hotel. “Best-dressed” men are, almost without exception, committed to nothing but the best (though not necessarily the most expensive), and even their shoes must be polished (and, frequently, boned) to perfection—just as was the case in Regency London when the death of one Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly of the First Foot Guards sent all the dandies racing to hire his valet, who was rumored to have a secret formula that had imparted the incomparable sheen to his late master’s footwear. When, incidentally, the valet let it be known that he expected a salary of two hundred pounds a year, Brummell told him, “If you will make it guineas, I shall be happy to attend upon you.” As things were to turn out, there was a certain ominousness about this anecdote, for it reveals Brummell at the critical moment when he was beginning to lose one of the three ingredients that combine to make a man well-dressed—in this case, his credit with his tailor, Schweitzer & Davidson of Cork Street, Piccadilly. When, a bit later on, he began to lose his trim figure as well, he was no longer the glass of fashion mirroring the most elegant of all eras.
Obviously, the credentials required for recognition as an authentically well-dressed man are not very readily come by. Thus in the case of a certain attractive young New York advertising executive who wears suits, shirts, and ties of impeccable taste, the disqualification lies in his weakness for bizarre footwear, particularly during the summer, when he frequently appears in what Murray Kempton has described as “those obscene ventilated shoes.”
Yet for all the range of varied views expressed about men’s clothes—reactions extending all the way from Thoreau’s admonition to “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes,” and Hawthorne’s austere conviction that “Those who make their dress a principal part of themselves will in general become of no more value than their dress,” to Max Beerbohm’s airy belief that no man can cut a dashing figure unless he is sufficiently clothes-conscious not to be distracted by a job or family—there is at least a measure of accord about the fact that, though clothes do not necessarily make the man, they do, if becoming, make him confident and content. “A man,” said Dickens’ Mark Tapley, “may be in good spirits and good temper when he’s well-dressed. There ain’t much credit in that.” Brummell, for instance, had, like most flawlessly turned-out men, an air of such unassailable authority that he provided a shining example for Scott Fitzgerald’s later claim that “Gentlemen’s clothes are a symbol of the ‘power that man must hold and that passes from race to race.’ ” It may well have been a desire for this sense of security that derives from being well-dressed that prompted young American officers in the First World War to put on new white gloves before going into battle. Actually, the gloves need not have been new—merely spotlessly clean—for in men’s clothes (far more so than in women’s) age lends a certain reassuring patina. “Trust not,” warned Carlyle, “the heart of that man for whom old clothes are not venerable,” an attitude that was subsequently endorsed by Rupert Brooke, who sang of “the good smell of old clothes.”
Part of the appeal of old clothes lies, of course, in the fact that one becomes almost dependent upon them. They are, as it were, known quantities, and, rather than discard them, one goes to great lengths to keep them serviceable, having, for instance, a favorite jacket relined or the frayed collars and cuffs of a well-cut shirt turned. One of the most attractive items in Joseph Bryan III’s wardrobe, for example, is a dinner coat that, except for having been relined and having had its buttons tightened, is precisely as it was when his father had it made in 1912. There is, after all, a certain amount of experimentation, of trial-and-error involved in wearing new things, a peril, by the way, that Dickens noted in Great Expectations, where he says, “Probably every new and eagerly expected garment ever put on since clothes came in falls a trifle short of the wearer’s expectations.” Furthermore, it is a fact that old clothes—provided, of course, that they are of the highest quality—have become molded to one’s body, which is why no first-rate tailor considers his job completed until he has altered certain minor shortcomings that become apparent only after a customer has worn a suit a half-dozen-or-so times. Once a suit has received its maker’s approval, however, it requires infinitely less care than do inferior garments. Hetherington Turnbull, the head of F. L. Dunne’s (a bespoke tailor of such prestige that when John P. Marquand did a reverent article about it for Vogue, he asked that his recompense be a Dunne suit) has not had his dinner coat pressed once in the more-than-thirty years since it was made.
As it happens, however, the best-dressed American men—at least for the most part—not only cherish venerable clothes, but cherish venerable milieux as well. Like their apparel, they, too, are full of tradition, being, rather more often than not, products of such sanctified New England private schools as St. Mark’s, Groton, and St. Paul’s, and of ivied universities like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton; living, not in such youthful and characterless cities as Los Angeles, but in either what Roger Angell has termed “The Effete East”—which is to say the hallowed ground of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and the posher precincts of Long Island—or in such proper outposts as Richmond and San Francisco; and belonging to such select clubs as the Racquet & Tennis and the Brook in Manhattan, the Southampton on Long Island, the Somerset in Boston, the Philadelphia in Philadelphia, and, as nonresident members, Buck’s and White’s in London. They walk, so to speak, in beauty, and at dusk, when not playing backgammon at such sanctuaries, they turn up at beatified bars like the ones in the St. Regis in New York and the Ritz-Carlton in Boston. Furthermore, they not only respect, but quite often indeed are exceedingly fond of the men who sell them clothes—which, after all, is the way they were brought up, down through the years since Christmas vacations when Brooks Brothers was where, in a manner of speaking, they hung their childhood, and with such correct consequences that, in their navy-blue overcoats from Rowes of London, they were proper and personable little gentlemen indeed. And afterwards, on the mornings of their weddings, it would have been absolutely unthinkable not to have had a Brooks Brothers representative on hand to tie their and their ushers’ ascots. For this, everything considered, is the authentically well-dressed American man’s way of life, even unto J. P. Morgan’s having customarily greeted one Brooks employee with a deferential, “Good morning, Mr. Webb,” and having had Mr. Webb reply, “Good morning, Jack.” Always there is noblesse oblige.
Almost without exception, the best-dressed men have, very simply and very vernacularly, colossal class. And being, in most cases, to the manor born, they feel no urgency, as do less secure men, to be either obvious or extravagant. Thus although there was nothing in the least amiss about the fact that the late Herbert Bayard Swope (whose claims to chicness were deflated one night when Damon Runyon pointed out to Leonard Lyons the unpardonable offense of Swope’s creased sleeves) happened to favor expensive monogrammed hosiery, it is, nevertheless, not without a certain significance that, for both daytime and formal evening occasions, A. J. Drexel Biddle wears black-ribbed “fine lisle vat-dyed” socks (which have nylon reinforced toes and heels) that cost him only a dollar a pair at Jacob Reed’s in Philadelphia.
Although it would be altogether too arbitrary to single out Biddle, the sixty-three-year-old Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, as the best-dressed man in the United States, it would, at the same time, be something of a task to find a male more elegant than he, not only in this country, but anywhere else in the world. Other well-dressed men are the first to acknowledge this, none, however, any more tangibly than Ahmet Ertegun, a son of the late Turkish Ambassador to the United States. Some years ago, when Ertegun somehow came into possession of a suit that had been made for Biddle by E. Tautz of London in 1923, he promptly put it into a protective cellophane covering and hung it in a closet. It has remained there ever since, emerging only when he wears it on some opulent occasion or when he permits clothes-conscious male visitors the privilege of admiring its splendid cut, caressing its incomparable stitching.
On the elegant face of things, one would probably imagine that “Tony” Biddle has closet upon closet of clothes. Actually, this Main Line Philadelphian, whose father was the epic figure about whom the play The Happiest Millionaire was written and whom himself was one of the most extraordinary participants in the Second World War, has so sparse a wardrobe that Lord Byron, for one, and Lieutenant General Rafael Trujillo, Jr., for another, would feel that it amounted to not having a stitch to their names.
On June 20, 1812, for example, Byron, according to Leslie A. Marchand, his most incisive biographer:
“. . . bought ’12 Fine white Quilting Waistcoats’; on July 1 ‘A spfine Olive Court dress Coat lined Completely thro wh White Silk, 20 Elegantly Cut & Highly polished Steele buttons, A very rich Embroidered Court dress Waistcoat, and A pair rich black Silk Breeches.’ In August and September he added dozens of other items, bringing the total bill on September 18 to £243.10s.”
As for Trujillo, his taste in clothes is apparently as undiscriminating as it is in certain other matters. He once commissioned a New York tailor to make him—sight unseen!—fourteen suits at $285 each, four sports jackets at $196 apiece, ten sports shirts at from $20 to $30 each, twenty-five $33 dress shirts, fifty $7.50 neckties, and four pairs of slacks at $88 a pair.
Even in its entirety, Biddle’s wardrobe seems, by contrast, almost monastic. It includes seven so-called business suits—two double- and one single-breasted navy-blue serge; one double- and one single-breasted dark-blue pin-stripe flannel; one single-breasted charcoal-grey flannel. (They were made by either H. Harris of New York, who charges $225 and up for a two-piece suit, or E. Tautz of London who charges, as to do most topnotch British tailors, almost a quarter less. All have skeleton alpaca linings and the sleeves have three buttons and open buttonholes. The single-breasteds have three-button, notched-lapel jackets.) For formal daytime wear, Biddle has a charcoal-grey cheviot cutaway, a single-breasted white waistcoat, and black trousers with broad white stripes. (With these, he wears a black silk ascot and a wide wing collar.) For semiformal daytime occasions, he has a charcoal-grey single-breasted cheviot sack coat and trousers, in either black or Cambridge grey, with broad white stripes. Besides a ready-made Aquascutum raincoat, Biddle owns three outer coats—a double-breasted blue chinchilla ($175 from Tautz), a single-breasted light drab covert cloth ($225, H. Harris), and a double-breasted polo coat with white bone buttons ($325, Harris). He has, in addition to a tweed cap, four hats, all of them purchased at Lock’s in London too many years ago for him to recall exactly what they cost. One is a high-silk, one an opera hat, and the other two homburgs—one black and one green. For formal evening wear, Biddle has tails ($175, Tautz), a double-breasted dinner coat with satin shawl lapels ($150, Tautz), and, for warm weather, two single-breasted, shawl-collared white gabardine dinner coats ($98 each, Tautz). His evening shirts, with which he wears a conventionally-shaped bow tie, have pleats, roll collars, and are made for him by Dudley G. Eldridge of New York at $28 each.
Biddle’s sports clothes include three tweed jackets ($160 each, Harris), three pairs of charcoal-grey flannel slacks, and a half-dozen button-down shirts made by Eldridge out of silk that he, Biddle, bought in Spain. His shoes, of which he has three pairs of black for daytime wear and one patent leather and one calfskin for evening wear, were made by Paulsen & Stone of London, who also made for him, for sports wear, a pair of black moccasins, a pair of black loafers, and two pairs of white canvas shoes with brown leather toes and rubber soles (which he wears with either prewar white flannels or an ancient double-breasted light-grey sharkskin suit). Biddle’s neck-band shirts, which are either starched dickey bosoms (elongated so that the bosoms extend below the middle button of his jacket) or semi-starched pleated bosoms, have white cuffs and bodies of either grey or light blue. They cost $26 each and are made by Eldridge, who also makes his stiff white collars ($3 each) and his ties ($7.50 each), which run to solid black silks and discreet shepherd checks and are shaped so as to make a knot small enough to fit neatly into a hard collar. His underwear is ready-made and comes from Jacob Reed’s.
As for his military wardrobe, it seems downright skimpy when compared with what, according to Leslie A. Marchand, Lord Byron had on hand during his service in Greece:
“Two Braided Plaid Jackets, 4 pair of Trowsers, Red Cloth Jacket braided with Black, Red Cloth Jacket trimmed with Gold Lace, Four Full Dress Uniform Coats trimmed with Gold Lace, Two Pair Blue Trowsers trimmed with Gold Lace . . . 2 Helmets with Gilt Ornaments (Homeric helmets, gilt with an overtowering plume, under which . . . were his coat of arms and the motto ‘Crede Byron’), Six Pair of Gold Lace Epaulets, One Pair of Silver Lace Epaulets, 5 Gold Lace Sword Knots, and various guns and equipment, including ten swords and a sword stick.”
Biddle somehow manages to squeeze by on a total of five uniforms.
Like all men with innate clothes sense, Biddle eschews such abominations as ankle-length socks, matching tie-and-handkerchief sets, huge cuff links, conspicuous tie clasps, and, most hideous of all, cellophane hat covers. Indeed, well-dressed men, almost without exception, are interested in something novel in clothing, only when it is both as attractive and functional as, say the duffer coat, which proved its value to the Royal Navy in the Second World War.
Naturally, Biddle’s coat sleeves are not only uncreased, but also of such length as to permit a fraction-of-an-inch of his shirt cuff to show—as, similarly, the neck of his jacket is cut so that the back of his shirt collar is exposed. As for the width of his trousers and coat lapels, it is determined, not by the extreme narrowness that is something of a rage these days, but by, respectively, the length of his foot and the breadth of his shoulders. He selects, in short, clothes that become him. For anyone who is not as “clean favored and imperially slim . . . and admirably schooled in every grace” as Biddle is, the Biddle style of dress would be preposterous. Few things are more precarious than the indiscriminate aping of another man’s wardrobe.
If, for example, the Cary Grant of To Catch a Thief was culpable of anything, it was less his onetime activities as a “cat burglar” than the fact that his clothes in that movie aroused such demonstrative admiration among women that any number of men were inspired to try to copy the actor’s wardrobe. For the most part, the results were disastrous. It should be noted, by the way, that women should never be permitted to counsel men about clothes. “No woman,” says author Finis Farr, “really knows anything about men’s clothes. How could she? After all, she’s conditioned to obsolescence, to the principle that things go out of fashion. Well-dressed men know that nothing worth-while is ever outmoded, that a superb tailor’s work is ageless.”
It is, of course, a manifestation of A. J. Drexel Biddle’s clothes sense that he patronizes such superb tailors as E. Tautz in London and H. Harris in New York. Conceivably, he might, with equally impressive results, go to any one of several others, among them Kilgour, French & Stanbury, Strachan & Hunt, E. C. Squires, Davis & Anderson, and Sandon in London and, in New York, F. L. Dunne, Bernard Weatherill, Pat Sylvestri, Lord of New York, Brooks Brothers, and Rosenthal-Maretz. If, as is most unlikely, he happened to be residing in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he could avail himself of the services of T and T, which, though not stylistically creative, can, like its Hong Kong counterparts, produce hand-stitched, authentically custom-tailored suits for as little as $75 each. Although the British, by and large, are more skilled and less expensive than the Americans, not even the very best of them is superior to Weatherill and Harris, which, if not necessarily without peer, are certainly unsurpassed in this country. It is almost impossible, however, to generalize about American tailors, for, unlike their London counterparts, few of them are cast in the same mold. On the one hand, for example, are the Weatherill’s and Harris’, which, though quite able to turn out any style of suit, are assertively uninfluenced by fads, and, on the other, the likes of Lord of New York, whose clientele, for the most part, is disposed toward the Ivy League cut. But of all American tailors, no two, notwithstanding their conspicuous dissimilarities, are more representative than Weatherill, which is hallowed, and Lord, which is youthful and, despite no genuine feeling for tradition, immensely worth-while because of the meticulous workmanship of its Peter D’Annunzio.
Bernard Weatherill, which has been thriving in New York City for more than thirty-five years, is owned by Charles Weatherill (whose brother Bernard has a shop in London), is terribly British, and, as such, posh, polite, and paneled. Yet for all its innate respect for the old, Weatherill has a lively enough interest in the new to enable it to satisfy even the most progressive-minded members of the well-heeled younger generation. It is also very horsy, indeed, being unquestionably the foremost American maker of sidesaddle habits and riding breeches (which it measures to within one-sixteenth of an inch in New York and, because of prohibitive labor costs in this country, then has executed in London). Such, in fact, is its artistry at this sort of thing that it is the only American tailoring establishment to have made a “Regulation Club evening and driving kit” for a member of the London Coaching Club.
Weatherill charges $260 and up for a three-piece suit, takes some three weeks to turn it out, and feels that a perfect fit is achieved only with one’s third suit. In the tradition of British bespoke tailoring, it favors four buttons with buttonholes on the sleeves of business suits and a single one on sports jackets (though it does think it rather jolly to add a second one—on the side of the sleeve next to the body—that permits the wearer to button the sleeves tightly around the wrists in foul weather). Where Weatherill (along with other topnotch American firms) has a distinct advantage over the British is in its ability to make a superb tropical-weight suit. Moreover, unlike London establishments, it does not feel that if a tailor is satisfied with a garment, the customer should be too. One day at Weatherill in London, for example, a cutter suddenly grabbed his shears and began slashing a suit because of his umbrage at the fact that the customer who was trying it on had not expressed his satisfaction promptly enough. Weatherill in New York does, however, like to keep a fatherly eye on its garments and, for four dollars, it will hand-press (which takes an hour or more) any suit, no matter how ancient, that came from its work benches.
Unlike Weatherill, Lord of New York is brash, explorative, and highly disorganized. Chronologically, Lord of New York is a branch of a genealogy that goes all the way back to 1835 and Brooks Brothers’ natural-shoulder—or, as it is precisely known, No. 1—sack suit. Around the turn of the century, Arthur Rosenberg, then the foremost tailor in New Haven, began to exploit this style among Yale undergraduates, and, not long afterwards, J. Press, also of New Haven, fell into line. Eventually, two Rosenberg employees, Sam Rosenthal and Moe Maretz, went out on their own as Rosenthal-Maretz; then Bill Fenn and Jack Feinstein left David T. Langrock to form Fenn-Feinstein (now associated with Frank Brothers). Somewhat later on, Mort Sill and (a year later) Jonas Arnold quit Press and opened a shop in Harvard Square, Cambridge, which they called Chipp. Then, with his partner’s departure to form Sill (New York and Harvard Square), Jonas Arnold entered into an agreement whereby two former Press employees—Sid Winston and the late Lou Prager—were permitted to use Chipp as the name of the shop they were about to open in New York. Arnold, who closed his Cambridge store several years ago, is still a partner in the New York Chipp’s. In 1952, Lord of New York was begat by Chipp—or, more accurately, by three of its former employees, Ken Frank, Mike Fers, and Peter D’Annunzio. Lord charges $195 and up for a two-piece hand-stitched suit lined with tie silk. Unlike Chipp, it neither charges extra for open buttonholes on jacket sleeves nor does it line coat collars with foulard. Unlike J. Press, it resists such gimmicks as lining the breast pocket of a jacket with foulard that can be turned inside-out to serve as a handkerchief.
In recent years the renaissance of interest in men’s clothes and the increased number of tasteful men’s shops have, rather ironically, provided the creative dresser with progressively fewer opportunities to express himself. By the same token, though, the American male, who for decades had been something of a sartorial fright, suddenly began to look presentable—so conspicuously so, in fact, that recently Osbert Lancaster, the cartoonist for the London Daily Express, returned from a visit to the United States and promptly abandoned drawing the garish-looking man who for years had represented his conception of the American male. In its stead was a subdued, almost Brooks-Brotherish figure. “The old self-confident, easily-bamboozled, back-slapping person is a figure of the past,” said Lancaster.
It could hardly have been otherwise, for nowadays even the smallest town has a men’s shop that carries the same suits and haberdashery that are on sale at, say Madison Avenue and Forty-fifth Street in New York. New Bedford, Massachusetts, for example, has Marty Sullivan’s, a store so attuned to the fickleness of fashion that it has its buyers and designers spend part of their Manhattan visitations in such bars-and-grills as P. J. Clarke’s, which attracts an extremely creatively-dressed Ivy League clientele. Furthermore, shops like Sullivan’s—Eddie Jacobs’ in Baltimore; Dick Carroll’s in Los Angeles; and, in New York, Casual-aire, Paul Stuart’s, Phil’s, to name a few—are far from expensive. What’s more, at their best—Atkinson’s in Los Angeles and Pasadena, California, and the Andover Shops in Cambridge and Andover, Massachusetts, which derive much of their appeal from the superb workmanship of Frank Spade, the head tailor, and the creativeness of co-owner, Charles Davidson—they are superlatively tasteful. Even in 1960, however, not all ready-made suits are low-priced. Oxxford, for example, turns out a suit that costs $235 and up, is impeccably tailored, and has a following among affluent men who are either too impatient to hold still for custom fittings or dislike investing in a garment without knowing how it will look when finished. From the point of view of style, the best ready-made American suit is turned out by Norman Hilton, a young, enterprising, and discerning Princeton alumnus who, among other things, makes blazers and sports coats for Brooks Brothers. (Contrary to prevalent opinion, Brooks Brothers does not manufacture all its wares, but has certain items made to its specifications and on its own models. Only the label “Brooks Brothers Makers” means a Brooks-manufactured garment.)
Although Brooks Brothers (which also goes in for custom clothes) can no longer be regarded as the unique pace-setter it was prior to the recent renaissance of interest in men’s clothes, it still carries come matchless items, notably its neckwear and shirts, particularly its white buttondown in Pima broadcloth, which costs $8.50 and, among ready-made shirts, is in a class by itself.
By and large, however, elegance resides in the individual. No Bernard Weatherill, no Brooks Brothers, No E. Tautz, no Dudley Eldridge can do more than minister to its tastes. It is never easily come by and, once achieved, it must be vigilantly preserved—by boning one’s shoes and putting trees in them at night, by using molded hangers, and by all such other good care as is constantly stressed in the imaginative and informative Wallachs ads that appear three times a week in The New York Times and Herald Tribune and, while of a somewhat different tone, compare, for candor, readability, informativeness, and wit with the extraordinary ads for Zareh of Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts, one of the few authentically tasteful men’s shops in the United States. And elegance must also be guarded pridefully. When a radio interviewer accused the late Michael Arlen of not being able to write so well as Evelyn Waugh, Arlen said, “Ah, yes, that’s quite true, but I dress better than Evelyn.”
Elegance, however, need not be visible. Moss Hart, for example, is partial to monogrammed solid-gold collar stays. Freddie Cripps, the celebrated London dandy, is equally unconcerned with making an impression on anybody but himself, his chief indulgence being a refusal to have his underwear made anywhere but in Vienna, to which he commutes regularly for fittings. But elegance need not be expensive either. In the case of the late William Rhinelander Stewart, for example, elegance was nothing more costly than not venturing out in the evening without first having his rumpled paper money ironed flat by his valet!
“I don’t consider myself ‘the well-dressed man.’ I don’t make any effort in that direction. I do take a little pains occasionally with my clothes but just to feel comfortable. I also like to wear things that others don’t. I rather enjoy fooling around with a new note here and there to see how it comes off.
“I don’t think a man’s clothes should be conspicuous. If they are noticed, it should be because of their conservativeness. It depends, of course, on the individual as to how the whole thing comes off.
“I like colors. Red silk handkerchiefs and colored shirts and socks too.
“I like double-breasted suits and they’ll come back, by gosh. All those little tailor shops that have signs in their windows, ‘Have your outmoded double-breasted suit made into a single,’ may have to change their tune. But they can never say, ‘Have your single made into a double.’ Aha! It won’t work!”
“P.S. I forgot to mention that I often take a brand-new suit or hat and throw it up against the wall a few times to get that stiff, square newness out of it.”
“One is prepared for most daytime and some evening occasions, if he has a navy-blue serge, and a charcoal-grey—and possibly a light-grey—flannel suit. Their number and weights depend upon one’s means, requirements, and the climate in which one lives—just as the choice between a single- or double-breasted jacket should be guided by one’s judgment as to which would prove the more appropriate to his build.
“Then, too, to meet his basic requirements, one should have a dinner jacket. A navy-blue overcoat will satisfy both his daytime and evening requirements.
“As to cut: I personally prefer a jacket to fit precisely around the neck and the shoulders, and under the arms. For accommodation of these requirements permits the jacket to be perceptibly but not exaggeratedly cut in at the waist, as well as to be draped on the back, and to end in a slight flair—and withal, to render the appearance of hanging loosely from the shoulders.
“Then, of course, if one’s activities require it, a full evening dress suit would be indicated. Aside from the coat’s necessarily fitting snugly at the waist, care should be taken to see that the bottom of the white waistcoat is covered by the front of the coat.
“I very much admire the beneficial nation-wide influence of the ready-made clothing industry upon the maintenance of good taste in masculine attire—and the industry’s capability of making clothes available at reasonable prices. The reason most of my clothes are custom-made is because, due to my measurements, I encounter considerable difficulty in the matter of sizes. If I find a ready-made jacket that fits me around the shoulders, there would be enough room in the trousers and in the rest of the jacket to accommodate several others besides myself. On the other hand, if I find a pair of trousers with a proper-fitting waistline, the shoulders of the jacket would be so snug as to preclude satisfactory alteration.”
—A. J. Drexel Biddle
SOME OF THE BEST-DRESSED MEN IN THE UNITED STATES
Here, listed alphabetically, are some men who are unquestionably among the “best-dressed” in the United States.
DEAN ACHESON — Educated at Groton and Yale and a member of the Chevy Chase and Metropolitan clubs in Washington, D. C., and the Century in New York, this sixty-seven-year-old former Secretary of State resides in Washington, where he has his suits made by Farnsworth-Reed, Ltd. ($225).
FRED ASTAIRE — This sixty-one-year-old song-and-dance man, who is a member of the posh Brooks and Racquet & Tennis clubs in New York, favors English-type jackets, suede shoes, often uses silk handkerchiefs as belts. He has had many suits made by Anderson and Sheppard of London, but, at the moment, he is using John Galuppo of Schmidt and Galuppo, Inc., of Beverly Hills. His shoes are by Peal of London; his shirts by Beale and Inman and Hawes and Curtis (both of London), Brooks Brothers and Wendley in New York, and Machin and J. T. Beach of Los Angeles.
BUSH BARNUM — The forty-eight-year-old advertising and public-information director of the Glass Container Manufacturers’ Institute graduated from Colgate in 1933, resdies in Gramercy Park in one of Manhattan’s most desirable apartments, and has been a Bernard Weatherill ($260 and up per three-piece suit) customer for more than a decade.
A. J. DREXEL BIDDLE —A graduate of St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, and a member of the Philadelphia and the Racquet clubs in Philadelphia, the Brooks, Racquet & Tennis, Knickerbocker, Union and River clubs in New York, and the Travellers in Paris, Biddle (whose wardrobe is itemized earlier) has for many years devoted himself to public service.
BILL BLASS — This thirty-eight-year-old designer for Maurice Rentner lives in Manhattan, has his suits made at Lord of New York.
J. ANTHONY BOALT—At thirty-two, Boalt, of the class of ’50, at Yale, is the youngest and one of the most handsome men on the list. A businessman in New York, he resides in Greenwich, Connecticut. His tailor: J. Press.
DAVID TENNANT BRYAN —The fifty-four-year-old Bryan is publisher of the Richmond, Virginia, News Leader and Times-Dispatch and a former head of the Association of American Newspaper Publishers. His tailors: Bernard Weatherill and others.
JOSEPH BRYAN III — A graduate of sanctified Episcopal High near Richmond, Virginia, where he was born, and of Princeton. Bryan, a cousin of D. Tennant Bryan, is a member of the Racquet & Tennis Club in New York. A writer whose assignments take him around the world, he has frequent opportunities to visit Kilgour, Franch & Stanbury and Strachan & Hunt in London and Bernard Weatherill in New York.
HUGH A. COLE — The thirty-five-year-old Cole (one of the eight men in their thirties on the list) is a prominent sportsman, an excellent golfer and a fine horseman, as is fitting the son of Ashley T. Cole, the Chairman of the New York State Racing Commission, should be. He graduated from the Hun School of Princeton, New Jersey, attended Columbia University, is the father of four daghters. He belongs to the Short Hills Club and the Essex County Country Club, both in that county of New Yersey, where he resides. His furnishings are by Sulka; his ties by Tripler and by Charvet; his hats by Cavanagh; and his suits are by Brooks Brothers and by Noman Hilton.
MILES DAVIS — The thirty-four-year-old genius of “progressive jazz” trumpet is an individualist who favors skin-tight trousers, Italian-cut jackets. His seersucker coats, which have side vents, are custom made. His tailor: Emsley (New York), which charges $185 a suit.
RICHARDSON DILWORTH —The sixty-two-year-old mayor of Philadelphia graduated from St. Mark’s and Yale. A member of The Racquet club in Philadelphia, he patronizes among others, Meyers, Inc. ($255 a suit and up) in that city.
RICHARD DORSO —The fifty-year-old vice-president in charge of TV programming for Ziv-United Artists is an excellent tennis player and belongs to The Seventh Regiment Tennis and The Town Tennis clubs in New York City, and the Los Angeles Tennis Club. His suits are ready-made from Norman Hilton, and he has them especially fitted by Bob Difalco, the head fitter at Chipp.
M. DORLAND DOYLE —A graduate of Andover, sixty-year-old Doyle lives in New York City, where he is in advertising. A member of the Links and the Deepdale Golf Club, of which he is a president, he has his suits made by H. Harris ($225).
ANGIER BIDDLE DUKE —A graduate of St. Paul’s (like his uncle, A. J. Drexel Biddle) and a member of the Racquet & Tennis and Brooks clubs in New York, the Travellers in Paris, and the Jockey in Buenos Aires, the forty-four-year-old former ambassador to El Salvador and Vice-Chairman of the Board of the International Rescue Committee patronizes, as does his uncle, E. Tautz—as well as various tailors in Spain.
AHMET M. ERTEGUN — A jazz authority and president of prospering Atlantic Records, Ertegun was born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1923 and was educated abroad and at St. John’s College in Annapolis. Dedicated to chic living, he has a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. He buys ready-made suits at J. Press (around $100 each and has them recut for around $50) by Martin Kalaydjian, the legendary valet of the Algonquin Hotel in New York.
DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS, JR. — Fifty-year-old Fairbanks, who once contributed to discriminating (and lamented) Vanity Fair, lives in London, but still retains his American citizenship. He is a member of the Century and Lambs clubs in New York, Buck’s and White’s in London, the Travellers in Paris, and the Metropolitan and the Army & Navy in Washington, D. C. His tailor: Stovel & Mason (48 guineas or $141.12 a suit) in London.
FINIS FARR — A gifted writer, Farr, who lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, graduated from Princeton in 1926, is a member of the Racquet & Tennis in New York, a customer of Weatherill and of Brooks Brothers ($265 a suit).
ALEXANDER COCHRANE FORBES —At fifty, Forbes, who is extremely handsome, looks little older than he did as a Harvard undergraduate (1928-1932). A graduate of Groton, he was a member of the Porcellian Club, probably the choosiest men’s club in the United States. A resident of Needham, Massachusetts, and a member of the Country Club, Forbes is a trustee for various interests. His tailors: Brooks Brothers and others.
CLARK GABLE — Since his switch to Brooks Brothers custom department shortly after the Second World War, the fifty-nine-year-old actor has become a model of subdued chic.
GEOFFREY M. GATES — Gates, Harvard ’27, lives on Long Island (Oyster Bay), where he is in the antiques business. His tailor: H. Harris.
CARY GRANT — Although Grant, who is fifty-six, favors such abominations as large tie knots and claims to have originated the square-style breast-pocket handerchief, he is so extraordinarily attractive that he looks good in practically anything. He insists upon tight armholes in his suit jackets, finds the most comfortable (and functional) of all underwear to be women’s nylon panties. Something of a maverick as to tailors, he now goes to Quintino (around $225 a suit) in Beverly Hills, California, and, whenever possible, certain of the preposterously low-priced geniuses in Hong Kong.
WALTER M. HALLE — The fifty-five-year-old head of The Halle Brothers Department Store in Cleveland graduated from Princeton, is a member of the Kirtland Country Club, the Chagrin Valley Hunt, the Cleveland Skating, and the Cleveland Athletic clubs, and, in New York, of the Princeton Club. His suits, which are ready-made by Oxxford, cost around $250 each.
ROY HAYNES — The thiry-five-year-old jazz percussionist belongs on any best-dressed list if only because of his taste in selecting clothes that flatter his short stature (five feet, three and a half inches). His suits are custom made (around $125 each) by the Andover Shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
ALFRED HERRMANN — This thirty-nine-year-old artist, who does the drawings for, among other things, Tripler’s men’s fashion ads, is an outstanding authority on male apparel. His tailor: Chipp (around $205 a suit).
MILTON HOLDEN — The sixty-six-year-old resident of New York and Palm Beach is a member of the Brook, Racquet & Tennis, and Turf & Field clubs. His tailor: Davies & Son, London.
WILLIAM E. HUTTON — Fifty-three-year-old Hutton, who lives in Old Westbury, Long Island, graduated from Hill School and Harvard, is a member of the Racquet & Tennis, Links, Meadowbrook, and Piping Rock clubs. A senior partner in the brokerage firm of W. E. Hutton & Company, he patronizes Wetzel ($285 a suit).
The late JOHN B. KELLY — was one of the few self-made men on the list. Like his daughter, Princess Grace of Monaco, he was always impeccably dressed. His tailor: Witlin & Gallagher ($265 for a two-piece suit, $10 more for a three-piece) of Philadelphia.
SOLON KELLY III — Young (thirty-nine) and exceedingly attractive, Kelly, who is a partner in a wine and spirits importing firm in New York, belongs to the Union, Brook, Racquet & Tennis, and Southampton clubs. His tailor: Kilgour, French & Stanbury in London.
CHESTER J. LaROCHE — A graduate of Exeter and Yale, where he was prominent in football, this sixty-eight-year-old head of a thriving advertising agency in New York belongs to the Racquet & Tennis Club and presides over the Football Hall of Fame. LaRoche, who turns up at Yale football games in a venerable polo coat and Tyrolean hat, has his suits made by Arthur Rosenberg ($195-210 for a two-piece and $220-235 for a three-piece suit) and Wetzel in New York and Kilgour, French & Stanbury in London.
JOHN McCLAIN — A graduate of Kenyon College, McClain, who is drama critic of the New York Journal-American, belongs to the Brooks and the Racquet & Tennis clubs. His suits are made by Stovel & Mason, London, by Penalver in Madrid ($65 a suit).
JOHN McLEAN — The forty-four-year-old son of celebrated Washington hostess Evalyn Walsh McLean is a member of the Racquet & Tennis Club in New York and the Seminole in Palm Beach. McLean, who is generally referred to as “Jock,” is a creative dresser who helped originate red socks for wear with a dinner suit. He goes to Bernard Weatherill.
ALBERT S. MURPHY — A graduate of Boston Latin School and Harvard, forty-eight-year-old Dr. Murphy is a senior surgeon at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Boston and on the staffs of Mr. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge and the New England Baptist in Boston. He is a member of the American Board of Surgery and the College of Surgeons. His clubs: Charles River Country and Harvard of Boston. His suits are made by the Andover Shop; his accessories come from either Zareh in Boston or Ara in Wellesley.
HENRY T. MORTIMER — A graduate of St. Mark’s School and Harvard, class of 1939, Mortimer is a Wall Street broker, holds membership in the Brooks and the Racquet & Tennis clubs. An extremely fussy dresser (who has his own-designed coat lapel), he insists upon such details as dull-finish bone buttons, skeleton alpaca linings. Tailor: Lord of New York.
IVA PATCÉVITCH — The elegant, silver-haired, fifty-nine-year-old Russian-born head of the Condé Nast Publications has his suits made by Weatherill.
THOMAS PHIPPS — The only Etonian on the list, forty-five-year-old Phipps is one of the few writers in the Racquet & Tennis Club. His tailor: Sandon in London (around $155 a suit, plus import duty).
WALTER PIDGEON — The sixty-two-year-old actor who played A. J. Drexel Biddle’s father in The Happiest Millionaire goes to Dunhill in New York and Domenick Alvaro ($200-$225 a suit) in Beverly Hills, California.
THOMAS MARKOE ROBERTSON — A graduate of Hotchkiss and Yale (class of 1910) and a brother-in-law of A. J. Drexel Biddle, Robertson, an architect, is a member of the exclusive Southampton Club. His tailor: E. Tautz.
JOHN SEABROOK — Forty-three-year-old Seabrook, a member of the frozen-foods family, is a Princeton graduate and a member of The London Coaching Club and the Racquet & Tennis Club in New York, lives on a 1,500-acre farm in New Jersey. His tailor: Bernard Weatherill.
J. BLAN VAN URK — This fifty-eight-year-old graduate of Princeton, where, among other things, he was heavyweight boxing champion as well as something of a dandy in his bowler and covert-cloth topcoat, is the author of the definitive and handsome Story of American Foxhunting. Van Urk belongs to the Royal Dutch Hunt (the Netherlands) and the Grolier clubs and is a Chevalier of the Confréric de la Chaîne des Rôtiseurs. His suits are made by both H. Harris and H. Huntsman & Sons in London.
THOMAS REED VREELAND — A graduate of The Hill and Yale, sixty-one-year-old Vreeland belongs to the Racquet & Tennis, Cloud, and Southampton clubs in this country, Buck’s in London, and the Travellers in Paris. His tailors: E. C. Squires (around $122 for a two-piece, $133 for a three-piece suit) in London and, in New York, Pat Sylvestri, who, notwithstanding his Johnny-come-lateliness, is one of the genuinely gifted members of his profession.
Kategoria Vieraskynä | Merkintä:
January 28, 2013 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Räätälöity matka New Yorkiin
Momondon lupaus räätälöidä verkon lentotarjoustarjonnasta parhaat
kokonaisuudet voisi tänä keväänä kuljettaa New Yorkiin tutustumaan kaupungin
räätälipalveluihin. Valikoimaa on loputtomasti, mutta pohdinnan lopuksi kolme
vinkkiä, joiden avulla päästä alkuun.
“Se istuu melkein kuin olisi juuri sinulle tehty!”, on usein käytetty todistus siitä,
että sovituskoppiin viety vaatekappale kannattaa hankkia mittojen mukaan.
Nykyään ollaankin entistä tarkempia siitä, että vaate valitaan omien mittojen
mukaan mahdollisimman sopivaksi ja omaa vartalotyyppiä arvostavaksi.
Valmisvaatteissa pyritään ottamaan huomioon asiakaskunnan keskimääräiset
mitat ja tarpeen tullen laajentamaan valikoimaa uusin mittaluokin.
Valmistuotteissa on kuitenkin aina kyse summittaisesta istuvuudesta – tietty
koko tarkoittaa tietynkokoisten ihmisten keskimääräisiä mittoja, joihin harva
todellinen ihminen lopulta osuu sentilleen.
Räätälinpalveluiden käyttäminen tuntuu monesta kaukaiselta ajatukselta
– ikään kuin mittatilauspukujen käyttäminen edellyttäisi jotain tiettyä
elintasoa ja –tapaa. Online-räätälit ovat pyrkineet madaltamaan tätä
kynnystä valmisvaatteiden ja mittatilaustöiden välillä palvelun verrattain
edullisilla hinnoilla sekä helppokäyttöisyydellä – lähetät palveluun mittasi ja
kangaspreferenssisi ja saat paluupostissa toivomasi vaatteen.
Online-palveluissa haasteena on kuitenkin se, että valmiin tuotteen sopivuus
riippuu pitkälti tilaajan omista mittaajantaidoista sekä harkinnasta. Räätälin
ammattitaitoon kuuluvaa silmää asiakkaan mittasuhteille sekä esimerkiksi eri
materiaalien käyttäytymisen ymmärrystä nettipalvelut eivät pysty tarjoamaan,
siksi vierailu ammattilaisen luona onkin edelleen se varmempi vaihtoehto.
Monien etelänmatkaajien tapana onkin vierailla räätälin luona, matkalaukussa
kotiin palaa varta vasten teetetty silkkipuku tai pari. Myös pukuja ja esimerkiksi
häämekkoja teetetään lomakohteissa edullisen hinnan ja palvelun ripeyden
takia. Lomailu myös antaa eräänlaisen oikeutuksen muuten ylellisenä ja
turhinakin pidettyjen palveluiden käytölle.
Jatkuvasti kasvavan ympäristötietoisuuden myötä luulisi kuitenkin
myös erilaisten palveluiden arvostuksen kasvavan suhteessa valmiisiin
massatuotteisiin. Mittojen mukaan ja laadukkaasta materiaalista valmistettu
vaate on monin verroin ekologisempi valinta kuin trendin mukainen massatuote.
Räätälillä asioiden voi myös varmistua siitä, että työn tekijä saa ajastaan ja
vaivastaan asianmukaisen korvauksen.
New Yorkiin suuntautuvien shoppailumatkojen fokuksessa on usein
nimenomaan muoti ja kaupungille ominaiset trendit. Dollarin ollessa
edullisimmillaan voi kaupungista tehdä todellisia löytöjä, luksusmerkin voi
pakata mukaansa huomattavasti huokeammalla kuin mitä kotipuolessa –
olettaen, että vastaavaa tuotetta ylipäänsä tarjotaan kaukana Pohjolassa.
New Yorkin räätälitarjonta on myös omaa luokkaansa ja tarjoaa mahdollisuuden
hakea juuri omanlaisia tulkintoja hetken trendeistä – valmisvaatteiden
selaamisen sijaan voit varmistua siitä, että investointi laadukkaampaan
pikkutakkiin kantaa pitkälle tulevaan menettämättä heti ajankohtaisuuttaan.
Madame Paulette, 1255 Second Ave. New York, NY 10065
Mikäli vanha puku on edelleen hyvässä kunnossa ja muutenkin rakas, voi
uuden teettämisen sijaan olla paikallaan turvautua räätälin apuun puvun
ajanmukaistamisessa. Madame Pauletten vahvuuksiin kuuluu vintage- ja
couture-vaatteiden uudistaminen ja muodistaminen. Talossa myös huolletaan
herkkiä ja hauraita materiaaleja hellyydellä ja taidolla – Madame onkin monen
häihinsä valmistautuvan ykköskohteita.
Juutalaiskaupunginosanakin aikoinaan tunnettu Lower East Side tarjoaa toki
muutakin koettavaa. Samalla kun olet Second Avenuen tietämillä, poikkea
johonkin seudun lukuisista kosher-ravintoloista, tai kuuluisaan Second Avenue
Saint Laurie (22 W. 32nd St., New York, NY 10001) keskittyy työssään pitämään
kustannukset kohtuullisina ilman, että työn laatu karsii. Tämä onnistuu etenkin
teettämällä työ paikallisesti, näin vältetään valmisvaatteiden hintaan sisältyvät
tullimaksut ja jälleenmyynnistä johtuvat kulut. Miesten paitoihin ja pukuihin
erikoistunut liike on hoitanut tonttiaan jo vuodesta 1913, mikä puhuu palvelun
tason puolesta. Peruspuvuston lisäksi talossa voi teettää myös päällystakkeja,
liivejä ja vöita oman maun mukaan.
Saint Laurie ei ole kaukana Broadwayn sykkeestä, joten piipahdus
konsultaatioon on helppo yhdistää muuhun lomailuun. Paikan suosio ja sijainti
kannattaa pitää mielessä reissua suunnitellessa, sähköpostilla tehty ajanvaraus
palkitaan jonojen ja ruuhkan välttämisenä.
La Rukico Tailors (152 E.48th St., New York, NY 10017)
Mr. Kellylle asiakas on kaiken keskiössä. Sinun mittasi, lompakkosi kantokyky
sekä oma tyylisi ovat kaiken suunnittelutyön lähtökohtana, joten työn lopputulos
on varmasti miellyttävä ja sopiva. Esimerkiksi mittatilauspaita rakennetaan
Mr. Kellyn ohjauksella käsinkudotusta kankaasta ilman, että hinta nousee
tähtiin. Näin joulun jälkeen erityisen houkuttelevalta kuulostaa Kelly Diet, joka
tarkoittaa salakavalan painonnousun häivyttämistä näkymättömiin taitavin
leikkauksin ja hyvin laskeutuvin kankain.
Samalla kadulla La Rukico Tailorsin kanssa on esimerkiksi Rockefeller Center,
joten Kelly Dietin saa hyvin ujutettua päiväohjelmaan ilman, että matkoihin
Momondosta löydät parhaat lentotarjoukset New Yorkiin tänä keväänä.
Matkahakukone tarjoilee myös paikallisten kirjoittamat kaupunkioppaat niin New
Yorkiin kuin muihinkin kohteisiin.
May 14, 2012 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Miksi siirtyä mittatilauspaitoihin?
Matkani klassisen pukeutumisen parissa jatkuu. Olen luonteeltani mies, joka oppii konkreettisesti tekemisen kautta, tai tarkemmin sanottuna itse tehtyjen virheiden kautta, valtaosa tahattomasti ja pieni osa tietoisesti riskillä. Riskissä kun piilee aina mahdollisuus suureen voittoon. Se, mitä olen matkalla oppinut on, että revitellä kannattaa kun on ensin hankkinut kenties ulkopuolisen silmin katsottuna tylsän perusvarustuksen. Näin minäkin olen vastustuksesta huolimatta pikkuhiljaa tehnyt, vaikka en sitä julkisesti myönnäkään. Kaikella on mielestäni puolensa, sillä värit on tehty käyttöä varten ja kokeilun kautta se oma juttu ennemmin tai myöhemmin löytyy.
Palatakseni päivän epistolaan: olen vaatekaappini uudistamisessa edennyt siihen pisteeseen, että hankin ensimmäisen mittatilauspaidan turkulaiselta Herrainpukimolta. Tilaisuus teki varkaan, kun Herrainpukimo etsi sopivaa mittapaikkaa Tampereen mittapäivälle ja lupasin auttaa. Nyt noin kuukausi mittapäivän jälkeen sain käsiini ensimmäisen paidan ja ensivaikutelma oli ja on edelleen positiivinen. Syy, miksi olen turvautunut mittatilauspaitaan, on ensiksi ruumiinrakenteeni ja toiseksi kasvanut laatutietoisuuteni.
Pukeutumiseen perehtyessäni huomasin nopeasti, että ruumiinrakenteeni ja standardimitoitukset eivät kohtaa. Konkreettisesti paitojen kohdalla tämä tarkoitti sitä, että käteni ovat normaalimitoituksella tehtyihin valmispaitoihin liian lyhyet. Samoin ranteeni ovat liian sirot paidanhihaan, johon kyllä auttaa rannenappien omatoiminen siirto. Toinen merkittävä syy on taloudellinen. Jos omilla mitoilla on mahdollista saada valmispaidan hintainen paita paremmalla kankaalla ja taatusti mieluisalla kuosilla, on sijoitus vaivan väärti – varsinkin kun paita on sinua varten tehty.
Esimakua tästä mukavuudesta sain Keikarin foorumin kautta ostetun Charles Tyrwhittin kauluspaidan muodossa, jossa oli sopivan mittaiset hihat ja joka istui muutenkin päälleni paremmin kuin yksikään aikaisempi paitani. Kun hetken pohdin syitä tuntemuksiini, oli vastaus niinkin yksinkertainen kuin istuvuus. CT:n paitoja voinkin suositella valmispaitojen korvaajaksi miehelle kuin miehelle, varsinkin kun yhtiön verkkokaupan alennuksesta paitoja saa halvemmalla kuin kaupan rekistä. Ostamisen alkuun pääsee muutamalla perusmitalla, kuten hihanpituudella ja kaulan ympärysmitalla. Monet ulkomaiset paitavalmistajat tarjoavat erinomaisen mahdollisuuden tilata paidat suoraan verkkokaupasta.
Itse päädyin ensimmäisellä kerralla Herrainpukimoon kahdesta syystä: ensinnäkin haluan tukea suomalaista liiketoimintaa, etenkin kun se liittyy miesten pukeutumiseen. Toiseksi sain otettua itsestäni mitat ammatti-ihmisen toimesta, joka osaa työnsä. En siis halunnut olla omien mittaustuloksieni varassa, vaikka sekin on täysin toimiva tapa aloittaa mittatilauspaitoihin tutustuminen. Jatkossa nämä ammattilaisen ottamat mitat palvelevat myös muita verkko-ostoksiani, jotka on tehtävä puhtaasti mittojen perusteella. Takaisin paitaan: kokeneemmat paitatilaajat ovat kertoneet, että ensimmäinen mittapaita on harjoituskappale, jonka pohjalta muutaman käyttö- ja pesukerran jälkeen tehdään tarvittavat korjaukset mittoihin. Tämän jälkeen mitat ovat kohdallaan ja jos elintavat eivät kroppaa muokkaa, on uusien paitojen tilaaminen vaivatonta. Tällöin voidaan keskittyä paidan yksityiskohtien valitsemiseen omien mieltymysten mukaisesti.
Herrainpukimon mittapahtuma oli miellyttävä ja opettavainen kokemus, joka kesti jutustelun lomassa vartin verran. Eihän sitä aiemmin ole tullut edes ajatelleeksi miten ja miksi niin monia mittoja paitaa varten otetaan. Omalla kohdallani ensimmäinen tilauspaita osui mittojen puolesta varsin hyvin kohdalleen, mutta pieniä muutoksia tulen seuraavaan tilauspaitaani tekemään ihan sen takia, että olen virinneen urheiluharrastukseni myötä karistanut mittapäivän jälkeen kiloja ja senttejä kropastani. Tällainen mittojen säätäminen on nimensä mukaisesti mittatilauspaitojen kohdalla mahdollista, joka on mielestäni suurin valttikortti istuvuuden ja sitä kautta käyttömukavuuden kannalta.
Toinen selkeä parannus valmispaitoihin nähden on miellyttävämpi tunne ihoa vasten. Laadukas puuvillakangas tuntuu miellyttävältä, näyttää hyvältä, pitää muotonsa pesukertojen välillä, ei nuhjaannu ja tottelee silitysrautaa mukisematta. Toisin sanoen paita tuntuu ja näyttää hyvältä päivästä toiseen. Itselläni on vakaa tunne siitä, että satunnaisia löytöjä lukuunottamatta paluuta valmispaitoihin ei enää ole. Mittatilauspaitoihin siirtyminen on käytännöllistä arjen luksusta, joka ei maksa sen enempää kuin laadukkaat valmispaidat. Nyt voin pitää päälläni istuvia paitoja joka ikinen päivä, eikä minun tarvitse hankkia paitaa tulevaisuuden muotojani silmälläpitäen.
April 26, 2012 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Ilo lisätä pitkästä aikaa tekstiä Vieraskynä-osioon. Tällä kerralla asialla on lukija Matti Airaksinen, joka kertoo alkutaipaleestaan klassisen tyylin saloihin.
“Olen klassisessa pukeutumisessa alkutaipaleella. Syynä on yksinkertaisesti se, että vaikka asia on pitkään kiinnostunut, on konkretiaan ryhtyminen jäänyt ajatuksen asteelle. Sitten kuin puolivahingossa ostin kirjan “Täydellinen herrasmies”, jota selailin kiinnostuneena, tarttumatta kuitenkaan mihinkään yksityiskohtaan. Kiinnostus kyti pitkän aikaa ja luulin ymmärtäväni miten pukeudutaan, kunnes löysin Keikari.comin ja sen foorumin, jossa samaan asiaan vihkiytyneet alkoivat opastamaan miten asiat oikeastaan ovat.
Ensimmäinen ongelma, johon uskon valtaosan miehistä sortuvan, on liian isot vaatteet. Sitä kun on viettänyt myös makeaa elämää, niin mieli on alkanut suojelemaan itseään hieman todellista kokoa suuremmilla vaatteilla. Kaikenlainen tyköistuvuus oli nou-nou. Tämä mentaliteetti elää erittäin vahvana ja on vaatinut itseltäni paljon ajatustasolla, jotta en sortuisi vastaavaan jatkossa. Kukapa haluaisi hieman pyöristyneitä muotojaan julkisesti esitellä, en minä ainakaan. Vaikeuskerrointa päätin lisätä elämäntaparemontilla, joka tarkoittaa vaatekaapin luontaista uusimista pienempiin kokoihin. Yritäpä siinä sitten pukeutumisohjeita noudattaa ja hankkia järkevällä hinnalla hanskan lailla istuvia vaatteita, kun kutistut kuitenkin. Tuli vähän “pitäkää tunkkinne” -fiilis. Oli pakko pohtia, että mihin suuntaan kiinnostusta on taloudellisessa ja henkisessä mielessä viedä.
Sitten pienellä päättelyllä totesin, että jalat eivät laihdu ja kiinnostuin kengistä. Näin miehenä sitä voi hyvällä syyllä kysyä, että mikä ihme niissä kengissä kiehtoo. Lopullista vastausta tuskin koskaan saan pohdittua, mutta omalla kohdallani kyseessä on estetiikan lisäksi teknishenkisyys. Kaunis kenkä on kaunis kenkä. Asiaan vihkiytymätön ei myöskään tajua mitä eroa on pohjilla tai nahkalaaduille – kunnes alkaa ensimmäisiä “oikeita kenkiä” puleeraamaan. Kun tekee elämänsä kalleimman kenkähankinnan, niin siinä haluaa välittömästi tietää mitä ei ainakaan pidä tehdä. Ainoa ennalta tietämäni asia oli se, että pitää hankkia lepolestit.
Onneksi asiaan vihkiytyneitä ja tietoaan auliisti jakavia ihmisiä löytyy. En kai minä muuten olisi notkeuttanut nahkaa öljyllä, lämmitellyt sitä hiustenkuivaajalla ja sitten harjannut ylimääräisiä pois ennen lankkausta. Teknisessä mielessä asia meni helposti ulkopuolisen silmissä hifistelyn asteelle, varsinkin kun käytössä on viisi erilaista kenkäharjaa (hevosenjouhesta tietenkin) kullekin värille. Vähiten asiaa ei ihmetellyt vaimoni, jonka ilme oli välillä näkemisen arvoinen kun jynssäsin kenkiäni pieteetillä puoli iltaa. Onneksi tässäkin asiassa anekauppa toimi, eli kun hoidin hänen kenkänsä, sain täyden tuen omien kenkieni hoitamiselle.
Välttämätön eteneminen kenkienhoidon saralla on ollut kengänhoitotuotteiden vaihtuminen ns. inttimätöstä laadukkaampiin. Tämä ainoastaan paremman lopputuloksen nimissä, maksoi mitä maksoi. Eipä aikaakaan, kun vaimon vanhat nailonsukatkin saivat uuden elämän, kun tein elämäni ensimmäistä loppukiiltoa elämäni ensimmäisiin brogue-kenkiin. Tätä tosin edelsi voodoon tasolle mennyt kenkien lankkaus, jossa kuuminta hottia edustaa Ikean vanulaput ja Lidlin kivennäisvesi, joiden avulla isot pojat ovat saaneet parhaat kiillot kenkiinsä. Kivennäisveden kuplat kuulemma vähentävät kitkaa ja takaavat näin paremman kiillon. Kannattaa toki kokeilla.
Edellä kuvaamani kehityspolku on ollut sarkasmistaan huolimatta hauskaa. Oppia on tullut roppakaupalla ja jos ei muuta, niin olen saanut kiitosta keskivertoa paremmista kengistä, joissa on ollut keskivertoa parempi kiilto. Ihan jo tällaisen mieltä lämmittävän palautteen takia vaiva on ollut sen arvoista ja uskon vielä myöhemmin kiitteleväni itseäni kun osaan huolehtia kengistäni niin, että niitä ei tarvitse vuosittain uusia.”
Kategoria Vieraskynä | Merkintä:
March 29, 2012 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Tämänpäiväinen Vieraskynä on peräisin Keikarin foorumin keskustelusta, jossa entinen välineharrastaja kertoo kääntymyksestään.Nykyään ei enää tehdä asioita päin persettä, koska yrittäminen itseisarvoisesti arvostettavaa, tekijästä tuntuu kivalta ja joku jossain saattaa digata. Lopputuloksena kaikki menee ja se on vielä tosi jees.”
« Reply #7228 on: Today at 13:43, Tauno »
“Kyllä. Tämän on saanut huomata monesta omasta “harrastuksesta”. Syöminen, viinin juominen ja kalastaminen nyt tulee ensimmäisenä mieleen.
Esimerkkinä: olen harrastanut perhokalastusta pienen ikäni. Aloitin sitomalla perhoja ala-aste ikäisenä noin vuoden päivät, ennen kun edes näin ensimmäistä perhovapaa. Kun ensimmäisen vapani sain, se oli käytetty, kaverini vanha varavapa – korjailtu sellainen. Se kelpasi minulle monta vuotta, kuten kaikki muukin ilmaiseksi tai puoli-ilmaiseksi saatu käytetty harrastusväline. Kului vuosia, kehityin niin kalastajana ja perhonsitojanakin, välineet paranivat pikkuhiljaa. Olin saavuttanut lukioikään mennessä sen aikaisten perhokalastusvälineistön tech-ninja -tason. Kaikki omilla taskurahoilla hankittuna, edelleen se isän oppi mielessä, että “kosken rannalla seisominen ja katsominen on arvokkaampaa kuin koskessa kalastaen tolskaaminen”. En koskaan liittynyt mihinkään perhokalastusseuraan, en koskaan kalastanut kavereidenki kanssa, vaan yksin tai veljeni kanssa. Mielestäni olin oppinut ymmärtämään luontoa, ainakin hieman, ehkä joku päivä tulisin ymmärtämään sen täysin. Kalastin, kalastin ja kehityin. Uskalsin sanoa olevani hyvä siinä. Erittäin hyvä. En siltikään kilpaillut, en sitomisessa, enkä kalastamisessa. Opetin japanilaisille diplomaateille ja suurlähettiläälle perhonsidontaa jossakin turhantärkeässä tapahtumassa. Kukaan ei koskaan kritisoinut tapaani, perhojani tai mitään muutakaan kalastukseeni liittyvää. Perhoni olivat kauniita ja monimutkaisia. Minut tunnettiin ja tiedettiin yhdeksi joen etevimmistä, jos ei etevimmäksi perhokalastajaksi.
Kului vuosia, ja jouduin opiskelujeni takia pitämään usean vuoden tauon kalastamisesta. Opiskeluaikoina en enää ehtinyt virran äärelle kuin ehkä 10 – 15 kertaa vuodessa, senkin kaikessa hiljaisuudessa. En tavannut muita kalastajia, en nähnyt lajin kehitystä, kun en seurannut alan julkaisuja. Useaan vuoteen en edes avannut yhtään kalastusaiheista kirjaa tai verkkosivua.
Hetki sitten, viime kesänä, aloitin kalastamisen tosissaan taas uudelleen. Vanhat välineet olin vaihtanut vanhempiin ja halvempiin, käytettyihin. Hiilikuidut vaihdoin bambuun, muovisiimat silkkiin. . . En hienoihin alttarilla palvottuihin, vaan käyttökelpoisiin. Sellaisiin, joita kenkiin verrattaessa suoraan täällä foorumilla tuomittaisiin. Ehkäpä Loaken 200:iin. Mikään omassa kalastamisessa ei ollut muuttunut. Nautin yhtä paljon, oikeastaan paljon enemmänkin, koska osasin nyt olla kiinnittämättä huomiota turhanpäiväisiin pikkuseikkoihin ja hienouksiin, ja keskittyä enemmän itse asiaan: rannalla seisomiseen ja katsomiseen. Odottamiseen. – Sain enemmän saalista kuin ennen, nauroin enemmän. Jaoin kokemukset veljeni kanssa. Olin yksinkertaistanut välineistöni, vain perhojeni määrä oli karttunut – laatu sen sijaan laskenut siihen nähden, mitä joskus jaksoin sitoa. Kalat ymmärsivät silti yksinkertaisten sidoksieni päälle ja itse uskoin niihin. Vaikka välineistöni oli siis “heikontunut”, ymmärsin silti enemmän kuin koskaan. Ymmärsin yksinkertaisuutta.
Eräs päivä kosken rannalla vastaani käveli poika, jonka oli tuntenut hänen ollessaan ihan pieni. Oli kasvanut kovasti. Yllään hänellään oli viimeisintä huutoa olevat vermeet, minulla vain tweedlätsä, vapa ja pajukori. Hän kertoili kovasti uusimmista välineistään, oivalluksistaan perhonsidonnassa ja uudenaikaisesta kalastustekniikasta, joka näytti tuovan saalista yli äyräiden. – Minä vastasin kahdella lauseella kauniista säästä. Sain tuolla reissulla kaksi kalaa. Kalastin noin vartin, joella olin noin neljä tuntia. — Myöhemmin joku kertoi, että poika oli saanut lähemmäs parikymmentä kalastettuaan koko yön, ja samaan hengenvetoon ihmetteli omaa pientä saalistani.
Tuon tapaamisen jälkeen olen hiljentänyt vauhtiani entisestään. – Tiedän, että tosissaan, veren maku suussa kalastaen olisin saanut moninkertaisen saaliin. Mutta enhän minä sellaista tarvinnut. Halusin ja haluan vain harrastella. Harrastaa paskasti.”
Kategoria Vieraskynä | Merkintä:
January 7, 2012 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Foorumijäsen Ivymanin kynästä:
Hipsterismin aallot tulevat lyömään keikarismin flanellinharmaita kalliorantoja vasten yhä voimakkaampina – katumuoti ja obskuurit japanilaismerkit tulevat kasvattamaan suosiotaan, ja alamme nähdä kapeahousuisia vapaa-ajan kokonaisuuksia MTOP-ketjun perusjäykistelijöiden seassa. Jäykät poseeraukset toki pysyvät, mutta laajalieristen fedora-hattujen ohella kuvaketjun nuorempien sankareiden päässä nähdään Junya Watanbe vs, Oki Tsuki Poki vs. Cousteau/Dior -kollaboraatiopipoja tai lujaa pinnalle nousevan retro-ysärin inspiroimia Daft Punk -kypäriä. Keskivartaloa verhoaa – luonnollisesti – Wool Filthy Rich Money Millsin cut-away flanellipaita – eksklusiivisesti Tres Bieniltä ovh 786 € – ja Barbour vs. Zuka Zuka kretuliinin värinen öljykangas-3/2-roll -tikkitakki. Sartoria Casyaal -eturintaman edustajan jaloista bongaamme uuden puolalaisen Zrstwnie Plszak -designerpajan uniikisti hevosenjouhista valmistamat ankkaembleemein koristellut GTH-chinot, ja jalassa New Balance vs. OMG Bling Bling -kollaboraationa työstetyt platinakoristellut trainerit.
Samaan aikaan toisaalla: Keikarismin iGent-rannikkovartiosto valmistuu hipsterismin vastaiseen taisteluun satsaamalla yhä voimakkaammin brittiläiseen maalaiseleganssiin. Ajokoiria pidetään nälässä: korkeintaan niille syötetään raakaa hipsterin sääriluuta kerran viikossa verenhimon yllä pitämiseksi. Metsästyshevosten kavioita kiillotetaan, jahtisaappaat kiillotetaan spit shine -metodia käyttäen kiiltävämmksi kuin hiotuin eebenpuu. Punaiset metsästystakit tärkätään jäykemmiksi kuin betoni, jotta ratsastaja pysyy satulassa selkä suorassa vaikka hip flaskit olisikin tyhjennetty Single Maltista jo kolme tuntia ennen teeaikaa ja metsästyksen alkua. Vihdoin odotettu tapahtuu: käyrätorvi töräyttää fanfaarinsa ja hipsterijahti alkaa. Keikarikartanon tiloille luomupuolukkaa poimimaan eksyneet Punavuoren Toivot ja Martat saavat kohta pistää tossuihinsa vauhtia. Metsästyspäivänä pommiin nukkunut foorumijäsen Witherston-Rayner kuljeksii eksyneenä pitkin autiota MTOP-bulevardia kolmiosaisessa flanellipuvussaan, trilby hämillisesti kallellaan.
Italian Ihmemaassa kaikki on entisellään, vakaana kuin paavin istuin. Pitti Uomon Sprezza-veikko antaa leppeän tuulen hyväillä niskatukkaansa, onhan jo kevät. Auringonpaiste saa iltapäiväespressolle ja grappalle pysähtyneen nautiskelijan avaamaan Isaiastaan velä yhden napin. Paita on nyt auki napaan asti. Paljaissa jaloissa olevat peilikiiltävät, kastanjanruskeat quadra-munkit nostetan rennosti vapaalle tuolille ja annetaan kevättunnelman viedä. Ohi purjehtii kaunis neito, vinkataan silmää. Donna! Leppeän hetken pilaa kuitenkin ohi askeltava, kilpaileva Commendatori, jonka vaaleanpunaisten penta-munkki-bucksien näkeminen saa myrkynvihreän kateuden nousemaan sankarimme kasvoille. Äkkiä ‘presso maistuu kitkerälle ja grappa takertuu kurkkuun. Pinkkimunkkimiehen putoaminen lakkoilevan katurakennuslaitoksen auki unohtamaan viemärikuiluun saa kuitenkin hymyn palaamaan – kaikki on taas La Dolce Vitaa. Bellissima! Grazie Berlusconi!
Ameriikan Andy-Maassa ylisuuriin pukuihin ja takki-housut-yhdistelmiin pukeutuneet nörtit jatkavat kollektiivista harhaansa suurmestareidensa Kill Bill Will Boehlken, Manton Anto Giovannin, Chenners Chennsy Voldin ja Fluxus Flusserin saarnojen saattamina. Pienessä clevelandilaisen hometalon vessassa kännykkäkameroin otetut kuvat saavat britti-iGentien amerikan-serkut kuvittelemaan elävänsä WASP-unelmaa, jossa Amerikka on vapaa vääränvärisistä ja ei-republikaaneista ja jossa Martha’s Vineyardin kartanossa odottavat aulis rouva ja puleerattu 178 000 -jalkainen purjevene. Mitä väliä, vaikka todellisuus on toista: pihalla makaava purjevene on laho optimistijolla, esimies toimistolla muistuttaa enemmän Augusto Pinochetia kuin Dilbertin pomoa ja naisia näkee vain Internetin kontakti-ilmoitusten kuvissa – ja lähikaupan naisväessä ei ole hurramista: lihakaupan Liisa ei ole nuori.”
Kategoria Vieraskynä | Merkintä:
October 2, 2011 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Spalla camicia eli paitahartia on käsite, joka viittaa monien napolilaisten räätäleiden tavaramerkkiin: kauluspaidan hihan lailla rakennettuun puvunhihaan. Tämä rakenne on omaleimainen, tehden puvusta rennomman näköisen ja erottaen sitä suosivan muista pukeutujista. Paitahartiarakenteessa hiha roikkuu täysin vailla tukea tai toppausta, jättäen pienet laskokset keskelle hauista. Englantilaista tyyliä suosivat nyrpistelevät tälle Napolin erikoisuudelle, joka englantilaiseen silmään näyttää kovin ryppyiseltä ja löysältä. Todennäköisesti parhaimmillaan spalla camicia on irtotakeissa, joilta ei vaadita samaa edustavuutta kuin puvuilta ja joissa värien, kuvioiden ja kankaiden moninaisuus on vain ilo.
Kattavasti aiheesta on aiemmin kirjoittanut Michael Anton AAAC:n artikkelissa.
September 24, 2011 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Maineikas journalisti-kirjailija-dandy Tom Wolfe on yksi amerikkalaisen New Journalism -tyylin varhaisista vaikuttajista. Alle kopioitu kiivas, hehkuva tajunnanvirtainen artikkeli julkaistiin alun perin New York Herald Tribunessa vuonna 1966, noin kaksi vuosikymmentä ennen juppi-sanan syntyä, neljä vuosikymmentä ennen metroseksuaalien joukkoinvaasiota ja viitisen vuotta ennen Hunter S. Thompsonin gonzo-journalismia. Näin siis aikakaudella, jolloin herrasmiehen käsite ja puvut olivat arkipäivää, eikä lehtitekstejä koskaan kirjoitettu preesens-muodossa.
“Real buttonholes. That’s it! A man can take his thumb and forefinger and unbutton his sleeve at the wrist because this kind of suit has real buttonholes there. Tom, boy, it’s terrible. Once you know about it, you start seeing it. All the time! There are just two classes of men in the world, men with suits whose buttons are just sewn onto the sleeve, just some kind of cheapie decoration, or—yes!—men who can unbutton the sleeve at the wrist because they have real buttonholes and the sleeve really buttons up. Fascinating! My friend Ross, a Good Guy, thirty-two years old, a lawyer Downtown with a good head of Scotch-Irish hair, the kind that grows right, unlike lower-class hair, is sitting in his corner on East 81st St., in his Thonet chair, with the Flemish brocade cushion on it, amid his books, sets of Thackeray, Hazlitt, Lamb, Walter Savage Landor, Cardinal Newman, and other studs of the rhetoric game, amid his prints, which are mostly Gavarni, since all the other young lawyers have Daumiers or these cute muvvas by “Spy,” or whatever it is, which everybody keeps laying on thatchy-haired young lawyers at Christmas—Ross is sitting among all these good tawny, smoke-cured props drinking the latest thing somebody put him onto, port, and beginning to talk about coats with real buttonholes at the sleeves. What a taboo smirk on his face!
It’s the kind of look two eleven-year-old kids get when they are riding the Ferris wheel at the state fair, and every time they reach the top and start down they are staring right into an old midway banner in front of a sideshow, saying, “THE MYSTERIES OF SEX REVEALED! SIXTEEN NUDE GIRLS! THE BARE TRUTH! EXCITING! EDUCATIONAL!” In the sideshow they get to see 16 female foetuses in jars of alcohol, studiously arranged by age, but—that initial taboo smirk!
Ross, thirty-two years old, in New York City—the same taboo smirk.
“I want to tell you a funny thing,” he says. “The first time I had any idea about this whole business of the buttonholes was a couple of Christmases ago, one Saturday, when I ran into Sturges at Dunhill’s.” Dunhill the tobacco shop. Sturges is a young partner in Ross’s firm on Wall Street. Ross idealizes Sturges. Ross stopped carrying an attaché case, for example, because Sturges kept referring to attaché cases as leather lunch pails. Sturges is always saying something like “You know who I saw yesterday? Stolz. There he was, walking along Exchange Place with his leather lunch pail, the poor bastard.” Anyway, Ross says he ran into Sturges in Dunhill’s. “He was trying to get some girl a briar pipe for Christmas or some damn thing.” That Sturges! “Anyway, I had just bought a cheviot tweed suit, kind of Lovat-colored—you know, off the rack—actually it was a pretty good-looking suit. So Sturges comes over and he says, ‘Well, old Ross has some new togs,’ or something like that. Then he says, ‘Let me see something,’ and he takes the sleeve and starts monkeying around with the buttons. Then he says, ‘Nice suit,’ but he says it in a very half-hearted way. Then he goes off to talk to one of those scientific slenderellas he always has hanging around. So I went over to him and said, ‘What was all that business with the buttons?’ And he said, ‘Well, I thought maybe you had it custom made.’ He said it in a way like it was now pretty goddamned clear it wasn’t custom made. Then he showed me his suit—it was a window-pane check, have you ever seen one of those?—he showed me his suit, the sleeve, and his suit had buttonholes on the sleeve. It was custom made. He showed me how he could unbutton it. Just like this. The girl wondered what the hell was going on. She stood there with one hip cocked, watching him undo a button on his sleeve. Then I looked at mine and the buttons were just sewn on. You know?” And you want to know something? That really got to old Ross. He practically couldn’t wearthat suit anymore. All right, it’s ridiculous. He probably shouldn’t even be confessing all this. It’s embarrassing. And—the taboo smirk!
Yes! The lid was off, and poor old Ross was already hooked on the secret vice of the Big men in New York: custom tailoring and the mania for the marginal differences that go into it. Practically all the most powerful men in New York, especially on Wall Street, the people in investment houses, banks and law firms, the politicians, especially Brooklyn Democrats, for some reason, outstanding dandies, those fellows, the blue-chip culturati, the major museum directors and publishers, the kind who sit in offices with antique textile shades—practically all of these men are fanatical about the marginal differences that go into custom tailoring. They are almost like a secret club insignia for them. And yet it is a taboo subject. They won’t talk about it. They don’t want it known that they even care about it. But all the time they have this fanatical eye, more fanatical than a woman’s, about the whole thing and even grade men by it. The worst jerks, as far as they are concerned—and people can lose out on jobs, promotions, the whole can of worms, because of this—are men who have dumped a lot of money, time and care into buying ready-made clothes from some Englishy dry goods shop on Madison Avenue with the belief that they are really “building fine wardrobes.” Such men are considered to be bush leaguers, turkeys and wet smacks, the kind of men who tote the leather lunch pail home at night and look forward to having a drink and playing with the baby.
God, it’s painful to hear old Ross talk about all this. It’s taboo! Sex, well, all right, talk your head off. But this, these men’s clothes—a man must have to have beady eyes to even see these things. But these are Big men! But—all right!
It’s the secret vice! In Europe, all over England, in France, the mass ready-made suit industry is a new thing. All men, great and small, have had tailors make their suits for years, and they tend to talk a little more with each other about what they’re getting. But in America it’s the secret vice. At Yale and Harvard, boys think nothing of going over and picking up a copy of Leer, Poke, Feel, Prod, Tickle, Hot Whips, Modern Mammaries, and other such magazines, and reading them right out in the open. Sex is not taboo. But when the catalogue comes from Brooks Brothers or J. Press, that’s something they whip out only in private. And they can hardly wait. They’re in the old room there poring over all that tweedy, thatchy language about “Our Exclusive Shirtings,” the “Finest Lairdsmoor Heather Hopsacking,” “Clearspun Rocking Druid Worsteds,” and searching like detectives for the marginal differences, the shirt with a flap over the breast pocket (J. Press), the shirt with no breast pocket (Brooks), the pants with military pockets, the polo coat with welted seams—and so on and on, through study and disastrous miscalculations, until they learn, at last, the business of marginal differentiations almost as perfectly as those teen-agers who make their mothers buy them button-down shirts and then make the poor old weepies sit up all night punching a buttonhole and sewing on a button in the back of the collar because they bought the wrong damn shirt, one of those hinkty ones without the button in the back.
And after four years of Daddy bleeding to pay the tabs, Yale, Harvard, and the rest of these schools turn out young gentlemen who are confident that they have at last mastered the secret vice, marginal differentiations, and they go right down to Wall Street or wherever and—blam!—they get it like old Ross, right between the eyes. A whole new universe to learn! Buttonholes! A whole new set of clothing firms to know about—places like Bernard Weatherill, probably the New York custom tailor with the biggest reputation, very English, Frank Brothers and Dunhill’s, Dunhill’s the tailor, which are slightly more—how can one say it?—flamboyant?—places like that, or the even more esoteric world of London tailors, Poole, Hicks, Wells, and God knows how many more, and people knock themselves out to get to London to get to these places, or else they order straight from the men these firms send through New York on regular circuits and put up in hotels, like the Biltmore, with big books of swatches, samples of cloths, piled up on the desk-table.
The secret vice! A whole new universe! Buttonholes! The manufacturers can’t make ready-made suits with permanent buttonholes on the sleeves. The principle of ready-made clothes is that each suit on the rack can be made to fit about four different shapes of men. They make the sleeves long and then the store has a tailor, an unintelligible little man who does alterations, chop them off to fit men with shorter arms and move the buttons up.
And suddenly Ross found that as soon as you noticed this much, you started noticing the rest of it. Yes! The scyes, for example. The scyes! Imagine somebody like Ross knowing all this esoteric terminology. Ross is a good old boy, for godsake. The scyes! The scyes are the armholes in a coat. In ready-made clothes, they make the armholes about the size of the Holland Tunnel. Anybody can get in these coats. Jim Bradford, the former heavyweight weight-lifting champion, who has arms the size of a Chapman Valve fire hydrant, can put on the same coat as some poor bastard who is mooning away the afternoon at IBM shuffling memos and dreaming of going home and having a drink and playing with the baby. Naturally, for everybody but Jim Bradford, this coat is loose and looks sloppy, as you can imagine. That’s why custom-made suits have high armholes; because they fit them to a man’s own particular shoulder and arm. And then all these other little details. In Ross’s league, Wall Street, practically all of these details follow the lead of English tailoring. The waist: the suits go in at the waist, they’re fitted, instead of having a straight line, like the Ivy League look. This Ivy League look was great for the ready-made manufacturers. They just turned out simple bags and everybody was wearing them. The lapels: in the custom-made suits they’re wider and have more “belly,” meaning more of a curve or flared-out look along the outer edge. The collar: the collar of the coat fits close to the neck—half the time in ready-made suits it sits away from the neck, because it was made big to fit all kinds. The tailor-made suit fits closer and the collar itself will have a curve in it where it comes up to the notch. The sleeves: the sleeves are narrower and are slightly tapered down to the wrists. Usually, there are four buttons, sometimes three, and they really button and unbutton. The shoulders are padded to give the coat shape; “natural shoulders” are for turkeys and wet smacks. The vents: often the coat will have side vents or no vents, instead of center vents, and the vents will be deeper than in a ready-made suit. Well, hell, Ross could go on about all this—but there, you can already see what the whole thing is like.
Ross even knows what somebody is likely to say to this. You walk into a room and you can’t tell whether somebody has real buttonholes on his sleeves or not. All of these marginal differences are like that. They’re so small, they’re practically invisible. All right! That’s what’s so maniacal about it. In women’s clothes, whole styles change from year to year. They have new “silhouettes,” waists and hems go up and down, collars go in and out, breasts blossom out and disappear; you can follow it. But in men’s clothes there have only been two style changes in this century, and one of them was so esoteric, it’s hard for a tailor to explain it without a diagram. It had to do with eliminating a breast seam and substituting something called a “dart.” That happened about 1913. The other thing was the introduction of pleats in pants about 1922. Lapels and pants leg widths have been cut down some, but most of the flashy stuff in lapels and pants goes on in ready-made suits, because the manufacturers are naturally hustling to promote style changes and make a buck. In custom-made suits, at least among tailors in the English tradition, there have really been no changes for fifty years. The whole thing is in the marginal differences—things that show that you spent more money and had servitors in there cutting and sewing like madmen and working away just for you. Status! Yes!
Yes, and how can these so-called Big men really get obsessed with something like this? God only knows. Maybe these things happen the way they happened to Lyndon Johnson, Our President. Mr. Johnson was campaigning with John Kennedy in 1960, and he had to look at Kennedy’s clothes and then look at his own clothes, and then he must have said to himself, in his winning, pastoral way, Great Hairy Ned on the mountaintop, my clothes look like Iron Boy overalls. Yus, muh cluths look luk Irun Bouy uvverulls. Now this Kennedy, he had most of his clothes made by tailors in England. Anyway, however it came about, one day in December, 1960, after the election, if one need edit, Lyndon Johnson, the salt of the good earth of Austin, Texas, turned up on Savile Row in London, England, and walked into the firm of Carr, Son & Woor. He said he wanted six suits, and the instructions he gave were: “I want to look like a British diplomat.” Lyndon Johnson! Like a British diplomat! You can look it up. Lyndon Johnson, President of the United States, Benefactor of the Po’, Lion of NATO, Defender of the Faith of Our Fathers, Steward of Peace in Our Times, Falconer of Our Sly Asiatic Enemies, Leader of the Free World—is soft on real buttonholes! And I had wondered about Ross.”
Kategoria Vieraskynä | Merkintä:
August 9, 2011 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Michael Mattis päättää kirjoitelmansa toisella osalla, jossa käsitellään sopivia vaatekappaleita, käytöstapoja, kirjasivistystä sekä toisten huomioimista.
Letter to a Young Dandy, Part II
“My Dear Palmieri:
I am so glad to hear that your classmates and teachers consider you well dressed. It means that you have realized the first step in your dandiacal aspirations. If a dandy can be said to have any responsibilities, the first is to always be well dressed. The second is to be daring within the fluid limits of accepted taste. We will get to that in a moment. When last I wrote, we discussed the dandy in theory: what dandyism is and is not, the difference between the dandy and the various forms of aesthete and so forth. We determined that dandyism is, in short, the study and practice of personal elegance. Today we will explore dandyism in practice.
We left off last time with the question “What shall I wear?”
To that I can only answer, “Why, anything you like, provided it is within the bounds of good taste, is appropriate to the occasion, and falls, as Max Beerbohm wrote, ‘within the wide limits of fashion’.” Many have trouble with the “F” word, confusing overall fashionableness with vulgar trendiness. It should be remembered that, during his heyday as a theater critic and essayist in London, Beerbohm wore the elegant top hat and frock coat that were the man-about-town fashions of the Edwardian era. But half a century later, during his semiretirement in Italy, his visitors found him attired, albeit impeccably, in a simple suit, or casually in an ascot and cardigan – the everyday fashions of Europe in the 1950s. “The dandy,” he once wrote, is “the ‘child of his age,’ and his best work must accord with the age’s natural influence.” And bear in mind what Edward Bulwer-Lytton once wrote, “Never in your dress altogether desert that taste which is general. The world considers eccentricity in great things, genius; in small things, folly.”
It is a common misconception that one must wear a suit and tie every day, or even a sports jacket and tie, to be considered a dandy. In fact, one of the contemporary dandy’s greatest challenges lies in making casual dress fresh and daring. A fine pair of cords, a warm alpine sweater, silk scarf and a wool cap worn at a rakish angle are as dandyish as a bespoke suit if worn in, say, an Aspen ski chalet. In class, a burgundy velvet blazer and fitted black turtleneck can look as smart today as they did half a century ago. Look to your university’s rich heritage for insight into casual campus attire. Somewhere among UPenn’s moldering piles of stone you will find a long hall chock full with class portraits, sporting photos, trophies and other memorabilia. Observe carefully the styles of your venerable alumni and snatch from them the classics that will work for you today and give you panache tomorrow. And always remember that what you wear is less important than the style with which you wear it, for this is what separates the true dandy from the mere dandyologist.
There are many shops, department and warehouse stores that offer perfectly decent, classic apparel at affordable prices that you will be able to make work for you if you are patient, methodical, informed and inspired. Be sure to keep an eye on the so-called outlet shops, such as Polo and Brooks Brothers. There is also second hand and vintage. There’s no shame in buying second hand, if what you find works for you better than a new item would. I have found some of my best hats, for example, in antique shops. While some vintage shops are worth looking into for hard-to-find accessories and the occasional jacket or vest, steer clear of buying whole ensembles from days past.There’s nothing dandyish about looking like a gangster from a Jimmy Cagney movie, much less like Herb Tarleck in “WKRP in Cincinnati.” While we sometimes take our inspiration from history, we never copy it. A better bet is high-end consignment shops that serve tony charities like the ballet, the opera and the local upper-crust hospital. Rich people not only tend to have nicer clothes, but they cast them off more frequently than ordinary folk. And there is always, of course, eBay.
Before we step out to the shops it’s important to do some preparation. We can’t build a basilica merely by piling one stone on top of another. We need a solid foundation. It doesn’t matter if you are small, tall, slender or stout. You are an aspiring dandy, not an aspiring runway model, after all. But it’s vital to have a sound architecture upon which to build. To quote Beerbohm once again, “True dandyism is the result of an artistic temperament working upon a fine body.” There are many activities that can be useful in helping one build a solid framework. Fencing, dance, tennis, badminton and squash are excellent pastimes that can build strength, promote good posture and bring the bloom of good health into your pallid cheeks without putting you in a cast or depleting the stock of cash you should be spending on clothes.
I meant books, of course.
The temptations and pressures of a modern American university are myriad. Chief and most dangerous are the twin desires to both fit in and yet to stand out. You will face enormous pressure to play a part in a clique. At the same time you will feel compelled to make your mark. The easiest and most seductive of path is ill-conceived outrageousness. Instead of wearing peacock feathers and black lipstick, or strutting around campus with a boa constrictor around your neck, or reading “Howl” through a bullhorn from the top floor of the library, set yourself apart by the simple elegance of your dress, the confidence of your carriage and the unaffected grace of your deportment. At the same time, cultivate a wide acquaintance with your studied wit, your easy courtesy, and, moreover, your readiness to laugh.
Frequent interaction among a highly diverse acquaintance can be a great source of pleasure. It is also to be encouraged as means of instilling in oneself a sense of the foibles that move human behavior, which, as we noted in our last correspondence, is an essential quality of dandyism. But as with fashion, there is a difference between moving in society and becoming servile to its folly.
Always remember: to be a dandy is to be in control of who you are. In the words of Ellen Moers, the author of the quintessential history “The Dandy,” “The dandy’s achievement is simply to be himself. In his terms, however, this phrase does not mean to relax, to sprawl, or… to unbutton; it means to tighten, to control, to attain perfection in all the accessories of life, to resist whatever may be suitable for the vulgar but improper for the dandy.”
Should someone note, in a negative way, your attention to detail with regard to your dress and deportment, don’t bother to be angry, for in anger you lose yourself. Naturally, some people will always resent the smart and the stylish. Never mind them; cultivate that antique calm which will allow you to observe things and respond to them carefully with a critical eye and a sense of detachment. Says Machiavelli, “The world belongs to the cool of head.” Lastly, Never be afraid to appear judgmental: If you perceive a thing to be trendy crap, say so – and as amusingly as you can.
Naturally I wouldn’t for a moment suggest that you should never make close friends, go to a hip-hop show, fall in love, hold forth in the campus coffee house, get tipsy at a party or dance at a nightclub with your chums until 3 o’clock in the morning. On the contrary, you need to experience all that life has to offer. But Beau Brummell, according to his early theorist, Jules Barbey D’Aurevilly, always applied this rule of thumb: “In society, stop until you have made your impression, then leave.” In other words, Brummell would “look in,” as the expression went, at ball or a party or a card game just long enough so that the other guests might take note and remember him. During these short appearances he would use his ready wit and charm to make his impression. Indeed, had Brummell continued to follow this simple rule, his distinguished career would have lasted far longer, for it was staying too long, drinking too much and playing for stakes too high that proved to be his undoing.
To this maxim I can only add that the best way to know when you have made your impression – and thus when to leave – is at the moment when you are having the best time yourself. If you always depart on a high note, people will remember you warmly and always want more of you, just as you will enjoy the memory of your time with them.
I would be a liar, my dear Palmieri, if I told you that I have heeded all of the advice I have offered you. But had I the chance to do my university days over, I hope that I would. Dandyism is not for the weak of character: It requires too much self-mastery to be easy. (And the hardest part, my friend, lies in making it look easy.) But it is also filled with pleasures. Some are simple and sensual: the luxurious feel of a fine velvet jacket at holiday time, or the disciplined snap of linen trouser cuffs as they swing around your ankles during a springtime stroll. Others are emotional and cerebral, like the satisfaction of knowing you are impeccably turned out, and that in order to be so required measures of education, creativity, self-knowledge and control that few others aspire to possess.
In you, Palmieri, I have great confidence.”
August 8, 2011 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Tämän päivän Vieraskynässä amerikkalainen journalisti Michael Mattis kirjoittaa dandyismin olemuksesta ja käytännöstä 2000-luvun nuoren miehen elämässä. Mattis sanailee mietteensä Palmierille, joka tässä tekstissä on todennäköisesti henkilön sijaan vain kirjallinen tehokeino ja viittaus 1400-luvulla eläneen italialaisen humanistin tuotantoon, erityisesti aikansa merkkiteokseen “Della vita civile”. Mattis tiivistää olennaisen tästä sosiaalisesta ilmiöstä erinomaisesti, keskittyen Beaun hahmoon sekä vaikutukseen ja sivuuttaen Wilden, d’Orsayn ja muut keikarit kliseinä.
Letter to a Young Dandy, Part I
“My Dear Palmieri:
It is a rare and wonderful gift for a curmudgeon such as myself to receive the praise of youth. It’s nice to know my little column is read at all, but to be solicited for advice is a singular honor.
In your brief e-pistle you mentioned that you are about to start your studies at the University of Pennsylvania and that you will be studying English and perhaps taking a minor degree in psychology. Very well, a solid grounding in literature combined with some understanding of the motives that drive human behavior can be both enlightening and entertaining. Be sure not to take either too seriously, however, but treat each with the skepticism and humor it deserves. Besides, taking anything too seriously can lead to premature laugh lines, and those aren’t funny.
In anticipation of your arrival at university, you tell me that you have, “concocted a grand scheme with a dear Friend… that involves the introduction of the Dandy way of life to that of the University.” Furthermore, you say: “Our manner of aestheticism and dress, we hope, preserves notions of Dandyism… into a frame of mind that promotes refinement of manners and elegance of speech.”
Hmm… a grand scheme? The introduction of the Dandy way of life? My dear Palmieri, while such intent may seem laudable to one so young and full of idealism, your words set this middle-aged dandy’s fop-dar a-beeping. I hope you and your friend’s “grand scheme” does not involve flouncing around the quad in poofy shirts and knee breeches proclaiming the equiprimordiality of Beauty with a peacock feather in one hand and a dime-store quizzing glass in the other in some vain attempt to civilize the unruly, suds-swilling frat rats of U. Penn. You’ll only make a ridiculous spectacle of yourself. And your followers will no doubt be the sort of pencil-necked misfits who work at the local comic-book store, and there’s nothing dandyish about that.
But I react too rashly. Let us take a step back and look first to first principles. Before we can discover how to bring dandyism with us wherever we go, we have to ask first what dandyism is. But even before we do that, let’s discuss what dandyism is not.
Dandyism is not, as has often been claimed, a response to bourgeois, middle class or “mainstream” values, manners or fashions. There is nothing so bourgeois as affecting to despise the bourgeois. Nor is it a reaction to democratic leveling, perceived authoritarian rule, bureaucracy, technology or MTV. It is not a world-altering aesthetic movement that needs to be evangelized among the heathen, the vulgar and the unwashed. It has nothing whatever to do with alienation, angst, transgression, resistance or teenage rebellion.
Nor is dandyism a canvas upon which to paint a portrait of one’s pomposity; it is not some sort of sartorial telegraph for communicating one’s alleged spiritual superiority, supposed aesthetic authority, assumed poetic sensitivity, professed exquisite taste, or fictitious aristocratic lineage. Snobbery can be fun in its place, but it is hardly a credo. Dandyism won’t necessarily make you better that the useful persons around you, like your butcher, your baker, or your mechanic, but it may make you better in some ways than you were before. But then it may also leave you, as the histories suggest, penniless and drooling in a French insane asylum, penniless and on the brink of suicide, or penniless and cursing the wallpaper from your death bed in a cheap right bank hotel.
So what is it then? Simply put, dandyism is the study and practice of personal elegance.
At first blush that may sound a trifle shallow. But the closer you look, the more complexity you will see. And you will also see just how difficult the end is to achieve in real life. Edward Bulwer-Lytton (he of “It was a dark and stormy night” fame), is often remembered as one of the windiest novelists ever to disgrace the English language. Though Bulwer could indeed be a bloviating writer, he was nevertheless a great dandy. And he said it best when he wrote, “He who esteems trifles for themselves, is a trifler. He who esteems them for the conclusions to be drawn from them, or the advantage to which they can be put, is a philosopher.”
It is said that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in one corner of the globe can cause a hurricane in another. As an aspiring dandy, you will set your mind toward observing and uncovering the meanings hidden in the seemingly insignificant trifles that others may miss: the fall of a coat, the tint of a woman’s hair, the tilt of a hat, the stress of a vowel, the grace of a gesture, the power of a word. The pinnacle of human trifling is, of course, fashion. As an aspiring dandy, you will become a student of fashion and its long and vital story amid human endeavor. Not just fashion in clothes, mind you, though you will watch this closely, but fashion in literature, fashion in advertising, fashion in music, fashion in morals, fashion in entertainment, fashion in art, fashion in thought and even fashion in politics. All of human folly and foible will be to you layered like a great ball of string, wound up with mystery and meaning. And as you unravel the ball the significance of the individual strings will grow more evident, just as their mysteries will deepen.
The exposition of trifles has itself become fashionable in literary circles in recent years, as some historians, grown weary of treating the same weighty events over and over, have taken to exploring the extraordinary influence of apparently incidental things like pepper, coffee, sugar, codfish and even the color mauve. It is a development that has substantiated what the dandy has known since Brummell: that the world is not only made up of trifles but it is governed by triflers, and that to apprehend society one must first comprehend folly. Always remember, as Bulwer also said, “Nothing is superficial to a deep observer!”
But we will speak more about fashion later on.
Whether you plan to write poems about trifles, paint canvases about folly, pen social critiques, or merely hang back and observe Vanity Fair’s foibles with a satirical glint in your eye and a quip on the tip of your tongue is up to you. The choice is also utterly irrelevant to your aspirations to dandyism. Contrary to popular belief, to be successful, a dandy needn’t be anything other than a dandy.
In the 19th century, dandyism became associated with the cult of art and beauty called aestheticism. This was due in no small part to the influence of men like Theophile Gautier, Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, Robert de Montequiou and others, who straddled the worlds of beau monde and bohemia, celebrity and notoriety, literary salon and opium den, whorehouse and painter’s studio. In the minds of today’s scholars and intellectuals, the two phenomena have become indelibly linked.
To add to the confusion, the aesthete was widely caricatured by popular magazines like Punch and in stage plays like Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta “Patience”. This snatch from the operetta’s key song, “The Aesthete,” is a parody of the young Oscar Wilde:
… Though the Philistines may jostle,
You will rank as an apostle
In the high aesthetic band
If you walk down Piccadilly with a poppy or a lily
In your mediaeval hand…
It is this cliché of the wilting, flower-waving aesthete in velvet britches and floppy hat, who faints at the sight of a Moreau and gushes paroxysms of joy over a Rossetti, that the contemporary world most associates with the dandy, particularly in the United States.
And the cliché lives on. No doubt you will meet the modern retro-eccentric version of the fin-de-siecle aesthete during your university sojourn. He will be resplendent in his neo-Victorian “Bunthorne” uniform, reminiscent of the costume Albert Finney wore in the film “A Man of No Importance.” You will see him in certain nightclubs and at certain parties, usually hanging around with the black-lipstick-and-eyeliner crowd, complaining in antiquated language about flip-flop-wearers, shabby grammar, reality TV, the Internet (except his own blog), athletes and how he was born into the wrong era.
The more contemporary — and to my mind the more authentic — aesthete often wears a uniform, too, but one that reflects the anger and revolt endemic to today’s art. Instead of waxing eloquent about a Whistler, our aesthete will proclaim the transgressive glories of Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ” or Damian Hirst’s “Prodigal Son (Divided).” Oversized boots, paint-spattered jeans, an unruly mop and a crappy attitude are the likely accoutrements of his attire.
Both of these are costumes, of course, and neither has much to do with elegance (although the retro-eccentric will often confuse his effeminate extravagance for it). Dandies don’t wear costumes, but carefully chosen attire. You’re probably asking yourself, “But can’t a contemporary dandy be a contemporary aesthete?” And the answer is: “Absolutely.” But in the dandy alphabet, the “D” always comes before the “A.”
Well-known contemporary dandies that also happen to be aesthetes include the late, post-modern architect, Phillip Johnson, Barnaby Conrad III, the author of books like “Absinthe: History in a Bottle” and a painter in his own right, and, perhaps, the pop-star fashion plate Andre3000. Others have put the famed artist David Hockney in this category, but he is a bit too noisy and unkempt for my taste.
But the fact is that there have been many dandies quietly dressing away for the last two centuries or more who could not possibly care less about art for its own sake any more than they care about quantum physics. You rarely hear about them because they are only seen in passing, for they have few pretensions outside their craft. A few have been found dressing up the columns of certain publications. The New Yorker’s Robert Benchley and Vanity Fair’s Dominick Dunne are two of the ink-tinctured men-about-town that spring to mind. Others can be found in the more creative enterprises like marketing, such as Thomas Mastronardi, the branding expert recently pictured on Dandyism.net’s homepage. Still thousands of others dress each morning in splendid obscurity, doing so for no other purpose than to please themselves and the people they enjoy calling on. They may come from any of the more civilized professions, or from no profession at all. This is dandyism in its purest, most Brummellian form.
About now you’re probably thinking, “Well all of this is fine in theory, but what shall I wear?”
But the hour grows late, my dear Palmieri, my fingers are weary and I’m out of claret. You will have to wait until next time, when we discuss the dandy in practice.”
August 7, 2011 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Tämän päivän Vieraskynässä Christian M. Chensvold kirjoittaa verkon tyylifoorumeista. Yksi haastatelluista on sijoittanut päälle 300 000 dollaria vaatekaappiinsa, toinen taas viettää päivittäin kaksi ja puoli tuntia kirjoitellen vaatteista lukuisille foorumeille. Vaimon nyrpistellessä oudolle päähänpinttymälle mies puolustautuu: “enpä nyt sentään ole millään pornosivulla” – ja vaimo vastaa “sehän olisikin normaalia.” Teksti on vuodelta 2006, mutta yhä ajankohtainen erityisesti kun Suomikin on sittemmin saanut oman tyylifooruminsa. Fiksoitunutta lukijaa kenties lohduttaa tieto siitä, kuinka hän ei ole intonsa kanssa yksin eikä suinkaan pahimmasta päästä.
Christian M. Chensvold
“Jan Libourel’s wife doesn’t like his clothes. She doesn’t like his two-tone Allen Edmonds shoes, she rolls her eyes over his silk pocket squares, and if he wears an ascot she’s afraid to be seen with him.
But there’s one thing she really hates: The fact that Libourel — a former professor of ancient history and noted gun authority — spends up to 2 1/2 hours a day discussing men’s clothing on the Internet. “She regards it as highly eccentric and time-wasting,” says the 64-year-old Long Beach resident. “I say, ‘It’s not as if I’m on some porn site,’ and she says, ‘That would be normal.”
While some men go online to discuss cars, sports and electronics, a small but growing number are logging on to debate shirt collar styles, the virtues of a Neapolitan shoulder, and whether or not it’s gauche to leave the last button on a custom suit sleeve undone.
This is the often sophisticated and occasionally pathetic world of men’s clothing forums, where guys who are clothes obsessed find sanctuary from a society they say regards them as effeminate poppinjays. Combined, the four best-known men’s clothing forums boast over 10,000 members, plus countless more regular visitors eager to debate whether Brioni suits are superior to Kiton, and whether socks should match shoes or pants.
The forums serve as their information resource, support group and jury of peers. “A lot of people feel they belong here,” says Jeremy Jackson, a 27-year-old Seattle resident who manages his family’s construction business and founded Style Forum in 2002. “If clothes are your major interest, it’s very unlikely you’re going to find a place in the real world to hang out and talk about clothing with other men.”
Style Forum (styleforum.net) caters to fashion-conscious guys in their twenties and thirties. Ask Andy About Clothes (askandyaboutclothes.com/forum), which has the largest number of members, is focused mostly on business attire. The London Lounge (thelondonlounge.net) centers around custom tailoring, and newly launched Film Noir Buff (filmnoirbuff.com/forum) — sometimes called “devil’s island” — has become a refuge for members who’ve been banned from the other sites.
Libourel, who used to post on dog and gun sites before discovering the fashion forums, is a member of all of four. “There’s fairly high level of general knowledge, erudition and certainly civility compared to other Internet fora,” he says.
Film Noir Buff, who prefers to remain anonymous for fear his career would suffer if people knew of his clothing obsession, says discovering fashion forums was therapeutic. “I can’t sit down to lunch with bankers and lawyers and talk about buttons on my sleeve,” says the New York financier, who launched his forum last March. “They’d think I was crazy.”
Forum members are typically educated and successful — they’re also desk jockeys able to shirk work by surfing the Web. “There seems to be a disproportionate number of lawyers and investment bankers and people who are shut in their office and are dreading whatever it is they’re supposed to be doing,” says Jackson. “I’m sure there are a remarkable number of billable hours that are actually on Style Forum,” adds Fok-Yan Leung, one of the site’s moderators.
For the clothes-obsessed man, no sartorial matter is too obscure — or inane — to bring up. Mutant_Hairs, a Style Forum member who lists his location as Southern California, posts the question, “What’s appropriate jury duty attire? I really don’t want to be selected, but I don’t want to look inappropriate either.” One member says a t-shirt and track pants, while another suggests a seersucker suit and bow tie.
Manhattan Beach resident Andy Gilchrist, author of “The Encyclopedia of Men’s Clothes,” launched his wardrobe advice website Ask Andy About Clothes in 2001. A year later he added a forum that today boasts over 7,000 members, countless more regular readers, “and the occasional psychotic.”
“I was trying to create a friendly ground where we could discuss men’s clothing and not feel strange about it,” says Gilchrist, the proud owner of 300 neckties. “It goes back to if you’re a woman in our society you’re expected to look nice and be interested in clothes, but if you’re a guy you’re supposed to be just rugged, and if you’re interested in clothing at all you might be a girly-man.”
Whereas in previous generations fathers would teach their sons how to dress for the business world, Gilchrist says this tradition has all but disappeared, replaced by the surrogate fatherly advice of the clothing forums.
Clothing forums have not only made today’s consumer more educated than ever before, thanks to the wealth of opinions available, they have also created a new breed of arbiter elegantiarium whose opinions are solicited by novices and contested by other self-styled savants.
Perhaps the best known forum expert is Michael Anton (“manton” on the various forums), author of the recently released book “The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style” (written under the pseudonym Nicholas Antongiavanni).
Anton says forums are replacing traditional media — namely men’s fashion magazines — since erudite clothing aficionados can now easily share their knowledge with their peers and build a reputation as an authority. Moreover, men’s magazines like GQ are focused on fleeting looks of the season and are not aimed at a discriminating consumer, says Anton. “When you compare clothing to other products that guys have a connoisseur relationship to — cars, cigars, stereo equipment — there are sources of information that are pretty good. But for high-end clothes you can’t count on GQ and Esquire.”
And while no one person knows everything about clothing history, construction and quality, the totality of information available on the forums is virtually comprehensive. “Everybody has gaps in their knowledge,” says Anton, “but for the forums as a whole there are very few gaps.”
But where there’s information there is opinion, and where there’s opinion there’s contention. Because forums often appear like a microcosm of male behavior, aggression frequently rears its head, however well coifed. The anonymity of the Internet allows people to say things they would never say at a cocktail party. So while you might think that a fellow guest’s pink seersucker jacket is of questionable taste, you would presumably bite your tongue. But on men’s fashion forums, many cannot resist the temptation to type “idiot.” Ill-mannered members and troublemaking “trolls” are banned by forum moderators.
And despite the success, education and maturity of most members, clothing forums also produce their own style tribes that bear a striking similarity to the goths, skaters, punks and preppies we all remember from adolescence. Though membership crossover is common, so is antipathy to competing forums. “It’s very rare you come across a subject where people have no opinion about the people on another forum,” says Jackson.
ANATOMY OF AN ADDICT
When Marc Grayson brought his new girlfriend to his apartment, all she could say was “Oh, my”: Inside Grayson’s two-bedroom New York City pad were two walk-in closets overflowing with clothes, and the extra bedroom was full of commercial garment racks loaded with suits, sportcoats and slacks.
Grayson (his online username, not his real name) is an admittedly extreme example of the kind of clothes-obsessed coxcomb who frequents the men’s fashion forums. A 35-year-old businessman whose father also had a taste for finery, Grayson estimates that over the past 15 years he’s spent over $300,000 on 50 custom-made suits (some running $4,000 each), 50 more custom sportcoats, 40 pairs of high-end shoes, 100 neckties and 15 leather jackets he “bought on sale.”
And he’s not even rich: Some small investments provide him with the discretionary income necessary to indulge his love of bespoke apparel, Grayson says.
Grayson is a regular contributor at Film Noir Buff, having been banned from Style Forum and Ask Andy for what he says was criticizing the work of some well-known New York tailors. “I couldn’t dare talk about clothes with the outside world because I would be looked upon as being way too self-conscious and self-absorbed,” says Grayson, who often stops by his tailor just to touch the fabric swatches and imagine the possibilities.
But indulging his vice is increasingly giving Grayson pause for reflection. “It does bother me,” he says of the expense. “And I’ve been thinking about it with greater intensity, if it’s money that could have been better spent. It is almost an addiction.”
And that is the final function of online men’s clothing forums. For if they are information resources, support groups, surrogate fathers and debating clubs, they are also enablers of addiction. “If you stay on the forums, you stay focused on indulging in clothing,” says Grayson. “It’s like being a gambler and going into chat rooms talking about how you love to gamble. There’s very little discussion about the unattractiveness of being so self-centered.”
Somewhat wistfully, Grayson admits that the conventional view of fastidiously dressed men as vain and superficial may be entirely justified: “It is a completely self-absorbed state of mind we’re in on these forums.””
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August 5, 2011 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Viime viikkojen aikana olen käynyt lävitse Dandyism.netin ilahduttavaa tarjontaa ajatuksen kanssa. Jaan olennaisimmat löytöni Vieraskynän alla lukijoiden iloksi seuraavien päivien aikana, jotta kesän kuumimmat hetket eivät kuluisi epäterveessä ihon paahtamisen merkeissä.
Ensimmäisenä esseenä vuodelta 2005 D.netin Nick Willard muistuttaa lukijaansa dandyn olennaisimmasta olemuksesta. Ilmiöön löivät älyllisen leiman ranskalaiset esseistit ja runoilijat, jotka tulkitsivat näkemäänsä kovin vapaamielisesti ja toivat dandyn käsitteen myös Ranskan bulevardeille sekä salonkeihin. Tämä älyllistäminen muutti ilmiötä, joka puhtaimmillaan ja alun perin oli ainoastaan vaatteiden käyttämistä ja toisten katseiden alla olemista. Beau Brummell ei kirjoittanut, maalannut, musisoinut tai runoillut. Hänen aikansa kului pukeutumisessa, vaatteiden teettämisessä, vaikutuksen tekemisessä sekä näkymisessä. Tästä huolimatta Beauta voisi vapaasti tulkiten luonnehtia filosofiksi, sillä hän käytti huomattavan ajan päivistään pukeutumisen semantiikan analysoimisessa. Brummellin hillitty ja pikkutarkka asu ei ole voinut olla mitään muuta kuin tarkoin harkittu ja tietoinen isku aikakauden puuteroitua miehen kuvaa vasten. Vaatteiden käyttäminen on aina ollut dandyismin ydin, joka sittemmin on Wilden, Baudelairen, d’Orsayn ja muiden keikareiden räikeistä ylilyönneistä taintunut unohduksiin.
Dandyism in Practice
“What does the dandy do when he wakes up early in the afternoon? Does he moon over beauty and contemplate the eternal verities? Does he jot down a few bons mots? Does he man the barricades to protest our vulgar, bourgeois and consumerist society? Does he pine for the days when men wore knee breeches and silk stockings?
No, the true dandy does none of these things.
The dandy goes to his bath and scrubs himself clean, shaves, brushes his teeth, and arranges any stray hairs. Then he adorns himself, examining each detail in his mirror – the dimple in his tie, the shine on his shoes, the puff of his pocket square, the precision of his trouser crease, the bloom of his boutonniere, the harmony and balance of all the components of his ensemble – until he gets it just right. When he finally departs his home, he is a habitué not of the salon, opera, theatre, museum, concert hall, casino, restaurant or club to which he may or may not arrive, but of his tailor and haberdasher.
For the dandy is a man with visible good taste. Dressing well is his hallmark. Strip a dandy of his clothes and what do you have?
The dandy’s two-hundred-year history can be summarized in just two albeit Proustian sentences: The definitive study of the dandy as a social and literary phenomenon, Ellen Moers’ “The Dandy: Brummell to Beerbohm,” shows how the original, robust, snuff-snorting Regency dandy eschewed the jewel buttons, lace ruffles, silk stockings, gold shoe buckles, perfume and other extravagances of the aristocratic fop, and also the coarse slovenliness, dirt and disarray affected by republican sympathizers, and instead emphasized superb fit, perfection of cut, harmony of color, personal cleanliness and, most famously, the well-tied starched linen cravat, and came to dominate his society through his insolence, then crossed the Channel to France and returned accessorized and sissified in his attire, and became, while remaining a social lion, the more flamboyant “butterfly dandy” who eventually drank too much absinthe, smoked too much hash, raged against the bourgeois, dressed in black, and thus became the decadent dandy, who spiced his personality with wit and aestheticism, was often gay, consciously adopted aesthetic garb, entertained the mass public and thereby became the fin-de-siecle dandy, who floundered in the shallows of his own shallowness and became the extinct dandy when Beerbohm, Brummell’s true heir and most insightful interpreter, retired prematurely to Rapallo. The dandy, others might add, rose again from the dead after the carnage of the Great War and became the Bright Young Thing of the ’20s and the charming personages depicted in “Brideshead Revisited,” transfigured into the Duke of Windsor and Fred Astaire, who fashioned and embodied the guiding principle of men’s attire, nonchalant elegance, that has endured for the past eighty years, and so on to Messrs. 3000 and Bentley and the consummate, though invisible, dandies of Dandyism.net.
But throughout the dandy’s many mutations, one constant has persisted: a dandy distinguishes himself by the way he dresses. Everything else about the dandy has been more or less mutable.
Consider, for example, the dandy as a social phenomenon. His position in, and relationship to, society has changed. The Regency dandy was a leader of society. Likewise, the social butterfly dandy was a lion of the bon ton. The decadent dandy, however, placed himself outside, rather than at the apex of, society; he was a critic of a society that had become bland and conformist. The fin-de-siecle dandy also was a critic, this time of Victorian values.
Indeed, the dandy’s social significance was sometimes contradictory. Take again the Regency dandy. For the common-born Regency dandy such as Brummell, dandyism was a way to join the aristocracy, often while mocking its foibles. For the aristocratic Regency dandy, such as Wellington, it was a way to justify one’s superior position and affirm the legitimacy of the aristocracy when it was under attack.
Either way, the Regency dandy had to assert himself in an exclusive, elitist, stratified society. Today’s society is, in contrast, is mass, consumerist and democratic. We build, as Tom Wolfe has noted, Las Vegas, not Versailles. Therefore, aping the manners of 19th-century dandies would be as inappropriate for a contemporary dandy as dressing up in 19th-century costume.Here Beerbohm’s observation is spot on: “The dandy is the ‘child of his age,’ and his best work must be produced in accord with the age’s natural influence. The true dandy must always love contemporary costume.”
Moreover, the “philosophy” of the dandy attributed to him by most scholars is really no way to go through life. Irony is a literary device, not a way of life, and detachment is a waste of a life. In Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time,” the narrator rhetorically asks of the detached Charles Swann, “For what other lifetime was he reserving the moment when he would at last say seriously what he thought of things, formulate opinions that he did not have to put between quotation marks, and no longer indulge with punctilious politeness in occupations [that] he declared at the time to be ridiculous?”
Indeed, for what other lifetime? These attitudes are simply not worth adopting and there is no need to do so in order to be a dandy. Again, as Beerbohm cautioned, “[T]here is no reason why dandyism should be confused, as it has been by nearly all writers, with mere social life. Its contact with social life is, indeed, but one of the accidents of an art.” That art is wearing clothes artfully and well.
There are those who cannot accept this conclusion. They fear that emphasis on the dandy’s outward appearance reduces him to some vulgar swank. They are not content with the dandy’s own choice of ensemble. They must robe him with a regal mantle. His outward elegance reflects some inner nobility, they say. Romantic twaddle, I say.
I blame, in the words of Sir Percy Blakney, those demmed Frenchies. Instead of being dandies they analyzed dandyism. Barbey, I believe, was a real dandy. Baudelaire, with his black wardrobe, I am not so sure of. Balzac wrote perceptively and wittily about the dandy’s life in his fiction and penned “La Traité de la Vie Elégante,” an ostensibly anti-dandy tract full of valid sartorial epigrams. Yet Balzac was, by all accounts, oily, fat and dirty, and therefore no dandy. The French thereby started the process of disassociating the dandy from his clothes, thus obscuring his essence. Not only that, these hierophants of dandyism provided grist for academic mills to belch wearisome dissertations in comparative literature and gender studies in pursuit of advanced degrees and often in furtherance of certain social and political agendas.
To the feminist, for example, the dandy is revered not for his elegance, but as a subverter of sexual stereotypes and their assumed concomitant repression. The dandy has thus devolved from a singular man with visible good taste to an amorphous, bloodless abstraction. They have so stretched the meaning of the word “dandy” as to render it meaningless.
“The English invented dandyism, the French explained it,” George Walden recently wrote. I say that a dandy needs no explanation, no justification, no interpretation. Instead of analyzing the dandy, we must return to the dandy’s Regency roots and directly experience with our senses the luminosity of dandyism itself.
If you must coat the dandy with some intellectual veneer, then think of him as an existential hero. In response to our mass, abstract, anonymous, and impersonal society, he asserts his singular self. And, in dandyism’s grand tradition, he chooses to assert his superiority in the most frivolous manner possible.
I prefer to think of the dandy as a lily of the field. The Bible reads, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
So, dear reader, purge yourselves of philosophical pretensions, emulate the lilies of the field, and ponder life’s most important question: What will you wear?”
March 11, 2010 kirjoittaja Ville Raivio
Taannoinen keskustelu Keikarin foorumin puolella sivusi pukeutumisen estetiikkaa, kulttuurisia kauneuskäsityksiä ja klassisen tyylin määritelmää ketjussa Pukeutumisen filosofia. Jäsenen Dan-D kirjoitus ylsi niin analyyttiselle tasolle, että täytyihän se hänen luvallaan jakaa.
Pukeutumisesta – sosiologisesti
“Ei ole mitään synnynnäistä ja yleismaailmallista estetiikkaa, vaan se on opittua. Estetiikka on kulttuurisidonnaista myös pukeutumisen osalta. Arabimaailman pukeutuminen, perinteinen japanilainen pukeutuminen, Intian kastijärjestelmän mukainen pukeutuminen, Andien alkuperäisväestön pukeutuminen, amerikkalainen katumuoti jne jne kaikki ilmentävät rankasti erilaisia esteettisiä käsityksiä, joissa esim. housut ovat täysin sekundäärisiä! Länsimaisen klassisen pukeutumisen juuret ovat Englannissa osaksi sen teollisen vallankumouksen aikoihin liittyvän valta-aseman johdosta. Eurooppa omaksui – kuten niin monesti aikaisemmin – vallassa olevan maan vallitsevan muodin. Aikaisemmin se oli usein esim. Ranska, nyt brittimuoti voitti. Klassista siitä tekee vain se, että se on jäänyt elämään Britti-imperiumin luhistuttua – ehkä siksi, että korvaavaa vaihtoehtoa ei koskaan ilmaantunut. Länsimaisen klassisen pukeutumisen kasvava valta-asema maailmalla puolestaan liittyy länsimaiseen hegemoniaan ja business-kulttuurin länsimaisiin juuriin.
Mistä pukeutumisessa sitten on kyse (pragmaattisen vaatteiden käyttötarkoituksen lisäksi)? Kulttuureista ja alakulttuureista. Pukeutuminen on viestintää, jolla ilmaistaan kuuluminen tai kuulumattomuus tiettyyn kulttuuriin tai alakulttuuriin, sosiaaliseen kontekstiin tai luokkaan, ja jonka joskus vain saman alakulttuurin ”jäsenet” tunnistavat. Kulttuuriin samaistuminen puolestaan pitää sisällään hyvinkin paljon tiedostamatonta ylemmyydentuntoa. Me-henki sisältää erityisesti valtavirrasta poikkeavien alakulttuurien osalta kaikkien muiden poissulkemisen ”meistä”, jolla korostetaan omaa asemaa kontekstista riippumatta. Mitä enemmän korostetaan individualismia, sitä varmemmin halutaan kuulua johonkin kontekstiin, joka saattaa olla tiedostamaton. Miksi netti on pullollaan yhteisöjä, joissa tietyllä tavalla pukeutuvat, valtakulttuurista poikkeavat kokoontuvat? Gootit eivät syvimmältä olemukseltaan eroa traditionalisteista ivy-pukeutujista millään muulla kuin erilaisella estetiikan tajulla. Ja estetiikka on opittua, siihen liittyy samaistumisen halu. Ei ole klassisen pukeutumisen ideaa, on vain kulttuurisidonnaista klassiseksi kutsuttua länsimaista pukeutumista.
Ylemmyydentunto on erityisen korostunutta erilaisilla pukufoorumeilla, joilla kirjoittelevat eivät usein edes peittele haluaan samaistua esim. 1800-luvun brittiylhäisöön tai milloin mihinkin. Se on usein erittäin luokkatiedostamatonta luokkatietoisuutta, mutta samalla siihen sisältyy mieletön määrä ylemmyydentuntoa. Pysähtykää hetkeksi tekemään kriittistä arviota näiden nettiyhteisöjen kielenkäyttöön liittyen. ”My good man, old boy, gentlemen, chaps…” Puhuttelutavatkin ovat kuin viktoriaanisen yläluokan jäännöksiä – tai pikemminkin huonoja pastisseja niistä heijastellen lähinnä kirjoittajiensa karikatyyrinomaisia ajatuksia siitä, miltä yläluokan tulisi kuulostaa. (Huomion vuoksi: en tarkoita pelkästään englanninkielisiä yhteisöjä.)
Ehkä tärkeintä olisikin ymmärtää muiden lähtökohtia ja välttää tuomitsemista ja ylemmyydentuntoa. Ei ole yhtä estetiikkaa eikä yhtä oikeaa kulttuuria edes eurooppalaisen historian silmissä. Muiden ihanteiden perusteeton tuomitseminen lähenee ajattelumalliltaan rasismia ja on selvää elitismiä. Kuka esim. tuntee ns. hiphop-pukeutumisen taustatekijät, eli miksi esim. housuja roikotetaan (minun mielestäni rumasti)? Taustalla on afroamerikkalainen todellisuus: yksi kolmesta (prosentti on saattanut kasvaa ja reilusti viime tarkistuskerrasta,lisäksi muisti saattaa pettää alakanttiin) mustasta amerikkalaisesta miehestä käy elämänsä aikana vankilassa. Vankila-asuissa ei suuressa ameriikassa sallita vöitä, ettei niillä aiheuteta vahinkoa itselle tai muille. Välttämättömänä seurauksena on housujen roikkuminen. Männä vuosina katujengien jäsenet, jotka olivat olleet vankilassa. roikottivat housujaan siviilissäkin osoituksena ”lusitusta ajasta”. Siitä tuli ajan myötä jengiin kuulumisen symboli, mistä se jollain käsittämättömällä tavalla pomppasi valtavirtaan.
Mihin tällä sosiologisella trivialla pyrin? Vaikka tietyn alakulttuurin estetiikka on vierasta, ei sitä ole järkevää tuomita estetiikan itsensä takia, ellei sen taustoja tiedä. Housujen roikottaminen ei ole tuomittavaa siksi, että se on mielestämme typerän näköistä. Se on tuomittavaa siksi, että se sisältää vankilakulttuurin ja jengikulttuurin eli pohjimmiltaan väkivallan ja rikollisuuden ihannoimista. Ja siksi on muuten sairasta nähdä suomalaisia varhaisteinejä, jotka roikottavat housujaan tietämättä yhtään, miksi niin tekevät. Ennen kuin pitää itseään paremmin pukeutuneena, kuin tuulipukukansaa, verkkarinuoria, hiphop-väkeä tai mitään muutakaan normaalissa katukuvassamme näkyvää, on syytä miettiä erilaisten esteettisten valintojen taustalla vallitsevaa arvomaailmaa. Jos oma esteettinen taju esim. samaistuu brittiläisen imperialismin kultakauteen, on ehkä syytä suhtautua siihenkin edes vähän kriittisesti. Kartanonherran leikkiminen on hauskaa, kunnes ymmärtää sen edustavan ”perinteisten arvojen” lisäksi jotain ihan muuta – pahimmillaan räikeimmän luokan rasismia, luokkayhteiskuntaa ja siirtomaasortoa. On syynsä, miksi viktoriaaninen pukeutuminen näyttää nykyajan luokattomassa yhteiskunnassa anakronismilta, eikä se ole pelkästään huonoa. Klassiseen pukeutumiseen liittyy paljon muutakin, kuin hienoja pukuja ja kenkiä, eikä se painolasti ole aina pelkästään positiivista.
En tietenkään tarkoita, että jokainen pukumies kantaa brittiläisen siirtomaavallan painolastia harteillaan sen enempää kuin Bossin deodoranttia käyttävä kantaa painolastia siitä, että H. Boss on suunnitellut natsi-Saksan univormut. Onhan nykyaikainen puku kulkenut jo niin pitkän matkan, että sen arvolataus on jo jotain ihan muuta, kuin aikaisemmin. Moderni pankkiiri herättää ehkä pikemminkin ajatuksia G. Gekkosta kuin Edinburghin herttuasta, moderni lakimies ehkä enemmän amerikkalaisesta tv-sarjasta kuin brittiaatelisesta. Pukeutumisen ja pukujen estetiikan juuret kuitenkin ovat osittain siirtomaavallan ajan Brittien arvomaailmaltaan nykyaikaan soveltumattomassa kulttuurissa. Mitä pitemmälle ko. ajan estetiikkaan sukeltaa, sitä lähemmäksi ko. ajan arvomaailmaa muutenkin saattaa päätyä. Liiallisten anakronismien välttäminen olisi siksikin suotavaa, eikä mennyttä aikaa kannata katsella liian kultaisin silmälasein. Lisäksi oman estetiikan tajun lisäksi olisi syytä miettiä sitä, mihin viitekehykseen itsensä myös pelkällä pukeutumisella leimaa, eikä kannata ehkä liian suoraan ottaa annettuna mitään arvomaailmoja. Muihin pukeutumisvalintoihin taas ei ehkä ole syytä suhtautua alentuvasti. Itse näen, että pukumiestä tulee kritisoida pukumiehen esteettisistä lähtökohdista. Siksi kävelykengät tai lenkkarit puvun kanssa on ko. estetiikasta lähtien väärä valinta. Yhtä lailla kiiltävät oxfordit hevimiehen jalassa ovat ko. estetiikan lähtökohtien vastainen ratkaisu ja siksi virhe. Ko. estetiikkoja jos verrataan ja arvotetaan keskenään, ollaan taas hyvin lähellä ylimielisyyttä, jota pyrin välttämään.
Estetiikka on siis osa kulttuuria ja silti päätyy usein siitä irralliseksi tai sen ylitse käyväksi epämääräiseksi aroksi. Pukeutuminen on sosiaalisia koodeja täynnä olevaa viestintää, osa kulttuurin ja alakulttuurin vuoropuhelua, jossa historiallisilta viitekehyksiltä ei voi välttyä. Internetin vuoropuhelu osoittaa kuitenkin aivan liian usein merkkejä siitä, että tiettyjen piirien parissa pukeutuminen on osa suurempaa arvomaailmaa, joka muutenkin lähenee 1800-luvun rasistista, homofobista ja ylemmyydentuntoista historiallista jäännöstä tai jätöstä.”
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