Archive - April, 2006

Borderline Fault

McEnroe

Like a sloppy serve, John McEnroe’s tie is too long. To the belt it should extend, no more, no less.

Toreador Tush

Sewn Matador

Apparently those toreador pants really are sewn on.

Happy Belated ANZAC Day

Belgian War Hero

“Shrapnel Charlie,” a Belgian war hero, here unintentionally attempts a non-goatee solution to the chinless problem.

The Paul Stuart Summer Jacket

Paul Stuart Herringbone Jacket

Izzy just received his summer catalog from Paul Stuart, which combines Canadian styling with Italian textiles, and this jacket particularly caught his eye. Constructed of herringbone cotton shirting fabric, it is lined with mesh for exceptional comfort in sweltering weather.

All of Paul Stuart’s suit and sport jackets are made with canvas, not fused, fronts, and the haberdasher is also known for carrying an unusually wide range of sizes, including semi-tall and extra-tall.

Neapolitan Napoleons

The May issue of Travel + Leisure features an article on Naples that highlights the sartoria Napoletana, the meticulous men’s style made possible by the finest tailors in Italy.

Oddly, one of the accompanying photos is of a leggy, high-heeled model with some local taxi drivers who most definitely do not exemplify that style.

Neapolitan taxi drivers

As Izzy can attest, it is no shame to be short in stature, but such men run an extra risk of looking like overgrown children. And wearing baggy jeans, sneakers (which are not just childish but add no height), and an untucked shirt only make things worse.

But perhaps Izzy is foolish to think that men today don’t wish to look like overgrown children.

The Stain Also Rises

Matador

Pedro was damned good-looking. Broad shouldered and narrow waisted, he wore toreador pants that required a shoe-horn to put on.

Facing off against his mortal foe in the bullring, the Spaniard reflected for an instant on his fateful decision to become a matador. It was not fame or women or riches that he had sought, though he had achieved them all. No, he had been driven by a single obsession: to find a profession that would allow him to wear pink silk stockings and shoes with ribbons on them, while at the same time being adulated as the manliest of men.

His reverie, though brief, was ill-advised. In the split second in which he had permitted his concentration to falter, the beast had managed to gore his thigh.

Blood pored down Pedro’s yellow trousers, and even besmirched his beloved pink stockings.

“Ayyy,” he thought to himself, grimacing, “that’s never going to come out.”

But just when all hope seemed lost, when he had nearly been overcome with the bleakest despair, he recalled the advice of a certain Izzy he knew. Over a pitcher of sangria, the foreigner, having recognized the dangers of Pedro’s line of work, had stressed to him the importance of finding a drycleaner worthy of the matador’s skill. But a drycleaner’s reputation, he acknowledged, is hard to determine in many parts of the world, especially if one has recently moved. Izzy, however, suggested an easy solution: To ask one’s local haberdasher whom he uses for his own drycleaning.

Prior to entering the ring, Pedro had indeed followed this simple but sage advice, and, despite the blood running down his leg, felt at peace with world, safe in the knowledge that he had found the greatest drycleaner in all of Pamplona.

Rebarbative* Remarks

Some of Izzy’s readers, and even the Manolo himself, have thrown down a bespoke gauntlet by denying that a goatee can improve the facial appearance of the portly. In his defense, Izzy asks you to consider the following pieces of evidence.

Clean Shaven Michael MooreMichael Moore with Goatee

Although no one is ever going to confuse Michael Moore for Ghandi, can there be any doubt that he looks better with a goatee? Although the Manolo intended the photo on the right to serve as a warning to the chinless, Izzy, with all due respect, happens to think it is the best photo of the filmmaker he has ever seen. And, no, the improvement is not wholly due to his changing glasses and ditching the ballcap.

* Derives from the Middle French (se) rebarber meaning “to resist” and earlier “to face (the enemy)” (literally “to face beard-to-beard”).

Sartorial Slimfast

Gandolfini

It was perhaps no accident that the demise of the suit went hand in hand with the rise of the men’s fitness craze. Men’s jackets were perfected at a time when gentlemen did not mind carrying around a few extra pounds, which helps to explain why sportcoats are so flattering to the portly.

The above photo of James Gandolfini, who’s clearly unafraid to enjoy a cannoli or three, demonstrates this to great effect. Not only does his jacket reduce his visual bulk, but its vertical lines, from either pinstripes or a herringbone pattern, emphasize height and not width. He also wisely wears a goatee, which can create a chin where none exists.

The Pullet Surprise

Robin Givhan, the Washington Post’s style columnist, was just awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. If her commentary on the Vice-President’s parka and pink tie, the Secretary of State’s boots, and the Chief Justice’s too perfect family was indeed prize-worthy, then the Manolo’s far superior musings should be a shoo-in next year. Start your write-in campaign now.

Knocking Knees

Banderas knees

If this is how even Antonio Banderas’ knees look, yours are surely no better. The moral, gentlemen? Avoid shorts at all costs.

Would You Buy Insurance from this Man?

Double Indemnity

This from a New York magazine poll:

Can you trust a man in a fedora?
Yes . . . . . . . 35
No . . . . . . . 22
Unsure . . . . . . . 43
If he’s Humphrey Bogart. If he’s black.

The poll wasn’t exactly scientific, but the results are troubling. Perhaps the issue is really one of brim size, as discussed earlier.

Resurrecting Style

Easter Parade

The Sartorialist, a fantastic blog devoted to man-on-the-street photos of fashionably dressed New Yorkers, is featuring pictures of dolled-up Easter worshippers.

Note how the gentleman above successfully successfully pulls off the double-breasted suit, a feat that many of Izzy’s readers find impossible. Izzy is, however, not so keen on the overly short jacket sleeves, which should expose only about a half inch of linen. The pinned collar, boutonniere, straw boater, and pipe are dynamite, though.

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