Izzy has no opinion on Representative Mark Foley’s resignation from Congress in the wake of scandalous allegations except to say that his bold, even patriotic, shirt, tie, and pocket square combinations will be missed.
A certain Rolf Potts has written an interesting article on the pleasures and perils of dressing like a native while traveling or living abroad:
…going at least partially native has always been an important step in experiencing other cultures. After all, it’s difficult to truly explore your host country if you don’t eat the local food, brave the local hostelries, and take a stab at the local language. Wearing native clothing isn’t necessarily a prerequisite, but abiding by local dress codes (particularly in regard to modesty) is essential if you want to be accepted within the cultures you visit.
As the article admits, however, donning local attire can lead to ridiculousness, as President Bush learned in Chile back in 2004.
Hamish Bowles, Vogue’s European editor-at-large with a name straight out of Dickens, showed up at New York Fashion Week in a daring but successful combination of a purple houndstooth tie, purple check shirt, and purple sportcoat. Izzy wonders, however, whether one ought to be a professional dandy before attempting this feat.
The son of Italian tailors, esteemed writer Gay Talese is himself quite the dandy, with “fishmouth” lapels being his personal trademark. As this profile of him reports:
His closet is stacked with more than 50 handmade suits and more than a dozen pairs of hand-cobbled shoes.
“I have one of the great wardrobes in American journalism,” he said.
It was with this in mind that Izzy just read for the first time Talese’s famous 1966 Esquire article “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.” Not only does Talese devote great attention to Sinatra’s wardrobe, but he also makes this intriguing comment:
Frank Sinatra can fall asleep anywhere, something he learned when he used to ride bumpy roads with band buses; he also learned at that time, when sitting in a tuxedo, how to pinch the trouser creases in the back and tuck the jacket under and out, and fall asleep perfectly pressed.
Can any of Izzy’s loyal readers explain exactly what sort of tricks Talese is referring to?
Savile Row’s Gieves & Hawkes has come out with a buckshot-patterned brogue on their new Gieves line. While the idea is clever, Izzy finds something amiss in the pattern’s asymmetry.
Izzy is well aware that many footwear aficionados greatly prize ostrich skin, but to him it always looks like the hide of a cow with a skin condition. He has never bought into the notion that simply because something is exotic or expensive (these A. Testoni monkstraps cost a whopping $1,328.95), it is therefore somehow better.
Izzy has long believed that understanding the origin and history of various items of contemporary menswear adds greatly to their enjoyment. It was therefore with great delight that he learned from a kind reader that the New York Public Library is hosting an exhibition called “A Rakish History of Menswear.” Running from September 8 through April 7, the exhibition
brings together nearly 200 illustrated books, prints, photographs, and watercolor sketches in a survey of men’s dress from antiquity to the present… [T]he items on display tell the intriguing story of how men’s wear swung between ostentation and restraint until the early modern era. The exhibition pays particular attention to the rakes and rebels, from George “Beau” Brummell in the 19th century to style icons like Sean Combs today, who have defined masculine dress.
Should you visit the exhibit this weekend, you might get a glimpse of Izzy himself, who of course will be dressed for the occasion.