With its barely padded shoulders, (casual) patch pockets, and narrow lapel, this linen Paul Smith jacket has an updated Ivy League look. The model, on the other hand, appears to be a graduate of the Malibu Surfers League.
Izzy had never seen anyone wear an unbuttoned wing-collar shirt before, but at Cannes French film star Alain Delon nearly pulls it off—but certainly not the unkempt haircut or blinged-up lapel pin.
Today, for the first time, Izzy is wearing a pair of old-fashioned armbands. Made by esteemed braces-maker Albert Thurston of nickel-plated spring steel, they’re worn around the upper arm to shorten a shirt’s sleeves. (In the popular imagination, they’re worn by old-time accountants and poker players in green eyeshades.) Unless one is getting a custom-made shirt, one’s sleeves are almost never the perfect length (despite what the size says), so these can come in quite handy. And Izzy would like to think that they’re so retro and rare that they’re cool.
In his Book of the Courtier, Renaissance man Baldassare Castiglione coined the much-needed, and delightful, word “sprezzatura”:
It is an art which does not seem to be an art. One must avoid affectation and practice in all things a certain sprezzatura, disdain or carelessness, so as to conceal art, and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it … obvious effort is the antithesis of grace.
It is, in sum, the art of making the difficult look easy. Needless to say, it applies to one’s life just as much as one’s appearance. But when applied to the latter, it counsels avoiding perfection, even if that means creating intentional flaws—though they must never be seen as such.
Examine the Milanese gentleman above. With his negligently unbuttoned shirt, floppy pocket square, rumpled linen jacket with its sleeves folded back—this, my friends, is sprezzatura on a bicycle.
Swiss garmentmaker Isabodywear is introducing underwear purported to protect a man’s nether regions from cell phone radiation. Apparently, they are made with threads of silver. Izzy wonders if instead of donning such a “fertility belt,” it would be eaiser just to avoid cell-phone users like the guy in the photo.
In any case, Izzy thinks it is just a matter of time until someone manufactures briefs made of lead thread—for protection against peeping Supermen.
Stephen Colbert may not be the most serious news personality/commentator/blowhard on television, but his traditionalist wardrobe is far from satirical—as it should be, being provided entirely by the all-American folks at Brooks Brothers.
However, Izzy is unaware of exactly where the fabric in those clothes is spun.
Having retailed for $4,995, you’d think this Versace suit would have been made of real, not faux, alligator. The bidding starts at “just” $298 on eBay.
Nicholas Antongiavanni, author of The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style, has written an extremely detailed article on the the pros and cons of super high-end wool for suits.� Among other things, Izzy learned that:
Nearly every suit sold today�certainly those at the middle through the top of the market�is made from wool shorn from sheep descended from just two rams and four ewes.
Antongiavanni comes down in favor of the�techno wools, which are�jaw-droppingly expensive,�but Izzy, like this British tailor, generally prefers hardwearing, sturdy fabric to that which is incredibly soft but delicate.
Finally giving in to a long-standing sea lust, Izzy is determined to become a real sailor this summer. The endeavor, of course, will require just the right shoes. After giving it much thought, Izzy has decided to outfit himself with these classic canvas Top-Siders from Sperry.