Archive - February, 2008

Breaking the Paw

German police dog in shoes

To protect their feet on patrol, police dogs in the German city of Dusseldorf are being kitted out with specially-made plastic fiber shoes in a uniform-matching light blue.   Not to be outdone, Dutch police dogs will be getting their very own tiny clogs.

A-droit Attire

young William F Buckley

William F. Buckley, Jr., widely considered to be the patron saint of American conservatives, has died (or, to put it more obscurely, is now communing with the eschaton). As befitted his politics, he never swayed in matters of appearance from the preppie style seen in this photo of him around the time of his college days at Yale. Ironically, that look—comprising a button-downed collar, narrow tie with a small knot, and three-button sack jacket rolled to the second button (note the button hole on the lapel)—is now at the height of fashion, and is being copied by labels such as of Band of Outsiders (some of whose wares can be purchased here).

The one time Izzy was in close promixity to Buckley, your humble blogger noticed that Buckley’s tuxedo—which had survived innumerable galas, fundraisers, and rubber-chicken dinners—was so battered that it had a faded brown stripe on its shoulder, the result of years of wear from the leather strap from his briefcase.  Surely there is nothing more trad than a dinner jacket that is no longer entirely black.

Obama of Arabia?

Obama in Somali garb

The Barack Obama campaign is blaming Hillary Clinton’s camp for leaking this photo of him to the public in order to reinforce paranoid, stupid fears that he is a crypto-Muslim.  The picture was taken in August 2006 when Obama was visiting Wajir, a desert, largely Muslim area in northeast Kenya.  The garb was presented to him by local elders, and the politician diplomatically tried it on.  Although Izzy has written about the risks and rewards of going native sartorially (something the Manolo also noted about President Bush), surely Obama did the right thing in donning the sash and turban in the presence of his hosts.  (And it should go without saying, but that headgear is worn not only by Muslims.)  The real shame is that many politicians, wishing to avoid the possibility of such pictures being used to falsely smear them, will end up being rude when faced with similar opportunities abroad.  And it’s not exactly if Americans overseas are known for their worldliness

The Man in the White Hat

Spike Lee in white hat

With his thick, nearly-octagonal eyeglasses, Obama-for-President button, and bowtie-less tuxedo shirt, Spike Lee had a lot going on at the Oscar’s, but thanks to that dashing white trilby, he proved himself one of the good guys.

Pre-Tied Bowties: Why Not Just Wear Sweatpants?

I think pre-tied regular ties (four-in-hands) are now only found on uniformed security guards, doormen, and other rental outfits. They seem to have correctly assumed the social stigma of a teenager wearing velcro shoes because he hasn’t figured out how to tie shoe laces. Are you a child?

It is indeed sad state of affairs, then, when the same knot used for your shoelaces cannot be successfully duplicated on the necks of dozens of grown men at an event known for its clothing and televised for millions of viewers.

Dear John Travolta, I ask you. I ask your stylists. I ask the designer who probably gave you that tuxedo. How did you decide on a pre-tied bowtie? And how did you decide on the most awful, symetrical, perfect, bowtie the world has ever seen?

For comparison, last year Peter O’Toole, a proper old fart, most certainly got it right.

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Pocket-Sized Tom Cruise

folding Wayfarer sunglassesTom Cruise in Risky Business

Possibly the most popular sunglasses frame of all time, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer has been worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Cary Grant in North by Northwest, and, most famously, Tom Cruise in Risky Business—the latter the result of a shrewd product-placement deal.

First sold in 1952, the plastic model has been described by one commentator as being at first a “sculpture of genuine originality…a mid-century classic to rival Eames chairs and Cadillac tail fins. The distinctive trapezoidal frame spoke a non-verbal language that hinted at unstable dangerousness, but one nicely tempered by the sturdy arms which, according to the advertising, gave the frames a ‘masculine look.'”

To capitalize on the recent resurgence of the Wayfarer, Ray-Ban is now offering a limited-edition folding version that can fit in your pocket, as well as the glovebox of your Porsche.

Bristle All the Day

Stop shaving now, and let testosterone-fueled nature take its unruly course, for March 8th is El Dia del Mustache. Call them macho, call them silly, but in this day and age, forests of hair above the lip are guaranteed to make you stand out, especially if you’re taking part in a pie-eating contest. While wearing a ‘stache can lighten even your worst day, as this video shows, being selectively hirsute can also be a heavy burden to bear.

Gucci Now Open (Again)

Gucci Gucci goo!

I missed the ribbon-cutting at the new Gucci store on Fifth Avenue about 10 days ago, but still stopped in during their first day of business. Three notables from the visit:

1) Gucci used to mean Florentine leathergoods. I think that age passed long ago, and they no longer let such a singular designation limit their scope. But what is their specialization? Pushing the concept of luxury, for sure, whether it means luggage, handbags, evening gowns, men’s suits, shoes, sneakers, key chains, belts, et cetera ad infinitum. The rent is reportedly $1.33 million per month for the new space, so they have to earn the money any way they can.

2) The suits were cheap! We knew you could buy into the Gucci loafers for about $400, but a suit for $1500? Internationally recognized design and luxury pedigree for so little?

3) I used to think that half of the Gucci-labeled stuff I saw on the street was fake, because really–Gucci doesn’t make stuff that looks like that. My mistake! It’s all there. The moonwalk boots, the white sneakers . . .

In Tatters, Y’All

TI in tattersall

Named after a British horse auctioneer from the 1700s, the tattersall pattern originated on horse blankets, something it is still used for.  It has long been the classic design for flannel shirts meant to be worn with tweeds in the countryside, but Izzy has noticed that a few hip-hop stars, such as TI above, have been donning the conservative pattern, in the same way that many have been borrowing from preppy attire (note TI’s sherbert sweater). With all due respect to 50 Cent, perhap this style should be called “In da Country Club.”

Divorce, British Style

Paul McCartney in thin-lapelled suit

Prepared to face the unpleasantries of his acrimonious divorce, Paul McCartney arrived in court in a suit whose narrow lapels harkened back to a far happier time when he was just a young Beatle.  But by wearing a (disproportionately) wide tie with the youthful lapel, he shows himself to be stuck in the doldrums of middle age.

Furry Beast

furry beast

While taking in the rarefied atmosphere of St. Moritz, Switzerland, one of Izzy’s friends encountered this well-to-do caveman. Someone tried to  dump a bucket of red paint on him, but he was saved by was a representative of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of A-holes). 

Turning Siamese

Thom Browne siamese pants

Courtesy of Thom Browne comes this freakish nightmare—of ironing, that is.

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