Archive - December, 2008

Out of the Blue

grenson-blue-and-white-boots

Excluding saddle shoes and a few other exceptions, Izzy is averse to two-toned footwear. And were you to ask him to imagine blue-and-white boots, he would start to gag mentally. And yet there are these highly unusual boots from Grenson, the storied British cordwainer, which, despite consisting of off-white canvas and light-blue leather infill, somehow work wonderfully. They are not exactly meant for everyday wear, but if you find your self running a tropical colony while wearing a pith helmet

Chemical Brothers

chipp-chemistry-tie

Izzy recently acquired this unusual vintage necktie made by Chipp, the old-school haberdasher, headquartered in New Haven, that sadly closed shop years ago. Izzy was able to determine that half of the chemical formula stands for urea, the other for acetic acid. In other words, the tie is delightfully full of piss and vinegar.

No, Minister

prime-minister-taro-aso

Wearing a patterned suit and a shirt with contrasting collar, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is attired far differently than most American politicians. It itself, that is not such a bad thing. But Aso’s necktie is knotted lamely, and the acutely angled collar, which appears to be curved, is unflattering, especially when paired with his low and relatively substantial lapels.

A Portait of the President on Casual Friday

The National Portrait Gallery just unveiled the official portrait of President George W. Bush, which should look familiar to Izzy’s most faithful readers.

official-george-w-bush-portrait

Izzy is almost certain that that light-blue shirt, with its two unusual pocket flaps, is the same one Bush wore when engaging in diplomacy with Vladimir Putin. As Izzy pointed out at the time, that quasi-militaristic style has also been favored by fellow Texan Charlie Wilson. Clearly, Bush’s choice of shirt and pose—bent over, sitting on a couch while smiling—was intended to give an air of casualness and familiarity. Unfortunately, given how the shirt’s cuffs ride up due to bent arms, Izzy mainly sees poor tailoring. (The pleats adjacent to the cuffs are a further sign that the shirt was not custom-made.)

Artistically, Izzy thinks that the official portrait pales next to one by the same painter, Robert Alexander Anderson, which was created for the Yale Club of New York City.

george-w-bush-portrait-for-the-yale-club

Here, Bush actually looks somewhat presidential, though it’s amusing that he crosses his leg in the European style that some American yahoos consider effete. (Also, what’s with Barney’s demon eyes?) It’s a shame that even this portrait contains a sartorial blunder: loafers with a suit. W simply can’t escape informality, which, admittedly, is a very American peccadillo. It even looks like his right French cuff is undone.

And is it Izzy, or does that sofa bring to mind a Rorschach test?

The Nap of the Bow Tie

band-of-outsiders-velvet-bow-tie

A serious danger in wearing a bow tie is to come off as a fuddy-duddy or even a sartorial prig. If that’s not the impression you’re going for, the trick  is to choose a bow tie with an interesting texture. As Izzy previously noted, raw silk works wonderfully, but so too does velvet, like this gunmetal number from Band of Outsiders. Its small size, seen in action here, also helps makes it anything but stodgy. Other excellent textilian (Izzy’s coinage) choices include pinwale corduroy and wool.

Meat of Desire

flame-body-spray

In a bit of nose-in-cheek marketing, Burger King is selling a fragrance called “Flame,” which it describes as “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” The fast-food chain has set up a special website for the whopper of a body spray, which features clichéd scenes of romantic enticement, including the hairy-chested, incredibly creepy King character reclining in front of a fire while wearing nothing but a strategically placed blanket (an homage to Burt Reynold’s near-nude appearance in Playgirl?). If the site doesn’t bring a smile to your face and make you exclaim “Ohhh yeaaah” in your best imitation of Barry White, you must be a vegetarian.

Izzy hasn’t inhaled Flame yet, but if it smells as advertised, you can be sure it is exactly the wrong thing to wear when trapped for weeks in a lifeboat with a starving lecher.

Power Tie-in

the-spirit

From the trailers for The Spirit, it seems that the forthcoming movie is about some kind of masked comic-book hero in a fedora and trenchcoat. The film’s true star, however, is a red tie forever flapping in the wind.

By Your Own Very Soft Bootstraps

When it comes to velvet footwear, Izzy thought he had seen it all.  But, yes Virginia, velvet boots do exist—thanks at least to the fine folks at John Varvatos.  Presumably this pair is the choice of Puss ‘n’ Boots, or, as the far classier original French has it, Le Chat botté.

Hauteur Theory

The author of books such as My Life Among the Deathworks and The Triumph of the Therapeutic, Philip Rieff was a formidable conservative cultural critic and a formidable conservative dresser. Here he is in a custom pinstriped peak-lapelled single-breasted suit, pocket square, fawn waistcoat, watch fob, and homburg hat. They don’t make professors like that anymore—for which lazy, fearful students should be thankful.

Men and Their Hose

Izzy was blissfully unaware of the trend of men wearing pantyhose, until a reader sent him this article:

The trend for straight men to invade female fashion territory is seemingly unstoppable. Even before manscara and guyliner there were man bras, or manzieres. Now there are umpteen websites for male nylons. One, e-MANcipate!, describes itself as “a project to accelerate the acceptance of male pantyhose as a regular clothing item” with tips on how to deal with snagging (a dab of clear nail varnish, I find, fellas, and do watch those shoe buckles).

Surely you don’t need Izzy to tell you that “mantyhose,” even with a special “male comfort panel,” is stretching things too far. They only time a gentleman should ever be caught with hose on is when he has pulled a pair over his head to rob a grocery store for diapers.

Comma Chameleon

Izzy never would have thought that suede paisley loafers could be done tastefully, but this pair from Cole Haan—not Etro, as one might expect—proved him wrong. Almost a pair of slippers, they are just the thing for reposing at home in a smoking jacket.

My Adidas

While in elementary school, Izzy and his classmates used to titter that “Adidas” stood for “All Day I Dream About Sex”—not that we had any idea what that meant. Thus, when Izzy saw the juxtaposition of that brand name with the Cuban flag, he had to wonder whether Castro had in mind “All Day I Dream About Socialism.” Though, really, Fidel ought to create his own logo: “Adidats,” for “All Day I Dream About Track Suits.”

Page 1 of 212»