Last month as recompense for a year of toil and strain Mr. Henry went shopping. The time had come to buy himself a present, and a new line of super-120 wool at J. Crew were cut perfectly for Mr. Henryâ€™s eye. Unfortunately they were not cut perfectly for his seat. Five extraneous pounds of winter fat preserved around Mr. Henryâ€™s central section barred his admission into the skinny urbane world of the millenniumâ€™s second decade.
Did he walk away in despair? Not at all. With courage, hope, and full faith in a slim future, he bought pants that were too tight.
Of course, he did not share this little affair with Mrs. Henry. She would not have understood the complex series of decisions leading up to a decision, seemingly rash, which turned out to be a battlefield command of remarkable vision and precision. How else could he have forced himself to endure the sufferings of self-control necessary to shed five pounds?
Today, after a month of swimming, walking, and dinnertime deprivation, those pants fit just fine (so long as Mr. Henry does not wear them out to a big dinner). Once again Mr. Henry may sidle down the sidewalk dressed in his new super-120â€™s and looking like the metropolitan mondain he truly is.
Mr. Henry asks, “How good is your eye for famous men?”
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According to a profile in The New Yorker, the most influential person in American fashion believes that a man needs a uniform.
Every day J. Crewâ€™s Mickey Drexler wears a heather-gray T-shirt, a striped â€œThomas Masonâ€ blue-and-white button-down with long sleeves rolled up and shirttails out, aged Swedish jeans, and Alden cordovan wingtips. Sometimes he adds a plain black blazer.
Thatâ€™s it, guys, the new-millennial uniform for aged hipsters. Itâ€™s a good look, casual yet savvy. At least itâ€™s not black â€“ the default fashionista uniform.
Straight cut blue jeans on a guy in his sixties? After a certain age, donâ€™t men need a little forgiveness in the seat, waist, and thigh?
Speaking personally, Mr. Henry finds that whenever he spends an entire day wearing pants that pinch his privates, his mood suffers.
Consistent with the hard-driving CEO personality, Mickey Drexler is short-tempered. Could this be a symptom of tight pants syndrome?
Let â€˜em loose, Mr. Drexler. Your underlings will appreciate it.
In â€œThe American,â€ George Clooneyâ€™s clothes are understated. He carries himself with confidence and alertness, but without macho swagger. He looks like a thoroughly decent guy.
This is a problem because he plays the role of an expert in assassination.
Arenâ€™t bad guys supposed to be dandies? Where are the lilac pocket square, shiny suit cloth, and gaudy finger ring?
No matter how despicable his actions, Clooney wins you over by his clothes, his forthright demeanor, and his chiseled, grizzled, but charming American visage. (Is this an implicit comment about American foreign policy?)
â€œThe Americanâ€ is a post-modern gunfighter western. It even has a hooker with a heart of gold.
So, what does the modern American cowboy look like?
For most of the film Clooney wears a grey-green canvas jacket. It may provide less than adequate protection from wet Italian weather, but like most every other article of clothing the jacket looks very good on George. Underneath he layers a sedate sweater vest or plain gray tee shirt â€“ practical and unostentatious. After all, he is supposed to be lying low.
In the final scenes he wears a dark suit of impeccable cloth and cut, a funeral suit for himself and others.
In the modern western, bad guys look good. More confusing still, in â€œThe Americanâ€ the real killers are Swedes!