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.
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.”
The Times of London is reporting the sad demise of the cricket sweater:
The woollen V-necked jumper — baggy and bearing mysterious stains — has been a part of cricket at all levels since the early days but when adidas, the new England kit supplier, unveiled its 2008 collection at the home of cricket, cable-knit had been replaced by the figure-hugging ClimaCool, a man-made fibre said to push sweat away from cricketers’ skin.
“England will be cooler, drier and more comfortable than ever before,” Hugh Morris, the managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said. “With this kit, England will be the best-equipped team in the world.” The innovation was warmly greeted by Michael Vaughan, England’s Test captain. “The cricket sweater has been my bugbear for many a year,” he said. “This new fabric will give us a lighter feel. Even if it’s a little cold, I am delighted to see the end of the last woolly sweater.”
However, Bob Willis, the former England captain, said that the old sweater was “a very important piece of kit” for fast bowlers. “In cold weather, when you’d finished bowling ten overs and were dripping with perspiration it would keep you cool,” he said.
Willis is alluding to the fact that wool, unlike many other fabrics, maintains its warmth even when wet.
But perhaps the best argument for retaining the cricket sweater is its potential for off-field use, here demonstrated in Matthew Bourne’s dance piece “Play Without Words.”
Izzy has no objection in principle to scarlet-letter punishments, i.e., using clothing to publicly shame criminals, but this DUI chain-gang surely goes too far. The combination of black, white, and bubblegum pink just screams 1980s, and those pants are straight from Zubaz. More important, the entire outfit defeats the message on the convicts’ shirts: No sober man would dress that way.
For a few seasons now, J. Crew has been offering fun twists on the classic Jack Purcell sneaker, such as replacing the canvas with madras or seersucker. Izzy is particularly fond of this wool patchwork model, which is perfect for autumnal lounging around.
Francesca has drawn Izzy’s attention to a series of mind-boggling pages from J. C. Penny’s 1977 catalog. He doesn’t quite know whether she deserves to be thanked or cursed. Either way, it helped to confirm Izzy’s speculation that the seventies ruined the color yellow forever. Also, why the heck is it ambiguous as to whose hand in the gentleman’s pocket? It’s not as if J. C. Penny has ever aimed for the Bert and Ernie demographic.
Behold this page from the 1975 J.C. Penny catalog, which deserves to be seen fully blown up to get the full effect. While it’s easy to knock disco-pimp fashion, whether it’s the butch decolletage or the high-waisted polyester trousers with crotches cut too close to home, at least the clogs benefitted the shorter manimal (like the model on the right). As bad as these outfits are, truly beyond the pale are those cuffed bell-bottoms, something Izzy had never seen even in his worst disco nightmare. The only way this advertisement could have been any worse were if it had been scratch-and-sniff.
Pulitzer-prize-winning poet James Merrill was raised in a highly privileged setting (his father was a co-founder of Merrill Lynch), which should be kept in mind when reading his “Self-Portrait in Tyvek™ Windbreaker,” a meditation on the effects of dressing down. Here’s an excerpt, but Izzy encourages you to read the whole thing:
The windbreaker is white with a world map.
DuPont contributed the seeming-frail,
Unrippable stuff first used for Priority Mail.
Weightless as shoes reflected in deep water,
The countries are violet, orange, yellow, green;
Names of the principal towns and rivers, black.
A zipper’s hiss, and the Atlantic Ocean closes
Over my blood-red T-shirt from the Gap.
I found it in one of those vaguely imbecile
Emporia catering to the collective unconscious
Of our time and place. This one featured crystals,
Cassettes of whalesong and rain-forest whistles,
Barometers, herbal cosmetics, pillows like puffins,
Recycled notebooks, mechanized lucite coffins
For sapphire waves that creast, break, and recede,
As they presumably do in nature still.
Sweat-panted and Reeboked, I wear it to the gym.
My terry-cloth headband is green as laurel.
A yellow plastic Walkman at my hip
Sends shiny yellow tendrils to either ear.
Americans, blithe as the last straw,
Shrug off accountability by dressing
Younger than their kids—jeans, ski-pants, sneakers,
A baseball cap, a happy-face T-shirt . . .
Like first-graders we “love” our mother Earth,
Know she’s been sick, and mean to care for her
When we grown up. Seeing my windbreaker,
People hail me with nostalgic awe.
“Great jacket!” strangers on streetcorners impart.
The Albanian doorman pats it: “Where you buy?”
Over his ear-splitting drill a hunky guy
Yells, “Hey, you’ll always know where you are, right?”
“Ever the fashionable cosmopolite,”
Beams Ray. And “Voilà mon pays”—the carrot-haired
Girl in the bakery, touching with her finger
The little orange France above my heart.
Everyman, c’est moi, the whole world’s pal!
The pity is how soon such feelings sour.
As I leave the gym a smiling-as-if-I-should-know-her
Teenager—oh but I mean, she’s wearing “our”
Windbreaker, and assumes . . . Yet I return her wave
Like an accomplice. For while all humans aren’t
Countable as equals, we must behave
As if they were, or the spirit dies (Pascal).
While browsing in the neighborhood bookshop, Izzy came across this cover of a rakish Tennessee Williams. Just as Mark Twain liked to write in bed in his pyjamas, perhaps Williams did his best work in this elegant glen plaid dressing gown.