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Boola Boola

Bill Cosby in Yale sweater

Bill Cosby flaunted his support of elite universities by donning an old-timey Yale sweater (though he himself is a proud graduate of Temple).  It’s harmonious simplicity is a refreshing change from the loud, explosively-colored Coogi sweaters he wore as Cliff Huxtable on the Cosby Show.

How Not to Succeed Without Really Trying

Matthew Broderick in clashing patternsMatthew Broderick all washed up.

If Jay-Z is a mixmaster at combining patterns, Matthew Broderick is totally whack.  Not only do the dimensions of the stripes and checks clash, but the colors create a big stew of ugly.  Even more shabbily, Broderick’s thinning hair is unkempt, his jacket is too wide at the shoulders (note the pucker), and his saggy taupe corduroys ensure that he looks all washed up.  How could Sarah Jessica Parker let him go out in public like this?

Krazee-Eyez Killa

Christopher Walken in askew bow tie

As if it wasn’t enough to have a reputation for playing imbalanced, crazy characters, Christopher Walken let his bow tie rest at a disturbing angle.  That lack of left-right symmetry is all the worse for someone, like himself, born with heterochromia.

The Streets of Manhattan

Bill Cunningham in NYC

Bill Cunningham, the famed New York Times street-fashion photographer, has created a new audio slideshow, in which he notes that pocket squares seem to be making a comeback, especially on men who aren’t wearing neckties. As a proponent of judiciously chosen ornament, Izzy thinks this is happy news.

Speaking of the joys of people-watching, as the weather is increasingly conducive to walks in the city, it’s worth remembering some lines from Walt Whitman:

Keep your splendid, silent sun;
Keep your woods, O Nature, and the quiet places by the woods;
Keep your fields of clover and timothy, and your corn-fields and orchards;
Keep the blossoming buckwheat fields, where the Ninth-month bees hum;
Give me faces and streets! give me these phantoms incessant and endless along the trottoirs!
Give me interminable eyes! give me women! give me comrades and lovers by the thousand!
Let me see new ones every day! let me hold new ones by the hand every day!
Give me such shows! give me the streets of Manhattan!

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Who’s Tommy?

Tommy Hilfiger in pinstripes

Despite being a designer and having all the money in the world, Tommy Hilfiger’s jacket is clearly too tight in the middle (note how the fabric pinches and the tie peeks through below the button). Maybe he’s spent too much time lifting weights at the gym. Indeed, his whole appearance gives the impression that he’s trying too hard: the gangster-bold pinstripes, the flashy tie in a color that’s “off,” the helmet hair, the steroidal neck, chest, and face. Hilfiger simply does not look comfortable in his own skin.

War by Other Means

Bush and Putin in diplomatic wear

Presidents Bush and Putin recently met in Russia for some tense, and ultimately failed, talks on security issues including NATO expansion and Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  Unlike in former, happier times, the two came suited for battle, if subtly.  Bush wore a Texas-style Don’t-Tread-on-Me belt and a dress shirt with two front flapped pockets (just like Soviet-slayer Charlie Wilson), while Putin chose to wear an outright military jacket, complete with ammo pockets, epaulets, and belting.  Looking at the two’s cheerful faces, the cynic in Izzy recalls a line from Will Rogers: “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”

The Art of Leisure

Real Men Read t-shirt

Now here’s a t-shirt message Izzy can subscribe to: a gentleman in a tweed suit, high collar,  and spats demonstrating civilization to an attentive boy, dressed with restraint.  And the slogan is both perfect and true.  The artist is Edward Gorey, who was famed for his vaguely ominous illustrations of Victorian and Edwardian subjects.  But there’s nothing discomfiting here, except maybe the boy’s stiff collar.

Mark of Polo Goes to China

Ralph Lauren Olympics outfitThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that Polo Ralph Lauren will be outfitting the U.S. Team at the upcoming Beijing Olympics:

“Norman Bellingham, chief operating officer of the [U.S. Olympic Committee] and a former Olympic kayaker, says that he wanted the athletes to be attired in a ‘classic and more formal manner.'”

[…]

“At a meeting at Polo’s headquarters on Madison Avenue in New York, Mr. Bellingham told Mr. Lauren that his inspiration was ‘Chariots of Fire,’ the 1981 movie about British athletes competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Upon hearing that, [Ralph] Lauren smiled, Mr. Bellingham recalls. ‘He knew precisely what we were going for.'”

[…]

“At the Olympic Village and at the Closing Ceremonies, athletes’ wardrobes will include V-neck tennis sweaters and ties, classic Polo mesh shirts with ‘Beijing’ written in big Chinese characters across the front and cargo pants — all in a patriotic palette of red, white and blue. The Olympic logo featured on the new uniforms may include a replica of a crest with stars and stripes used by the 1932 U.S. Olympic team at the Los Angeles Games. Polo ponies of varying sizes will also make an appearance on the garments.”

Izzy thinks that the sketch offers some great white hope.

Mr. Chips Goes to Washington

tweedy Robert Redford

Testifying in front of Congress about the funding of the National Endowment for the Arts, Robert Redford costumed himself as an old-fashioned school teacher, complete with a tweed jacket with a narrow lapel and throat latch, as well as appropriately mussed hair.  Izzy would have believed anything the man said.

Papillon

Nodus butterfly shirt

While recently flâneur-ing around the 17th arrondisment in Paris, Izzy was delighted to come across Nodus, a shirtmaker that fears not color or ornament.  As their slogan, “Masculin Latin,” suggests, it takes a confident, bold man to pull off a shirt adorned with butterflies.  Such a man, please note, must never be confused with the effeminate dandy who observes butterflies through a monocle.

Corkscrewed

squiggley tie

There are some bits of trivia that, once learned, can never be forgotten.  But just because they’ve been deposited somewhere in the recesses of your brain, they can still require an unusual stimulus to bring them forth.  Case in point: Upon seeing this bizarre necktie, Izzy remembered that pigs have corkscrew-shaped penises.

In the Beginning Was the Logo

Ralph Lauren jumping horse logo

Ralph Lauren Purple Label (which tops the RL hierarchy in terms of quality and price) has recently come out with a new logo, of what looks like a polo rider on a leaping horse.  Izzy is no fan of logos in general (a well-dressed man never needs to advertise brands), but the new horse is so lame it deserves to be shot.

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