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Ties | Manolo for the Men - Part 4
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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.

The White Stipe

Michael Stipe in white

As a general rule, Izzy enjoys white or off-white suits (even those with black buttons), but the tailoring of this one being worn by REM’s Michael Stipe just seems a bit off.  Is the jacket too long?  Certainly the sleeves are.  Izzy does, however, like the tie, with its width continuous all the way up.  And there’s nothing amiss with Stipe’s lack of belt, which creates an especially clean look.  Plus, why attract attention to your waist is there’s no need to?

Caballero Zapatero

Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s suit is no doubt bespoke, but Izzy still objects to the cut and construction. Exaggerated shoulders are fine for matadors, but so much padding in a suit makes it look like the hanger is still inside. Also, while the stiffness of a jacket’s front is a matter of taste, and granting that the suit is a kind of armor in the modern world, there’s no need for it to look and feel like a steel breastplate.

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Piste Off

Dsquared2 ski pants
The top’s all business, while the bottom’s all set for the ski slopes—circa 1985. Could DSquared² be targeting the undervalued Swiss newscaster demographic?

Incidentally, shouldn’t DSquared² be pronounced “DSquared squared”? Just sayin’…

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.

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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Realtests – http://www.realtests.com/exam/642-902.htm
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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.

Turning Siamese

Thom Browne siamese pants

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

Hello, My Name Is

Bob tie

As much as Izzy hates wearing name tags at conferences and the like (the tags, a dorky accessory, inevitably ruin your look), he would sooner tattoo “Izzy” on his forehead than wear a tie embroidered with his name.

Robot Teddy

Karl Lagerfeld with noose

The fine folks at Kempt pointed Izzy to a story in WWD about a teddy bear being modelled after Karl Lagerfeld:

FUZZY WUZZY: It’s a bear market out there — at least where Karl Lagerfeld is concerned. The famous German teddy bear maker Steiff plans to immortalize the indefatigable couturier in stuffed-animal form. The fuzzy Karl comes complete with dark glasses, a dark suit, high collar and logo belt buckle — nuclear-powered design prowess not included.

Izzy can’t help thinking that the teddy bear ought to be a creepy robot like the one featured in Steven Speilberg’s A.I. (which was originally a project of Stanley Kubrick’s, a director with a far darker sensibility).

Teddy supertoy

The plot, including the character of Teddy, was inspired by Brian Aldiss’ short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long,” which contains a passage that could well describe any ursine automaton based on Lagerfeld:

“Come down here, Teddy!”

She stood impassively, watching the little furry figure as it climbed down from step to step on its stubby limbs. When it reached the bottom, she picked it up and carried it into the living room. It lay unmoving in her arms, staring up at her. She could feel just the slightest vibration from its motor.

Old English Sheepdog

Old English sheepdog wig

When you’re having a bad face day, there’s nothing better than a shaggy wig topped off with a tartan beret.  At least you can’t see yourself in the mirror.

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