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Manolo for the Men: Fashion, Grooming, and Lifestyle Advice for Gentlemen - Part 18

Leaping Lizards

Andre Leon Talley in alligator coat

Andre Leon Talley, the eccentric editor-at-large (no pun intended) of Vogue, arrived at a fashion show wearing an alligator (?) coat that looks suspiciously, and embarrassingly, familiar.  Izzy never forgets a hide.

Fender Bender

Fender guitar pick cufflinks

These cufflinks from Fender, one of the most famous makers of electric guitars, should pluck the heartstrings of any would-be rock star.

House of Bourbon

Duncan Quinn Fleur de Lis tie

GQ described New York-based haberdasher Duncan Quinn as “rock ‘n roll meets Savile Row,” which well captures its combination of traditional tailoring with flashy colors and patterns.  Izzy is particularly taken with this fleur de lis necktie, a bold take on a classical shape.  Alas, at $255 only French monarchs are likely to afford it.

It’s Time for Change…of Shirts

JFK inauguration shirt

In his recently published memoir, The Place to Be, television newsman Roger Mudd writes about a time he was late to Air Force One as President John F.  Kennedy was about to leave for a trip. The reporter was forced to take a different staircase than was usual: “To get to my seat in the rear I had to pass through the presidential quarters. There stood the president of the United States himself, with [press secretary Pierre] Salinger grinning and hovering, ready to pounce if I dared ask a question. I dared not. The president stepped aside to let me pass….As I slipped by, I noticed that there were shelves in the space usually used for coats—shelf after shelf of shirts, stacks of freshly laundered presidential shirts. There must have been four dozen of them. Only later did I learn that Kennedy put on a fresh shirt each and every time he deplaned from Air Force One for a public appearance.”

The Plumage Makes the Male

peacock

According to a recent scientific paper, artificially enhancing the appearance of male barn swallows, thereby making them more attractive to females, upped their testosterone and even trimmed their weight.

“Other females might be looking at them as being a little more sexy, and the birds might be feeling better about themselves in response to that,” said study co-author Kevin McGraw, an evolutionary biology professor at Arizona State University.

[…]

“It’s the ‘clothes make the man'” idea, [lead author Rebecca] Safran said. “It’s like you walk down the street and you’re driving a Rolls Royce and people notice. And your physiology accommodates this.”

Obviously, one shouldn’t be too quick to draw conclusions about humans from a study of birds, but the underlying mechanism shouldn’t be ignored: How a gentleman dresses affects how others treat him, which in turns affects his mood and even his personality.  Izzy, for instance, has noticed that when he is well-turned out in a jacket and tie, strangers treat him better, which makes him more chipper and gracious than he would be otherwise.  While it’s an old idea that clothes make the man, this study helps to explain how that can occur even if the man is unaware of what he is actually wearing.

The Sweater as Charity Case

Cosby sweater

Just in time for Father’s Day, Bill Cosby is auctioning off some of the hideous vibrant sweaters he wore as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the Cosby Show.  The bidding, which starts at $5,000, commences on eBay on June 2nd, and the proceeds will go to the educational foundation he created in his son’s honor.

This would appear to be the perfect opportunity to support a charity while giving your dad an expensive gift that you can guilt-trip him to wear for many Christmases to come.  If he’s particulary unlucky, he might even be featured on the blog of Bad Sweater Guy.

Slip Sliding Away

Kirk Douglas on slide

Once the heroic face of Spartacus and Colonel Dax, Kirk Douglas, sad to say, looks a bit pathetic in cartoonish primary-colored playclothes.  While he is has been supporting a noble cause, the renovation of playgrounds around Los Angeles, is it too much to ask the living legend to maintain his dignity?

Magnetic North

Roman Polanski in wing collar

Like the directions of a compass rose, Roman Polanski’s hair and open wing collar point in all directions—which, fittingly for a director, makes his face the focal point.

Monsieur de Pompadour

Sean Penn with pompadour

The poet Walt Whitman once rhapsodized:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

But that apologia for inconsistency surely doesn’t excuse Sean Penn’s combining a 1950s rockabilly pompadour with a nineteenth-century-style shirt and tie.  To Izzy’s eyes, chronological contradictions can be the most disagreeable.

Hairy Like a Guerrilla

Steven Soderbergh with neck beard

While visting Cannes for the screening of Che, his bio-pic of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, director Steven Soderbergh sported a beard that extended down beneath his shirt collar.  Given that Soderbergh is usually clean-shaven, can there be any doubt that he disposed of his razor (and good sense) in homage to Che’s neck beard, which made him look like he had a lion’s mane?

Che with lion’s mane

Waxing Environmental

Harrison Ford getting his chest waxed

To raise awareness for the dangers of global warming, Harrison Ford had his chest publicly and painfully deforested in a public service TV ad.   As the aesthetician slashes and burns him, he says, “Every bit of rain forest that gets ripped out over there, really hurts us over here.”  While the ad is an obvious reference to the famous chest-waxing scene in The 4o Year-Old Virgin, it also reminds Izzy of a memorable scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark in which a wounded Indiana Jones, lying shirtless on his back with his chest hair standing out prominently, points Marion to the few places he doesn’t hurt, and she kisses each one.

A Button Too Far

Clooney and Pitt at Cannes

It may seem like just a minor thing, but Izzy can’t stand that unusually high top button (or is it a stud?) on George Clooney’s shirt.  By being so close to the bow tie, it ruins the simplicity appropriate to formal wear.  And by the way, given the gap between the lapel and his shirt collar, Brad Pitt’s jacket appears to be too small around the chest.



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