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.

Bowling for Voters

Barack Obama in bowling shoes

Whichever of Barack Obama’s campaign staffers found those sleek black-and-white bowling shoes, the least objectionable pair possible, ought to get a raise, even the promise of a cabinet post.  (Izzy notices that Obama is a lefty who wears his watch on his left arm, the political connotations of which are…?)

Unwinnable Arms Race

world’s tallest man

If you’re the world’s tallest man and lack the world’s largest wallet, no one expects your suits to fit well. But why, of all people, should your sleeves be too long?! And don’t say you’ll grow into it.

Rapunzel, Go Long

Steeler with long hair

Next week, National Football League team owners will vote on a proposal to ban players from having hair flow from their helmets below their names on the back of their jerseys. Izzy can imagine why some players want their hair to show—it helps individualize them in a sport where helmets make identities hard to discern—but long flowing locks jar with the smooth, clean uniforms found in football.  By contrast, crazy, exploding hair works just fine with the kilts on caber tossers.

big hair caber toss

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.

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?

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.

Drown this Witch

This scene from the 1989 flick Teen Witch contains what is surely the wack-est rap battle of all time, which doesn’t mean it’s not also the most unintentionally hilarious. To make matters even worse, the painfully white “tough guys” are dudded up in 80s trends—acid-wash jeans rolled to the knee, clip-on suspenders (also seen on Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)—that deserve to be exorcised from the collective unconscious.

For the Supermarine, Spitfire

RAF, submarine turtleneck sweater

To Izzy’s mind, cream-colored wool turtleneck sweaters conjure up iconic images from World War II, of RAF flyboys in their sheepskin jackets and Spitfires, or of a submarine captain standing on the sail in the middle of the North Atlantic—pipe in mouth, binoculars in hand.  Izzy is clearly not alone in such fantasizing, given that at least three different vendors have attempted to reproduce the period sweater.

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.

The Fashion Show: Might It Die Soon?

invitation.jpg

I quite like Cathy Horyn, the fashion writer for The New York Times.  She writes things like, “Anyone who complains that fashion is like high school is quite correct” in her column from yesterday, which is partly about the news that Mr. Armani has banned her from his fashion shows.

Writing so much about one simple rejection might sound bitter from someone else, but Ms. Horyn framed it very well, moving on to question the very existence of the shows (and the dramas within), especially considering how quickly photos and videos can now be distributed to everyone.

I have never been to a runway show, and am not in a rush to go.  Perhaps I am just bitter.

Oy Vey, Gaultier

Gaultier Hasidic jacketGaultier Hasidic label

Rummaging around eBay, Izzy found this very rare specimen from Jean-Paul Gaultier’s now-notorious 1993 fashion show inspired by Hasidic Jews. Needless to say, it caused quite a controversy, given that models walked down the runway in yarmulkes and sidelocks. (It also probably didn’t help that the audience was served sickly-sweet Manischewitz wine.) While the unconstructed jacket for sale doesn’t look Jewish in any way, the sewn-in label is quite the discussion piece. If Izzy reads them right, the Hebrew characters say “Zee-ahn Puh-ool Goh-teek.” Now THAT’S a label.

Gaultier’s collection might have been the first but it definitely wasn’t the last fashion show to reflect a Hebraic influence, as Izzy has discussed before. But no one else as gone as far as American Apparel—which, alas, is best described as a smutty Gap—in paying homage to the shmatte business (i.e., rag trade).

schmatte business



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