Ridiculously large bow ties (made of what appear to be Shantung silk) have become the sartorial trademark of Alber Elbaz, artistic director of French fashion house Lanvin. Though they given him a whimsically clownish appearance, they do at least make him look friendly and approachable, in contrast to the cold hauteur of so many fashion designers. And to those in the know, the colossal bow tie pleasantly brings to mind the flamboyant aesthete Oscar Wilde.
Barack Obama just announced that he is no longer going to wear an American flag lapel pin, the accessory that became popular among politicians after September 11, since it has become “a substitute for…true patriotism.”Â Though that claim is surely too strong, Izzy has long suspected that some politicians wear the flag pin like it’s a Boy Scout merit badge or military medal, and to that extent would like to see them with unadorned lapels.
Created by a former designer for Paul Smith, Garbstore is a new British line of authentic-ish reproductions of vintage workwear. The doohickey stub of a pocket flap on this shirt is visually delightful, but Izzy is hesitant to wear “classic” clothing with a visible logo (see above the left pocket), which is of course inauthentic.
Izzy wasn’t aware that Joseph Abboud was in the shoe business, but he was pleased to see that they offer a model with antiqued leather, a finish that creates visual depth.
The cardigan sweater, named after the 7th Earl of Cardigan, has a deserved reputation for old fogeynessâ€”think of Mister Rogers changing into a zip-up model at the beginning of each episode. But it’s making a comeback among hipsters, and as Jeremy Piven shows, if cut slim, it can be a flattering on a young-ish man. Among the cardigan’s other, if lesser known, benefits is that a thick model can protect you from poison-tipped umbrellas.
Behold this page from the 1975 J.C. Penny catalog, which deserves to be seen fully blown up to get the full effect.Â 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).Â 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.Â The only way this advertisement could have been any worse were if it had been scratch-and-sniff.
It’s hard to believe, but the above photo isn’t some colorized snapshot of one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, but was taken in the very unglamorous 1985. The subject is the recently deceased Gene Savoy, a flamboyant adventurer, archaeologist, and all-around throwback in the tradition of Indiana Jones.Â He might never have discovered the Fountain of Youth, but he certainly knew where to find hard-wearing trousers with thick belt loops, western-front pockets, and an amazing drape.
Arrrrgh. Somehow, me maties, Capt’n Izzy missed that yesterday was International Talk like a Pirate Day. Were Izzy to enter the swashbuckling ranks (which is unlikely given his concern for, er, gallantry, not to mention his fear of stains that no drycleaner can remove), he’d wear a skull-and-crossbones bow tieâ€”threatening, but not too threateningâ€”and be accompanied by his loyal parrot, “Popinjay.” Pirate Izzy, a/k/a Isidore the Mauve, would fantasize about having bigger shoulders, so that he could carry around an actual peacock on them. “Gangway!“, indeed.