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Manolo for the Men: Fashion, Grooming, and Lifestyle Advice for Gentlemen - Part 29

Pirate Bootee

skull wing tip shoes

Perfect for the corporate raider, these wing tips from Barker Black feature a skull and crossbones on their toes.  And of course you could wear them for Walk Like a Pirate Day.

Jumbo Tie

Alber Elbaz in giant bow tieOscar Wilde with bow tie

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.

Flag Waving

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.”  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.

Moving Things Up a Notch

J Crew chino jacket

While a low lapel can make you look like a maître d’ or Bill Clinton in his first term as president, a high lapel can fool people into thinking you’re a member of the aristocracy. Just don’t tell the gentry that you got the cotton twill jacket on sale at J. Crew for a proletarian $79.99.


Garbstore stub pocket

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.

Burnish, Baby, Burnish

Joseph Abboud Bergamo shoes

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.

Born-Again Cardigan

Jeremy Piven in cardigan sweater

The cardigan sweater, named after the 7th Earl of Cardigan, has a deserved reputation for old fogeyness—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.

Disco Inferno in the Groin

JC Penny 1975 catalogue

Behold this page from the 1975 J.C. Penny catalog, which deserves to be seen fully blown up to get the full effect.  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).  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.  The only way this advertisement could have been any worse were if it had been scratch-and-sniff.


Boy George with Jewish bling

A charity case himself, Boy George recently participated in a fundraising fashion show while flashing some hefty Jewish bling—thereby revealing himself to be the love child of Mr. T and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Last of the Adventurers

Gene Savoy in Peru

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.  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.

Rogues in Vogue

Ask Me How I Became a Pirate

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 tie—threatening, but not too threatening—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.

skull and crossbones tie

The Goldielocks Rule of Tailoring

Michael Urie with too much cuff

Since Izzy is so often complaining about gentlemen wearing their jacket sleeves too long, it’s almost nice to see the opposite error, in which there is too much of a good thing. A quarter inch of cuff is too little, a entire inch, too much, but a half inch?  It’s jussst right.

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