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Manolo for the Men: Fashion, Grooming, and Lifestyle Advice for Gentlemen - Part 8

Man in Uniform

According to a profile in The New Yorker, the most influential person in American fashion believes that a man needs a uniform.

Every day J. Crew’s Mickey Drexler wears a heather-gray T-shirt, a striped “Thomas Mason” blue-and-white button-down with long sleeves rolled up and shirttails out, aged Swedish jeans, and Alden cordovan wingtips. Sometimes he adds a plain black blazer.

That’s it, guys, the new-millennial uniform for aged hipsters. It’s a good look, casual yet savvy. At least it’s not black – the default fashionista uniform.

Straight cut blue jeans on a guy in his sixties? After a certain age, don’t men need a little forgiveness in the seat, waist, and thigh?

Speaking personally, Mr. Henry finds that whenever he spends an entire day wearing pants that pinch his privates, his mood suffers.

Consistent with the hard-driving CEO personality, Mickey Drexler is short-tempered. Could this be a symptom of tight pants syndrome?

Let ‘em loose, Mr. Drexler. Your underlings will appreciate it.

Do you know this man?

Mr. Henry asks, “How good is your eye for famous men?”

Laurence Olivier

Monday’s Man of Mystery is Britain’s greatest stage actor.

Do you know this man?

Mr. Henry asks, “How good is your eye for famous men?”

The American

In “The American,” George Clooney’s clothes are understated. He carries himself with confidence and alertness, but without macho swagger. He looks like a thoroughly decent guy.

This is a problem because he plays the role of an expert in assassination.

Aren’t bad guys supposed to be dandies? Where are the lilac pocket square, shiny suit cloth, and gaudy finger ring?

No matter how despicable his actions, Clooney wins you over by his clothes, his forthright demeanor, and his chiseled, grizzled, but charming American visage. (Is this an implicit comment about American foreign policy?)

“The American” is a post-modern gunfighter western. It even has a hooker with a heart of gold.

So, what does the modern American cowboy look like?

For most of the film Clooney wears a grey-green canvas jacket. It may provide less than adequate protection from wet Italian weather, but like most every other article of clothing the jacket looks very good on George. Underneath he layers a sedate sweater vest or plain gray tee shirt – practical and unostentatious. After all, he is supposed to be lying low.

In the final scenes he wears a dark suit of impeccable cloth and cut, a funeral suit for himself and others.

In the modern western, bad guys look good. More confusing still, in “The American” the real killers are Swedes!

Clint Eastwood

Monday’s Man of Mystery is America’s premier actor/director.

Do you know this man?

Mr. Henry asks, “How good is your eye for famous men?”

Men in France

In the forested hills and planted valleys of the Dordogne, men have strong, suntanned forearms and weathered, unshaven faces. They get up early, work before breakfast, drink wine at lunch, and eat a light supper of soup de lègumes and cantal cheese.

For a week Mr. Henry has been dawdling in southwestern France eating a diet that would frighten Old King Cole.

Foie gras has become a feature at every meal including this morning’s breakfast that included a peach and foie gras tart.

Last night My Phuong picked a basket of blackberries along the fence, reduced them in pear syrup, and strained them for an amazing coulis that she dripped over lightly floured slices of foie gras quickly sautéed in butter.

Ten thousand years ago, just before the last Ice Age ended and patterns of life here changed for good, men in the Dordogne hunted reindeer, chiefly, as well as small deer and massive long-horned aurochs (wild cattle), bison, giant red deer, the untamable Prwezalski’s horse, ibex, wild asses, wild donkeys, woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth. They lived in terror of the great European cave bear, extinct cousin of the Alaskan brown bear, of the mountain lion and the saber-toothed cat. Carrying flint-tipped spears, the tall, strong, fur-clad Cro-Magnon tracked herds across a treeless tundra. To prevent scurvy, they ate the liver and heart raw.

Mitochondrial DNA testing suggests that modern peoples of the Dordogne are genetically very similar to peoples who flourished here in the Mesolithic Era. These homo sapiens lived alongside the Neanderthal for more than 12,000 years until finally, unable to resist competition from their more aggressive rival species (us), the gentle, artistic Neanderthal disappeared about 29,000 years ago.

Pears, apples, peaches, apricots, prunes – everything here grows to a splendid ripeness. Tomatoes hang heavy on the vine advertising their tart attractions in vulgar shades of red. Vines bearing little blue grapes cover the landscape for miles in every direction. Mr. Henry’s cabinet is stocked with straight-sided bottles of Bordeaux, startlingly inexpensive and delicious.

On vacation in France the principal rôle for a man is to drive the car, a stick shift, naturellement. Roads aren’t as bad as they once were, although British tourists seem to take their half out of the middle. Shopkeepers can be dour, but sellers with stalls in country markets are a delight ­– quick-witted and fun.

The weather is changeable. Days are hot, nights refreshingly cool. Mr. Henry understands why the artists of Lascaux constructed museums deep inside climate controlled caves. In the course of an afternoon humidity rises and falls. Squalls with fierce winds come barreling off the Atlantic up gentle, vine-covered slopes to surprise us at poolside. Such a bother! We repair to the house for a game of cards.

Walt Disney

Congratulations to JB who guessed the identity of Monday’s Man of Mystery with remarkable dispatch.

Do you know this man?

Because Mr. Henry is abroad, Monday’s Man of Mystery comes a day late.

Andy Griffith

Congratulations to Darryl who correctly identified Monday’s man of mystery as none other than Andy of Mayberry, shown in the previous post with Patricia Neal in Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd.

Do you know this man?

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