05 November 2008

Rugged Formality

One of my favorite things in the vocabulary of distinctly American menswear is the nonchalant way in which formal and non-formal items wind up in the same combination. It's a phenomenon that only works with American style, something our pal Heavy Tweed has lately referred to as "Heavy Duty Ivy". Today it was raining, and I wore a suit, in Massachusetts. Heavy Duty Ivy all the way:

I'm a big fan of the Barbour over sport coast look, and an even bigger fan of the Barbour over suit look. The trick is to make absolutely sure that your suit coat is shorter than your rain coat.I also like considering the plaid lining to be part of the outfit. I love having that much visual interest buried inside my clothes.Underneath the waxed cotton, its all business all the way, if a bit rumpled and slouchy (on purpose of course).

I wore this outfit to the Ralph Lauren store in Boston in my never ending quest for any kind of employment. That store is weird. It's really nice and you want everything in it, but if you stay there long enough you begin to feel like all the mannequins are cartoons of you, or like you yourself are a cartoon. In retrospect, the idea of working there makes me feel a bit like a chump, since I swore to never work retail again after my last job. Maybe I won't fill out the application after all (or maybe I better take whatever I can get).

I need a job bad. Lately I find myself getting all dressed up to go to night classes because riding the subway in a suit in the city lets me pretend...I don't know what. But really this is beside the point, as it has become clear to me that if I in fact did work for an architecture firm these days, I would be the only person in the office not wearing jeans, or even shorts.

I apologize for the minor rant, but when did we collectively decide to stop being grown-ups?


Kolokotronis said...

"When did we collectively decide to stop being grown-ups?"

The sixties. Curse that decade.

Also, I am enjoying the blog.


Sir Fopling Flutter said...

Shouldn't you wear LL Bean duck boots with your suit for the full-on Heavy Duty Ivy look?

Giuseppe said...

Good point, sir f.f. In pint of fact, the shoes I wore were a bit delicate for the rain that night.

Anonymous said...

The Sixties?

I was an undergrad in the 60s. Our professors dressed like adults and when we were in our senior year we emulated them (and graduate students) by wearing jackets and ties to class.

The Sixties?

Every campus community still had a good number of what we still called Ivy League shops then.

The downfall started with the end of the Vietnam War.

Kolokotronis said...

"The downfall started with the end of the Vietnam War."

I put my Sixties downfall hypothesis to a friend of my recently:

"The Sixties?" he said, "at least in the Sixties we were still winning in Vietnam."

Even so, I maintain that this was when the rot set in.