Here we have an interesting old cotton neck tie, perfect with a chambray sport coat in the warmth of late Spring: from one of the innumerable long-gone men's shops that every town with college boys and grown men used to have. Anybody out there go to Princeton and shop at Langrock?In case you're wondering, those guys on the tie are from an Italian deck of cards. The standing figure, il Fante, is sort of equivalent to the Jack, and the rider on the horse, il Cavallo, would sort of be the Queen. Since Italian card suits only contain 10 cards, these two would also represent 8 and 9.
Here we see them on a very worn out, greasy old deck that belonged to my grandparents, Peppino and Elvira:
They played these cards for hours every night after supper. They had been playing their whole lives, but I think they used this deck for at least ten years. My brother and I used to sit and play Briscola and Scopa with them at night sometimes. I remember being about 12 years old, in their apartment with some friends of theirs visiting. The air was thick with cigarette smoke. Nonna let me drink a little bit of stove top espresso, or "black coffee" as it was sometimes called. ( as opposed to drip, or "brown coffee", suitable only for Americans with weak constitutions). I guess that explains a lot.They both used to cheat, a lot. Peppino was clumsy about it, he'd always get caught. Elvira liked to deal from the bottom of the deck.
Here we see the four Aces, as injected into the skin of my left forearm, a memorial to Elvira:
Gasp! My tattoos! I guess you've seen them peeking out of my shirt sleeve here and there. When summer hits and the tennis shirts come out of the storage box, they'll be in every picture. Consider this a warm up. Every year, someone whose used to seeing me in shirts and ties is taken completely by surprise.
What's this post got to do with menswear? Very little. With Spring? Even less. This blog seems to be headed in a direction of it's own, sometimes. Could be that having a new baby in the house has got me thinking a lot more about Family, Tradition, and "The Old Days" lately. Maybe I should change the name. Any suggestions?