31 January 2009

A Beggar's Rags

Today I got to do one of my favorite things in the world: attend a job fair! Ain't nothing like begging for work!(Oops, I forgot you can't hear sarcasm via the Internet...). This meant it was a day for some serious, brass tacks, no bullsh*t business attire:
As it was pretty cold today, I wore my vintage Hart, Schaffner & Marx cashmere coat (of which every size 40 man on earth should be jealous), and a cap in Black Watch Tartan (not pictured).

Underneath, Brooks Brothers navy blue pinstripe suit, Brooks Brothers white oxford,Brooks Brothers merino wool scarf and a tie from Mr.Sid.

Down below, plain black oxford lace ups. (They're shinier than the picture shows.)

No accessories, no pocket square, nothing to distract....all business. The entire ensemble cost roughly $60.

As job fairs go, this wasn't a bad one. Sure, I spent most of my time waiting in line, but the people there were friendly and encouraging, and actually willing to chat with you rather than just take your resume and call out "Next!".

Also, I sense a resurgence in the popularity of hand rendered drawings coming on. The last couple of events I went to were all "computers or else." But today, many of the people I spoke to were impressed by my skills with pen and paper, and they all seemed really interested in the (theoretical) projects I presented in my portfolio. I was asked a lot of questions about my theories and ideas, and a few of them said how refreshing they found it to see hand drawn plans and perspectives.

But every conversation ended with "we're not hiring right now but...." (Of course).

If only I could invent a time machine that would drop me and my family in the house next door to Marcel Breuer in New Canaan, CT in 1965.....

30 January 2009

The Formalities of Formality

This post is about the Presidents shirt collar.
Like him or not, George Herbert Walker Bush is a Massachusetts born Yale man who shops at J.Press, a guy with taste in clothes similar to my own, so I'm going to go ahead and use him here as a sartorial example.

Lately around the blogs I've heard many people wishing to see the President in an Oxford Cloth Button Down Collared shirt. I disagree. Button down collars, as much as we all may love them, are inherently more casual than straight collars. After all, they do have their origins in the world of sport. The same is true of cuffed trousers. While they may indeed be appropriate for many business settings, they are not appropriate in a more formal setting. If the office of President of the United States is not a formal setting, then what is?

George knew this. In the photo above, he's wearing a 3/2 sack suit with 2 button cuffs, likely from J.Press. His shirt is straight collared and I'm willing to bet there are no cuffs on his trousers. I'm also willing to bet that he spent much of his professional life prior to his Vice-Presidency wearing button downs and cuffs, but switched when his position required it.

Personally I wear button downs and cuffed pants almost exclusively, but if I were the boss I'd reconsider. A President in a button down collar to me is a man who doesn't understand the finer points of proper dress.

The little things make all the difference.

p.s. Reagan's suit is too big in the shoulders and the sleeves are too long, and its brown. He looks like somebodies uncle at a wedding.

29 January 2009

The Closet

A while back, our comrade Longwing said in the comments that I must have some vast closet space. Not really. While we do have the luxury of a walk in closet in the bedroom of our little home, Mrs. G. and I each get only one side. This leaves me with a 38 inch pole, one shelf above, and a small shoe rack below:
Shirts on hangers, followed by slacks, then jackets and suits. Belts and "house clothes" (an old hooded sweatshirt) on hooks. The cigar box on the shelf holds tie bars, cuff links, etc. Note the spools of thread with needles stuck in them, always ready to mend something.
Khakis, jeans, cords, sweaters and hats all stashed neatly above.

Shoes stashed neatly below.

Ties on a wooden coat hanger. I don't care much for tie racks. This very coat hanger has been holding my ties since high school.

In the front of the house is a coat closet, roughly the same size, where I keep my outerwear. In the basement is one large plastic crate with summer clothes in it. That's it. It's a little cramped, but such close quarters force a man to be tidy.

I have to say, having spent my entire adult life as a shameful clothes horse, and the last six months writing about it almost everyday, I'm a little shocked to realize that most of my Affordable Wardrobe occupies only six square feet. It only goes to illustrate the strength of classic items of clothing. Not only do they wear like iron, but they offer an endless array of combinations and configurations, allowing one to achieve a cohesive look while not repeating specific outfits exactly. Since I started this blog last September, I have yet to repeat an entire outfit, and yet you see what limited resources I have to work with.

If thrift shopping has taught me anything its that it doesn't pay to be frivolous. Each item in a man's wardrobe should be chosen with care and eye on longevity. This is especially true for those of us who frequent the sort of places that sell suits for less than $20, and ties for $ .99. If I took home every "find" that came my way, the bedroom would be full of clothes and we'd be sleeping in the closet.

I'll say it again: creativity often lies in the constraints.

27 January 2009

Plain and Simple

When in doubt plain and simple is always best:
Tweed, oxford, denim and suede....grey, white, blue, brownWith a tiny pinch of pink silk.

I call this a classic casual look, although by today's standards I could wear this outfit to an audience with royalty. But to me, an outfit like this is the perfect thing for running around the city with a toddler during the day time. I feel well put together, but comfortable, and not so precious as to constantly fear having my clothes destroyed by said toddler. Plus, the extra pockets afforded by a sport coat are always welcome when I've got a child with me. They're good for carrying napkins, lollipops and juice boxes.

The blessing and curse of good men's clothing is that it never changes. This can lead to boredom, but constraints often give birth to creativity. Given the simplicity and staying power of the classic items, there's really no reason for any man not to look well on a regular basis. "I was just out running errands with the kids" is not an excuse for laziness of appearance.

26 January 2009

Back to School

Today the spring semester began. Here I am , back to school, and right back in the fray.

Pictured above is the Vanna Venturi house, designed by architect Robert Venturi for his mother in 1962. If you don't know Venturi, check hin out. He wrote a lot about the dichotomy of "complexity and contradiction". If you don't know what that means, think of a proud old Italian mom sitting in the doorway of her house, which just happens to be a masterpice of post-modernism.

Come next Monday, for my studio course, I am expected to have replicated, by hand, an entire set of scale drawings of this house. Good thing I bought a paraline ruler for my birthday.Here we go....!

I'm also taking a course in the history of modern architecture. Tonight, in her first lecture, the teacher made an extremely compelling argument for why 1750 was the beginning of modernism. Take my word for it, a compelling argument. This also promises to be a good class.

Oh yeah, I wore a pink oxford button down, grey flannel slacks, navy blazer and repp striped bow tie, finished with a paisley pocket square, black watch cap, tan cashmere coat and brown suede shoes. Quite stunning. Unfortunately, the batteries were dead in the camera, so you'll just have to imagine it.

Once upon a time, bow ties were actually an "architect-y" thing to wear: Le CorbusierMarcel BreuerFrank Lloyd WrightLouis Kahn
They teach us so much about these guys at my school, but no one ever mentions that they were all men of style. A slob in shorts with a three day beard could not have created what these men created. (smallest violin...)
I go into the subject someday when I have the gumption.

25 January 2009

Old Hat

No man's wardrobe is really complete without a few tattered and well loved items in it. These are the sort of things that common sense would suggest were sent to the trash long ago, but for reasons inexplicable even to the wearer were not. Things that will never be thrown out. Things one's wife and family find quaint or funny, and wonder why one is so attached to them.One of mine is this old hat:

An old Dobbs hat, probably 1940's vintageFrom Boyd's of Philadelphia

I have owned this hat forever. The leather band on the inside is completely disintegrated in front. The band is mottled with sweat stains. Its been run over by cars three times since I've had it. These days I wear it mostly in the garden or in terrible rain. (I wore it today because I just had a haircut and it fits best when my hair is short).The pictures do not do justice to the wear on it, the ravages of 60+ years of use. I like to imagine it was worn in a bank robbery or on a boxcar in the dust bowl. Ah, Romance....

My grandfather wore an old brown hat very much like this one. We all wondered why he was so attached to the filthy old thing. What goes around comes around, I guess.

Whats your favorite crummy old thing?

p.s. any readers in the Philadelphia area have any good stories about Boyd's?

24 January 2009

The Rules of Breaking the Rules

Regular readers of this blog will note that my proclivities in matters of dress tend to lean toward the New England Traditional style, with some variation. As such there are particular rules I tend to follow, a loose, self-inflicted code of details. High on this list of rules are plain front pants and single breasted jackets. But rules only work if you break them sometimes. The trick is to break them successfully.

Today I purchased a suit which runs counter to almost every rule of dress I observe, yet in some inexplicable way was the inevitable newest piece of the Affordable Wardrobe:

Double-breasted suit in grey flannel chalk stripe, by Polo, $15.99 The jacket is a 6/2 stance, but pressed in such a way as to favor 6/1. Sort of a double breasted version of 3/2. (Look at all of those silly fractions! What a way to talk about clothes! seriously...)
The pants have brace buttons only, no belt loops, and shallow inverted pleats, with side tabs. If you're going to buy pleated pants, the only ones worth having are with shallow (repeat: shallow) inverted pleats. Deep outward facing pleats tend to billow out in such a way as to make a man appear as though he's wearing a diaper.
Last but not least, the magic words: made in U.S.A.

I shouldn't like this suit, but I love it. The cloth is thick and butter soft. I suspect its partly cashmere. The chalk stripe is classic. And despite its being double breasted with a fairly wide lapel, the shoulders are only very lightly padded, like a sack suit. The jacket needs to come in a pinch and the sleeves are a bit short, easy alterations.

This suit is going to look awfully rakish with a white oxford button down, knit tie and brown suede shoes, , maybe even a v-neck sweater underneath, all things which are "against the rules" with double breasted, incidentally. The only way to wear it.

An occasional insouciant disregard for the rules: another valuable lesson punk rock taught me.

22 January 2009

A Stroll in the Park

After the shocking "Incident of the Leather Jacket" yesterday, and the subsequent trip down memory lane it started, today I was in the mood for some full bore outmoded Beacon Hill togs:
Red cords, with my new flannel blazer. You may recall this as the mystery jacket from a few posts ago. Purchased brand new for $3.49, I found another old blazer at another store, also $3.49 that I bought just for its buttons. The jacket is all the better for the brass, I think. A ripping good bargain for a total of $7.98Finished off with a very thick wool tie from Scotland, $.99,and the ubiquitous penny loafers.

This evening after supper, I donned this outfit and headed into the city, for a sort of architecture related social hour being co-sponsored by the Boston Society of Architects. I figured I might be able to do some "networking". I hate that word almost as much as I hate the practice. Trying to find a job by yacking with strangers over cocktails is something I find abhorrent, but I'm trying to learn, as this is apparently the way things are done these days. Anyway...

I had a bad feeling as I arrived at a pseudo-fancy bar with a velvet rope out front and a bouncer in an ill-fitting suit guarding the entry. But I thought, what the hell, I'm already here...

Inside, the place is dark and incredibly loud, packed back to front with what Mrs. G. might call "Go People". (If I have to explain go-people to you, you probably won't get it.) I could practically hear them thinking "whose the weirdo on the red pants?' So I push my way to the bar and order an Old-Fashioned form the sl*tty bartendress. Her face dropped. She ran down to the other end of the bar, talked to the other sl*tty bartendress, and then to the jock bartenders. Five minutes later she returns and says "I can't make that." (not "I'm sorry, but I can't make an Old Fashioned. Would you care for something else?" just "I can't make that.") Perhaps I should have ordered an oversised martini glass filled with overpriced vodka and brightly colored scnaaps.

So in an effort to be gracious, I order a Crown Royal Manhattan on the rocks, which she fixes perfectly, then tells me I owe her fourteen dollars! Given the fact that my jacket, tie and shirt didn't cost that much combined, I was fairly appalled. So I drank up my whiskey, got my coat and high-tailed it out of there. The entire ordeal lasted about twenty minutes.

The night was not a total loss, far from it in fact. The weather was beautiful, just cold enough and wonderfully clear. Boston Common looked lovely in the snow, people were ice skating outside, and it was not even eight o'clock yet. So I stopped by L.J.Perretti,bought myself a nice cigar, and took a stroll. I wandered through the Public Garden, past the Swan Boat Pond, then down the old brick sidewalks of Charles Street for some window shopping at the pricey antique shops and art galleries. From there I meandered up the narrow old streets of Beacon Hill, past Louisburg Square, admiring some of Boston's most famous architecture, the beautiful old brownstones behind the State House.

Turns out that's what this outfit was for after all. On old Beacon Hill, nobody thinks twice about a man in red pants and a blazer.

Mrs. G. wasn't even upset that I stunk of cigar when I returned. All in all, a pleasant evening.

21 January 2009

The Jams

For me, when there's a lot of work to be done, few things can motivate like the Ole' Punk Rock:

I love this record. It is an exercise in the pure simplicity of the excitement that is rock n' roll.

The house was such a mess this morning, but this slab on the turntable really gets me moving. I don't think Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Marky had housekeeping in mind when they recorded songs like "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue", but what can I say, it works. Plus, this album is apparently very good blast-around-the-house-in-your-pajamas music if you happen to be a 2 year old boy.

Unlike many people who fell in love with punk, I didn't find it until my 20's. I got real into for a good few years and then, like any sensible grow-up, outgrew it. It did teach me one important lesson, though: the true beauty of art that is raw, visceral, quick and insistent. Few things are as exhilarating when they really reach you. I intend to teach the boy and his sister that lesson someday when they're old enough. Hopefully I can pull it off without embarrassing them too much, though that's unlikely.

Anyway, this record sent me digging in the closet as well. Our coat closet is deep, with two poles, one behind the other. On the deeper of the two, behind my Barbour, Chesterfield topcoat and Burberry Macintosh, I still keep this old thing:

My old leather jacket, lining shredded to pieces, threads hanging all over the place. Ironically enough, it's on a hanger from Simon's Copley Square.
On the back, the name of my old band. I painted it myself, and I did the other guys jackets, too. Very "Lords of Flatbush" (man, you should have seen my pompadour! I'll try to find a good photo to scan), and very goofy, but when we showed up to a gig out of town, we really looked like a band.

This blog is mostly about clothes, and frequently discussions arise about American men's traditional clothing. I'm going to be bold and say that the combination of black leather jacket, jeans and canvas sneakers is as traditional as anything. It may be the look of rebellion, but the "bad kids" invented it sixty years ago and its changed very little since, if at all. Its a look that is distinctly American and timeless, not unlike the blazer and button down.

Though I will almost certainly never wear it again, I will never get rid of this jacket. My grandfather had his old army uniform , and I have this, one last reminder of who I was and where I am coming from...well, this jacket and the records, which are still worth a listen sometimes.

Someday, if you ask nice, I'll show you my tattoos.

20 January 2009

Ceremony Style

The internet is all atwitter with the inauguration, so I'll keep this short and style related.
I really dig Obama's purple scarf. Adds a bit of dash without looking to dandy, shows that he's not a stiff. A little modern for my own tastes, but what the hell, he is a new President for new times. Complimented Michelle's pale yellow outfit pretty good too.

Perhaps the days most overlooked sartorial gem will be Joe Biden's all black Chesterfield overcoat. Classic and sharp. He actually looks formal and ceremonial. If only he had worn a black Homburg hat, the outfit would have been complete. (No comment on Jill Biden's boots...oops, I guess that was a comment).

And speaking of hats, the runner up is Bush seniors big fur hat, you know the kind with the fold down ear flaps. I couldn't find a good photo. Anyone else catch a look at that thing? Love him or hate him, Bush senior is a real Trad, and now that he's old he gets to wear things like that with total aplomb. I'm jealous.

The only social and or political thing I'll say is that I'm glad my kids will grow up a little blinder to racism because of what happened today.


The 1970's as a concept are an easy target for ridicule. There's a lot to joke about: polyester, pornography, moustaches, cocaine, bombastic music, the list goes on. But let's not forget that the 70's, like any decade, gave us some good things too, things that are great because they were made in the 70's. One of the best contributions of this era, in my personal opinion, was the popularity of all things in a rusty orange color:

The Stromberg/Carlson wall mounted rotary phone, a birthday gift from Mrs. G a few years ago.

This is the only land line phone in our house. Whenever I'm home, I only use this phone. Dialing it is a comforting act. You can hear it ringing from outside of the house. My favorite thing about is the short cord, only just long enough to sit down at the kitchen table while you talk. It forces you to slow down and pay attention to the call, and to only make calls when they are necessary. You know, the way phone calls should be.

Steelcase conference chair.

It's too bad we only have one of these. If I had five more I'd buy a big oval shaped oak table and use them in the dining room, maybe with manila folders as place mats.

My favorite mug for afternoon tea

This is usually how I'm feeling by the time I use this mug in the late afternoon, but after a cup of Prince of Wales tea with lemon and sugar I'm all better.

I believe that the 70's were the last period in American history where things were still "old fashioned". It was just before computers had made us collectively believe that everything should happen as quickly as possible and that things should become old before they even had a chance to be new. Things were still built to last and sold on longevity. This is some tough stuff. It's all so solid and heavy, really feels like something. And it all works like new. If a bomb fell on my house today, I could sort through the rubble and find this chair, then sit in it and drink a cup of tea while I make some phone calls. By comparison, the remote that came with our digital converter box stopped working within a week of purchase.

Everybody wants to be "green"these days, which is good, if a little annoying in its self-righteous trendiness. You all know that I'm greatly in favor of using all the old stuff that's lying around and repairing things when they break, but how about if we build new stuff well in the first place so that it doesn't require frequent replacement.

A little bit of that old built-like-a-rock style sensibility wouldn't hurt either.
p.s. Happy inauguration day, everybody! Finally, someone who's not an old white millionaire.

17 January 2009


Just the other day, I found this lovely burgundy necktie with white pin-dots. Its, just the right width, hand sewn, and the silk is top rate. A good score for $1.99 :

From a fancy little local haberdashery calle Mr. Sid

No big deal, I'm always buying ties for a couple of bucks. That's only the beginning of today's story.

I remember seeing things from Mr.Sid turn up at the original Filene's Basement all the time. The stuff was always really expensive, like $800 pair of slacks expensive. Even at the deep discounts of a place like "the basement", the prices were prohibitively high. I always thought it was really nice, but never really understood the price tags. So when I came across this tie, I chuckled for a second then bought it.

I decided to check out their website yesterday. While I remember the stuff I used to see as being exclusively house label, they appear to be retailers of brands like Zegna, Etro, Brioni and Bally shoes, in addition to running an extensive made to measure department. Perfect for the kind of Italian fashion slave who can afford to spend as much on his clothes each season as I used to make in a year when I was employed.

Then I see this picture on their site:

and as I'm looking at it, it occurs to me that I have some kind of close facsimile of every single item in the photo:

Which brings me to my point about relativity.

I'm not going to say that my stuff is of equal quality as theirs, because it isn't. I'm not going to say that there is no difference between expensive things and cheap things, because that isn't true. The point I will make is that style doesn't care about money.

When a store like that puts together the display in the picture, they are trying to sell you a sensibility about the way in which items work together, the composition of an outfit from its parts. Sure, they would like it if you bought it from them, but we can't all afford that. This shouldn't stop a man from understanding how clothes work, because that skill is free. And if you can foster it, you can figure out a way to pull it off within your own budget, whatever that is.

When I see a guy walking around in sweatpants talking about how poor he is and this all they had in his price range at Target, I call that the "giving up on life" style. Its an excuse for laziness, nothing more. Style doesn't care about money.

If I walked into the kind of restaurant where Mr. Sid's customers eat in the above outfit, I'm willing to wager 9 out of 10 men in the place wouldn't know the difference. Its all about a keen eye paired with proper comportment. Style doesn't care about money.

And not for nothing, but aside from the vest, which I bought about a month ago, I've already owned this stuff for a while, since well before they put it all together to photograph it. Style doesn't care about money.

My intention here is not to brag. I only mean to help people understand that anybody, and I do mean anybody, can be well dressed if they want to be. A lack of money only helps. Anyone can blow a lot of money in a fancy store, but you really have to 'get it' to pull it off on the cheap.

16 January 2009

Top Hats, part 2

Here's a guy who dresses like a man of consequence, Sir Topham Hatt:
You may remember that I have a 2 year old son. He, not unlike millions of other kids, is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. I know many parents find this sort of thing an annoyance to be suffered through, but I like this show. The fact that so many children take such a keen interest in a show about a railway populated with steam engines and run by a titled gentleman who wears a morning coat and top hat gives me hope for the future.

At least the kids are seeing characters on t.v. who wear ties and take great pride in their work, which is a better example than most t.v. would give them.

(forgive me this small amount of dorkery. I am a dad, after all.)

p.s. Sir Topham Hatt's weekend casual attire consists of tan cavalry twill trousers, a regimental tie and a blazer with a crest. Let the kids watch this show all they want.

15 January 2009

Top Hats

Lately there have been a lot of commercials for the museum at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library running during the local news. Can't imagine why...

Not surprisingly, one of them features footage from his innaugural address. When it came on tonight, Mrs. G said "Look at all of those guys in top hats."

I said "Can you believe this how men dressed for formal occasions only 50 years ago? These days you're lucky if you can get a guy to wear long pants to a funeral."

I can be quite an old man sometimes.

14 January 2009

Sis-Boom-Bah, part 2

Nothing like the old 1920's football look, especially if (like me) you neither play nor enjoy the sport:This outfit here serves as the example for the opening of two very big cans of worms.

1) Polo Ralph Lauren, and its proper place in the lexicon of American menswear
2) The wearing of numbers and/or crests which are not really yours to wear

For those of us who waste far too much time thinking about these things and then scouring the the Beastly Internet to hear what others think, these are touchy subjects indeed.

Polo Ralph Lauren

It seems that recently the webs have been all atwitter about old Ralph. Maybe its the recent anniversary of the company. Everywhere, you find people who hate the brand and all it stands for, people who claim that it is the province of sissy boy poseurs, or something. But for everyone of those, there's a guy who will wear anything with a pony on it, who feels that department store clothing can make him into something he is not. Both are silly ways of thinking.

I mention it because in the outfit I wore today, my blue university striped oxford, flannel slacks and bright yellow socks were all Polo. Not the right brand you say? Poseur, you say? I say what difference does it make? It's an oxford shirt made of heavy cloth with a really warm pair of grey pants made of very soft wool. Is there a more classic combination? Would you have known if I didn't tell you? Besides, I find that most of the people who launch vitriol at the brand will be the first to tell you that obsession with a brand name is very ungentlemanly. I agree. So then why are they all so obsessed? (I'm making the broad assumption here that readers of this blog likely read the other blogs that I frequent, and know what I am talking about.) Boy, that's a lot of questions.

If you ask me, Polo does a great job of re-introducing a sort of idealised version of the American past( Ironically, the most "Polo" thing about this outfit, the varsity sweater, is actually vintage).And they make a pretty good oxford in a cut that suits me. Mass produced sweatshop goods? Certainly, but if I find one at thrift shop for a few bucks, a shirts a shirt, and who am I to waste it on loosely based principles.

Guys who dress head to toe in Polo and try to ape the distinct style in which thier mannequins and models are dressed look silly, but so do guys who follow any brand so closely. It's because this way of dressing is evidence of a lack of style and confidence. Any chump can just buy the whole outfit. That takes no thought.The brand itself is not to blame. Men of style should know how to see past all that. I think taken piece by piece, Polo items mix perfectly well with things from Brooks Brothers, J. Press or whatever.

Ralph is a kid from the Bronx who understands men's fashion, particularly American men's fashion, in a very profound and unique way. The arguement could even be made (by someone other than me) that if it weren't for Ralph, far fewer American would even be wearing tweed and flannel at all. The stuff looks nice. I only wish it were made here.

Besides, isn't part of the trick to appear as though you don't pay attention to such things (even though, of course, you do) ?

Numbers and Crests

These days fake numbers and crests are all over the place. It is out of control.

Legitimately, such a thing is something to be earned. I mentioned this in a previous post, when I bought the sweater I wore today. A while ago, I had a long scarf from Harvard that I found at a thrift. You know the ones; crimson with white stripes running the length of it, the kind of thing you still see at the Harvard /Yale football game. The thing was warm as hell. But after a while I got rid of it. Why? Because I didn't go to Harvard.

So the how do I explain this sweater? I don't know what school its from, and I don't care. I'm not trying to pass it off as my number, or say it was my grandfathers. Frankly, I generally don't like this sort of thing, butI just think this particular sweater is cool, end of story. Usually, that's the best way to make a sartorial decision anyway.

I invite your comments on these two matters dear readers. Haters welcome.

p.s. sometimes in the summer, I wear a Boston Red Sox cap. I've never played for them.

p.p.s. I purposely avoided linking out to examples from other blogs of what I'm talking about. I suspect some of you know what I mean. How's that for passive aggression?

p.p.p.s. look! my shoes! amazing how "designers" are basically just creative copycats, isn't it? but, who am I too judge.

11 January 2009

Whats In a Name, part 2

Yesterday this mystery jacket found its way into my closet: Navy blue wool flannel, un-darted, 3/2 button stance.
Half lined, like the old days, but appears to be brand new.The odd thing is, it has no brand name. This is the only tag in it, besides a paper one inside the left breast pocket stating that it is proudly union made. I plan to get some brass buttons for it, two each instead of three for the cuffs.

I love this jacket. True, I already own a really nice blazer from J.Press, but that one is hopsack, not flannel. The cloth is more spring/summer, and it fits my spring/summer body better. This ones built for the chill of winter, and fits my Christmas cookie body much better.

So whose jacket is this? We all love that old fashioned store brand stuff, but don't forget that many of those items were simply ordered from a factory and then fitted with store labels before being shipped out. This jacket could easily have been destined for any fine men's shop, even J.Press. It's quality is certainly on that level. My point is, labels can be a trusted mark of quality and craftsmanship, but real quality doesn't really need labels. Whose jacket is this? Its my jacket.

Not bad for $3.49. It more than makes up for the white dinner jacket that I may or may not have been right in leaving behind recently.

The brass buttons will likely cost four or five times as much as the coat. Brilliant!
p.s. Just to show I'm not all sour grapes, let me be the first to tell you that The Rival nailed it this time. I agree totally with every word of his most recent post.

10 January 2009

Simon's Copley Square, part 3

Once upon a time, David Simon, son of Harold Simon, attended a wedding in California. The event was black tie, and being next in line to inherent the family haberdashery, David of course arrived at the hotel with his own beautifully tailored tuxedo.

On the morning of the wedding, he had room service pick up the tux for pressing, and in the process discovered that he forgot to pack his stud and cuff link set. He ran around town for a while, but couldn't find a replacement. It was Sunday, and lots of stores were closed.

Then he noticed that the hardware store was open. In a flash of brilliance, he went in and purchased six sets of nuts and bolts, four very small (the shirt studs) and two larger (the cuff links).

On arrival at the wedding, he was showered with compliments on his most unique jewelry. He said "These? They're Armani" and all was right with the world.

As far as I know, a true story.

p.s. speaking of the West Coast, only in California would these be called winter boots. Lets see 'em in two feet of Boston snow and ice. Frostbitten toes, anyone?
p.p.s. Dammit! Longwing seems to be out of the loop...again! First Tucker and now this.

Garlic For Breakfast

I promise not to make a cooking blog out of this, but I'm all euphoric from a delicious breakfast.

In addition to only wearing the clothes that others have cast aside, making sure to use up all your leftovers is an important part of being a cheapskate. Last night, Mrs. G and I had steaks with some ziti in oil and garlic on the side. The only thing left over was a spoonful of the pasta:

I like using leftover pasta as a breakfast treat. To start, saute the ziti in a little bit of olive oil mixed with butter:

When it just starts to get a little crispy at the edges, add two eggs beaten with a splash of milk:

When the eggs are almost set, flip the whole thing over, add some shredded Romano cheese to one side , and fold like an omelet. (Real Romano cheese. One thing I do not skimp on are my imported Italian foods.)

Enjoy with buttered toast, and some gut-wrenchingly strong stovetop coffee:

For 'dessert', a ripe juicy Bosc Pear:

Molto Bene!