30 January 2010

FrankenMonkey!

It's funny, really. I'm what the "normal" world considers overdressed about 95% of the time, and yet, I've only worn formal wear once. My Junior prom, an occasion I've successfully pushed as far back in my mind as possible...we'll leave it at that. What I will tell you is that though I wore a piece-of-sh*t rental, I insisted on a shawl collar, and I bought my own self-tie bow...at the age of 17. But enough about that.

A while back, I stumbled across a vintage Brooks Brothers white dinner jacket, but I passed it up.Why? Because evening clothes just don't really have a place in the humble existence of your worthy writer. After all, it's one thing to wear a suit, or even a jacket and tie, when it's not required. At worst, people find you "quirky". But wearing formal wear when it isn't called for? Out of the question, even for a peacock like me. But two days ago, this piece of formality got the better of me:



A vintage shawl collar "sack" evening jacket, with with silk facing on the lapels, likely late 1950's...


from the same Brothers who trotted out the white jacket I so nobly refused last year. Damn it, it was five bucks, I couldn't help it....cut me a break.

So, what to wear it with?


If I ever get invited to a swanky party someplace revolving mainly around gin and Scotch, I'll probably match it with:



A vintage pr of mother-of-pearl "cuff snaps"...


I've had these things for a long time. They snap apart in the middle, enabling the wearer to put a half of them into in each side of the cuff, the snap it shut. I couldn't get a good photo of the fine print, but they're actually dated 1927. Oh yeah, and they're double sided. I like to imagine that they once belonged to a captain of industry, or Fred Astaire, or something. In any case, they were almost certainly last seen in the company of a silk top hat. The things you find for a buck.



And just to drive the final stylish nail, while absolutely infuriating the death-trap purists, how about some tartan pants? Imagine, if a refinished the hems without cuffs, added brace buttons, took off the belt loops, and had Mr. Lee add a black grosgrain stripe down the out seam of the legs? The results would indeed be murderous, no?

And as much as I'm generally against the affected skull and bones, a pair of velvet pirate slippers and some white silk socks would really drive this baby home.


I know, the hardcores will wail and nash their teeth at the mere suggestion of such transgressions against the Holy Church of Tuxedo. But, if I wore this rig, most of the guys at the same soiree would probably be wearing long ties, a sure sign of "not getting it".


There are worse things than a creatively "Frankenstein" monkey suit. Now all I need is for someone to invite me to some party involving plenty of oak aged brown stuff, witty repartee, and maybe a cigar on the balcony.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of your better posts.

Young Fogey said...

Those slippers are truly hideous.

As much as your proposed outfit might upset some, plaid trousers were seen in the company of black tie back in the 1950s, when plaid had a heyday in less-then-formal formal wear. As I understand it, such "relaxed" black tie is fine for private parties at someone's residence, but is frowned upon for out-on-the-town wear.

But please--white socks* are for white pants. Do you really want to look like Archie Bunker--or, worse yet, Michael "Child Molester" Jackson? Besides, when you (and I mean you, Giuseppe) wear one over-the-top item, don't you normally keep the rest of the outfit subdued?

Personally, I love the plaid mess jacket (1st, 6th, & 7th pix at the link above), though sadly, I no longer have the waist for same.

*I recently scored some great cream socks with alternating gray and pink diamonds above the ankles--just the thing for my white ducks this summer. Also got some white socks with alternating horizontal stripes in light blue and navy--just the thing for seersucker. Both courtesy of Uniqlo.

RF Interference said...

I've got a similar black shawl collar evening jacket that I pair with a white shirt, dark rinse black jeans and black penny loafers. Works well for a night on the town (I think). The jeans remove the formality and I try to go without socks, weather permitting.

Percy Chatsworth said...

Funnily enough, your creative black tie would most likely be more formal than anything most of the other men come up with (Matching pre-tied bow-tie and cummerbund, long tie as you said, matte oxfords).

unitedstyle said...

I could see Connery wearing this back in the day.

trip said...

I like the idea for the outfit, though I agree that white socks, even fancy ones, would not be a good choice.

TheOldRoad said...

Oh Lord, I love it.

Ebenezer Howard, Jr. said...

Do it. The invites will come.

Anonymous said...

You could wear it to a final club party at Harvard.

BadScene said...

That is absolutely fantastic. Please post some pics if you ever get the chance to wear everything together.

davidsl said...

sounds great except for the socks...very vegas in the '50's.

dandy nihilism said...

men of good fortune!

Youngster said...

Holy shit. You are about to murder formal wear. I salute you, Sir!

Young Fogey said...

Formal wear has already been murdered--several times. See this, this, parts of this, and especially this.

Thad said...

Check out this from the Times ... while the prices won't jive with you or any of the readers of this blog, check out the outfit.