Lately I've been taking a bit of a stab at the nitpickers, and a reader told me to cut it out. Point taken. So even though this post yet again deals with our notions of the meaning and practice of arcane sartorial law, I will do my best to refrain from attacks on the overly uptight. Instead, lets take a step back and see whether these actually were as relevant to the storied and glorious past as we like to think the were.
The answer to me is simple. Clearly, the "rules" were not as stiffly enforced back then as we like to think they were. True, people may generally have carried themselves with an overall greater deal of comportment back then, but can it be that they were actually comfortable enough about it not to care too much about the minutia? Lest we forget, back then they even tried to sell us the button down collar formal shirt.
Then theres the lost of art of the truly "semi formal". The man who owned this tux likely wore dinner clothes frequently. He likely had more than one set of dinner clothes. He might have worn "formal" white tie to the opera,and he may have had a more proper peak lapelled tux for more serious occasions, but I bet he wore this to "semi formal" house parties on the weekend where both black tie and casual nonchalance were required. Other guys at the same party likely wore madras jackets with satin faced shawl collars, and still others wore dark suits with neckties. I've written about casual black tie before, and I still believe we need to bring it back. Very Playboy Club, you know?
This suit is in my size, and I'm keeping it. At $29.99 in a thrift store, it's price sits well above my normal outlay, especially for clothing as truly un-neccesary as this. But you have to love the idea of being formal and laid back all at once, without resorting to a long tie or weird black shirt like some Hollywood slob. There's nothing like being the most formal guy in the room and the most comfortable all at once, is there? A suit like this, worn with a plain black bow, plain white shirt with French cuffs (no pleats), no cummerbund and black lace up shoes would do the trick nicely. Have me over for drinks some Sunday at 7:00 p.m. so I can prove it to you.
p.s. the Shop is more stocked than ever, especially if you have a shoe fetish or happen to be a 46 regular. Check it out.