The image above tends to stick in my head. I’ve used it before, because it is so striking. The windowpane charcoal peak lapel suit is just as appropriate today as are the slightly squared, chisel toe black oxfords. It is, of course, the other details that betray its 1930′s origin.
I tend to look to the past for inspiration when it comes to my wardrobe. I believe that the epitome of male elegance was reached during the 1930′s. But the question always arises — how can I drag this look into the future without looking completely eccentric? This is no example to follow for anyone who would fade into the background. Many men can get away with wearing a hat in the right city. I would love to wear a Homburg, but they look huge on my head (a Lord’s style might work and I’m anxious to find one to see as it may be the perfect casual hat.) The white kid (?) gloves and the walking stick? Not so easy to carry off; although the gloves could work, the stick is completely out of the picture today. Substitute an umbrella, instead. The white vest? Wow! Now you’re talking. I love an odd vest and this one really plays nicely against the windowpane, the spotted bowtie and the white collar shirt. But who wears a white vest in the States? (Aside from me? And I bought mine on the Champs-Élysée.)
I will probably wear my white kid gloves today. It’s cold.
I would prefer a white collar shirt. Alas, mine went the way of the dodo. But this brings up another point. You can wear coloured shirts. On the whole, it is best to choose a lighter shade over a stronger one. Pale blue, pink, yellow, grey, even green can work well. If in doubt, the white collar (don’t forget double cuffs) will up the formality, but frame your face in a familiar light.
A sweater vest will tone down the anachronistic feeling, but will lose some of the whimsy. Now if I could only carry off that pencil thin mustache…