The Whistle Blower

Carolina&Reinaldo Herrera_LIFE_051993

”When you walk down the streets of New York today, it seems as if the whistle has blown for the factory, and the factory workers are let out. Everybody looks the same. No originality, no individuality.”
(Reinaldo Herrera seen here with wife Carolina in May of 1993. The quote is from 1997.) Mr Herrera was a member of the committee helping to choose the International Best Dressed List.

He might have been uttered that sentence in the 1950’s when conformism was at an all time high. Except that the men pouring from the “factory” doors of Manhattan would have been swathed in grey flannel. Today, and certainly during the 90’s, I find there to be an awful lot of individuality. I just wished that most dressed better because (or in spite) of it.

We’re trying to do our part, you and I, fighting the good fight. However, my reach isn’t quite as pervasive as I’d hoped. A few examples.

Despite yesterday’s post and the fact that we are in the grips of Hurricane Ida’s aftereffects, I spotted no fewer than five people walking dogs (some did have bags in hand, a small victory!) without benefit of a proper raincoat. Or rain jacket… Really? Torrential rains and blustery winds and a highly absorbant cotton hoodie is the answer? Cool is looking like The Rat Pack, not the drowned rodents that inspired the moniker.

At the wonderful fundraiser for the State Board for Community Colleges (where we were enteratined by The Capitol Steps) there were a great many well-dressed people. Given that the dress code was business attire, I am hopeful for the immediate future.

Seated at our table was one very amusing gentleman who — at first glance — appeared very well-dressed: dark well-cut business suit, contrast collar and double cuffs with gold links, striped shirt, silk tie (whose design wasn’t my cuppa, but that’s subjective as is everything sartorially related) pocket square and shined shoes. So far so good. He also sported a gold bracelet, a gold ring with a stone, his wedding band and a large watch (black leather band, may have been a Cartier?) But, when he unbuttoned his jacket, his silver-tipped leather beltshone in the overhead light.

That’s just one step from Rodeo in my book.

I see a lot of this style belt and don’t find it appropriate for a suit. And I’m a guy who has mixed his metals (gold wedding band, stainless watch; rarely worn with a suit though.) Please keep the belt simple when wearing a suit and in the same colour as your shoes. If you dislike belts (as I do), and your trousers have an extended tab, have them altered to fit you without a belt, with or without suspenders/braces.

When is too much jewelry too much? When it distracts.

Finally, all the wonderful tailoring in the world goes to waste if, when you stand, your suit coat is unbuttoned. A proper button stance, choice of vents, pockets, a coat of the right length with even a little bit of waist supression will immediately slim and elongate your figure. Dubious? Please see this gentleman at The Sartorialist. He gets it right every time.

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