Evolving Tastes: Middle Age or Middle Way?

I find my tastes are changing. I’d like to say “evolving”, but I think that is giving myself too much credit. Perhaps it is just this middle age thing.

Walking into Corporate Creature and The Architect’s home is to drift in luxury — the luxury of an elegantly appointed home that is at once serene and stately. The Manse is anything but. We are awash in colour, texture, collections, books, magazines and plastic toys. It’s starting to bug me.

Sort of like the combination — the bottom, wide-legged, half of which is shown — above. Nubuck and leather (spectators, Peal by B²), cotton, linen and, above the waist, silk (a short-sleeved camp shirt in textured black). Even though the outfit is made of perfectly acceptable summer components, it is more costume-y, more tarted up than allows for the desired elegant effect.

The ascot would be hard to pull off in the USA these days. I know, I’ve tried (though it did work outside the Negresco in Nice.) That strip of silk also gets very warm in summer, these days you would see a linen scarf. But the rest? Timeless.

The t-shirt and trouser look sounds more contemporary, but we rarely see all-white being worn by men these days. I’m not sure why. It is very flattering to a tanned face and high contrast colouring.For a weekend on a boat, perhaps, but this wouldn’t fly almost anywhere else, or on anyone else. White jeans and a polo shirt might. In both cases shown, note the loafers. Summer is the time to loosen up your footwear, too. (By the way, I believe that the photo immediately above was taken at San Simeon.)

A colour print of the scene inside the hotel. I’m always astounded that Mr. Grant buttons that lower button. But really, he could get away with anything, unlike the gentleman to the right of the photo who needs more sun or proper trousers.

As summer is the time to lighten up your footwear, it is also time to lighten up the palette. Khaki, white, tan, worn with lighter brown shoes all look good. Now look closely at that blazer. A contemporary take might include a chambray model with minimal lining. Smart and unexpected. (Ms. Kelly is equally smart and unexpected. If someone were to show up at the pool looking like this, I might fall right in!)

So what is my point with all this? Lighten up, don’t take anything too seriously, except the way you present yourself. I should have stuck with the old dictum to take one thing off before leaving the house. As I adjust to middle age, I am more drawn to the middle way. Or perhaps it is quiet that I crave in all things. In fifteen years, however, I’ll do whatever I damn well please. Which means that now is the time to lay the proper foundation.

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