Not Very Wild and Wooly


It’s going to be warmer today, but yesterday…. Fall fell with temperatures in the mid 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Perfect weather for what may be the perfect fabric. At least in my swatch book. Wool flannel. I’m in that suit at the end of a very long day made more bearable by the fact (in this case) that the combination of Italian tailoring and flannel makes a suit feel as comfy as a pair of pyjamas.

Flannel is “lofty” in tailor’s speak, meaning that it thick and resilient to creasing. In fact, unless the flannel is worsted, it might not take a crease at all.

Look up “lofty” in an online dictionary and you’ll find this:
2. exalted in rank, dignity, or character; eminent.
3. elevated in style, tone, or sentiment, as writings or speech.

I’ll agree that both definitions apply to this delightful fabric. It is at once exalted in dignity and character and elevated in style. Funny for stuff that began life as the material for undergarments and moved into sportswear. Cricketeers were supposed to be the first to wear flannel on the pitch, the bowler in a white flannel jacket with three patch pockets, the batsman in white flannel trousers and open necked shirt.

That athletic past may be why Fred Astaire preferred his suits to be made of the good stuff. That was a man who knew how to move in a suit, and how a suit has to be made to move with him. He became so associated with the fabric that Audrey Hepburn wrapped his picture frame in grey flannel. I wonder if it was chalk-striped?

There’s another great thing about this fabric whose earliest mention in literature may be in Chaucer. You can dress it up, or dress it down. Wear a suit with a cashmere turtleneck and suede shoes (Astaire in one of his earliest film appearances did.) Or give it the full British treatment of black captoes, spread collar, polka dot tie and white linen square. Wear flannel trousers with a cardigan or tweed jacket. Yes, the woolen fabric known as flannel is a safe bet for the boardroom, ballroom and bedroom (they make pyjamas and robes out of the stuff, too. Usually in cotton flannel though.)

Have at least one flannel suit and a pair of flannel trousers to your name.

(Above: Barbera windowpane blue grey flannel suit. Black and white pencil stripe shirt by Creery. Knit tie by J. Crew. Silk navy polka dot square. Unseen: chestnut Allen Edmonds Sanford bluchers.)

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“The Theatre, The Theatre…. What’s Happened to the Theatre?”


Over the weekend, Mrs. E. and I were fortunate enough to be invited to see a premier at our Barksdale Theatre. The show was written by the man who won an Oscar for the screenplay adaption of “The Motorcycle Diaries.” Historically, our premiers go on to do fairly well in the big cities (“Red Hot and Cole” for example.) “Boleros for the Disenchanted”, I’m sure, will follow suit. At the intermission, the guitarist and the singer who were also a part of the play entertained us with boleros whilst The Latin Ballet of Virginia danced their version of the dance.

The title of this post comes from the opening to a Danny Kaye number from “White Christmas.” I like that picture. But I like escapist fare, a good production number or two, some witty dialogue and a happy ending. For those keeping score, “Boleros for the Disenchanted” did have a dance number, some funny moments, incredible performances and sort of a downbeat ending. It is, after all, “serious theatre.” There’s a lot of it out there, Drama.

Serious or not, I tend to dress for the theatre. That’s a live performance with actors working hard for your applause. Dressing makes it an occasion.

The house manager, the producer and I were in ties.


(N.B. clicking through to the photo attachment page will give you another photo that you may click to see a larger image. I’m working on getting a single click to do that. In the photo above: blue three rolls to two button worsted suit, blue spread collar, French/double cuff shirt, navy cashmere knit tie, navy pocket square with mini square pattern in red. Vintage broken coat Parsons Jack Russell Terrier in tricolour.)

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The Italian Job


It’s far too warm to be wearing this, but there you have it. I’ll change before the theatre tonight anyway. I thought I’d give you a glimpse of the current Italian silhouette in trousers. Courtesy of Brooks Brothers. Yes, that B-Squared. The cut of the corduroys is called the “Milano” and is their trimmest and most form fitting, lowest rise trouser. Far less comfortable than traditional trousers, their main attraction is … errrr …. attraction. It is hard not to get noticed in trousers that are flamboyantly coloured and cut.

The chief difficulty with them, once you manage to pull them on, is finding a suitable sportscoat to wear with them. It must be a bit shorter and certainly cut on the trim side. This is the closest I have in the closet, an Neopolitan made Isaia. And as long as you’re in for the colourful ride, a bit topside works well, too.

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