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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I Went to a Garden Party

That title is a little misleading. Mrs. E. and were fortunate enough to be invited to a private concert, held in the gardens of a home not far from The Manse.

While the music wasn’t the sort that we would normally choose to listen to, it was nonetheless fantastic. Authenticity is never to be missed. Tim Grimm, writer and performer of classic Americana ballads, is nothing if not authentic. He chucked in a film career in Hollywood to get back to a simpler way of life and write his music. Up close, in a quiet garden with about 40 people listening, he could interact with his audience and drew us all in with his story telling. For a brief instant I felt like packing it in and heading for the country myself. That moment passed. I am a city dweller and suit wearer. But that’s how charismatic the man is.

I bring all this up, because I can’t remember the last time I attended a private concert. I think it is a wonderful idea for a party; especially if you have friends who play music. Follow the simple blueprint of the party we attended for a guaranteed success.

Inside the sun room were two tables, one set up with wine and glasses, the other with Bloody Mary makings and ice. Continuing in to the dining room, a buffet luncheon of four different quiches, an orzo salad, a green salad, fruit tray and small desserts was arranged on sideboards and the dining table. The china was mixed, as were the napkins and cutlery. (The food was all homemade — 15 quiches were baked in all.)

Outside a table was set up with a few cold patés and dips, soda and bottled water and ice. A wheel barrow held ice and bottled beer. Hired banquet chairs were arranged in a semi-circle facing the performance space. Several occasional tables and the garden furniture had been pressed into service as well. Plenty of shade was provided by mature trees and sunshine was welcome on a breezy 72ºF day.

Inside, you could have much the same setup and invite fewer people if seating is an issue. But the combination of good food, friends and live music is hard to beat. This year at New Year’s, I’m going to see if we can cajole a friend or two to sit down at the piano with the Cole Porter Songbook… Think about hosting your own private concert.

Mr. Grimm… from that party. Thanks Jon!

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The Traveller’s Trouser

(Full Disclosure: my tailor, Leviner Wood, advertises on my blog and I’ve done some writing for them. But they are not compensating Easy and Elegant Life for this post in any other manner. I just like the trousers! Image: via Leviner Wood.)

As many long time readers will know, the tricky question of elegant travel has been debated a number of times before. There are two camps involved, those who dress for appearances and those who dress for comfort. Rarely is there an article of clothing that the two sides will agree fits the bill on both accounts.

Until now. At least that’s what I thought when I saw the cashmere-flannel five pocket jeans for the first time. The hand is lofty (the flannel), but they are extremely lightweight trousers. I would guess 7 – 8 oz. Because they are wool, they have a certain amount of natural stretch or give that makes them very comfortable to wear. The styling is like a pair of men’s jeans — standard rise, straight leg, flat front.

Here’s what I love about them. Under a sportscoat or blazer, you look like you’re wearing a trim cut flannel trouser that looks like something that The Sartorialist would shoot on a passerby in Milan. With a cashmere sweater and loafers, you’re ready for a casual evening out or to hop that flight home. They cost about the same as a high-end designer jean. The only downside I can see is that you have to dryclean them or use a home drycleaning product like Dryel. But then, no one washes bluejeans anyway. Do they?

What do you think? Could these be the first link in the mythical everyday elegant wardrobe?

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