I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about today. I felt a bit adrift. So I decided to break out my new leaf vacuum and have at our carpet sized back yard.
Accomplishing something made me feel pretty good. So I set off to brave the wilds of the U.S. Postal Office, Saunders Station. Our postage has increased and left me with lots of Red Chinese Lantern stamps (The new year celebration) that now require a mismatched 1¢ stamp in order to meet the first class postage rates of 42¢. The line moved fairly quickly and I left with some new Frank Sinatra commemorative 42 centers. So far, so good. Especially for the post office.
As I hiked back to my car I began to notice the large number of Mercedes Benz sedans in the city.
Off to Lowe’s (really pushing my luck) for some decorative marble chips for the Tuilleries in the back yard.
More high end cars. Lots of them. A guy went by in a Porsche. Lexuses (Lexipodi?), Escalades, Audis… Yesterday there was a Jaguar parked on my street. And somebody down the block on Monument had a Maserati Quattroporte not too long ago.
The thing is, when I look around me, I can’t identify the drivers of these luxury automobiles. Not a soul was what I would consider “well-dressed.”
In the words of Iñigo Montoya (“The Princess Bride”), “I do not think this word means what you think it means.”
It may be time to define what it means to be well-dressed in the 21st Century. Even across the Pond things are decidedly “iffy” if you ask me. At least judging by the nine pictures and one man’s opinion. Besides, these people have stylists and get free clothing. Or are dedicated Savile Row customers. How hard is that?
I can’t advocate that everyone walk around dressed up all the time. Well I can, but it wouldn’t get me very far. Not these days. And, if form does indeed follow function, what the heck are we up to?
No, the argument goes, in our more egalitarian day we are less inclined to flaunt our social status by wearing beautiful clothing.
We all send messages with our clothing choices. That’s a given. And people and their cars… don’t get me started.
But how do we define, for our purposes, “well-dressed?”
Let’s agree on a baseline: clean? neat? And if it is “neat” how so? Comfortable? Hoo boy, there’s a can of worms.
C’mon, this is a collective effort the end result of which will be published right here for all the world to witness on June 7th, the date of the First Annual Easy and Elegant Life International Smartly Dressed Scene.
Please complete the following statement:
We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all mankind is well and elegantly dressed when:
8 thoughts on “A Defining Moment”
I’m all for being well-dressed and am generally over-dressed and am as interested in sartorial matters as you are. However, I don’t really see a relationship between expensive cars and being well-dressed. You can be well dressed at any price point ( i certainly don’t have a mercedes) and most frequently the fancier cars I see the less well-dressed the occupants are!
..and elegantly dressed when….their clothes fit. I would agree with your statement about clean and neat being requirements. I believe there is a way to define neat. For example, some shirts are meant to be tucked in, according to the shape of their shirt tails. Wearing them out, while some consider it fashionable, just looks sloppy…hence, not neat. I’m looking outside my office window at a young intern sitting at a cubicle (yes, the poor interns get to have me stare at the backs of their heads all day, poor chaps) and his shoes are not tied. He has the laces loosened and the ends are tucked into his shoes. I would not consider this neat, either, and upon reflection, I think he’s breaking the Company dress code. I’m getting a little winded here, and it appears one could write quite a bit just on this subject.
However, back to my original comment of clothes fitting. I think they must do just that. Pants must not hang so the pants crotch hangs six inches too low, not everyone is an “extra large” and most people would probably do better in buying their shirts one size smaller then they are currently wearing, if not more. Having clothes that are properly fitted/tailored I believe would be the cornerstone of being elegantly dressed, because it shows true effort and understanding.
… when one’s shoes are perfectly, lovingly, meticulously shined …
stepping into one’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!”
(One of my favorite movies, the clothing, that car! Take me away!)
…when one wears clothes made of natural fibers. How I wish I could wear cashmere all year long. (Not happening in Atlanta).
Did you read House of B&C’s post about the state of dress in the UK? It speaks to what you’ve talked about here.
I agree with Brilliant… natural fabrics only. I loved living in the UK because I could wear cashmere all year ’round. I have a photo of me on Father’s Day in a Norwegian sweater and tweed hat, it was soooo cold!
Great comments all, thanks.
BtC, I thought about that as I was writing the post. It is my prejudice in that I assumed that those who had the means would want to be as well-tailored as possible. Why would you settle for less in the clothing and deportment department when you clearly didn’t settle for any old jalopy? Believe me, I’m not tooling around town in an XK140. But if I could….
We live in a world that is all mink coats and no manners.