Mr. Maier has it right, there is casual and there is casual.
The problem with menswear today is that it rocks. I should say “It ROCKS!” As in “Dude, you are really rocking that suit.”
Now I, like Donny Osmond, admit to being a little bit rock and roll. But since I am no longer a skinny teenager, I find that I no longer want to look the part. And I know that you wouldn’t want to have such a sight inflicted upon you.
At one point, even rockers wore sharply cut suits and ties. They were working it like a job, as the saying goes. The Beatles, with their long hair, skinny suits and Chelsea boots were seriously conservative compared with the spandex and shredded denim crowd that they would spawn. Mick Jagger was a Savile Row customer. Me? Despite the 30 minutes that I spent being a punk rocker, my look was more akin to The Style Council new mod. At least that’s what I hoped.
But what I’m driving at is the quest for eternal youth embodied by the 30+ year old “rockin’ ” his two day beard, slim suit, skinny tie, and … sneakers. It’s not cutting edge; it’s been done. Everyone plays around with the suit. The college kids did it after the war… WWI…. when they rebelled against Victorian restraint. But they looked pretty good doing it. The sack suit was our answer to the London cut. All loungey, unshaped comfort. The pendulum swung again… and again. You needn’t go to awning striped and piped blazers, nor do you need to go for the black suit, black shirt, etc. look so popular in Hollywood. You should pay attention to how your clothes will look in five years. Suitably elegant? Keep it. Hopelessly outdated? Hold on to it and sell it on eBay when it becomes ironic. In my wardrobe I have things made this season and things made for Mrs. E.’s grandfather. They sit side by side very comfortably. To stay fashionable, simply stay discreetly elegant.
“Hey, how come we wear trousers and he wears leotards?” Dean Martin questions Sammy Davis, Jr.’s seriously slim fitting suit.
I’m not suggesting that you forgo comfort. Look at the Bottega Veneta collection above, I have more constricting pyjamas. Sure, it’s a “Charlie Chaplin” silhouette with a fitted jacket, looser trouser and sturdy shoe. Armani draws on the same inspiration, as did Ralph Lauren: the 1920’s and 30’s. Because that was the epitome of male elegance. Take the lessons learned and apply them to every article of clothing that you purchase or commission. Does it make you look good and is it timeless? Well-cut, well-fitted, comfortable clothing appropriate for your age will never age you. You will always look well-dressed and elegant.
Take for example the following two celebrities.
Jude Law (a Kilgour man. Image Alan Davidson for the Daily Mail) may make some mistakes, but on the whole…
” ‘Nuff said.”
Unless you’re a very buffed up rock star (with Charlie Watts as the obvious sartorial exception); please don’t go there. And even if you are, reconsider wearing a well-cut jacket (with long trousers, please.) It can only help.
Thus endeth the lesson.