A Poet of Cloth


(Image: ByronMania)

Last evening, Mrs. E. and I attended a performance of “Guys and Dolls.” I was one of perhaps a half dozen men in a tie and the only one in a suit instead of a coat and odd trousers. Was I uncomfortable? It got a little warm during the second act, but certainly not unbearable (although a glass of chilled champagne would have helped immeasurably. Note to the Empire Theatre/Theatre IV staff: please lay on more than one bartender.)

The actors, in their authentic 1940’s double-breasted suits must have been far warmer under the lights…. And they were high energy performers, too. I don’t think it was too much to ask that we show a little enthusiasm at the prospect of a delightful evening out.

So, without further ado, a few thoughts I’ve run across on the art of dressing well.

Lord Byron is said to have declared that of the two men he admired most—Beau Brummell and Napoleon Bonaparte—he would rather have been the dandy than the emperor. As a young man, he scrupulously followed Brummell’s sartorial dicta, and was never seen without a white cravat. (Napoleon wore a black neckcloth, a habit condemned by the Beau.) Byron later abandoned his fastidiousness to the extent of having early portraits overpainted with an open-necked shirt, but for a time he embodied Brummell’s philosophy: the maximum of luxury in the service of minimal ostentation.

(From Cabinet Magazine, 2007)

And this from Richard Torregrossa of “Cary Grant Style” What to Wear to a Recession.

We’re off to the beach for a week, where I shall wear little else than a bathing suit or drawstring linen trousers and a shirt. Even I can’t pull off a sarong in North Carolina.

If the internet works, I will try and post a few thoughts along the way. Luck be a lady, tonight.

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5 Responses to A Poet of Cloth

  1. TIG says:

    Can’t think of a lovelier way to spend the week.

    And linen trousers sound like a great choice — best leave the kaftan and sarong for another time 🙂

    Have a fantastic week, Chris!

  2. Nell says:

    Not sure if it’s wise to go pulling off your sarong anywhere on this side of the Atlantic (actually not figuratively)! Interesting that both you and An Aesthete’s Lament cite Napoleon today. And, if North Carolina means OBX, know that one sorry reader envies you deeply as she toils away on a grant proposal in a Chicago office tower.

  3. One can don a sarong anywhere, with enough panache. As long a one is in the vicinity of water and isn’t too large around the waist, it can be done.

  4. If only Brummel hadn’t died in poverty and insane (thanks to syphilis), I would opt to be him.

  5. Nell says:

    “the maximum of luxury in the service of minimal ostentation”…will be thinking about this all day. Perfection.

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