Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

A Glazed Dozen

I’m a bit glazed over today (cut the thumb whilst adjusting my razor… list as long as my arm to accomplish before tomorrow… unseasonably warm again… ), so I thought that I would put down a few of my random thoughts. Yes, these are really the things that preoccupy me on a daily basis.

1. It’s Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday. The 16th President of the USA once said to Congress that they would be remembered for what they did with honour or dishonour. I hope that a concept as old-fashioned as honour carries the same weight today as it did then. Its antithesis, ignominy, must never be applied to your memory. Never surrender the moral high ground.

2. Well cut and fitted trousers and a polo sweater are incredibly versatile and a good alternative to your casual Friday standbys.

3. I am “neck forward” (and skinny necked in my opinion) in tailoring terms and so hate to have my neck exposed. I prefer to wear a tie or neckerchief rather than expose my undershirt under an open collar. That said, for those of you uncomfortable with the idea of neckwear, the scarf is your most elegant alternative in cooler weather.

4. Just because your suit is a little out of date doesn’t mean that it cannot be worn today. IF you bought a high quality garment, had it meticulously tailored and didn’t go for a fashionable cut. Moderation wins the day here. That and limiting the trips to the drycleaners who will cut the life expectancy of even the best suits in half.

5. In reviewing the article on Sarah Jessica Parker (channeling Diana Vreeland) in Harper’s Bazaar, I was struck by her innate stylishness (great cover!) Why are men so lacking in that department? We tend to play it safe (not a bad thing per se), which is what got us into the whole golf shirt/khakis/boat shoes mess to begin with. I’m not calling for flamboyance, simply more conscious elegance. I’ve seen men with spotless, high-end German sportscars go out looking like Peter Falk in “Columbo.”

6. Rugged does not mean unkempt. I bet Teddy Roosevelt was well-tailored even charging up San Juan Hill.

7. When did we forget how to read and think critically? Or is that just me?

8. In retrospect, when furnishing my first rooms, the most successful were minimalist. I only decorated with original pieces and in very neutral tones. I think that is a good direction to take when starting out. Save and buy the best. Think of your (future) home as a collection and you as the curator. One of the Murphy’s residences was all white with a glossy black piano with a large steel ball bearing as art.

9. Brilliant casual as styled by Alan Flusser in “Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion”

10. I’m not Italian. I tried wearing white jeans with a tweed jacket the other day. Winter white is wonderful. On women. Save it for your Aran sweaters.

11. Why is it that people only seem to dress in really big cities here in the US? (Witness The Sartorialist, today.)

12. Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, A.J. Biddle, Gianni Agnelli, _________________________? I miss the Men’s Vogue “Life Studies” articles. Real stylish men, really inspiring.

13. For all the grousing about there being too many blogs, the volume of sheer brilliance out there is staggering.

6 thoughts on “A Glazed Dozen

  1. My sister used to refer to her children as “no necked monsters” which we would giggle for hours over. I too have a thin neck and when I lose any weight, my neck is always first to go…lol.

  2. I like the curator reference. Makes me feel better about my perspective on things in my home… you know between and okay thing and nothing, I’ll have nothing. It’s my museum. after all! Be well, The Hostess

  3. Our climate in LA is so mild, people tend to forget or disregard dress; pity.
    The Alan Flusser look is terrific and would work in any climate.

  4. E&E – I’m concerned – you seem to have been having razor issues as of late. Too many items on your to-do?

    But, you still have put together a dozen very fine and thoughtful observations. Will have to read the SJP article. Regarding #6 – Here Here! Regarding # 7 – I’m constantly concerned that the current culture is causing me to subconsciously lose that skill. It is necessarily to actively cultivate a critical mind.

  5. Fantastic post, Mr. Elegantologist!

    I’m fascinated by your point 10. Do you mean to say winter white polo neck sweater only looks good on women? I have seen so very few men wear white polo neck sweater…except RAF pilots!! They wear windproof winter white polo neck sweater. But I think this must be something to do with the colour that most men can’t carry it off. Other colours in polo neck sweater, especially, flannel grey, black, charcoal, even camel colours look great on us. But winter white and canary yellow colours polo neck sweater is disaster!

  6. Thank you G. Morien-Jones, actually I like polo neck sweaters in white, especially the cable knit ones and those chunky RAF numbers. Yellow is very difficult to pull off without looking jaundiced. I get away with them as I have a high contrast complexion. I am referring more to the trend of wearing white jeans with a sport coat.

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