Easy and Elegant Life

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

Your Signature Flourish

I was thinking this weekend, as I dressed for a dinner party in grey flannels and a pink shirt, and the next day as I dressed — once again in a pink (button down this time) shirt — for an ice cream social at my daughter’s school, that I wear a lot of pink shirts. They go nicely with grey suits, which I also wear a lot of, and grey flannel trousers, ditto.

“That’s a lot of pink,” said my art director one day eyeing my shirt and sweater. “It takes a big man to wear that much pink… .”

I told him that women were once forbidden to wear pink as it is a derivative of red that is the red of Mars, the God of War, and was thought to be too strong a colour statement for the fairer sex.

He remained dubious at best, but got used to me.

I have two friends who wear bowties almost exclusively. Mr. W. told me one day he was stopped by a client mid-sentence and asked why he wasn’t wearing a bowtie having chosen an ancient and venerable Hermès model from his days in New York instead. His four-in-hands rarely see the light of day these days.

The Architect, as those who know him will attest, is rarely seen shod in anything other than a pair of Belgian Shoes worn without socks. They are accompanied by perfectly pressed khakis which may or may not be in a state of distress sporting a hole or frayed cuffs.

Fred Astaire had his grey flannel suits. Cary Grant rarely strayed from his grey, white and silver palette. Having a penchant for a quirky part of your kit or donning that piece that has become your signature look is one of the perks of knowing who you are and what you can get away with. It is also one of the surest steps to developing your own style.

So what’s yours?

16 thoughts on “Your Signature Flourish

  1. Scarves for me! I have hundreds of them and cant get enough! Anytime I am dressed better than grocery store casual I will have a scarf on. In fact, a friend recently gave me an Hermes scarf she got as a gift but didn’t suit her. She hung onto it for 4 years before parting with it so I guess she found the perfect home for it!

  2. Plaid, tattersal and checked shirts. That’s my fetish. No lumberjack-wannabe patterns, though.

    And yes, it still surprises me when people remark on the pink I like to wear occasionally. I mean, haven’t we gotten past all that? Sure, it does take a little confidence in one’s masculinity to pull it off. But I like my chances just fine.

  3. I have never understood why men are fearful of pink. It is such a flattering color on most. I think the art director in saying “it takes a big man” to wear pink might have been secretly wishing he were thus.

  4. Men have a hard time with pink because other men have a hard time with it. I started buying my husband lighter and lighter pink shirts…telling him they are faded red until he no long thought anything of them!

  5. I’ve been wearing pink BB shirts since I was in high school & I got hooked when I borrowed one of my grandfather’s, although his was even cooler, because it came from the era before the chest pocket. And because I’ve been wearing pink for so long and so frequently–over half the shirts in my closet are pink–that I don’t even think of it as any sort of statement anymore, although that wasn’t true when I started out. Pink might have been big in the Ivy League 5Os, but by 1968, when I got my first job & had to start buying my own clothes, they were definitely in the minority. Oh sure, people made fun of me when I wore pink, but then, they did that anyway, so it wasn’t that big a deal. To wear pink, you either gotta be a big man with a very secure self image, or ya gotta not really care what other people think. I would part of Group Number Two. Anyway, so pink shirts say absolutely nothing about me. Then again, they don’t need to, because my argyle socks speak for me, and loud & clear. So I’m not talking about argyles in two-shades-of-gray-plus-navy, or beige-brown-&-black. I mean lime-black-&-yellow, or brown-lavendar-&-olive, or pink-grey-&-orange. It really simplifies matching-up socks on laundry day. None of that squinting to detect minute variations on ribbing on awholetabletop foull of black socks. In fact, back when I used to live right above my friends in a big Victorian house, I used to haul my load of socks–still warm from the dryer–to their apartment where I’d sit on the floor with with their two year son & we’d play Match the Sock. It didn’t take much to amuse him. Hell, it doesn’t take much to amuse me. Fun is where you find it.

  6. Personal jewelry, most of which belonged to my Mom. The brushed gold and diamond ‘feather pin’ would have to be my favorite. A crescent moon piece studded with tiny seed pearls and one small diamond is known as the ‘wedding pin’ in our family. I am blessed to have my mother’s rosary beads, and I wear them now and then. I have a pair of her moonstone earrings with a little diamond on them. An old pair of Tiffany gold ‘shell’ and pearl earrings which actually belonged to HER mother. A nice collection of costume jewelry, especially sets of earrings and brooches. Gold ‘picture frame’ earrings with matching brooch. My grandpa’s hat pins, my mother’s baby bracelet. None of these things rise to the importance of Henry Winston or all of the Academy Awards ‘on loan’ jewels. But they are personal, they mean something, and they remind me of people I love. And because they are now ‘one of a kind,’ I always receive nice compliments and interest from women and men who notice such things. Another favorite combination I wear is my daughter’s sterling Tiffany teething ring, bite marks and all, on a lovely sterling Tiffany chain. Especially on her birthday. She is 19. Polished, it is beautiful worn against a black wool knit dress in December, and is the next best thing to holding her on my hip.

  7. Perhaps my quirk would be my super fine blond bobbed hair. There are moments of wanting a change, but I always go back to the bob. I contemplate bangs or botox and then wimp out and purchase a piece of art.

  8. Pink shirts and grey suits. My penchant for pink shirts has even been remarked upon in the office. I have noticed in recent months that more men there are starting to wear pink, so maybe I’ve set a trend.

  9. Second on the argyle socks. Love ’em. 90% of my dress socks are argyle. Two-toned shoes are my other vice. Spectators and saddles. Have no clue where that came from.

    Haven’t gotten into the pink, much. The soon to be ex loved pink, but said she didn’t see me in pink. Saw a pink & grey regimental tie I considered buying….may go back & pick it up. Little steps. 😉

  10. Brilliant! I’m glad to see that ours is a stylish little group, and easily identified.

    Magneverde and Brohammas, you two are fighting it out for comment of the week.

    Mrs. PvE, you and Mrs. E.! She’s been on an art binge of late…

    Spectators — ahhhh… almost time.

  11. I’m still building and refining my personal style but I find myself always gravitating towards slim ties (not mod-skinny) and half-windsor knots.

  12. Welcome Justin K., and thanks for the comment. I find that the ties I like best of all are the “British width” of about 3 1/2″. I stay between that and 3 5/8ths if my closet is any indication. The choice is driven by the width of your lapels and your build. Balance and proportion are everything. I’m a four-in-hand (or small knot) guy for the most part. A Half-Windsor is a great knot to wear though as it retains some of the pleasing (to my eye) asymmetry.

  13. It seems that my style is very distinctive as people are often referring to things in public forums as being so “SKM”. But as for an actual signature it would have to be the strong red lip and elloborately coiffed hair. (The blond swirl effect now even forms a part of my official trademark!)A simple ponytail feels like the equivalent of a wearing my nightgown out to the store these days. And as for the lips- scarlet red has been my key identifier since I was 14 years old! ( I was a rather dramatic child) 🙂

  14. mine are more of a color combo… med. pink shirt, med. brown tie and a navy jacket or patterned bluegreen white background shirt with navy tie. i rarely see bluegreen in shirtings so i bought a few bengal striped ones and mini checks. the pink and brown a little more common on the internet but i think pink and black/navy is more common. the pink in brown i actually got from flusser when i matched my complexion to my shirt and my eyes to the tie. =)

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