Easy and Elegant Life

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

The Home Front

Some of you, like me, may be fortunate enough to work from home. Which leaves you in a sartorial conundrum. Comfort, appropriateness, habit and expectations all play into the way that you answer that internal question first formed when you step into your closet in the morning.

John Cheever, it is said, wore a tie to work every day. I’m not sure of that. His commute was about the same as mine.

Or it was John Updike?

Regardless, neither appeared to be sitting around in tennis togs banging away at the Underwood. I’m getting ready for a run at the moment, and am in technical fabrics and jersey. But this weekend saw me doing some research swathed in linen and piqué. As it was the weekend, there would have been no chance of a client or even a neighbour dropping by. But you never know, and I was quite comfortable as you can see.

The evening before, some friends, Mrs. E. and I tried a new little bistro in town, one ably conceived of and run by Mr. Paul Heitz of Strasbourg, France. It’s wonderful, by the way. As with all restaurants here in the River City, there is no dress code. So I wore loafers and a pink bandana. My way. We ran into a colleague of Mrs. E.’s, his wife, and a former neighbour. I suppose I was overdressed, but still quite comfortable in the overly air-conditioned wine bar that was the second stop of the evening. Delightful place. The typical markup on a bottle of wine is just USD$10 over retail. It’s almost a corkage fee and I suppose it covers the glasses that get broken.

So what’s my point? I suppose it is to illustrate that dressing a little better than you have to really isn’t that difficult, once you get the habit.

10 thoughts on “The Home Front

  1. I think the story about John Cheever is that he lived in an apartment building where he would wear a suit to ride the elevator to the basement where he would then work in a room after removing all clothing except for his underwear.

  2. Afer all, dressing the part, is the best revenge.
    Love to see you mimic Hemingway or Picasso, on a more shall we say “scruffy and rugged” sort of work-a-day!

  3. I like the pink pocket square. Your canine companion is echoing the mood of the day.

  4. I find that I am more productive when I “dress for work” than if I just throw on the shorts, polo shirt and Topsiders and get started.

  5. Scruffy and rugged? RIght up my alley.
    Mr. E, how would you suggest one such as I, who works in public view doing dirty and thankless things, do so in a sartorialy pleasing way without looking like an out of pplace clown who keeps ruining his nice clothes?

    Don’t simply say change jobs… unless you have one in mind.

  6. brohammas, I’d hire you in a heartbeat for any position higher than SVP.

    Interesting question. I may be the only guy you’ve ever met who has moved furniture in cashmere and tweed. Or shoveled walks in the same gear for that matter. The hotter months are tougher. I’d go with classic workwear: Starched khakis (they stay crisper longer), a chambray or oxford cloth (which is warm, but…) shirt. In winter, a tweed jacket, Viyella or chamois cloth shirt, wool socks and good boot swill take you far. After work — at home — well, that where you can indulge in suits, sportcoats and flannels.

    Clothes are meant to be worn. All of them are meant to be worn out.

  7. Oh, you look great–but the collection of small plein aire paintings really grabs my attention. Thanks for the fun post.

  8. Thank you Chris,
    It was such a pleasure to serve you and Mrs E. at Amour Wine Bistro.
    I really enjoy having guests that dress up to come visit us. In France people are dress nicely accordingly to the kind of restaurant they are visiting, it’s a life style and a respect for the place and the other guests. I am always very happy and honored to have guests that are well dressed.
    No one will be ever over dressed.
    It’s a celebration of a good experience around a table.
    It starts with the visual aspect, elegant tables, decor, plates, (guests) and food presentation. A delicate smell when the wine glass or the dish arrive at the table. The third step is the distinguish flavors of all the ingredients and the wine paired to enhanced all these flavors to leave on your palate elegance and good memories.

  9. My recollection of the Cheever story is that he rode the train in from Connecticut every day and kept an office in midtown. The rest of the story — stripping down from the suit to the skivvies — is a classic and essential part of the story.

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