Easy and Elegant Life

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

The Daily Rushes: A Wardrobe Test

(An RKO wardrobe test for “Notorious” from Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style.)

Above you see a photo of Cary Grant doing a wardrobe test. He is standing, looking very serious, with his hands in his trouser pockets. You can see the reason for his concern. His jacket is center-vented and is riding up over his wrists. The perfect dark column of clothing that led to his tanned face was awry.

(A perfectly cut suit will move with you, regardless of your position.)

Why do I bring up a wardrobe test? I was reminded of the photo of Grant as I went through the photos of my recent trip to New York. I should have done a wardrobe test beforehand. Yes my clothes fit me. But the cut didn’t show me to my best advantage. I know that sounds vain, and it is. But elegance requires vigilance. Grant would have never left home without a perfectly cut suit. He wouldn’t even leave the wardrobe building.

Actors review their performances after a day’s shooting by watching the daily rushes, the raw footage, if you will. It’s a good practice.

Your Easy and Elegant Life hint for the week: do a wardrobe test, before wearing it out the door. Take a digital photo, if possible, from all angles. When you find what looks best on you, refer often to the photograph. It is also a good way to remember which combinations of patterns and colours go well together.

3 thoughts on “The Daily Rushes: A Wardrobe Test

  1. Great idea, I typically try to see potential purchases from all angles to make sure there aren’t any surprises down the road. Cary has every right to be concerned, he usually favored 3/2 sacks, not the boxy fixed-and-pressed lapel contraption they’ve put him in. Mr. Grant was also usually hand-in-pocket so it’s interesting they would choose a center vent.

  2. The three-way mirror was once a staple in all dressing rooms in clothing stores of any size–no matter how inexpensive the clothes may have been. As a child and young adult shopping with my mother, whether shopping in department stores or smaller neighborhood specialty stores, the sales women (who were mature, had experience and expertise in their particular department, and could speak in complete sentences) would ask us to turn around, sometimes standing on a raised platform, to sit, cross legs, raise arms, etc.. This was helpful in assessing fit problems before leaving the dressing room.

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