The Resistance


After seven (!) years of thinking about and studying elegance, I’ve come to a number of conclusions. Today’s is this: elegance  and whimsy have a difficult time coexisting.

Feeling extremely puppyish as I am these days, the choice to wear the Hermès tie with the rabbit, pig, cat, dog, goat and monkey faces seemed a fine idea for a sunny Friday. Besides, I had just picked it up when the puppy marked my closet floor, mercifully missing my suede loafers, which interrupted my train of thought. On went the tie.

But now that I think about it, I can’t recall seeing those beacons of elegance whom we all worship wearing whimsical neckwear. Fred Astaire may have tied his tie around his waist, but it was a regimental stripe or small polka dot.

Now I’m all for what ADG would call “fuzziness” in dress. I like my loud socks (“Jeeves is notoriously hidebound in the matter of leg wear,” said Wooster.) I like this tie and the one with the leaping hare and the green monkey one, too. Certain horsey occasions find me sporting my terrier rep tie with tweeds. My pocket square drawer is a riot of pattern and color. But elegance requires restraint, a resistance to the idea of calling attention to any one element of your rig in pursuit of a harmonious whole.

Cary Grant played around with wearing a bow tie. Once.

Just a thought for those of you contemplating casual Friday.

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