A DRESSING DOWN
On Saturdays I pick up a copy of the weekend Financial Times. I find that not only does it summarise the more important aspects of the weeks International news, it does so simply and occasionally adds a concluding view on the subjects covered that I am never bright enough to have worked out for myself. It also takes me a week to read!
An article in a recent edition of the Life and Arts section rather grabbed my attention. In it, the journalist derides mature men who resort to wearing a sports jacket or a blazer over a pair of jeans. His argument from reading the first 500 words, is that men who choose to follow this style of dress were undermining the very fabric (sorry) of our society. Furthermore he adds, it is a desecration of everything that the Englishman stands for etc etc. He implores us to summon all our nerve and reject the soft option that we as mature men, know what is best to wear? Heaven forfend! As if we would?
My eyes drift down the page and I could see that this guardian of style had managed to fill half a page of broadsheet on the unsuitability of the two main standby’s in the Englishman’s wardrobe. I ploughed on but with increased anxiety as it was clear that I and others like me of a certain age, were indeed the main target for his displeasure. I must admit here and now, that when I feel the occasion demands a jacket, I can often be seen propping up a bar somewhere, sporting a generously cut pair of Levi’ s, a plain blue shirt, modestly open at the neck and my trusty old double breasted blazer with a bright silk handkerchief casually popping out from the top pocket.
This look according to the FT, is an inner cry for help! Apparently I need help?
The jaws in the vice of inadequacy tighten as I read on hoping that soon amongst these well crafted words, the answer appears and I might emerge reborn and become someone who will at long last, cause my children to stop in their tracks, gasp and murmur, ‘Dad, you look wonderful!’
Well another of life’s disappointments I am afraid. For nowhere in the article was there a hint of guidance to a better, smarter me. I absorbed the whole diatribe slowly and carefully, right down to the last word, fully expecting the holy grail to be in the last sentence. But no. Half a blooming page on why I should be ashamed along with numerous highlighted politicians and actors of my age, all targeted for appalling jacket and jean sense.
Presumably, as a sop to those who fought their way to the end of his bizarre piece, he informed us poor sartorial delinquents that he now wears ‘dark suits, english shirts, english shoes and european ties’ everywhere and to all occasions.
Well bully for you pal! On top of a hair shirt as well perhaps?
And on the subject of underwear, I notice this champion of all that is de riguer in mens outfitting is noticeably silent? I think we need to know his views? These things, are best out in the open because I may have been compounding my appalling bad taste on the upper layers by wearing the most inappropriate undergarments?
It is entirely possible that the author of this weekend article regularly sashays along the streets of Mayfair resplendent in English suit, shirt and shoes, however his all too precise gait, perhaps the result of a rather ill fitting polka dot thong? Or perhaps his purist inclinations demand that he wear the waist high white Y front? Frankly, we must know and the FT owes us a follow up?
Personally I favour black jockey boxer pants. I have concluded over the decades, that their discreet qualities far outweigh any failings in design and fashion. Such is my attachment to this particular loin covering that in the warm summer months I am often to be found taking an early morning stroll around the garden, tea in hand, in my jockeys. A vision complimented by cut off wellies and a straw hat. Certainly not a look to be found in the pages of Tailor and Cutter but I like the ensemble and that surely, is the point?