Tuesday, September 28, 2010

People's District Interviews a 90-Year-Old Shoe Shiner

Link.  Brilliant stuff.  There are artisans everywhere.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tuck Style

If you have a glance at my previous post, you'll note that there are no wrinkles or fluffs or any other derangements at my waist.  That's because I tuck, then run my hands horizontally outward from my navel, pulling excess material to the back, above my butt.  Some day, when I win the lottery, I'll get my shirts made-to-measure, and I won't have to do this anymore.  Meanwhile, I'd rather have a very bunched back which few people see than a moderately rumpled front which everyone sees.

At any rate, it's another detail to keep in mind when you're dressing yourself.  But especially if you'll be wearing a jacket, what do you have to lose?

Now, go to bed.  We have work in the morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another Casual Tool: Chambray Work Shirts

A similar style to the military shirts discussed the other day.  Chambray is a much softer material--texture-wise, it feels like something out of that Paul Newman movie where he's in a prison camp in the desert somewhere.  (Will history be so kind to Nutraloaf as it was to gulags?  Time will tell.)  This one is also from the Gap and has some questionable details, like farfalle-style stitching on the wrist, so I usually roll the sleeves up.

Here, observant readers will note, I added a purple handkerchief to the breast pocket for a dash of color.  Gray shirt, blue jeans, black belt is a bit monochromatic.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Casual Tool: Military Shirts

When I was last in Dallas, for a friend's wedding, I had some time to kill and went to the Gap.

If you live in D.C., you know that the Gap's clearance section has approximately two sizes: XL and XL. There's also S, which I think is just a species of XL, given how impossible it is.  Presumably, we are all svelte, lithe, lean people up here.

The Dallas Gap clearance section?  Mediums only.  Add a "buy one get one" sale, and I got two of these shirts (this one is olive green; the other is khaki) for $8.  They go well with shorts, with jeans, and with pants.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Punctilios: Starch

I finally found a satisfactory dry cleaners near my new office.  (As I've related before, my previous dry cleaners was...not optimal.)  I was impressed that they even had a website, much less one that was well organized.  Sure enough, not only do they charge a reasonable rate on shirts, but they listen to me when I say, "No starch."

I am going to go ahead and Endorse not getting starch in your shirts when you take them to the cleaners.  The massive, fancy industrial presses that they use get very hot and very firm, and they don't miss.  Starch is an unnecessary additive to that process.  I'm also given to understand that it increases the life of your shirt.  Further, I don't like the extremely bright sheen that it gives to my white shirts.

Many disagree; I know, for example, that my dad does.  He likes a stiffer shirt.  But then, he lives in a city where he has to compete with such profligate users of starch as (presumably) this gentleman when he goes to Billy Bob's Texas.

If any of you work for Google: Please sound off in the comments why there are so many pictures of the Jonas Brothers when I do a Google Images search for "cowboy starched shirt".

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Color Is Hard: Patterns Are Not Too Simple Either

Sometimes, a bit of daring (and the passive voice) is called for.  Continuing with my herringbone fixation, here is a navy herringbone suit with dark blue herringbone socks, the pattern perhaps twice the size of the pants'.  Just enough visual contrast to keep from looking matchy.  (If your patterns are too close to each other conceptually, in size, shape, direction, color, etc, it just looks funny, as if the Mona Lisa had a small third eye on her neck.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Punctilios: The Monkey's Fist

No, not Monkey Kung Fu (obviously written by a practitioner), nor Monkeybone, the Brendan Fraser flick, nor The Monkey's Paw, the W. W. Jacobs short story we read in high school.  The Monkey's Fist.  It's an old sailor's knot repurposed by clotheshorses as a casual fastener for French cuffs.  To wit:

Those shown came with the Brooks Brothers shirt, but I'm fixing to buy a set of many different colors.  Why?  Well, as you may know, my wardrobe evolved over the past several years in an ecosystem of daily suit-and-tie wear, with French cuffs optional.  Like "black tie optional", I interpreted "French cuffs optional" as "French cuffs?  Hell, yeah!"  The new job is somewhat more casual, on average, with a lot of variability.  Meanwhile, I have approximately 0 business casual items, so almost all my dress shirts are French cuffed, but metal studs seem too formal on a day with no tie.

Enter the Monkey...Fist.