This blog occasionally runs non-political posts on the weekends.
Once upon a time, when I had money, I bought clothes at nice stores and was considered something of a dandy. Alas, the money dwindled, and the past couple of decades have left me unburdened by ties or dress shoes or those tweed jackets with shoulder patches that I used to favor. Having spent so much time wrapped in ancient, fraying shirts that would have allowed Sherlock Holmes to deduce my lunchtime menu throughout the preceding week, I'm hardly in a position to lecture anyone on fine clothing.
On the other hand, no other male in my Baltimore suburb wears shirts with buttons. That fact makes me the local style expert. (In my 'hood, the classier gents reserve their good
wifebeaters for church on Sundays.)
With hesitation bordering on outright fear, I'd like to question the judgment of one Timothy Gunn, who seems to have become well-known via his appearances on some television show that my ladyfriend favors. Not long ago, she met Mr. Gunn at a book signing. In her words, the mere sight of him made her "squee" all over the place. I'm not sure I like the sound of that. At any rate, she bought his book, Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible
, just to have him sign it.
Being poor, we don't buy very many new hardbound books, so I was quite leery of this investment -- even though the sight of Mr. Gunn's signature gave her one of the biggest, most satisfying squees of her life. I was even more leery of the photo on the cover:
Now, I don't know much about this guy. He's supposed to be some sort of expert on clothing, and this is the image he chose to represent himself. Ignorant buffoon I may be, but I gotta ask...
Is this legal
What we have here is a dark suit with broadly-spaced stripes matched up with a very questionable purple/brown checked shirt (which you couldn't get me to wear at gunpoint) and a purple and blue paisley tie which is, well, not quite
as loud as those sirens they used to blare at the end of the month during the cold war.
Have things really changed so much since the time when I last paid attention to this stuff? Back in my
day, by cracky, we young fellers were told that if we wore a striped coat, we had better not wear anything but a solid-color shirt.
Being in possession of a George Lucas-y neck somewhat thicker the average Saturn V rocket, I despise the feel of a tie closing in around my throat. In olden times, I'd sport neckwear only on those days when I didn't feel like breathing. Just two ties lurked in my closet: One was solid burgundy and the other wasn't, and only the burgundy saw action. You don't really need anything else. (The other one was a present from a former ladyfriend who happened to be deaf. When people saw this item, they said: "Poor girl. She's also blind
Nowadays, I see political pundits on TV wearing ultra-bright ties with pink-on-pink stripes. We're talking blinding
pink, the kind of pink that made Larry Flynt a rich man. I wouldn't even hang myself with a tie like that, or with most of these other eye-gouging strangulation devices that have become so common.
I sure as hell wouldn't wear purple-and-blue paisley. With anything
My current ladyfriend became incensed when I questioned the judgment of the Great Infallible Squee-Inducer. "He's gay!" she explained. Apparently, that means Gunn is right and I am wrong.
But am I? I still say his outfit is kind of ridiculous. Then again, I'm old school, having formulated my notions about sartorial matters during Reagan's first term.
(Come to think of it, Reagan's outfits were kind of ridiculous too. Remember his brown plaid-pattern suits? And that stupid carefully-folded white pocket square? He dressed the way a prole thinks a rich man dresses.)
During a recent visit to a Balmer thrift store, I snapped up a beige cashmere sweater for three bucks. My ladyfriend did not approve of this choice, since she's a goth girl at heart and favors saturnine colors. But the thing is warm and cheap and it doesn't itch. Those are the only qualities most men ask of their sweaters. And, to be frank, of their dates.
What struck me as odd was the label. "Embassy Row Menswear." Sounds rather hoity toity. I seem to recall seeing clothing bearing this label long, long ago, back when my wallet held actual credit cards. Was "Embassy Row" the house brand for a department store? Who made this stuff?
Intrigued, I did some checking. The only clothing called "Embassy Row" available online can be found on Ebay. Since those items are all used (or "vintage"), I must presume that the company is no longer in business.
Does anyone out there know who they were? Were they, like, considered good
Well, it doesn't matter if the brand was upscale or downscale. As part of a cold-weather defense system, a three-buck cashmere sweater works fine. It's warm and cheap and it doesn't itch.