The Real Power Tie

Do you remember the Ronald Reagan era; “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall...” and his many other quotable quotes? His speeches, excellent examples of wording, timing and the deft use of humor, are still studied by prospective politicians. And as a former actor, Reagan also understood the power of wardrobe and presentation. Even during his downtime at the ranch, Reagan continued to project the American ideal at its best: the rugged cowboy. … [Read more...]

Gentleman on Safari

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I have never been on safari. I have often imagined it; I have closed my eyes to a reel of fantastical images. Of me strolling through the dry grass with a pair of binoculars and a pith helmet, of herds of animals sweeping majestically across the plateau and of the glorious evening by the open fire with a neat glass of scotch. Impossibly romantic wishful thinking - and desperately unrealistic. It is rare that we imagine ourselves taking part in … [Read more...]

Checked Shirts and What They Say

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“Immediately.” That is the answer to Barima’s question which he proffered upon reading my piece on stripe stereotypes. I hadn’t planned to write something on the subject he was suggesting so soon, but I am a firm believer that things are better and far more satisfying in pairs; no one would wish to be the owner of a sadly single and yet singularly splendid patent shoe.  And of course if there will be discussion of shirt patterning, there … [Read more...]

One Thing: The Blue Blazer

Over the past year or so I have occasionally highlighted essential pieces of a man’s wardrobe. The “One Thing” columns have covered a variety of items, but today I want to get back to basics with the blue blazer. A blue blazer is the backbone of any serious wardrobe. The ever popular Preppy Handbook even dubbed it the male exoskeleton. Preppy or not, a blue blazer is the one article of dress clothing all men should have hanging in the … [Read more...]

Banana Republic, Monogram and the Compromise of “Affordable Luxury”

Banana Republic has always filled me with a mix of hope, despair and dread. Hope because the cool, crisp, modern, and attractive people in their ads work as intended: they attract. Whether engaged in happy plans in sunlit meeting rooms or harmonizing with contemporary artworks in white box museums, they suggest a happy world of productive teamwork in creative professions and culturally sophisticated socializing. Despair because the clothing … [Read more...]