Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ho-ho-ho Y'all and Albert Thurston Braces Redux

LFG and I are firmly ensconced at my mom's and we've got almost zero options for internet access. That's a good thing! So here I sit for a moment-navigating a wobbly connection for the sole purpose of letting you know that lengthy posts are not an option till we get back home. But when we do roll back in, we gots a ton of good fodder for you. Including:

The discovery of my sister's 45's and the ensuing demonstration for LFG explaining what the hell these things are.

My Great Grandfather's mercantile operation at a rail stop known as "Seloc". This is a watercolour that my uncle had painted years ago.

LFG shooting her Daisy BB Gun in the same back yard where I shot mine.

Albert Thurston Braces: Gut Ends No More
“When asked for his reaction to the outbreak of war in 1939, actor Sir Ralph Richardson replied that he had gone straight to his tailor on Savile Row and purchased half a dozen pairs of Thurston braces in case they might be in short supply”. (Excerpted from the Thurston website)

You know how your eye gets trained to like something a certain way? Paradigms become strong. When anything outside of that visual pattern tries to enter, it is met with some degree of resistance. I know, I know…Some of you would say that after viewing a few of my sartorial concoctions, I have no “trained or refined eye”. I accept that. However, I like what I like.

I used to find the gut end Thurston braces at Britches of Georgetown 20 years ago. You could always get them from Flusser until Thurston discontinued them. I started wearing them so long ago that all others seem too obtuse, bulky, thick…slightly “not right”. I like the thinness of the gut cord. I like the obvious inconsistencies in the spacing of the hand stitching. I like how the gut gets a bit darker with age. I’m so visually locked into the immutable presence of white tabs that brown tabbed braces look muddy to me.

With the devolution of dressing in suits for work each day, my supply of gut-end Thurstons will last me for the long haul. There’s one pair hanging in that menagerie that I wore when I got married. Maybe I’ll wear them again on a special occasion….LFG’s graduation(s)…my last meeting with the Federal Parole authorities…

Here’s what Thurston says on their website about gut ends. I think it’s a nice answer, probably not untruthful per se but there seems to be a bit of “spin” here as well…

Why no catgut?
Firstly cats never came into it, but for those who recall the ‘Gut End’ braces of the past may be interested in a potted history. Prior to the 1970’s most ‘Gut End’ braces had the actual gut covered with white gloving leather, but due to the difficulty of obtaining hand stitchers this was gradually phased out.

The gut itself was obtained from specialist manufacturers whose main market was the long line fishing industry, but then along came nylon monofilament…so that was that, no more gut. We have found a modern alternative material which we are covering with white gloving leather, so effectively we have gone back to a product very similar to that which we made in the past. The button holes are still hand stitched and the quality remains unsurpassed

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Week in Review from Renaldo Lackapoopoo.

LFG and I trust that your Holiday is going just as you want it and that you’ve scored tons of good loot! We are headed to South Carolina and the land of minimal high speed options so this post might be the only one for a while. I figured I would recap this crazy week and finish up with Santa’s visit to the Casa.

We had tickets to the almost sold out Rockettes Christmas Show last Saturday at Verizon Center in downtown D.C. The Christmas spirit was already upon us-having our tree in good form and presents accumulating underneath according to plan. But the Rockettes show was certain to send us over the Christmas Spirit edge. Butcept for the snow.

We took the train over to Verizon center. Tentatively optimistic about the performance after learning that they would indeed perform-even though the weather exquirts were calling for almost two feet of snow by early evening. No worries-as long as the trains run we can get home. LFG and her neon yellow retainer bundled up for the ride over and the great performance by those leg kicking gals.

The performance was superb even though only a hundred or so of us showed up for it. Most people had better judgement. We then get word that the trains are only running to and from the underground stops. We are hosed. Eight miles away is the Casa and we have limited options regarding how to get there. I’m not too worried about me-I’ve walked farther than that in the snow before-when my craving for a woman trumped my fear of the cold. LFG can’t walk that far though.

The lusty crusty man in me marveled at the physical specimens performing for us. May I just get this out of the way quickly? …. These girls could crack walnuts in those butts…amazing. Ok, I’ve said it. Heavenly derrière. The middle aged man in me says that they probably travel with chiropractors and physical therapists….seriously…these girls are athletes.

Amazing that Jesus made the cut!

And I'm glad to know that the little fella from the Austin Powers movies has found more work. It's all good.

The plot thickens by five in the afternoon. We hear from our friend RW, a clinical psychologist who lives with her family over two hours from DC but who sees patients in DC 2-3 days each week. The snow has essentially shut down our city and she can’t get home. No place to stay…stranded…we take her in. But in where? None of us can get home so I decide if we are going to be stranded we should do so at Union Station. Bathrooms-options for dining…we can get there because the metro stop is underground. Makes sense to me.

By now it’s cocktail time and LFG and I have to wait for RW to make her way to Union Station. One restaurant remains open so we grab a cocktail and a bite. Story of my life....blondes...cocktails...poor vision ends up costing me money...every time.

I wanted the dancing girl with the fly up-spinning dress. LFG voted me down.

Home? I’m thinkin’ we ain’t gonna get there. People who have rolled into DC via Amtrak are standing in the cab line but there are no cabs. Seriously, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we will be sleeping-along with five hundred others-at Union Station.

Alas, the usual twenty dollar ride cost me a well spent and well deserved hundred bucks. Two college kids approached me and asked where we needed to go-after sorting them out a bit I concluded that it was a safe bet to roll with them in their very nice Jeep 4WD buggy-in which they were tracking to make about two grand for their unlicensed livery rescue efforts. I love the free market and I loved getting home with LFG and our soon to be two nights house guest safely in tow. When was the last time you spent 48 hours with a Ph.D. Psychologist in your house? God only knows her conclusions about our operation over here. I sure don’t want to know!

Two feet of snow in our ‘hood means one thing only. Sledding at the Masonic Memorial at the top of King Street.

Great hill….dangerous descent and my child has no fear...except for the common house fly. And yes-before you ask-I DID go down a few times as well.

I've been all over this hill in the last twenty years but methinks I'll just watch from now on.

I'm fairly certain that I tilted my uterus and am almost convinced that I strained my uvula.

LFG also channels George III from time to time and talks to trees.

 Christmas for LFG is a double treat. Santa visits two homes…what luck no? No American Girls babydoll stuff this year. It's all electronics and clothes. Including horizontal socks!

And two radio controlled cars. Who asked Santa for these? Give me a break. I don't have a son-that I know of.

Oh...and Santa bought me a camera. Shut up.

Before the visit though-we always have Christmas Eve dinner with her mom. Instead of the usual holiday colors, I opt for Flusser black camel hair….three two roll…flap pockets with flap ticket…peak lapels. Tattersal vest-Brethren dress shirt-straight collar with collar pin wounds evident from twenty years of pinning it-butcept for tonight. Clip on collar bars are wrong.

And speaking of wrong-I wore Ralph boiled wool needlepoint slips. I agree regarding the issue of wearing someone else's initials on your clothes-silly as hell. Butcpet for when you get Purple Label R.L. slips on ebay for next to nothing.

So for tonight-I've changed my name to Renaldo Lackapoopoo.

Santa and Allie Summersverb...great name she's got no? ... Made certain that I got a great belt in my stocking.

But now I want the lighter one too. Allie....rationalization please.

LFG rolls in with her mom to view the loot and then the Wii games begin.

LFG whipping her mom...nice. It's obvious that I own antiquated electronics as evidenced by the paltry television set accomodating the new Wii. I don't watch television very much. Shut up.

I'm on the verge of horizontality after a great day!

Merry Christmas from Old Town Alexandria. We'll try to check in from South Cackalacky.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The World is Half Price

The magic that little LFG does on my behalf for Christmas is amazing. Just when I crowed about the windowpane contrivance in the previous post-Santa aka Polo/Corneliani Italy came calling. So I drop LFG off at friends for snow-slush-mud frolicking and I stop by Polo Chevy Chase for a fitting.

Stronger than new rope. That’s all I can say about these flat front-dress extension tab togs. And I forgot that they were fully lined. Not just to the knee. I can’t wait to do the Chicken Dance in these babies.
And wouldn’t you know it. While in such an incredible store I noticed that the entire place is half price. I’m not kidding. If you need anything now is the time to pounce. If you just want something-pounce post haste.

I wish that they would sell me the PKZ Posters in the dressing rooms. PKZ-classic vintage posters of well togged sartorialists.

An example of the bargains to be had is the classic Polo Camel Overcoat. It was called a “Polo Coat” before Ralphie created his version of said coat. Folks it’s half price. Now I was looking at said coat and….have you ever felt like someone was looking at you? This woman, I could tell, was checking my junk and it made me feel uncomfortable so I asked her to hold the coat while I snapped a picture of it. Wish that you could see more of her in the picture ‘cause she was a cutie. A cutie with no wedding band-like me.

Then. Then there was this wool and angora baby. Flat front trousers-two button-side vents. This is a giveaway as well. Shut up.

Looking forward to seeing my fam in South Carolina in a few days. My brother got there early and set up a nice swing for my mom.

And wouldn’t you know it…he already has some of the decorations up over at my Aunt Tootie's house.

Onward-Ho ho hoing at half price ya’ll

Ps....Do ya'll eat Clementines at Christmas? LFG and I are on crate number two

Monday, December 21, 2009

Window Pain

Geometrically perfect fuzzy diceyness. Yep, that’s it. That’s how I would define my appetite for windowpane. I’ve said it time and time again-If the Flusser interventionists didn’t reign me in I’d be beyond tacky with my sartorial choices. Windowpane patterns are no exception.
I love windowpane beyond good judgement and usually jump on it like a rat on a freakin’ Cheeto when I see it manifest in a swatch pile. If it's good enough for the overstudied Menjou then I'm good with it. It’s primal-visceral…probably something to do with a childhood deficiency. Mothers didn’t breastfeed as much when I was a baby. Hold me please-swaddled in windowpane.
The one is NOT in my closet. But it was worthy of the post in that there's obviously someone who has an even greater affinity for right angles conjoined.

I can’t recall my first article of windowpane clothing. Not sure what my initial swathing motivation was other than the fact that it’s different. It’s unconventional and to some; a bit unsettling. Reasons enough right there for me to be a consistent arbiter of said geometric conflagration. Be careful-it’ll burn you. I can tell you unequivocally that it's not a seasonal thang.
We wear it year 'round. In evidence here are a few summer versions.
The Duke certainly wore it with aplomb. One of the keys I think, to the Duke’s sartorial success was that he didn’t care too much about his clothes. Check out the D-Ring belt. The Duke Ring.
He bought incredibly eccentric kit that he wore forever and I suppose one could argue that windowpane could be Exhibit One in the evidentiary discovery process for his Sartorial Eccentricity Trial. 
Gus Peterson sure pulled it off well. No? You don’t know Gosta Petersen? Do you know who Laurence Fellows and Leslie Saalburg were? Fellows and Saalburg were the illustrators of all the iconic Esquire and Apparel Arts images that you know and love. You know-the pre photography days. Gus Petersen represented the next generation. A fashion photographer who worked for all of the great print magazines-he was also a dapper and debonair man in his own right. Did I know Gus? Nope. But my friend Alan Flusser did and he told me so-therefore it’s the truth. Shut up. Even if you don’t believe me you must agree that Petersen still had it-sartorially speaking-in windowpane-even as a “mature man”.
Leave it to the eccentric Brits to do windowpane better than any of us. I’ll look similar to this in my dotage. Butcept I’ll be about three feet tall and drunk and pudgy and ornery and opinionated and maudlin and frisky. Damn-I think I need to tell myself to shut up. Somebody come and spank me. Girls only need respond.
Vanity Fair is always replete with windowpaned plonkers.
This oil painting of George Grossmith sporting windowpane jodhpurs watches over me while I sleep. Mostly fitful sleep unless I am primed with an Ambien awash with four gallons of Drambuie sipped through a swizzle stick. Just kidding. I  help folks market medicine-I don’t actually use any (much) of it.  Shut up.
 Jeremy Hackett is another entrepreneurial success story. His first London shop dealt in vintage goods in addition to his own contrivances. One of his standard contrivances is his “house windowpane” I think known as…“Horse and Hound”. 
I passed on a Horse and Hound windowpane sportcoat at the Hackett Shop found inside All England in Paris. Wish that I’d bought it when I was there but that woman….remember that woman whom I accompanied to Paris? I wrote about her over at Blushing. She suggested that I wait on said coat and being the compliant self actualized man that I am I agreed. If I hadn’t agreed she might have withheld favours and that would have been devastating for us both.
Windowpane is fine but let me tell you-new Hackett Horse and Hound windowpane coat or not-celibacy in Paris is a bad concept. Let’s deconstruct this one for a moment. I go to Paris and seek out Anglo stuff at a quintessentially Anglo shop doing business in Paris since the mid 1860’s? Yep-that’s me to a proverbial T.
Merkin contrived Tom Wolfe in windowpane...even though I've never seen Wolfe in anything but white or seersucker. I'll post later about having to decline dinner three weekends ago with my idol Wolfe and his friend Flusser-at a Richard Merking tribute in Providence.
Sad to know that Merkin's windowpane overcoat will see it's first winter without adorning the shoulders of his master.
I suppose that this cropped picture attests to several things. One is that LFG had no hair for the first two years of her life. Another is that this coat remains one of the most stellar items in my closet after all these years so it pays to buy quality things.
 I saw Flusser himself in this coat-he had it made in a double breasted contrivance-and I simply said “I’ll have what he’s having”. One hundred percent cashmere. Delicate like me.

We also have a navy blue version. Same "ADG House Model" Peak single breasted three-two but with pleated patch pockets. Stole this pocket square from a guy at Clemson. Easy picking.

Here’s Clark Gable. Late of “Frankly my dear-I don’t give a damn” fame. Sporting a windowpane Norfolk Jacket-notice the shoulder-back pleats on this unit. Slick. Slicker than snot on a doorknob.
David Niven is seen here-knockin’ him some windowpane out the proverbial ball park. Hell, this windowpane “at bat” sailed beyond the bleachers and into the neighborhood. Are you kidding me? Look at the dorsal fin lapels on this double breasted bombast. I bet he had to pay property tax on the excess fin width. I’d wear this in a heartbeat but you already knowed that. Turned back sleeve cuff. I can do that-you better not.
UPDATE....AnonEngFem just shared with me the windowpaned visage of George Melly-another crazy ass Brit. This time in a tightly configured aggregation of right angles. Thanks S.P.
Windowpane wasn't lost on the Brethren back in the day. Today is not unfortunately-their day.
And this windowpane contrivance has yet to roll in from Italy. Trust me when I tell you that it’s gonna be stronger than nine rows of spring onions. So much so that I’m certain that the animal control boys at Customs will quarantine it for a few days-with the other animals rolling in just as hot from Europe. Flat front-narrower leg. That’s all I’m sayin’ right now. You’ll be contriving the same rig based on my aplomb. Cept only it will be a year later. Whisper-But only if you must.
My navy windowpane standard. I had this on when I asked my former father-in-law for permission to marry his daughter. I had it on yet again when I signed my final divorce papers. I’m not making this up. People said I looked funny with the suit trousers on over adult diapers at Family Court. Depends I’d say. Depends on where you are in the divorce mélange. It’s all good now.
Thurston Gut Ends are essential when asking for a woman’s hand in marriage. Same goes for dressing in preparation for the gut wrenching signature ceremony necessary to extricate one from marriage. Marital extrication-kind of the anti-banns of matrimony. Butcept it’s a tad pricier.
So if ya’ll see anything windowpane-ish that upon which you think I need to pounce, please let me know. Until then, you absolutely have to read Bespoke: Savile Row Ripped and Smoothed. Richard Anderson’s story is a page turner. So much so for me that I read it cover to cover on the flight out to that place. That place where I spent a few days last week. Sans windowpane.
Onward. In delightful preparation for a chubby little guy in a red velvet suit.