Here’s an excerpt from an email that I sent to a buddy two weeks ago when I was doing interviews and fieldwork for case studies…
“I’ve spent most of this week with Rheumatologists, Gastroenterologists and Dermatologists who treat immune deficient diseases like crohn’s disease, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve been doing research for case studies that I’m writing for a client. Back at home right now feeling flush with gratitude for my health and good fortune. Everyone at your house understands the gift of health…more so than most of us. That’s why I felt compelled to share my week with you. I’m also gratified that biotech companies and caregivers are full-out focused on therapeutics and technologies that help people live longer, better quality lives amidst these dramatic chronic diseases. I know that you feel the same way.
So as I cobble this drivel to you, the $3,500.00 worth of clothes I have on from today seem like twee and superficial ornaments when compared to the good fortune of physical health that said wearer at least for now, possesses.”
So with that dose of “heavy” as context, let’s talk clothes. I realize that there are many of you who are steadfast in your belief that I only wear clown outfits. That’s fair. I mean the only peek you get into my sartorial realm is the one I allow through this venue. Trust me when I tell you that a longer—broader view of my realm sartorial would scare you. For example, I’m sitting at home right now—alone writing this story, wearing my favorite purple zebra patterned latex swim thong, cowboy boots and a wife-beater t-shirt. Be careful what you ask for.
But I do own the requisite maturity and I lease the necessary gravitas to dress appropriately for specific duties. And so my opening day of interviewing clinicians saw me bring out the first suit that the Flusser boys made for me. It’s a nail-head double breasted contrivance, resplendent in the influences of its time. That’s fancy code for saying that back then, Flusser’s DB house model had a bit more shoulder padding than anything you could get them to concoct today. But the beauty of investing in traditional clothing still manifests—both in economics and aesthetics. That’s fancy code for saying that it still looks ok after a zillion years; therefore the investment was a sound one. Pass the hash pipe please.
I remember discovering quite by accident, the Flusser townhouse here in DC. I’d darkened the Flusser shop in Gotham once, in 1989, nervously hoping that Alan would be there so that I could meet the sartorial master. Alas, the Flussman wasn’t there but a horizontal striped Gordon Gecko Flusser dress shirt was and I happily pounced on it. I think I wrote a story about buzzing through the Lincoln tunnel at lunchtime when I lived in Montclair N.J. … jockeying my 1987 Jetta to and fro in an attempt to arrive at the Flusser atelier to procure chemise horizontile … yet be back at work within an hour.
Mark Rykken owned the Flusser Shop in D.C. and it was a well appointed little townhouse with all of the requisite trappings. PKZ posters, Apparel Arts books plopped down on a chintz ottoman. You know, Brideshead meets Mario Buatta on Savile Row and then invites The Brethren as a provisional member.
I loved just going there to hang out and have fellowship with Puerto Rykken and see the comings and goings of garments in work and the people who bought them. But alas, Rykken decamped to greener pastures after this sycophantic company town…ground zero for obsequious ass kissing…couldn’t manifest the satisfactory high-taste volume to make happy Mr. Rykken. And after being here since 1989, excepting two years in New Orleans, I can say unequivocally that D.C. lacks the élan, style and taste level to allow something as refined as Savilesque drapeyness to thrive herein—Beltway wise. This is a three button-sack coat-goofball company town. Washington D.C. –a soulless town. They don’t call K Street “Gucci Gulch” for nothin’. Shut up.
So my first Flusser go was a stylish but utilitarian garment. I was at the time, still working for the Swiss and they required a level of sartorial correctness and fuzzy-restraint. All these years later…that would be two weeks ago, I paired this patinated battleship gray getup with a black tie and white broadcloth dress shirt.
Britches of Georgetowne was a great store. And it hosted budding new sartorial talents including Ralph Lauren and Alan Flusser. Gentleman whose professional experiences at Britches included Chris-Elegantologist over at Easy and Elegant Life, designer Jeffrey Banks as well as Mark “Puerto” Rykken. Of course Britches is gone. I mean how could something that tasty survive in D.C.? And really, who could you get today to adorn your utilitarian white dress shirts with Astaire-isms like sleeve monogramming? Quiet please.
Pin it. Through the shirt. Don’t argue this with me Mr. Damn Clip On. Clip on ties…clip on suspenders…clip on collar bars. All wrong. Just nip the clippin’ from now on. Nipple clips…that’s your business.
And of course in Merkin homage I throw the tiniest of bricks by strapping, on the south end of this rig, my suede ghillies.
Day two saw me with a lighter weight mini-houndstooth Flusser assemblage that I contrived when LFG was in utero. So we’ve now moved from twenty year old Flusserosity to crisp-new togs only a decade old. And the styling here is antithetical to the nail head double breasted number.
Open patch pockets cast this suit in a more casual light. Three-two roll and peak lapels tart this thing up just enough to keep anyone from taking me too seriously.
This fabric has an incredibly fine hand and would probably take nicely to whatever style you commissioned it in. But I think it really preens in its open patch portrayal. Shut up.
I didn’t wear braces with the gray suit but I had to with this one. Thurston gut ends were de rigueur as the trouser length was originally set with braces in mind. Interestingly though, I think I manifested a bit of an Ed Grimley…up to your nipples pants outcome here. Sorry, I didn't intend for this post to be so nipple centric.
And consistent with my inconsequentialness as well as my tendency to forget my initials, my blue end on end chemise sported the ADG brand opposite button number five.
Finish this aggregation with Alden Algonquin Monk Whisky Cordovans and a pair of LFG’s striped tights from last winter and I’m strong. Stronger than New Rope. Stronger than nine rows of Spring Onions.
Onward. Having consumed half a bag of Snickers Halloween Candy. It’s none of your business what drugs I use to dull the obtuseness and pain of fatherhood phases amidst unparalleled sartorial capabilities. You pick your unguents. I'll pick mine.
Matter of fact, why don't you take a moment and watch another high waisted--high minded little fella.