Thursday, October 28, 2010

Black Tie

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 √©lan, 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.

A.D.Grimley, II

Matter of fact, why don't you take a moment and watch another high waisted--high minded little fella.


~ami* said...

I am not a fan of most modern trousers, because they do not recognize the existence of the waist. They are all cut to the hip, and this bothers me. So the houndstooth number there is quite The Very Thing.

Personally, I prefer gentlemen who know where both their waist and their barber is.

But that's just me. :)

JRS said...

Awesome monograms...hope all is well.

Hilton said...

I still have the cashmere wool overcoat that I bought from Britches twenty years ago. It was actually made in England. Not bad taste for a man of twenty, eh?

VogueOntheRange said...

I happen to like the blow up pics of you and LFG with spoons on your nose. I'm a background gal, what can I say?

ADG said...

Vogue...Howdy background gal. I hope that L-School is going ok!

Hilton...I shopped there too, at twenty.

JRS...thanks. Not sure why I don't have your blog on my list but I'll fix that.

ami...I know where my $%*&in waist is and now, I gots a barber.

Gretchen said...

So pleased LFG got you to shave...the interviews just would not have turned out the same in full on scruffy mode. Are those purple socks I spy??

James said...

Purple zebra stripes! Maybe a nice leopard,but never zebra.

Scale Worm said...

I loved your intro. Too few with so much reflecting on those with so little (capital/insurance) to deal with so many (medical) issues. I do feel lucky. I then went to my stash of 'merican bourbons and poured a quick three fingered double to wash away the mental image of the thong. Egads sir, please do forewarn next time!

ADG said...

Scale...We are lucky indeed. Now I say you should pour yourself four fingers of the sauce 'cause I'm about to have a nitey-nite martini my damn self.

James...I roll purple and zebra over here. purple socks.

Johnny said...

I wish I could eat Snickers (as I do too) and keep my physique over the years and decades.

Young Fogey said...

You do dress like a clown, but you know it and you're proud of it--and that makes all the difference between you and, say, that tool at WASP 101.

Black necktie, gray suit, white shirt. First thing I thought was, who died? Looks sharp. No preppiness at all--but a wee bit o' pimp at the feet (I do like those ghillies!). I think a nice pair of burgundy or bottle green socks--er, excuse me, hose--would have rounded out the outfit beautifully. (Yes, I'm serious!)

Fine socks with the other suit. Woulda been even better if the stripes were horizontal. Target, of all places, has some socks with horizontal stripes these days. I may need to pick up a couple more pairs.

Richard M said...

I treasure my Winston Tailors (Chipp) nailhead DB-it's his favorite fabric-lasts a lifetime.

~ami* said...

Marvelous, but tell me: do you carry a handkerchief? A fountain pen?

(and that wasn't a dig at you, I can tell you know how to wear pants! ;-) )

Don said...

...a thong and cowboy're right- something things are better left unseen! And if the Snickers work to dull the pain, good for you.

ADG said...

Don...I was just kidding about the thong. I was actually naked butcept the boots and hat. And Snickers...can't think of anything in the world wrong with the fact that I ate the entire bag.

ami...I rarely have a breastpocket sans handkerchief. And I sometimes carry a fountain pen. The one in the photo is an old Waterman...but not some vintage thing that's finicky and doesn't write well. This one is from Staples...ten years ago and it works great.

Richard M. ... It probably won't happen for me but I'd like to have a Winston garment before I die.

Fogey...Clown indeed, but not when I'm spending time with really serious folks. gifts are few, really. But I don't have too much trouble keeping my proportion. You wouldn't want to trade lives with me though!

Summer is a Verb said...

Shhhewww... Looks like the Butt Police have their hands full in OTA which is good news for me here at la playa...XXOO

old said...

ADG - Apropos posting! I roll with a ancient MTM BB (Southwick) black and white vested herringbone suit, pinned white pinpoint club collar shirt, J. Press black knit tie and a well worn but smartly buffed pair of black cordovan tassel loafers today.

Got a nice complement this morning from the stew on my return flight from BOS to DTW. If that last sentence doesnt get Vivian Schiller and he PC homies on my butt, I don't know what will. Don't gorge on that shit chocolate. Get some good stuff!

ADG said... ain't safe! pedestrian palate loves snickers

Lisa said...

I’m not sure which is more revolting: conjuring up the image of you in your purple zebra patterned latex swim thong, cowboy boots and a wife-beater t-shirt or having to eating boiled/ersatz peanuts. I happen to like/eat my peanuts the way God intended: in a Snickers bar.

CeceliaMc said...

That crisp white shirt and black tie cause your timeless double breasted suit to look as crisp, new, and elegant as a freshly minted dime.

The knitted texture of the tie makes the black color appear light and edgy, rather than formal or somber.

Very nice.

ADG said...

Lisa...I'm sure your authority regarding the revulsion caused by my outfit is unimpeachable. However, your ersatz authority regarding God and peanuts is just that. And laughably so.

Anonymous said...

"Wife beater t-shirt" caught my attention. We're talking about the mini-ribbed tank top our very own President Obama wears? You'd think his wife would know better than to let him out the house with that thing showing through his pristine white shirts. Well, she gets a pardon from me because she gets so much else so right. Here in the little beachside development where I live we have The Swingin Medallions playing right this minute, just as they have for the last 25-odd years. Florida/Georgia weekend, GO Gators!

ilovelimegreen said...

I'm just back from Staples were I saw zebra duct tape that would go nicely with your thong (sadly there was no purple zebra duct tape though.) Thanks for the dose of Martin Short.

lindaraxa said...

I love the gold pin through the shirt and still have my father's in my jewelry box...and that type of tie was always my favorite. You look very elegant indeed!