Friday, February 18, 2011

Ralph in the Eighties

Circa 1982. Hard finish…not Harris but a worthy runner-up. Poacher pockets. Norfolk back. Infamous two-button low-gorge front. Ralph Lauren was obsessed with the low gorge stance in the seventies and eighties.
There’s a story about young Ralph working with one of Norman Hilton’s tailors…obsessively prodding the Italian immigrant artisan to lower the button stance yet lower and balance the lapel flair in concert. The tailor, in a fit of exasperation ripped the prototype coat off the suit form and stomped on it in the factory. Obsession is a bitch.
This is one of three swathings that I’ve girded with bellows-poacher pockets. And then there’s the cavalry twill suit sporting the same. I like ‘em…obviously. You’ll like ‘em too. I can carry your lipstick, car keys with your little pepper spray canister attached and your rabbit for you.
It matters that it’s Madder…neckwear wise. The Brethren…tethered and underpinned…all the way through. And geez…who the hell would wear an end on end dress shirt in the winter. Shut ____.
Typical early eighties Ralph lapel. The clothing boys would have sold you one of Ralph's high drama wide ties to accompany this cloak. I don't do drama and I'd long since stopped getting high by the early eighties.
Young people aren't flocking to the tailoring trade. I suspect that in ten more years there won’t be too many artisans left that can properly assemble a Norfolk coat-back like this. 
And this one doesn't even have bi-swing shoulders...a tailoring maneuver that probably tests the mettle of any cutter. I'm not bi and I don't swing. Swinging demands too many thank you notes thereafter and I hate writing more than three.
Yes—This coat pulls just a bit in the middle. Shut up. What the hell do you have in your closet from 1982 that you can STILL wear? What do you have in your closet from 1982 that you’d WANT to wear? I rest my case regarding the campaign-ability and durable attributes of high quality, well contrived  assemblages. I said shut up. Now. Not fifteen minutes from now. Now.
 Onward from the Horsham Pennsylvania Hampton Inn. I've no worries about revealing my ten-twenty. I’m out of here and off to another meeting in an hour. By the time you alerted the Wanker Police and they rolled in with their calipers and handcuffs, they'll have colored me gone.

Onward. Home. ADG, II 

27 comments:

Peter Lloyd said...

A for effort...your sport coat is not a Norfolk. It is simply called a belted-back coat. A Norfolk coat would have self fabric straps over the shoulders finishing at the waist and a complete belt with 2 buttons at the front.
Thanks anyway...
P.S. I was 17 in 1982.

James said...

I love the jacket. I pretty much still wear what it wore in the 80's. Butcept the boxers, TMI? OK shuttin" up shuttin up

ADG said...

Peter. Never said it was a Norfolk. Just posited that the back of the jacket had Norfolk treatments. Thanks.

vir beātum said...

1982? I was five. I've grown a mite since then. However, I do have somebody else's Cerruti grey herringbone tweed jacket from about then. It's also slung that low. And it was made to fit the me of the future.
VB

yoga teacher said...

Whatever it is, I love that coat and you rock it!

I pulled the last of my 80's wear out of the costume section of my closet for a disco party. As a final touch, I rubbed a little flour under my nose. When my sweet 30-something student opened the door, he politely whispered that I had something on my face. I decided then that the 80's are over for me. But I'm keeping my award-winning Bjork-goes-to-the- Oscars-wearing-a-dead swan outfit!

ilovelimegreen said...

My college adviser was an old English sot - somehow related to John Stuart Mill's lover - we called him Sexy Rexy - he had tweed jackets that you would kill for, ADG, and I always thought they had patch pockets but now you have educated me and I can say that those jackets had poacher pockets.
(I was in highschool in the 80s and I still have the pink and green patchwork Eagle's Eye sweater that was the envy of every girl in my class.)

Britt Sudduth said...

The very fact that you can button something from 1982 is extremely impressive. Heck, the only item I have from 82 is my old letter jacket and a bunch of pictures of big-haired girls in pearls and khaki skirts. Nice rig!

Britt

Ian Gilmoure said...

Killer jacket

Gretchen said...

I love the poacher pockets. Anything that allows one to stuff all your random must-carry schmutz around without torquing out your jacket is brilliant thinking, in my opinion. Want to know what footwear you're sporting with this (I'm so obsessed)...monkstraps would be obvious and so I suspect you went with something else? And, as a public service announcement, I just learned that police/safety folks recommend having wasp spray available (in car, by bed, door, etc) as way better than pepper spray. Not necessarily that you want to stash said spray in your poacher pockets (it would totally ruin the line of that lovely coat), but my excruciatingly old Bean field coat could stash it in the rubber lined back section w room to spare for small Central Americans. Just sayin. And hey, since it's Friday, have a WONDERFUL, fun-filled LFG weekend, particularly as it's an extended holiday wkend!

Sir James Redhouse said...

Far better than Ralph today.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Damn, I just love those pockets that are designed to hold a couple of handfuls of shotgun shells....my kinda clothing detail for sure...
Horsham? Crap...you were in my baliwick...shoulda e-mailed. Me and the boys were at The Tavern having Black and Tans and hot roast beef at about 9:30.....the place was a 15 minute drive from your hostelry.

Flo said...

Honest to God, keep the damn chaise, the jacket's mine, I don't care what it's called, norfolk, no-f**k, I want it.

CeceliaMc said...

That plucky elegant silhouette is particularly flattering for men.

Yeah, the stance IS important. A higher one and it can go towards some bristling flatfooted colonel, the low one and it's the elder Prince Philip.

That gorgeous tie takes it all indoors.

Reggie Darling said...

Okay, you got me on this one. I roared with laughter! And congratulations on being able to fit into something you bought almost thirty years ago, old man. AND look swell in it, too! The very idea of it fills Reggie with envy, since it would require starving himself for six months and even then the only clothing he has from the '80s is a ridiculous pair of foam green pleated linen pants that have a stain on them right where you don't want to see one...I keep them to remind myself that even I have serious missteps in the style department. Or at least did one time long ago.

Summer is a Verb said...

Yikes! Alice doesn't live here anymore! No forwarding address available...XXOO

ADG said...

AllieVonCaliperessa....you can't hide. We have stealth caliper that we throw like a lasso...lassie.

Reggie...It took an expensive divorce to slim me back down. I'm on the market man! You my friend, have an embarrassment of gifts...Pompey...a great country house...and of course that pugnacious flurry known as Boy. Whew.

Ceceilia...thanks...now I'm worried about my other gorges.

Flo...both the chaise and the jacket are smarmelated.

MainLiner....we'll connect at some point.

Sir James...yes. But Ralph still does it better than most. Not sure what that says but....

Gretchen...can't believe you are bustin' on little Centrailians. LFG stood me up tonight but I will have her Sunday night as a consolation....Wasp Spray? Shit...when I hear someone outside my window my standard response is...."come in or I'll shoot"...

Ian...thanks.

Britt...."big haired girls in pearls"...I miss 'em. Wish one was here right now!

LimeGreenieeee....Where is the sweater now?

YogaTeach...what a brilliant contrivance. I'm gonna snort some flour tonight.

James...Never TMI from you.

amber said...

Ahhhhh, Ralph in the eighties... just out of college, couldn't find a "real job" so I ended up folding polos at a Polo Ralph Lauren Store. Sure wish I would have kept all my employee purchases!

Preppy 101 said...

I can still wear the jewelry that I wore in 1982. Does that count? Please say yes. :-) Have a great weekend! xoxo

Flo said...

"LFG stood me up tonight"

It ain't gonna help none my sweetheart darlin, but I've been there too, the #@%$)*&? perils of the non-resident parent on alternate weekend rotation. They come down the line all yours, like they can't live without you [and they can't], they make the turn, the barely discernible gather-up-the-feathers-and-take-wing turn, and suddenly all free time is booked solid, and they inform you of this in such a breezy "known" manner that you dare not balk, it's known. But you knew all that. We love you. May I have the jacket please?

Gretchen said...

Not bustin on the smallish folks...offering them a sanctuary (a la 1982) from the loopy folks wanting to purge them from our fine country. I need them to remain to help address my addiction to really good salsa and enchiladas...

old said...

I have two early 1980s vintage Linnet sack sport coats that I still wear on a regular but increasingly infrequent basis to enhance their longevity. Classics from a bygone era - superior fabrics, colors, trad 3 button design with top-stitching and hooked vents. Comparable "off the rack garments" today are rare indeed.

I rue the day in 1996 when I "loaned" our son a dozen or so other Linnet, Polo, Andover Shop and Southwick sport coats to wear at prep school. The two Andover shop jackets are the ones I lament the most.

At least, he had the chance to enjoy them and as I recently learned, profited by selling them on ebay. Damn you, Meg Whitman!

Barima said...

Excellent stuff, ADG. Young people are no longer seduced by the schmatta, but my recent visits to Edward Sexton and Chittleborough & Morgan did unearth some young, enthusiastic apprentices and assistants that seemed grateful for the presence of these old masters

RL was advised at an early stage by the American Peacock Revolutionary Roland Meledandri, way back when - did you ever look into his stuff?

Oh, and please collect your Stylish Blogger Award when you've a moment. You know you earned it

Best,

B

Suburban Princess said...

Verra nice ;o)
I have a Lacoste from 1984 I still wear. In fact I was thinking of having it taken in and tailored a bit this spring. :O)

Lucky Dog / The Commish said...

Why no end on end in winter? Is it winter?

Anonymous said...

Wasp spray for self defense is a bad idea. It is a myth! Stick with the Pepper Spray. Wasp spray is unproven and has never been tested on humans. Wasp Spray will NOT work on those who cannot feel pain i.e. drugs or alcohol. Pepper Spray is an inflammatory which will cause the eyes to slam shut no matter the situation. That’s why over 40,000 law enforcement agencies carry it nationwide and even the smallest canisters will fire 10 ft while the larger canisters will fire 25 to 30 ft.

CeceliaMc said...

I don't know anything about Nascar (other than it being frequently used as a 'vehicle' for juxtaposing some sort of white collar bona fides), but I did once run across some quote by Dale Earnhardt that I have loved.

Evidently, he was expressing himself about other race drivers who voiced some trepidation about the advances in speech technology (or something...), and Earnhardt said that they should tie rags soaked in kerosene around their ankles to keep ants from eating their candy asses.

I've mentally referenced Earnhardt's suggestion several times when faced with one of life's challenges. No kerosene socks, so far.

I hope Dale would approve.

CeceliaMc said...

"Wasp spray for self defense is a bad idea. It is a myth! Stick with the Pepper Spray. Wasp spray is unproven and has never been tested on humans."

I didn't know there was a spray.

Generally, just using expressions like "Quite!" and "Old Bean", is enough to send most other folks scurrying.

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