Saturday, December 10, 2011

Houndstooth Diagonality

Everything I write here is twee and superficial. But it’s been a while since I’ve limited my impertinence to purely sartorial drivelosity. Maybe it was the tumescent houndstooth carpet in the hallway at the Sheraton Jacksonville this week that inspired yesterday’s houndstooth rig. Or maybe it was the radical change made in my diet over these past many weeks.
You see; after at least a decade of “dry-up-three olives”…and often times, jalapeno stuffed ones…I’ve taken to my martinis with a twist. I think I’ve reached the point of olive overload. So after months of leaving two of the three olives alongside my cocktail napkin, drying out slowly…taking on that sandpapery dullness like a beached dolphin parching in the sun…I quit ‘em. No need to waste the briny bulbs of ‘tini ballast. For years I was as hooked (not really—I’m lying my ass off) on the olives as I was the hooch. I liked, especially with the taste buddian Fourth of July pyrotechnics offered by the jalapeno stuffed ones, the bitter tantrum that a gnashed morsel of olive would offer amidst an ice cold swig of clear comfort. Kinda like a Quaalude with a half sour.
Oh. Right. I was going to stick to just the sartorial stuff this morning. So it’s finally cold enough here to consistently wear winter togs. And it’s about time since our weather swings have been crazy. “Brown houndstooth and light gray flannel? That doesn’t match.” Do you EVEN remember who’s writing this sh_t? When did I worry about what matched? I consider light gray a neutral color. Shut the…
It wasn’t my original idea. I saw this little houndstooth-gray flannel snap of God Flusser over twenty years ago in a New York Times menswear supplement and it made sense to me. So there’s the attribution. Let’s move on.
But let's don't--for a moment. Here's the hint of gray flannel prairie doggin' out from under the swath of fabric.
This is a strong rig. Don't argue it with me.
Oh, and let me address the issue of diagonality. I’ve already anticipated the blowback that’ll be coming off of this but here goes. My preference is to angle a tie bar in a rather extreme manner. 
One could argue that since the tie has diagonal stripes, a horizontal placement would create enough visual dissonance to make all of this junk geometrically interesting. Exactly. And that’s exactly why I wouldn’t do it.
And another point—please. DO NOT use a collar pin AND a tie bar. You’ll over collateralize your rig with unnecessary accoutrement…making redundant one of the two pieces of hardware. And you’ll be on the cusp of blingy. But you DO need one of them. Let me explain. A collar pin heightens the visual interest of the tie knot. It perks it up by cinching it in a way that creates a proud perch. We call it Proud Perch Perkiness. Every fraternity had one of those guys...Proud Perch Perky. Who was yours? 
However, collar pins on these classic rounded collars is a no-no. It causes an already attenuated collar flap to almost disappear. Case in point is H. Ross Perot and his, for decades, ubiquitous round collar pinned (collar bar) ensemble. The giant sucking sound of collar nothingness is the endgame here. Don’t do it.
Ok, so if we can’t use a pin on these collars, how do we achieve Proud Perch Perkiness? You do so with a tie bar. Same outcome, different tactic. “You’ll never find a winning characteristic of one approach that fits all collar situations. Globalization of strategy is precarious.” –Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
So you wanna longer rounded collar that you can pin? No problem, when you bespeak shirts, just order a straight point collar and have them round the points for you. Request a rather significant rounding of the points and you’ll achieve the stellar outcome that Richard Merkin was known for when commissioning the same.
So this vintage Flusser jacket is a Brooks Brethren inspired model. Notch lapels…a deviation from my standard Flusser order of single breasted 2/3 peak lapels.
Patch and flap pockets and a ticket pocket to boot. I like the sprezzaturated insouciance that preens just a tiny bit—courtesy of the doggie eared pocket flaps. Shut up.
You can’t really see it but the breast pocket is an open patch as well. And all of the seams are welted. Only thing missing is a hook center vent. I don’t do center vents. Hooked double vents? Maybe.
The tie is Purple Label Ralph and the shirt is a twenty year old Alan Flusser end on end. Cuff Snaps? Yep. Georgetown Flea Market. Fifteen bucks. Bam.
I rounded this out with chocolate suede Edward Green Monkstraps and spent the day at Providence Hospital in Washington D.C. If you wanna be assured of a greater level of gratitude for your less than perfect life, spend a day at one of the only two hospitals in  a large urban area that will care for certain subsets of Medicaid patients. Humbling. Back home, in my three hundred square feet of divorced man-nest, I kept my rig on for a while. Butcept I slipped into some kilim slippers. Diagonally. With a twist.

Onward. Mixing and matching. 80G-2


Suburban Princess said...

I'm speechless.

But I do remember saying in my 'How to buy ADG a tie' post that if it goes with anything, put it back.

Wasn't it Coco Chanel who said to take one piece of jewelry off before leaving the house? Applies to your tie bar/clip directions.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Olives drying like a washed up on the beach dolphin...brilliant imagery....Can we light one of those jackets on fire?

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

I enjoy a pinned club collar, actually. It's a yes-yes for me. As for brown houndstooth and gray flannels, I've always liked the pairing a lot... unlike the pairing of vodka with the word "Martini".

ADG said...

Stankee-Whiskey...I drank gin martinis for years. No can do no moe. Incredible headaches the next day. And the juniper berries turn me into a nudist--at the most inopportune times. Not good.

MainLiner...don't think I can make the fight night. What else is new right?

Suburban...Coco...I think I'm gonna take that on as my new moniker.

ilovelimegreen said...

1. I never liked olives myself but you know how I am about citrus!
2. I consider light grey a neutral color myself.
3. Love the tie and the jacket too but I will keep my thoughts about the tie bar to myself.

LPC said...

It's like watching a really good surfer, reading your stuff, watching you dabble in clothing. The occasional wipeout just makes the whole sport more exciting.

Renée Finberg said...

you had me at
"Everything I write here is twee and superficial"

love the post!

Chris said...

Proud perch perkiness. You have changed my entire conception of the tie bar. Really. My mind is blown. It seems, though, that the bar must be used in conjunction with the jacket buttons for the effect to be correct.

Re olives: has your diet changed recently? I cannot abide over-seasoned dishes of any kind, but I drink martinis very dirty. I've always thought this was odd but that, possibly, the two preferences are related.

Anonymous said...

I think you may feel more comfortable at Sibley

ADG said...

AnonymousSibley...interesting that you mention Hotel Sibley. My daughter was born there. And...I didn't include it in my story but I ended my day at Sibley--after my meetings at Providence. I'm doing a project with a client who markets a cancer drug. And here's the the Infusion Suite at Sibley, the cancer patients were just as terminal, just as bald, just as scared yet hopeful and a few can see it in the eyes of terminally ill people...sans hope and caring anymore. I'd rather get my care at Sibley but cancer gives not a damn who you are and what your insurance card offers.

Chris...nope...the buttoned coat helps but if you create the "arc" before sliding the bar on the apron of the tie...BAM...preening perkiness rises.

Renee Finberg...stop it you stunning design woman.

LPC/Prunella...and YOU stop it too. But thanks.


Nolan said...

My wife's parents got me a monogrammed engine turned sterling tie bar last Christmas. It's easily my most used gift ever, and I've only had it a year.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Well done.

The tie, jacket, and shirt combo is wonderful.

But, I still don't like those weird rounded/pinned collars that you wear.


I think you could really shine with a spread collar style.

Turling said...

Sweet Mary Jesus, I'm happy to see we've returned to the important matters at hand. My universe has slammed back into balance once again.

Young Fogey said...

You had me with this rig--until we got to the shoddings (but you didn't wear them in public, and slippers are exactly what one should wear inside, so I guess I should shut my pie hole). From the ankles up, you look like our old pal Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David (aka Edward VIII/the Duke of Windsor), if he partial to odd jackets instead of suits.

Incidentally, whyfor the silken neck-dangler?

ADG said...

FogeyYoung...the silken neck dangler? I was in hospitals and medical clinics all day that day. I always wear a tie when out in the "field" interviewing/interacting with healthcare providers etc.

Turling...Sweet Mary Jesus is a palm reader-ess in my town. Thank her/him/it.'s the only one I have of that ilk.

Nolan...sounds like a great little accessory.