I have a pile of questions from folks over at my tumblr and being the long winded guy that I am I've decided to gather up a bunch of 'em and posit some responses here...
“When did you get your first toy soldier?”
Ducksterini...I was a kid of the 1960's and '70's and essentially ALL of the lead-hand painted makers had given up on their version of to soldier b 1966. The heady era of painted-lead soldiers was the mid 1800's till the late 1950's. After that, bags of literally a hundred plastic toy soldiers could be bought for the price of ten lead ones. And by the '60's there was concern about lead poisoning. I had tons of plastic ones growing up. But then about 30 years ago my uncle gave me 6 old lead ones and that whetted my interest in them. I collected maybe 30-40 more and then put that collecting effort aside as I bought more art and caricatures. After my divorce, I unpacked the old box of lead toy soldiers and the collecting bug came back with a vengeance.
“Ok, what's the secret to your successful greening? Also, you have anymore paisley shorts or pants like you sent my cohort in style, Carolinastyle. Thanks, cheers, F.T.H.”
Green shoe polish. And yes, I've probably got another pile of duds that you boys would like to have.
“I have to laugh. So many blogs have popped up recently that are unquestionably in imitation of yours. In some cases its the tone, in other it's the writing or the photos or the themes. You probably won't admit it, but I can and I have no horse in this race. You should be flattered by the imitation. And by the way, you still surpass them all in terms of style, creativity, vision, artistry, pathos ... You are a character!”
That's very kind of you to say. I wish that I had more time to write stories these days but I just don't.
“Hey ADG, I'm a young guy who enjoys following your blog, and now the Tumblr. You wear a lot of cotton suits. They look great. Do you recommend buying them fully canvassed? I ask because I hear that cotton suits don't last so long. Maybe that's wrong? Sorry if this is obvious canon. BTW, I buy my suits custom made in Hong Kong, so finding the cotton suit in question isn't an issue.”
My greatest indulgence was having the Flusser boys make me a seersucker suit. Common wisdom, which the record shows that I possess none of, would tell us not to spend the big bucks on fully canvassed bespoke goods that are so seasonable and so perishable. But if you are getting them in Hong Kong, you are probably getting them for palatable prices so why not swing for the fences?
“Do you have a go-to company for your chinos?”
Not really. I buy 'em on the cheap from Polo and J. Crew mostly. But I'm thinking about giving Bill's a try again.
“OK ADG, what's more classical and versatile for spring/summer, blue seersucker or pincord suit and why? Gracias, dollahs in the mail. PAB”
I haven't thought about pincord in ages. I do have a pair of pincord trousers but I'd vote for seersucker. It's just a personal preference I suppose.
“How about some commentary / posting on lapel width and proportion? I just got a good look at 007 in the famous glen plaid 3 piece suit from Goldfinger and was shocked at how skimpy his lapels are. These days, I figure the go/ no go limit is probably at 50% on the Lapel-O-Meter, but your pal Ralph will frequently shoot up to 75 or more. What say you?”
Lapel width is something I've not paid too much attention to when it comes to my clothes. Since most of them are MTM/bespoke, I leave it to the elves to decide what the proportions should be. I was aware of Flusser's modest update and tweak to their house model about five years ago and was pleased with the slightly streamlined result. I do recall having a Polo DB suit about twenty years ago with lapels so wide that Mark "Puerto" Rykken referred to them as "dorsal fins."
"Was there ever a time when you first went from Off The Rack to something more and suddenly you had One Really Cool Garment and a whole lot of also-rans? Did you cull quickly and mercilessly or did you just work towards spreading the luxe around, like dressing on a salad? Or have you never had to suffer with the ordinary?"
First, I've never really deemed my closet as containing any "also rans." The off the rack stuff that I've held on to or bout at Bobby from Boston or whatever...has always been a complementary part of my sartorial lineup or it ends up out the door... eBay or to a couple of devotees who read my blog and wear the same size clothes that I do. Regarding culling quickly and mercilessly...It took me years to learn this skill. I used to hang on to stuff that I hadn't worn in years just because "this is Purple Label, I can't get rid of it..." I've now learned to let stuff go a bit more readily. And finally, my negative net worth tells me that not only should I have suffered the ordinary longer than I ever did, I should be doing more of it currently.
"What's your opinion of trousers with pockets cut like the one above? I've always preferred pockets cut vertically that are a continuation of the side seam. Even the slightest diagonal seems to emphasize one's width - probably not something you need to thing about."
Well first, yes, I'm blessed with having a build that I reckon is a bit more complementary to wearing these things. On the other hand, they still manifest the same puckering whateverishness on me and everyone else who wears them. Even Columnist and sartorial know it all, my favorite wordsmith...George Frazier.
I'd waive anyone off from making buying western/top pockets if you are uber retentitive about lines and symmetry and such. Because regardless of one's build, they are gonna be problematic.
"Hello, Can you tell me the origin of "GTH" and patchwork. I have heard a few versions and would like to know the real story. Joe"
I'm not sure. But the general conscenus I hear from those in the know, generally attribute much of the Trady-Ivy jauntiness to Chipp, the venerable Gotham store that I undortunately, never set foot in. But the story goes that Sid Winston and his boys were always contriving jaunty assembleages of madras and patchwork stuff and colorful, woldly patterned linings and risque and humorous neckwear.
And I suppose the best evidence of Chipp's propensity for whimsical, GTH items was their infamous jockstrap.
And of course, my Rinpoche, Mr. Flusser, courtesy of John Tinseth from The Trad and Rose Callahan posits on GTH trousers here. And I quote the quote.."The stylish button-downers would engage in a form of sartorial one-upmanship that brought wild dollops of golf course color or tartan-inspired outrageousness into classic ensembles that made insiders smile while others winced." --Alan Flusser from Style and the Man
Ok. That's enough for now. Gotta go loofah my stretch marks.