Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Boutonniere in One’s Lapel


Fiorello. Or piccolo fiore. A little flower. Two of my favorite writers and sartorialists had decided views on such little adornments. George Frazier wore his with elegant restraint. And Frazier devotee Richard Merkin sported his with predictable Merkinessence.
It seems that sometimes Merkin would comply with the tight-bud restraint characteristic of Frazier’s boutonnieres.
A less preening unfurledness rather than a full-bloom Oscar Wildely bunting. Unfurledness. Yes. It’s now a word.  
But then in typical Merkin foppishness there seems to be a full-blown, Full Cleveland floral throwdown on his lapel.
Flower and pocket handkerchief in tandem? I’m on the record as not being scared of making things as fuzzy as possible. I’d have three vents and eleven functional button holes on my sleeves if my bespokers would let me. Sh_t, just vote a straight ticket when you fill out the order form. Check the top box and give me the whole enchilada on the menu. I’m kind of the Ekeko of sartorial options. Just load my lucky ass up with one of everything.
Merkin spoke of the lesson that his surrogate daddy Frazier tried to teach him about flowered lapels.

“George Frazier was the most elegant man I’ve ever known, a columnist and journalist who wrote for the Boston Globe. He didn’t have much clothing but everything he had was impeccable. There was no room for any mistake. And it wasn’t self-conscious. It was at one with him. Every so often I would wear both a flower and a handkerchief and George always chided me for it. He said it was disturbing to have put the two things together. He was right. It’s just a spot of color that accents the whole totality. And it shouldn’t be two spots.”
I’ve never worn a boutonniere other than when a funeral or nuptials called for it. I’m not sure why but it’s certainly not because I’m worried about coming off as too foppy. 1985...with a toothpick in my hand. Musta just popped one of those gnarly wedding reception meatballs in my mouth.
Case in point regarding my fearlessness poor judgement is the unavoidable Thurston Howell the Turd affectation that’s de rigeur with wearing an ascot has never worried me. The cinched security of having my neck dressed in chilly weather trumps for me the unavoidable affectation. Shut up.
Oh, but I did clip a remaining bit of flora from a patio flower pot and slip it into my lapel a few months ago in prep for a good friend’s life celebration. I also wore a pocket handkerchief in tandem and she would have approved. It’s the pink linen one that I wore in my jacket when I drove newborn LFG home from Sibley Hospital.

Maybe I’ve never worn a flower in my lapel because they aren’t handy. Perhaps I would have developed a floral habit if I’d passed a flowering plant every morning as I headed out the door for work. Nowadays unless I’m seeing clients I don’t even have to get dressed.
So what’s all this about boutonnières?  Recently a young lady requested that I order one. That young lady was my daughter, LFG. My not so little girl had her first real date. A fine young man asked her to a semi-formal dance and as far as I can tell it was a sweet and chivalrous gesture.

And she needed a flower. Here’s the text from LFG, asking if I’d placed the flower order for her fella. Boutonniere ain’t real easy to spell so I reckon “bout thingy” is as good an effort as any.

This is old news but I’ll repeat it. I only have one child and she is the most important thing on this earth. And to say that I’ve been in denial about the inevitability of  things like growing up and going to high school and getting learner’s permits and having crushes and getting her heart broken and yes, going on dates; is a breathtaking understatement.

Denial aside for a moment…I’m so impressed with this young man and how he went about asking my daughter to accompany him to the dance. My LFG jumps in my car after school with a bouquet. It seems that the gentleman gave LFG a dozen roses between classes and asked her to be his date. He’s not my boy but I’m proud of him.

I was telling a guy who has five daughters about LFG’s first date.  And he shared with me a technique regarding how to convey to a young man a father’s sentiments on how he wants his daughter to be treated.
So this is for you, mister chivalrous man who has so impressed me by the way you asked my baby to be your homecoming date. And if our paths cross in the future, my challenge to you will be even more pertinent.

Whatever you do to my daughter, I’m going to do to you.

Treat her with dignity and respect and I’ll treat you with dignity and respect. Open doors for her, literally and figuratively and I’ll open literal and figurative doors for you. Make her laugh and I’ll make you laugh. Be kind to her always and I’ll always be kind to you. Try to be patient and give her some slack even when you don’t want to or don’t feel like it and I’ll offer you my patience and latitude. And have my daughter home by eleven.

Onward.

ADG-2 

7 comments:

Meg Fairfax Fielding said...

My father, who was a great dresser, used to stop every morning during the warmer months, and pick a flower from our English gardens. Sometimes it was a tiny rose, sometimes a little bachelor's button, sometimes a daisy.

ADG said...

MegTown...I wish that I had met your dad!

M.Lane said...

ADG, so great to see your post. I really enjoyed it. Thanks.

ML

kendallhill said...

Thank you--and welcome back!

Lisa Guimond said...

I'm so glad you posted; I've missed you terribly.

Young Fogey said...

Welcome back to Bloggoland! I'm looking forward to reading your randomalia, which really needs to be compiled some day.

In all the pictures I've ever seen of Fred Astaire wearing a boutonniere, he's sporting a pocket square, too. Then again, he was Fred Astaire, so he made it work. Even though I've been favorably compared to him, since I'm not Fred Astaire, I think I'll follow Frazier's advice for when I decide to adorn my lapel with something floral.

P.S.: Your beard makes my beard want to hide in shame.

ADG said...

Thank you, everyone!

Fogey...I owe you a phone call. And my beard...is gone!

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