Monday, June 27, 2011

George Frazier: The Illustrated Art of Wearing Clothes

The article was epic for its time. And Esquire was, in 1960, still a magazine that one actually read. Arnold Gingrich shepherded Esquire through decades of publication that saw no less than Fitzgerald and Hemingway as contributors. New Journalism acolytes Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe could be found therein, along with the intellectually pugnacious Norman Mailer. Esquire was a magazine that tended to all things male including subjects sartorial. But subjects sartorial in the eyes of men in 1960 remained to a degree, as they were in the halcyon days of Apparel Arts. It remained a time when men really, really gave a damn about their apparel and deportment…but not so much to appear studied or giving too much of a damn.
Context is crucial when considering “The Art of Wearing Clothes.” I didn’t disagree when my buddy Toad posited that the article, and I paraphrase loosely as hell here, “seems a bit worn” these days. Certainly by the standards of today’s incredible repository of stellar books on menswear and all the blogs and coffee table tomes chock-full of beautiful color photos of tasty goods, Frazier’s epic ain’t quite as. Plus today we have celebrity designer/tastemakers like Ralph Lauren and stellar sartorial phrase turners like Flusser to provide color and color commentary. Not taking anything away from my aforementioned idols, especially Flusser who’s essentially a Frazier equal at wordsmithing, but we’re now in an epoch of attenuated commentary, twee contrivances of bastardized “heritage-artisanal-authentic” classics and foppish peacockery that would make Frazier and most of his epic article’s subjects vomit. And for me it’s as much about Frazier’s writing as it is the sartorial subject anyway.
And what about Frazier’s writing? George Frazier turned phrases for articles and taunted the world in his columns in ways never to be witnessed again…especially his columns. Frazier IV and I talked about it in New Orleans last month. Nobody could write columns today like his father and get away with it. Our world today is way, way too politically correct for the likes of a George Frazier. Plus Frazier’s level of erudition; given our “Housewives of New York—Pawn Stars—Swamp People” sensibilities and intellectual new-low, would be for naught.
The Bowdoin Prize for Essays is considered by some to be the most prestigious, coveted and highest writing award bestowed by Harvard. Undergraduate and graduate students have been recipients of it since 1790. John Updike, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. won it. So did Frazier…after writing in one night, typing with one finger, a five thousand word essay entitled “Ernest Hemingway: A Critical Study in Two Temperaments.” The piece was originally written as a senior honors thesis and was rejected. Frazier in later years suspected that it was rejected because Hemingway at the time was considered to be a rather vulgar writer and not worthy of academic consideration. I know how Papa must have felt.
What sweet revenge to have Frazier’s academic adviser suggest that he submit the undergraduate term paper for Bowdoin consideration…and to win. So for those of you who aren’t interested in things sartorial, I hope that you’ll at least enjoy some of Frazier’s introductory musings about Brummell and clothes. You’ll probably become bored by the time you get to the list of best dressed men and that’s ok.
So Frazier could write but what gave him the authority to write so commandingly about clothes? Like many of us, Frazier loved clothes. But he also had in his best friend Charlie Davidson, a great source for sartorial information. Davidson’s Andover Shop became for a period, Frazier’s Saturday morning hangout. Biographer Charles Fountain offers… “It is not unfair to suggest that Charlie taught George Frazier everything he knew about clothes. Though George had always been a natty dresser, he never passed himself off as an expert in the field until he got to know Davidson and started picking his brain.” When I asked George Frazier IV about his dad’s sartorial affinities, he shared that... “You would have thought it was the Prussian General Staff planning a military campaign when he and Charlie Davidson discussed the buttonholes on the sleeve of a tweed jacket that might or might not be made.” Frazier IV also shared that his father remained very proud of the article and Frazier IV even has a version of it written in Japanese. "Interesting, Frazier IV told me, to browse the Japanese version of it and see the lone English word ETON standing out among the characters." 
So “The Art of Wearing Clothes”, after Frazier’s two-year effort to get it “just-right”, became a September 1960 Esquire cover story.  Frazier’s erudition coupled with it being published in Esquire pretty much assured Frazier’s authority as sartorial spokesperson for the time. But Arnold Gingrich needed to sprinkle in a dash of diplomacy in his opening preamble to Frazier’s treatise. Gingrich felt that a few rather dashing figures had been left off the list. So he asserted that the list was Frazier’s and that the list contained forty of the best dressed men in America, not the forty best dressed men. By the way, that’s Arnold Gingrich above.
And if there was every any ambiguity regarding the genesis of Esquire’s mascot Esky, I’m here to offer that Esky is unequivocally a Gingrich doppelgänger.

So let me conclude my rambling introduction with a few things. I decided to illustrate Frazier’s article simply out of raw curiosity. Who were these men and what did they look like? Other than the obvious celebrities on the list, I was clueless. Next, I do play rather fast and loose with photos used in my blog stories. I should do a better job of asking permission for using some of them and surely, I could do a better job of attribution. But I try not to lift too much copyrighted material without permission or attribution. I’m admittedly doing so by re-blogging verbatim, “The Art of Wearing Clothes.” It’s already been lifted and blogged so many times that I feel slightly less culpable of anything since I’m in multiple company.

And finally, I dedicate this effort to “Richard M.” He’s a stellar husband, father, grandfather, physician and fanatic about words and things sartorial. It was Richard M. who alerted his friend George Frazier, IV of New Orleans that I was saying decent things about his dad; thus enabling my Frazier IV connection. Without Richard M.'s assistance, I’d have never been able to locate photos of most of the forty best dressed on Frazier’s list. Because in 1960, most of these best dressed weren’t blinging it in the media every week. They didn’t care that much about seeing and being seen. They worked…or spent time at their clubs. Richard M. and I did our best to find photo evidence of these men but alas, I gave up on finding anything representing a couple of them. So here it is…first with the introduction by Arnold Gingrich.

The Art of Wearing Clothes

The wearing of clothes considered as a manly act…
George Frazier

George Frazier's article, The Art of Wearing Clothes, which you will find on page 118, represents the first time that anyone has ever picked any sort of list of best-dressed men in the pages of this magazine. This may seem odd, since one of Esquire's avowed aims, for twenty-seven years, has been the fomentation of an increased awareness of the niceties of dress on the part of the American male. But it wasn't until the completion of Frazier's current piece, which has been in work for almost two years, that we felt that there was a backdrop, giving sufficient depth and perspective and insight into tradition, against which to make such a list seem of more than passing importance.

In theory, and given Esquire's abiding interest in the subject, we could have let almost anybody make up such a list, of almost any size, for any or all of the years since '33. Or we could have done it, for any or all of those years, ourselves.

But Esquire's relationship to the subject of men's dress has always been strictly reportorial, with literally no leeway ever allowed for the indulgence of whim, opinion, prejudice or fancy. Our fashion staff has recorded, as impassively as a barometer, the backs and forths and ups and downs of the cyclic changes in men's fashions, and our fashion pages have always reflected, not what any of our editors happened to think was nifty, but simply "what they're wearing" and what, in consequence, you would be most likely to be shown whenever you next essayed the task of selecting your own clothes.

The grand strategy of Esquire's fashion function, over the years, has been to make all American men a little better dressed, rather than to fool with tactical skirmishes over which men, whether by a little or a lot, were the best-dressed.

Fortunately for the interest of his article, The Art of Wearing Clothes, George Frazier has been uninhibited by any such compunctions as are inherent in the role of our fashion editors. They are as wedded as the weatherman to what's current and upcoming, with just as little regard to what's past. Frazier, with an individual author's joyous freedom to disregard the limitations and obligations imposed by current coverage, can roam the whole historic background of the subject of men's dress, and if he's intrigued, for instance, by a 1912 dinner jacket, he can say so, without let or hindrance, whereas any member of our fashion staff would probably choke over any such defection from the hallowed doctrine of "evolution by obsolescence."
George Frazier
But just as some men have a hobbyist's obsession with vintage cars, rare books, old stamps or coins or any other collector's mania, from bottle caps and matchbooks to cuff links and old buttons, George Frazier has a similar obsession with—we almost said old clothes, and we'd almost have been right, as you'll see in reading the article—let's say, rather, with the art of men's dress. Apparently, in Frazier's book, no well-dressed man's clothes should look either old or new, just as no well-groomed man should look either as if he needed, or as if he'd just had, a haircut.

A similar sentiment is expressed by Fred Astaire, one of the men cited in Frazier's list of the well-dressed, in the postscript to his remarks on page 119, where he mentions his habit of tossing new hats and suits against a wall to relieve them of their square newness. (So if a new indoor sport springs up all over America, and erstwhile handballers and horseshoe pitchers take to suit-and-hat pitching and tossing instead, you'll be one of those who know where it all started.)
Tommy Hitchcock
Note that we emphasize that this list of well-dressed men is Frazier's list. We say that not simply because his list is controversial, as any such list would undoubtedly be, whether it were his or ours, but chiefly because we can think of a few additions, offhand, that we could make if the list were ours, but can't since it isn't. 
John Williams
For instance, if it's well-dressed actors you're looking for, we don't see how you could overlook John Williams...
...and if it's artists, then our first nomination would be Leslie Saalburg, one of the best-dressed men on either of the two continents between which he divides his time, and if its sports and/or society figures... 
J. Cheever Cowdin
...then we can't see how you could leave out J. Cheever Cowdin, one of the Big Four of polo from the time of the great Tommy Hitchcock.
Tommy Hitchcock
But there we go, shoving up to the head of the line to take potshots at George Frazier's list before it's even printed. That shows you how controversial any such list must be. But before you begin to controvert it, either in letters to us or by any other form of indignation meeting that may occur to you, we hope, and implore, that you'll at least first read, all the way through, the article, The Art of Wearing Clothes, to which Frazier has, in effect, added his list by way of example. Some of the men on his list, by the way, seem to feel that the whole article, indeed the whole subject, is controversial, while others don't, but for curiously differing reasons. One of the men on Mr. Frazier's list, David Tennant Bryan, Publisher of the Richmond Times Dispatch and News-Leader, says he is "convinced that you must be in error in believing that my name could or should be mentioned, even briefly, in any article on men's apparel. Frankly I couldn't care less about the whole subject—and if I were mentioned at all, I'm sure it would be as a horrible example of what not to do." 

Richardson Dilworth
And another, Richardson Dilworth, the Mayor of Philadelphia, when asked to comment, replied, "I really think that my comments would be very damaging to the article, as I have worn the same type of suit for almost thirty years without variation."
John McClain
John McClain, drama critic of the New York Journal-American, said he was "somewhat startled even to be included in anybody's list of classy dressers, even by that classy dresser, George Frazier." However, after expressing his unwillingness to be "corrupted by the apparent desire of the men's-wear industry to eliminate lapels and do away with double-breasted suits," McClain concluded with: "The problem of male attire does not, honestly, occupy much of my time, but it is an expression of taste and hence should be approached with serious thought. Except for occasional glimpses in a mirror one is saved the sight of himself, but it is considerate to appear as soothing as possible for his friends."
Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks, cited by Mr. Frazier as a contributor to Vanity Fair, but who could also with equal truth have been identified as an early contributor to Esquire, is of the opinion that "The cut or style of a man's suit is less important to the over-all effect than the state and taste of his shoes and linen. I've always thought it unwise to over-plan dress, and that if the quality of what you have is good it is best not to be too deliberate. A smart old hat or suit is often better looking than a new one."
Bill Blass deplores "the light-weight fabrics so frequently worn by American men," feeling that it takes heavier fabric to achieve the proper cut, and, though he travels frequently, says he is "never tempted any more with ordering suits in Rome, Madrid or Hong Kong, as they are never right," prefers to wait to get his suits made in New York by Lord.
Another who feels the same disenchantment with the lure of the exotic is William Hutton who says that after trying numerous English, Italian and Spanish tailors he still feels that he gets the best styling and workmanship from Wetzel in New York, who have been making clothes for him since his Harvard days.

Al Herrmann, the fashion illustrator, airs a few gripes with: "Fads, gimmicks, ersatz ivy with its too narrow lapels, so-called continental with its too tight trousers have no place in the wardrobe of a truly well-dressed man and are as ridiculous as the Teddy boys and the Zoot-suiters of the Forties."
Walter Halle of Cleveland favors "a suit silhouette that has shoulders of medium width, not too wide and not too narrow, very slightly squared. A slight suggestion of suppression at the waistline. Trousers trim and narrow, and I am just enjoying them cuffless. The style of the lapel (which also is of medium width) is a matter of personal taste and so are details such as the pocket flaps—whether I wish a change pocket, etc. I also believe I will have a new double-breasted or two for fall, because I feel that I will get great pleasure in wearing a well-proportioned double-breasted suit after so many years."

In the opinion of Dorland Doyle, who sums up pretty well the consensus of those queried who were cited by Mr. Frazier, "The conservative man instinctively obeys four simple principles: (1) Never loud colors or extreme cut. (2) Dress for comfort instead of following excessive fads. (3) Fewer but better built suits and shoes made to order with trees fitted to the shoes. (4) Rotate all coats, suits, shoes, etc. to rest them."

Oddly enough, not one of the well-dressed men on the Frazier list mentioned what we have always thought of as the line between the men and the boys in the art of wearing clothes, which is the avoidance of the exposure of a length of bare calf between sock-top and trouser-bottom when seated. But maybe, to such sophisticates as these, any mention of such an elementary gaffe as that would come under the heading of elucidation of the obvious.
—A.G. [Arnold Gingrich, Esquire Publisher]

by George Frazier

The history of this rare masculine art and of the men who practice it supremely well.
Many a vagrant vogue has prevailed and perished in the hundred-and-fifty-odd years since George Bryan (Beau) Brummell resigned from the tony Tenth Hussars upon being denied permission to wear a uniform of his own design, but the criterion by which men are adjudged either beautifully or badly dressed is still what it was in that dandified day when people cherished the belief that the Beau achieved the flawless fit of his gloves by having the fingers made by one man and the thumbs by another. 
Lord Byron
Now, as then, an impeccably turned-out male is characterized by the same "certain exquisite propriety" of dress that Lord Byron admired so abundantly in Brummell. "If John Bull turns to look after you," the Beau once observed, "you are not well-dressed, but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable."
This was Brummell's bequest—his irreproachably tasteful simplicity. What's more, it is the one constant in the fickleness of fashion, nor has any mode, no matter how maniac, ever proved it spinach—neither the cult of pipe-stemmed perfection that caused any true Edwardian dandy to shudder at the thought of having, as Max Beerbohm put it...
Max Beerbohm
"the incomparable set of his trousers spoilt by the perching of any dear little child upon his knee"; nor the autograph-slickered, bell-bottomed callowness of the "cake-eaters" and "sheiks" who found their laureate in John Held, Jr.; nor the casual coolness of all the beer jackets of Princeton springtimes; nor the abortive and itinerant "Italian style"; nor, for that matter, even the natural-shouldered, pleatless-trousered look that is known as "Ivy League," but that by any name at all would still be the Brooks Brothers No. 1 sack suit.

Prior to Brummell, men had dressed to almost freakish excess. Thus, according to Hayden's Dictionary of Dates, Sir Walter Raleigh wore:

". . . a white-satin-pinked vest close-sleeved to the wrist, and over the body a doublet finely flowered, and embroidered with pearls, and in the feather of his hat a large ruby and pearl drop at the bottom of the sprig in place of a button. His breeches, with his stockings and ribbon garters, fringed at the end, all white; and buff shoes, which, on great court days, were so gorgeously covered with precious stones as to have exceeded the value of 6,600 pounds; and he had a suit of armor of solid silver, with sword and hilt blazing with diamonds, rubies and pearls."
Nor was Lord Buckingham, James I's favorite, any shrinking violet either, for, as Hayden has it, he "had his diamonds tacked so loosely on [his robe] that when he chose to shake a few off on the ground, he obtained all the fame he desired from the pickers-up." 
And then, too, there was Prince von Kaunitz, who achieved the desired shade of his wig by strolling back and forth while four lackeys sprayed it with different tints of scented powder. Indeed, in those pre-Brummell years, men were such peacocks that The Times of London used to describe their clothes in as minute and fascinated detail as it did women's.

With the Beau's arrival in London, however, restraint in male attire became the order of the day and, for that matter, of every debonair day thereafter. It is, in fact, almost impossible to exaggerate Brummell's influence, for as Virginia Woolf has said, "Without a single noble, important, or valuable action to his credit, he cuts a figure; he stands for a symbol; his ghost walks among us still." Indeed, because of him alone simplicity became the hallmark of the well-dressed man, whether he be a Victorian Prime Minister named Lord Melbourne, an American general named A. J. Drexel Biddle, a former Secretary of State named Dean Acheson, or a song-and-dance man out of Omaha named Fred Astaire.
But Brummell, far from being a prophet without honor, was a legend even in his own lifetime—a circumstance, incidentally, that he helped propagate by circulating rumors to the effect that, among other primping practices, he mixed champagne in his boot polish, employed three different coiffeurs to do his hair (one for the temples, another for the crown, and a third for the front), and had once jilted a rich and beautiful noblewoman because he couldn't abide the way she ate cabbage. Nevertheless, his fussiness was genuine and it was a matter of record that he refused to take off his hat to ladies for fear that he might not be able to get it back on his head at the precisely rakish angle. Furthermore, his concern for himself was so rapt that he was able to identify his troop only because one of its members had "a very large blue nose." Yet for all his affectations, he was possessed of a sense of beauty that bordered on genius. So flawless was the fit of Brummell's coat that, according to Byron, "It seemed as if the body thought."

Indeed, next to the Beau himself, Byron must have been Brummell's most ardent admirer—a circumstance, by the way, that must seem a little incredible, for, as famous as he was, as handsome, as talented, as nobly-born, and as much a lion among the ladies, Byron, who achieved his own wind-blown "Byronic" look by putting his hair up in curlers at bedtime, spent sleepless nights tossing over his inability to tie a neck cloth with any of Brummell's surpassing skill.

As it happened, the Beau, who took three hours to dress and used to change his clothes three times a day, made such a ritual of tying his neck cloth that the Prince of Wales, who, it was said, "would rather be amiable and familiar with his tailor than agreeable and friendly with the most illustrious members of the aristocracy," considered it a privilege to be permitted to observe the ceremony. The trick was to wrinkle the twelve-inch-wide white muslin which was wound horizontally around the neck, into the five-or-so inches between the chin and shoulder blades. This "creasing down," as it was known, was accomplished by Brummell's reclining in his chair as if he were being shaved and, when the cloth was finally wound around his neck, sinking his head, ever so slowly, until the muslin wrinkled to perfection, for, as Virginia Woolf has said, "If one wrinkle was too deep or too shallow, the cloth was thrown into a basket and the attempt renewed." Once, when a visitor inquired what Brummell's valet was carrying as he descended from his master's dressing room, he was informed, "These are our failures, sir." This was what has since come to be known as "studied carelessness"—"the perfect art," as Kathleen Campbell has said, "which conceals art, that satisfying spontaneity which can be achieved only by taking intense thought." 

Nowadays, it is to be observed in such seeming trifles as the way that a well-dressed man wears a handkerchief in his breast pocket. Unlike the wrong way—a squarish effect which, though the handkerchief is merely thrust into the pocket, gives a highly contrived look—it consists of fluffing the handkerchief so painstakingly that it seems merely to have been thrust into the pocket.
But even studied carelessness cannot make a man well-dressed if he lacks, in Max Beerbohm's words, "physical distinction, a sense of beauty, and either cash or credit." Moreover, if age cannot wither, neither, for that matter, can custom-tailoring stale the man who has those attributes.

It is scarcely a coincidence that not only are most "best-dressed" men more than forty years of age, but also that they rarely, if ever, wear ready-made clothes. For in addition to good looks and clothes sense, they have by and large, enough money to afford the invaluable collaboration of superb tailors like Bernard Weatherill and H. Harris in New York and E. Tautz in London; of such American shirtmakers as Dudley G. Eldridge, Brooks Brothers, and Sulka's, and Turnbull & Asser of London...

... of bootmakers like Lobb of St. James's Street in London (which is, incidentally, one of the most beautiful shops in the world) and the Boston Bootmakers of Boston; of tiemakers like Dudley G. Eldridge, Sulka's, and Brooks Brothers in this country and Turnbull & Asser abroad; and, equally important, of barbers as skilled as, say, the celebrated Vincent Battaglia of the Plaza Hotel. "Best-dressed" men are, almost without exception, committed to nothing but the best (though not necessarily the most expensive), and even their shoes must be polished (and, frequently, boned) to perfection—just as was the case in Regency London when the death of one Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly of the First Foot Guards sent all the dandies racing to hire his valet, who was rumored to have a secret formula that had imparted the incomparable sheen to his late master's footwear. When, incidentally, the valet let it be known that he expected a salary of two hundred pounds a year, Brummell told him, "If you will make it guineas, I shall be happy to attend upon you." As things were to turn out, there was a certain ominousness about this anecdote, for it reveals Brummell at the critical moment when he was beginning to lose one of the three ingredients that combine to make a man well-dressed—in this case, his credit with his tailor, Schweitzer & Davidson of Cork Street, Piccadilly. When, a bit later on, he began to lose his trim figure as well, he was no longer the glass of fashion mirroring the most elegant of all eras.
Murray Kempton
Obviously, the credentials required for recognition as an authentically well-dressed man are not very readily come by. Thus in the case of a certain attractive young New York advertising executive who wears suits, shirts, and ties of impeccable taste, the disqualification lies in his weakness for bizarre footwear, particularly during the summer, when he frequently appears in what Murray Kempton has described as "those obscene ventilated shoes."
Yet for all the range of varied views expressed about men's clothes—reactions extending all the way from Thoreau's admonition to "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes," and Hawthorne's austere conviction that "Those who make their dress a principal part of themselves will in general become of no more value than their dress"...
... to Max Beerbohm's airy belief that no man can cut a dashing figure unless he is sufficiently clothes-conscious not to be distracted by a job or family—there is at least a measure of accord about the fact that, though clothes do not necessarily make the man, they do, if becoming, make him confident and content. "A man," said Dickens' Mark Tapley, "may be in good spirits and good temper when he's well-dressed. There ain't much credit in that." Brummell, for instance, had, like most flawlessly turned-out men, an air of such unassailable authority that he provided a shining example for Scott Fitzgerald's later claim that...
..."Gentlemen's clothes are a symbol of the 'power that man must hold and that passes from race to race.' " It may well have been a desire for this sense of security that derives from being well-dressed that prompted young American officers in the First World War to put on new white gloves before going into battle. Actually, the gloves need not have been new—merely spotlessly clean—for in men's clothes (far more so than in women's) age lends a certain reassuring patina. 
"Trust not," warned Carlyle, "the heart of that man for whom old clothes are not venerable,"...
Rupert Brooke attitude that was subsequently endorsed by Rupert Brooke, who sang of "the good smell of old clothes."

Part of the appeal of old clothes lies, of course, in the fact that one becomes almost dependent upon them. They are, as it were, known quantities, and, rather than discard them, one goes to great lengths to keep them serviceable, having, for instance, a favorite jacket relined or the frayed collars and cuffs of a well-cut shirt turned. One of the most attractive items in Joseph Bryan III's wardrobe, for example, is a dinner coat that, except for having been relined and having had its buttons tightened, is precisely as it was when his father had it made in 1912. There is, after all, a certain amount of experimentation, of trial-and-error involved in wearing new things, a peril, by the way, that Dickens noted in Great Expectations, where he says, "Probably every new and eagerly expected garment ever put on since clothes came in falls a trifle short of the wearer's expectations." Furthermore, it is a fact that old clothes—provided, of course, that they are of the highest quality—have become molded to one's body, which is why no first-rate tailor considers his job completed until he has altered certain minor shortcomings that become apparent only after a customer has worn a suit a half-dozen-or-so times. 
John P. Marquand
Once a suit has received its maker's approval, however, it requires infinitely less care than do inferior garments. Hetherington Turnbull, the head of F. L. Dunne's (a bespoke tailor of such prestige that when John P. Marquand did a reverent article about it for Vogue, he asked that his recompense be a Dunne suit) has not had his dinner coat pressed once in the more-than-thirty years since it was made.

As it happens, however, the best-dressed American men—at least for the most part—not only cherish venerable clothes, but cherish venerable milieux as well. Like their apparel, they, too, are full of tradition, being, rather more often than not, products of such sanctified New England private schools as St. Mark's, Groton, and St. Paul's, and of ivied universities like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton; living, not in such youthful and characterless cities as Los Angeles, but in either what Roger Angell has termed "The Effete East"—which is to say the hallowed ground of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and the posher precincts of Long Island—or in such proper outposts as Richmond and San Francisco; and belonging to such select clubs as the Racquet & Tennis and the Brook in Manhattan, the Southampton on Long Island, the Somerset in Boston, the Philadelphia in Philadelphia, and, as nonresident members, Buck's and White's in London. They walk, so to speak, in beauty, and at dusk, when not playing backgammon at such sanctuaries, they turn up at beatified bars like the ones in the St. Regis in New York and the Ritz-Carlton in Boston. Furthermore, they not only respect, but quite often indeed are exceedingly fond of the men who sell them clothes—which, after all, is the way they were brought up, down through the years since Christmas vacations when Brooks Brothers was where, in a manner of speaking, they hung their childhood, and with such correct consequences that, in their navy-blue overcoats from Rowes of London, they were proper and personable little gentlemen indeed. And afterwards, on the mornings of their weddings, it would have been absolutely unthinkable not to have had a Brooks Brothers representative on hand to tie their and their ushers' ascots. For this, everything considered, is the authentically well-dressed American man's way of life, even unto J. P. Morgan's having customarily greeted one Brooks employee with a deferential, "Good morning, Mr. Webb," and having had Mr. Webb reply, "Good morning, Jack." Always there is noblesse oblige.
Bayard Swope, Jr.
 (The wrong Swope for this article but his GTH trousers are too good for me to blackball him)
Swope, Sr.
Almost without exception, the best-dressed men have, very simply and very vernacularly, colossal class. And being, in most cases, to the manor born, they feel no urgency, as do less secure men, to be either obvious or extravagant. 
Damon Runyon
Thus although there was nothing in the least amiss about the fact that the late Herbert Bayard Swope (whose claims to chicness were deflated one night when Damon Runyon pointed out to Leonard Lyons the unpardonable offense of Swope's creased sleeves) happened to favor expensive monogrammed hosiery, it is, nevertheless, not without a certain significance that, for both daytime and formal evening occasions, A. J. Drexel Biddle wears black-ribbed "fine lisle vat-dyed" socks (which have nylon reinforced toes and heels) that cost him only a dollar a pair at Jacob Reed's in Philadelphia.
Although it would be altogether too arbitrary to single out Biddle, the sixty-three-year-old Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, as the best-dressed man in the United States, it would, at the same time, be something of a task to find a male more elegant than he, not only in this country, but anywhere else in the world. Other well-dressed men are the first to acknowledge this, none, however, any more tangibly than Ahmet Ertegun, a son of the late Turkish Ambassador to the United States. 
Some years ago, when Ertegun somehow came into possession of a suit that had been made for Biddle by E. Tautz of London in 1923, he promptly put it into a protective cellophane covering and hung it in a closet. It has remained there ever since, emerging only when he wears it on some opulent occasion or when he permits clothes-conscious male visitors the privilege of admiring its splendid cut, caressing its incomparable stitching.
On the elegant face of things, one would probably imagine that "Tony" Biddle has closet upon closet of clothes. Actually, this Main Line Philadelphian, whose father was the epic figure about whom the play The Happiest Millionaire was written and whom himself was one of the most extraordinary participants in the Second World War, has so sparse a wardrobe that Lord Byron, for one, and Lieutenant General Rafael Trujillo, Jr., for another, would feel that it amounted to not having a stitch to their names.

On June 20, 1812, for example, Byron, according to Leslie A. Marchand, his most incisive biographer:
". . . bought '12 Fine white Quilting Waistcoats'; on July 1 'A spfine Olive Court dress Coat lined Completely thro wh White Silk, 20 Elegantly Cut & Highly polished Steele buttons, A very rich Embroidered Court dress Waistcoat, and A pair rich black Silk Breeches.' In August and September he added dozens of other items, bringing the total bill on September 18 to £243.10s."
As for Trujillo, his taste in clothes is apparently as undiscriminating as it is in certain other matters. He once commissioned a New York tailor to make him—sight unseen!—fourteen suits at $285 each, four sports jackets at $196 apiece, ten sports shirts at from $20 to $30 each, twenty-five $33 dress shirts, fifty $7.50 neckties, and four pairs of slacks at $88 a pair.
Even in its entirety, Biddle's wardrobe seems, by contrast, almost monastic. It includes seven so-called business suits—two double- and one single-breasted navy-blue serge; one double- and one single-breasted dark-blue pin-stripe flannel; one single-breasted charcoal-grey flannel. (They were made by either H. Harris of New York, who charges $225 and up for a two-piece suit, or E. Tautz of London who charges, as to do most topnotch British tailors, almost a quarter less. All have skeleton alpaca linings and the sleeves have three buttons and open buttonholes. The single-breasteds have three-button, notched-lapel jackets.) For formal daytime wear, Biddle has a charcoal-grey cheviot cutaway, a single-breasted white waistcoat, and black trousers with broad white stripes. (With these, he wears a black silk ascot and a wide wing collar.) For semiformal daytime occasions, he has a charcoal-grey single-breasted cheviot sack coat and trousers, in either black or Cambridge grey, with broad white stripes. Besides a ready-made Aquascutum raincoat, Biddle owns three outer coats—a double-breasted blue chinchilla ($175 from Tautz), a single-breasted light drab covert cloth ($225, H. Harris), and a double-breasted polo coat with white bone buttons ($325, Harris). He has, in addition to a tweed cap, four hats, all of them purchased at Lock's in London too many years ago for him to recall exactly what they cost. One is a high-silk, one an opera hat, and the other two homburgs—one black and one green. For formal evening wear, Biddle has tails ($175, Tautz), a double-breasted dinner coat with satin shawl lapels ($150, Tautz), and, for warm weather, two single-breasted, shawl-collared white gabardine dinner coats ($98 each, Tautz). His evening shirts, with which he wears a conventionally-shaped bow tie, have pleats, roll collars, and are made for him by Dudley G. Eldridge of New York at $28 each.

Biddle's sports clothes include three tweed jackets ($160 each, Harris), three pairs of charcoal-grey flannel slacks, and a half-dozen button-down shirts made by Eldridge out of silk that he, Biddle, bought in Spain. His shoes, of which he has three pairs of black for daytime wear and one patent leather and one calfskin for evening wear, were made by Paulsen & Stone of London, who also made for him, for sportswear, a pair of black moccasins, a pair of black loafers, and two pairs of white canvas shoes with brown leather toes and rubber soles (which he wears with either prewar white flannels or an ancient double-breasted light-grey sharkskin suit). Biddle's neck-band shirts, which are either starched dickey bosoms (elongated so that the bosoms extend below the middle button of his jacket) or semi-starched pleated bosoms, have white cuffs and bodies of either grey or light blue. They cost $26 each and are made by Eldridge, who also makes his stiff white collars ($3 each) and his ties ($7.50 each), which run to solid black silks and discreet shepherd checks and are shaped so as to make a knot small enough to fit neatly into a hard collar. His underwear is ready-made and comes from Jacob Reed's.

As for his military wardrobe, it seems downright skimpy when compared with what, according to Leslie A. Marchand, Lord Byron had on hand during his service in Greece:

"Two Braided Plaid Jackets, 4 pair of Trousers, Red Cloth Jacket braided with Black, Red Cloth Jacket trimmed with Gold Lace, Four Full Dress Uniform Coats trimmed with Gold Lace, Two Pair Blue Trousers trimmed with Gold Lace . . . 2 Helmets with Gilt Ornaments (Homeric helmets, gilt with an overtowering plume, under which . . . were his coat of arms and the motto 'Crede Byron'), Six Pair of Gold Lace Epaulets, One Pair of Silver Lace Epaulets, 5 Gold Lace Sword Knots, and various guns and equipment, including ten swords and a sword stick."
Biddle somehow manages to squeeze by on a total of five uniforms.

Like all men with innate clothes sense, Biddle eschews such abominations as ankle-length socks, matching tie-and-handkerchief sets, huge cuff links, conspicuous tie clasps, and, most hideous of all, cellophane hat covers. Indeed, well-dressed men, almost without exception, are interested in something novel in clothing, only when it is both as attractive and functional as, say the duffer coat, which proved its value to the Royal Navy in the Second World War.

Naturally, Biddle's coat sleeves are not only uncreased, but also of such length as to permit a fraction-of-an-inch of his shirt cuff to show—as, similarly, the neck of his jacket is cut so that the back of his shirt collar is exposed. As for the width of his trousers and coat lapels, it is determined, not by the extreme narrowness that is something of a rage these days, but by, respectively, the length of his foot and the breadth of his shoulders. He selects, in short, clothes that become him. For anyone who is not as "clean favored and imperially slim . . . and admirably schooled in every grace" as Biddle is, the Biddle style of dress would be preposterous. Few things are more precarious than the indiscriminate aping of another man's wardrobe.
If, for example, the Cary Grant of To Catch a Thief was culpable of anything, it was less his onetime activities as a "cat burglar" than the fact that his clothes in that movie aroused such demonstrative admiration among women that any number of men were inspired to try to copy the actor's wardrobe. For the most part, the results were disastrous. It should be noted, by the way, that women should never be permitted to counsel men about clothes. "No woman," says author Finis Farr, "really knows anything about men's clothes. How could she? After all, she's conditioned to obsolescence, to the principle that things go out of fashion. Well-dressed men know that nothing worth-while is ever outmoded, that a superb tailor's work is ageless."

It is, of course, a manifestation of A. J. Drexel Biddle's clothes sense that he patronizes such superb tailors as E. Tautz in London and H. Harris in New York. Conceivably, he might, with equally impressive results, go to any one of several others, among them Kilgour, French & Stanbury, Strachan & Hunt, E. C. Squires, Davis & Anderson, and Sandon in London and, in New York, F. L. Dunne, Bernard Weatherill, Pat Sylvestri, Lord of New York, Brooks Brothers, and Rosenthal-Maretz. If, as is most unlikely, he happened to be residing in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he could avail himself of the services of T and T, which, though not stylistically creative, can, like its Hong Kong counterparts, produce hand-stitched, authentically custom-tailored suits for as little as $75 each. Although the British, by and large, are more skilled and less expensive than the Americans, not even the very best of them is superior to Weatherill and Harris, which, if not necessarily without peer, are certainly unsurpassed in this country. It is almost impossible, however, to generalize about American tailors, for, unlike their London counterparts, few of them are cast in the same mold. On the one hand, for example, are the Weatherill's and Harris', which, though quite able to turn out any style of suit, are assertively uninfluenced by fads, and, on the other, the likes of Lord of New York, whose clientele, for the most part, is disposed toward the Ivy League cut. But of all American tailors, no two, notwithstanding their conspicuous dissimilarities, are more representative than Weatherill, which is hallowed, and Lord, which is youthful and, despite no genuine feeling for tradition, immensely worth-while because of the meticulous workmanship of its Peter D'Annunzio.

Bernard Weatherill, which has been thriving in New York City for more than thirty-five years, is owned by Charles Weatherill (whose brother Bernard has a shop in London), is terribly British, and, as such, posh, polite, and paneled. Yet for all its innate respect for the old, Weatherill has a lively enough interest in the new to enable it to satisfy even the most progressive-minded members of the well-heeled younger generation. It is also very horsy, indeed, being unquestionably the foremost American maker of sidesaddle habits and riding breeches (which it measures to within one-sixteenth of an inch in New York and, because of prohibitive labor costs in this country, then has executed in London). Such, in fact, is its artistry at this sort of thing that it is the only American tailoring establishment to have made a "Regulation Club evening and driving kit" for a member of the London Coaching Club.

Weatherill charges $260 and up for a three-piece suit, takes some three weeks to turn it out, and feels that a perfect fit is achieved only with one's third suit. In the tradition of British bespoke tailoring, it favors four buttons with buttonholes on the sleeves of business suits and a single one on sports jackets (though it does think it rather jolly to add a second one—on the side of the sleeve next to the body—that permits the wearer to button the sleeves tightly around the wrists in foul weather). Where Weatherill (along with other topnotch American firms) has a distinct advantage over the British is in its ability to make a superb tropical-weight suit. Moreover, unlike London establishments, it does not feel that if a tailor is satisfied with a garment, the customer should be too. One day at Weatherill in London, for example, a cutter suddenly grabbed his shears and began slashing a suit because of his umbrage at the fact that the customer who was trying it on had not expressed his satisfaction promptly enough. Weatherill in New York does, however, like to keep a fatherly eye on its garments and, for four dollars, it will hand-press (which takes an hour or more) any suit, no matter how ancient, that came from its work benches.

Unlike Weatherill, Lord of New York is brash, explorative, and highly disorganized. Chronologically, Lord of New York is a branch of a genealogy that goes all the way back to 1835 and Brooks Brothers' natural-shoulder—or, as it is precisely known, No. 1—sack suit. Around the turn of the century, Arthur Rosenberg, then the foremost tailor in New Haven, began to exploit this style among Yale undergraduates, and, not long afterwards, J. Press, also of New Haven, fell into line. Eventually, two Rosenberg employees, Sam Rosenthal and Moe Maretz, went out on their own as Rosenthal-Maretz; then Bill Fenn and Jack Feinstein left David T. Langrock to form Fenn-Feinstein (now associated with Frank Brothers). Somewhat later on, Mort Sill and (a year later) Jonas Arnold quit Press and opened a shop in Harvard Square, Cambridge, which they called Chipp. Then, with his partner's departure to form Sill (New York and Harvard Square), Jonas Arnold entered into an agreement whereby two former Press employees—Sid Winston and the late Lou Prager—were permitted to use Chipp as the name of the shop they were about to open in New York. Arnold, who closed his Cambridge store several years ago, is still a partner in the New York Chipp's. In 1952, Lord of New York was begat by Chipp—or, more accurately, by three of its former employees, Ken Frank, Mike Fers, and Peter D'Annunzio. Lord charges $195 and up for a two-piece hand-stitched suit lined with tie silk. Unlike Chipp, it neither charges extra for open buttonholes on jacket sleeves nor does it line coat collars with foulard. Unlike J. Press, it resists such gimmicks as lining the breast pocket of a jacket with foulard that can be turned inside-out to serve as a handkerchief.

In recent years the renaissance of interest in men's clothes and the increased number of tasteful men's shops have, rather ironically, provided the creative dresser with progressively fewer opportunities to express himself. By the same token, though, the American male, who for decades had been something of a sartorial fright, suddenly began to look presentable—so conspicuously so, in fact, that recently Osbert Lancaster, the cartoonist for the London Daily Express, returned from a visit to the United States and promptly abandoned drawing the garish-looking man who for years had represented his conception of the American male. In its stead was a subdued, almost Brooks-Brotherish figure. "The old self-confident, easily-bamboozled, back-slapping person is a figure of the past," said Lancaster.

It could hardly have been otherwise, for nowadays even the smallest town has a men's shop that carries the same suits and haberdashery that are on sale at, say Madison Avenue and Forty-fifth Street in New York. New Bedford, Massachusetts, for example, has Marty Sullivan's, a store so attuned to the fickleness of fashion that it has its buyers and designers spend part of their Manhattan visitations in such bars-and-grills as P. J. Clarke's, which attracts an extremely creatively-dressed Ivy League clientele. Furthermore, shops like Sullivan's—Eddie Jacobs' in Baltimore; Dick Carroll's in Los Angeles; and, in New York, Casual-aire, Paul Stuart's, Phil's, to name a few—are far from expensive. What's more, at their best—Atkinson's in Los Angeles and Pasadena, California, and the Andover Shops in Cambridge and Andover, Massachusetts, which derive much of their appeal from the superb workmanship of Frank Spade, the head tailor, and the creativeness of co-owner, Charles Davidson—they are superlatively tasteful. Even in 1960, however, not all ready-made suits are low-priced. Oxxford, for example, turns out a suit that costs $235 and up, is impeccably tailored, and has a following among affluent men who are either too impatient to hold still for custom fittings or dislike investing in a garment without knowing how it will look when finished. From the point of view of style, the best ready-made American suit is turned out by Norman Hilton, a young, enterprising, and discerning Princeton alumnus who, among other things, makes blazers and sports coats for Brooks Brothers. (Contrary to prevalent opinion, Brooks Brothers does not manufacture all its wares, but has certain items made to its specifications and on its own models. Only the label "Brooks Brothers Makers" means a Brooks-manufactured garment.)

Although Brooks Brothers (which also goes in for custom clothes) can no longer be regarded as the unique pace-setter it was prior to the recent renaissance of interest in men's clothes, it still carries come matchless items, notably its neckwear and shirts, particularly its white buttondown in Pima broadcloth, which costs $8.50 and, among ready-made shirts, is in a class by itself.

By and large, however, elegance resides in the individual. No Bernard Weatherill, no Brooks Brothers, No E. Tautz, no Dudley Eldridge can do more than minister to its tastes. It is never easily come by and, once achieved, it must be vigilantly preserved—by boning one's shoes and putting trees in them at night, by using molded hangers, and by all such other good care as is constantly stressed in the imaginative and informative Wallachs ads that appear three times a week in The New York Times and Herald Tribune and, while of a somewhat different tone, compare, for candor, readability, informativeness, and wit with the extraordinary ads for Zareh of Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts, one of the few authentically tasteful men's shops in the United States. And elegance must also be guarded pridefully. When a radio interviewer accused the late Michael Arlen of not being able to write so well as Evelyn Waugh, Arlen said, "Ah, yes, that's quite true, but I dress better than Evelyn."
Moss Hart
Elegance, however, need not be visible. Moss Hart, for example, is partial to monogrammed solid-gold collar stays. Freddie Cripps, the celebrated London dandy, is equally unconcerned with making an impression on anybody but himself, his chief indulgence being a refusal to have his underwear made anywhere but in Vienna, to which he commutes regularly for fittings. 
William Rhinelander Stewart
But elegance need not be expensive either. In the case of the late William Rhinelander Stewart, for example, elegance was nothing more costly than not venturing out in the evening without first having his rumpled paper money ironed flat by his valet!

"I don't consider myself 'the well-dressed man.' I don't make any effort in that direction. I do take a little pains occasionally with my clothes but just to feel comfortable. I also like to wear things that others don't. I rather enjoy fooling around with a new note here and there to see how it comes off."

"I don't think a man's clothes should be conspicuous. If they are noticed, it should be because of their conservativeness. It depends, of course, on the individual as to how the whole thing comes off."
"I like colors. Red silk handkerchiefs and colored shirts and socks too."
"I like double-breasted suits and they'll come back, by gosh. All those little tailor shops that have signs in their windows, 'Have your outmoded double-breasted suit made into a single,' may have to change their tune. But they can never say, 'Have your single made into a double.' Aha! It won't work!"
—Fred Astaire
"P.S. I forgot to mention that I often take a brand-new suit or hat and throw it up against the wall a few times to get that stiff, square newness out of it."

"One is prepared for most daytime and some evening occasions, if he has a navy-blue serge, and a charcoal-grey—and possibly a light-grey—flannel suit. Their number and weights depend upon one's means, requirements, and the climate in which one lives—just as the choice between a single- or double-breasted jacket should be guided by one's judgment as to which would prove the more appropriate to his build."

"Then, too, to meet his basic requirements, one should have a dinner jacket. A navy-blue overcoat will satisfy both his daytime and evening requirements."

"As to cut: I personally prefer a jacket to fit precisely around the neck and the shoulders, and under the arms. For accommodation of these requirements permits the jacket to be perceptibly but not exaggeratedly cut in at the waist, as well as to be draped on the back, and to end in a slight flair—and withal, to render the appearance of hanging loosely from the shoulders."

"Then, of course, if one's activities require it, a full evening dress suit would be indicated. Aside from the coat's necessarily fitting snugly at the waist, care should be taken to see that the bottom of the white waistcoat is covered by the front of the coat."
"I very much admire the beneficial nation-wide influence of the ready-made clothing industry upon the maintenance of good taste in masculine attire—and the industry's capability of making clothes available at reasonable prices. The reason most of my clothes are custom-made is because, due to my measurements, I encounter considerable difficulty in the matter of sizes. If I find a ready-made jacket that fits me around the shoulders, there would be enough room in the trousers and in the rest of the jacket to accommodate several others besides myself. On the other hand, if I find a pair of trousers with a proper-fitting waistline, the shoulders of the jacket would be so snug as to preclude satisfactory alteration."
—A. J. Drexel Biddle


Here, listed alphabetically, are some men who are unquestionably among the "best-dressed" in the United States.
DEAN ACHESON—Educated at Groton and Yale and a member of the Chevy Chase and Metropolitan clubs in Washington, D. C., and the Century in New York, this sixty-seven-year-old former Secretary of State resides in Washington, where he has his suits made by Farnsworth-Reed, Ltd. ($225).

FRED ASTAIRE—This sixty-one-year-old song-and-dance man, who is a member of the posh Brooks and Racquet & Tennis clubs in New York, favors English-type jackets, suede shoes, often uses silk handkerchiefs as belts. He has had many suits made by Anderson and Sheppard of London, but, at the moment, he is using John Galuppo of Schmidt and Galuppo, Inc., of Beverly Hills. His shoes are by Peal of London; his shirts by Beale and Inman and Hawes and Curtis (both of London), Brooks Brothers and Wendley in New York, and Machin and J. T. Beach of Los Angeles.

BUSH BARNUM—The forty-eight-year-old advertising and public-information director of the Glass Container Manufacturers' Institute graduated from Colgate in 1933, resdies in Gramercy Park in one of Manhattan's most desirable apartments, and has been a Bernard Weatherill ($260 and up per three-piece suit) customer for more than a decade.
A. J. DREXEL BIDDLE—A graduate of St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and a member of the Philadelphia and the Racquet clubs in Philadelphia, the Brooks, Racquet & Tennis, Knickerbocker, Union and River clubs in New York, and the Travellers in Paris, Biddle (whose wardrobe is itemized earlier) has for many years devoted himself to public service.
BILL BLASS—This thirty-eight-year-old designer for Maurice Rentner lives in Manhattan, has his suits made at Lord of New York.
J. ANTHONY BOALT—At thirty-two, Boalt, of the class of '50, at Yale, is the youngest and one of the most handsome men on the list. A businessman in New York, he resides in Greenwich, Connecticut. His tailor: J. Press.
DAVID TENNANT BRYAN—The fifty-four-year-old Bryan is publisher of the Richmond, Virginia, News Leader and Times-Dispatch and a former head of the Association of American Newspaper Publishers. His tailors: Bernard Weatherill and others.
JOSEPH BRYAN III—A graduate of sanctified Episcopal High near Richmond, Virginia, where he was born, and of Princeton. Bryan, a cousin of D. Tennant Bryan, is a member of the Racquet & Tennis Club in New York. A writer whose assignments take him around the world, he has frequent opportunities to visit Kilgour, Franch & Stanbury and Strachan & Hunt in London and Bernard Weatherill in New York.

HUGH A. COLE—The thirty-five-year-old Cole (one of the eight men in their thirties on the list) is a prominent sportsman, an excellent golfer and a fine horseman, as is fitting the son of Ashley T. Cole, the Chairman of the New York State Racing Commission, should be. He graduated from the Hun School of Princeton, New Jersey, attended Columbia University, is the father of four daghters. He belongs to the Short Hills Club and the Essex County Country Club, both in that county of New Jersey, where he resides. His furnishings are by Sulka; his ties by Tripler and by Charvet; his hats by Cavanaugh; and his suits are by Brooks Brothers and by Norman Hilton.
MILES DAVIS—The thirty-four-year-old genius of "progressive jazz" trumpet is an individualist who favors skin-tight trousers, Italian-cut jackets. His seersucker coats, which have side vents, are custom made. His tailor: Emsley (New York), which charges $185 a suit.
RICHARDSON DILWORTH—The sixty-two-year-old mayor of Philadelphia graduated from St. Mark's and Yale. A member of The Racquet club in Philadelphia, he patronizes among others, Meyers, Inc. ($255 a suit and up) in that city.
RICHARD DORSO—The fifty-year-old vice-president in charge of TV programming for Ziv-United Artists is an excellent tennis player and belongs to The Seventh Regiment Tennis and The Town Tennis clubs in New York City, and the Los Angeles Tennis Club. His suits are ready-made from Norman Hilton, and he has them especially fitted by Bob Difalco, the head fitter at Chipp.
M. DORLAND DOYLE—A graduate of Andover, sixty-year-old Doyle lives in New York City, where he is in advertising. A member of the Links and the Deepdale Golf Club, of which he is a president, he has his suits made by H. Harris ($225).
ANGIER BIDDLE DUKE—A graduate of St. Paul's (like his uncle, A. J. Drexel Biddle) and a member of the Racquet & Tennis and Brooks clubs in New York, the Travellers in Paris, and the Jockey in Buenos Aires, the forty-four-year-old former ambassador to El Salvador and Vice-Chairman of the Board of the International Rescue Committee patronizes, as does his uncle, E. Tautz—as well as various tailors in Spain.
AHMET M. ERTEGUN—A jazz authority and president of prospering Atlantic Records, Ertegun was born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1923 and was educated abroad and at St. John's College in Annapolis. Dedicated to chic living, he has a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. He buys ready-made suits at J. Press (around $100 each and has them recut for around $50) by Martin Kalaydjian, the legendary valet of the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS, JR.—Fifty-year-old Fairbanks, who once contributed to discriminating (and lamented) Vanity Fair, lives in London, but still retains his American citizenship. He is a member of the Century and Lambs clubs in New York, Buck's and White's in London, the Travellers in Paris, and the Metropolitan and the Army & Navy in Washington, D. C. His tailor: Stovel & Mason (48 guineas or $141.12 a suit) in London.
FINIS FARR—A gifted writer, Farr, who lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, graduated from Princeton in 1926, is a member of the Racquet & Tennis in New York, a customer of Weatherill and of Brooks Brothers ($265 a suit).
ALEXANDER COCHRANE FORBES—At fifty, Forbes, who is extremely handsome, looks little older than he did as a Harvard undergraduate (1928-1932). A graduate of Groton, he was a member of the Porcellian Club, probably the choosiest men's club in the United States. A resident of Needham, Massachusetts and a member of the Country Club, Forbes is a trustee for various interests. His tailors: Brooks Brothers and others.
CLARK GABLE—Since his switch to Brooks Brothers custom department shortly after the Second World War, the fifty-nine-year-old actor has become a model of subdued chic.

GEOFFREY M. GATES—Gates, Harvard '27, lives on Long Island (Oyster Bay), where he is in the antiques business. His tailor: H. Harris.
CARY GRANT—Although Grant, who is fifty-six, favors such abominations as large tie knots and claims to have originated the square-style breast-pocket handkerchief, he is so extraordinarily attractive that he looks good in practically anything. He insists upon tight armholes in his suit jackets, finds the most comfortable (and functional) of all underwear to be women's nylon panties. Something of a maverick as to tailors, he now goes to Quintino (around $225 a suit) in Beverly Hills, California, and, whenever possible, certain of the preposterously low-priced geniuses in Hong Kong.
WALTER M. HALLE—The fifty-five-year-old head of The Halle Brothers Department Store in Cleveland graduated from Princeton, is a member of the Kirtland Country Club, the Chagrin Valley Hunt, the Cleveland Skating, and the Cleveland Athletic clubs, and, in New York, of the Princeton Club. His suits, which are ready-made by Oxxford, cost around $250 each.
ROY HAYNES—The thirty-five-year-old jazz percussionist belongs on any best-dressed list if only because of his taste in selecting clothes that flatter his short stature (five feet, three and a half inches). 
HAYNES...His suits are custom made (around $125 each) by the Andover Shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

ALFRED HERRMANN—This thirty-nine-year-old artist, who does the drawings for, among other things, Tripler's men's fashion ads, is an outstanding authority on male apparel. His tailor: Chipp (around $205 a suit).
MILTON HOLDEN—The sixty-six-year-old resident of New York and Palm Beach is a member of the Brook, Racquet & Tennis, and Turf & Field clubs.
 HOLDEN...His tailor: Davies &Son, London.
WILLIAM E. HUTTON—Fifty-three-year-old Hutton, who lives in Old Westbury, Long Island, graduated from Hill School and Harvard, is a member of the Racquet & Tennis, Links, Meadowbrook, and Piping Rock clubs. A senior partner in the brokerage firm of W. E. Hutton & Company, he patronizes Wetzel ($285 a suit).
The late JOHN B. KELLY was one of the few self-made men on the list. Like his daughter, Princess Grace of Monaco, he was always impeccably dressed. His tailor: Witlin & Gallagher ($265 for a two-piece suit, $10 more for a three-piece) of Philadelphia.

SOLON KELLY III—Young (thirty-nine) and exceedingly attractive, Kelly, who is a partner in a wine and spirits importing firm in New York, belongs to the Union, Brook, Racquet & Tennis, and Southampton clubs. His tailor: Kilgour, French & Stanbury in London.
CHESTER J. LaROCHE—A graduate of Exeter and Yale, where he was prominent in football, this sixty-eight-year-old head of a thriving advertising agency in New York belongs to the Racquet & Tennis Club and presides over the Football Hall of Fame. LaRoche, who turns up at Yale football games in a venerable polo coat and Tyrolean hat, has his suits made by Arthur Rosenberg ($195-210 for a two-piece and $220-235 for a three-piece suit) and Wetzel in New York and Kilgour, French & Stanbury in London.
JOHN McCLAIN—A graduate of Kenyon College, McClain, who is drama critic of the New York Journal-American, belongs to the Brooks and the Racquet & Tennis clubs. His suits are made by Stovel & Mason, London, by Penalver in Madrid ($65 a suit).
JOHN McLEAN—The forty-four-year-old son of celebrated Washington hostess Evalyn Walsh McLean is a member of the Racquet & Tennis Club in New York and the Seminole in Palm Beach. McLean, who is generally referred to as "Jock," is a creative dresser who helped originate red socks for wear with a dinner suit. He goes to Bernard Weatherill.

ALBERT S. MURPHY—A graduate of Boston Latin School and Harvard, forty-eight-year-old Dr. Murphy is a senior surgeon at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Boston and on the staffs of Mr. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge and the New England Baptist in Boston. He is a member of the American Board of Surgery and the College of Surgeons. His clubs: Charles River Country and Harvard of Boston. His suits are made by the Andover Shop; his accessories come from either Zareh in Boston or Ara in Wellesley.
HENRY T. MORTIMER—A graduate of St. Mark's School and Harvard, class of 1939, Mortimer is a Wall Street broker, holds membership in the Brooks and the Racquet & Tennis clubs. An extremely fussy dresser (who has his own-designed coat lapel), he insists upon such details as dull-finish bone buttons, skeleton alpaca linings. Tailor: Lord of New York.
IVA PATCÉVITCH—The elegant, silver-haired, fifty-nine-year-old Russian-born head of the Condé Nast Publications has his suits made by Weatherill.
THOMAS PHIPPS—The only Etonian on the list, forty-five-year-old Phipps is one of the few writers in the Racquet & Tennis Club. 
PHIPPS...His tailor: Sandon in London (around $155 a suit, plus import duty).
WALTER PIDGEON—The sixty-two-year-old actor who played A. J. Drexel Biddle's father in The Happiest Millionaire goes to Dunhill in New York and Domenick Alvaro ($200-$225 a suit) in Beverly Hills, California.
THOMAS MARKOE ROBERTSON—A graduate of Hotchkiss and Yale (class of 1910) and a brother-in-law of A. J. Drexel Biddle, Robertson, an architect, is a member of the exclusive Southampton Club. His tailor: E. Tautz.
JOHN SEABROOK—Forty-three-year-old Seabrook, a member of the frozen-foods family, is a Princeton graduate and a member of The London Coaching Club and the Racquet & Tennis Club in New York, lives on a 1,500-acre farm in New Jersey. His tailor: Bernard Weatherill.
PAT TOAD—The perilously on-the-north-end-of-his-fifties contrarian hangs his hat at Toad Hall. A graduate of several organizations both academic and military, Toad’s true education has been the proverbial school of life. A Twain devotee, Toad may sometimes be seen swathed in all-white. His shoe of choice, even though he’s recently gotten religion regarding suede shoddings, is a Topsider or some derivative thereof. He has an affinity for the New Orleans Uptown haberdashery known as Perlis…for some of his off-the-peg needs. His made-to-measure ideas are executed by local craftsman within, one suspects, driving distance via Bentley, of Toad Hall.
J. BLAN VAN URK—This fifty-eight-year-old graduate of Princeton, where, among other things, he was heavyweight boxing champion as well as something of a dandy in his bowler and covert-cloth topcoat, is the author of the definitive and handsome Story of American Foxhunting. Van Urk belongs to the Royal Dutch Hunt (the Netherlands) and the Grolier clubs and is a Chevalier of the Confréric de la Chaîne des Rôtiseurs. His suits are made by both H. Harris and H. Huntsman & Sons in London.
THOMAS REED VREELAND—A graduate of The Hill and Yale, sixty-one-year-old Vreeland belongs to the Racquet & Tennis, Cloud, and Southampton clubs in this country, Buck's in London, and the Travellers in Paris. His tailors: E. C. Squires (around $122 for a two-piece, $133 for a three-piece suit) in London and, in New York, Pat Sylvestri, who, notwithstanding his Johnny-come-lateliness, is one of the genuinely gifted members of his profession.


Anonymous said...


That is a big old post, me lad.

I was gratified, after wading through assorted Biddles, Kellys, and other Philadelphians,to see the late John Seabrook, whose obit in the Aiken (SC) Standard is worth your further examination.(qv)

I also note more than a passing resemblance between T Phipps and the esteemed author of this 'blog. Don't you wish you had his budget?

also, forget Hitchock's hat, it's B Swope's trousers that you really want.

Gotta go shift some bonds, then maybe a drink with my rich cousin from Lousiville, out on her dock, maybe...


Nick C...

ADG said...

Swope's britches are stronger than wolf piss no doubt...but it's Vreeland's coat that I'd most covet. Phipps...maybe...but with Tony Biddle's nose and neither of their monies. Biddle though, really didn't get 'hold of big money till he married the 2nd time.

Tell your cousin I said hey.

Anonymous said...

Just when I thought you were getting a bit "tired"... you hit one out of the park for a grand slam.

Well done.


David V said...

3 cheers for Toad!

Richard M said...

Great job-you make me proud to have given you just a bit of help, but the credit goes to you! Best to GF IV, as well. This is, IMHO, still the best thing EVER about men's clothing, and the principles have not dated one iota.

ADG said...

Richard...are you kidding me? 75% of the images either came from you or were vetted by you...and they are still coming. Where in the world is the Saalburg story?

David V. ... Toad's a slick one ain't he?

WM...I am and it is "tired"...this is my last push.

ilovelimegreen said...

Of all these glorious images and biographies and tidbits, what I love the most is J. Blan van Urk's obituary headlines, specifically "lover of high life" and "usually had better things to do"....oh, to be described as such, alive or posthumously.

(I have gone thru Google hell in my attempts to post this comment.)

NCJack said...

Bravissimo, there, Bubba, you gone & done tres beau on thiss'un. I Still have my Esquire 40th Anniversary issue, and it's one 'o' them veritable Who are Who?s of 20th century lit. Mr. Gingrich was a beacon to us uppity boys back in SwampHome, Carolina, and if he's not in some sort of Hall of Fame, we ought to make up one for him. Belated Happy Birthday to young LFG, and many happys to both of you

Toad said...

What a sweetheart. Thank you.

Should the occasion arise do please take a pass at The Happiest Millionaire.

Toad said...

don't you love the line...endorsed by Rupert Brooke, who sang of "the good smell of old clothes." It's so evocative of great times past, and wonderful occasions to come, mixing with old friends.

Young Fogey said...

Isn't George Frazier that guy who peddles electric grills and named about fifteen of his children after himself?

Richard M said...

ADG: From American Artist magazine is where I got the Saalburg.

Summer is a Verb said...

Egads, I'm trying to read this on an iPhone Mister, not a Kindle! I got carpal tunnel just from doing the finger scroll. Wonder how many calories I burned??? XXOO

ADG said...

AllieVonSpeedReader...Reggie Darling just suggested that I divide this thing into three's long no doubt.

Richard M ...darn...this thing remains a work in progress. I just added 12 more photos. Thinking about cutting this into three installments.

Young Fogey...WRONG...this Frazier was the key investor in Kenny Rogers Roasters...which we all know...devastated that second rate poultry joint...Boston Market.

Toad...I'm a lot of things. Sweetheart ain't one of 'em!

NC Jack...thanks as always.

LimeGreener...sorry about the google hell. You and 4-5 other people. Seems there's something about cookies with certain browsers and sorry, but I've learned that there's nothing I can do on my end.

Patsy said...

I have a stupid question - if George Frazier was a Junior, why is his son the IV?

I see Mr. Thomajan of Zareh walk his two dogs to work every morning.

Donald said...

Do you think you (or anyone) could come up with 40 best-dressed men TODAY? Ten, maybe? Five should be doable.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

What fun! Many thanks to you and Richard M. for tracking down the images. They just don't make 'em like that anymore (Toad and ADG notwithstanding....)

I started when I saw the title this morning, began reading (again....) and promptly changed my tie for my luncheon meeting. That, my friend, is reach and influence...

ADG said...

Eleganto...If I had it to do again, I'd have made this a three part series.

Donald...maybe five.

Patsy...I'll have to go back and re-read the little strategy thing behind Frazier IV's dad's decision to IV instead of III him. Steinbeck comes into play somewhere. Frazier IV doesn't use the "IV" anymore but I do. It's how I keep it strait in my mind and how I write clearly about each of them.

Barima said...

I've long enjoyed this article, but for all the references to it in our milieu, this is far and away the most extensive and considered, thus making it the best by quite a long way

I especially like the examination of Frazier's literary prowess - cogent, informative stuff

By the way, will you still be visiting London?

Best as always,


Paul in NoVA said...

Fantastic post and even better article. I may have to give Cary's preference for skivvies a try. Wait what? Did I just type that out loud? My wife is patient with my Alden and O'Connell's bills but the sight of me trying on those undergarments may send her over the top. We just came back from Venice though. If only I knew that was the spot to buy underwear!

Paul in NoVA

ADG said...

NDDC...Paul, I don't recommend ladies underdrawers. Commando, yes,

Barima...Thanks man. I really enjoyed doing the research on this one. And Richard M. was/is an research associate of immeasurable value.

London...maybe. I was just in communication with the guys at Cleverley yesterday. The lasts have been carved and the leathers have been cut for my shoes. Sept/Oct will be the first fitting. Still flirting with going over vs. waiting till they visit here. Stay tuned.