The Outstation

March 17, 2014



The Outstation is a 1924 short story by Somerset Maugham about a self-exiled British gentleman named Warburton in charge of a remote outpost in Borneo.  The story opens as his new assistant, a young Barbadian named Alan Cooper, arrives by boat. Despite his misgivings about losing his status as the sole white man, Warbuton greets […]

Posted in: Miscellanea

Formal Lapel Pins

March 13, 2014



There’s been a subtle yet noteworthy change to the tuxedo images on the Brooks Brothers site: a United States flag pin has been digitally added to the lapel of all but one of the jackets.  (It appears that the Great Gatsby model’s historical authenticity won out over national pride.)   Which begs the question, are lapel […]

Posted in: Etiquette

Hall of Shame: Bad Plaid

March 12, 2014



So often the best arguments for traditional formal wear are the arguments against it.  This excerpt from a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette could be a carbon copy of similar proclamations written since the 1960s, all featuring outfits that were quickly dispensed to history’s rubbish bin. For far too long, formal dress for men […]

Posted in: Hall of Shame

Brooks Brothers Spring 2014 Catalogue

March 11, 2014



Besides the parade of exposed shirt navels and one inappropriate pair of velvet loafers, the black-tie spread in the latest Brooks Brothers catalogue isn’t too bad.  Yes, most of the jackets feature notch lapels but at least all of them are one-button models.    And the shirts all feature turndown collars which sets a good […]

Posted in: Formal Fashion

Spotlight: The Notched Lapel

March 6, 2014



Menswear discussion boards occasionally feature lively debates about the appropriateness of a notched lapel on a dinner jacket.  Most commentators will argue that it is a modern trend imported from the common business suit and thus has no place on formal attire.  But some will inevitably counter that it is legitimized by historical precedent and […]

Posted in: History

Hall of Shame: RoFo

March 5, 2014



This one really hits home: Here’s my clown of a mayor representing my favourite attire as poorly as he represents my beloved city.  The occasion was Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Oscar show last Sunday. For the record, I didn’t vote for the guy because he was an obvious  idiot even before he was elected.  (Sadly, a sizable […]

Posted in: Hall of Shame

2014 Academy Awards Red Carpet

March 4, 2014



Part of an ongoing series spotlighting the (in)ability of the men on the red carpet to capture the timeless elegance and sophisticated equivalence of black tie, whether through careful adherence to its conventions or skilful manipulation of them. (Readers unfamiliar with the standards of successful black tie may want to first check out A Field Guide to Tuxedos.) The […]

Posted in: Red Carpet

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