Sunday, 29 June 2008
I wish it wasn’t like this. I always admire friends with strong faith that don’t bang on about it. They believe absolutely that there is a God. They believe that I will go to hell. And they care for me. Yet they will not badger me, hassle me, ask leading questions or in any way shuffle me towards confronting my agnosticism.
Most impressively, they will not take offence at me comparing menswear to religion.
They do this because they believe I will only come to God through my own curiosity. They will provide the example, answer any questions and make it known what they believe. Then they will stop.
So I endeavour to make people aware of how much joy there is to get out of an interest in how you dress, without shouting about it. I emphasise the fact that seeing well-dressed people makes me happy, just like being surrounded by beautiful countryside, or well-designed buildings can make me happy.
It’s not an arrogance about only liking beautiful clothes or beautiful people. It is appreciating beauty where you find it. Without that there wouldn’t be much point in anything aesthetic.
I consciously strive for this because I believe passionate interests split people into two types: the snobbish and the tolerant.
When someone becomes very involved in a particular activity, it is usually because they take great joy in its pursuit. I take great joy in considering what I wear everyday and discussing it with others.
Such enthusiasm can easily become obsessive, and with that obsession comes a danger of arrogance. You end up judging people because they do not share your interest – in this case, because they dress badly.
It is a constant battle to keep your interest a positive one, to communicate your passion to other people because you want to introduce joy into their lives – not because you think they are wrong.
Losing this battle leads to the greatest self-involvement, the biggest geeks, nerds and haughty snobs. One should evangelise, but not preach.
In fact, that sounded like preaching. I apologise. I should evangelise, not preach. I wish I was better at it; I recommend it to you as something to strive for.
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Those who wear braces deride belts as “pull-up not stay-up”. They suggest that several times a day you will be forced to hike up your belted trousers back to their original position. This would not happen with braces.
Now, I have never worn braces. But I have also never had to pull up my belted trousers during the day. I would suggest that the reason for this is that I, like most young men these days, wear my trousers on my hips. Not my waist, and nowhere in between.
Your hips – that gap just below the first ridge of your hipbones – provide a fairly stable location for the waist (the irony!) of your trousers. The swell of bone above and below stop them moving.
This is not necessarily the case on the waist, where a variable amount of fat can provide a less rigid shelf. Unless you have less than 5% body fat, there will always be more softness here than on your hip bones.
Most people who wear braces also wear their trousers on their natural waist. So it is understandable that they would deride belts as useless.
One good way to make sure your trousers don’t slip is to have a belt that fits you perfectly. The best way to do this is to have a belt cut to your waist size and punctured with holes at your precise measurements, with perhaps one either side to be safe.
(Most luxury brands offer this service. I have one from Lanvin that cost £40. Not a bad investment for something in both black and brown – it is reversible – that I will wear often, for years.)
Outside the realm of braces, there is a much better reason not to wear a belt. It can seem like too much clutter in an outfit, spoil the long lean lines of a suit, and suggest that your trousers simply don’t fit.
The first two of these points are the most important. How much more elegant is it to wear no belt with your suit – indeed, no belt loops – and have one clean, smart colour from shoes to tie? I would recommend not wearing a belt with most suits if you are dressing smartly – perhaps defined as when you are also wearing a necktie or a handkerchief.
With neither of these accessories, a belt can be a nice addition – a focus point for the eye, a replacement for those missing accents. It is also a natural accessory for a casual outfit – with odd jackets, with tweed, cotton or linen.
P.S. Make sure you look after your belt. It will get worn and fray over time, but this can be mitigated with cleaning and an occasional polish. Wearing a frayed belt is akin to wearing unpolished shoes – no matter how much of a favourite they might be, it just looks scruffy.
Indeed, my father tells the story of the manager of one company who paid to give all his male employees new belts, because Englishmen “tend to wear old favourites, and never consider that their belt might be denting their image of professionalism”.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Let’s start with the most basic guidelines. If you are wearing a leather belt, it should match your leather shoes, if you are wearing them. Black shoes should be paired with a black belt, brown with brown and tan with tan.
The shades need not match exactly, but they must be close. The brown may be a little paler or a little darker, but it should not be able to be described as tan.
The texture need not match exactly either. The belt can be crocodile, ostrich or brogued. Indeed, a belt that matches the shoes exactly (both black crocodile, for example) smacks of artifice. Somehow it suggests you are all crocodile skin underneath, and only these two bits are peaking out.
Suede belts and woven leather belts are naturally more casual, and that should be reflected in the suit or outfit they go with – linen suits, odd jackets, outfits without ties. But again, colours should be similar.
Brightly or unusually coloured belts can work well, particularly as one pop of colour on an otherwise plain outfit. However, the colour of the shoes and belt should always be different enough to be a real contrast.
Brown is not an effective contrast with black or tan. Try primaries – reds, yellows – with black shoes, as you would with socks. And more muted colours with brown – oranges, greens – again as you might with socks.
The belt should not be too wide or too narrow. The easiest way to gauge whether it is either of these is to compare it to the width of the belt loops it will go through. Jeans have wider loops and should have wider belts. They can also be heavier, to reflect the material. Worsted wools should have sleaker, slimmer belts. But again the width of the loops is your best guide.
The buckle should be obvious, at least with a suit. Slim, discrete and silver in colour (unless you wear much gold elsewhere). No logos.
Ribbon belts can work well, particularly with summer outfits (again, matching the weight of the belt to the weight of the material it ties together). Best not to combine them with every other preppy accessory, though.
Ties as belts may have been a favourite of Fred Astaire but they are hard to pull off with elegance. If he had started wearing neckties around his waist before he was universally considered stylish, I would bet a chunk of money that it would have seemed artificial.
Next week, the follow-up question: whether to wear a belt at all. You lucky things you.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
Different types of shoe will fit you better than others. This has nothing to do with the material or the design. It is the last.
You will occasionally hear people, deep in sartorial conversation, say something along the lines of: “Well, you see I’ve never found anything to quite fit my feet ever since Edward Green discontinued the 202 last.”
They are referring to the shape of the sole of the shoe, how pointed, chiselled or rounded it is at the toe, how wide through the ball of your foot and how tapered at the waist. This is the last. At a basic level, it is the footprint the shoes make, and it is the most important thing to fitting you well.
[By the way, do not panic EG fans, the 202 is live and well! It was just an example. Think of the summer sales and calm down.]
Now, I have no idea what last suits me in Edward Green, John Lobb, or any other shoemaker for that matter. But over time, largely through chatting to friendly staff in shoe shops, I have discovered a few things about my feet.
I have very wide feet across the ball of my foot. I know this because, whenever I put on a shoe that is too slim or too pointy, I have to try it in a bigger size to avoid pinching down either side of my toes.
However, I also have a relatively high in-step and narrow bridge across the top of my foot. I know this because when I try this pointy shoe in a bigger size, I cannot do the laces up tight enough. My heel slips at the back, which is never a good sign.
The lovely co-owner of Hardrige shoes, just off Bond Street, taught me this, during a long consultation. (I recommend Hardrige for custom made shoes. For around £250, 20% on top of the ready-to-wear price, you can customise the lining, piping and colour of the leather itself. www.hardrige.com)
Now I know this about my feet, it doesn’t mean I know which last to pick. But I do know that a chiselled toe fits me best, something that can be wide yet still elegantly slim at the toe. I know that I need to be able to tighten the shoe effectively, often to extremes. An oxford shoe (one piece of leather split into a V where the laces are, rather than two pieces tightened from either side – a derby) needs to start with quite a lot of space remaining in its V. Even when the leather has expanded and the V narrowed, it must tighten well. A monk-front shoes also works well in this regard, as an extra hole can often enable it to be tightened further.
It also means that if I ever walk into John Lobb to pick a pair of shoes, I’ll be able to give a fairly good description of the last I want, if not the number.
Go find an accommodating sales person. I recommend glancing through shop windows and finding one that looks a little bored.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Alongside the usual fashion brands, it had an Etro, a Carolina Herrera and a Berluti. I was impressed. As I walked into the Berluti branch, preparing to umm and err over a particularly beautiful pair of loafers, before inevitably walking out empty-handed, I saw that the sales assistant had his head in his hands.
Three Americans, in loud shorts, were complaining, almost shouting, about the prices.
“How the hell can these be three times the price of the Gucci and Prada shoes?” they asked. The assistant tried to explain that Prada, and to an extent Gucci, are not shoe companies. That their shoes are made by other people. And that some of them are, well, a bit rubbish. All that’s branded is not gold.
They refused to believe this. Instead, they enquired when the sales started. Berluti doesn’t have sales, the assistant replied. This was the last straw, and they stomped out (even though the oldest American, who was wearing some fairly funky tortoiseshell glasses, was staring wistfully at a pair of Club wholecuts in chocolate (see picture)).
There followed a rather pained conversation between me and the assistant, where he complained that he gets this everyday. Most shoppers in the Middle East, it seems, whether local or tourist, are after brand more than anything else.
I soothed him with some ooing and aahing over the loafers. But before I started with the umming and the erring, he taught me the Berluti shoelace knot. I’m glad he did, as I now tie my shoelaces like this everyday, unless I’m in a real hurry.
It’s simple, but effective, and I shall explain to you how to do it.
Start the knot as you would do a normal bow, crossing the two laces tightly (you can even cross them twice if you wish, which keeps them in place more effectively – I was taught that by a sales assistant in John Lewis in Kingston, when I was 12).
Form the two ends into loops, again as you would a normal bow. Then hold one of the loops while you go around it – twice – with the other. This is exactly the same as a normal bow, except that you go over the same place twice.
It achieves the effect of a double bow (where you tie the two loops and then tie them again, rather than going over the same place twice) but is far easier to undo.
Now, I’m not sure whether Berluti can be credited with inventing this knot. I’m sure I’ve seen it too many places for that to be the case. But it does work well, so there’s no harm in allowing them to christen it. Besides, it gives me a reason to make a star out of that poor sales assistant.
[For pictorial assistance, first look at the picture, which uses the Berluti knot. Then try this link - http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/surgeonknot.htm - which I believe refers to the Berluti knot as the surgeon’s knot]
Monday, 16 June 2008
Walking down Fifth Avenue this morning, almost every block presented a summer delight. Several seersucker suits, a plethora of summer hats, sockless suits with loafers, white linen and white bucks.
You just don’t see that in London. Granted, the consistency of the weather here makes summer clothing a better investment – a sunny day is actually sunny all day, rather than being half cloud in the morning, patchy at midday and just overcast in the afternoon. But I would bet good money that these impeccable gentlemen own four or five summer suits, and their peers in the UK own none. Such a shame.
Some would say that the Americans are not dressed well, in one regard. No matter how well tailored the outfit, or daring the cloth, every one of those summer suits had pleated trousers and no jacket waist to speak of. So while they were striking, I would argue they weren’t very flattering.
The trousers also had cuffs (or turn-ups) which, while I know many people are a fan of, create a very cluttered picture in my eyes. Given that the gentlemen I saw were wearing trousers that were wide, decorated with pleats, worn with a belt, and few of them wear slim, the last thing they needed was another bit of texture to break up the line of the outfit. All the slimming, heightening effects of the suit were removed. (I know cuffs are also meant to help pleats stay straight, but doesn’t tape add just as much weight?)
So the cut was not to my taste. This is the difference between silhouette and fit – something I stressed in a previous posting. The fit was immaculate, but the way they had chosen it to fit (the silhouette, the proportions) were, in my eyes, questionable.
But this is obviously a personal choice. I have to admit that what they did, they did well. In fact, I think many Americans get a bad press in the UK. Too many of them wear chinos that are too wide. Almost a third of them seem to be wearing the same outfit, which pairs these chinos with a shirt (or polo) and deck shoes. [I had the surreal experience yesterday of being in a list with four Goldman Sachs employees, who were all wearing blue button-down shirts, brown belts, chinos and brown deck shoes. It was freaky.] Finally, some Americans wear their chinos with trainers, which is just ugly.
Yet there are none of the classic English howlers – no suit jackets with t-shirts, no shiny tracksuits, no voluminous untucked dress shirts. The rules seem to have stronger roots in New York. Yes, the outfits can be boring (if a third were wearing the deck shoes outfit, about a quarter were wearing blue blazers) but the belts generally matched the shoes, the shirts were generally tucked in, and no one had a matching tie and pocket handkerchief.
So here’s to New York men, for their peacocks and their consistency. Without them English style wouldn’t have got far.
Friday, 13 June 2008
In New York, variation is limited to the high-end department stores. Their lines vary, stopping and starting with little warning (example: Lidfort at Barney’s). And they’re all up town.
For all these reasons, Leffot (pronounced le-fot) is a breath of fresh air. Located on Christopher Street in the west Village, it has only been running for a month. But the stock is impressive. It carries Aubercy (previously only available in Paris), Gaziano & Girling (only Hawaii in the US), Corthay (only Bergdorf Goodman in NY), Artioli (Baldini and Saks in NY), Edward Green (only relabeled at Ralph Lauren) and the more widely available Church’s and JM Weston.
With five to seven styles in each, the range is not vast. Such is the limited volume of some of these lines that as soon as one line sells out, it takes five months to order more in. One Gaziano & Girling order was delayed because the man who did the hand-stitching on one type of shoe was ill, putting back the delivery time by two weeks. But the range is well chosen - I dare anyone to contend there isn’t something for them, from the chunky, storm welted, double-soled Church’s to the ultra-slim and pointy Artiolis.
Being downtown enables Leffot to carry a more eclectic range of shoes styles and colours. Apparently JM Weston’s best-selling colour uptown is black, despite the tans, reds and even greens on offer. Downtown, black sits in dowdy last place. In fact, Steven Taffel, the personable and welcoming owner of Leffot, tells of one man and his wife who wandered in looking for inspiration. Despite being a conservative, office-bound gentleman, he ended up buying the more extreme pointed Artiolis, as “he already had black oxfords and wore them all week. He wanted something different, something exciting.”
It’s certainly hard not to be excited by the Corthay two-tone shoes in tan calf and brown suede, or the tapered, beveled waist of the Gaziano & Girling shoes. A favourite of The Sartorialist as well, it’s hard not to see this store succeeding. But just to be on the safe side, let’s troop down there and support a start-up company.
P.S. If it’s still there when you go, have a look at the copy of Japanese magazine Last that’s on display. It has step-by-step instructions on how to re-heel your shoes, demonstrates the value of polishing a shoe with champagne, and still has room for better photo shoots than you’ll find in any UK or US magazine. They need to launch an international (read English) version. Now.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
This is not the purpose of a display in a men’s store. While there may be one or two items that attract you for their originality, the pieces will generally be too similar to those on offer in other stores to stand out entirely. Rather, it is there to display the creative intelligence of the men who designed the clothes and the brand.
The clothes are being bought for their cloth and their cut; for the subtle things that make one blue blazer infinitely preferable to another. The fact that the clothes inside excel in these areas is best displayed through the colour and texture combinations in the window. It is this that should take you inside.
Inditex, the Spanish group that owns Massimo Dutti, Zara, Pull & Bear and others, understands this all to well. No matter what the quality of Zara clothes may be, the central planners at Inditex HQ make sure that you are lured inside by the combinations, even if they are a pretty stark variation on black suits, white shirts and skinny ties.
Massimo Dutti is even better. Consciously aiming for an older audience, its Mediterranean colours and linen combinations in the summer are almost inspiring. I’ve often felt forced to record some particular detail (green silk with a tan linen suit, a purple handkerchief with a blue blazer) that I would otherwise forget and never remember to use myself.
Ralph Lauren is of course a past master at this, and staff often refer to the detailed descriptions they are given of how to dress mannequins, both inside and outside the store. (It’s all about the pop colout!) By contrast, Armani windows are often startlingly bland. They persist in using almost two-dimensional mannequins, which the suits hang off rather than drape. Anyone who has been forced to put a suit jacket on a wire hanger will be able to imagine the unflattering effect.
Armani mannequins also seem to be uniformly grey, no matter what the season. And as with many other bad window dressers, they consider it needless to keep ties done up, let alone taut.
But let’s concentrate on the good dressers. Hackett is often very good, and this season features ingenious combinations of Safari-themed outfits – a buff, linen, double-breasted waistcoat with a grey suit, for example. In New York, Bergdorf Goodman rarely puts a foot wrong, and it’s worth the trip uptown just to browse the windows. Doriani is also very good – as the double-breasted blazer opposite demonstrates.
In fact, this picture is a perfect example. All the items are plain, basic, classic. But the combination is exciting. It’s not that unusual; you may have seen something similar before, or feel you should have done. But the beautiful sculpture of it ushers you inside, convinced that everything the store sells will be of the best cloth and cut. It is creative intelligence on display.
P.S. Plaudits also for Domenico Vacca in New York, which seems to accentuate the beauty of already lovely shoes by tucking a different coloured sock or tie inside each. How the accent of lime-green sock brings out a chestnut oxford I don’t know, but it works.
Sunday, 8 June 2008
Much of what a man considers appropriate or pleasant to wear is dependent on his circumstances and taste. But there are still rules or guidelines that can govern what he should wear. The key is to formulate a rule that includes the individual’s taste and circumstances into the equation – as a variable that is different for each man, if you will.
The best such rule is: A man should be as formal as the occasion requires, and as dandified as it allows.
This is a simple rule but more useful than one might think. It urges you to first consider what formality your day requires, and therefore ensures you never look out of place or overdressed. And then it suggests you consider what dandification (read flamboyance, peculiarities, sartorial quirks) it can bear, ensuring you are never bored by your outfit nor miss an opportunity to experiment.
It also, perhaps obviously, varies for any man in any context. If you feel that your age, seniority in the workplace or reputation affect how much dandification your day allows, this will become part of the equation.
Dandification itself is best considered to revere tradition, yet contain a persistent air of risk. To quote Nicholas Antongiavanni: “While often unusual, the dandified always follows the classic rules of dress, or else is based on a judicious breaking of those rules. It is never costume – not spats and ascots, but waistcoats and handkerchiefs. Yet there is always some risk in wearing what is dandified, unless you have so much reputation that a certain eccentricity, even extravagance, is taken to be your due.”
So how much risk does the occasion allow? That is another way to read the second half of this rule.
Another observation on dandification worth making is that, unlike formality, it is not reinforced by the presence of similar items. While there is some balance to be achieved in having, say, a slightly unusual belt in order to draw attention from rather unique shoes, most of the time striking garments achieve their greatest effect in subdued surroundings.
As hinted at in a previous posting on this site, Jeeves and Bertie Wooster are a good model for this formal/dandified balance. While much of what Bertie favours is over the top, you wouldn’t want to look like Jeeves all the time if you could help it. Despite Jeeves obviously being constrained by the proper uniform of a valet (a gentleman’s gentleman, as Jeeves would say), it seems unlikely that he breaks out in yellow checks and bright knitted ties when off duty.
“Therefore, a man cannot follow the predilections of Jeeves, lest he end up looking like an undertaker, nor can he in all things imitate Wooster without coming off like a riverboat gambler” (Antongiavanni). The same rule, in different words.
Friday, 6 June 2008
No one makes nice luggage anymore. Suitcases are usually plastic, bulbous and age badly. They’re black, or possibly silver. There is little possibility for using something you particularly like, or you can get the remotest joy in using.
If it’s a weekend bag you’re after, there’s plenty of choice. Mulberry is always a staple – I recommend their scotch grain range. Bown makes beautiful bags – particularly the overnight cabin bag. In fact, almost anyone that makes lovely leather items can do you a good weekend bag.
But there’s nothing like the same range in suitcases. Even Mulberry’s cases look like they have little to do with the soft, malleable leather of the smaller bags. They are awkward, largely made of a woven fabric with leather detailing. The recently launched Samsonite Black Label range is similar – despite high design, their best feature is a lime-green lining. Little on the outside really appeals.
The problem is leather. It is too heavy for a suitcase, but no one quite knows what an attractive alternative would be. Louis Vuitton suitcases are made with canvas. This is lighter but still not so light you could carry it around for any length of time. They were designed, after all, for the age when porters carried your cases for you everywhere. (Plus a decent size will cost £3,000 and everyone will think it’s fake anyway.)
Fortunately, I recently stumbled across Globetrotter. Its suitcases are made with vulcanized board – essentially compressed paper with a protective coating. They are therefore light, while been famously strong: a famous old stunt featured an elephant from London Zoo balancing on top of one.
What’s more, Globetrotter fulfils all my criteria for buying luxury. It is built for longevity. It is something I will use often (I probably travel on business an average of eight times a year). And it has a history behind it: it was founded in 1897; Queen Elizabeth took it on honeymoon; it was used in the first ascent of Everest; and Churchill carried a Globetrotter briefcase.
It also seems to have wasted little money on advertising. The website is slick (globe-trotterltd.com), but few people have heard of it. The store, just off Bond Street, is nice but small and personal. So you can rest assured that your purchase is not funding a huge branding exercise.
Like any luxury item of worth, the company has an easy system for quickly repairing and refurbishing. They are happy if you only ever buy one.
On the more frivolous side, they also come in a fantastic array of colours, from orange with brown leather to blue with white, from red with tan to cream with yellow.
The Original range offers the best value for money, with a decently sized suitcase starting at £350. For more leather straps and leather corners (Centenary) you pay disproportionately more, as you do for the Safari range, which just offers another two colours. If you do take a liking to the leather straps, I recommend buying one or two separately. They cost £25 each, which is a lot less than the step up to Centenary.
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Bespoke, as regular readers will recall, involves creating a suit from the ground up. It can take any form, any shape and material. It is usually handmade by the tailor you speak to. Made to measure involves taking your measurements, adjusting the standard block for an existing suit and having it made in a factory.
Aside from the added quality of having a suit sewn by hand, the biggest difference between bespoke and made-to-measure is that there are fewer options with the latter – the shape of your suit and, to an extent, the materials, will be limited.
Tom Ford doesn’t mind this because people want to buy a Tom Ford shape and Tom Ford materials. They don’t want bespoke. But they do want the suit to fit as well as humanly possible. So he adds an onsite tailor to the equation.
The customer’s measurements are taken in New York, and from those measurements staff pick one of four bases and adjust it. The amended base in sent away to the factory (in Italy) and made up. When it comes back, the New York staff have the capability to make some fairly dramatic adjustments if needed. It’s made-to-measure, with a tailor at the other end.
“When you go to a bespoke tailor you can have almost anything made. When you come to us, you come for a certain Tom Ford look and then it’s modified. This is a hybrid that did not exist,” Ford told Fantastic Man recently. “There’s much more customisation than you can get from any other designer company. At the same time it’s got a bit more of a personal [designer] stamp than Savile Row.”
This is not just new, it is important. It tells people from George Clooney and Brad Pitt to the man in the street that you don’t only have three options – ready to wear, made to measure and bespoke. You can find any point in between if you find and use a good tailor.
If you buy a suit off the peg, ask what adjustments can be made in-house. Many designer brands offer this, often at cost price. Don’t be afraid to take it to a separate tailor if the fit still isn’t right (pushing yourself along the range from RTW to almost MTM). And don’t be afraid to take a MTM suit to a tailor either. Again, many shops that offer MTM will also do adjustments – Suit Supply is a good example, as I mentioned in a previous post.
It’s great to see Tom Ford distance himself from many other designers, who make no attempt to ensure their RTW suits fit. It is even more impressive that he has created an almost unique niche. Here’s hoping some other designers follow his lead.
Monday, 2 June 2008
I’d like to wear an ascot, but I just can’t. Outside of a wedding or a trip to Ascot, I’d have trouble pulling it off. I have, however, found something that is near enough to be satisfying without being too flamboyant.
The two keys to making this work are colour and collar. The colour needs to be dark and with a subtle, dark pattern if any. The collar should be non-existent: I wear it with a sweater or t-shirt rather than a shirt. On the v-neck of a shirt, even a polo shirt, it looks too forced. As with braces, white suits and most hats, it’s very hard to wear at my age without looking silly.
So, the new ascot. It is a short, dark blue scarf in silk, which I found accidentally in a vintage shop for about £5. No more than two feet long and four inches wide. It is worn in place of a scarf on more summery days like today, tied once and tucked into the front of a round-necked cotton sweater.
I have a long neck, and so collars generally are a good thing – polo shirts rather than t-shirts; shirts themselves above all. The short silk scarf, however, adds some needed height and weight to the neck of a sweater.
I prefer a dark colour and pattern, because again it makes the outfit a little less flamboyant. This is of course an entirely personal decision, but given the recent results of the Menswear Poll it seems most readers are more conservative than me if anything; so my dark blue neckerscarf with black graphic pattern is probably more likely to appeal than a yellow polka-dot version.
Again, my aim was to take a little-worn item and bring it into my wardrobe in some way. I would draw a parallel with woollen handkerchiefs – something I find far easier to wear with non-formal outfits than silk handkerchiefs. It is more muted, and subtle, but undeniably there.
One problem. Aside from a discovery in a vintage shop in York, I have yet to find a silk scarf of similar size. Has anyone seen something similar being sold as new? It strikes me as something that Dunhill or Aquascutum might carry, but I could only find regular, pre-folded ascots in their stores.
Any reports of sightings would be appreciated. In the meantime, I encourage you to scour the vintage shops and try out this suggestion with your best summer-weight sweater.