Blah day? Add some casual color. Last week a Kelim patterned silk scarf and lightweight cashmere polo shirt brightened an otherwise sullen afternoon.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
To give credit where credit is due, we learned of Penhaligon's Juniper Sling EDT from GQ, where it is apparently a cult favorite in the London office. Inspired as it is by London Dry Gin, one sniff made the scent a favorite of ours as well. And then we stumbled upon Penhaligon's Juniper Sling video. Both are irresistible.
Monday, October 20, 2014
More so than the ballet and much more so than the symphony, the San Francisco Opera is civilized entertainment. Order martinis in advance by telephone and they are delivered to the alcove of your box at intermission so they can be consumed during the performance (just try that at the symphony). Adding to the ambience, the opera crowd has a higher proportion of well dressed men than you will see elsewhere around town. Granted, even at the opera there is only one occasion when you will see much black tie and that is opening night, when full dress is in occasional evidence as well. But the rest of the season you do see suits. And this is San Francisco, where you do not see suits all that often day or night.
One of the reasons for the near disappearance of black tie among the men that might wear it otherwise is that it is rarely practical to use the workplace for changing clothing before a 7:30 performance. More often, there is no time to eat and barely time to meet a companion before the curtain.
When it is going to be one of those no chance to change evenings, a reasonably time effective way to look appropriate is to start the day wearing a dark gray suit, black oxfords and a white dress shirt. After 6:00, find a mirror and replace the day's four in hand with an evening bow to transform work clothes into a facsimile of a black and white ensemble. For example, Handel's Partenope provided the opportunity for music and martinis last week. A pair of Charleston braces were the finishing touch.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
For years, rain started here in the bay area with a downpour on my foursome each Thanksgiving but these days it can arrive at any time of year (and we can use it). Fortunately, in response to the changed conditions, we now have a good looking new way to deal with the moderately cool wet. There have been winter scarves and there have been summer scarves and now we have mid-weight in-between season scarves like the modal (cellulose) and cashmere Birds of Paradise specimen in the photo.
In New Guinea, where it rains a lot, Bird of Paradise feathers are used in ornamental dress. That may be why Drake's London elected the B of P motif in something that will keep a neck comfortable when pure wool or pure cashmere are too warm and the otherwise perfect silk is easily susceptible to water spots.
The next time rain is on your horizon, wrap the Birds of Paradise around your neck and throw it into an overhand knot. Just add a raincoat.
Monday, October 13, 2014
It was foggy in the Bay area last week and a dark green knitted waistcoat saw the season's first light of day under a gray tweed jacket. (For anyone who might be unfamiliar with the term, there are cardigans and there are knitted waistcoats. Though they are both knitted and each has a buttoning front, the difference between them is that the cardigan has long sleeves and is worn as a jacket. The waistcoat is a sleeveless vest that is worn under a jacket, where it adds visual interest as well as a just right amount of warmth).
Compared to a tailored vest that might be worn on similar occasions, the knitted waistcoat is more forgiving of fit and has a texture that better matches flannels and tweeds, in this case for a gray and misty walk through the park after we saw the impossible line for the de Young Museum (the twenty minute search for a space in the parking garage should have been the first clue).
The button front of course is the difference between a waistcoat and a sleeveless slipover. The English wear theirs with the bottom button open a la Edward VII and Mr. Astaire in the illustration. The Italians button only one or two in the middle, a significantly more dégagé look that you might emulate on days when you are channeling Luciano Barbera and that is impossible to achieve with a slipover.
Knitted waistcoats generally are available in either merino wool or cashier. The best of them are lightweight but durable twisted cashmere by John Laing of Scotland that resists the sagging and pilling that is part of the lesser cashmere experience. Nothing heavier though. If you will be walking through Red Square in winter you should be wearing an overcoat anyway.