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Monday, November 17, 2014

Just Add Color

Blah day? Add some casual color. Last week a Kelim patterned silk scarf and lightweight cashmere polo shirt brightened an otherwise sullen afternoon.
Words by Will Boehlke

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Best Fragrance Video Ever

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.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Man In A Gray Flanneled Suit

It is a vestige of my years in temperate climates that I think of changing out my summer wardrobe for fall each September, only to find that little of it can be worn before November. Each autumn I stare wistfully at the 14 and 16 ounce (420 and 480 gram) flannels in my closet knowing that they can contribute nothing but heat stroke until the temperature dips below 60 (15C or so). Though those days are coming.

Flannel is a woolen cloth that is technically similar to tweed. It has a nap to the finish, which makes it interesting to look at and traps heat so it wears warm (a good three piece flannel suit, a pair of gloves and a scarf will keep a man warm without an overcoat even when temperatures dip a little below freezing). One of its reputed characteristics, softness, is not necessarily true. Some of it wears a bit, for want of a better word, harsh, though my old solid gray from H. Lesser's Golden Bale of years ago feels like cashmere. The stuff also tends to rumple easier than worsteds of the same weight (Mr. Bogart probably donned his trousers thirty minutes before the photograph was taken), not nearly to the extent of linen but it does look comfortable in every meaning of the word.

In keeping with the cloth, when a man wears flannel he should look relaxed. That can make the stuff less well suited for some boardrooms than a worsted, though I will wear it anywhere. A London Cut jacket is more in keeping with its less formal look than anything with a military heritage, and oxford cloth shirts are a particularly good pairing. Just eschew Mr. Bogart's silk stripes and wear yours with a grenadine or cashmere necktie.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Music And Martinis

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

Just Add A Raincoat

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.