The February issue of Japanese magazine Free & Easy is devoted to “dad’s style,” another term for trad, and includes a profile on me. Two correspondents from the magazine spent several days documenting me and a selection of my worldly possessions to the tune of eight pages.
Previously I’ve written in praise of the small wardrobe, and I’m constantly purging my closet of things that seemed adequate at one point but no longer cut the mustard. Following an unusually brisk December of acquisitions and purges, there’s stuff profiled that I know longer have and new things that would’ve made nice additions.
Of course no one in Japan knows me, but you guys do, so now I have to write all sorts of disclaimers about the stuff pictured. Where shall I begin?
Let’s start with the spread above. For my “on duty” photo, I was shot in the doorway of my office at Quest magazine. Opposite is my beloved polo coat, which I’ve worn all of once so far this season on account of the mild weather. Of the three ties they chose to shoot, the one on the left is my lone totally un-trad tie, a very Art Deco geometric tie by Ralph Lauren Purple Label that Bruce Boyer gave me. It’s a beauty and I figured I might need it someday for a Deco dress-up event. Those brogues were recently purged, replaced with Alden full-strap loafers. I’m just a slip-on kind of guy.
Below we have the roadster I sold for a song to a teenager when I moved to New York. It’s a Mazda Miata that I heavily customized with retro parts, mostly from Japan, and which nobody wanted. I’d planned to keep it until the day I died, but ended up selling it for what now amounts to a couple of freelance assignments from Yahoo! that I can bang out in an hour. But it was the recession and such is life.
Monk straps purged. When I say I’m a slip-on kind of guy, I mean no laces and no buckles. On the left is my “off duty” style, consisting of flannel-lined Lands’ End cords, a tartan shirt, Shetland crew from O’Connell’s, and Brooks Brothers quilted jacket. Free & Easy’s mantra is “rugged,” which is why my facial expression looks cantankerous for a change instead of constipated. I was trying to look like Steve McQueen on the cover of “Hollywood and the Ivy Look.”
Much of my stuff is still in storage in California, so they were really straining to fill the eight pages with accessories and had to resort to things like my utterly bland wallet and my razor. Though I haven’t busted out my grandfather’s pocket watch as I can’t find the right vest, I got a fob that’s kind of funny. I figured if you’re going to wear a watch chain you might as well do it with some humor. It’s from the early 20th century and features Uncle Sam leaning on a globe with the slogan “Always a winner.”
The suitcase was my grandparents’ and was the sole piece of luggage I took when I bought a one-way ticket for New York. It was completely destroyed in the process and now is merely a prop.
To my great embarrassment, one of the Sartego watches I wrote about here recently failed and will cost twice its value to repair, so I apologize to anyone who got one and had the same experience (though my other one is still running). I’m now looking at used Cartiers on eBay, which may be a safer bet.
This page includes an argyle sweater I got for golf but have since given away as something about it annoyed me. You’ll also see my letterman’s jacket from Cal State Disneyland, and the bicycle I ride over the Triboro Bridge to the driving range on Randall’s Island.
You’ll also notice in the bottom left my modest lodgings. When you sell your worldly possessions and give up The World’s Greatest Cat to start life over again at 40 in New York, you have to make some sacrifices. I was lucky enough to have an old high school friend hook me up with a roommate in Astoria, across the East River in Queens. So I’m in a furnished room and haven’t gotten around to moving yet, mostly because my girlfriend and I can’t decide between Park and Fifth.
Seriously, she has a few months left on swell pad in a luxury high-rise her company pays for, so I spend most of my time there. The ugly floor rug was scavenged as I needed a putting surface, and if you look closely in the very lower left you’ll see a delightfully lowbrow mirrored beer advertisement, which I also scavenged in order to tie my neckties. It says “Paris 1900” so I couldn’t resist, though it’s for something called Stella Artois. I don’t drink beer so I don’t know what that is, but I read somewhere it’s the favored beer of football hooligans.
Here’s my old place in LA; the objets d’art are still covered with dust and spiders in a storage unit:
My girlfriend informed half of Japan about the article, so I guess it was incorrect when I said earlier that noboby knows me there. Even her grandmother has read the piece. Reactions from her friends have ranged from “he’s cool” to “he’s dandyish,” and I suppose it’s possible to be both and still be “noble,” which one of them said. I didn’t ask whether she agreed with any of them. — CC