The last week in March. You may remember this time from a year ago. It was when this mysterious virus we’d heard about in the news suddenly became real, and the businesses in your town — perhaps even your own — were forced to close, and people began panic buying the one commodity they deduced would be the most valuable: toilet paper.
And now here we are a year later, and really it wasn’t so bad was it? OK perhaps it’s a tad lugubrious, but recall your Stoic philosophy and remember that nothing’s good or bad but thinking makes it so (actually that’s Hamlet summarizing a Stoic precept). The amount of compensation required by the ego to maintain its equilibrium during a time such as this is quite substantial, and this can be quite liberating. Who says you need to make a billion dollars before you can be like Ralph Lauren and “cosplay” or “live-action role play” as a rancher, race car driver, English peer, neo-Gatsby, or tweedy professor. This is the moment to realize that imagination is actually more real, from the soul’s point of view, than humdrum reality. So free up some blocked inner energy and let loose, if only in your mind. Take it seriously enough and it will begin to permeate your personality. Besides, for the indefinite future most people won’t recognize you anyway. As I said last summer, if you’ll wear a mask for a year you’ll wear one for five, and if you’ll wear one for five, then you’ll wear one for the rest of your life.
Now let’s get caught up on some news. For men of my age, pop music ceased producing anything listenable in 1989, so I must admit having never listened to the popular Korean act BTS, who performed recently at the Grammy Awards, the first-ever act from that country to do so. But someone pointed out the above photo of them wearing crested patchwork jackets, an interesting example of trad motifs constantly being recycled for public consumption.
Speaking of consumption, and that of the more conspicuous kind, Ivy Style contributor Eric Twardzik has brought a dollop of trad taste to parvenu breviary The Robb Report with this write-up on J. Press.
Twardzik also has a piece at Inside Hook on an impressive vintage Polo dealer.
In more general menswear news, The New York Times reports on something called the “bro brooch,” The Telegraph shows you how to do the preppy look beyond your forties, as if that is a challenge, the Wall Street Journal looks at the “polarizing” flat cap, and, inevitably, the Associated Press tells us that, in spite of Rowing Blazers, tailored clothing is, well, you know:
BOSTON (AP) — A sneaker-clad Latino state senator in Rhode Island is objecting to his chamber’s jacket and dress shirt edict as a form of white oppression. Female lawmakers in Montana complain proposed rules dealing with s kirt lengths and necklines are overly sexist. And an Iowa state representative wore jeans on the floor last month to highlight the irony of Republican leaders refusing to mandate face masks in the chamber as the coronavirus pandemic rages while still banning jeans and other casual clothes. With women and people of color elected in larger numbers in many states, legislatures are being forced to confront longstanding dress codes that are increasingly viewed as sexist and racist.
… Wearing unconventional clothing can be an effective “statement of resistance” or solidarity in the political arena, but dress codes also play an important role in preserving decorum in the democratic process, said Rhonda Garelick, a dean at the Parsons School of Design in New York. “That is where the pushback comes from: We dress differently for a funeral from the way we do at a barbecue,” she said. “Are there other ways to convey difference or resistance while still conveying respect or formality?”
…The Democrat-controlled Rhode Island Senate approved its new dress code Tuesday, over objections from Acosta and other lawmakers. The provision, a revision of a policy the chamber has had for decades, requires Senate members and staff dress in “proper and appropriate attire, such as blouses, dress slacks and collared shirts with accompanying jacket.” Democratic Sen. Louis DiPalma, who chairs the rules committee that vetted the revised mandates, argued that the dress provision is broader than those in other state legislatures.“It’s not about judging how anyone looks,” he said. “A dress code and decorum are about respecting an institution that is 200-plus years old.”
As we repeatedly read on the Internet, this website, as well as everything else sartorial, is “just clothes” and has nothing to do with politics. Therefore we would be failing in our duty to bring you all the news that’s fit to print without reporting that cable news trad icon and lightening rod Tucker Carlson is expanding with a new show.
We think, however, that Mr. Carlson should resume wearing bow ties. They seem to suit him, and certainly fit the times we live in.
Until next time, gentlemen. — CC