Friday, August 29, 2008

Rat's Ass Style

Ever heard the expression "I don't give a rat's ass about (such-and-such)"?

Well, I don't.

(Although I've often wondered where one would obtain a rat's ass, in case one
did give a...)

I am a burned-out case, in every aspect of, well, everything.

So I am using these last few days of official summer to stick it in the eye of the beholder. In this case I have the trusty Brooks sack blazer, a pair of Lands End skinn(ier) chinos, AE cordo Randolph penny loafers - and a splendidly obnoxious pink interplay between the tie and pocket square. All that pink and red really complements the broken veins in my nose.

Even these size 35 trousers are a little loose. I am not going to stop this diet and exercise routine until I look as close to Paul Newman in "Harper" as I can get (minus the short-sleeve shirt with a suit routine).

Yikes, what a world. Last night I ate something I am still tasting; tonight there was a problem with the furnace at work; they bled a line and I spent six hours breathing fuel oil fumes until my head about exploded.

I have no real idea what I am going to do next and despite the finery I can't buy a date in this goddamn backwater.

And I still need a haircut.

Screw it. I got yer rat's ass right here...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Introducing TITT Style

We interrupt Mr. Sullivan's protracted sulk to bring you this bulletin...

TITT (Throwing In The Towel) style is an updated American look, which should make Tony V happy. Paul Stuart suit, BB shirt, Sam Hober tie, AE Park Aves.

The suit is lightly padded in the shoulder and darted, but it fits me as well as anything I own and it is an ideal weight for just about anything indoors.

The highlight of the day was handing in my resignation. The time has come to leave Space Camp - for good.

It's been a hell of a good run, overall. But I just can't handle the late hours anymore. Selah.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Faint Feeling of Fall

It's been mighty cool for mid-August around here, with the daytime thermometer not getting much above 75 F. Which means, among other things, that some of the heavier jackets are making their way back into my life.

Including this elderly houndstooth sack jacket from the late great Huntington Clothiers of Columbus, Ohio. My father used to get his shirts from them; they ran a small ad in the New York Times Sunday magazine for years.

Their jackets occasionally pop up on eBay, and I found a very cool checked suit with their label once.

I'm thinking Hard(er) rather than What The Hell these days. WTH invites comment, either derisive or appreciative. Hard invites a punch in the nose. Cool, but mean.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trad, Not-Trad

Found this pink seersucker popover shirt. Forgot I had it.

Blew off Tradliness completely for Tuesday's return to the salt mines. Cool enough for a lightweight lined jacket and wool trousers. Can tweeds be far behind?

The Lost Weekend

Not lost, really, but never long enough. It takes me forever to get moving on Sunday, and about 4 p.m. Monday I begin dreading the return to work just about 24 hours later.

Fishing in the lake on Mt. Riga, Conn. Went to the deep line (#8) and an egg-sucking leech, and finally found a large largemouth. They seem to hiding in the depths and only coming to the surface about 30 minutes after dusk (whenever, or whatever, dusk is). Managed to get quite sunburned.

Monday in the Catskills, some bozo in a digging contraption was roiling things up in the Esopus near Phoenicia, resulting in chocolate milk downstream to the Ashokan reservoir. Between that and a rather high flow I caught nothing but more sunburn, despite the war paint.

Later on, though, in one of the tributaries, I latched into a few browns, including this squirmy little number, who jumped at a size 12 Madam X just when it was getting dark enough to start stumbling around.

The Emerson Resort and Spa in Mt. Tremper, N.Y. considerately puts picnic tables and comfy chairs out streamside. I have never seen anyone use them.

I was in a pretty dark mood, so this witticism daubed on the rock in wet clay left me bemused.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pissed-Off Trad

There is nothing like an olive poplin sack suit, black shoes, a navy stripe shirt and a black knit tie to send the gentle, compassionate signal: "Bleep you, every man for himself."

Plus the five o'clock shadow that is the permanent look for the 4 to midnight shift.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Never Say "Enough"

This thread on the Ask Andy Trad forum asks the membership to chime in on the always ticklish question of when exactly does a guy has enough stuff, for Pete's sake?

I am an egregious offender, although not as bad as I was. I have two closets jammed to capacity, plus three clothes racks, and two closets filled with cold weather suits and jackets in the family's spacious Catskill retreat (i.e. a small cabin).

I once decided not to wash a single shirt until I had been through the entire supply, but had to give up after only five months. The dirty pile got too big.

A lady friend, who I will identify only as Mrs. Peel, took a look round and opined that I had no need to buy another item of clothing, ever.

In my defense, the bulk of the items are from eBay, or thrift shops, or obtained at a deep discount. And often the eBay things are not quite right and never will be, and as anybody who has sold anything on eBay knows, flipping unneeded items can be a colossal pain in the butt.

Some rainy weekend I will measure and photograph all the perfectly good clothing I am never going to use and have a massive blowout on eBay and the exchange thread on Ask Andy. (If I can shanghai Mrs. Peel into helping the grim task will be a lot more fun.) Whatever's left will go to the Bargain Barn in Sharon, Conn., which uses the proceeds to help the underserved obtain medical care.

My problem is I cannot resist a bargain, or buying many of something I like, especially if said something is going out of production.

Like regular chinos from Lands End. They are apparently going completely over to the non-iron fabrics, which is foolish. The non-irons are great for having a nice sharp crease more or less permanently in place, but I suspect I will wear a hole in the seat before they soften and degenerate enough to obtain the status of "fish pants," the highest honor a pair of chinos can attain.

So when the old model appeared on the overstocks page, accompanied by dire warnings from the Trads that this was the end of the line, I quickly bought four pairs, cuffed.

I can breathe easy now.


I've been very lazy about blogging lately. In fact, I've been very lazy about everything lately, so much so that I have taken to trying to do some "serious" writing, not on the computer, but on my old Olivetti portable, seated at the dining room table in the farmhouse, on the mountain, with no electricity and minimal plumbing.

Alas, this austerity hasn't produced anything more memorable than a few lines of doggerel that might make a bad country song.

So memorable, in fact, that I can't recall them.


I recently received two box sets of lousy movies - 50 Horror Classics and 20 Cult Classics - so I will have capsule reviews of these shortly.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The "What The Hell" Jacket Arrives; Public Swoons

I took a chance on this jacket on eBay, described by the seller as a "funky Brooks Brothers blazer."

I suppose it is more of a blazer than anything else. It has a vaguely nautical feel, although I would suspect any ship's captain sporting this thing to be guilty of the worst sort of debauchery.

Or perhaps this was a special order for a croquet team in Perth Amboy, N.J.

What the seller didn't mention, and to my delight, is that it's got twin vents. Also an undarted, two-button front. One button on each sleeve. Feels like a linen blend with some synthetic. I'd guess it's a 1970s attempt at being mod.

Anyway, I wore it to work with a baggy pair of "stone" (i.e. off-white) poplins from Bill's Khakis and very dirty bucks. I got nothing but positive reactions, to my surprise. The words "snazzy" and "dapper" were employed.

The lesson? Never mind subtle understatement; Go Garish, Get Girls!

Or something like that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Harder Ivy?

With my fat face I find it difficult to think I could ever look "hard," like whatisname in Le Samourai, but I can try.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Summer Colors On The Skids

The forecast was at odds with the reality; the official wild guess from the National Weather Service had missed the mark by a wider margin than usual.

Instead of humid and mid-80s, it was humid and low 70s, until it rained, when it was humid and high 80s, until the cold front blew through, and it was dry and high 60s.

Oh, wait a minute, I am describing the "climate control" in the facility where I earn my clothing allowance.

Looking for a way to continue the sort of harder Ivy look the new FNB board has infected me with, I came up with this inexpensive grouping of an eBayed 55/45 wool/silk BB jacket in a muted and pastel-like plaid, LE non-iron white pinpoint bd (overstocks), Paul Stuart knit tie (thrift), LL Bean twills with the labels cut out and sold mega-cheap by Sierra Trading Post, and new El Salvador Weejuns that are starting to show signs of wear, finally (new but hardly dear at $90 shipped).

Plus a haircut from Mario. I work with a gay man, a very amusing guy who sounds the warning when my hair gets too long (or, in my case, bushy).

He knows this elicits a conditioned, practically Pavlovian response from me. All he has to say is "Hi, Fluffy," and the next morning I am opening the barber shop.

"Mario, that guy I work with called me 'Fluffy' again."

"Well, I guess we'll have to de-Fluff you. Have a seat."