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On Taste
21 May

On Taste

Taste is complicated. In different contexts, it’s a physical sense or a social grace, something you feel immediately and certainly, or something you learn bit by bit over years.

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A Sartorial Special Relationship
14 May

A Sartorial Special Relationship

Goodbye old friend. One of my ancient, beloved vintage suits is no longer.  Its jacket’s thick carved horn buttons will end up being treasured by someone who buys orphaned suit coats, because the last time I put this suit on, I discovered what seemed like a baseball-sized hole in the crotch of the trousers.

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On Athletic Beauty
07 May

On Athletic Beauty

Any job done well is a pleasure, but sporting achievement distills that pleasure into a kind of beauty.

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Exorcism
30 Apr

Exorcism

Before I went away to college, my mother took me aside and made me promise that I would not become a writer. 

She needn’t have worried.

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The Shock of Sudden Flatness
25 Apr

The Shock of Sudden Flatness

It’s too bad only one Pop Art icon found that sort of staying power. If Andy Warhol flatters our coat and tie sensibilities, there is another artist from the same era who challenges them. Working a few miles from the Warhol Factory in her Tribeca studio was Marisol, the first-name-only contemporary of Warhol whose work revels in the sort of shapes menswear enthusiasts try their hardest to avoid. Flitting freely between sculpture and painting, Marisol’s art is a celebration of flatness.

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On Envy
23 Apr

On Envy

I speak today of a secret vice. Rarely admitted, but relentlessly practiced. “The sin that everybody commits.”* No, not that one. A distinctly modern sin, made for (and perhaps made by) a modern consumer economy: envy.

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The Origins of Business Casual
17 Apr

The Origins of Business Casual

Deirdre Clemente’s recent article in The Atlantic argues that business casual originated in Silicon Valley as a bottom-up phenomenon (as opposed to a bottoms-up phenomenon, a very different sort of thing).

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Untruisms: You Get What You Pay For
14 Apr

Untruisms: You Get What You Pay For

Today price is another marketing tool. We’re still told to think otherwise, thanks to regular posts and articles that helpfully compare the differences between, say, a $500 and a $2,000 leather jacket. Those articles make price out to be the proxy for quality, with all the differences between the two presumed to indicate lower quality in the cheaper version and higher in the dearer. Price does not mean quality, as those comparisons suggest. And $500 is a huge amount of money for a piece of clothing to almost all of us.

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