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RIP Jimmy Webb, 1957-2020
05 May

RIP Jimmy Webb, 1957-2020

Jimmy Webb, denizen of St. Mark’s Place, punk guru, and rockstar couturier died last month. He was 62.

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Coping Jawnz
28 Apr

Coping Jawnz

What is the comfort of today? Cufflinks, jackets, ties become a mocking audience, hooting almost audibly to remind us of a register of dress this era has rendered ridiculous. Not a possession to dazzle me, but one to make me wryly laugh: an old, beautifully patterned silk scarf from Sulka Paris had to become my ersatz mask for a couple of outings. I supposed that’s the closest a possession has come to helping screen me from reality.

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Bill Withers, 1938-2020
14 Apr

Bill Withers, 1938-2020

Soul wasn’t just a music genre for Bill Withers, who sadly passed away recently, but an impulse – an expression, and a way to speak plainly about the tribulations (and successes) that defined his life and career. He may not have been a preacher, but he certainly preached – whether it was heartbreak, the war in Vietnam, or the suicidal thoughts of a failing husband (as in ‘Better off Dead’) Withers’ music endures because he was strong enough to reveal himself to us, peppering his smooth crooning with the occasional cry for help. That’s why we’re so endeared to him; why he’ll be missed.

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Time Capsules
07 Apr

Time Capsules

I’ve been inspired to turn to The Sartorial Travel Guide by the inimitable Simon Crompton for a glimpse of what already seems like a very different time, one where we were free to move around without fear of killing or being killed, one where brick-and-mortar retail existed and was worth the journey.

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The Original Penny Loafer
31 Mar

The Original Penny Loafer

I’m sure you’ll remember the scene in Adam McKay’s masterwork Talladega Nights in which the dastardly (French) villain Jean Girard challenges our hero Ricky Bobby to name one thing of value that Americans have given the world. As a proud American, I’ve often wondered how I might have answered, were I in Ricky Bobby’s shoes. One tempting answer might be that classic of Ivy Style, the penny loafer. But this isn’t quite right. The penny loafer was born in Norway.

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From Inside the Velvet Mask
24 Mar

From Inside the Velvet Mask

We cannot outrun history’s arrow. d’Artagnan and his boon companions the Three Musketeers learned that over 5,000-odd pages of Alexandre Dumas’ rambling historical fiction.  History’s arrow? I should have said history’s cannonball, since that is what ended the real d’Artagnan’s life at the siege of Maastricht, an inevitability Dumas had to write into the life of his invented d’Artagnan, at the very end of the last Musketeers romance, The Man in the Iron Mask.

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Election Gear
13 Mar

Election Gear

How many of us have gotten caught up in the excitement of the campaign season over the past year and decided to smash the donate button and buy some merch?

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Vive la différence
10 Mar

Vive la différence

An old, old joke about a bunch of chauvinist French scientists at a convention.  The keynote speaker cautiously begins by announcing that there is only a small difference between the male and female bodies, only to be drowned out by a heartfelt Gallic “Vive la différence!” Something of the visceral, uncouth and unreconstructed gusto of that cheer comes to me whenever I think of the differences the seasons impose on our clothing, particularly in tailoring.

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