When I first told my parents I wanted a fountain pen, they laughed at me. A generation that had grown up learning to write on the scratchy, messy, finicky things couldn’t believe that someone would want to turn his back on the easy, consistent and reliable world of rollerballs and ballpoints and fuss with inkwells, pistons and sensitive nibs. Of course, they didn’t realize that for many of us today, the fuss of the old-fashioned is the draw.
Many of the best clothing-industry memoirs, such as Martin Greenfield’s Measure of a Man, spend less time describing the writer’s time in the industry than they do the circumstances that led the writer to the business. Or, as Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day calls it in the fascinating Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem, the hustle. And for him, it was the attraction of, for the first time, carrying out “a hustle with no vic[tim]s.”
Ahead of a trip to Paris, I splurged on a new suit. My wife and I were headed to France for two weeks in celebration of my new godson. There was going to be a fancy party for one side of the family and a more casual fete for the other. I firmly believe in traveling with only a carry-on bag, so whatever I bought needed to be as flexible as possible. The answer to my conundrum came in an unexpected form: a lightweight cotton suit in taupe–not quite brown, not quite gray–a chameleonic color of surprising versatility. Below are some excerpts from my taupe-themed travel diary.
If not even bankers, the profession we suppose kept expensive custom tailors in business (because almost no other profession can still afford them), are wearing suits, then who is still wearing them? What will bankers wear instead? And what is to become of the suit?
The machines do not work as intended. They are always on the border of total breakdown, held together more by ingenuity than mechanical integrity. “As time goes by, one begins to have the impression that everything is already broken before it leaves the factory.” Even the handles of doors are chiefly decorative. This is the sketch with which Alfred Sohn-Rethel begins his essay “In Naples.”
Two children’s books come to mind when I think of Marie Kondo. Fitting, too, as ever since she’s become a sprightly, life-simplifying phenomenon, people on the internet have voiced fears that she would come for their books. We iGents, though, knew better. She (or her distaff converts) are coming for our #steez.
For a certain kind of jawnz-loving guy, summer is the worst season of the year. You can’t layer, it’s hard to accessorize, and if you’re like me, everything gets sweaty. This summer, however, I’ve decided to take a page from Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana; sometimes, you need to just embrace the heat.