Hugh Hefner, millionaire libertine, child of sexually repressed Methodists, and father of a generation of men’s magazines, has died at 91. With the golden age of Playboy long gone by the time I would have been old enough to sweatily peruse its pages, my own feelings about Hefner have centered around a mixture of bemused indifference and the kind of awe one feels toward a grizzled old tree that’s been struck by lightning, yet remains standing.
Menswear columnists are full of advice about how to find and adjust clothing to best flatter your body. A padded shoulder for the bony, a more relaxed cut for corpulent fellows, a higher jacket gorge for short guys like myself. Up to a point, all of these tricks work in creating the illusion of a more “ideal” figure, but they’re probably not as effective as just hitting the gym three times a week, and actually changing the shape of your body.
I was recently called up by the State of New York to serve on a jury. Until then, I’d successfully postponed every previous summons, so I didn’t know what to expect. As a kind of low effort piece of research, I decided to consult a favorite courtroom drama: Twelve Angry Men.
Lately, I keep finding myself thinking about a well-worn, and probably apocryphal Beau Brummell story, the sort one tends to find on blogs like this one. A visitor arrives at Brummell's house and is led by the butler up to Brummell’s dressing room. The door is opened by Brummell’s valet, who is holding a plate of rumpled cravats.
I had been eyeing them for most of October and into early November: a pair of slightly worn, but still springy, well-patinated, brown tassel loafers. I imagined myself wearing them and strolling languidly against scenic backdrops: an Italian piazza, a French market, a German art gallery. I would subsist entirely on cheese, wine, espresso, and self-satisfaction. Life would be easy and my ankles would look beautiful. The shoes were listed by the Ebay seller for almost nothing; I was determined that these loafers, and the life they represented, would be mine.
Most mens’ fashion writers find inspiration in classic movies, old clothing catalogues, or on Instagram. I have lately found it in Gilmore Girls. Before you object, let me start, as a gentleman would, by blaming my wife.
Lately, some of my favorite menswear style icons have been women. Perhaps I’ve just gotten tired of worshipping the same old pics of Marcello Mastroianni, Serge Gainsbourg, and the Duke of Windsor. Or maybe it’s the cumulative effect of so many images of Hillary Clinton in pantsuits.