Marie Kondo became famous for suggesting that people keep only those possessions that “spark joy”. Apparently this is supposed to result in keeping only a few possessions. But I have to admit, even if at times in my peregrinations I feel over-burdened, I remain delighted by nearly every one of my possessions.
Some outerwear is meant to be worn over a suit. Some outerwear is meant to be worn over a T-shirt. But all outerwear is meant to be worn over a sweater. My man Josh in Louisiana has put up a Mount Rushmore of coat-and-knit fits, which show how comfortable and elegant this format can be.
Just as there are different sorts of satisfaction in the present—for instance, happiness from lack of want, fulfillment from exertion towards a higher purpose—there are different sorts of idealization of the past. Lincoln’s yearning is not for a beatific past but the opposite – a past of tumult, but also one of opportunity and perhaps more importantly, meaning and glory.
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.
Desiree Desierto of the University of Rochester and Mark Koyama of George Mason University have recently released a working paper on these laws, known as “sumptuary laws,” in pre-industrial Europe. Along the way they find some delightful language from various medieval laws, such as the 1485 French law that restricted the use of gold, silver, and silk cloth to “nobles living nobly who are born and extracted of good and old nobility.”
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).