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.”
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?
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.
There’s a danger in our latter-day dandy syncretism: the rolling of anyone who dresses in flashy or anachronistic jackets and sportcoats into a loaf of the indigestible and incoherent. By its title, Dandysmesacknowledges various different types of dandies, and different conceptions of the dandy, all seen through the prism of Beau Brummell, the putative dandy zero.