30 November 2010

Tartan Tuesday

Someone Great (LCD Soundsystem)

Château Tweed

29 November 2010

Space Pirate Captain Harlock

"We will not pray for anything. Nor will we seek help from anyone. Never again will we fight under another's flag. We will keep on fighting only for what we believe in, under only our flag, as long as we live! Under my flag!"

Captain Harlock, Arcadia Of My Youth (1982)

Vous n'êtes pas seul

O'Mast: Traditional Neapolitan Tailoring

from KidDandy on Vimeo

27 November 2010

Corto Maltese in Africa


Spartan Defence League

The Last of the Famous International Playboys (Morrissey)

26 November 2010

Evelyn Waugh Collection

Sexy Boy (Air)

24 November 2010

The Man in the Crocodile Loafers

When I rang my old chums at Paul Stuart in New York City to order a pair of crocodile loafers and told the girl on the other end to make it snappy, I did not expect to receive the shoes the very next day. But that is exactly what happened. Connections matter. Crocodile loafers, as you know, are widely considered the mark of a bounder or a cad. How appropriate, you may conclude. This is the popular view, I guess, disseminated by pompous bourgeois i-gents on the interweb fora, as shallow and silly as it is. So be it. But I suppose there is a little truth in the view. Crocodile loafers, as you are no doubt aware, are also known as the signature footwear of hard-drinking handsome chaps with no definable function in life apart from being charming, looking smart, and exercising a propensity for getting up to no good. So we must proceed with caution here. With that in mind pairing crocodile loafers with houndstooth tweed coat and trousers with knife-edge crease might be a gesture too far. But they are perfectly acceptable with a damp tweed coat, battered pair of brown worsted trousers, and old OCBD with frayed collar. You might even add an Hermès belt with a large 'H' buckle if you are the kind of man who would do such a thing and expect to get away with it. Crocodile loafers from Paul Stuart provide a touch of cavalier flair to an otherwise typical uniform.

22 November 2010

The English Country House

J.Press on Madison

Merci à notre correspondant à New York

Cocktails of Genius

21 November 2010

O mio babbino caro (Puccini)

Campo Hobbit

20 November 2010

Paul Stuart New York

19 November 2010

The English Gentleman: The Old School Tie

The Old School Tie

One of the most distinctive items of a gentleman's wardrobe is his collection of ties. They are always of a quiet design with the exception of the MCC tie if he happens to have been a cricketer. This is the most vulgar of all club ties and he wears it with a certain amount of embarrassment when the Test Matches are on. He always has a black tie to wear on Armistice Day and there is, of course, his regimental tie and his old school tie. Etonians wear their school tie much more frequently and ostentatiously than gentlemen who went to other schools. There is the story of the socially ambitious young man who had not been to Eton, but wished he had, who spotted a man selling matches in the street wearing the coveted tie. To show off his knowledge to his girl friend he stopped and demanded: 'What the devil do you mean by wearing an Old Etonian tie?' 'Because,' replied the other equably, 'I cannot afford to buy a new one.'

Although in the course of his life a gentleman is apt to collect a large number of club and other institutional ties, it is not really done to wear them except when attending the function to which they are appropriate. Bow ties largely went out of fashion with the death of Sir Winston Churchill, just as buttonholes declined in popularity after the Great Greenfly plague.

The English Gentleman, Douglas Sutherland (1978)

Boys Keep Swinging (Bowie)

American Romance: Too Many Brides, Not Enough Wives

Roy Campbell Suit

18 November 2010

Tories: Fighting for the King in America's First Civil War (Thomas B. Allen)

The American Revolution was not simply a battle between colonists and British. As Thomas B. Allen reminds us, it was also a savage and often deeply personal civil war, in which conflicting visions of America pitted neighbour against neighbour and Patriot against Tory on the battlefield, the village green, and even in church. In this outstanding and vital history, Allen tells the complete story of these other Americans, tracing their lives and experiences throughout the revolutionary period. New York City and Philadelphia were Tory strongholds through much of the war, and at times in the Carolinas and Georgia there were more trained and armed Tories than Redcoats. The Revolution also produced one of the greatest—and least known—migrations in Western history. More than 80,000 Tories left America, most of them relocating to Canada. John Adams once said that he feared there would never be a good history of the American Revolution because so many documents had left the country with the Tories. Based on documents in archives from Nova Scotia to London, Tories adds a fresh perspective to our knowledge of the Revolution and sheds an important new light on the little-known figures whose lives were forever changed when they remained faithful to their mother country.

17 November 2010

Beagling: Kentish Pack

16 November 2010

Royal Engagement

British Bull Cushion

Tartan Tuesday

Young Fogey: Rory Stewart

15 November 2010

Young Fogey: A.N. Wilson

14 November 2010


13 November 2010


Meet the "young fogeys" of David Cameron's Britain.

by Emily Witt

Foreign Policy, 16 Septembre 2010

Young fogeys wear tweed, smoke pipes, and revere the monarchy. They fight to repeal the Hunting Act, carry handmade umbrellas, and evince nostalgia for a past they have never actually experienced. Their political sensibilities, for the most part, track their aesthetics: Sharpe, a former chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association, describes his own politics as "paternalistic."

Fogeyism has no manifesto or ideology, Sharpe insists, and young fogeys don't announce themselves as such -- to do so would be counter to what Sharpe has called their "studied indifference." But, he admits, "one thing that is of great concern is the overdemocratization of things at the moment -- that whatever is popularly thought good is what's good." The young fogey, says Sharpe, has faith in authority: Bach is superior to Lady Gaga; Alberti is preferable to Frank Gehry; and police chiefs should be appointed, not elected. As the ruling Conservatives present their agenda of government decentralization and sweeping budget cuts on relatively tenuous political ground, this refusal by some young conservatives to adhere to the party's reformed image is inconvenient at best.
The first use of "young fogey" to describe this particular subculture dates from May 1984, when Alan Watkins, a columnist for the conservative magazine the Spectator, wrote the following taxonomy: "He is a scholar of Evelyn Waugh. He tends to be coolly religious. ... He dislikes modern architecture. He makes a great fuss about the old Prayer Book, grammar, syntax and punctuation. He laments the difficulty of purchasing good bread, Cheddar cheese, kippers and sausages. ... He enjoys walking, and travelling by train." The "he" was likely intentional -- although many young women had fogeyish views, a tweed suit was rarely considered a flattering costume for most of them.

British newspapers quickly popularized the term and applied it to a range of authors, politicians, and academics. A guide, The Young Fogey Handbook, edited by Suzanne Lowry, appeared in 1985, the same year that British miners called off a yearlong strike and pundits proclaimed an ideological victory for Thatcher's government. The handbook noted that "the present resurgence of Young Fogey ties up neatly with the re-invention of the class system" and added, with some acidity, that the trend was "locked into the great and incurable English vice of snobbery: explicit in the instant wish of any man who makes a bob or two, or rises in his profession, to ride to hounds, to send his children to [private] school and to live behind a facade." The fogey was not necessarily of the upper class, but he did seem to revere it.

According to The Young Fogey Handbook, the 1980s culture of young fogeys was delineated by subtle clues, ranging from the novelists one read (Evelyn Waugh and P.G. Wodehouse topped the list), to the leisure pursuits one enjoyed (rambling, croquet, beagling, crosswords), to the contemporary horrors that one considered suitable targets for cantankerous letters to conservative periodicals (Greenpeace, pop music, the 1960s). The original Evelyn Waughnabes preferred to distance themselves from the vulgar machinations of everyday politics. A few tea-stained and fraying fogeys even modeled themselves after social realists such as George Orwell. Still, they did, as a cohort, lean decidedly to the right: Many of them were self-identified libertarians who viewed even Thatcher with disdain.

Like preppy culture in the United States, young fogeyism had waned by the 1990s. The incorporation of many conservative ideas into the platform of New Labour was one factor; another was that formerly marginal opinions -- cherishing traditional British cuisine, say, or protecting the BBC from becoming too commercial -- became more mainstream. The fogeys also may have had an image problem at a time when acting posh was unpopular and hereditary peers were losing their places in the House of Lords. Even the foibles of the Prince of Wales -- who had once referred to a modern extension of the National Gallery as "a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend" and whom the Handbook called "the Superfogey" -- seemed more cantankerous than charming as he reached middle age.

In 2003, the Spectator ran an article titled "The Young Fogey: An Elegy" that declared the end: "Twenty years after his creation, the Young Fogey has pedalled off into the sunset on his sit-up-and-beg butcher's bike, broad-brim fedora firmly on head, wicker basket strapped to the handlebars by leather and brass ties."

©2009 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC


12 November 2010

The Englishman's Room

Merci à Dilettante Super

Royal Air Force Club: Rhodesian Reception

New & Lingwood: The Knightsbridge

The Knightsbridge jacket from New & Lingwood. Does this ensemble work for you? It certainly does for me. But I could not tell you why. Perhaps it is the daring mixture of different patterns: thick chalkstripe, tattersall shirt, English Madder tie, polka dots. In theory it should not work. And yet... Or maybe it is the tie bar at jaunty angle? Men's tie bar accessories are going through something of a resurgence at the moment with the trad fashion set, but as always I avoid silly consumer trends. The Knightsbridge is an odd jacket so one can assume the trousers would be rather plain, a counterweight to the frivolity on top. Unlike some I have no objection to chaps wearing striped odd jackets. I have done so myself and not only at Henley. I once met an ex-City banker who went fly-fishing kitted out in one of his old pin-striped suit jackets, which for some might be taking it too far.

11 November 2010

Cleverley Fairbanks

Like a couple of abandoned puppies, these shoes just showed up at my front door one day looking for a home. The Fairbanks elastic-sided slip-on model (pictured at left) from the new semi-bespoke Anthony Cleverley line at G.J. Cleverley & Co. Ltd.. I do not specifically recall ordering them and may have done so while enjoying a few cocktails with betweeded chums in Beverly Hills. Some people crash their Benz or fall down stairs after one too many drinks; I order semi-bespoke shoes. Whatever. It happens. At any rate, I think I shall keep them. This past January the American men's journal Esquire published a blurb on the Anthony Cleverley line, which I reproduce here:

London, the early 1960s: The Beatles were blowing up, Carnaby Street was heating up, and G. J. Cleverley was kitting out the world's biggest badasses with his long, lean bespoke shoes. But Cleverley wasn't the only shoemaker in town or, as it turns out, in his own family. His brother's son Anthony was a hell of a shoemaker, too, but Anthony, by accounts an eccentric, physically disabled recluse, preferred to work alone, holed up in the attic of his north London home, making shoes for a few rich clients. Over the decades, Anthony filled a notebook with sketches of his favorite designs, and before he died in 1997, he willed that book to G. J. Cleverley's current owner, George Glasgow. For years the book sat untouched, but when Glasgow began considering ways to expand his company, he turned to Anthony's book and found sketches for narrowly shaped, ingeniously detailed shoes. Seven of Anthony's best designs now make up G. J. Cleverley's new semi-bespoke line, Anthony Cleverley, and they might just make him famous yet.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/endorsement/cleverley-shoes-012110#ixzz14t1hDPn3


"What I think, fundamentally, is that you can’t do anything about major societal changes. It may be regrettable that the family unit is disappearing. You could argue that it increases human suffering. But regrettable or not, there’s nothing we can do. That’s the difference between me and a reactionary. I don’t have any interest in turning back the clock because I don’t believe it can be done. You can only observe and describe. I’ve always liked Balzac’s very insulting statement that the only purpose of the novel is to show the disasters produced by the changing of values. He’s exaggerating in an amusing way. But that’s what I do: I show the disasters produced by the liberalization of values."
"I am persuaded that feminism is not at the root of political correctness. The actual source is much nastier and dares not speak its name, which is simply hatred for old people. The question of domination between men and women is relatively secondary—important but still secondary—compared to what I tried to capture in this novel, which is that we are now trapped in a world of kids. Old kids. The disappearance of patrimonial transmission means that an old guy today is just a useless ruin. The thing we value most of all is youth, which means that life automatically becomes depressing, because life consists, on the whole, of getting old."

Michel Houellebecq, Paris Review No. 194, Autumn 2010

Lemmy: 49% motherfucker 51% son of a bitch

10 November 2010

09 November 2010

Cocktail Cuffs

As temperatures rise, so does my ire. Southern California has experienced in the last several days a sweltering Indian summer, minus the flies, dreadful odours, and dirty street urchins. Cooler weather will return soon enough and with it, the winter rains.

In the meantime the changing season is a good opportunity to reevaluate your dress shirt collection and maybe enjoy a G&T or three on the verandah. But do not strain yourself. Keep it simple and classic. The attention given to a man’s choice of suit and shoes should not extend to his dress shirts. Remember: men’s dress shirts are disposable. Don’t over-think it.

Let me set you straight about collars. The only acceptable shirt collar for orifice wear is the English spread collar, or cutaway collar. This pertains only to those in banking, finance, manufacturing, higher management, and wine. If you are a lawyer or creative type (i.e., media, advertising, public relations, government, and accounting) you do not actually work at a real job, as you are well aware, so the type of shirt you wear is irrelevant. Nobody cares. Neither should you.

Now let’s discuss cuffs. Double cuffs are common (in both senses of the word) and I avoid them for all but the most formal of occasions. You should too. The Americans call them ‘French cuffs,’ which, considering their dislike of all things French, is rather puzzling. In this country double cuffs are the mark of the parvenu, the grasping outsider trying to climb the social ladder. Because they are thought to signify a measure of sartorial sophistication, double cuffs adorn the wrists of every gauche Southern farm boy, urban ragamuffin, foreign MBA, and Noo Yawk shyster in corporate America. Avoid them if you can.

There is an alternative. Try cocktail cuffs. They are infinitely more suitable, and, as it happens, a growing favourite of mine. Cocktail cuffs, as you know, are also called turnback cuffs or flowback cuffs; I prefer the first name for obvious reasons. The photographic image (above) depicts film director Terence Young, ex-Irish Guards officer and director of the first, second, and fourth James Bond films: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball. Note the cocktail cuffs, for which Young was known and which were applied to the on-screen Bond character in the early films. There are several shirt makers that still offer the cocktail cuff, from the well-known to the more obscure, and if you decide to pick up one or two shirts with these distinctive cuffs I am certain you will be quite pleased with yourself.

One last thing. What are the origins of the term ‘cocktail cuff’? Interesting question. Archival research reveals that a number of prominent figures on the London cocktail circuit in the 1930s were credited with developing the distinctive cuff. Cuff links, it was noticed, invariably produced an annoying clattering sound on the Egyptian granite tops of hotel bars and became entangled in ladies’ silk undergarments. The cocktail cuff was seized upon as the perfect solution. It does away with the need for fussy cuff links, allowing a chap to enjoy his evening cocktail in silence without irritating his neighbours, for which it was designed, and permitting him to go forth in bold thrusting cuff and make love to his woman with rough Tweedlike efficiency.

08 November 2010

Hunting Kit

Patrick Cox Wannabe Loafers

Merci à notre correspondant à New York

Yamato Damashi

07 November 2010

Thor Steinar: Südsee Welle

06 November 2010

J.M. Weston: la Rolls des Chaussures

05 November 2010

The English Gentleman: The Gentleman and his Wardrobe


A gentleman carries the minimum of accessories. Those who go around with what is known as the Cartier set--gold lighters, gold cigarettes, watches with crocodile straps and so on are put down as bookmakers or confidence tricksters. A gentleman carries Swan Vestas matches instead of a lighter, except possibly a rather roughly-made lighter fitted with a special windshield which enables him to light it in a howling gale on a grouse moor or in the middle of a salmon river. If he has a cigarette case it is usually a heavy silver affair which he has inherited but does not often carry as it spoils the cut of his suit. His only adornment is a pair of modest crested cuff-links, although in full plumage for the races at Ascot he may sport a tie-pin. There are also still gentlemen who appear on certain occasions wearing a watch chain of a design which most gentlemen would have considered more appropriate to a civic dignitary who had made his money out of hosiery. But then there were many gentlemen who did not consider Churchill to be quite a gentleman. A gentleman always wears his handkerchief tucked in his sleeve--never carefully arranged in his top pocket--an art which is as difficult to acquire as tying a bow tie. It has been brought to my notice that no less an authority on the upper classes than Nancy Mitford, who should know better, declares that gentlemen should wear their handkerchiefs in their top pocket. This is to subscribe to the middle-class practice of having one carefully arranged handkerchief in the top pocket and another somewhere else on the person. This principle of 'one for show and one for blow' is as non-U as a lady who carries her handkerchief tucked in the elastic of her knickers.

A gentleman is particular about having a good watch and takes great pride in its time-keeping qualities. One gentleman to whom it was pointed out that his watch had stopped, exploded: 'That is impossible! My man always winds it up before he puts it on me in the morning.'

In the country he wears a flat hat in the manner which is quite different from the flat hats worn by the working classes and, whatever the weather, he carries a walking stick. In the town he may carry a carefully rolled umbrella but he never thinks of opening it. Many gentlemen have never unrolled their umbrellas since they bought them. He only wears a bowler hat at funerals and point-to-points.

The English Gentleman, Douglas Sutherland (1978)


04 November 2010

Guards Officers Off Duty

03 November 2010

Barker Black: Archdale Star

The holiday season is moving upon us again, like a fat black lady easing into a booth at Denny's.

You will no doubt understand when I tell you that as a quasi-stray I find it is an occasion to be endured rather than enjoyed. Time to consider alternative methods of distraction. More on those later.

So in an effort to smother unpleasant memories my thoughts often turn at this time of year to Jesuit boarding school days and Christmas Mass. The sublime ritual! Preceded by mandatory confession: awkward, embarrassing, rejuvenating, life-giving.

Why do I bring up confession? Well, as you are probably aware, I am not in the business of receiving confessions--except from exceptionally naughty women. (Please take note and contact me at once if you qualify). But I am in the market of giving them and that is what I want to do now.

Do you recall? A few years ago, in the grip of Barker Black fever, I asked the readers of this column to pray for me. But it was of no use: I succumbed anyway.

I can disclose now in this exclusive report that in recent weeks I have acquired several pair of Barker Black shoes, including four pair of the quintessential Barker Black model known as the Archdale, pictured in the photographic image (above). I own the Archdale brogue proper in two colours, chestnut and chocolate, and two copies of the Archdale brogued loafer in a burnished almond tone.

The Archdale appeals to me. The brogueing on these shoes is particularly strong and assertive, as you can see, which complements my senatorial, diplomatic demeanour. At the same time, the soft chisel-toed curves speak to me in the manner of a beautiful young Italian woman wanting to embrace and kiss behind the Palazzo Mocenigo.

As you will discover, I do not take on sartorial projects in a half-arsed manner and my fondness for Barker Black brogues is no exception.

02 November 2010

Euro Quilted Jackets

Merci à notre correspondant à Greenwich