14 January 2011
Have you ever seen a dream walking? I have not, but I often see them lounging about in old photos, films, and magazine style spreads. I am referring of course to the flannel chalk stripe suit. It is, for me, the crème de la crème, or the Holy Grail if you will, of personal sartorialism. I have lusted after it for years. Chalk stripe cloth has a martial or regimental association, in much the same way, I suspect, as 'bengal stripe' English dress shirts were derived from the off-duty kit of the Bengal Lancers in India. Chalk stripe is also redolent of Pall Mall clubs, wood-panelled libraries, leather Chestertons, Tweed Bellocs, cigar smoke, glasses of Scotch, and scrums of slick-haired old bankers gossiping and discussing the latest deals. It is enough to make this handsome young fogey's snout drool. As you know, I have two flannel chalk stripe suits (both featured in previous columns): a light grey undarted Brooks Brothers number with a 3/2 roll that I do not wear very often, and a 2-button undarted Southwick suit in 14oz. navy cloth that I acquired more than a decade ago from Van Driver in Greenwich, where my salesman was a very nice Ecuadorian gentleman, a white-haired, blue-eyed, and bespectacled chap whose beautiful niece I once dated. The Southwick suit over the years suffered from a number of butterfly bites and is currently undergoing intricate repairs in a local body shop, and, although it is expected to recover fully, the prospect of being without a flannel chalk stripe suit fills me with anxiety for which the only solution naturally is more chalk stripe. So, I am in the market for an additional suit. I like the examples at Hackett and Polo Purple Label (pictured above), and both Brooks Brothers and Pakeman Catto & Carter feature delicious-looking chalk stripe suits in a DB model. But I will probably be compelled to go bespoke. For the problem with most flannel, I think, is that it is not very practical for the Southern California climate, and really is wearable only two or three months out of the year here. A lighter weight cloth is required. I will let you know what I find. Peace out.
Posted by Laguna Beach Fogey at 06:07