24 January 2011

Sartorial Geniuses

"This week, while the Italian menswear shows have been running, I've made up my mind that this has everything to do with age - the age of male models, the age I'm at - and the fact that credibility is stretched to snapping point when designers ask us to believe that young men would dress that way, all pomaded and lipsticked. The poor things cannot help looking daft in older men's suits, but even when it goes faux-schoolboy - in a supposedly generationally appropriate way - it's best described, as I can hear my 20-year-old son softly hissing, as "Sheesh!"

The Italians should just leave it to their granddaddies. From the photographic evidence coming out of Florence and Milan this week, an Italian man only approaches his full power and confidence in dressing in his fifties. At 60-plus, he may qualify as a sartorial genius whose idiosyncratic taste and ineffable confidence in mixing old and new clothes, and mismatching patterns and colours, completely outclasses younger men's gaucher attempts at "fashion". In Italy, until you can grow a full face of white whiskers, put on a checked suit, paisley waistcoat, striped shirt, spotted tie, pink pocket handkerchief, herringbone overcoat, top it with an old fedora and aviators, and come out looking as if it had just somehow "happened", you've not qualified for the full respect of seniority."

- Sarah Mower, The sartorial geniuses - aged 60-plus, The Daily Telegraph, 19 January 2011

7 comments:

A Super Dilettante said...

This is so true. I think one of the good things about growing older is that you are more comfortable in your own skin and more confident as well. Confidence plays a major part if you are going to look good in what you wear. Also, the older you are, the more respectable you become. Nobody laugh at the older man for being well-dressed because he is respected for his age or his knowledge but if a younger man go and dress up, people look at the younger man more ("Why is he dressed up like that?"). I suppose the younger you are, the more you are peer-pressured, judged and scrutinised for what you wear.

OldSchool said...

As documented by the Trad blogs I follow, there are a not insignificant number of American men who won't have to wait until their 40s, 50s (or 60s) to know the difference between fashion and style.

Tabitha said...

Almost spilled a drop of my tea there, I thought you were wheeling a secret son out of the closet.

Daniel-Halifax said...

This is true. It seems when shopping in Italy in "younger" clothing stores, one finds a beautiful pair of pants, then turns them over and finds them carrying cargo pockets. Why ruin a good thing? It wasn't always that way though. Look at the Italian films of the 50's and 60's...FILLED with well-dressed young men.

initials CG said...

Most men should die in their 40's. It's curde, I know. All greats, however, died in their prime. From Leonidas to Morrison.

When I was in the US, I needed to see the older, "gray hairs" in business, you know experience wisdom and above all, patience.

I was sure that strength was derived from these elements.

15 plus years of living in a country where "they" just don't DIE!!! and you begin to see the point in the fact that youth is better.

They're cantankerous, impatient, rigid, unforgiving, and mentally more limited than their youthful selves. They have devolved.

My conclusion...for what it's worth, there is no perfect age. Your're old, you become an asshole unless you're in a great deal of pain and never once do you complain.
Otherwise, all your experience doesn't count and you whine like a bitch about how everything has changed for the worse. And you think you dress well.

OTH...You're young, you have no idea how easy women are, and you are a moron. Worse, if you think you're smart. Plus... you dress for shit.

I guess all the crap about growing comfortable in your own skin is a femminized approach. I hate growing old and feeling comfortable. I want to feel uncomfortable! I want to suffer terribly a lost love. I do not want to feel simply depressed. Old people are simply "depressed." I want kill the waiter who spills the caviar on my linen suit!

I miss being young. But i do so enjoy being rakishly elegant.

initials CG said...

PS: drinking and writing do not go well together in the late hours of the night....

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, Oh I don't know, Robert Palmer managed to combine suits and pomade and lipstick rather well...