Friday, June 29, 2012

Just The Flax

Our reporter, Squire Tuck, spent a day in the city. Here's what he had to say:

* Walking up the stairs from the train platform into Grand Central Terminal, a voice from my left, "Great suit." A college-age young lady wearing a white cap with a navy H, backwards. The blue/white seersucker, of course: always gets a comment, a smile or a nod. BTW, did you think that you could only wear a solid shirt with that striped seersucker? The whole world is in flux; what's with the caution? You can wear a soft check or stripe. Choosing a tie? The solid navy knit, made in Italy! What else?

** Socks with suits! Time to put away those merino wool socks with your sweaters, in boxes with cedar bars or balls. Also, the summer sock sale is on. Brooks Brothers & Others may call them "hose." We buy them now, on sale,  so that we do not get hosed later, actually. Buy 3-4 new cotton pairs for warm weather and 2-3 merino wool for next season (trust me: just do it). Why do we do this now? We save 40% at Brooks Brothers buying six pair! Like AmazonBrothers at these prices. Get thee.

Summer Whites
The salesman at BBs told me that most people wear the wool socks all year round as if that was written in some style catechism. Wrong! Worsted wool suits, if not too finely woven, breathe well in summer. Socks, crushed between your feet and leather shoes, do not. Your feet get too warm. Get good cotton ones, which will hold the dye well and not fade in the laundry for at least two seasons.

Shoes are the most important element in a business wardrobe, because even a bespoke suit cannot overcome the discomfort of wearing the wrong shoes. Your shoes want to sit next to cotton in summer the same way you want to sit next to the girl in the cotton dress on the train, bus, plane, boat in summer.

*** Beautiful June day in the city. Getting a little tired of walking, or your D-width Prada oxfords, bought long ago on a lunchtime whim, squeezing your E-width feet? You can still enjoy the sunny day: take the #3 Madison Avenue bus uptown, instead of the Lex subway.

Just The Flax, Please
Tip: you'll need to know a little trick about paying the fare with your Metrocard. The picture of that card on the fare boxes of all NYC buses shows the yellow side with black strip up. Actually, you must put your card in the slot UPSIDE DOWN with the black strip to the right. Legions of tourists and many New Yorkers have been at the mercy of impatient drivers, since people do as the photo seems to indicate. Wrongo.

Always been that way, always will. In New York we say, "If it's broken, we'll find a way around it." And do. Every time. We tend to rollover things, rather than fix them through the long corridors and paper trails of city agencies, committees, community boards, councils, union offices, etc.

**** A word on those summer linen wrinkles. Flax. This natural fibre likes to bend, crease, and generally look unregulated. Let it be. Otherwise, you'll be standing around on breezeless evenings, sweltering in that wool blazer looking stiff, which is different from neat . Wrinkles are neat. Just reporting the flax.

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