Friday, September 29, 2006

Might as well do the thing properly.

If people (as opposed to commercial enterprises who refrain from overwhelming me with torrents of well-deserved ducats) are going to Steal My Damned Look, the least they could do is do it right, dammit.

This brings us to the (after the ridiculous objections made against the pocket square) second "most objected to" of the well dressed man's dicta. Suspenders (or braces for our UK contingent). They are supremely desirable on anyone, but they are practically mandatory on a gentleman whose height doesn't quite get to the 5'11" (or 175cm) mark. Why?

1- They give a cleaner line to the trousers, because a belt, in order to function properly, must cinch the waistband to the...um...waist.
2- They add a vertical element, which is both elongating and slimming and as someone whose matabolism went for a nap around 1996 this is key.
3- They do not crowd or bulge underneath a vest (waistcoat) should you be unfortunate enough to reside where these are a prime element of elegant insulation.
4- Since trousers hang freely, they drape better.
5- Gives an additional element of interplay regarding color, pattern and texture which allows the elegant man to subtly highlight his pocket square, or socks, etc.

That said, we must now consider the matter of what sorts of suspenders one ought have in one's arsenal. For me one name stands alone: Trafalgar. You want the fabric to be silk faille or grosgrain. To my mind, the woven (nevah printed) designs are the ne plus ultra but I can see why some gentlemen might prefer the more quiet designs such as the "Chase" line of stripes, or even plain colors; the "Fairfield" line. With some casual summer trousers, the braided leather models are acceptable and a bit insouciant.

The design above is called Venezia and, like most of the truly snazzy designs, is a limited edition collector's blah-blah-blah. I got it because I am raving Italophile and because the lovely, gracious and clevah Poppy has as her favorite, a lovely Hermes scarf entitled Fetes Venitiennes and one must always opt for stylistic synergy with one's pals. The choice of snazzy design is entirely up to you, with the sole proviso there is no jarring, discordant note with the rest of your ensemble.

Besides the aforementioned Venezia, I have about 9 others in the "design" category (we'll set aside the plain and the striped) including a couple of patriotic ones and two for the more festive sorts of black tie events.

Now, if you're rummaging through eBay you're in fairly safe waters with the woven-design models. It's the plainer brethren which prove easy to counterfeit. Look for the word "Trafalgar" engraved on the top edge of the levers, the fabric will NOT be in the same sort of silk as a regular necktie, and the juncture at the back will be in suede. Caveat emptor.

Now, off you go.

-J.

P.S. This is not to say I abjure all belting. I reserve my beltedness for "odd trousers" (usually grey flannels) or chinos or jeans or the dressier sorts of shorts.

3 Comments:

Blogger S said...

I might also suggest Albert Thurston...

2:19 PM  
Blogger Joke said...

Mr. Thurston's offerings -- insofar as I'm aware -- don't have quite the design bounty I like to see.

But!

They are of impeccable quality.

-J.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Associate said...

Hi,
I am interested in researching the sort of people who collect or have an affinity for Trafalgar Braces. (It sounds wierd,but it is actually not if you heard the explaination) Would you be interested in talking to me at some point when you have a free moment?

4:40 PM  

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