Tag: style

And Brexit killed the suit, too

Tuesday, 26 March, 2019

One of the worst articles ever published by GQ appeared under the title, “The death of the suit? Thanks Brexit.” Who was responsible for this mess? Lou Stoppard. More precisely, readers were informed that “GQ’s Contributing Editor Lou Stoppard talks you through the jacket that is slowly replacing the suit”. Still, Stoppard got one thing right in the article and it was this: “You can link most current British phenomena on Brexit, or the lack of Brexit, depending on how you look at it.” Exactly.

The other interesting thing about the article is the publication date: Tuesday, 7 November 2017. The demise of the suit has been signalled for some time now and the Wall Street Journal, a former bastion of suit wearers, is finally on it. According to Suzanne Kapner today, “Men Ditch Suits, and Retailers Struggle to Adapt.” The reality of what’s going on here has got nothing to do with Brexit and everything to do with the state of the labour market. In the USA, where it’s very tight, business casual is on the rise and getting even more casual because management wants to keep workers and wants to keep them happy. If that means throwing the suit out the window, so be it.


The tenth Station: Style

Thursday, 3 December, 2015 0 Comments

Style is innate, but it can be nurtured. Photos of my mother’s mother, and ones of her grandmother, show elegant, confident women wearing beautiful coats trimmed with fur, sporting graceful hats adorned with feathers and holding the finest of leather handbags. No wonder my mother understood style. It was part of her heritage and that’s why she preferred to use “style” rather than “fashion” when talking about beautiful clothes and those who wore them.

Stylish

Style represented defiance. Bad weather, hard times, troubles and worries were part of life but a bit of style was an expression of boldness in the face of those forces that would destroy the spirit if they were allowed to have their way. One had to fight and the armour was style.

“What did you make of the style?” was one of the first questions asked about a formal occasion such as a wedding. Her exacting standards meant that most praise was accompanied by a “but”, regardless of the outfit. “Oh, she was gorgeous entirely, but the shoes were too flat. A bit of a heel is nice.” Alternatively, “There was no meaning to the shoes, and what harm but the dress was lovely.” Perfection was the standard, but it was rarely if ever attained in her opinion.

Style had a practical component. “Those are good shoes. How much did they cost?” If there appeared to be a sensible relationship between the price and the purchase, style points were awarded. If not, they were deducted. Shoes were the foundation upon which all style was built and my mother could spend weeks, months, in pursuit of the “right” shoes. If a suitable pair was found, they would be expected to earn their keep.

Fashion comes and goes, but style is permanent. That was her credo and, like most of her beliefs, some of which were not fashionable, it was right and remains true.

Our next station in this series of meditations on 14 photographs is Substance.


Style

Friday, 17 July, 2015 0 Comments

“Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.” — Edna Woolman Chase

Shoes


Link love

Thursday, 19 March, 2015 0 Comments

“Link is acceptable in reference to a hyperlink on the web. If an article refers to material of interest to readers, such as a website, document, image or video, provide an embedded link as a convenience.” The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, 2015 Edition

As a convenience, here is a link to a shop selling the updated version of The New York Times style guide. Since the last edition was published in 1999, much has changed, and the new guide reflects the impact of “web, the.” BTW, for the NYT the lowercase form is now acceptable in all references to the World Wide Web. And BTW again:

“abbreviations popular in online and texting slang should be used only rarely, for special effect, and should be rendered as readers most often see them: BTW, FYI, LOL, OMG, tl;dr, etc.”


One of the great sentences: No. 2

Monday, 19 May, 2014 0 Comments

“Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Why is this great? The audacity of it all, for starters. The idea that the trees which once stood on the site of Gatsby’s house were so magnificent that they could have played a role in the “last and greatest of all human dreams” is outlandish, but the author is in full flight here and intoxicated with his imagination. There are passages of expression in Gatsby that rightfully have been compared to music, and there are others in the novel that have been likened to magic and this is one that contains a little of both. Fitzgerald’s ability to display those vanished trees is one of his greatest conjuring tricks.

One of the great sentences: No. 1


One of the great sentences: No. 1

Monday, 12 May, 2014 0 Comments

“Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there.” Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

Why is this great? Well, the rhythm, for one. Capote also uses the momentum of the great American transport arteries to propel the sentence to its end, while hinting at the drama to come.


DE$IGN and $TYLE and NERD$

Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 1 Comment

Thus spoke Google: “That’s why we’re so excited about wearables — they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.” Along with monitoring our health and fitness, wearables will give us real-time information, and for those programmers who wish to create wearable experiences for their existing apps to see how they appear on round and square devices, Google began offering its Android Wear Developer Preview last week.

But is the hoodie-wearing brigade well placed to offer consumers stuff to wear? Of course not. Just look at how Jan Koum, the newly-minted billionaire CEO of WhatsApp, dresses. But while they might be inelegant in appearance, the nerds are very clever and that’s why Google yesterday announced a partnership with the Italian eyeglass frame-maker Luxottica, which owns the Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglasses lines. Remember what Patti Smith said? “My sunglasses are like my guitar.”

Note: Apple has stolen Angela Ahrendts from Burburry, to be the company’s new head of retail. She’s got a distinct sense of fashion and lots of experience running a company with lots of style. And the interview there was conducted by Joseph Rosenfeld, who styles himself as “Silicon Valley’s must trusted Brand Strategist for high-profile individuals.” Instead of hoodies, his (male) clients might be nudged towards wearing leggings.


On the bus in Seoul

Sunday, 7 April, 2013 0 Comments

The binyeo is a traditional Korean hairpin. It serves as ornamentation, but its main purpose is to keep a chignon (knot of hair) in place. Binyeos are divided into two kinds, a jam, which has a long body, and a che, which has an inverted U shape. Although binyeos are usually worn by women, they […]

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