Sunday, February 14, 2010

Danish levity and gravitas: Have white shirt and red tie, will make nothing of it

This is a bit of a thread resurrection from last year but instructive. Every once in awhile a new member introduces himself to the Styleforum or AskAndy by creating a new thread and posting a couple of pictures. More often than not, the results can be fairly entertaining and informative. This is the Styleforum debut of a well-dressed fellow from Denmark who goes by the moniker "Butler".

Butler's style is substantive, natural and unforced. He's perhaps one of the closest living examples of the 1930s Apparel Arts aesthetic that I've seen. For comparison, see this Styleforum thread for scans of the Fall 1936 edition. He subscribes to the school of thought which doesn't mind going to a couple of tailors. I find this is a philosophy that is very sensible for certain men. For his winter wardrobe, Butler uses Steven Hitchcock in London and for his summer wardrobe he prefers A. Caraceni on via Fatebenefratelli in Milan.

But his style, interestingly enough, doesn't start and end with his clothes. Unfortunately, the early criticism that Butler receives does. Hmm, perhaps something is rotten with the state of our sartorial criticism? The early comments in the thread are a bit misguided because they focus on the details rather than the fellow himself, his life, his work, his interests and his outlook. There is no balancing done mentally and aesthetically between the whole and the parts. Of course, an egregious error in wardrobe detail should cost something in our esteem but I think the rest of Butler's style more than outweighs his particular choices in shirts and ties.

As he discloses more information about himself, it becomes clear that the way he dresses is a corollary, an adjunct to the life he is leading. This is as should it be. But in these monodimensional threads we start and end with the person's clothes. A better and more interesting journey is to start with the clothes with a view toward the person behind the clothes. Or perhaps even vice versa - start with the person and end casually on the clothes.

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