Old Money: Wardrobe Warning

I walk a lot here in Paris, and I see all kinds of (mostly great) style, especially in the ensembles the men here put together. Paris is cold and wet much of the year, so fashion follows function here for those who need to get from ce a la in the city.

Overcoats and parkas are common. All weather shoes are almost a necessity. And functional, sturdy jackets are essential.

Which brings me to my point: the purpose of a jacket is is to protect a man from the elements and present a uniform visual line from the shoulders to the legs. In doing this, it needs to cover the posterior, as this model from Brooks Brothers does in classic style.

Oui: the jacket covers the butt, hanging down near the tip of the thumb bone of the wearer.

Cross a bridge here on a windy day and the chill will definitely let you know that you’re jacket is too short. Yes, it may be fashionable right now. It will also be cold right now. Opt for a longer, more traditional cut on a jacket and you’ll have two things: a jacket you can wear five years from now and not look like  you’ve outgrown it (or worse, that you’ve fallen victim to the whims of fashion); and a jacket that will serve you well (warmth wise) in less than perfect weather.

Non: the jacket length is too short, revealing the rear end of the wearer and a truncated visual line.

So, fair warning: ignore fashion. Moderate your jacket length. And, while I’m here, I might as well mention the ‘extra thin’ neckties that are in vogue right now. Moderate your tie and lapel width.

I lived through the 1970s, in which the shirt and jacket lapels reached almost aerodynamic widths, and I trudged through the 80s when they went skinny, like they did in the 60s. So steady yourself against the winds and trends. Traditional style. Natural fabrics. Moderate cut.

And of course, if you can manage it, On Sale.

  • BGT

5 thoughts on “Old Money: Wardrobe Warning

  1. All readers will most likely agree that only the traditional cut is acceptable. It’s a timeless aesthetic, that is indeed more flattering to the human body. As for the practical side, warmth, the benefit will probably be minimal for those facing a Western European winter. Except if the cloth were heavy tweed.

    Gold buttons, on the other hand, are not everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps it requires social pedigree, just like a signet ring. On a double-breasted jacket they are perfect, e.g. when sailing a gaff cutter around the Isle of Wight and when having drinks at the RYS. Speaking of which, I don’t recall you writing about the old money love for sailing, Byron?

    1. Excellent point, Jean-Louis. Thank you. I have not written about sailing, which is an Old Money passion. One of our loyal followers, Molly, is an avid sailor. Perhaps I could get her to contribute….? Molly? Thanks again, JL. Much appreciated.

  2. Sailing is very much a French passion as well, from Bretagne to the Med. The Régates Royales are a beautiful event for classic yacht aficionados, whether as crew or a spectator.

  3. I see very few men wearing gold buttons on blazers in the business communities that I’m part of. Check out Brooks Brothers Red Fleece which is designed for younger guys. Red Fleece, in my view, is sort of the modern ivy college look. I’d rather see younger guys adopt Red Fleece and a younger trad look.

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