Showing posts with label bow tie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bow tie. Show all posts

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Dead Seal Bows (Furry Curio Object No.1)

   The curios are truly coming out of the woodwork today. This vintage genuine sealskin bow tie, made in St. John's, Newfoundland by E. Melendy Ltd, recently sold on eBay for a paltry $21.50 (shipping not included)

   And no, I was not the buyer. But whether one is outraged by the barbarity or attracted by the lustre - a matching evening overcoat is the image that springs to mind - this, as well as being barbaric and lustrous, is undeniably exemplary of true luxury: the power to be offered or to commission whatever one wants and then proceed to get away with it in a certain style

   Alright, it's a little seductive. There are only so many stones a carnivore can throw

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Black Tie & Décolletage

   My reinvigorated formalwear rig recently received a public airing at a "Bow Ties and Cleavage Party" that indulged me in more ways than one. My J. Hoare/E. Tautz 1960s textured dinner jacket was perhaps the most iridescent piece on display that was not set in sculpted metal. Whether it also adorned a low cut front at any point is not for me to say

   (Fun fact: the term "décolletage" is often mistaken for "décotege" by anxious conservative Ghanaian mothers who secretly wish for their daughters to convert to Islam)

   It's necessary here that I caution against donning such garments away from club or home-based black tie evenings and formally minded social parties. This casual aspect of black tie should not be misinterpreted as being adaptable to any casual setting, nor should it be seen at business award ceremonies. And please try not to dress it down, no matter what fantasies Lapo Elkann and the word "sprezzatura" fill your mind with

   In my opinion, this sort of neutral toned flamboyance deserves nothing less than the full bore treatment, from my lapel pin to my dainty, opera pump-clad feet:

   Of course, I like sculpted metal also, but in the tradition of my clothing choices, I made it the preserve of  my shirt cuffs and my face:

   Not long afterwards, I was commissioned by an uncle over lunch to teach him the ways of the self-tying bow for an upcoming event. I hope that he was the best dressed man at the Kenny G concert and concomitant gala dinner he was to attend

   And like me, I'm certain he was grateful that only the excessive air conditioning of Ghanaian venues allowed for our appreciative show of Western eveningwear in a hot climate

Photographs by Barrak El-Mahmoud of Capture Your Memory Bank, Ghana

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Opera Pumped

   There are two spheres of thought regarding opera pumps: the punctilious one that holds it up as a whimsical and cherished avatar of formal tradition that proudly dates back to its 18th century antecedent, the court (dancing) shoe, and the anxious other that dismisses it as an feminising exemplar of menswear’s foppish Regency-era foibles that should have been laid to rest with Liberace and his wardrobe

   I’m a traditionalist with an appreciation for the ambiguous effect on the heterosexual psyche perpetrated by the likes of Prince, Michael Jackson, the cult of the bishounen and Jaye Davidson; one could discern my allegiance simply by learning that I possess a purple jacket, a set of bow ties, a number of pink garments and a mumu. Also, in some lost civilisations, the shorthand for “Dorky yet somewhat dashing” is “Barima”

   It’s also worth noting that duels, and therefore death through stab wounds, were something of a habit where fops were concerned. And as that era also happens to precede ours through the power of procreation, I, for one, am not going to be casting any generalised aspersions of a sexual sort

   If asked why my footwear has bows, I usually point to my neck and say, “One can never be too prepared”

   The defensive would feel the need to point out that bareknuckle boxers in the 19th century would don them to spend a few injurious rounds with one another, but this is hardly necessary. Opera pumps only truly stand out  within black and white tie ensembles when attention is drawn to them, and as it is most often women on pediwear-scrutiny duties, viewers tend to be appreciative on some level. Achieving such understatement with such fanciful detailing is a lesson worth heeding, I’d say

   You see, opera pumps also require a fine eye to go with that quiet-but-flashy sensibility. These days, tradition necessitates attitude (pride, not defiance) and that old classic masculinity, where in the past, they were merely mutual complements. The American sartorialists that I know or know of, living on a continent that regards dressing down as a catholicon of masculinity and relaxation, seem to bear a particular brunt for their tastes. All those menswear things that are relatively commonplace in Europe yet almost taboo in their areas tend to result in scrambles for acceptability: no wonder some of them come to regard the affected, peacocking neo-fops of Pitti Uomo as “cool”

   Modern sartorialists should not need affectation or trend hopping to be memorable. Refinement lifts us all up; common language flourishes when the foundations and details receive their due with pride. Without due consideration to why these things even exist, they will get away from us and – quelle surprise! – the terrorists win

   Yes, I’m for the pumps. I appreciate the sleekness; their appealingly aristocratic nature; the idiosyncrasies they impute to a man’s formal silhouette, the added kinetics they lend to my dancing. And they are now as good as deviant; that’s practically the only excuse I need

   If one is interested in stockists and cordwainers, this pictorial is for you. I love the iridescent shine of my Brooks Brothers/Peal & Co. patent model, as seen at top, but I’d be more than partial to the less conspicuous calfskin, particularly the Russian calf that Cleverley is known to offer

   For what it’s worth, I prefer the bows to be no more than lightly pinched:

Edward Green opera pumps rebranded as the Ralph Lauren Purple Label Orsett

 Brooks Brothers

 Moreschi Grant

 An unknown midcentury man in London; the woman's reaction behind him makes this ripe for comedy captioning

 Paolo of the Suitorial blog wears Allen Edmonds Ritz slip-ons. I also own them and neither of us are too fond of them, given their loafer-like last; they are nevertheless recommended as a less "challenging" variant

I think I also used to own that carpet

Monday, 3 May 2010

These Popular Cultural Things

  •    To begin, Godspeed, Lynn Redgrave. I'll always recall Gods and Monsters and The Virgin Soldiers with a certain fondness

  •    To the surprise of few, the Doctor has raised bow tie sales, albeit of the pre-tied kind - again, to the surprise of few. At least Matt Smith's choice in decorative neckwear is emblematic of the character he is currently crafting and honing to increasing approbation each week; Élan will not easily be acquired by his followers, but it will be entertaining to peruse the results

  •    Turnbull & Asser, perhaps in search of the potent tastemaking cachet they previously wielded in the past through engendering the career of Michael Fish and providing haberdashery to 007, opted to seat Pharrell Williams as a collaborator in shirt design. Pondering the timepiece print, the design and the questionable pricing, my thoughts are thus: "Cui bono?"

    The watch so happens to be upside-down
  •    I rather like the look of Shanghai's Expo 2010, featuring Singing Jackie Chan. Spectacle done well can often enthrall me:

Monday, 22 March 2010


   There are some things in life that I look forward to. Here are some of them:

   This may need subtitles, post haste:

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Party Post

Photograph by Daniel Barnett

   Always wear something interesting to a party, even when it's a costume. Parties are a dime a dozen for the average social animal, so don't count on the atmosphere, guests and copious alcohol consumption to make it memorable (especially the last one, unless your braincells happen to be of singularly resilient genetic stock)

   The most "young" party-friendly piece I own is the tailored tracksuit-derived jacket from Junya Watanabe Man S/S 07, which, perhaps too literally, puts the "sport" in "sportjacket." At least a third of its brilliance rests in the fact that it's publicly unwearable beyond flamboyant social occasions and the occasional "Go to Hell" day. Another third is that the construction is absolutely amazing, showing off an array of decorative stitches and nylon strips set on top of practically seamless patching and shaping. It looks utterly insane... and it's nevertheless an utter dream to wear, even moreso than the more subtle trenchcoat I wear from the same collection. It pairs well with rollnecks, with bowties, with scarves and very judiciously selected neckties

   Despite being my second choice for the Psychedelic 60s party I swaggered about at recently, as displayed above, it proved a hit where accuracy was concerned (I aimed to channel a fusion of Jimi Hendrix and The Who's Pete Townshend, though suffice to say, a combination of Nutter's and Mr. Fish was my ideal. It helps to actually own such things first)

(Author's note: the hat was acquired at a party; I awoke wearing it the next morning and I never saw its previous owner again. I do hope she's not missing it much, six years down the line)

   As for more traditional, and sedate, occasions, you cannot go wrong with the old black tie. If inclined, or required, to jazz it up, I find a patterned white scarf and a crushed velvet double breasted go a long way, even when everyone else at a "Black Tie With a Hint of Après-Ski" party is dressed more ostentatiously:

What do you like to wear to parties?

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Synchronised Swanning and Anish Kapoor

Photograph by YF

   Back in the RA courtyard after observing a bullet of red wax shot out of an air compression cannon  (Shooting into the Corner) at the Anish Kapoor show. The poses struck by myself and YF's lady are close enough to inspire the dreadful punning in the title

   I enjoyed thinking of how high the cleaning bill for removing all the dried wax from the walls and floors at the RA would be, but I especially like what Kapoor does with mirrors, transporting them out of the funhouse and onto the gallery floor. One would think that removing the spooky dark rooms and the disco smoke machines from the equation would take away much of the pleasure of narcissistic image distortion, and actually, in a way, it does. Unless one is one of the many half term-celebrating urchins running unfettered throughout the exhibition, that is

   Also prominent amongst these appealing constructs, Hive (womb symbolism meets the inside of an ocean liner's hull meets an echo chamber) and Yellow (a concave fibreglass and pigment-based work that belies the inverse dome in the centre by appearing solid if stared at long enough) were similarly striking and inviting of momentary scrutiny. I think I want to go again

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Necktie Abuse (Adventures on High Street)

  Be far from it for me to discourage creativity, especially when experimenting within the myriad offerings of the British High Street, but some things need to be considered inviolable, in the name of not looking like an idiot if nothing else

   Exhibit A: sporting a bow tie on a recent visit to Uniqlo begat a conversation with an enthusiastic young salesman in a hipsterish uniform of plaid shirt, jeans and braces. We exchanged friendly, if perfunctory, insights about menswear, such as ongoing preparations for the incoming season (bright accents on duller palettes, the apparent return of corduroy jackets, and fair isle vs. argyle, in case one's wondering). He offers that bow ties are too old fashioned for him. I don't mind because I'm fairly certain he'd simply buy clip-ons if he was so inclined. It's his next pronouncement that reminds me that we're only conversing because he has the capacity to work the buttons at a till*:
"I like to use regular ties like bow ties. Have you ever tried it? You just tie it up and it just sits across your collar like a shoelace"
'So that's how those Face Hunter kids are doing it,' I think. I respond:
"That just seems excessive. It's also likely to damage the tie. Why not wear a bolo tie?"
"What's a bolo tie?"
"...Thanks - gotta run!"
   Even to me, the fact that my first reaction was to stifle laughter and my second was to avoid a double-take appears childish. And considering my own penchant for offbeat and non-traditional uses of accessories, I should have admired his gumption. But I couldn't. Because his ingenuity seemed misplaced where it should have been clever. Neckties aren't generally built for such use - their very design and proportions go against it. The wonky, stringy mess of silk and pattern his iconoclasm conjured up in my mind was second to the fantasy image of Dali productions created after a 96 hour crack binge that was followed with a ketamine chaser

   Funnily enough, I haven't seen the guy since

  Exhibit B: while I don't want Gok Wan's job for love nor money (alright, I'd like the money), I was approached by a fellow in H&M as he closely scrutinised his own appearance in the mirror. He was sporting one of the new season's TREND(Y) print shirts with the same line's Dries Van Noten-esque jacket currently on sale as a suit separate and for whatever reason, he wished to benefit from my wisdom. I told him he was making a mistake. Actually, two. The first was in thinking me to be wise. The second was the silver skinny tie that adorned his neck like a Junk de Luxe cast-off faux cravat. But he was not to be put off. And in my head I heard two words: "Diplomacy Time"

   The upshot was that the intrepid shopper left the store with the jacket and shirt in the correct size - for what it's worth, both suited him well, unlike myself - the conviction that he should cut open the jacket vents when he reached home, and the persistent notion that he should buy a nice scarf with which to decorate his neck because what did a tie ever do to him?

   I should have charged a fee

   * I actually wish I could work a till. It's not like I'm doing much better

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Bow Tie Post (A Primer)

It's time

  Truth is, the bow tie just seems incapable of dying, no matter how far out of favour it's fallen as daywear. Even if half the attendees at a black or white tie event can only put together a clip-on-centric ensemble, they still have to wear the curious little thing (and note that the Oscar attendees who haven't succumbed to the silk black necktie opt-out in favour of tradition are the ones who draw the most sartorial praise, or perhaps the least ire). Even if treated as costume, my jaunt to Prohibition, and my subsequent uncovering of related events such as next week's The Blitz, proved that some men will pay attention to such details

   Meanwhile, on American television, Chuck Bass runs amok, barely tamed by the show's stylist, and dorky, baby-faced Harry of Mad Men somehow adds to the drama's cool and influential allure (and his own need for maturity) by wearing his BT like it's the most natural thing in the world (and though its decline was setting in even back then, playing such an affectation straight makes all the difference in its perception). And outside of the box and all over the country, Southern, WASP, Trad and older gentlemen are working with these fictional constructs to subliminally influence the male metropolitan young in broadening its look

   And then there's the geek chic thing. For comparison's sake, imagine a small-scale style version of the image makeover Sony gave to video game players when the PlayStation first emerged. Introduce, say, four more male sex symbols wearing these adornments on a regular basis and widespread popularity just might ensue

  It would be remiss not to credit the designers who are unable to let a good thing die. Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Junya Watanabe (briefly), and especially Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford - all have produced collections that feature the bow as part of an affectionate tribute to old world glamour, rather than as a rehabilitative stylistic exercise. Understanding and insight into tradition and elegance is the secret weapon of the man who wears a bow tie well; it's what separates him from the hipster method, which is usually so much ironic, style unconscious pap

   To whit - a bow tie on a polo shirt is a geek's game. It really, really helps if you are an actual geek, or at the very least, an indie kid with geek affectations. Otherwise, it's a look perpetrated by one who self-consciously doesn't know what he's doing, probably because he's aping someone else in the first place. To make matters worse, the polo will more often than not be clashing with the clip-on in the first place. And it would really help if arbiters whom I trust to know better would refrain from encouraging the impressionable

   The BT + plaid shirt take isn't much better. Plaids are a particularly strong pattern and tying up the collar with a BT seems even more contrived, like trying to contain a fit-to-burst balloon of colour and pattern with a non-complementary string. About the best ways to minimise and refine the look are to wear a relatively less bold shirt, use a bow tie that harmonises with the colours of the shirt (so it's best to keep the BT plain and perhaps in a more luxe material such as silk) and wear a sober, well-cut sportsjacket or knit v-neck, both of which always balance out more exuberant shirting

   But really, my point is this: it's not a Herculean undertaking to wear a bow tie in this day and age. Sobriety and subtlety are the key and the bolder models will be mastered with time and confidence. BTs have been denigrated as flamboyant for decades but there's little flamboyant about their use amongst traditionalists, who team them with otherwise plain, neat ensembles, and it's this sort of principle that should guide their use - no pushed up jacket sleeves or untucked shirts or daft clip-on braces

   A bow tie is a creative piece and should be treated as the most idiosyncratic item in an ensemble. With a suit, the pocket square should be fairly tame or folded, and the shirt pattern can be reasonably discreet - too loud and it's off to clown school. I myself have worn far more ridiculous items than BTs, and on my rambles in the less fashionable areas of South London, the bows have attracted far less scepticism, scorn or sneers than my old graphic t-shirts and outlandish jackets. In fact, they've gone almost entirely unnoticed; quite the exhilarating feeling in truth. It's a simple matter of making the surrounding garments calmer, or, conversely, as interesting

   Anyone can see that one is wearing a bow tie, but you'll suffer if you feel the need to draw attention to it by, say, selecting an awkward silhouette of drainpipe jeans and an overlarge jacket or a full-bore Victorian ensemble. Wear it in good taste and a compliment or two might be forthcoming - particularly from women - with bonus points awarded for self-tying. Wear it like a clown and any negative response is really on your own head

Dsquared2 A/W06: clownish might be too harsh in this case. In the real world, shedding the topper, pulling up the trousers, shrinking the sleeves and detaching the fob chain from the fly would make this look hard to argue against

Lanvin A/W06: The first outing under the Lucas Ossendrijver/Alber Elbaz creative wing presented a realistic hypothesis of modern bow tie wearing, based principally on a slick high school senior's approach to eveningwear. All the colours are neutral and solid; most of them dark. The cropped trench ably substitutes for a double breasted jacket, the silhouette is relaxed and worn, and the gloves support both the formality and casual practicality of the look. The shapes allow the trainers to blend in. The bow tie is a little out of proportion with the model's face, but keep the widths and height restrained and this won't be an issue

   The best bow ties tend to be British-retailed - excuse my bias - or from Ralph Lauren. The most attractive and varied ones at the moment are available from the old standby likes of Hackett, Turnbull & Asser and Budd, while Brooks Brothers, RL and Tom Ford (who else?) take care of business on the American end. More affordable products abound at Woods of Shropshire, Clermont Direct and eBay. And if there's anyone I've missed, do let me know - I'd be more than happy to wear them

Runway images:

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Junya Watanabe's Year of the Gentleman, Part One

   Anyone who's discussed clothing with me for more than 5 minutes of their time knows that at this particular moment in my life, Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons Man is indisputably my favourite line of men's clothing. Let me extrapolate on that

   Around the time I first immersed myself in the online rabbit hole of style websites and the warrens of discussion forums, his name would often come attached with enough superlatives to make most other designers insecure for life. His interview with style writer Charlie Porter was the only reason I have purchased an issue of i-D magazine since my student days. His womenswear is justly more acclaimed, but nevertheless, he expertly produces four collections a year across both gender markets that intersect his visions of practicality for one and fantasy for the other with shared themes, prints and even cuts. And his influence on me is such that I've practically graduated to wearing a garment designed by him once a week

   But the ease in which I can integrate his designs into my aesthetic is one of many reasons that inspire my affection for his work. And I don't think that was any more apparent than when he debuted his Spring/Summer 2008 line, as well as its successor for Autumn/Winter. So, in the name of backwards logic, I'll start with the latter

   An admission - I don't own any pieces from the recently departed A/W08 line (yet). It was an engagingly dandified take on American Trad and varsity looks that perfectly exuded the credo of "a new feeling for basics" that concludes the manifesto on the transparent blue flexi card attached to each new piece (the card is a rather Japanese sentiment, much like their giving of gifts and instinct for amazing record packaging)

   Despite the notoriety of Thom Browne's alterations to the silhouette of tailored suits, the pervasively shorter image was an exploration undertaken by Watanabe as far back as 2003 when his A/W04 collection showed in Paris, which not only showed shrunken suiting, but also darted and cut away fabic at the points where the body's movement would take place within the suit (or joints and 'pits to the rest of us). And if there's one thing that Watanabe gets very right where Browne can falter, it's in making this shorter look seem appropriate and wearable, much more linked to the well-cut "bum freezer" jackets of the 60s and 70s than the slightly off-kilter boxiness or blood flow-constricting tightness of Browne's work (although I'm also aware that Browne's customers may choose not to emulate his infamous look)

   But this background knowledge makes for a good starting point to delve into the collection, as do the Browne comparisons. Usually, a Junya collection has a title, and although I didn't find an official one anywhere, Dover Street Market referred to it as "Junya Watanabe's Way of Dressing Up," which works for me. The overall look is smartened up, but there's a hint of mischief in jackets that include trim running along the hem and quarters, including a paisley pattern that debuted in the previous season

   The runway ensembles showed a look that was utterly gentlemanly and easily emulated if the proportions are correct - the rolled-up cuffs on the trouser bottoms easily balanced out the particularly short lengths of the jackets and allowed for an utterly daring, but fun, display of one's socks. This was where the show excelled, by bringing the Edwardian holidaygoer look into an archetype that took hold around 40 years later on an entirely different continent. Perhaps it was the use of such trad staples and silhouttes but for some reason, the rolled up look felt rather unique to this particular archetype and did not feel beholden to the aforementioned Edwardian look, nor to the greasers that also appeared during the 1950s. And whilst it's more of a nod to Watanabe's well-documented fondness for punk, the inclusion of porkpie and trilby hats and the shortened trousers added an element of idiosyncratic refinement into a look that usually utilised bold madras and checks to inject a playful element into its ensembles. In actual fact, the use of such patterns in Watanabe's colection was rather subdued, opting for duller compositions on cardigans as overall patterns or patch pockets, and also cut into panels and attached to the backs of shoulders and arms on recut Brooks Brothers shirts to inject a subtly whimsical element into them

   This whimsy continued with the backs of various jackets, trousers and even suits presenting a different aesthetic at the back - racing stripes, nylon tracksuiting, striped knitting and wool checks all appear as each garment is turned around. A sportier, collegiate image was represented by nylon and wool varsity jackets rejigged as sportscoats with leather sleeves that could still appeal to, and stand out with, a smarter look

   Whilst a lot of it appeals to my sense of fun, I believe that part of the reason I didn't gravitate to this collection as closely as I have to some of the others was due to the persistent sensation of the collection being gimmicky. Many of the pieces felt overly designed due to their double-sided construction, which made it difficult to find one's sense of self in wearing them. (Un)usually, Watanabe would get around this by using a more subtle form of hybridisation, merging two disparate pieces such as a military jacket and a blazer into one by adding the details of the former to the shape of the shape of the latter, or presenting a biker jacket in bright, boiled wool instead of leather. This season was less exploratory in that respect, opting to display sartorial quirks and fabric choices rather than the subtle insights of the designer that has allowed him to put fresh-yet-mostly-restrained spins on traditional pieces in a way that is unmatched by any other

   It's not a good feeling to realise that a Watanabe item could effectively be bought elsewhere from other brands - repp ties are available from various outlets, even moreso if you attended public/prep/private school or a top tier college - and while it easily stood apart from the inevitable Browne comparisons due to the injection of its own ideas, the collection did not quite create "a new feeling" for tradition - if anything, it felt greatly beholden to the past

   Nevertheless, there were some great ideas to be found when Watanabe's instinct for cross-pollination took hold. Workwear met suiting with hammer loops and nail pockets on smart trousers, the leather sleeves of the aforementioned varsity sportsjackets appeared on Gloverall duffel coats that were actually from the boy's collection, and trousers were constructed in a jean factory and triple-stitched accordingly. But these sorts of ideas were elementary for a Watanabe collection, and what I consider to be his best work will certainly be analysed in future entries

Friday, 15 May 2009

Outfit Digest - Hair Loss



It happens to us all

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Prohibition! Or, The Perfect Name For a Club Night in Booze Britain Is...

   I could wax lyrical about the atmosphere, the music, the number of attractive flappers, the teacups, the dancing and the play gambling, but I trust the photos truly speak for themselves. This is Prohibition:

Monday, 6 April 2009

Outfit Digest - Gliding Down The Formality Scale

   Any object lessons? Cropped trousers are my latest work in progress, H&M make great jumpers, I'm developing a fandom of one for bow ties and the jacket and trousers outfit is, according to one critic, more of a "cravat outfit". Anyone believe I agreed? I'm thinking "scarf"

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Customise Me

   It's no surprise to anyone that I've developed quite the bulging... wardrobe over the years. And it's pretty much a sure thing that I don't wear everything I've bought, stolen, borrowed or been given. But I try to be a waste not-want not kind of man and over time, I'll be looking at customising pieces I own

   The bug bit me late last year when I snagged one of the many highlights of Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons Man's S/S 08 collection, which in itself practically encapsulates half of my ideas on how menswear can be fun yet refined and referential. Perhaps the pinnacle of the ongoing collaboration the designer began with the ever iconic Lacoste in 2005, it's a safari jacket made out of Lacoste's own polo shirts, recut and stitched together, lined with Junya's own fabrics, designed using fanatically classic tailoring techniques and overdyed in various colours. Indeed, on the runway, it made two appearances, with one model peacocking in a rather sharp red:

   Naturally, Japan received every variation going (I mean, orange), but London made do with the pink one. As excellent as brazen pastels can be for the bright, sharp season, I needed a little more seasonal versatility from such a compelling piece, and I was prepared to stake its entire look on my desire

   All it took was one box of Dylon dye, one box of Dylon Colour Remover (essential to make sure the dye will run evenly over a more neutral, mostly colour-free garment), about 300g of salt and the help of a very good friend:



   FAQs tend to focus on the lack of overdyed stitching. Simple answer: polyester thread doesn't take well to dyeing, and even the industrial strength dye of the jacket's original configuration only lent the tinge of pink to the stitches first time around. The faint purple wash on the buttons is a rather nice result, and all in all, I got what I wanted - a jacket to wear almost anywhere I want

   The fellows at Browns weren't so pleased, though