Male Elegance

by sir Taki Theodoracopulos

That most elegant of Italian dandies, Gianni Agnelli, once long ago described to me what a perfect suit of clothes should be: the suit should look loose on the wearer and be as tight as it’s possible to be. It sounds contradictory but actually it is not. Dark grays and blues double breasted or single, clinging to the body but looking loose, that is what elegance is all about. Shoes are also very important. None of today’s clodhoppers will do. Shoes have to be also loose on the wearer but looking tight and elegant and very well shined. Shirts have to be white or blue with medium sized collars, none of these exaggerated wing tipped horrors that became popular during the eighties and never went away.

The suit I recently noticed being worn by the latest James Bond is a perfect example of inelegance. It is far too tight and it shows off his muscled build. Gigolos used to dress in that manner, certainly no gentleman would be caught dead wearing such a suit. Power dressing is an awful expression that hucksters in the fashion world invented in order to impress yokels and induce them to spend their money. Checkered suits are a no-no, although when he was Prince of Wales, the Duke of Windsor somehow got away with it. Incidentally, he was the most elegant dressed of men ever, rivaling Agnelli and Gary Cooper.

Today, after two years of pandemic isolation, male fashions tend to shade towards leisurewear. Luxury leisurewear wardrobes are unfortunately the future, partly because sweat pants as work attire has changed office clothes forever. Less ostentatious unfortunately today means jeans, leatherwear, sneakers and knitwear, all fine for a country weekend but not for the office or dinner. Ironically, this writer was voted into the hall of fame of best dressed men long ago, for always wearing the same suits I wore when I was young. I dress at Caraceni of Milano and Anderson&Sheppard of London. All my suits are gray or blue, my shoes are handmade and narrow, and my shirts are made at Bowring&Arundel of London. The last time I ordered a suit was twenty years ago. Elegance, I’m afraid, is to modernity what good sportsmanship is to professional play.

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