Bad Haircuts; Good Style: The Kinks, 1968

This photo of the Kinks was taken right around the recording of The Village Green Preservation Society, a concept album thick with allusion to British culture and shot through with nostalgia. It can be difficult to tell when Ray Davies is being earnest in certain songs, and when he’s poking fun at how glossy and pleasant the past can look from the present.

But sometimes the past does look sharp. 1968 arguably marks peak style for the Kinks—British Invasion bands at the time were getting over matching outfits and showing some individuality as they slouched toward hippiedom. By 1970, the Kinks’ lineup had changed and things were getting a little too paisley. The band (left to right: Pete Quaife, Ray Davies, Mick Avory, and Dave Davies) are putting on a style clinic here, though; and it’s easy to draw a line from the components they’re putting together here and similar items available today. 

The Kinks were maybe the most self-consciously British rock band of that era—half the references in the Village Green Preservation Society's title track are above my American head. But the concept of preserving what's good about the past, yet still progressing, is universal. “Protecting the old ways from being abused; preserving the new ways for me and for you. What more can we do?”

-Pete

John F. Kennedy in SI, 1960

I was going through the garage of an estate sale this morning, and happened upon this old issue of Sports Illustrated. It’s from 1960 (the ad on the back references NBC’s coverage of “The NFL Championship Game”), and then-President-Elect John F. Kennedy on the ocean at Hyannisport.

For you prep fetishists, it’s close to perfection, but it’s a lovely lesson for the rest of us, too. Not much more than a blue polo, khakis, some canvas topsiders and a cotton sweater (or a tweedy sportcoat) are enough for the future president to look stunning.

There are some truly stunning photos in this roundup of Carl Van Vechten’s portraits of Harlem figures of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Above is James Earl Jones at 30 in 1961. Don’t miss W.E.B. Dubois with striped suit and handkerchief or the almost distressingly handsome Harry Belafonte.

There are some truly stunning photos in this roundup of Carl Van Vechten’s portraits of Harlem figures of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Above is James Earl Jones at 30 in 1961. Don’t miss W.E.B. Dubois with striped suit and handkerchief or the almost distressingly handsome Harry Belafonte.

I had a Brooks Brothers herringbone almost exactly like this. Size 41L. Mid-60s. Half-lined. Lost it in Heathrow Airport, running for a flight, carrying my baby son and all our luggage. I started sweating, so I took it off and draped it over my shoulder bag. Slipped off in the tunnel between terminals.
One of the saddest material losses of my life.
(via VoxSart)

I had a Brooks Brothers herringbone almost exactly like this. Size 41L. Mid-60s. Half-lined. Lost it in Heathrow Airport, running for a flight, carrying my baby son and all our luggage. I started sweating, so I took it off and draped it over my shoulder bag. Slipped off in the tunnel between terminals.

One of the saddest material losses of my life.

(via VoxSart)

From The New Yorker, 7/23/60
via The Ivy League Look

From The New Yorker, 7/23/60

via The Ivy League Look

I got a kick out of this San Francisco Chronicle retrospective on the style of basketball legend Rick Barry, from his preppy days through an extended neck scarf period through till today’s elderly mountain gentleman (?) aesthetic. Some good, some truly horrible, a lot of interesting.

I got a kick out of this San Francisco Chronicle retrospective on the style of basketball legend Rick Barry, from his preppy days through an extended neck scarf period through till today’s elderly mountain gentleman (?) aesthetic. Some good, some truly horrible, a lot of interesting.

jessethorn:

BALABAN
(Moonrise Kingdom is totally wonderful - Wes Anderson at his best.)

And as you might expect, it’s one of the most aesthetically beautiful films I’ve seen in some time, with some truly spectacular men’s clothing. Not least of which is Bob Balaban’s neckerchief.

jessethorn:

BALABAN

(Moonrise Kingdom is totally wonderful - Wes Anderson at his best.)

And as you might expect, it’s one of the most aesthetically beautiful films I’ve seen in some time, with some truly spectacular men’s clothing. Not least of which is Bob Balaban’s neckerchief.

Keep It Simple, Stupid.
I was watching The Odd Couple the other night, and I was struck by a question: why does Walter Matthau look so good?
If you haven’t seen the film, see it. It’s hilarious. It’s a famous cultural archetype for a reason: because it is so great. You need to know a little background to catch what I’m pitching, though.
In the opening sequence, Jack Lemmon’s character, Felix, tries to commit suicide, and fails, only because he throws out his back trying to open the window he’d planned to throw himself through. He ends up at his friend Oscar’s house - that’s Matthau - mid-poker game, and the place is disgusting. There’s no A/C, and everyone’s a mess and the place is a mess and things are just a mess in general.
Felix is a compulsive neatnik. Oscar is a slob. That’s the Odd Couple part of the story.
So that’s why Felix looks sharp, if conservative. He’s the kind of guy who puts on a tie to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And Oscar’s the opposite - wearing the most casual clothes of the day.
But in that opening sequence, Matthau, as Oscar, looks fantastic. As a slob. And I wondered why.
There are two reasons. The first is that Walter Matthau wasn’t a movie star for nothing. He’s immensely charismatic, very handsome (though not traditionally so) and spectacularly charming. I can advise you to work on that in your spare time, but this is a style blog, so I’ll get to the next bit now.
His clothes are simple.
What’s he wearing? Canvas sneakers, high-waisted, military-style chinos, a heathered gray t-shirt, and a Mets hat.
Almost all neutral colors, almost no patterns. No “statement pieces” (other than the ballcap). No words. No pictures. It’s the t-shirt outfit, as appropriate in 1962 as in 2012, fifty years later. And the man looks tremendous.
(And thank God it’s not a Yankees hat. That’s just irredeemable.)

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

I was watching The Odd Couple the other night, and I was struck by a question: why does Walter Matthau look so good?

If you haven’t seen the film, see it. It’s hilarious. It’s a famous cultural archetype for a reason: because it is so great. You need to know a little background to catch what I’m pitching, though.

In the opening sequence, Jack Lemmon’s character, Felix, tries to commit suicide, and fails, only because he throws out his back trying to open the window he’d planned to throw himself through. He ends up at his friend Oscar’s house - that’s Matthau - mid-poker game, and the place is disgusting. There’s no A/C, and everyone’s a mess and the place is a mess and things are just a mess in general.

Felix is a compulsive neatnik. Oscar is a slob. That’s the Odd Couple part of the story.

So that’s why Felix looks sharp, if conservative. He’s the kind of guy who puts on a tie to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And Oscar’s the opposite - wearing the most casual clothes of the day.

But in that opening sequence, Matthau, as Oscar, looks fantastic. As a slob. And I wondered why.

There are two reasons. The first is that Walter Matthau wasn’t a movie star for nothing. He’s immensely charismatic, very handsome (though not traditionally so) and spectacularly charming. I can advise you to work on that in your spare time, but this is a style blog, so I’ll get to the next bit now.

His clothes are simple.

What’s he wearing? Canvas sneakers, high-waisted, military-style chinos, a heathered gray t-shirt, and a Mets hat.

Almost all neutral colors, almost no patterns. No “statement pieces” (other than the ballcap). No words. No pictures. It’s the t-shirt outfit, as appropriate in 1962 as in 2012, fifty years later. And the man looks tremendous.

(And thank God it’s not a Yankees hat. That’s just irredeemable.)

daveshumka:

Watching the George Harrison documentary, Abby noticed Austin Powers hanging out next to Ringo.

Notes on this post suggest that guy is Peter Asher. Some google image searching suggests that’s GOTTA be where Austin Powers came from.

daveshumka:

Watching the George Harrison documentary, Abby noticed Austin Powers hanging out next to Ringo.

Notes on this post suggest that guy is Peter Asher. Some google image searching suggests that’s GOTTA be where Austin Powers came from.

Bruce Lee, in this screen test for his role as Kato in The Green Hornet, demonstrates that if your tailored clothes fit, you can do anything in them.