“I know what you are! You’re one of those fancy lads, aren’t you? Gosh what a sweet little outfit. Is it your little spring outfit? You couldn’t be cuter. You’re so adorable. Oooooohhhh my.” - A Real American Hero
The Trouble with Conan’s Suits
I’ve really loved watching the new Conan show on TBS. O’Brien himself is a brilliant comic mind, they’ve booked funny people rather than famous-for-nothing people with great regularity, and Andy Richter gets me every time. It’s a wonderful show. Conan’s also a very good looking man, and in remarkable shape. He is, in other words, a real winner.
I do, however, have one pet peeve: Conan’s suits.
The other guy in Conan’s time slot who’s worth your time, fellow Great Genius and Real American Hero David Letterman, has his suits made by Leonard Logsdale, perhaps the finest suitmaker in the United States. Letterman is a natural-born schlub, and you can see it in his loafers, white socks and open double-breasted jackets, but when his coat is closed, he always looks fantastic.
Contrast this with Conan.
One presumes that whoever is dressing Conan is trying for a sleek, urbane, contemporary look. Something that says cool and late night. They have the right idea, I think, but the details are sorely lacking.
Conan has favored dark, solid suits with a slim silhouette. Considering current fashion and Conan’s figure, I think that’s a great idea. I’m not crazy about the French blue shirts he’s chosen - I think they’re too dark, and make his pale complexion appear washed out. They do, however, highlight his eyes, so we’ll give him a pass on that.
The real issue is fit. Conan O’Brien seems to be going on stage each night in a suit that’s two sizes two small for him.
Take a look at the lapels on his suit. Lapels should lie flat across the chest when at rest. In fact, a mark of good tailoring is when they lie flat when the wear is in motion, too. Conan’s suit couldn’t be further from that ideal. Even with his arms down at his sides, you can see the pull lines radiating desperately from his button, and his lapels bowing like the mouth of a change purse.
Look at the way his the lapel leaps away from his collar towards the back of the neck. See how there’s a solid inch between the bottom of his shirt collar and the lapel of his coat? These are signs of an abysmal fit.
Let this be a lesson to you: slimmer is not always better. This kind of fit is unflattering and inelegant, even on a classy, shapely guy like Conan, and you should avoid it in your own life.
And to whoever dresses our boy Coco: I am here for you. I live 15 minutes away, and I’m willing to work for free. Let’s fix this.
If you want to see a nightly lesson in how a suit should fit, watch The Late Show with David Letterman.
Now - I’m hardly an unbiased observer. Letterman is, in my book, The Greatest American. The fact, however, remains, that Letterman’s suits are consistently beautiful.
When Letterman held down the Late Night slot on NBC, he dressed pretty casually. He was often seen in a baseball jacket, or an oxford shirt. He often went no further than a blazer and rep tie. He was relaxed and his only style was a rejection of the previous late-night-host expectations.
When he moved to CBS, however, he reset his style. He understood that he was upholding a tradition exemplified by his hero, Johnny Carson, and that a gracious late night host wore a suit.
I don’t know who makes Letterman’s suits, but they are consistently impeccable. I’m not always crazy about the shiny, high-thread-count wools he chooses (particularly on camera), or the all pinstripes. They always, however, fit.
Of course, Letterman’s style isn’t perfect. He invariably wears a white shirt, which does his complexion (and his cameramen) no favors. He has an annoying habit of leaving his jacket open while standing - even on double-breasted coats - which makes him look slovenly and out-of-shape. (This couldn’t be further from the truth, by the way - he’s a strapping, athletic guy.) Worst of all, he insists on wearing loafers with his suits… and (ick) white socks. That’s charming with chinos in Take Ivy, but untenable on network TV.
Still… those suits. Perfect. Also: Letterman: greatest ever.
BREAKING: Rob informs me that Letterman’s suits are made in New York by Leonard Logsdail.