Peaks and Patches
Last night, I caught the last half of 1974 remake of "The Front Page", starring Jack Lemmon. It’s an amusing film, especially if you were a journalism major who really enjoyed hearing stories about how press rooms used to be filled with cigar smoke and poker games. Sadly, this wasn’t the experience I had during my brief career in newspapers. 
Lemmon’s character, Hildy, wore a suit that caught my attention. I couldn’t be entirely sure, but I believe it was a cotton khaki suit. What made it interesting was the combination of a single-button, peaked-lapel front along with triple patch pockets. It’s not a pairing you see very often, as patch pockets are typically reserved for suits and jackets that are more casual. And peaked lapels are definitely more formal. 
But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. He’s wearing a boater hat, signaling it’s summer — or at least where he’s headed next with his wife-to-be that it’s warmer weather — and the need for cooler-wearing clothing. It reminded me of a post at A Suitable Wardrobe about how summer jackets have patch pockets. This is done to minimize the amount of lining needed to allow for better air circulation in the heat. A jacket with pockets that go inside would require more lining inside. 
Of course, I wondered how much of this would be negated by the fact Hildy also wears a waistcoat, which ends up coming undone toward the end (naturally, while cranking out the story of his life on a typewriter on deadline). But as you’ll notice in this photo, it also has patch pockets. And I’m not sure he could get away with wearing a single-button, peaked-lapel suit without the waistcoat and still look quite as sharp. 
The suit is a reminder that typical conventions and rules are nice, but sometimes you should be open to changes for the sake of practicality. 
-Kiyoshi

Peaks and Patches

Last night, I caught the last half of 1974 remake of "The Front Page", starring Jack Lemmon. It’s an amusing film, especially if you were a journalism major who really enjoyed hearing stories about how press rooms used to be filled with cigar smoke and poker games. Sadly, this wasn’t the experience I had during my brief career in newspapers. 

Lemmon’s character, Hildy, wore a suit that caught my attention. I couldn’t be entirely sure, but I believe it was a cotton khaki suit. What made it interesting was the combination of a single-button, peaked-lapel front along with triple patch pockets. It’s not a pairing you see very often, as patch pockets are typically reserved for suits and jackets that are more casual. And peaked lapels are definitely more formal. 

But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. He’s wearing a boater hat, signaling it’s summer — or at least where he’s headed next with his wife-to-be that it’s warmer weather — and the need for cooler-wearing clothing. It reminded me of a post at A Suitable Wardrobe about how summer jackets have patch pockets. This is done to minimize the amount of lining needed to allow for better air circulation in the heat. A jacket with pockets that go inside would require more lining inside. 

Of course, I wondered how much of this would be negated by the fact Hildy also wears a waistcoat, which ends up coming undone toward the end (naturally, while cranking out the story of his life on a typewriter on deadline). But as you’ll notice in this photo, it also has patch pockets. And I’m not sure he could get away with wearing a single-button, peaked-lapel suit without the waistcoat and still look quite as sharp. 

The suit is a reminder that typical conventions and rules are nice, but sometimes you should be open to changes for the sake of practicality. 

-Kiyoshi

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.)