My Favorite Thing is a column where Put This On asks stylish, interesting, and otherwise cool people to name their favorite item of clothing or accessory, past or present. In this installment, we asked menswear designer and retailer Sid Mashburn.
I don’t buy most of the things in my shop; I like for other people to get a crack at them. Besides, I’m 55 years old, so I have enough clothes at this point, you know? But when we put this Air Force blue suit into production, I loved it so much that I threw-in an extra one for myself. And it could not have gotten here fast enough. I put it on almost as soon as it hit our loading dock.
The suit is made from an English fabric, a high-twist wool, and there’s something humble about it. You touch it and your first thought isn’t “woah, this is luxurious.” It’s almost plain, actually – coarse and hefty, with an openness to the weave. It’s what we call a mélange yarn, which means there are multiple colors in the mix. So instead of matching everything you’re wearing to one color, you’ve got a little more to work with. It’s a little like denim in that sense – it goes with everything, but elegantly and without any fuss.
I really dig the color; it’s very 1960s. It’s not navy, it’s a little brighter, but with a slight grey cast to it. Cary Grant wore something similar in North by Northwest and I remember watching his film as a kid, thinking “gosh, I want to look like that.”
Granta had a great essay a few years back about the suit in that movie – the almost comic resilience of it, as well as the eternal crispness of the white shirt underneath. No matter what happens to Grant in that film, he always looks fine in the next scene. And listen, I was probably 8 or 9 the first time I saw it, and all of that went over my head, but that’s sort of the way I feel about this suit now. No matter how rumpled it gets, no matter how long the flight is, no matter if I stop to throw the Frisbee around after work, I hang it up at night and it self-corrects. It’s the springiness of that high-twist wool. All the wrinkles fall out and it’s fresh the next day.
I like that kind of resilience in clothes – when they can go through hell and still look pretty good. I like to be able to live in them, and not let them feel like they’re only for special occasions. These days, I wear this suit two or three days a week. It puts me in a good mood. Ann likes to see me in it. What could be better? -SID MASHBURN