Monday, January 31, 2011

Fast & Compact Packing for Travel

How to fold a suit / how to pack a suit

 Airline offers passenger dignity, passenger is respectful.

When nothing is offered, nothing is given.*

Packing for a trip (of any duration) can be tricky, but I've found that the shorter trips (1-3 nights away) require particular attention.  For those who pack suits or jackets and pants, the method by which you pack begins with your luggage.  If you carry a garment-fold-style device, you will pack your clothing exactly as they hang in your closet, hangers and all.  If you choose a suitcase or an overnight bag, you can still pack a decent amount that will emerge ready to wear.

Up until about two years ago, I laundered and pressed my own shirts.  Now, I take them to the dry cleaner for the same.  The amount of space required to hang up a number of shirts is deceptively consuming, and the frequency of traveling brought me to a final logical conclusion.  Now, for about a nickle more, I have the dry-cleaners fold each shirt, and they are ready to either be worn, or dropped into a bag for a trip.  For folded shirts, shelves or drawers are the holding method, and not a hanging bar.  They require a fraction of the space that hanging does, and despite what some say, they ARE ready to be worn out of the bag.  They are carefully folded around a rectangle of cardboard, and often in plastic. *** For the record, I save the cardboard and the plastic, and hand them in with the next delivery of shirts, to be used again.***  When it's time to pack, you can throw pre-folded shirts into a bag like soup cans into a grocery basket.

For each shirt, pack in a tie, pocket square, and cuff-links.

Then fold your suit. Start with your jacket.

Turn the jacket face down, and reverse one of the shoulders, as below:

Now, drawing a center line down the rear spine of the jacket, fold the other (unreversed) shoulder into the reversed one.

Next, as shown below, the shoulders are cupped together, and the button and button holes are face-to-face (or "kissing" as many tailors say).  Fold this whole assembly again along the rear spine (half-way mark) of the jacket, which occurs almost automatically.

The jacket can be folded to half horizontally.

Fold the trousers to quarters, and place on top of the jacket.  With the pre-folded shirt package and its contents, and you can use a surprisingly small day bag.

There is no magic to the method.  If you prefer to try it yourself, invest $1.50 - $2 at the local cleaner, and ask for the shirts folded, and dissect and reverse-engineer the exact technique.  Fold them around a similar sized piece of cardboard, and remember that the cardboard can easily be slipped out of the folded assembly... it is not required to accompany the shirt.

Also note that many dry-cleaners fold and box shirts as well.  While this may be a good idea for formal shirts that see only occasional use, a simple cover or paper band will do... don't get too fancy.

*First class cabin. Thanks to theambershow for capturing this.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Urban Practicality: Cassette Holder = Tie Rack

A local used record store was going out of business, and I'm apparently the only person in the city who feels that a cocktail party is best paired with 1960's Bossa Nova on vinyl, because the records were in abundance at $1-3 a piece.  Bossa Nova, laughter, and smoke (acceptable then) would waft up the stairs to where the children would sneak over and sit in pajamas, listening to scandalous gossip/implausible anecdotes from well-dressed guests, occasionally receiving an illegally diverted platter of sandwiches or small cakes.

The records aside, my best find was an old cassette holder which displayed all genre of tape in the rear of the shop.  I asked the manager if it was for sale, and he thought for a moment, and finally answered "Um... sure.  Ten bucks?"  Yes... ten dollars will be fine.  I had already un-run my tie to fold it and take measure, which worked.  I carried the awkward and foolish hunk of oak (yes, oak) and hardboard home, and threw some of my ties into it.  Softly folded to halves four times, they fit well. 

I decided not to remove the "ROCK" label that the record store had pasted on to tell browsers where they could find Van Halen and Rose Tattoo cassettes within the shop.  It was a nice reminder of the origin.

Mounting it on the wall is tricky, because it is pretty heavy, and a strong cleat will be needed to actually hold it up, but the ties are none the worse for the gentle folding they get, and it actually looks pretty nice.

If you have a large number of ties, it won't hold all of them, but in terms of economy of space, it can't get much better.  Bowties are obviously exempt from the practicality of this holder, but they occupy far less of the precious urban indoor real estate to begin with.

I have spent far too long experimenting with every manner of tie holder, from wagon-wheel-style spokes to rotating wooden dispensers... none of which worked for me.  Generally, the thrift shop shopper or thrifty shopper has a larger selection of ties than most men under fifty years old, so why not turn your ties into a functional sculpture? 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Burns Night Supper & Ceremonial Scottish Dress


"We all know that Robbie Burns was a famous Scottish womanizer and tax-collector, but did you know that he also wrote poetry?"

Every year, on or around January 25, clubs and families all over the world celebrate the great works and spirit of Robert Burns, who was unfortunately born in the cold depth of winter, making the journey to the event... um... quite bracing.

The evenings are not necessarily full of kilts, as most guests generally opt to wear smaller tartan of some sort.  The organizers can offer anything from a simple toast to the poet, to a full ceremonial evening with rivers of whisky and hills of haggis.

Our event (above) saw only three kilted gents, while the rest opted for tartan ties, tartan suits and jackets, scarves, skirts, thistle pins, etc. The gent on the left is wearing his black tie, and he has excellently and staunchly refused to purchase a dinner jacket and trousers, correctly reminding the inquisitive that his kilt and Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket are formal, thank-you-very-much.

What should I wear to a Burns Night Supper?

The answer is, whatever you want.

Outside of a Burns Night Supper, kilts are a tough angle, though.  One can get deeply into the realm of costume very quickly.  As everyday wear (in the US), they are a sure ticket to the kooky end of the eccentric spectrum.  Occasional use, such as hiking, spey-casting, in-field shooting, etc. can be pleasant in one. They are always correct during ceremonies though, and they are not unfamiliar sights at weddings, funerals, or black-tie events, especially in Georgia, the Carolinas, and the more maritime areas of Canada or any Caledonian Club of [insert city/country name] around the world. 

Can I wear a tartan that is not mine?

Of course.  If not, the Stuart Clan (above) has a LOT of complaining to do, and lumberjacks all over will have to make a genealogical case as to their decendency from Rob Roy.  Find a tartan you like, and wear it.  If someone asks you if you are of that family or clan, you need only explain that you wear it as tribute.  If you are questioned further, ignore them and find someone better to talk to.  In the US, you can always play it safe and go with understood-as-neutral Black Watch:

I still see guys wearing the "work" or "sport" kilts, generally on college campuses, usually monochromatic and paired with a black undershirt depicting a band of some kind.  I think people should wear whatever makes them happy, but that is a look that is not for me.

As for the other question that people always ask concerning kilt, I suggest you research it for yourself.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Curling Sweaters

 I received an email which began like this:

     "Dear Yankee Whisky Papa, I live in an old Scottish castle..."

Off to a good start!  But as it turned out, he is a graduate student exchanging free rooming for volunteer docent/caretaker duties at a landmark which expends endowment largess on all but salary and heating.  With genuine and understandable wallowing, the scholar continued:

     "I am miserable!  Its cold beyond belief and my [thesis] is the only thing that keeps me here in this bargain."

So much for the romantic notion of outdated European castle living.
Much of the iconic Edwardian style we hold dear actually has less-than-romantic origins.  The heavy tweeds, layering, and snugged neckwear were all components of a society which attempted to proceed formally and  normally while indoor temperatures were often between 50 and 60 degrees (10-15 for those with a European ISP, and roughly 286 for the Kelvinists).  Many of the old houses in Europe were cold and drafty, with wildly differing temperatures from room to room.  Because heating was a relatively expensive and inefficient pursuit, one would heat the room in which they planned to stay for a while, close off the doors to other rooms, and hope that the waistcoated suit would keep the torso warm while the hot tea cup or pipe thawed the stiff fingers a bit.  Old city houses and old farm houses tend to have cold and drafts in common.  In many historically registered neighborhoods, things like storm windows are effectively illegal, with municipally-chartered review committees disallowing certain modernizations.  While there is a preservation argument to be made, the effect becomes architectural taxidermy, and the frustrations concerning it are why you see old Yankees using hair-dryers to shrink-wrap their sashes (frame and all) every December.  Guests are occasionally taken aback by strong temperature differentials in these old houses, and a trip up a back stair or down a hallway to an unoccupied bathroom during a party can be a temperature drop of 20 degrees.

Enter the curling sweater.  The lovably ludicrous sport of curling has produced platoons of very attractive and nimble (including Olympic level) athletes, and while they now wear more contemporary designs, the curling sweater lasts on an a style staple.

Wife: "Honey, I'm going out to pick up some hot curlers for tonight."    Husband: "Me too."

The curling sweater (often confused with the "Cowichan" sweater) is nearly jacket-lengthed, unusually thick (packing them for travel is difficult), and always with a heavy shawl collar.  Patches showing allegiance to a curling club are standard, and a conservative and spare stripe or two across the shawl-front give it a sporting look.

These dashing gents wear the Glengarry hat, while other traditionalists opt for the Tam.

Their design is meant for both warmth and maneuverability, and most have an extra button towards the top of the neck to close it should things get very cold.

Canada, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Michigan, and the Lakes Region all have thrift stores with beautiful and imposing curling sweaters in them.  I still regret cheaping-out on a white and red number I found at a Toronto consignment shop years ago.


When I venture onto a frozen pond, multiple giant stone weights are not in my usual safety inventory.

My usual around-the-house one is a genuine artifact, though only wearable below 65 degrees.

Cousins to the curling sweater are the hybrid curling/Cowichans.  I found this delightfully ridiculous one at an online thrift shop.  It's lined in cheap-but-heavy windbreaker-nylon, very warm, and with a zipper.


A trip outside for a pipe, cigar, or private fresh-air conversation during a winter party will be far more tolerable in one of these.  If you do get one second-hand, consider unstitching and returning the patch to the curling club from where it was issued.  If the club no longer exists, keep it on.

Vintage baseball "warm-up" sweaters (nearly identical to curling sweaters) are very rare, because while a curling sweater from the 1920's is tossed to the thrift stores, baseball sweaters are (unfairly) considered  precious memorabilia with the free market dictating astronomical prices.  In the picture below, you can see that our beloved Boston team once dressed well.

In the next photo, we see a misnamed team from New York take the field on opening day in 1923.  All are in matching sweaters fastened high, and are being drummed in by a marching band.  Also of note is that every face in the stands has a hat above it, and a tie below it.

Note the advertisements at the stadium: Gem Safety Razors, Boston Garters (to hold a man's socks up in those days), Arrow Collars, Harry & Mannie (discussed, but unkown), and what appears to be a cement company.

For more excellent vintage baseball sweaters, check out the photos at uniwatchblog.

Happy deep winter from New England.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

An Affordable Black Tie Wardrobe

Over the weekend, Giuseppe Timore and I took an evening of black tie and racquet sport awards functions.  Pictured above in the more quiet moments before the evening got a hold of itself, Giuseppe is sporting a vintage silk shawl-collared dinner jacket and equal trousers.  His shirt is a fantastic black-watch tartan which presents only the white bib and cuffs when worn under a jacket (with a removable collar).  While his wardrobe's acquisition expenditure was literally fractions (1/1000 by his estimate) of many of the other assemblies that evening, it was of a better fit and patina than just about anything at the event (speaking only of the men, of course).  If he is convincingly clear in his writing, he is surgically articulate in person, and embodies a quiet and certain combination of pragmatic discipline, easy humor, and time-warp charisma.  My overcoat for the evening was a purchase from his online shop, and is now my most frequent winter outer.

The evening once again proved that attention to tradition combined with vigilant skepticism of contemporary guidelines will produce a firmly excellent men's wardrobe... and if you're lucky, for pennies on the dollar.

***NOTE: Blog followers and commenters: Thank you for the emails and questions.  I automatically post comments from followers (click the 'follow' button to the right), but indicate whether or not the comments are for posting or are for me.  Your questions and ideas (even some of the rude ones) contribute to the content of this blog, so keep them coming!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Handmade Pocket Squares

"Sale Price: $75".  That was the tag on a pocket square I found recently.  I put it back as quickly as I had picked it up.  $75?  Once in a while, a nice Hermes square fits the bill handsomely, but they are a bit more than just a simple pattern on silk... many are nearly art pieces themselves, and with a pricetag to match.  From plains to patterns, there are endless directions that one can take when choosing them.  When a friend decided that the shops were not offering anything unique, the dapperjack allowed his frustration an outlet and began putting together his own squares.  While he works occasionally in silk, vivid cottons are his preferred textile, and he produces some unique and eye-catching squares.  Always double sided, his pieces stand sturdy in the pocket, and whether in peaks or folded edges they become a bold and talked about element whenever worn.

Another touch, is the bordering high-contrast threads color he chooses, perhaps as a mark of "hand-made", drawing attention to the fact that they are stitched together from two independent pieces of fabric.  Sometimes, the fabrics on either side represent two opposing or complimenting views or moods, sometimes they are just two different fabrics that look great together with no meaning behind them.


Below, a square with nouns on one side as a tribute to a baby son's first word, finished with a striking midnight blue and patterned backing:


A dark square with contrasting white stitching as tribute to a wife's beloved childhood pet:


Other Adventures In Pocket Squarery

I had some surplus silk I found 15 years ago in Charlottesville, VA, and took it from its hibernation den shoebox and brought it to Beacon Hill Cleaners (151 Charles St. Boston) who are capable of truly elegant stitching and making clothing fit right.  They turned my two yards of postage-stamp patterned silk into a scarf and two pocket squares.

A thrift store in Keene, NH offered this vivid and LARGE scarf for fifty cents.  While my eyes are always on the lookout for navy/white pocket squares, this one had another surprise.

Some slender and attractive Nordic neck was once kept fashionably warm while greeting passengers.

Below, a stack of thin-yet-lasting linens with appropriate initials were found for $1 each on an antiquer's booth table at Brimfield (, and can peak out of a jacket pocket or wait in another pocket to be deployed should a teary citizen present themselves on a neighboring subway seat.

The underside of each shows a small reminder of the larger design perhaps for those with poor short-term memory.

And finally, some old and gallantly-served Jermyn Street-made shirts get one last hurrah in the wardrobe, this time as handkerchiefs.

Some brightly patterned silk from Chinatown awaits its rebirth:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Are You Being Served?

It's very likely that you're not.  Few are these days.

Some of the shows I watched as a 10 year old, I still love today.  Perhaps if we had more Magnum/Higgins and Capt. Peacock/Mr. Humphries on television, style would be a bit different.  As much as I try to avoid waxing nostalgic on the ol' blog, I can't resist certain elements.  Netflix has available the DVD's for Are You Being Served?, and they are as dry, lovable, and hilariously steady as I had remembered.  Of course, the show had its own spin-off, (Are You Being Served? Again!) which still contained the great core-shenanigans, double entendre, and predictable and awkward angles of the first, with more than a hint of the sad, salvaging desperation of a spin-off.  Despite the painfully accurate send-up of Anglo status-consciousness and the paranoia of class anxiety (including corporate hierarchy) the clothing was a bizarre time-capsule of an era that ended just as that show began.

Class-anxiety transcending friendship, and occasionally, vice-versa.

Frank Thornton's character, the perpetually fuss-veneered Capt. Peacock, wore the exact same assembly every day (including the stroller), and the flower was "purchased daily at [his] own expense".  However, when they left London to reside in the countryside, the cast shifted into various strata of country clothing.*  

Here, Capt. Peacock's "country suit" is fantastic, and still more formal than the majority of city suits seen today in the US.

When the entire floor was required to participate in ballet to foster health and fitness, the ever status-anxious Capt. Peacock showed up in black tights, a rugby shirt (thankfully untucked) and an ascot, shooing all but his superior from his warm-up bar which was "reserved for management only".

I  always enjoyed the original (including the early black and white), and noted even then how Mr. Humphries would pin his tie under his vests/waistcoats to lift it, creating a subtle convex display.  While some of the wardrobe cuts are outdated, the overall mode is as permanent as can be, and the show represents the end of an era (both good and bad), serving as a snapshot for the (possibly last) moments that Anglo and American culture teetered on a coal-fired, leather-soled, presentation-at-all-costs era. 

*To avoid a larger post, the "city vs. country" rule for clothing is largely irrelevant in the States, considering that a country Prince Of Wales Check suit with a blue shirt, spotted or noun tie, and brown shoes will still leave the wearer more formal than nearly all of those in most US cities.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Emails

Dear Sir,
We hosted a party in our first apartment together for new years eve. We were roommates in college and wanted to throw something nice and have a good time with other friends and even people from work, we were pretty open about the invitation and welcomed anybody. A very handsome dressed guy -grad student- had a silk pocket square, tie, and a heavy charcoal color wool suit that looked great and I think he was a friend of a friend. We served wine and mix drinks and beer. 

[Photos were attached here, and very charming descriptions of what a lot of the men were wearing]

It was a really great party and the most fun NYE!

[After more descriptions, the final paragraph]

The guy in the really nice suit said that he only drinks micro-brews or scotch and did we have any.  We were both sorry to say no that we didnt. We had [Bud and Bud Lite] which everyone liked. We realized that we should set up a small bar for future parties and wanted to know what we should by for well dressed gentlemen.

Addie and Sarah,
Atlanta, GA

Dear Addie and Sarah,
You threw a perfectly elegant party.  Your first apartment looks charming, and judging by the photos, everybody was at ease and you were great hostesses.  As for the well-dressed young man there and his disdain for what you offered him, you should see that he is never invited back.  He is an ass.

Happy 2011 to you both!

P.S. I will have a post about setting up a bar for a party soon.


Happy New Year! My older sister is getting married in April in Chapel Hill inside at night and I want to know if I should wear the blue suit or the gray suit? . I am single and she has tons of single girlfriends.
 [photos of each suit were attached along with a link to the venue]

Raleigh, NC

Dear C.,
You should wear whatever suit will be the most comfortable for sitting, eating, dancing, and then draping over the shoulders of the young lady with whom you stroll outdoors for fresh evening air. The daffodils are likely to be poking through then in North Carolina, so be sure to pick one for her during your stroll, and offer her your arm. 




What is Really Worn - Behind The Curtain's (Social) Fabric

Writer's Note: This post is largely in response to several emails I received containing angry and near-dogmatic understandings of the importance of dressing.  Most of these partially venomous screeds theorized correlation between tie and pocket square wearing to some non-existent ghost of "the Gentleman", with a naive impatience for those who conduct themselves differently.  While I love finding, buying, wearing, and thinking, talking, writing, and reading about more formal clothing, I do prefer to keep it in perspective.  The beauty of the human soul and spirit are quickly consumed when devoted to keeping one's outward self alight, leaving the eyes window to a spent and desolate core wrapped in a fussed-over presentation of grooming and bother.  


Catalogs, websites, blogs, commercials, and television would like us to think that worlds exist where the aesthetic is unblemished,  the mood is just so, and people dress to the most picturesque end of the spectrum as possible each moment of the day.  In reality, there are no set-designers to provide rich low lighting to walnut panels, no costume designers to bulldog clip the waist of the jacket to give it a drinking-straw taper, and no casting directors to ensure that the event will be filled with tall slender/chiseled models to provide the cocktail chit-chat which we imagine they are capable of.  If you watch television or go to the movies, you will be certain, CERTAIN, that the intelligence apparatus of each federal (or even state) agency is staffed by models who dress well and gaze analytically at state-of-the-art technology with desks and floors that are modern and back-lit.  In reality, desks, computers, filing cabinets and coat racks are all purchased from the near-lowest bidder on a commercial procurement, which until recently, had largely remained stagnant with Steelcase-type furnishings and fluorescent lighting.  Only recently have our federal agencies allowed themselves a much-needed and well-deserved sprucing up, with windows, carpeting, and  more human lighting, finally bidding farewell to the remaining 70's/80's furniture and style that certainly provided no dignity to its users. 
While the college experience is available to more people now than ever, the myth of the heavily tweeded and flanneled bow tie academic may be dying somewhat, and we no longer expect to see cardigans under herringbone jackets with patched elbows.  If you want to bring back these styles with academic halls, simply discontinue heating in classrooms and offices, and you'll likely see more heavy woolen suits, sweaters, and tightened ties. 

Other images that we tend to carry around are also inaccurate (though charming).

Country Clubs

Image: bright madras, white pants, straw hats, blazers of all colors, bow-ties, ascots, lobster-embroidered pants, and seersucker, hands holding dry Martinis.
Reality: non-descript golf shirts and plain pants, and when there's a dress code, more khakis/white shirt/navy blazer combinations than can be imagined, generally draped unflatteringly around aged stomachs.  Shoes are either loafers or a boat shoe, hands holding cheap beer or well-grade gin and tonics.

City Clubs

Image: Dark three-piece suits with club-collared shirts and striped tie, black-tie, spread-collar with spotted bow tie and flannel pants, ascots, heavy wool blazers with collar pins lifting four-in-hand knots, highly shined black cap-toes, argyle sweater vests and ties with small nouns on them.
Reality: Mostly what people wore to work that day, blazers, suits, occasional camel-hair jackets or tweeds, and often unremarkable ties.

Yacht Clubs

Image: Navy double-breasted blazers, white pants, Bengal striped shirts, yellow ascots, yachting caps (seriously), ribbon jackets, anchor patches on blazers, and bold primary colors, drinking rum or Champagne.
Reality: Gross sailing clothing for those recently afloat, sun-faded shorts and shirts, baseball caps, sunburn, ratty sweaters and sweatshirts, bucket hats for the oldsters or headwear with under-the-chin drawstrings, white-soled tennis shoes or Top Siders, khaki shorts, and jackets which seem too warm for summer but are appropriate away from land.  If it's an evening event, blazers, khakis, and ties, with very occasional yellow cotton sweater vest with boat shoes.  Watery American beers are favored, as most guests are already dehydrated from sailing, swimming, and summer sun.

There seems to be an (understandable) assumption that were a young man to enter one of these clubs or organizations as a guest or new member, that the existing membership would scrutinize and whisper details of the young man's wardrobe with one another.  It simply does not happen.  So long as the dress code is met, other members are more concerned with making sure you're not there to "network" and whether or not you are holding your liquor well.  That is not to say that each of these clubs don't have a few members who dress in handsome and noteworthy assemblies, but a yacht club is about cruising, racing, or teaching your kids to sail or swim, and not about wardrobe.

Where it may have gone wrong

Because most of these organizations are populated by middle-to-late-aged Baby Boomers who brought us the 1960's rejection of decades of formality, there is often little pleasure taken in dress code adherence.  Weddings and parties rented out to people unaffiliated with the clubs usually have better dressed guests that the club members themselves.  The same demographic that invented and implemented indulgences like "casual Fridays" has no interest in the formality of those who survived the Depression and the Second World War, and possibly resent it.  This voting block ushered in Country Club by-laws establishing "casual dining" and "grill room dining".  The sad result is that jackets and ties are left only for the "Main Dining Rooms" which once required reservations, but are now thinly populated and pleasantly without televisions above the bar.  A note-worthy feature of a restaurant these days requires pants in non-denim and with dress shoes, and a sleeve or jacket requirement places a restaurant at legitimate risk of bankruptcy.  Certainly most eateries should NOT have dress codes, but when a clothing standard is dangerously close to a business death-sentence, it points out that perhaps we have gone too far in one direction.  Considering too, how many actual cultural restrictions of conduct and custom we adhere to in restaurants, hostile resistance to clothing requirements seems infantile and overly precious.

For those in their 30's and 40's (roughly), childhood was still formal, shorts were not for church, dinner, restaurants, or birthday parties, and visiting the Statehouse on a field-trip was a solemn event for which one dressed respectfully in whatever they owned or could borrow.  This same demographic is now perplexed by the shift in parental formality, and while most embrace the the new relaxation from that which once ruled them, judging by the niche blogs I read, a small and dedicated array of younger men and boys have turned the tables on the new casual-dress attitude of their parents, often to the delight of grandparents who worked in suits their entire careers.  I hear it steadily in emails, including this quote from a 32 year old son of two university professor parents:

"My whole childhood was spent getting lectured about dressing right.  When we went to DC  we were dressed up even though we were young and just going to museums. My parents are both still teaching at [university] and [same university's medical school], but along with all of the faculty they always wear the minimally formal clothing with white sneakers to restaurants and the like.  Once [their demographic] got in charge it was regular wearing of what they used to call "play clothes" when I wore them with sneakers, jeans, teeshirts. I'm the only one in a tie during holidays and its by my own choice!"

Law and finance still dress well by culture, but don't expect healthcare to get out of their pajamas, preferring surgical "scrubs" regardless of whether or not they will be anywhere near the operating room.
There is a legitimate argument to be made for aesthetic value, but that is different from the idea of tradition and a false sense of propriety.  The trap into which many young men fall is becoming too vocal a jerk about it, jamming it down the throats of everyone within ear/eye shot.

Tread not dandily

There will always exist the risk of aesthetic nostalgia leading one towards costume or near-parody, and taking the time to choose and assemble ones daily clothing separates people only to the degree that hobbies, personal incomes, or music preferences are perceived to do... a shallow and pitifully thin common-thread with no correlation to personal quality, manner, or conduct.  I get disturbingly misguided emails occasionally from male readers in their 20's and 30's who I can only assume have alienated those around them by their costume approach to dressing, forcing attention towards themselves for their ascots and bowlers (you should see some of the photos I get), their cargo-pocketed mono-chrome kilts, or their long fur coats and canes (!).  Too much is often assumed by those dressing well, and when the magical "access" fails to materialize, the flood of "exclusive" invitations don't polish the mail slot, and the nasty social agenda isn't realized, they end up embittered and unpleasant with a nice wardrobe being their only feature.