After reading G. Bruce Boyer’s beautiful piece, “An Ode to What Was,” on Men of Habit, we felt compelled to share it with you. Here, friends, is an expert that takes us back to what seemed to be, as Boyer puts it, “a simpler time.”
Cut, fit, and quality were what was important. If it was all properly fitted, of the acceptable cut, and made well, these items would do a young man proud, no matter where he was going, or what the occasion, from a faculty tea to a classy dance.
And it wasn’t a matter of being simply less sophisticated either. There were intricacies of cut and quality to these basic garments that belied their straight-forwardness. Good jackets, for example, were always three-button and natural-shouldered, softly constructed in the chest and cut on the easy side. Lapels extended about a third of the way to the shoulder line, and aficionados were quick to note the hook vent in the rear. Trousers were also cut easy, just this side of baggy. Everything, needless to say, shouldn’t look too new. Quality used to imply longevity in those days. Raincoats, khakis, shoes, and tweeds were all expected to be slightly scuffed and rumpled. A soft patina of age was desirable, and total effect should be rather a studied nonchalance. An old money sprezzatura was the style.