Elegance is a simple thing.

Jun 01, 2016

Monsieur LondonI guess it was meant to happen. But for years, men were wearing what their wives, girlfriends or even husbands were buying for them. They did not care about their socks colours, their tie fabric, or their jacket lining. We were used to see colourless short sleeved shirts, faded pants, shapeless shoes and dirty caps. Businessmen were sweating in suits made of polyester and other crappy mixed fibres fabric. During the weekend, they allowed themselves to wear Chinese made polo shirts under an oversized blazer.

And then, thanks to a stylistic groundswell, these sad days reached an end. The luxury industry noticed that 50 per cent of the world’s population was out of reach, and made it change. Also, people started to care. Helped by a social and ecological epiphany (maybe), and an appeal for elegance (most probably), chic came back in our wardrobes. A few shows based on the fifties in America and the twenties in British manors may have helped as well.

Was it a reason for everyone to become crazy? These days, we see men becoming all emotional when watching the pictures from Pitti Uomo, collecting books about classic elegance in America by day, and watching movies about the sapeurs in Congo Brazzaville by night. The return of elegance is a great thing, but not a good reason for any countryside bank clerk to think he is some kind of Essex Gatsby. Or to stop taking his fiancée to the restaurant on Friday nights because he desperately needs train tickets to London to attend a trunk show by the most fashionable tailor from Hong Kong. And what is there to say about his wardrobe, packed with unwearable items, yellow jackets and purple bow ties, orange trousers and shoes with blue patina?

How does one trust his doctor, his solicitor or his butcher, when he is dressed as a luxury dilettante, wearing white trousers every other day, and starting to use Italian words when everybody knows he was born in Swansea? Ma che! Aren’t they crazy all these fellows who think they can blog about tailoring because they once bought a tie in Savile Row? It’s time to come back to the real life. And in the real life, when one tries to enter “Tie s…” in Google, the first proposition is “Tie Star Wars”, not “Tie Savile Row”. In the real world, nobody’s blubbering in emotion about a Neapolitan shoulder.

Every kind of change come with excess. Let’s hope everybody will get back to more simplicity soon. No need to rob a bank to buy a suit. Once the rules of elegance are acquired, their use should stay simple. Let’s keep calm, wear trainers without having a stroke and put away the purple tartan trousers in the wardrobe.

Valentin Goux