Q. Why does James Bond, no matter who plays him, look so good in a tuxedo?
A. It may be because they are handsome, roguish, sophisticated actors who play one of the most dashing characters in 20th century popular fiction. But besides that, all of them follow a few simple black-tie rules(at National Post).
Q. Elbow patches are kind of hot in a "professor that might secretly be Indiana Jones" sort of way - but they also look kind of contrived - especially on a brand new jacket. Does the elbow patch have a place on a new jacket or does it belong only in a vintage piece?
A: Style Master says - If I had a whip (maybe I do, maybe I don't), I would crack it now. Elbow patches are best when patching a hole in a well loved garment. If the hole appears on the left, only patch the left. Symmetry is for suckers and the quirk of one-sided patching gives a whiff of old establishment thriftiness.
Admittedly, this year, elbow patches are everywhere (AGAIN in 2012, I wrote this nearly a year ago). So, I concede to the inevitable the way Indiana conceded to the feisty Marion Ravenwood. If you must buy a garment with elbow patches, make sure they COVER the elbows and not the upper arm or forearm. If they don't, someone should conk your crystal skull.
This fall there will be much talk about the bomber jacket. The term, bomber, will be applied to a lot of short jackets with ribbed waistbands whether they are in fact based on aviator or motorcycle or infantry blouson jacket styles.
Above is a picture of Tuskegee airmen during the Second World War. They were some of the first black fighter pilot's in US history. You can find more about them here.
Of course, I just want to talk about their clothes. They are wearing the classic aviator jacket, the A2, as designated by the US Air Force. It is COLLARED. On the shoulders do sit epaulettes or straps. Notice the pockets. They are flapped PATCH pockets. They are not slash pockets (they often sit at an angle). The ribbing is low enough to cover the belt line. There was also a G-1 jacket. It has a fur-lined collar and it was used by the Navy and Marines. Most people who see this jacket will often call them "bombers."
But when I hear bomber jacket, I think of the gunners who sat exposed to the cold air while flying over Europe in B-17 bomber aircraft (see below).
The real bomber's jacket is the B-3 jacket. Full shearling and makes its wearer as puffy and toasty warm as the Pilsbury Doughboy after a good 20-minutes in the oven. I doubt anyone will be wearing anything like the real bomber jacket this fall or winter. Though I must say the Jil Sander fetish for leather and Thom Browne's masked men with Munster-like proportions this fall have some kinship to the look of the men on the .50 cal machine guns.
So, this fall, when you hear bomber, think aviator. Thin, trim, dashing. With useful pockets. The jacket should inspire fancies of flight, not skiing, not snowboarding, not motorcycling, not General Eisenhower (he wore a short infantry blouson). FLYING. If it gives off that romance, that vibe, despite its non-authentic, non-aviation details, call it an aviator or a flight jacket and wear it like an ace.
Q. I like French cuff shirts, but how many pairs of cufflinks should you have and what are some affordable options? I don’t necessarily want to drop several hundred dollars on multiple sets, but get tired of using the same one all the time. — Sean, Toronto Today I took a nuts-and-bolts approach to collecting compelling cufflinks in The Vancouver Sun.
(NOTE THIS IS A RE-POST FROM 2008 from my appearance on CBC Radio with host Stephen Quinn)
Fashion Olympics - forget medal counts, who are the best dressed?
Canada has yet to win a medal in Beijing but who cares? A opening ceremony fashion Q & A with JJ Lee...
Q. You've decided to focus on the Opening Ceremonies. What are you looking for when it comes to judging a country's fashion acumen during the parade of nations?
It's not easy to compare what the countries are wearing -- though I think it's patently obvious to anyone when it comes to figuring out who looks good and who looks bad.
The reason why it's hard is because the delegate nations pick clothes for different reasons.
Generally, there were three genres of clothes at the opening.
1. National costume - this is where athletes are forced to wear clothes as if it were multicultural day at their local high school.
2. Athletic wear - this is where countries dress as if they are ready to take the field at any moment.
3. Traditional sportswear - Not to be confused with track suits, this is the prevalent neo-traditional approach that evokes the time when athletes wore blazer, white pants and cricket sweaters when they weren't on the field of battle. One of the most iconic examples of that style of dress is - historically speaking - is Rene Lacoste or Le Crocodile, the French tennis star of the 1920s who later became a fashion giant.
Q. It sounds like you're comparing apples and oranges -- who do you think came off the best in terms of fashion?
I thought I could break things up in categories like weight classes for boxing -- for example "BEST in RED".
Q. Okay, which countries made it into the Best in Red category?
Angola did. They went with a hybrid look of patterned pants with red tops that seemed to straddle athletic wear and national costumes. It was a nice red. The shirts featured an rather delicate detail at the neck line. It was a circular opening below the neckline like a peekaboo that would show cleavage on a woman -- but it was predominantly the men who were wearing it. It's just a blouse but the circle is a nice detail. Q. What did you think of China, the host nation, in red?
They were unfortunately one of the WORST. They went with red blazers, white pants and yellow shirts for the men. They looked terrible. Wear red or wear yellow but don't wear them together.
The women looked better with yellow blazers, red kerchiefs and white skirts that went BELOW THE KNEE-- but I think they should have deviated from looking exactly like the Chinese flag and picked a yellow that was softer and more forgiving.
I think though there should be a rule where hem lengths should only be determined by body type and not by designer edict. If you have the legs, you should show it. If not, find a length that suits you. Say "no" to totalitarian regimes and uniform hem lengths.
Q. Did anyone look good in red?
My favourite team in red was Serbia.
The men looked lousy but the women wore ruffle v-necked front buttoned blouses.
You have to understand Serbia has tennis star Ana Ivanovic on the team. She just dropped out of competition because of an injury...but she looked absolutely gorgeous in her blouse during the opening ceremonies. She showed showed some clavicle a bit of skin below that.
Q. And isn't that the whole point of the Olympics?
It is. If you look at the classical roots of the Olympics, the display of the body, naked, without adornment, in physical struggle was the whole point.
And despite the National Socialist baggage of the Berlin Olympics, Leni Riefenstahl's film of the Olympics really suggests a modern template for the cult of the body in the Olympics. She had images of athletes in the nude much like Greek statues -- it's kind of corny but it makes a good point. We need to see more skin at the Olympics.
I used to disdain the uniform rules of beach volleyball because they forced women to essentially wear bikinis but I've come around. I think celebrating young athletic bodies is a good thing...I would even suggest eliminating the jersey for men's boxing. Let us see heaving chest muscles. I think that would be a great first step in the right direction.
Q. What marks do you give to Team Canada?
Six point five or a seven out of ten.
My reason, I think track suits are a cop out.
The reason why I don't talk about designers who make hoodies or t-shirts is the reason I don't think Team Canada looks so hot...track suits are boring.
There's none of the flare of let's say, Mexico's ruffle skirts which had a flamenco-mariachi feel to them. That was nice.
But Canada was entirely invested in it's graphic approach.
And it's bad. Some people have complained about the chinoiserie of the uniform -- which is understandable but what is worse is how the pattern of red and white and degrade - which means fading - gold number "eights" on the clothes obliterates the sense the human form.
The more I talk about it the more I dislike it.
Q. Which country did you like?
I think you have to give credit to Ralph Lauren for creating a consistent vision of Gatsybyesque sporting elegance.
And remember, Ralph Lauren did the costume for the film version of The Great Gatsby.
The other film reference was Chariots of Fire - the motif was simple. Blue blazers, white buttons, white pants and newsboy caps -- which are not as nice a the trapper hats Canada did for the Turin Olympics nor are they as nice as the Roots Cap of the Nagano Olympics -- but they do the trick.
A lot of countries went this direction but Ralph Lauren did it the best. Though the look was a bit androgynous on the women. They did fit nicely enough. Unlike the Chinese blazers. Terrible.
Q. Enough stalling....give me your fashion winner...
My flat out my favourite would be....okay, the women of France wore seersucker and red sashes...that was okay
Hungary had skirt-suit combos with a bold poppy pattern which was interesting...
But I have to say I like Poland because the women wore red dresses with a red peek-toe sling backs and the men wore black and white wing tip shoes.
So, the red dresses are nice but they only favoured the fittest of athletes
They didn't wear read but I think Brazil gets the gold. Their women wore dark mini skirts with green jackets and black lapels. They didn't look like flight attendents, and they showed some leg.