Last night I attended the book launch of my good friend, Robyn Levy. Her book, Most of Me, is a great read. A funny, brave, honest look into living life with a sense of humour, a husband, a daughter, a dog and two diseases.
Robyn read her passages beautifully and I was honoured to be there. Congratulations, Robyn.
Now, for the special occasion I wore my favourite bow tie. It is paisley. It is English but not Liberty. It has seen many years of knotting and unknotting. Nevertheless, it is handsome.
Only after I had walked out the door, as I passed a storefront window, I noticed the paisley and blue butterfly fraying. I could see the lining through the tear in the silk.
Many men would give up on a tie that has frayed. No matter how well turned out, a man will disdain the garment in question.
Even the world's most famous dandy, the first dandy, Beau Brummell, was pitied in later life for becoming tattered in his dress. His biographer, William Jessop, described Brummell's clothes during his destitute years in France:
...Not only were his clothes shabby and out of repair, but he was dirty. His tailor told me that, towards the close of his career, he had sometimes observed him in the street with his coat in holes under the arms, and his trowsers torn.Personally, I am a big advocate of the well-worn garment.
In preppy (which is the general dressing style I am most attracted), well-worn garments are embraced as wards against the parvenu and nouveau riche. It is the style of this old thing.
To the prep, a bit of fraying says I have been here forever and more than that I have no plans on leaving....this is a good place.
The worn oxford shirt collar, the stringy chino hem, the rewoven sweater, a few spots on the khakis are no problem at all.
Of course, I am exactly the things the true Ivy League prep wishes not to be: new, from somewhere else, perhaps too grasping, definitely on the make, simply too obvious.
But when I wear my frays, I too am saying, "I plan on being here forever and more than that I have no plans on leaving....this is a good place."