THE NOVELY OF IT ALL

I was sitting in one of those too-cool downstairs pubs in Soho listening to an author read an excerpt from his most recent book (one of my favorites, as it happens) — a book whose genius is so subtle, so well-executed that when you finish it you wish you could ingest it so that savoring it could be both a mental and physical activity.  (It was a very good book.)

But all I could focus on was this author’s blazer.  Well, suit jacket-cum-blazer, if I’m honest.

It was light grey and paired with a button-down shirt and jeans — you know, the uniform of the not-too-casual-not-overly-stylish-but-still-wanting-to-make-an-effort crowd.

And this light grey blazer jacket was well tailored — side vents, double stitch, tight-weave fabric — but it irritated me so.

‘Why?’ you ask.  Because.  Because he was trying to fool us into thinking that this suit jacket was a free-standing blazer when in reality it was hanging on him bereft of matching trousers.  Because — didn’t he know! — this jacket will begin to fade from overuse and the matching trousers will before long no longer match at all.  Just imagine a well-worn suit jacket, broken in perfectly and comfortably, slightly fraying at the cuffs and rubbed at the elbows and seeing that jacket atop a crisp, center-creased, flat-front pair of trousers that still have the pockets stitched together.  It would never work!  He was consigning the trousers to consignment shops for “gently worn” high-end clothing.

But.  I secretly, and despite all sartorial sanity, loved him for doing this.  ‘Look at me,’ he was saying.  ‘I have written a brilliant novel, made huge sums of money, have a flat in poshwest London, but haven’t forgotten my everyman sensibilities.’

Vive la resistance!

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