As for me, I know exactly where everything is - but occasionally I have to dig for it. Alas, I was not rummaging as much as I was sifting through the contents of a drawer I keep which can be removed off the rails and placed onto the duvet. Always keep a white duvet; it’s so much easier to find the contents of a drawer on a white backdrop. I was sifting the silks over in folds, much like an egg white mix. The soft folds of silk felt very pleasing to the touch. Over the years I had collected countless pocket squares of varying prints and printing processes, elegant bow ties from the world’s great bow tie makers, numerous ties which had seen much better days, a cotton kerchief from Paul & Joe, a a white satin silk evening scarf, crocodile belts, a gifted cashmere tie from a Milanese artisan tie maker, empty cufflink boxes, white cotton gloves and an Hermes silk kerchief. The drawer was full of memories. Of turning corners in Turin, of entering a store as the shutters were being pulled down, the last call for your flight as you check out from duty free, the patience in waiting for the postman to come past. In between the memories that flooded back I was reminded of the meaning for which I had begun my search through the drawer – to find the perfect bow tie to match the outfit I had planned in my head.
For some, making the decision as to what to wear takes forever. They float past the mirror in one t-shirt only to be disturbed by some small nuance in the mirror and off it goes. Then they come back in front of the mirror, this time with an alternate colour or a new cut, asking whoever is around for a second opinion. It’s not manly this way – it’s what we used to call ‘gay’ but these days we can’t refer to anything the way we used to. You mean to say it in jest, but nobody understands that anymore, it’s all huff and puff territory. Women dress like that. They take forever, they choose one thing; put it down, pick up another. Watching them dress is witnessing a series of minute yet endless decisions and revisions. For men – if they trust their intuition, they just know it. They know that a pair of blue jeans goes with about five of the fifteen shirts they own, with two of the three pairs of boots they have and with one of two belts. Then they marry it up with a jacket and walk outside and switch the car engine on and pray she works it out in the next ten minutes. The only thing I take time doing is brushing my hair, mostly because I have lost a fair chunk of it, so preservation of what I have left is high on my priority. For me, personally, I have a rolodex of outfits that I will know will work. I don’t need all this fluffing about. I know that a pair of blue jeans goes with these five shirts, that pair of slacks will suit these sports coats but not that one. I don’t know how it works, but it just does – it seems to come to me when I am shaving, when I am on the treadmill, maybe when I am just about to fall asleep. But never do I actively think ‘oh, I need to work out how to wear this or that’. Not me. That’s just not cricket in my books’.
When choosing my bow tie on this particular evening I was thinking about a fair few things that were going on in my world. I was thinking that it was pretty damn cold out there, that the economy was pretty rotten at the moment and that I wasn’t a kid anymore. Somewhere amongst all of those thoughts I thought of brown corduroy pants, a pair of brogue boots, a grey twill shirt and a Prince Of Wales check sports blazer I owned from some off Savile Row tailor coupled with a paisley bow tie. I didn’t take a photo; otherwise I might have sent it along with this text. But then, I would have not been anonymous would I?
Wishing you the best,