Deck the Halls and Whatnot

I’m not exactly sure about the word whatnot, or how you really deck halls. I know what is meant if something or someone is all “decked out”, but I’m unsure as to how it came to mean that. I don’t care enough to investigate the words, but tis the season for decking of all kinds.


There were in fact multiple trees in Riverside’s grand hotel, and one at the Grove as well. These trees may be sturdy but know nothing of snow.


I am doing my best to look a lot like Christmas as well. I wear green and red and garnish my mouth with candy canes. I sing Feliz Navidad, Mele Kalikimaka, and happy Hanukkah loud for all to hear. I do not think my singing is spreading cheer but I am happy.
IMG_1016An associate of mine complained the other day about those who say happy holidays. She was embittered by those who did not say Merry Christmas. I asked her if she had any Jewish friends and she did not think that a relevant question. I smiled and replied that her’s was not a relevant complaint. She had no problem with me humming jingle bells, which I did, merrily.IMG_0783

So whatever your flavor, whatever you say, tis the season to say it happily. Yes there is plenty going on right now that is dark and horrid, and there has been for quite some time. Bah Humbug, happy Festivus, and God bless us, every one.


What Does One Wear?

Dad claims it started when he was in college and was looking for something interesting to paint. He says a friend knew where a bunch of strange looking people hung out and that Dad should come along to take photographs. Surely he would find some interesting subjects to subject to watercoloring.

That was before I was born and I cannot attest to the truthfulness of that tale. All I know is that by the time I came on the scene tee pees and tomahawks were a regular part of our existence.

I was doomed

With those sorts of roots one cannot afford to take ones self too seriously. Nor can one make fun of what ever anyone else chooses to wear. I for one wear what I want- strike that- I wear what I can afford.

Sandy was scheduled to hit our home Sunday night. Monday morning I woke under the safe roof as always and checked my flight status. United flight 2109 to  Hartford was “on time.” In disbelief I got  online, because we had had electricity, and saw that the airport was in fact open. I dragged myself out of bed and into the car. No one else did the same.

I drove on empty roads to an empty airport. I drug my bags past the TSA guards who were busy herding no one into empty body scanners. I arrived at the United counter to find it deserted and covered in clear plastic.

Of course.

There was no one to talk to so I dialed them up.

“Hello may I help you.”

“Yes. I was supposed to be on flight 2109 and need to re-book, cancel, whatever you are doing.”

“Sorry sir, that flight is listed for an on-time departure.”

“I know. That’s why I drove to the airport.”

“Okay. So what can I do for you?”

“Um yeah… ”

I drove back home.

At home my small crew of creative women were determined that with Dad home and no school our best option was a formal lunch complete with invitations delivered by the 8 year old. This is the same 8 year old who kept complaining last night that the power wasn’t going out. She sat disappointed holding her flashlight.

I have learned I cannot afford to resist such invitations.I feel very much the same in my Black Watch jacket as I did in buckskins. I would argue they aren’t all that far apart.

We are all to some extent wearing a costume, it just depends on the event. Bow ties or plastic fangs are both fine depending upon the venue. I was once at a U Penn event and saw an MBA student wearing a madras jacket with no shirt underneath. He looked very appropriately appointed as he leaped from a balcony at the Blue Horizon into the middle of the boxing ring whilst the fight was in progress. What else would one wear while acting a fool?

Trunk Club, Cleaning Up My Act.

I have long-held that being well dressed isn’t just wearing nice clothes, but wearing appropriate clothes for any given situation.  Tuxedos are nice, but just don’t feel right while gardening.  It has been ten years since I was last a student and back then I operated under the misunderstanding that a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt was the right thing to wear to class.

While considering the upcoming school year I realized my closet was ready for a boardroom or a boxing ring, but not a college campus.  What to do?  I called Brian Spaly.

Santa Claus uses Fed Ex during his off-season.

 Brian and I have worked together before and as before, he had the solutions to my problem.  The solution showed up yesterday.

A Festivus miracle!

The way the Trunk Club works, is a shopping averse man talks with a style consultant, in my case Brian, where sizes, styles and situations are discussed.  Next the consultant does some leg work, the stuff I did not want to do, and ta-da, a box full of clothing shows up on Mr. customer’s doorstep.  I could not wait to see if I got the Red Rider bee-bee gun or a lump of coal.

The blue blazer was perfect

 I’m not sure how I made it this far in life without owning a blue blazer but I am an imposter no longer.  No flashy brass buttons, matte finish, good fit.  Home run. Next…

Stretchy and shiny… not so much.

The shirt was well made and if anything it was stylish, but it was not for me.  I am not a glossy person in dress, or in much else and we shall simply say that “slim fit” and love handles should not be paired.  This was an easy “no”, but part of the joy of the Trunk Club is giving a garment a shot.  I did.  The shot missed the mark.  Now shoes…

Probably not best to wear both together.

My shoes have recently, and often, been the subject of expert criticism.  Fair enough; I’m working on it.  I choose to ignore the brand of the above shoes and let them speak for themselves.  The digital menswear world will be happy to see there are no square toes here.  I do have some recollection of the Trad mocking Philadelphia businessmen wearing grey shoes, and till now I have never seen grey shoes, but I think I like them.  I promise not to wear them with a nice suit, most likely I will wear them with the Seven jeans shown in the picture.  Mr. Spaly did well here.  Not too over the top in price or style, but nor bland.  Well done (cue the arguments).  Next…

Life After Denim

I have read that a Black Watch blazer is required and even prefered.  The velvet collar is a nice touch.  It was a little tight but not so much that some responsible eating and trips to the gym would fix.  The jury is still out on this one but much like new music, one should listen a few times before making a decision.  I’ll give myself a minute to adjust and eat more salad.  Next, the best reason to let someone else shop for you…

Unexpected satisfaction

Not in a million years would I have ever chosen a blue and black hounds tooth jacket.  I would have walked right past it without a second thought.  I felt a bit of disappointment as I pulled it from the box and dutifully tried it on.  Once it was on I experienced what Frosty must have felt as the kids put the magic top hat on his head; the world changed. I love it.

After the box was emptied and the contents tested, the Trunk Club takes away the pressure.  Brian could feel free to throw me a few curve balls because his customers are under no obligation to keep what he sends. Enclosed with the clothes are a new shipping label, and the final touch of thoughtfulness… packing tape.

Notice the small print that says "prepaid". Shipping both directions is on the house.

Now, as I stroll the campus, attend classes, or even those once dreaded cocktail hours, I will stand out for all the right reasons.  Above all, at least for me, I will be appropriately attired for the occasion.  Now if I could somehow find a way for Brian to do my sit-ups for me.

The loot