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Flannel Wednesday. . .

The get-up for yours truly on Wednesday (yesterday).

Ahhh. . .   Hear that?  It's the sound of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.  And it has finally cooled off enough -- really, truly enough -- in my neck of the woods to put away the warmer weather stuff until mid-April or so next year, and break out the fall and winter gear.  Naturally, that consists of lots of tweed, wool flannel, and corduroy.  Yesterday's ensemble, for instance, consisted of the following items:

* Polo University Club navy wool blazer, made in the U.S.A. (thrifted 2011)
* Ralph Lauren gray wool flannel pants with 1.5" cuffs and pleats, made in Canada (thrifted 2013)
* Robert Talbott necktie (English Lawn Tennis Association stripe), made in the U.S. (purchased on sale 2004)
* Land's End pink Hyde Park Oxford button-down shirt (purchased on clearance 2010)
* No-name silk cream pocket square w/brown edging and brown and maroon polka dots (thrifted 2011)
* Land's End belt (purchased new 2004)
* Von Maur socks (purchased on sale 2013)
* Allen Edmonds shoes (Ebay 2011)

Obviously, nothing listed above is bespoke/custom made, or even of the very highest quality, but I have had the jacket and pants altered by my tailor Mrs. V., to fit my frame best.  The more moneyed menswear enthusiasts out there might sneer at some of the above items (or perhaps all of them?), but they illustrate that, once again, an average guy need not spend thousands of Dollars, Pounds, Euros, Kroner, or Yen to look more than halfway decent when he walks out the door in the morning.  I felt pretty darn good yesterday as I set off for a day of teaching and one of those darned lunchtime departmental social gatherings with colleagues.  These events always strike me as ill-timed, forced, and just plain awkward.  No one ever seems natural and relaxed at them for example.  Why in the world must we have get-togethers like this foisted upon us?

Anyway, an extra spring was put into my step when I later bumped into one of the college's administrators (wearing a suit, bless him!) with whom I am acquainted on The Quad.  He smiled, asked how I was, and then added that I was one of the best dressed men on campus.   While such a compliment is great to hear occasionally, that's really not why I bother to dress nicely.  I do it for me.  Still, it's nice when someone else notices and pays a compliment instead of asking something like the tired old "Why are you so dressed up?"

Now, the above combination of clothes was not without its challenges though.  One of the problems with pleated pants, which I prefer to the currently trendy plain-fronted trousers, is that the area around the fly does funny things -- ok, annoying -- when one sits down.  Suddenly, it appears to anyone whose gaze might drift in that direction like you are terminally and perpetually aroused.  See the photo below:

See the problem?  Yep.  I can assure you, however, that I was looking at nothing more racy than film theory and global cinema readers prior to snapping this photograph of my shoes and socks late yesterday afternoon.

Right. . .  I read somewhere recently that Frank Sinatra used to avoid sitting down and/or crossing his legs whenever he was really dressed to the nines, ostensibly to avoid those embarrassing wrinkles in the fly and crotch region of his suit or evening wear pants.  However, it might also have been to avoid situations like that shown above.  

Other than making the switch to trimmer cut, plain-fronted dress pants, however, I'm not really sure how to avoid this issue myself.  All the more reason to make certain I am either hidden away in my office at school and behind the desk therein while in a chair, or seated at and protected from view by a table in the Dining Commons.  But I'll definitely avoid sitting in front of my students during class time!  Just imagine what the more imaginative of them might think and say otherwise.  Oh, the shame, the shame!

-- Heinz-Ulrich


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