The upper half this last Thursday, featuring said necktie (thrifted for about US$2.00 a few years back) and one of my four navy blazers. I know, I know. . .
It's funny. Not 'funny ha-ha' so, but rather more 'funny peculiar' as my maternal grandmother used to say. At this point in my sartorial journey, I vary things from day to day during the weekly schlepp from Monday through Friday, combining a suit or two with somewhat more casual sports jacket-odd pants combos the remaining days. And always with some kind of decent leather dress shoes and a necktie (almost always) of one sort or another except in the warmest August and September weather.
A few of the classrooms I am stuck in by the unseen, unfeeling, and enigmatic classroom assignment gods each semester are in older, unrenovated buildings with inadequate climate control. That means, that when 35+ bodies are crammed into said rooms for classes lasting an hour or more that things rapidly become uncomfortable on warmer days during late August, September, and, occasionally, late April.
As much as I enjoy my ties, sometimes, it's just too damn hot as the song goes. Invariably, inevitably, and irrevocably someone's Axe deodorant or body spray fails, and an already uncomfortable room is also filled with the redolent aroma of male body odor, but that's another story.
Returning to neckties for a moment, however, the weather here in Mid-Michigan has cooperated nicely so far this fall, and I've been able to wear them comfortably. Hence the Ben Silver number above, which never seems to see the light of day as often as certain other neckties in the collection. Not so with the navy blazers, which, depending on the season, make an appearance at least once each week.
I've somehow acquired four of them over the years, two single-breasted and two double-breasted in both heavier and lighter weights, so they feature prominently on those mornings when I am in a hurry and/or can't get the old brain in gear in the early morning darkness to think for a moment about what might go with what. Navy blazers are reliably easy to pair with other things without straying unwittingly into goofy clown territory because of clashing patterns or colors.
What's more, navy blazers look suitably formal when worn with creased dress pants, a tie, and dress shoes, but, in our terminally dressed down, comfort-obsessed culture, navy blazers also work well with a pair of khakis or even jeans. If you have only one sports jacket hanging in your closet, it should be the the navy blazer, an incredibly versatile piece of attire. As my mother informed the 14-year old Heinz-Ulrich when she presented me with my first navy blazer for a semi-formal dance many years ago, back when schools still had those sorts of things, "It's a classic man's wardrobe staple that goes with just about anything."
A sobering thought to close today. In an article that I read not long ago about the beleaguered middle class, the point was made that people don't really want to change anything about themselves in an appreciable way. Upward mobility is dead, and aspiration to be more and rise up the social ladder is a thing of the past the article implied. The middle class has no wish to move into new milieus where it might feel uncomfortable. The people belonging to it are, for the most part, unconcerned with leaving the metaphoric village behind. What the middle class apparently wants, according to the article in question, is just a bit more money.
And the lower half, featuring Merino wool socks from Dapper Classics and a pair of Allen Edmonds loafers.