Natty Look 2

June 19th, 2013

2. White Linen Theory


“The second look is one of two white linen suits I did this summer. This one is actually a bit off-white. The other is a bright optic white one-button three-piece with narrow pants, rounded peak lapels, and a double-breasted vest with shawl lapels.

I tend to think of white linen suits in two different categories: there’s the slick suit that people wear in Miami or to white parties or to summer weddings, which is what my three-piece is. And then there’s the sort of romantic, more casual, off-white linen suit you might find on a war correspondent in a Graham Greene novel. That’s how I thought of this suit, although it’s still new so it isn’t as scruffy and rumpled as I’m sure it will be eventually.”


“I used to have cheap white linen suits made every time I visited family in India. By the end of one summer month in New Delhi they were pretty battered.

When I travelled to Brazzaville in Congo to meet and interview the incredibly stylish Sapeurs I had nothing but a box of Cuban cigars to give out as gifts, two liters of vicious Ugandan moonshine, a French phrase book, and a white linen suit… I also had fifty bucks but I had to give that to a very sexy female soldier with a machine gun in order to get my passport back and be allowed into the country.”


“So this suit, with its reverse-pleated pants, bellows pockets, and covered buttons conjures up those adventurous images and feelings of far-flung former colonies.”


“Inside the jacket and under the lapel I put lines from a poem by the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, translated by the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali.”


“The entire poem can be read here.”


We’re also big fans of the horizontal stripe shirt and the spectator shoes.