Natty Look 2

June 19th, 2013

2. White Linen Theory

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“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.”

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“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.”

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“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.”

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“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.”

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“The entire poem can be read here.”

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

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