This. Cognitive dissonance.
The DB Stare - Page 8
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It has struck me that people in Manhattan have generally dressed a bit better since the financial crisis. Less business casual, more suits, fewer odd jackets, more ties, more pocket squares, fewer truly terrible shoes. Not all of this is quality, of course, but overall the effort level seems to be higher.
But one thing I have noticed. DB seems to freak people out these days. All the ones I wear are solid gray or dark blue. I wear them maybe 5% of the time. Always with very plain everythign else: either a solid shirt with a discrete tie or a patterned shirt with a solid tie, and sometimes all solids. Still, every time I do, I get stared at. A lot.
This never used to happen and I used to wear crazier DBs accessorized with much more crazy. I take it the DB's day is finally over and regular joes now see them as frock coats?
Interestingly, three piece SB does not generate the same astonished stare.
I saw you at the G Bruce Boyer book signing at Leffot and IIRC you were wearing a 6x1 DB. I think the combination of your height and the long roll of the 6x1 made you look more imposing than (I suppose) if you were wearing an SB. For my frame, I think a 6x2 is better as a suit and the 6x1 is better as a blazer. The longer roll of the 6x1 helps the blazer's line when wearing contrasting pants.
During the winter, I usually wear a DB suit or blazer 1-2 times per week. I have had only 1 person in the past year comment about it.
Simon Crompton and Gieves & Hawkes recently stole the idea already, I'm afraid.
Coincidentally, I saw Simon Crompton at Leffot this afternoon.
Unfortunately most of the DBs that are "on the rise" are abominations. With the exception of Corneliani and Brioni, the DBs featured in this article touting their return to runways are disasters:
A really good DB is an awesome and stylish object. But it is very rare in my experience. And DBs that fall short of this look worse than imperfect SBs. I'm at the beginning of my journey through the world of bespoke, but currently I've got a few jackets in the works, one of which is DB, and it is significantly more difficult to get right than the SBs.
I am 60, 6-1, 166 pounds. I work in a small Pennsylvania city and wear a DB suit perhaps 3-4 days a week in winter,1-2 in mid-year, 1 in summer. Have never experienced this stare even in a very traditional, SB town. If it is there at all, it is a respectful glance. Indeed since I began wearing the DB, perhaps 4 years ago and after reading Manton's fine book, I have noticed other men wearing them.
I don't think I am imagining it. At least once, in the office, the reaction was unescapable. Also, I do not notice the same stare with SB, so it can't simply be my good looks.
Last Wed I was in SF, SB blazer, OCBD, cotton pants, basically a California Tux with no tie, walking along the embarcadero to the Ferry building and a carful of people went by and several women shouted "NICE SUIT" at me. I really don't know if that was meant as hipster-ironic. I mean, it was a nice jacket, but hardly eye-catching. But a jacket of any kind is so rare there nowadays that who knows.
Oh, come on, Manton. You are a native Californian, are you not? You must be aware that a great many Californians, especially the women, do not know the difference between an odd jacket and a suit, especially if the former is worn with a tie. My last supervisor, before I retired, although a 50-ish man, thought I was wearing "suits" when I was wearing odd jackets and ties. Ah, the office environment, "Where the C students get to lord it over the A students," as a wise friend put it. I don't miss it a bit!
Edited by JLibourel - 5/13/12 at 3:25pm
DBs look good if they're a 1960s cut e.g. High gorge, 6 buttons (2 x3 vertical columns) and preferably double vented. I'm not keen on the low gorge type with peaked lapels and the buttons splaying out towards the armpits. The drawbacks with DBs are you have to keep them buttoned up at all times, even when it's 30-40 degrees outside and you have to the physique to carry one off, i.e. not fat, not thin.