Edited by F. Corbera - 7/26/12 at 9:27pm
Fred Astaire interview, GQ, August 1957
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It's always fun to read these older articles; they have a tendency to illustrate the cyclical nature of fashionable taste. Also, this particular article talks a lot about how individuals like Astaire choose to adopt certain personal idiosyncrasies and those marked him out (the belt buckle, etc). It highlights one of the most persistent manifestations of the fundamental attribution error: "I'm being myself; you're being conspicious". In reality, of course, everyone who cares about their appearance is being conspicious, given that the majority don't. It sounds like this was as true in Astaire's day as it is in ours, which is not surprising I suppose.
Thanks for posting this article here!
Astaire often returns to his outspoken dislike of the present rage for "Ivy League" tailoring. "The unpadded shoulders, the three-buttoned long and boxy coat, the too-short, thin pants, and the thin ties with striped buttoned shirts in dark colors—well, I suppose this may go very well with some personalities but it's not for me. To me, all such look like TV producers. Maybe they want to." It seems amusing to Astaire to recall that when he was young such "outlandish" getups would have dubbed the wearers as "sissies"—but today the most extreme rigs of clothes are worn by the toughest gangs."
Forget the long & boxy and substitute short & stubby with “unpadded shoulders, three-buttoned, too-short thin pants” and you’ve got the modern day “toughest gangs” of sartorialists out there à la Pitti Uomo.
For instance, he denies the canard that he blocks his own hats—"but I do stretch them a little." He has a stretcher at home and, often finding that a size seven hat fits him better than the usual 7 1/8, he buys it and stretches it. "I suppose I really take a size 7 and 1/6," he remarks.
What an interesting balance of precision and laid-backedness. Now that’s specificity!
He said in a TV Guide interview that he was 5' 10".
This was before he died. I assume that he shrunk a bit afterwards.
Google search average is 5' 9" for him, if you believe in the powers of technology.
His career spanned the period before the Egg McMuffin, so he was not as stolid as men today whom you might meet in line at Starbucks or at the StyFo 10th. He was about as tall as itstillmatt...I mention that since you appear to be standing next to Matt in about 100 Collection of StyForial Excellence photos.