Had two longish layovers at Charles DeGaulle Airport outside Paris, both spent in the Air France First Class Lounge at the International Terminal. Observations: 1. The North American perception of Europeans as inherently well dressed is unwarranted. Even in a First Class area, even while traveling, even on a weekday, the average European traveler was about as poorly dressed as the average American traveler. 2. True bespoke suiting was very rare-- I saw two unmistakably handmade suits in eight hours. In a meeting during the week in Stuttgart, I had seen what appeared to be a made-to-measure suit that avoided all other custom indices such as pick stitching or working buttonholes. Is this a trend? "Quietly semi custom?" 3. Off-the-peg suits with "bespoke influences", by contrast, were ubiquitous: dozens of fused suits with pick stitched lapels and fake sleeve buttonholes, most being worn oversized and overlong at sleeves and trouser cuffs. The side vent is the normative standard. 4. I saw one very nice pair of antiqued black oxfords-- an interesting effect wherein the primary black color was interrupted by medium brown wear areas. 5. One traveler presumably en route to a warm clime had a beige linen suit with the final 2 inches of the pants cuff split at the outer seam. 6. The double-breasted suit is an endangered species even in Paris, alas. 7. France still makeas the world's best croissants, oversized, gloriously messy, and in this case served hot off a delivery truck's rear deck.
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2/27/05 at 5:33pm