Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Late October Brooklyn Attitude

Wearing clothes is all about feeling good in them, wearing clothes that fit your personality as well as your surroundings.

I pride myself in being a Brooklynite, for chrissakes, I named my first born Breuckelen. Being a Brooklynite, i embrace the blue collar work ethic that built this wonderful place. Yes, all you Williamsburg hipsters and Park Slope mommies who have your own idea of what makes Brooklyn, Brooklyn, you're dead wrong. Its not you.

Its not that we don't appreciate all that you bring to our great borough. Not at all. Who else would we have to sneer at, or mock for living off of mommy and daddy's inheritance while occupying a loft and playing in a band only your friends pretend to think is talent laden? Who else would we give the Brooklyn salute to, when your strollers block the sidewalks of 7th Avenue while you stop and talk the latest craze sweeping over early childhood education over a $7 cup of coffee, totally losing in your own self-importance, the fact that people are actually trying to get to and from places on that very same slab of sidewalk? So, don't read this post, and assume that real Brooklynites want you gone. We don't. Because after a long day of hard work, we need an outlet for our frustrations and a viable source to mock.

So, my dad may laugh at my use of the words "blue collar" when referring to my family upbringing. But I'm not the one with the statue of the Virgin Mary in my backyard. Even though my parents were both educators, and successful ones, the blue collar mentality that their parents raised them on, squeaked through the generations and X&Y chromosomes to the way I was raised. Anyway, I digress. Back to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is an attitude. Work hard, play hard. Brooklyn, we go hard. Fughedaboudit, you've heard all the cliches. Well, as I mentioned in my opening, if you can confidently wear your clothes, you will look great in them. What I was wearing this Friday, 10/29, is a clear example of that in full effect. My suit, was a vintage one. I don't think I spent more than $100 on this mid weight tweed two piece suit. It a Turnbull & Asser that i scored off of eBay a few years ago. Its double vented with hacking and a ticket pocket in the true English fashion. Its also from the early 1970's or late 1960's, making it almost 40 years old, older than me. Not much was changed on this. I shortened the pant leg, and gave them 2 inch cuffs, shortened the sleeves, and had the shoulder pads removed. That's it.

Now, the suit was only part of Friday's rig. I had my tailor Frank, at Ercole's in Dyker Heights, make me a shirt and tie that i could wear with this. With all the colors and patterns, it was not an easy task, and after looking through several books of shirting fabric, and hundreds of silk tie swatches, we settled on the pair you see. A blue on blue striped shirt and a floral navy, blue and red neck tie. Add to that a classic English silk paisley scarf from Drakes of London, a Donegal Tweed Kangol flat cap, and Alden tobacco calfskin long wing bluchers and you're set.

But the apparel is only half of what makes the look work so well. The other half is the attitude, the surroundings, and the photographer. thankfully, I have a wife who has an eye for picture taking, and when given creative reign, does some real wonderful things. But enough of me talking, I'll let you be the judge. And with true Brooklyn attitude and grit, if you don't like it, go take a long walk off a short pier.


  1. Congrats on putting together a great looking outfit! The scarf looks smashing!
    I am curious about the removal of the shoulder pads. If there is no shoulder pad doesn't it affect the balance of the jacket?

  2. All the colors and patterns are beautiful individually, and together they work really well. You won't see me sporting that look, but you can pull it off with flair.

  3. That is a great look. I did initially wonder at the wide lapels--but you've explained it: it's a vintage suit. All the better. There's extra fun in unearthing a really great item and making it your own.

  4. Thanks for the comments guys. Re; the lapels, I'm seeing wider lapels more and more often now, and not just on the pages of the magazines. The other day I was in talking with Frank about my dad's Christmas present (a custom shirt) and a few of the works in progress hanging out in the front of the shop had very wide lapels, probably well over 4 inches wide.

  5. "though my parents were both educators, and successful ones, the blue collar mentality that their parents raised them on, squeaked through the generations and X&Y chromosomes to the way I was raised."

    Who's to say that the Park Slope mom you readily mock wasn't raised with the same mentality and ethos of sweat equity? Be weary of throwing rocks when you're wearing a $1500+ bespoke suit.

  6. 1000count, thats a fair comment, but you may misunderstand my dismay with the behavior of those "Park Slope moms". Its not an economic snobbery. I think its more geographic. Most of the people who have moved in to Park Slope over the past few years are not Brooklynites, and many are not New Yorkers. Americans have rightfully earned a reputation of being selfish and in my mind its due to the fact that most Americans live in suburbia, where everyone has their own backyard, their own driveway, their own patio. When this kind of suburban mindset migrates into an urban environment, this sense of ownership subconsciously transcends to public spaces like sidewalks, stores, streets, and parks. Because my family grew up in Brooklyn, we were taught from an early age about sharing and how to behave when in crowded public spaces. So its not so much the "sweat equity" you bring up, but simply a sense of sharing. To me its that sense of haring that these new "yuppie" enclaves lack, and takes away the true Brooklyn spirit that these places once had. Hopefully thier children, by growing up in a more shared environment, will change that in the years to come, and hopefully they'll stay!