How to save your bacon when asked to dress nice…

A couple of weeks ago I was press-ganged into attending a company dinner with WDG, aka she who must be obeyed. Now, anyone that has followed me for a while knows that I don’t do suits, as in the only suit I own is from 1945 and of a decidedly vintage style. My job requires me to be fully clothed during office hours, otherwise there are no requirements as to suit, tie and polished shoes. Which does mean that at times when a certain level of smartness is required, I’m a little stuck. I do denim, I do tweed, I do casual. I own two ties, both are wool and work splendidly with my usual attire. I own a bow tie, in tweed. I’ve worn it twice, oddly both times were Xmas Eve.

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At this point, you may well be sniggering, and you’re probably justified in letting rip with some snorting guffaws. I’ve worn a suit in earnest twice, for a job interview (didn’t get it) and my wedding (it didn’t last). At this point, I can’t see another suit happening unless my circumstances change dramatically, and probably for the worse. Just kidding, I’m sure lots of chaps lead happy and fulfilling lives even with their closet full of suits and ties. I certainly hope they are.

Back to my stuck situation though, smarten up and be a bit lively about it. It wasn’t until I remembered the jacket I’d picked up a few months before that things looked brighter. Another little side-track to set the scene: When shopping I tend to buy the same stuff again and again. Like most people I find stuff I already have and like, think of it as pre-approved, and buy it again. Hence why your closet tends to fill up with shirts that all look the same, jeans that are impossible to distinguish from each other, shoes that are basically the same model repeated. Naturally, we are connoisseurs, we can tell the difference and appreciate the finer nuances of each exhibit. If totally honest though, yeah, it’s all the same gear really.

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So, making a conscious effort to actually get something I didn’t already have, I decided to buy a jacket. And not just any old jacket, a velvet jacket. Shades of Oscar Wilde, of decadence and debauchery, per chance? Possibly, but it’s actually pretty gorgeous, in a deep purple velvet, properly tailored and detailed. Lining, buttons and elegance. And the velvet is sublime, like a hyper expensive cashmere duffel coat, a velvet jacket makes a perfect companion. Even if you find yourself at a loss for a conversation partner, you can get to know your jacket a little better. You’ll probably find others also want to be introduced as well. Velvet has that effect. No wonder that historically it was the chosen fabric of the casanovas, the bounders and the sneaky young man got all the girls. Velvet is pure seduction.

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And merely thinking about it makes me lose direction. Here I was going to write up a nice little post about how having a single proper piece of acceptable attire, in this case a really nice jacket, could save the day, and off I go getting all dewy-eyed and soppy about the joys of velvet. Really, I’m sure you expect better of me.

The jacket in question is the Kingsley model from Without Prejudice, a fairly recent addition to British men’s clothing. Quite reasonably priced, flawlessly made and in some circumstances, a true bacon-saver. What more could you possibly ask for?


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