It all began with the lapels.
You used to be perfectly happy with your standard issue 8cm wide lapels. But suddenly they won’t do any more. You need 9,5 cm lapels. You despise yourself for having erred, for having gone with less than 8 centimeters. When you wear your old (6-months old) suit with the certainly-not-narrow-but-not-wide-enough lapels, you feel ashamed. It’s half-canvassed, a lovely little navy thing with a pinched waist, but those lapels…
And then, the contagion spreads. For some reason, the welting of your shoe becomes something vital. It’s understood you never went for cemented soles and pointed toes, but now, nothing will do but to eviscerate from your collection the unfortunate pair whose construction doesn’t fit with your ‘British demands’. You hate the guts of Lyman Reed Blake and stand in admiration at the feet of Charles Goodyear, Jr. To the extent that when you wear your perfectly adequate suede double-strap monks whose misfortune is a light Blake welting, you want to apologize to people in the street, who couldn’t care less, of course.
It goes without saying that you manage to show an inch-or-so of shirt sleeve peeking out from your jacket sleeve. But now, working buttons are the least you expect from your jacket sleeves. What scorn you have for those inadequate sleeves.
And the jacket shoulders…simply appearing ‘clean’ doesn’t cut it and being beautiful is hardly enough. You want NEA-PO-LI-TAN. You crave the shirring, the soft shirt-like envelopment of your rounded extremities. Anything else is too common, shoddy, conservative. Whatever.
First, he began going on specialized forums on the Internet, reading blogs… Then he changed the way he dressed and met only people like him. Actually, his friends say they don’t recognize him. He only eats pasta (all’arrabiata like in Napoli he says), and strikes a pose 5 times a day in the direction of Florence. Experts consider Maurice (who now wants to be called Maurizio) is a very rare case of sartorial online self-radicalization.
As you progress in your wardrobe, defects are all too obvious. And numerous. Anything not made by hand makes you slightly sad. Anything not made in France, Italy, Savile Row or Northampton becomes suspicious.
You see the next step coming— looming large is a hankering for vintage. Not exactly-as-in-the-past vintage, no, no, no. What you desire is worn-by-someone-else-60-bleeding-years-ago-vintage. You know the first piece must be a dinner jacket (and of course those gigantic high-waist trousers which will need to be altered).
Your despondency is reaching critical mass. You’ve become knowledgeable in fields that most people have no idea even exist. If you try and vent your opinions [about your jacket vents, for instance], others exchange sideways glances and stare with mouths agape.
You’ve changed. That former spark in your eyes is gone, replaced by a manic fire.
Gentlemen, as this is your last day of sartorial rehab, you’re ready for the ultimate test: you’re going to spend all the day outside the rehab center … without any pocket square !
Are you a snob? A luxury-addict? Worse. You’ve become a slave to the pursuit of perfection. You know your ailment exists—and you can’t go back.
Even your casual days have become demanding. Selvedge raw denim! That Irish linen shirt you’ve had a hankering for since you laid eyes on it!
Then comes the shock: you need a holiday from dressing. Or perhaps a holiday from yourself. Go naked, young man! You thought it couldn’t happen to you—not with your sharp, rational and analytical mind.
With shaking hands, you scroll down rows of madly-patterned jackets and leaf through countless swatches of fabric bunches, as if you just laid your hands on a volume of La Pléiade for the first time, and you click away on dozens of blogs which feed your addiction.
Suddenly the weight of cotton is something important. It’s become an uncontrollable urge that defines you. You nod in approval as B.B. King belts ‘It’s not a good life, but it’s my life’.
Sure, falling was painful. But believe me, the pain was nothing compared to what I felt when the surgeon began cutting my bespoke jacket’s sleeve to operate!
You’re not the good-for-the-madhouse kind-of-crazy, but simply the obsessive-about-fabric yarns-and tie folds-and-trouser turn-ups kind-of-crazy.
In other words, you’ve now entered the world of Sartorial Obsessive Syndrome, or S.O.S.
Welcome home, gentlemen.
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Opening photo : RickyCarlo Instagram
Illustrations : http://croquissartoriaux.tumblr.com
John Slamson Tumblr