Essential Cool - Part Four: Clothes

Can black ever be uncool? I doubt it. Even a black tank top has attitude. The number one rule, of course, is to take time with clothes and what you wear, but to make the result look effortless. good Jeans, T-Shirts, cashmere sweaters and Bass Weejuns or Desert Boots, are as cool as need be. Timberlands or non-descript brown boat shoes, (the kind I wear, day in, day out), don't make it.(As Frank Zappa would say).

Good shirts maketh man. You can spot a good shirt a mile away. It can be worn in almost any situation without fear of embarrassment. If you have never felt the crisp efficiency of two-fold cotton poplin, or sea-island cotton, of a Jermyn Street shirt, you must, before you die. These days, I have two suits. I wear neither, except to weddings and funerals: a light grey DB and a dark navy SB. I am not convinced it is cool to wear a suit with anything other than a tie, a good shirt and a pair of black Oxford lace-ups. Do you really want to look as if you are going to a Miami Vice revival show?

No Cool's wardrobe is complete without a leather jacket, black of course. Make sure it is not one that looks like it has been worn by Peter Sutcliffe. I find the Maquis look works for me, which I sometimes underpin with a black french beret. (you have to be there - some can get away with this, others not.) As for thickness of leather, it should be able to withstand a slug from a Walther PPK at short range, especially if you are meeting Earnest Hemingway in a bar.

Jeans are de rigueur for the cool clothes-horse. Black cords can be worn instead if you are going somewhere that has an ideological aversion to indigo.

And now the rub. It is not possible to look cool in the British climate. Cools can only really look uber cool in California or Southern Europe. In Britain, we have to wear too many clothes for most of the year, so tend to look like Nanook of Nantwich.


1 Black is cool.
2 Unless you are an athlete, wearing anything to do with sports, is about as uncool as you can get. Leave jogging pants to the chavs on the estate.
3 Never wear anything with a designer label on it. You are a dick if you do this. Sorry, no compromise there. Quality and style does not need to spell itself out.
4 For God's sake, change your sock collection once in a while. Why bother with the rest if it looks as if you have borrowed your socks from a bloke who sits by the subway entrance with a dog on a bit of string?


Jim Baxter said...

I have six black heavy-leather jackets in various stages of decay. All have proper lapels which are robust enough to support my considerable weight should some 6'4" goon with whom I have had a frank exchange of views decide to lift me by them, thinking himself very superior, forgettting that this procedure brings the bridge of his nose nicely into line with my forehead.

My wolf black biker jacket is free of any shiny adornments and of the execrable 'epaulettes' sopted y some. Even the zip is black. All true bikers will know what I mean when I say that it is heavy enough to be caravan-proof. For the benefit of non-bikers, tourists are in the habit of stopping their revolting cars, with their even more revolting mobile hovels attached, just round a blind bend to admire the view. 'Int it loovlah. Eeh, what were that noise fromt caravan, did tha ear summat ahr Jess?'

Dave said...

1. Black is cool- except on a really hot sunny day.
2. Agreed.
3. Doubly agreed, esp the fake sports brands sold in Sports Direct
4. All my socks are black. Sometimes one is longer in the leg than the other.

I have never ever been accused of being a fashion victim. I'm never in nor out of style.
I'm not cool, just oblivious to it all