A vintage belt buckle from the 30s in sterling silver–found at a flea market. They can still be found, on eBay too, and are terribly elegant. I had this one plated in rose gold some 15 years ago–the leather belt was bought separately in 1992. And, yes, I think Bills makes the best Khakis…
Eyeglasses, or at least well-made and stylish ones, are extremely expensive these days. Plenty of designers offer good styles, but I prefer to get my glasses on eBay. They can be American or French made; vintage new old stock, and although buying a pair like this can be hit or miss once you receive them and try them on, they’re inexpensive enough to make it worthwhile. Virtually any style is available, but I particularly like American Optical…and fifties French frames.
An old solid wrench, bought for a couple of dollars at a flea market, is useful as a wrench for an entire lifetime, but also as a paperweight (if you still have any paper). A vintage folding Stanley ruler, also costing only a few dollars, does a lifetime job, if you still have anything physical to measure; and an elegant old ivory bookmark works perfectly, if you still have any books to read. A bridle leather box, this one an early Bill Amberg, is the way to store notes and letters. If you still have friends who send you any, that is.
For some reason Black Tie invitations today seem to mean that one can wear anything approximating black, or anything approximating a tie. (The tie means bow tie, by the way, not a black necktie.) It’s a shame, really, and the parade of celebrities wearing atrociously ugly versions of tuxedos at award ceremonies serves to only encourage men to take liberties with their dress that they shouldn’t. Of course certain liberties can show a sense of style, even whimsy, without offending the sensibilities of the style police.
My father’s tux, which I’ve inherited, is an early 1970′s Aquascutum, but the style is as fresh today as it was forty years ago (well, my father was pretty conservative in his dress, which meant his suits could outlast most trends). A single button peak lapel jacket and straight leg, no pleats trousers, is pretty straightforward, except the fabric has a black-on-black paisley pattern, almost invisible until either light shines on it, or you get really close. The paisley is a classically Persian design—and my father was happy to advertise his heritage, however subtly. And yes, it comes with a cummerbund, which just happens to be the Persian word for belt.
Denim is the unofficial uniform of men the world over, and has, fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, even penetrated the once-stuffy white collar workplace. Good denim, the kind you pay well over a hundred dollars for such as Levis Vintage Clothing, will eventually be in need of repair, unless you refuse to ever wash a pair of jeans, in which case social intercourse may be an alien concept to you.
I buy my jeans unwashed and “raw”, but do not hesitate to wash them regularly, which means that even the sturdy denim Levis uses for its jeans made in the USA will eventually need holes and tears mended.
Kill Devil Hill, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, does about as good a job as I’ve seen anywhere. I ask that they use a soft khaki fabric on the inside of the jean where it touches the skin. And the repair is invisible on the outside.