Outfit of the Day – July 2

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Tuesday’s Outfit – a white cotton button-down shirt with Herringbone weave, silk hand-painted neck tie with peacock motif, black and yellow micro-check 3 x 6 cotton waistcoat, black silk jacket and a oxblood silk pocketsquare.

 

Outfit of the Day – June 21

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Friday’s outfit – a white cotton button-down shirt with button-down collar, silk oxblood ascot, double-breasted linen waistcoat with peaked lapels in khaki check, tan silk jacket with large check and an azure silk pocketsquare.

 

Kingpin’s Lady Pins – Inaugural Pin Up Pastel Supernova as Carmen

Burlesque Dancer Pastel Supernova as Carmen in Vargas Style Pin Up

“They say they’re rolled on the thighs of virgins but I can assure you that isn’t true.”

Burlesque dancer Pastel Supernova as Carmen in Vargas Style Pin Up.

Welcome to the first in a continuing series of Vargas inspired pin ups produced by Kingpin’s Hideaway. Pastel Supernova graces us with her rendition of the wild and cigar-smoking Carmen. She also has on display a gorgeous silk crêpe piano shawl in deep royal purple with a wide border of silk velvet.

The piano shawl was made by the defunct J.H. & C.K. Silk Mill of Shamokin, Pennsylvania, pre-1930 and features an early Art Nouveau batik.

This series is built on the structure of the Vargas Pin Up crafted by Peruvian artist Alberto Vargas.  Vargas developed his distinct style throughout the 20th century with his work for film posters and Esquire and Playboy magazines.
Pastel was photographed on location at Kingpin’s Hideaway by Jennifer Toole.

 

Handkerchiefs 101 – The Pocket Square

The Pocket Square - A Gentleman's Essential

The Pocket Square - A Gentleman's Essential

Most likely invented by Richard II, the last Plantagenet King of England, the handkerchief has become one of the ‘must haves’ for any fully dressed gentleman. Also called a pocket square, the handkerchief started as a small, thin piece of cloth hemmed at the edges and carried on the person to use for all many of personal needs. They are typically made from natural fibres like cotton, linen and silk, as these fabrics are gentle on the nose and cheek. I can only imagine the trouble you’d get into with an scratchy and non-absorbent wool pocket square, or a ticklish fuzzy Angora pocket square!

Being fully dressed with a pocket square

Being fully dressed with a pocket square

The pocket square evolved from the handkerchief keep in a sleeve or trouser pocket in the 18th century to the smaller pocket square kept in a man’s jacket pocket at the beginning of the 20th century. It wasn’t long before they also became part of a gentleman’s fashion statement as well. Edward VIII demonstrates the ability for the pocket square to add both polish and ease to an outfit (Note the Jacquard on the pocket square does not match his tie!) :

Edward VIII Sporting a Silk Pocket Square

Edward VIII Sporting a Silk Pocket Square

The pocket square is an accessory for a multitude of looks for the active gentleman. I’ve provided a few examples of how this works to create either a serious or jaunty presence:

Business Pocket Square

Mad Men Roger and Don are all business with their pocket squares

Mad Men Roger and Don are all business with their pocket squares

Jaunty Pocket Square

Fred Astaire uses his pocket square to look jaunty

Fred Astaire uses his pocket square to look jaunty

Sexy Pocket Square

Ryan Gosling sports a pocket square to up his sexy quotient
Ryan Gosling sports a pocket square to up his sexy quotient

Don’t F*ck with Me Pocket Square

 Winston Churchill sets his 'Don't f*ck with me' look with the casual use of a plain pocket square

Winston Churchill sets his 'Don't f*ck with me' look with the casual use of a plain pocket square

Suave Pocket Square

Gary Cooper does suave with a pocket square

Gary Cooper does suave with a pocket square

Formal Pocket Square

Humphrey Bogart styles a formal portrait with a pocket square

Humphrey Bogart styles formal with a pocket square

The choice of pocket square decoration, textile and fold provides a wide spectrum of styles to an outfit. More on that soon! The most important aspect of a pocket square for a gentleman is to insure you do not veer into foppishness when wearing one. The key is to put utility before all else. Keep in mind that the pocket square is functional beyond looking pretty and you’ll avoid the decorative trap.

Gentlemen’s Cravats – The Bow Tie: A Brief History

The Pink Bow Tie from Thomas Pink

The Pink Bow Tie from Thomas Pink

The innovation of the cravat allowed for it to develop into several variations of gentlemens neck ties that became distinct types of cravats over time. One of the most familiar is the bow tie. This stylized cravat has come to define a gentleman in every aspect and is, perhaps, the single piece of apparel that defines a gentleman in every situation. Whether in use, or not, the bow tie communicates the situation a gentleman finds himself in (say British super-spy James Bond), whether tied,

Sean Connery as James Bond - Bow Tie Tied

Sean Connery as James Bond - Tied Bow Tie and Ready For Action

or untied,

Daniel Craig as James Bond - Untied Bow Tie

Daniel Craig as James Bond - Untied Bow Tie and Ready For Action

By simply undoing his bow tie a secret agent can let us know so many things. And while these gents look great keep in mind they are professional killers! Imagine what the bow tie can do for the average gentleman.

The well-dressed gentleman has been associated with the bow tie through the modern age. They have instilled confidence in our leaders, from Benjamin Disraeli to Winston Churchill in Great Britain,

Benjamin Disraeli in a Bow Tie and Looking Dandy

Benjamin Disraeli in a Bow Tie and Looking Dandy

Winston Churchill Beat Hitler (Yes, THAT Hitler) in a Bow Tie

Winston Churchill Beat Hitler (Yes, THAT Hitler) in a Bow Tie

to the United States, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt rocked a bow tie into the White House,

Lincoln - Republican Dandy in a Bow Tie

Lincoln - Republican Dandy in a Bow Tie

Roosevelt - Democrat Dandy in a Bow Tie

Roosevelt - Democrat Dandy in a Bow Tie

and of course one could go on and on with men of distinction who donned the bow tie with great effect. We shall leave that topic for another delightful time.

Historically the bow tie settled into the gentleman’s wardrobe in the late Victorian era. The above examples of Disraeli and Lincoln demonstrate some of the earliest forms of bow ties. You can see the connection to the earlier cravats and where the bow tie is about to emerge.

And thank goodness it did! The bow tie has become the pinnacle of fashion for the neck. The gentleman both wears the bow tie in the most formal setting as well as being the pride of the Dandy. They come in silk for the elegant touch and they come in cotton for common touch. Andre Benjamin, help me out here. First, show me the sophisticated formality of the bow tie:

Andre Benjamin Demonstrates the Formal Cool of the Bow TIe

Andre Benjamin Demonstrates the Formal Cool of the Bow TIe

Great! Now, how about the steamy swingin’ look?

Andre Benjamin Demonstrates the Swingin' Heat of the Bow TIe

Andre Benjamin Demonstrates the Swingin' Heat of the Bow TIe

Thank-you, and fabulous use of the straw hat!

Still in doubt about the awesomeness that is the simple bow tie? I refer you to this image of how regal the bow tie makes the gentleman look in the past and present:

Edwardian Gentleman with Bow Tie and Top Hat

Edwardian Gentleman with Bow Tie and Top Hat

from the dignity the bow tie bestows on the Edwardian gentleman to the suave mantle of ultimate cool for Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra in Bow Ties and Delicate Mayhem

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra in Bow Ties and Delicate Mayhem

Should there still be any foolish debate left, I present how the bow tie works equally well with decorating the female sex with sexy elegance,

Josephine Baker in White Bow Tie Looking Delicious

Josephine Baker in White Bow Tie Looking Delicious

Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton and Leah Renee as Playboy Club Bunny Hostesses

Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton and Leah Renee as Playboy Club Bunny Hostesses

And they even work their magic untied on the opposite sex, perhaps even better than when on a gentleman,

Kate Moss Looking Sexy with an Untied Bow Tie

Kate Moss Looking Sexy with an Untied Bow Tie

Thank-you Kate Moss (and I still need that tie back. Seriously.).

There you have a brief introduction to the bow tie and why you should start wearing them. Stay tuned for instructions on how to tie your own…