I bought a suit last year because I was inspired by one of my favorite authors, Gay Talese, and his suit-only style philosophy. He grew up with a father who was a tailor and a mother who was a dressmaker. From an early age he was always dressed to the nines, and appreciated craftsmanship and construction when it came to clothing. I thought I'd give the suit look a whirl and really loved how I felt in a two piece, going about my day in the city. I've styled it pretty casually here, but a suit is so versatile that I imagine wearing it at least a hundred different ways. Recently I found an article Talese wrote for GQ Magazine on personal style. Below are some of my favorite snippets from the piece.
"I was a teenager before I bought anything for myself. Prior to that, my father made all my clothes. He made suits and coats for me from the time I was a schoolboy, and one of my conflicts with my fellow students was that I dressed so differently than they. They thought I was conceited, arrogant, a show-off. Actually I wasn't, but I didn't know how to cope with this distinction until I started writing for my school newspaper. As a reporter who reported on my fellow students, and wrote about them favorably, they began to like me, and to accept the fact that I dressed so differently than they did, wearing suits and ties while they wore what was essentially the clothing of the working class children one associates with industrial towns and coalmining communities."
Here I am waiting on the subway platform in Brooklyn where the J train takes me over the Williamsburg bridge into the Lower East Side. Some days the view from the bridge is foggy and reminds me of home in the San Francisco Bay. Other days the air is clear and the city skyline rushes forward as the train ducks back underground before doors open at Essex Street.
"Buy the best you can even if you can't afford it. I learned early, being the son of a remarkably prideful tailor, that one cannot put a price on quality. You buy quality and don't worry about the price tag pinned to the garment."
The rest of the article is worth the read. If you don't know Talese as an author I highly suggest you check out The Gay Talese Reader: Portraits and Encounters. It's a collection of pieces Talese wrote for varying publications, some of my favorites being: New York Is A City of Things Unnoticed, Walking My Cigar, and Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.
Photographed by Derek Welte