@aquisces-arts wanted to see what the suitors would look like in modern clothes, so I did my best conceptualizing what each would wear and why.
Let’s start with King Byron:
Byron dresses very monochromatically– wearing different shades of black head to toe, and choosing gold accents that catch the light.
If you look at his hair, you can see that his wisps are very controlled. Even his cowlick is styled neatly. He would probably use a light pomade. The details on the jeans give texture without distraction, like his black casual shirt in the game.
The gold zipper on the knees also satisfies his love of gold hardware. If you notice, Byron does not wear jewelry aside from his earring, which he shares with Nico, so I think a planetary key chain would be a good choice for him, as it combines his star-gazing hobby with an outlet for an accessory.
Of course, a Rolex is a must, and I think he would always give himself a chaste spritz of cologne before stepping out of the door. This scent is unisex and has a dry-down that smells of vanilla, woods and leather.
I don’t think he would shy away from stylish shoes– he may even be a subtle trend-setter. Because Byron can hold his liquor with the best of them, and because he doesn’t tend to let himself get too casual out in the open, I thought martini glass novelty socks would be a fun twist. It would be his own little secret. While it may not be that wild of a thing for the rest of us, considering Byron’s aloof personality, he may feel that it really is daring indeed.
“I stopped shopping retail years ago, so thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales have largely shaped my personal style. I like for my looks to always have a playful twist, for them to be on the verge of ridiculous and costumey, but not quite there. I love dressing monochromatically and as of late cannot stop wearing all red. Here I’m wearing a thrifted kilt-like skirt paired with vintage booties I got at a vintage expo in LA, a faux-fur trim coat I found years ago at a thrift store in San Diego, and of course, my matching red wool hat and red sunglasses.”
Summary: She really hated the guy, his stupid smirk, and flirty attitude was an annoyance at work. Outside of work though, matters were different.
(Y/N): So many of you wanted this Jesus Christ. I don’t really question why but I mean it definitely got me thinking of possibilities with this one. So I guess I’m back to quench your thirsts. I hope you enjoy!
“This is going to be a lot of fun.” Yuta announced brightly, sitting back on the chair. She turned to him confused.
“An old client of our’s has been arrested in a foreign land. Which is the fun part here?”
“We’ll need what, two days to work out his mess? The rest of the week is ours.” He leaned in and winked.
“Do you think ensuring someone doesn’t end up in a foreign prison is easy? He’s been accused of insulting a prostitute, I didn’t know he could get any worse than he already was.” She huffed out in annoyance. The old man was a sleazy pervert and she wasn’t enjoying the idea of bailing him out from anywhere.
“We’ll just pay them.” He said while cutting into his food.
“That’s offensive to everyone involved.” She laughed incredulously. He just shrugged at put a shrimp in his mouth.
“I don’t care, I want my vacation. He’s rich and guilty, at least the poor girl will make some money off this,” He raised his glass waiting for her to do the same, when she didn’t he only shrugged again and took a sip. “And so will we. We can bill him for the whole week.” He said causing her to choke on her drink.
“That’s a lot.” She said a little surprised.
“Consider it the price for your conscience.” He finished his drink as their flight was called.
After the flight finally took off, she got busy with reading the relevant laws of the country they were currently off to to find a solution. When Yuta realised this he sighed.
“Don’t bother, laws for prostitutes are very strict in this country, paying her to drop the case is the only way. Tourism is one of their largest income, if this story goes public a lot of people might be scared off for a while, putting a large dent in their economy.” Even with her disapproval of his methods, she was mildly impressed at his research.
“If it goes public?” She raised her brow and he grinned. She sighed at sat back.
“Fine whatever, as long as we are done with this as soon as possible.” She sipped on the wine they gave as a welcome drink.
“I don’t get the appeal of wine.” Yuta announced as she turned to him with an offended expression before it subsided into one of bemusement.
“It’s not for everyone.” She said simply, taking another sip.
“What I mean is, it costs hundreds of dollars and for some imaginary flavours. What even is a tanin?” He laughed shamelessly at his own sad attempt of a joke.
“I’ve seen you spend half your wallet on a glass of scotch.” She said with a sigh.
“That’s not the same thing,” He said with a patronising tone. “Scotch has something to show for it’s price, It’s much smoother.
“Wine prices depend on where it’s from, a good province gives wine with very complex flavours.” She explained.
“All I taste is booze.” He shrugged.
“That’s because you’re about as cultured as a herring.” She deadpanned making him laugh at the very random comparison.
After a meal, and a joint decision to make each other like the other’s choice of alcohol, they were both sufficiently drunk and tired, neither more accepting of the other’s preferences than when they started.
She faced away from him, curling up to sleep through the rest of the flight. Yuta turned to her and pouted to himself, he wasn’t tired.
“Hey.” He whispered in her ear and she only hummed in response, “Are you sleeping?” He asked stupidly.
“What does it look like Nakamoto?” Her voice was a sleepy groan. He chuckled so close to her ears that she shivered.
“But I’m bored.” He whined and she just sighed and ignored him. After sitting back for a few more minutes he got restless again and turned back, whining her name in her ears, only partially enjoying how she shivered again.
“I know you’re awake come on.” He whined.
“What do you want?” She spat out annoyed of being deprived of sleep, he smirked at her, and it left her both confused and curious. He slipped his hand into his blanket and then into hers making her eyes shoot open.
“Yuta!” She whispered urgently, “What are you doing?”
“What? You’re so cold so I’m just keeping you warm.” His hand landed on her thigh. When she tried to push it away he only gripped on tighter.
“You are such a nuisance.” She chastised but his smirk only grew as he pushed his hand higher, her protests getting weaker.
His hand reached the band of her tights, as he got slower with his persecution. She shifted in an almost unconscious attempt to give him access but it only made him grow more smug. He slowly slipped his hand into her tights, relishing the idea of her growing impatient but being unable to show it amongst all the other sleeping people. He traced circles inside her thigh, keeping up his maddening rhythm for so long that she let out a whine before she could stop herself, slapping her hand over her mouth and thanking the seat distance business class provided. He sniggered to himself, knowing she would be too proud to say anything but seeing how far he could take it. He watched as she raised her blanket to cover her face, he stopped and drew his hand out. She pulled her blanket down and stared at him while she took shallow breaths, confused.
“It’s no fun if I can’t see your face.” He shrugged, her features turned rigid.
“I hate you.” She whispered with pure betrayal in her voice and turned away. He smiled, finally tired enough to sleep.
They were woken up for breakfast by a flight attendant and the next few hours were spend watching Yuta flirt with the flight attendant incessantly. She decided to just do some work to have something better to do than watch his terrible misadventures. She reached into her bag and took out a file. Yuta turned to her after finishing what was his third conversation with the same attendant and sighed.
“Can you not stop working for a few hours? You know addiction to your work is also a real problem.” He put a hand on hers with mock sympathy. She pushed it away a little too harshly.
“Then what do you suggest I do with all this free time?” She raised her brow at him.
“I don’t know. Don’t you have any hobbies like most people?” She stared at him like he was speaking in ancient greek.
“In a flight? I’m sorry but my hobbies don’t include chatting up flight attendants.” She knew how it sounded the moment she said it and groaned when the expected smirk tugged at his lips.
“Are you jealous?” His eyes danced and she threw her pillow at him.
“Yes,” He looked shocked at her unexpected words. “Of all the people who don’t have to endure your terrible method of flirting.” His face fell before he smirked soon after.
“So it definitely isn’t my flirting that gets you so hot.” He said next to her ear, “I’d say it’s my fingers, but we couldn’t get to that part could we?” She really wanted to kick herself for how much his voice affected her right then, but she was damn well not going to show it. She turned to him, ignoring the proximity of his face to hers. This isn’t the first time he’s that close, don’t act like a teenager.
“When I ride you till I can’t feel my legs and,” She looked from his lips and straight into his eyes, as he sucked in a breathe, smiling, “when you don’t open that irritating mouth of yours.” She smirked this time, “That really gets me going.” She scoffed and sat back.
“Now, I’m not disrupting your rudimentary play time so leave me be.” She went back to her file while Yuta sat back, suddenly in need of a breath, or maybe a cold shower.
As Yuta had predicted, it took two days to sort everything. Once everything was settled, their client made a gracious offer to take them to dinner at an extremely exclusive restaurant.
“Yuta this is going to be too much. I mean I didn’t even bring something to wear to such an opulent place.” She said looking up from her laptop as he emerged from the shower.
“We could go shopping, we have the whole day.” He looked up at her while drying his hair with a towel, repressing a smirk when he noticed her stare at his exposed chest.
“Or we could stay in and you can just wear jeans to a michelin star restaurant.” He bend down and put his arms beside her, caging her in. She looked up at and gulped which didn’t help his dwindling resolve.
“I-uh.” She used all her will to look away from his face and how good it looked with wet hair, “I’ll go shower, I’ll met you outside my room in an hour.” She coughed and slinked off the bed somehow.
“Whatever pleases you.” She heard him say as she walked to the door.
This is the opposite of that.
To say she looked good in the green dress she got would be an understatement, saying she looked absolutely ravishing wouldn’t quite cut it either.
To put it simply, Yuta really loved the dress and he also loved the idea of slipping her out of it even more, which was a sudden but not necessarily unwelcome thought.
He stood outside her door, staring at her, already wishing for the dinner to be over
“Here.” She said handing him something, he looked down at her hand confused staring at the small silk cloth in her hand the same colour as her dress.
“It’s a pocket square, it was displayed beside the dress and I really liked it.” She mumbled, Yuta looked up unable to process this. Instead he took the small gift from her hand. The article, unlike her monochromatic dress, was intricately designed with white flowers and hummingbirds. He traced the patterns with his thumb.
“It’s beautiful.” He pulled out the small material already present in his breast pocket and throw it inside her room.
“Why are you throwing that around? It’s expensive.” She stared at his wide eyed. He just smiled, deciding not to say what was on this mind.
What do you think of the civilian clothes in Batman v Superman? Which ones were your favorites?
I’m so glad that this question was plural because there are SO MANY costume choices in this film that tore my soul directly from my body. I still wake up nights thinking about this stuff. I am more bisexual than ever thank you Zack.
My first favorite is due to a large bias toward Clark, I’ll admit, but I really really love what they did with Clark here. Traditionally, Clark blends well with the rest of the office in terms of clothes in a monochromatic dress button down and blazer, but sending Clark to the office in what’s basically a flannel with a tie on top is a stroke of genius. Look at him, he’s so out of place, he’s such a freaking dork. I will always bitch about the hair because curly haired Clark Kent would have been past perfection, but wardrobe did an amazing job here. How are these choices so flattering and atrocious at the same time? I love him as pictured above, jacket off, tie on, stuffy as hell, the nerd of my dreams.
Bless. Bless this goddamn dress. This dress has ruined my life for good. In the DCEU, Lois has a sort of “uniform” too, her dress shirt and vest combo with skirts of different lengths might as well be her superhero getup, and I love that look, it looks smart and right on her, and when Adams is acting her face off I’m honestly rarely even looking at her clothes; but this dress. Wow. It’s daring for the office, it’s sexy as hell while still looking comfortable and I’m literally never seeing anything else when she’s walking through the frame.
Everything that Diana wears is a hit, down to the leather jacket she wears while she’s getting on a plane. One of my favorite things they did with Diana in this film is firmly establish her as a woman of fashion. She takes risks with her wardrobe and feels confident in a variety of styles; she also always seems to have a sort of weapon incoporated into her outfits- metal collars, sharp earrings- to remind you that she’s formidable. This is such a cool way to put information on the screen. But in terms of personal preference, that last outfit, the white jacket wins for me. They really turned up the gay here, my girlfriend and I both did double takes and then adjusted our position. I’m not sure what it is, really,maybe it’s the repurposed men’s wear, the shoulders, or the necklace that looks like weaponry, but if anything in this film is the queer female gaze it’s this outfit.
So we all know Bruce entered the film like this, cute frazzled heroic Bruce Wayne as hell, and this is the point where most of us were like “BATMAN’S HERE,” and some of us were like, “FATHER,” but I want to propose another frontrunner:
This outfit goddamn changed me. Like the words “sugar daddy” have never really meant anything to me before but he walks on screen in this luscious goddamn vest and suddenly I’m Lana Del Rey laying on top of the batmobile pouring champagne in my cleavage. Like, damn. I don’t want to get it, batdaddy fandom, but I gotta say, I GET it. I am TORN up about how hot I am for this wardrobe. These shirts are so soft, so well-tailored, so extravagantly Bruce Wayne. Obviously he’s Bruce Wayne and this is all in character, but consider that we’ve never REALLY seen him get dolled up like this before. Consider the fact that a lot of these decisions are being made presumably with people who are attracted to men in mind.
So there’s a very long answer through a very queer lense. I don’t know if you were looking for a thirst post, anon, but that’s what you got.
The denomination of “regional” clothing is based in the notion of diversity according to social and geographic conditions, and other elements such as materials and practices, in way it contributes the comprehension of these specific types of clothing.
They are officiating clothes, linked to specific days or events and intractably connected to the idea of celebration. They bear a symbolism that walks hand-in-hand with religious practices, reflecting the culture of said region in a combination of elements that become easily distinguished between regions.
These costumes present themselves as a mythos, or a profound mythology, with its relation to a praxis connected to Catholicism. But they bear roots from the immense diversity of Portuguese history, from Muslim art forms that survived, and strived, through centuries, to ancient beliefs or superstitions, rooted in ancient pre-roman cultures, still alive today in many villages. They can be divided (1) in two great zones based on its polychromatic characteristics: as we get closer to the sea, women «enhance its polychromatic characteristics and complicate their clothing», as opposed to serranas, women from the ridges of the interior, that bear a more monochromatic way of dressing. This is evidenced through the wearing of the scarf, connected to the role of women in society: in serrana societies, of the interior, or the hillside of the country, women cover their forehead, whereas the coastline and south regions, where the sea is in direct relation toin the way of living, the forehead is released, evidencing more liberties of the role of women in its society.
Traditional costumes from Serra da Estrela, a type of serrana.
Costumes for romaria, male and female, from Póvoa de Vazim, a fishing town.
Five great elements can be pointed in Portuguese costuming overall (2):
1. The representation of affection, often a symbol crafted in some decorative element of the costume or adornment to be worn with the costume itself3. This affection doesn’t limit to representations of love, but also of grief in a much demarcated tradition of mourning, rooted in catholic liturgy (4).
A lovers’ handkerchief, or lenço dos namorados.
2) The proliferation of the usage of gold. Two elements play a part here, the first considering the financial security gold represented for lower-class people, since it could be pawned in a more desperate situation. It also secured the gold-bearer, usually the women being the most ostentatious ones, as the matron of the household, in a competitive spirit between neighbors. The usage of gold is so popular and traditional it maintains today, despite social class. The second element is of an intricate catholic inheritance, which we can trace back to the baroque era: the need to “distort” the body, which is to eliminate the sensual curves of the female body. As in the Iberian fashion of the 17th century women (5) found heavy gold and jewel decoration to cover parts of the body usually defined as sensual, such as the chest, this tradition passed on to popular costuming. A fine example of this gold usage is the minhota costume, where a certain “iconography” reads in a certain symbolism that traces back to the rocaille, particularly to queen D. Maria I, whose promise of raising a basilica if she bore a baron to the kingdom, resulted in Basílica da Estrela, a church to Sagrado Coração de Jesus, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a symbol today popularized in minhota golden earrings with an asymmetrical heart. Many of these golden adornments can be traced back to interpretations or direct importations of jewelry wore by queens for different periods.
Example of heart-shaped arrecadas. Arrecadas are known of a few dominant shapes, mainly in gold (silver became popular only later, in a touristic fashion), of which the most beautiful in craft and better known are the Brincos à Rainha, the queen-style earrings.
3) Preference for linen and wool. Both materials are a strong symbol of a working class people, who both seek the best materials to guard them from the cold and find more accessible. Although silk was popular to a degree, it prevailed in nobility and aristocracy.
Two examples of a minhota costume: on the left, a bride and groom; on the right, a lavadeira (washerwoman). Notice the heavy gold wore by the bride on her chest.
4) The afore mentioned chromatic division between coastline and interior. While the colorful costuming of coastline societies reflected the festive spirit, the darker colors of the men and women living in the ridges translated the hardship of the work and lifestyle, as well the colder and aggravated climate.
A nazarene widdow costume, with the embuçada, the mourning veil.
5) Religiousness in costume ornamentation. Conceived mostly in accordance to the liturgical calendar, in a society where there is a saint for every day of the week and where birth, baptism, marriage and death were the most important moments of someone’s life, competition was vivid in festive costumes. During romaria (6), one dressed themselves to be seen.
The study of these costuming have only recently been more focused on from a scientific and anthropologic perspective. Through the eye romanticism, from Almeida Garret’s Viagens na Minha Terra (7) to the first naturalist and realist painter’s perspective, these costumes appear as a nationalistic embodiment of a people that withdraws its original intentions and usages from their context and gives them new ones. With the New Estate and the dictatorship, they were held as the prime example of the true Portuguese soul. But despite their interpretations, with new eyes on their study, they are cherished in their uniqueness and beauty, within the context of their creation, which translates the diversity of a festive spirit that is very different from region to region.
(1) According to Luís Chaves. (2) As proposed by Madalena Brás Teixeira. (3) As an example, in Minho exists a great tradition of adding hearts to one’s costume, particularly of bride and groom, of which the better known are the heart-shaped arrecadas, or heavy golden earrings made of filigrana, as well as the lenços de namorados, or “lovers’ handkerchiefs”, a white handkerchief with love declarations written in colorful embroidery (notable for being written with spelling mistakes, since they were made by illiterate people). Some of these elements even represent a sexualized tone, such algibeira de minhota, the “minhota pocket”. (4) As the costumes typical from Nazaré are an example of. These mourning practices, taken with extreme seriousness, were common in fishing communities, where often the man of the household would travel for months for fishing and their house depended on such. As a demonstration of perpetual grief, the embuçadas appear in this region, a covering of the face up until the eyes, of evident Islamic influence. (5) An example of such is the portrait of Queen Catherine of Braganza’s mother, queen Luíza de Gusmán. It was predominant in both Spain and Portugal. (6) Romaria is a devotional procession to a church or parish. Time, however, gave the word a connotation of “religious festivity”. (7) Published in 1846, the book travels along the deep Portuguese regions such as Santarém, exploring with a romanticized eye the peoples and their costumes in a realist tone, as, similarly, Eça de Queiroz will later do.
For @adler-esque so sorry it’s late, dear. I hope you enjoy it, and I wish you a wonderful Christmas!
O’ Hare International Airport was one of the busiest airports in the world, and Christmas was the busiest time of the year, with hundreds of flights coming in and out of Chicago, and people frantically hurrying to and fro trying to get from point A to point B, rushing to make their connecting flights or complaining at the terminals.
Today was no different. The chic little cafe was especially crowded, with people waiting impatiently in line for ridiculously expensive, disappointingly bland coffee and a scone. Every table was occupied by people plugged into their phones waiting for their flights.
He cleared the security check with no problem, the only odd thing in his luggage being the long black cylinder in his guitar case and there was nothing deemed dangerous about it. He donned the black leather jacket that he had picked up in Prague specifically for this disguise.
It was hardly his typical attire, and it was slightly uncomfortable. A little restrictive especially around the shoulders, and he missed the mobility his Belstaff coat afforded him. Still, the leather jacket worked remarkably well for the struggling, pseudo-rebellious travelling musician he was currently pretending to be.
He strode through the terminal, ignoring the bustle of people around him. He took a seat across the cafe, set his guitar case down on the empty seat beside him, and took out his phone. Four rows behind him, a child wailed and a harried mother shushed it, but he ignored them, instead focusing on the cafe’s clientele.
She was sitting in one of the tables, her detached, languid stance fitting in well with the casually impatient attitude of the travelers waiting for their flights around her. She had a cup of coffee at her left elbow, a mobile at her right, and laid out in front of her was an organizer with little Post-It notes sticking out of the sides.
And she was also deliberately facing away from the terminal, so that all he could see of her was her back and a sliver of her reflection in the cafe’s mirrored walls.
He pretended to be absorbed in his mobile and typed out a “?” before sending it to a number he had long-ago memorized.
The mobile resting on the table in front of her chimed. She glanced at it off-handedly, then turned very slightly so that he could see her profile and the mischievous smile on her face. Without a word, she turned the mobile off and slipped it carelessly into her purse.
It was only to preserve his cover as brooding musician that he stopped the answering grin from spreading across his face.
She wanted to play.
He hid a small smile and leaned back, studying her as carefully as he could without being obvious. She was in disguise too, of course.
Tapping into the airport’s video feed would be only too easy for Mycroft if he got even the smallest hint that she was there. Not that he would, after all this was the Woman. But why make it easier for the elder Holmes?
Not that she was planning on making it easy for the younger Holmes either.
There was a reason why she had chosen to sit with her back to him. She wanted him at a disadvantage. He couldn’t see her directly, but she could see his reflection perfectly well on the cafe’s mirrored walls.
He examined her disguise, or at least the aspects of it that she had decided to reveal. She was dressed in a fashionable attire – not surprising, given her meticulous sense of style. But the ensemble she had on wasn’t the kind she usually favored.
Pastel colors, soft, flowing fabric, beads at her wrist : a stark contrast to the sharp, geometric, monochromatic dresses and the decadent form-fitting silk and lace he had previously seen her in… though admittedly he had not seen much of her wardrobe, her first appearance in her “battle dress” still being the image of her at the forefront of his mind palace…
A voice announcing the boarding of a flight at the next terminal thankfully brought him out of that particular train of thought and forced him to continue his observations.
His gaze went to a small tourist guide for Milan sticking out of the top of her purse. Milan and the outfit spoke of fashion, easily deduced. The neat little organizer with the sticky notes and the expensive pen beside it spoke of a professional. Anyone looking would probably see a young professional woman working in the fashion industry, probably a writer or a fashion editor or something similar, on her way to Milan for some stylish event.
But he wasn’t fool enough to believe that she was actually on her way to Milan. Not with her shoes. Besides, with the Woman, it was always best to look beyond the surface. But there was something about Milan or Italy…
She crossed her legs under the table and idly stirred her coffee with her left hand. To anyone else it would seem like a casual, meaningless gesture, but fifteen seconds in, a pattern began to emerge from her stirring.
She would stir counter-clockwise twice, then clockwise. Three seconds later, she would stir clockwise four times. Another three seconds, she would stir counter-clockwise three times. Another three seconds, three stirs clockwise. Then finally, one counter-clockwise stir. He took note of the pattern and tried to deduce it.
It was obviously a code with two components: clock-wise and counter clockwise stirs, even Anderson could have figured that out. But what did they signify? Binary code? No…
It took him two more repetitions to figure out that it was Morse code: clockwise stirs were for dots, counter clockwise for dashes.
She must have noticed that he had caught on because she stopped stirring suddenly and he almost missed the last letter in her message. She turned the cup deliberately so that its handle was pointing to the left.
As he watched, she idly lifted the spoon from the cup and tapped it casually against the rim of her cup so that the foam dripped off it. One, two, three taps.
He leaned back in a casual slump on his chair that gave him a good view of the left side of the bench he was sitting on. It was empty. He frowned before looking past the bench.
Not three chairs or three rows then. He looked beyond the area he was sitting in, and immediately realized what she meant.
Three terminals away, he spotted it and he cocked one eyebrow at her, pulling out his phone again and attaching a pair of earphones in. He plugged the buds into his ears, but he didn’t press play – that would deprive him of one of his senses, something he was reluctant to do in this setting – but it was enough to give the illusion of him listening to some music no one else could hear.
In keeping with his musician disguise, he began tapping out a rhythm to the imaginary music he was listening to. He tapped in Morse code as well, in response to her original message. He used his two index fingers and kept his pace quick, because she liked a challenge and he wanted to use her reverse view of his reflection on the cafe walls to his advantage.
Left index finger for dots, right for dashes. One right tap. Four left taps. One left, then a right. Another right tap. Three left taps. A five second pause, then another four left taps. Two left taps. Then finally, two right taps.
He glanced at her skeptically, which earned him a small glare in the cafe mirror’s reflection.
She didn’t answer, but brought the spoon to her lips under the pretext of cleaning the stray drops of coffee and foam from it. The sight of her licking the spoon clean pulled his focus from the man three terminals away, and he found his stare riveted on the Woman’s quick tongue catching a droplet of the caramel liquid from the spoon’s neck before spreading the moisture across her blood-red lips – the only feature of her usual make-up that she had kept, because she knew it would remind him of what she could do with those clever lips and that sinful tongue.
Minx. She was distracting him as punishment for questioning her.
He tore his gaze away and fixed it determinedly on the man three terminals away. The Ghost. Well, that was certainly not what he had expected.
According to a reliable source, the Ghost was one of Jim Moriarty’s most formidable henchmen, who had helped him build his web and was second only to Moran in his position in Jim’s esteem. This Ghost had been instrumental in creating the fake character that was Rich Brook and had falsified all the documents, the references that had so effectively convinced the enterprising Kitty Riley and her hungry reading public. This Ghost had even hacked into the MI5 archives to modify the information on Moriarty to fit the Richard Brook lie.
When he had pictured this formidable figure, he had certainly not expected him to be the skinny, pallid-looking young man with stringy hair whose shirt had a picture of a woman in a metallic gold bikini across his thin chest.
Still, appearances could be deceiving. Wasn’t he the perfect example? Wasn’t the Woman?
Speaking of whom…
He released his breath slowly as she deliberately moved her hair away from her neck under the pretext of fixing her left earring. This left the back of her neck completely exposed to him, and his fingers flexed reflexively, as if they were already running themselves across the smooth expanse of skin between the base of her head and the ridge of her spine.
As he watched, her fingers drifted from her neck to the spot behind her left ear, the little dip there that he was always determined to linger on because it was where her perfume was most concentrated, and whenever he inhaled deeply, her own breathing would hitch and her pulse would quicken beneath the thin translucent membrane of her skin…
He caught her wicked smile in the mirror and he knew she had accurately guessed his train of thought.
Suddenly he was on his feet, impatient to get this Ghost business over with. He quickly collected his bag and guitar case and strode with renewed determination through the terminal. Across the hall, she stood up from her seat on the cafe table and picked up her purse.
He was headed away from the terminal, back to the ticket booth to purchase a flight to Milan. She walked past him, presumably on her way to her own flight. As she did, her hand brushed his momentarily and for 0.03 seconds, her index finger hooked against his, her nail trailing along the inside of his finger as she let go, and he felt something small and thin slide into his pocket.
He didn’t look at her, nor did she look at him. No more than half a second of contact – and that would have to be enough.
At least, he thought as he looked down at the ticket to the opera at the Teatr Wielki that she had slipped into his pocket, until he got to his stop-over at Warsaw.
It’s been almost thirty years since Bruce Boyer published Elegance and Eminently Suitable. For a lot guys, including me, these are some of the best books on the topic of classic tailored clothing. Eminently Suitable covers the history of men’s dress and how to put on a coat and tie; Elegance is a collection of essays (mostly from Bruce’s time as the men’s fashion editor at Town & Country).
Bruce’s new book, True Style, is also a collection of essays, although this time taken from the hodgepodge of places he’s written for since he originally penned Elegance in 1985. Each chapter is dedicated to a topic – boots, denim, dressing gowns, suits, Italian style, sprezzatura, etc. There’s even a chapter on something Bruce calls “the shoe-hosiery-trouser nexus.” If that chapter is still up-to-date, we learn here that Bruce almost only wears brown suede shoes (he doesn’t own any black footwear, except for a pair of black velvet Albert slippers that he wears with dinner jackets. For him, black is too puritanical).
The book isn’t about Bruce’s clothing preferences, however, nor is it necessarily a guide on how to put on a coat and tie. Although, when reading through, you’ll pick up things here and there. In his chapter on business attire, he notes that he’s not interested in giving fashion advice about whether you should match your belt buckle to your cuff links (something he thinks falls into “technical advice”), but has found some broader lessons to be true. Under the section titled “Big Mistakes,” he writes:
1. Being too studied: everything all matched up makes the uniform obvious, overly fastidious, and blatantly narcissistic. Individuality should be in evidence, quietly.
2. Wearing too many accessories: like putting all the china on the table at the same time, it’s too busy and signals insecurity. Diana Vreeland wisely said that the key to style is refusal. This is particularly true today, when there is such a plethora of wares before our eyes.
3. Using too many patterns: like an overloaded electrical circuit, the outfit quickly burns out and calls attention to itself. This is not unlike camouflage, in which lines of objects are blurred in order to mislead our eyes away from distinctions we should be making.
4. Being too understated: blandness without indicated blandness within. Unless you’re incredibly handsome – as was Cary Grant, who made the low-keyed monochromatic approach to dress his signature – make a subtle, distinguishing gesture in your attire.
Granted, not ground-breaking information, but whereas other advice sometimes keeps guys looking too stiff and rule-bound, the above are general axioms always worth remembering.
Most of the book, however, is about Bruce’s observations on social history and clothing, how trends intersect with movies and popular culture, and how what we wear has evolved. In his chapter on boots, Bruce connects styles such as the engineer and work boot to the rise of working-class, rebel icons, such as Brando in The Wild One and Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Another chapter on the “English Country House Look” nicely encapsulates a certain, well-worn, Old Money style that we’ve all admired. The idea, he writes, is to “give the impression that strata of taste have been laid down over years by successive owners and its crowded incongruities are the result of collective history.” That means always favoring the old over the new, and never looking too prepared. “Obvious coordination is to be avoided at all cost,” he writes. “Ties, socks, and pocket squares should slightly clash at the very least. Wearing clothes from different genes – or different periods or occasions – is helpful. Town and country often meet in the truly assured.”
There are dozens of new titles every year on men’s clothing. About half of them are just rehashed press releases; the others give the kind of tips-and-tricks you see everywhere online and in magazines. Bruce’s work has always been worth reading because he’s one of the few authors who deal with genuinely classic style, but in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s just about rules. True Style is a great read for guys who find joy in clothing, but aren’t necessarily looking for an instruction manual on how to dress.