It seems that there are fewer occasions these days to wear a white shirt outside of the office.
This is principally due to what Malcolm Gladwell calls a “tipping point”: essentially there arrived a moment when enough people simply opted not to wear a white shirt out, say to a music recital or to dinner at a fancy restaurant.
The result? Today one wonders, in increasing diverse situations where previously it was automatically the dress code, whether a white shirt is overdoing it.
This is to be regretted, if only from an aesthetic point of view, as white serves as an ideal background. It’s basically invisible: attention is instead drawn to your necktie or bow tie.
To avoid the “too formal?” conundrum, it’s advisable to avoid anything that looks corporate. That means wearing off white, or alternatively wearing white but with texture, for example the subtle seersucker in the above photo.
Neckties and bow ties are wonderful accessories: facilitate their appearance in your outfit with an unnoticed background, without looking as though you’re about to drop into work.
Our navy birdseye bow tie, available now on our website zutiste.com.
It sits among our more formal bow ties due to the relatively ‘hard’ hand of the wool. Thus it’s classy without being shiny, and classic without being dull—thanks to the modern spring-in-its-step of the birdseye weave.
From ‘Gentleman’ (2010). Bernhard Roeztel on that handsome & uncomfortable siren of summer, the straw boater.
The black band is rather sober, however you need to keep in mind that a century ago black was the universal colour of businesswear and the circular saw was habitually worn with a suit of that colour.
Today such a hat might carry rather a charcoal or navy band. Unlike a panama though, a genuine ‘Strat’ is heavy, rigid & grates on the scalp. Best worn with an excellent sense of balance & a padded inner headband.
We saw this style of photo for the first time of a pair of boots hanging from their laces: upside down but obviously, gravity being gravity, not in fact upside down. Here an unusually clear Paris winter sky gave us a direction-neutral background. Perhaps this is what a pilot doing barrel rolls might see were he to undo his bow tie?
Nous avons vu ce style de photo pour la première fois avec un pair de bottillons suspendu par les lacets. Ils ont l’air être à l’envers mais bien évidement, vu la force de gravité, ils ne l’ont pas. Ici un ciel parisien qui n’est pas clair d’habitude nous donne un fond sans indication de l’orientation spatial. Peut-être que c’est cela qu’un pilote verrait s’il dénouerait son nœud papillon en mêle temps de faire un tonneau ?
In 2016 Zutiste participated in the first Salon des créateurs de swing, or Swing Designers Show, à l’Arrière Cour in Paris. Accompanying the exploding dance scene in Europe are artisans & enterprises manufacturing bow ties (us!), clothing, & footwear (@swivells.shoes).
En 2016, Zutiste à assisté au premier salon des créateurs de swing à l’Arrière Cour à Paris. À côté du scene de danse qui connaît une croissance exponentielle en Europe sont des artisans et fabricants des nœuds papillons (nous!), vêtements et chaussures.
At the gravitational centre of the parallel universes of dancing and dressing are one’s shoes. They are practically essential for the former; the sartorial fifth dimension similarly collapses without genuine footwear. I’m referring here to what could be called ‘classic’ footwear. It’s usually leather, goes well with a sports coat, requires polishing and all that. The fourth dimension, by the way, is time.
Integral to taking an interest in style is maintaining the minutiae of one’s appearance: an ironed shirt, polished shoes… and erect socks.
Socks count among the usually invisible elements of the well-dressed formula. Crumpled around the ankles or in whichever state, socks are unlikely to be noticed unless your legs are crossed, and the fabric is particularly bright in colour, or a photograph captures you in an acrobatic dance move. Introducing refinement to the conversation, a glance to the past and to classic dressing will reward the curious with an effortless and elegant means of displaying an ankle pleasingly and evenly covered by hosiery.
Trousers present two significant conundrums for dancers: they slip down, and shirts untuck from them.
Much of this impracticality is attributable to ill-fit. A bespoke shirt that fits properly will remain tucked while trousers that rest above the waist will remain up. Universally-sized, ready to wear shirts cannot accommodate an individual’s upper arm lifting without pulling the shirt’s body with it.
Someone recently sought my advice on where to buy trousers for dancing (or pants, in American English). Reflecting on this question I realised that there are, for the curious, numerous angles to consider: style, fabric, manufacturer, historical context, and dance suitability. That which follows is my (entirely unqualified) views and advice on trousers for dancing.