Cigar events and lifestyle: Clothes make the man

Cigar events/Lifestyle: The cool look

Behind every story there is a story. Some stories are dramatic, others just boring . This story is probably boring to some, maybe even to me.  Back in the early seventies , you got style points for wearing just about anything.

Clothing was mismatched , wearing stripes with spots, bell bottoms with massive leg openings. It was a sign of the times that you were hip and cool if you did not care what you looked like.

In 1972, I was 21 and my father was going to celebrate his sixty-fifth birthday with an all  out party at Rossoffs restaurant in Times Square. It was a tough year for him as he was recovering from a heart attack and his health was questionable.  We wanted to make the affair a good one which also meant I needed to buy a suit. Rossoff’s had a dress code which required that men needed to wear a suit for evening functions.

I did not own a suit which meant I needed to shop for the event. In my mind a traditional dark suit was out of the question so my mother and I went on a shopping exposition to a variety of department stores.  There were many stores at this time that were available in New York : Gertz, EJ Korvettes, May’s and others. The higher end stores were not going to make the shopping cut.

I hated shopping and pretty much still do but as a gesture of good will, went with my mom to the aforementioned stores. We traveled on the subway  to midtown Manhattan where each company had a store.

It did not take long to find what I wanted at the first place we looked. Gertz had a selection of suits that were made of a material that was considered very popular at the time. Acrylic was a cutting edge fabric that was made of chemicals that defied description . To this day , I have no idea what I was wearing. My eyes immediately gravitated to a rack of suits which shared a color palette created by clothing manufacturers that clearly took too much acid. 

I did not have to think much about what I wanted as I picked out a beauty for a shocking price tag of $49. I tried it on and it fit without any alterations. I also picked out a shirt and tie that complemented the outstanding value and look of my new suit.

We took the Subway back to Long Island City where my father and his friend were sitting around the kitchen table in the housing project I lived. I proudly showed them my purchase and they examined it. My father’s friend was a cutter in the schmatta  business so he knew value when he saw it. He was rather morose after looking at the suit and said no wonder the fashion business was dying in New York.  The small factories could not compete with the new acrylic materials and the prices they were sold for.

His world was slowly dying and this suit was a prime example of a new age of manufacturing coming from the far east.  He thought it was well made and a very fine purchase. I thought it was just a suit I needed to wear but his wisdom and understanding of what was happening to New York clothing factories was more profound.

I wore that suit for years whenever I needed to attend an event that required a different fashion viewpoint.  I finally got rid of that suit  in the late 70’s when I started to broaden my fashion vision by wearing three-piece corduroy suits. That is another fashion lifestyle  story.

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