Waltzing In With StyleSaturday, May 12, 2007
In July 1987 writer John Lekich wrote in Western Living:
While I've never felt the slightest desire to own a bar, I've always longed for a bar to call my own. This distinction is based on the premise that even saloon keepers in the most enviable situations - say Humphrey Bogart toasting a misty-eyed Ingrid Bergman at Rick's Café Américanin - end up checking the glasses for spots. Patrons, on the other hand, have a different obligation. If you're a patron, all you have to do is waltz into your establishment of choice, slide into a reserved booth and bark,"I'll have the usual, Al." (All bartenders should be named Al.) If you're a regular, you won't ever have to worry about Al sucking in his paunch and pulling out a Louisville Slugger.
Not long after this article appeared I remember looking at myself in a mirror while adjusting my bow tie. I was wearing a light blue Brooks Brother's button down shirt. Something looked odd. So I called John. His advice was short, "Don't."
In an age where anything goes (try opening night at the Vancouver Opera) I find comfort in knowing that a few people keep up with standards even if Barron Lee and his establishment of proper dress are gone.
In my profession of photography not too many people care how I dress as long as I can provide an image with a proper exposure. This means that I buy two pair of blue jeans and two black at Mark's Work Warehouse every couple of years. A few of their mock neck blue or black cotton shirts and boxer shorts at Simpson Sears complete my fashion needs. I wear my one suit to the opera until (inevitably) it's small and that's when I make a visit to the Bay.
But I must admit that my sense of fashion isn't all dead. When I take Rebecca to dance or a concert I ask her mother, "Make sure she is dressed to the teeth." I would have never suspected that as an adult man dressing up a doll I would find it as satisfying as knowing you never wear bow ties with a button down shirt. I am sure that Lekich would understand.