The photo above is easily one of the most stylish images I’ve ever come across. It’s of American journalist George Frazier, who started his career as a noted jazz critic for the Boston Herald before moving on to general journalism. He was known for his acerbic wit, arch style, and most of all, tremendous sense of class. I’d say his article in the September 1960 issue of Esquire, “The Art of Wearing Clothes,” is the single best essay ever written about men’s clothing. A must read in this category, if there ever was one.
In the photo, George is shown wearing an American button down collar shirt, a simple dotted tie, sweptback hair, and a Russell plaid suit. Russell plaid is similar to a giant scale glen plaid, except that the horizontal sections of the check have been striped away, so that the vertical lines dominate. For the lateral sections, there are just thin stripes, typically in dark brown, burgundy, or rust orange. Those colors complement the ground of the fabric, which usually ranges from golden wheat to tan.
The scale of the plaid is perfect, in my opinion, for sport coats. It’s large enough to be easily paired with any shirt pattern one might wear, but isn’t so dominating that it could be accused of being a horse blanket. Its colors work best in fall, but if worn correctly, could make for a springtime jacket as well. It’s a bold jacket, to be sure, but still very, very tasteful.
If I can find the fabric, I’m hoping to get something like this made this year. I’m thinking of a three-two-roll, single-breasted sport coat with welted flap pockets and dual vents. Something like the first photo you see below, but without the elbow patches. I suspect it’ll soon be a favorite to be worn with grey flannel trousers, dark blue jeans, and, if I can find a jacketing that will lend enough contrast, possibly taupish military tan trousers made from cavalry twill.