Thursday, 18 January 2007

Priestly panache, episode 2

Having mentioned Donatella's clerically inspired menswear for the Winter 2007-2008 season, I assiduously scoured the web for pictures and met success at this excellent fashion site for men. I found two clerically inspired (if it were 1965, we'd be calling them "Nehru jackets") suits. From behind curtain #1:

Nice clean lines, a bit different, simple and elegant...not bad at all. Tough to wear, however, and not just because you'd need a neck slightly shorter than a giraffe's (or Petunia Dursley's, for HP fans). "But wait," I hear you wail, as you frantically scroll down to the Priestly panache pilot episode..."You said it was dead easy to look sexy in clericals!"

Indeed I did. In the first instance, I'm saying that it's tough to wear because I've seen so many of my clerical friends tug at their collar, and in some cases, shift it off to the side or take it out so they can unbutton that top button - which you can't do with a jacket collar. That makes me think that, after a while, it can feel claustrophobic (in the case of the priesthood, in more ways than one, I suspect.) Second, with clericals, the jacket is the traditional
single-breasted, V-neck cut, which lengthens and slims the upper body and offsets the buttoned-up, neck-shortening collar. In this case, the suit *jacket* is high-necked, making the entire torso one large area . If you're well-toned, great. A bit of a beer belly/man boobs starting to develop? Steer clear.

The version behind curtain #2 makes the single-breasted, single-vent version look as forgiving as a saintly priest:

Double-breasted and double-vented make this doubly unforgiving for the same reasons listed above. Carrying off a double-vented, slightly shorter back requires 'buns of steel', which means that there is NO scope for a spare ounce of fat, even on the usually well-hidden male bum. Seeing that fashion can be as hard on men as on us gives me a shneaky shenshe of schadenfreude. (No, I'm not drunk, I just couldn't resist the alliteration. So sue me.)

But let me tell you, put a well-toned man in jacket #2 near a group of women, and he won't be wearing it long. Whilst it exposes bodily flaws, it accentuates the toned male body like nothing else. Jack, my ex-housemate, well-known for his daily trips to the gym, 'naughty boy'
cheekiness, and coming down from the shower through the lounge in nothing but a towel (result!), once walked INTO the lounge in a double-breasted suit jacket. There was momentary ice-skating in hell as I was rendered absolutely speechless due to a fleeting Lynx effect (which, by the way, has nothing to do with Lynx, as the stuff reeks like cat pee).

Having said all that, I still want to make the sartorially unwise move of wearing a mid-thigh length, feminine version of jacket #1 (and probably earning the nickname "Twin Peaks" in the process) to work - with a pencil skirt, fishnets and heels. Just once.

Not to raise eyebrows or scandalise the Catholic establishment. At all.



Anonymous said...

Cause scandal and raised eyebrows? You? Perish the thought!

I bet you could pull it off, she'enedra.

Curious choice on the part of Donatella and co., isn't it? Take a design that manages to look sexy on just about any male and turn it into something for only a privileged few. (Let no one say that there is no elitism in fashion!)

I wish more men wore suits more often. Just kinda had to say that. Setting aside momentarily my issues with the Orthodox, I have to say, those boys *can* dress.


Anonymous said...

You also have to ask yourself the question as to how many Dominicans would really notice, five second test notwithstanding... Although think how many camp followers (pun partially intended) would be outraged - for that reason it would be worth it alone (Come to think of it, wouldn't lodge duty at the Oratory be rather more fun for the eyebrows it might raise?)

Jacquetta said...

It's the uniform effect, isn't it? In fact, is there any uniform that doesn't float the proverbial boat? (Perhaps Scout Leader...)

And don't fret - I'm not leaving the UK for 2 weeks. I'm just leaving British medicine. I will see you all again.

Irim said...

The uniform effect definitely comes into it - I'm so embarrassed to admit that the one-piece Lycra Star Trek uniforms on certain officers could send me into a swoon...

And as for Orthodox God, can they dress...


Anonymous said...

The only exception to the Uniform Effect that I can think of are American football uniforms. You could put the sexiest man alive in one of those things and he'd look like an idiot.

Orthodox men on Shabbat. Need I say more?