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Be a Rebel

James Andrew boating in the city - Photo Gabriel Everett

James Andrew boating in Central Park – Photo Gabriel Everett

While reading one of my favorite blogs, Style Like You, I was pretty taken by something Bobby Hicks said: “We’re so focused on charging forward, there’s something rebellious about being brought back to a different time.” Read more here.

Following Hicks’ reasoning – and our particular focus is on attire though it is clear that Hicks’ words speak to many levels of lifestyle – I think we can agree that very few people really make an effort to dress up these days. The irony is that the act of dressing up itself has now become a protest of sorts – quite the opposite to what we’ve seen in the past. Most of society seems to be locked into an uber casual (read sloppy) mentality, where aesthetic considerations have been nearly completely supplanted by expediency and comfort – and unfortunately the future appears to be following this downward trajectory. This, of course has been a rant we here at WIJW have been on since the beginning, but it’s one we’ll continue to deliver as we aspire toward more elevated living!

James Andrew boating in the city - Photo Gabriel Everett

James Andrew boating in Central Park – Photo Gabriel Everett

As you can see, a recent boating expedition certainly provided me with the opportunity to externalize some of these thoughts. While most were dressed in cargo shorts, tank tops, and flip flops, I sported an ensemble reminiscent of times past – a la Brideshead Revisted. In the process, I might add, I was happy to create quite a stir…a gorgeous gaggle of girls, for instance, followed me around the pond snapping pics, and a wedding photographer even diverted his camera from his clients for a few moments to shoot me instead! Needless to say, I was happy to receive the attention. Why not join me in our style revolution and have a bit of fun being a rebel while you’re at it.

For my boating expedition in New York City’s Central Park, I’m sporting a straw hat from the Sugar Mill in Harbour Island, a Gucci pinstripe cotton jacket, Tom Ford grey and black plaid cotton shirt, blue and lavender paisley silk bow tie, lavender silk herring bone pants and lavender glen plaid cotton pocket square, Ralph Lauren purple alligator belt with sterling buckle, pearl and sapphire cuff links, Rolex watch and black, white and silver leather loafers by Gucci, and my fragrance is Creed Original Cologne.

17 Comments

  1. George Cruz says:

    James, I really love this whole subject matter today about the lack of dressing up. And Bobby Hicks words are gold here! Yes, we live in a time where most people do not care how they look fashion-wise. The t-shirt/shorts/flip-flops thing has run amuck in today’s society! The beach casual look has it’s place, but should not be a guy’s everyday attire. Even when one boards an airline to say a glamorous destination, like Paris, one is surrounded by the beach bum look. Americans are especially guilty of this. It’s the comfort at any cost kind of look. It’s so thoughtless! Dressing up has indeed become an act of rebellion, these days. I love the fact that you created a movie star kind of buzz when boating at Central Park. Fashion and style are true attention getters, not to mention your charisma and good looks to boot.
    What you are wearing is truly a throwback to the era of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ as you mention. This is a very romantic look and you pull it off with such panache, James. The Sugar Mill straw hat and Gucci pinstripe jacket are so attractive and the Tom Ford grey and black plaid shirt sets it all off. The lavender pants and bow-tie are wonderful. Lavender is such a romantic, nostalgic, fantasy color anyway. I just LOVE your fashion rebelliousness here of dressing it up, when others keep dressing it down.

  2. Dear James,
    Coincidentally this past week I have been watching the old television series of Brideshead Revisited, and you look ready to fit right in – perhaps they could recast with you as my favourite character, Anthony Blanche?
    Greetings from sunny Blarney where I am catching up with my old pals who own “the” stone…
    Robert

  3. Wendy Woo says:

    Dear James
    I recall a couple of years back you made a very valid point. Not a direct quote but you mentioned that dressing our best is a respectful gesture to ourselves and to those around us.
    I really enjoyed this post today. It took me back to your past blog I referenced. And it is so true. I am currently in Georgia, quite well known for heat and humidity x 10! When I go out I see the same. Flip flops, tank tops with coloured bra straps showing, shorts, pony tails – over casual. I do not own a pair of shorts I would be seen in public wearing! Irony is these people are still hot! (hot not haute). So why not put effort in appearance? People do notice and we do stand out. Yesterday, I wore a white Valentino pencil skirt, Chic white cotton button blouse from India, belted with a white and gold Hermes, a pair of Viga Spiga wedges, Chanel 32″ necklace – and of course my pearls, and wide frame sunglasses. I felt like a million dollars! And heads were turning! I was both stylish and comfortable!

  4. James Andrew says:

    Dear George,

    I am thrilled to hear so many of our readers share our sentiments on this topic!

    It is wild to think that dressing up can be an act of rebellion- but I love it!

    You are so delicious to take time to share your thoughts!

    Thank You!

    JA

  5. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Robert O’Byrne,

    I guess there is something in the collective consciousness!

    Things seem to run in cycles, I am hoping that with shows like Downton Abbey and the peaked interest in some of these iconic TV shows from the past that people are inspired to be in touch with their “Sartorial Splendour” as I like to call it.

    Cheers

    JA

  6. James Andrew says:

    My Darling Wendy,

    I do indeed enjoy ranting on and on about this topic.

    Hopefully with more people like you making an effort we will inspire others to do the same- the world will be a much prettier place.

    Love and Light

    JA

  7. CD says:

    “Most of society seems to be locked into an uber casual (read sloppy) mentality, where aesthetic considerations have been nearly completely supplanted by expediency and comfort – and unfortunately the future appears to be following this downward trajectory.”

    Well, Dear James, the problem is that I personally don’t find “casual” to be either expedient or comfortable by any means. To the contrary, without double monk strap shoes, made-in-Italy or made-in-France wool or linen trousers (I am quite allergic to denim I must admit), coat…, necktie of some sort (tie or ascot), hat, I refuse to step out and start my day or night. And you personify what we do not even witness often enough in fashion ad campaigns, let alone the real world.

    Hope to see you in at Sotheby’s, the Four Seasons restaurant, Bergdorf Goodman, MoMA or G Lounge soon!

    CD

    P.S. I am certain Gabriel Everett’s sublime black-and-white photograph of James Andrew boating in Central Park will sooner or later be a part of the collection of the Department of Photographs of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  8. Mark S. Flood says:

    James,

    I couldn’t agree more with this article! You continue to inspire! Brideshead continues to be my favourite tv series, and this ensemble would be perfect in the Venician scenes. I have a new Hackett boating blazer you will see me sporting in August. I am excited for your road trip articles now! Looking forward to them!

    Mark
    xXx

  9. James Andrew says:

    My Dear CD,

    I can’t wait to see you in all your “Sartorial Splendour” !

    So happy to hear there are other like minded people who share my views on this topic!

    Thank You for your most delicious support and feed back!

    Cheers

    JA

  10. James Andrew says:

    Well Hello Mr Flood,

    I do indeed look forward to seeing you in your boating blazer!

    Your highly romanticized ideals are certainly personified in – Brideshead!

    Such an elegant time, I am partial to a 1970’s interpretation of that period – a bit more sensual and decadent perhaps.

    Cheers

    JA

  11. Danny says:

    Oh James!!!

    What have we come to? You, along with the above correspondants and me(!)are all here courtesy of magnificent technology…as are your Gucci and Tom Ford, your Rolex and Creed.

    Dressing “well”, like ‘sensuality’ and ‘decadence’, are not incongruous with dressing in a modern way.

    Speaking as a European, I find this American pandering to “olde world”, schmaltzy rot like Downton a pity, and is surely more obsequious than rebellious… Furthermore, you’re ill served by the clucking of Hyacinth Bucket, in monk straps at the g lounge(!) and the rafter of old turkeys masquerading as an ostentation of peacocks!!! “Brideshead”,”boating blazers”and “panache”, they natter, bleat and groan….

    While the world turns.

    (Now, where did I put my Nancy Mitford biog?)

    X, D

  12. James Andrew says:

    Thank you Danny,

    We’re of course not suggesting a literal return to
    yesteryear – we’re much more interested in the mindset. Our “rebel”
    post here was about having some fun while making this point.
    Our long-time readers know quite well that I embrace the best of the
    present as well, whether it is in my interior design work, or in my
    attire!

    But perhaps as my uber WASP Grandmother would say “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all.”

    This is not the venue to insult my friends and fans – I thank you in advance for being more considerate of my readers and their views,comments and feedback.

    Cheers

    JA

  13. Mark S. Flood says:

    Danny!

    To use the wise words of the style icon herself:

    “I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”

    ― Coco Chanel

  14. Danny says:

    James,
    My comments were not meant as a personal indictment of your friends or fans, I neither know nor have opinions on them… it is, rather a comment on the “hoopla” (noise) that this post generated.

    It is unfortunate if my point, and the argument for modernity (like Chanel blowing the dust off fusty Edwardian convention- carried shoulder high by Serge Lifar in Breton sweater, pearls and pants, clothes, not costume) was lost in the process…

  15. James Andrew says:

    Danny,

    We Thank You for your clarification!

    Cheers

    JA

  16. Charles Allen says:

    James, you are inspiration to this 72 year old guy. I found you quite by accident and I hope I never lose you. You are a great role model for us “younger” guys. When I’m in NYC next, I hope I can find you…somewhere!

    CFA

  17. James Andrew says:

    Dear Charles,

    I am always so very happy to hear what a diverse audience we have attracted here at WIJW?

    Do tell me about the accident that lead you here.

    It is not that challenging to find me here in NYC.

    Cheers and Many Thanks

    JA

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