My grandfather had impeccable style. He wore a suit every day, whether it was to go to the grocery store or to church, he firmly believed that a gentleman had to put his best foot forward whenever he left the house. While he and my grandmother had separated long ago, he would still come by the house on occasion and perchance I was there for one of those special moments. It was a chilly winter morning in Ohio and the sky was a dappled grey, heavy with the anticipation of snow. Grandpa came through the front door, cane in hand, draped in a houndstooth car coat, fedora and smelling slightly of clove cigarettes. I instantly thought, he was the most dapper man in the world; masculine and handsome with a style all his own. It was at that moment, unbeknownst to him or I, that he would become one of my style icons.
As the weather turns chilly in Northern California, I look to my Grandpa’s unwritten rules of style to inform how I dress myself. Yet, while I loved my Grandpa’s classic sensibilities, wearing a suit every day just doesn’t fit in to how I live my life. So while I look to the past for my inspiration, I am firmly planted in the present and base my clothing decisions on the practical, the realistic and at times, the wee whimsical…..
If my Grandpa was a young man and alive today, this is what I imagine him to wear to ward off the cold. A combination of updated classics with little pops of coordinated color.
My Grandpa loved a “statement coat” and this striped sweater coat is the perfect reinterpretation of a classic pattern, in this case the iconic Hudson Bay blanket, but made fresh by making it into oversized cardigan.
He would have layered a pressed oxford shirt under an understated crew neck sweater, most likely one a cashmere one in a beautiful saturated color like red to play off the stripes in the sweater. Glasses in tucked in his collar and a book in hand, I imagine my Grandpa,in his younger days, would pair this with classic jeans and boots.
He would have finished his outfit with accessories and boots in leather bring in a rugged and masculine feel to the outfit without making it feel sloppy. If Grandpa would have gone casual, he would have made sure to make it tailored and polished.
If my Grandpa was alive and a young man, this is how I imagine him. A young man with style, class and a touch of funk to his swagger. A constant gentleman, never a follower and always walking to his beat. Before he passed, my Grandpa gave me a pinkie ring with my birthstone. By this time the stroke had robbed him of his ability to speak, but his mind was clear. He grabbed my hand, pulled the ring off his finger and pushed it into my palm. He looked at me for a moment, did his crooked smile and settled into his bed at the nursing home. As we left the home, I asked my Grandmother why he gave the ring to me and she said “Because he knew you would appreciate it’s style. It isn’t for everyone.”
And she was right. It isn’t for every and that is why I love it.