Monday, 6 May 2013

Jumping on the spring Band Wagon

"Blige me!", as my father would say*, nearly a whole month without a peep out of yours truly and I haven't even been anywhere near a hospital (actually that's not strictly true, but only for routine tests)!  I'd forgotten how all-consuming full-time work can be.  I can only apologise for not sticking to my once-a-week promise.

Anyway, the new job hasn't worked out after all that so I'm back to being a gentleman of leisure for now.  I'm not too sorry, though, because it wasn't really for me (literally - towards the end I was doing things that weren't in the job description and completely outside my remit as they struggled to find work for me.  That and other business practices that would make your hair turn white.).  Ergo I'm slightly glad to be out of it; one door closes another opens and all that, too, is what I say!

So, now I can devote my time to this blog again (how I would love to make a job out of that, if only!).  How are you all on this lovely May day (I hope it's as nice wherever you are as it is here)?  Tickety-boo, I trust?  I've got three or four posts lined up to write that otherwise would have appeared in April but for now here's a little something to tie in with the beautiful spring weather we've (finally!) been having here, as I get going again and see if I've still got the blogging knack.

I recently dug out an old recording of one of my favourite films, The Band Wagon, starring Fred Astaire - who else? - and Cyd Charisse (who always reminds me in this of our own dear Fleur).  It never fails to brighten my mood and doubly so at this time of year thanks to a number of outfits sported by Fred that are not only perfectly light and spring-like but also easily attainable.  Two at least are my go-to styles for spring/summer and if I can [just about] pull them off then anyone can!

The first tip-top ensemble makes its appearance at the beginning of the film, as washed-up movie star Tony Hunter (Astaire) arrives back in New York.  The double-breasted suit looks as good here as ever, perfectly complemented by the matching shirt and tie, contrasting pocket square (naturally!) and the icing on the cake - or rather the hat on the head! - the jaunty straw boater.  I haven't had a chance to try this particular look yet mainly because I don't have a double-breasted suit (for shame!), but that is the only thing from it missing in my wardrobe so watch this space!

Skipping forward to about half way through the film and Astaire's wonderfully put together pieces are only marred by the fact that he makes his ballet dancer partner Gaby (Charisse) cry(!).  My attempt might also make you cry, but only for its woeful inadequacy next to the original.

No pocket square for me I'm afraid,
because on this jacket it isn't a real pocket(!) ;-(

I've just realised none of my pictures show anything below the waist (oo-er missus!) so let me assure you that not only am I wearing trousers, but they are also white cotton ducks just like Fred's.  I've always loved how his trews and jacket are just ever so subtly different in shade, set off perfectly by the yellow shirt and tie plus the red pocket square.

Trying a "pose" for a change, rather than just
always grinning dementedly into the camera

But then Tony & Gaby go for a walk in the park, share a dance.. and all is forgiven.

So to the final dance number, Girl Hunt Ballet, and a suit that has passed into legend.  Has Astaire ever looked more effortlessly cool?  Another splendid light-coloured two-piece and hat, beautifully contrasted with a blue shirt and white tie.  Looks familiar?  Seen it somewhere before since?  Indeed you probably have, for a certain Mr Michael Jackson was also a huge fan of Fred Astaire and one of Jacko's biggest homages to Fred was... the music video for Smooth Criminal.  This, sadly, renders the following outfit difficult if not impossible to wear in public, unless you don't mind having Smooth Criminal sung (or just "Oi, Michael Jackson!" shouted) at you by every other person you meet.  The way I look at it, though, is that if Jackson was paying tribute to Astaire by dressing like him so these people are in fact complimenting me by unwittingly likening me to Fred Astaire.  At least, that's how I try to rationalise it.




I'm sure I used to have a white tie many moons ago but I must have disposed of it before I realised it could have been used in making a [barely] passable Fred Astaire-inspired outfit, so the next-lightest pattern in my tie collection has had to fill in.

Well, I think I've proved to myself that the blogging bug is still very much in evidence with this returning film fashion post.  I hope you've all enjoyed my continued [painful] attempts to emulate the style of the great Fred Astaire in one of his best films.  Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday (those of you in the U.K.) and I hope to be back within the week this time!  Cheero!

* No, I'm not sure what it means either.  I think it's his own variation of "blimey".  Anyway...


  1. Very worthy (and as you say, spring-like) inspirations, and admirably well-executed. I particularly like the second look... and surely most people immature enough to yell out put-downs to strangers are too young to really know Michael Jackson? But I think that you should definitely get a gold tie. I'm personally just coming around to gold fabrics for accessories, and if I were male I would definitely be getting myself a gold tie. Added bonus is that if you ever have to dress up as Gatsby you will then only be required to source a silver shirt...

    1. Thanks Miss Marie.

      Well the last person to shout out at me like that was a teenage oik in the local park - and I was wearing the first outfit at the time, which I think proves your point!

      A gold tie is a great idea, I'll certainly start looking out for one. I've been meaning to do a post on Brooks Brothers new "Gatsby Collection" - there's bound to be one in there, I'll warrant!

  2. I do like a man in a hat. I was unaware of the Michael Jackson connection, not being a fan of his. Stuff them, wear what you like! Sorry the job didn't work out but as you say, when it's not for you you're best off out of it if you can do so, I speak from experience on that one. Shudders at memory.

  3. What a refreshing blog post!

    I, being female, often concentrate on the ladies' fashions of classic movies and, sadly, leave out the gentlemen in my fashion considerations. Thanks for bringing to my attention Astaire's outfits here.

    You look great! The first one you wear with the yellow shirt is my favorite. Very complementary.

    When I discovered there was a sort of tribute to Astaire's "Girl Hunt Ballet" in "Smooth Criminal," I watched it and noticed that not only is Jackson wearing an Astaire style, near the end of his dance inside the club, he darts through the crowd, comes to the front of it and dances with Astaire's mannerisms for about two seconds! The flinging hand movements, the twirls! I haven't the words to describe it properly.

    I have seen very few people even try to dance like Astaire, let alone actually do it well. Micheal Jackson does it.

    A link to this post will be on my Follow Friday blog post this week.


    - Java

    1. Thanks Java!

      Smooth Criminal was definitely Jackson's biggest tribute to Astaire (although some of his other songs & videos - Bille Jean for example - have smaller nods too) not only in appearance but also in dance, yes. Fred apparently said of Michael Jackson: "Oh, God! That boy moves in a very exceptional way. That’s the greatest dancer of the century. I didn’t want to leave this world without knowing who my descendant was. Thank you Michael!". High praise indeed, although how true I leave to you to decide!

  4. Yay Bruce! Glad you've confirmed the trouser-wearing issue... we were all wondering! That cuff-adjusting snap is lovely. Good luck with the job hunt, if indeed you are looking. Good to see you back blogging :)


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