Over the weekend, I was quoted in an article in The New York Times, the Old Gray Lady. Fortunately, owing to it being a holiday weekend, I was able to witness firsthand the reaction of several family members. My parents, old and graying themselves, excitedly grabbed for their reading glasses the minute they learned the news. As she finished the piece, my mother simply laughed a little and shook her head in disbelief. My father asked, “What does it say that it took leaving New York for you to appear in the Times?” He was half-right in his asking (more on that in a minute). My great-aunt, a retired nun and one of the smartest people I know, said, “I guess I should be paying closer attention to men’s suits.” Of course, I assured her she absolutely shouldn’t, or I would begin to question her intelligence. My aunt and uncle gave a resounding “Oh, cool!” at breakfast that morning.
As I walked the mile-or-so to the nearest Starbucks to pick up a couple copies (Why is Starbucks is the only place in the Midwest to carry The New York Times?), I thought about what it meant to have my picture taken for The New York Times. Friends of mine, close ones even, have appeared several times in this paper-among-papers. I thought about them. After they appeared, my impression of them remained the same. But these were great people receiving great attention for doing or saying great things. Why was I tapped to talk about slim suits? I wear one. I know a bit about construction of suits. I am a champion of one Chicago suit maker in particular. But, I’m a fairly regular guy, who — yeah — I wear a suit, or at least a suit jacket a lot, but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert. On my walk, I thought to myself that I hope this doesn’t change peoples’ impression of me.
In fact, I think more friends reached out to let me know they saw me me when I appeared, uncredited, in the paper the first time, while still living in New York than this go-round. It’s plain to see I was dancing — alone — to “One Way Out” by The Allman Brothers Band at Farm Aid in 2007 when it was on Randall’s Island. It only makes sense that to off-set the somewhat hippy-fied debut, my sophomore effort would be a bit more… reserved. It balances things out a bit.
Regardless, it was so cool. I’ve tried to play it down, but I was thrilled. I must thank Mr. Stewart for kindly reaching out for my two cents. Thanks to Joe Gannon. You’ve helped me more than anybody. And thanks so much to the good folks at Oxxford Clothes for continuing to make a really beautiful product, entirely by hand, and entirely in Chicago, Illinois. And thanks to everybody who reached out over the weekend. It meant a lot to hear from you.