Things My Father Taught Me: James Fox

Before I started this site, there were a handful of folks I looked to for inspiration. James Fox’s 10engines has an element of the personal that few others can match. He’s able to tie the actual in with the aspirational better than just about anyone, and he’s extremely knowledgeable on a number of subjects. Must be in the jeans, er genes.


Things my father taught me: how to shake a martini (aged 7), milk a cow, drive a tractor, tie a bow tie, sharpen a carving knife, polish shoes, make an omelet (hell, how to build a hen house, raise chicks, pluck feathers, keep a ‘chicken bucket’ under the sink for food scraps, collect the eggs THEN make an omelet).

“Pops” or more properly, my father, Dr. Roger Fox arrived in Boston from England in 1974 with family in tow. English born and bred, sartorially he was preppy through and through; at that time shopping at the Co-op and JPress in Harvard Square, or Brooks Bros. and Filene’s downtown. Fast forward a few years and we have moved to cocktail-culture / summer-resident ground zero; southern Vermont. Southern VT was also ground zero for aging dairy farms, aging farmers and at that time a huge need for a community medical center. Pops answered that call.

Sure he’ll drive you crazy at a museum reading every scrap of literature but he is in turn a fountain of knowledge. Insane. I have actually called him rather than Google something. I do get my appreciation of hi/low style from him though, which is really a preppy trait in a sense, use it up, fix it up and wear it out… He’ll turn up to a town meeting in his torn tweed jacket (pockets probably full of old nails or his pipe) and muddy wellingtons, plus a yellow OCBD and bowtie, probably whistling. About 5 years ago he did break a lifelong streak and get a pair of jeans, but true-to-form he has patched and re-patched that pair ever since. A cook, botanist, farmer, beekeeper and musician, but foremost a country doctor… he sets the bar pretty high. Anyway, let’s not get sappy here, onto the clothes…

exhibitAExhibit A. Young Doc. Everyone wears a cravat when they go skiing right? No gloves, no nylon fibers either.

ExhibitBExhibit B. OK, It must be said, this is a damn good picture of the old man (hey!) but 2 hip replacements and recent rotator cuff surgery have slowed him down quite a bit. This is almost 20 years ago now, playing against southern horse traders and some Argentinean stable guys.

ExhibitCExhibit C. Fox men. 4G. Remember, grandpas are fathers too, guys.

– James Fox, 10engines