There are several things that unite us here at DTSFT, but given the name of our site it’s safe to say that the #1 common interest is our shared love of men in suits. I’ve come up with a phrase to make our addiction to men in suits a little easier – lapelaholism. Why lapels, specifically? Well, you just look me in the eye (you can look into your webcam if it’s easier) and tell me that grabbing a man by the lapels on his coat and kissing him isn’t one of the sexiest goddamn things in the entire world.
We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the appeal of a besuited gent, and I could go in to the various aesthetic points of interest that draw our attention them but you’ll get plenty of that over time on this site. And it isn’t just the ladies here at DTSFT that are at it; women worldwide are battling with their own lapelaholism, which makes me wonder why (and indeed, if) a simple item of clothing can have such an effect? I know that there are a number of different outfits and items of clothing that, if worn by a woman, would send a heterosexual man running for that cold shower quicker than you can say “inappropriate nylon fetish”.
For me, I think the rise of lapelaholism is largely due to a societal shift to the ‘casual’ – no-one seems to make an effort anymore, and it’s a damn shame. Look at any photos taken up to around the 1960s and you’ll see that women always look demure and men always look dapper as shit. People carried themselves with class – I’m pretty sure women back then would have been too classy to use a phrase like “dapper as shit”. That’s one of the reasons that people went crazy over Mad Men – a show set in a time when women were considered more for their decorative qualities than their ability to do anything other than shake their rear-end suggestively when they walked; when men would spend their evenings drinking scotch, smoking cigars and womanising instead of raising their children; and equal rights was a phrase that referred to the agreed rule that no-one could call ‘dibs’ on the hot new piece of ass at the office. Yes, a 1950s man in today’s society should really have been rejected by us empowered, 21st century ladies, but instead we squandered all our hard-earned girl-power on pencil skirts and figure-hugging outfits because we know that it gets a man’s heart racing (don’t get me wrong – I think the fashion from that era is fantastic and flatters most female body-shapes, so kudos to the costume designers for their part in bringing it back). But all a man has to do is throw on a suit and his sex appeal is increased by 38%.
Why? Because when a woman sees a man in a suit, she sees a man who has made an effort. It’s like a gentleman’s uniform – when you see a fireman, soldier or police-officer in their uniform, you know you feel safe because that uniform means they have a duty to protect you. When a man puts on his gentleman’s uniform, you know that there’s a 70% chance he’s showered and a 30% chance he’ll pull your chair out for you and maybe even hold open the door for you to go through first (30% is me being generous because, well, let’s be honest, ladies..). The effort of putting on a suit and trying to look your best shows an interest in style, and that’s the key to the attraction. Style.
So rather than focus on the current crowd of classy cavaliers, I’d like to take a look back at some stylish gents from days gone by. It won’t always be a man in a suit – it might even be a character with an iconic look, or an item of clothing that has fallen out of circulation for some reason. But you can be damn sure that these men will have style – the sweet, sweet nectar that feeds our lapelaholism.
Perhaps not an obvious choice, but check this out and tell me this man hasn’t got swagger like a drunk on a ship in a storm. The clip is quite quiet, so turn it up, and skip ahead to 6:30, because you’re about to fall in love with this man (that, or be 100% creeped out – but you’d be wrong).
Hey. Hey, wake up. Stop day-dreaming about having a sharply-dressed, well-spoken gentleman follow you into a bookshop and try to convince you to leave your man by impersonating a bookseller just so he could talk to you. Just look at that man. Right, click on the video again and watch it one more time. Couldn’t you just die? In fact, that film involves Ameche’s character dying and getting a second chance at life on earth (Heaven Can Wait, 1943), check it out as it’s actually a really great film – it’s on fairly regularly in Film4’s cycle of afternoon films.
A little more background about Don Ameche that will have you falling in love with him (despite the fact that he died in 1993 – remember people, in the words of Yves Saint-Laurent , “Fashions fade, but style is eternal”). And boy howdy, did Ameche had style…
Born Dominic Felix Amici on 31st May 1908, he got into acting while at college studying law. His acting career spanned over fifty years, but like many actors of that time he started off in vaudeville, being dropped from an act for being “too stiff” (translate – prim, proper, polished… a lapelaholics dream! He presented a television show which explored circuses and traveling shows…while wearing a suit. This guy obviously didn’t mess around when it came to style.
Now, my first encounter with Don Ameche in film was in the 1983 classic comedy, Trading Places. If you haven’t seen it, finish this article and then go and watch it. I don’t care if you haven’t got it on DVD, it’s probably on iTunes so you’ve got no excuse. According to his co-star Jamie Lee Curtis, Ameche was an “old school actor” and true gentleman, going so for as to make sure he apologised in advance to everyone on set when he was required to swear in a scene. The man apologised for a scripted expletive. Yeah somehow I don’t think you’d ever get that kind of courtesy from Shia LaBeouf.
Ameche, a man of impeccable style and elegance, died on 6th December 1993 of prostate cancer; incidentally, 1993 saw the release of the truly terrible film Body of Evidence, starring Madonna, a woman completely devoid of any class, personality or talent, in a role that allowed her to do what she does best – whore herself out on camera for money. Coincidence? I think not.
Don Ameche, we salute you!