Sunday, June 05, 2022

Folded. Heavy Starch

Barrel Cuff and wrist

When I unfolded my heavy starched 100% Egyptian cotton dress shirt and put it on Friday night I was gripped with delight at the feel and look of the crisp white shirt and the cylinder of cloth that formed a barrel around my wrist. The actual name of the cuff is barrel cuff for obvious reasons. The moment took me on a journey from the deep past to the here and now.

A cuff within a cuff

It harkened back to the early sixties when a more worldly college friend, Duane Henry, sold me on the virtues of an Oxford cloth dress shirt that was professionally laundered, starched, pressed, and always folded. The look of a white Gant button down with the slightly rolled collar was a dash of savoir faire that made an impressionable youngster into a pretend Ivy Leaguer in his soft shouldered gray flannel suit, regimental stripe tie and glistening cordovan brogans. Later I graduated to the superior Sero buttondown with longer collar and more impressive roll. Both Gant and Sero hail from the Ivy League mecca of New Haven, Connecticut. For decades there was a billboard on I-95 announcing the city as the home of Gant shirts. Yale, too.

I’ve had my dress shirts laundered and prepared as described above since 1962 thanks to Duane’s sound advice. My handsome Linea Uomo shirt beneath my Italian Joseph Abboud Super 120s suit was a such a fine sight to see on Durango’s Main Avenue Friday. Or is the nostalgia clouding my sensibilities?

And speaking of a properly laundered, starched, ironed, and folded shirt, for our first sixteen years in Taos there was no such animal. There was just one laundry whose operators wouldn’t know a barrel cuff from a pickup truck. Nor, for that matter, would they care. Their idea of ironing a so-called barrel cuff is to iron a crease into the poor thing. I nearly left this burg more than once because I couldn’t get decent shirt. If we ever move again the town will have to provide a laundry that does a proper shirt and we can buy an authentic baguette.

Don’t get me started on bad bread.

I must credit a new addition to Taos’s pantheon of great services. Thanks to Clean Taos for the exemplar of fine shirt handling shown in these iphone shots by my bride Peggy. Manipulation of the images and conversion to black and white was accomplished by the wearer of said shirt.

This post, you should know, is the first using rather than Feedburner to feed or send the blog. It’d been a rocky road these last weeks, just getting my posts to you. I haven’t been able to choose the publishing time which has ranged from five to 72 hours after the time I’ve selected. Hence the change. I’ve spent the week making the switch and I’m on pins and needles about the change. I will not deactivate Feedburner until I know is working. Please tolerate the duplication if you get two emails with the post. And, if you’re up to it, let me know that you received it. Thanks for that.

Have a glorious week.

1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

I adore the two photographs made by your lovely bride and your signature stunning black and white manipulation. Great stuff as is the story of how you came to be enamored of the starched and pressed long sleeved white shirt. A rare and beautiful thing. So glad you regaled your readers with such on this rare, windless Monday morning. Muchas gracias, Amigo!