This could be sub-titled, “A Tale Of Two Gifts.”
For the last couple summers I’ve been wanting to put together a natty look that was not as hot and sweaty as a closed collar with a bow tie. I almost immediately came up with switching to short sleeved shirts with an ascot tie. I’ve long liked ascots and short sleeves are pretty much an obvious choice. Finish the look with a boater hat and, if I can find a pair of nice black sandals (that fit my wide hooves and I can afford) I’d add them in too. It’s amazing how just cooling down the dogs helps the rest of you stay cool.
Ascots are moderately spendy and decent quality boater hats can get real steep real fast. Unless you’ve had a week like mine…
How it happened
Last Sunday I was waiting for my next set when a longtime Pike Place Market denizen (named Bob C.) stopped for a chat. Bob was carrying a beautiful piece of paisley silk that I took to be a regular necktie. I remarked on it and he said, “no, it’s an ascot.” This led to a conversation about where he got them around here and were they dreadfully dear and such. He says he’s collected dozens over the years and what colors would I wear and he’ll give me one from his collection.
So last Monday — prior to my death defying yet toe smashing stunt dive down my front steps — I was busking at the market with Sketch when Bob shows up, tips us, and presents me with a nice, plain red ascot. As soon as we were done with the set I headed over to the men’s room and swapped out my bow tie for the ascot.
Holy proof of concept, Batman! Even though the ascot is wrapped around your neck just having the collar open made a huge difference in comfort level.
I passed by Joe Lamanno on the way back from the restroom. He often wears ascots and I stopped to chat with him a bit, maybe get some pro tips on the subject. I told him the boater hat bit and he says, “what’s a boater hat?” I googled up a pic and showed him. Some customers came up and I bid adieu and went about my day.
Then I went home, fell down the steps (as I’ve mentioned and blogged about), and I didn’t go back to the market until yesterday.
I was waiting — again — to play our first set when Joe came up. Wearing a boater hat. I said, “jeez Joe! you own one and didn’t know what it was called?” He laughed, pulled my hat off, set the boater in its place, and said, “it’s yours.”
You can insert old saws about being knocked over with a feather and suchlike here.
So many thanks, Bob and Joe! It’s going to be a much cooler summer.