Beautiful Ugliness

I have always been fond of beautiful ugliness in clothing.

This single breasted, tweeded silk jacket by Tonello which I picked up at Voi is something that most people would describe as being ugly. This would probably explain why it was found in the store’s basement sandwiched between a calfskin leather blazer and a lemon corduroy sports coat. I guess it’s what the Italians might describe as perfection in imperfection.

It is difficult to explain the appeal of an “ugly” fabric like tweeded silk. I suspect that it has something to do with its apparent “anti-sensuality”. Unlike fabrics such as say fur or velvet, which are hypersensual, the anti-sensuality of tweeded silk creates the impression of being indifferent to dress as opposed to being preoccupied with it. Ironic then that the tweeded family of fabrics were made popular by dandies, most notably Oscar Wilde and the Duke of Windsor, reacting against Victorian sobriety.

But there’s a difference between beautiful ugliness and just plain ugly. That why I’ve juxtaposed the jacket with a more conventionally beautiful modernist silver mosaic tie from M.J. Bale. The tie is an unusual piece from the Australian menswear brand which is more well-known for its agrarian inspired aesthetic rather than for elegant neat prints. Handmade in Biella, Italy, the tie is made from a lightweight twill silk which feels remarkably delicate but surprisingly still produces a sturdy hand that helps to retain a firm knot and contributes to the creation of a fine dimple essential to, as Alan Flusser puts it: “the fullness that is the secret to its proper draping”. This “proper draping” of a tie should not be dismissed as it does serve an architectural function namely: creating the illusion of a projecting chest and therefore a more masculine profile.

The choice of a white, medium spread collar broadcloth shirt from M.J. Bale helps rein in the colours and textures of the composition a bit. The shirt made from 100% 2-ply cotton and featuring non-fused collars, cross stitched buttons, split back yokes and removable collar bones are worth checking out for those on a budget looking to add foundational pieces to their wardrobes.

The paisley pocket square by contrast is a tad undisciplined especially considering how visually dense ensemble already is. Though nothing’s ever perfect, if the Italians are to believed, there is perhaps some perfection to be found in imperfection.

William wears:

Tweeded Silk Jacket-Tonello, Voi
Silver/Navy Floral Mosaic Tie– M.J. Bale
White Shirt- M.J. Bale
Orange/Purple Paisley Pocket Square- Lardini, Voi Outlet Sydney

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