How Not to Dress to the Art Gallery

I see modern art and can’t decide whether the dodgy wooden hut in the middle of the room is meant to signify the fragility of home or if it’s just a bloody house. Having no background in art other than drawing and producing comic books back in primary school, going to the National Gallery of Victoria makes me feel a little dumb. Kind of ironic given that my dandy ways makes me look more intelligent than I really am. Regardless, I appreciate art whether or not I completely understand it.

Smile for the camera… even the wrong ones.

But this crude glen check suit is probably a sign that I’m not exactly your regular type of gallery-goer. Not that glen check is usually crude. In fact glen check has long been associated with subtle sophistication; a lesson in dignified and contained stylish textiles from the British. Comprised of muted colours with navy checks on a grey backdrop, the gentle colours mask the intricate reverse houndstooth overlay of the two checks, hiding them from all but the most discerning of onlookers. But this one, with its large, clear, defined mixtures of big and bigger checks, mixes regality with commonness, like the royal marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Not as particularly understated as the British intended, but it injects new blood into something old and obsolete.

People are obviously going to be offended by it but if “Krillin”, the bald angry Asian security guard is going to give me death stares I might as well make it worth his while. I’m like a Pollock painting – the longer you look the more your eyes are going to hurt. It’s not going to take much; the Technicolor blue tints present in the suit’s checks is already something that would make the Duke of Windsor shake his head. The abrasive textures of my candy-striped oxford shirt and wool-silk floral necktie, topped off with a kitschy pocketsquare only adds to the eccentricity (and insult to injury).

_MG_9211 (1)
Need to visit the lingerie shop soon for some sock garters.

Unlike me however, the pocketsquare is probably something that does belong in a gallery. P. Johnson’s pocketsquares are wonderfully vibrant artworks that are more than deserving of being pressed and framed. This square’s depiction of the death of a surfer at the jaws of sharks is a nice juxtaposition to the artisanal qualities of its hand rolled and stitched edges.

Presenting the pocketsquare here, fighting for your love and attention, like the toddler it looks like it was drawn by.

Wearing all this almost makes me feel like an exhibit. But I’ve grown used to being ogled at. Though it’s weird and sometimes creepy when you get your picture taken by street style photographers, or when Melbourne tram drivers start to veer off the tracks toward you, I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I don’t completely understand art but I understand staying true to yourself and that’s what’s important.

After drinking copious amounts of champagne at the gallery, catching the tram is the best option to go home.
After drinking copious amounts of champagne at the gallery, catching the tram is the best option to go home.

David wears:

Glencheck Suit – M.J. Bale

Striped Oxford Shirt – M.J. Bale

Wool/Silk Floral Tie – M.J. Bale

Pocketsquare – P. Johnson

Striped Socks – Oroton

Black Short Winged Oxfords – Barneys New York


(Photos by: Tanjim Islam)

Stay Informed

Join our newsletter to keep up to date with the best menswear in Australia, and receive exclusive subscriber only content.