Sunday 21 February 2010

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

I have a confession to make. I am a seasonal toff. Yes, I know. I should hang my head in shame and retire now to the end of the classroom waiting for the ruler's edge to fall heavily on my hand. But, there you have it. I have been a closeted toff for a few years now.

Juan Antonio Pesetas (coming out from behind me): Hear, hear! I knew it! You're the equivalent of that old saying 'fair weather friend'. Only that in your case, that needs to change to 'cold weather fashionista'.

Me (perplexed): I wasn't aware that you were in today. I haven't got you down to appear on the blog until late April.

Juan Antonio Pesetas: C'est la vie, mon ami! You should pay more attention to what your alter egos are up to.

Me: Oh, well, never mind. I take it that you heard everything I said.

Juan Antonio Pesetas (giggling): Yes, every single word. You-are-a-closeted-toff. I take it that you've become quite fond of quilted country jackets...

Me: (looking down): Hmmm... yes...

Juan Antonio Pesetas: Where do you stand on Oxford Brogues?

Me (sighing): Love'em. Wish my feet weren't so broad. But I absolutely adore them.

Juan Antonio Pesetas: Tweed?

Me (looking sheepish): Tick. That's why I bought a secondhand tweed jacket at the Brick Lane market recently.

Juan Antonio Pesetas: Which seems to have become embedded in your skin. You never take it off. Town and Country wellies, too, I presume?

Me: Yup, you presume right, although I have yet to be the proud owner of a pair.

Juan Antonio Pesetas: OK, listen, mate. I know that sometimes we don't see eye to eye when it comes to fashion. So be it. I am the dandy to your scruffy self. However, I can't believe that I saw you buying a pair of slim jeans from Topman and a pair of boot cut ones from Next the other day. As we say in good Cuban Spanish: ' O te peinas, o te hace papelillos'. Make up your mind, my old boy. If you aspire to be admitted in the realm of poshness, consistency must become your cri de coeur. You have to feel it in the same way your ankles feel the tight hug of a pair of Moleskin Stretch Breek.

Me: Well, I was in need of a good pair of jeans and there was a sale.

Juan Antonio Pesetas: Fine, fine. Just a faux pas. We all have them. I made the mistake of going out the other day wearing a pair of low-slung jeans. I almost froze my a**e off. Plus, low-slung, even if they were purpose-made Versace? In 2010? Hello? Chinos are still in. Never gone out of fashion, come to think of it. Anyway, your problem is not unique.

Me: No?

Juan Antonio Pesetas: Of course not! Boy, wake up and smell the hot mate! Have you seen how this country has slowly - but surely - been sleepwalking towards toffism? It's the hunter-wellies at Glastonbury, the tweed being claimed back from Geography teachers (yes, including the elbow patches), the trousers tucked into boots, hunter-style (watch Marvin from JLS on their latest video here, at 0:43), the waistcoats...

Me: I've always been into waistcoats...

Juan Antonio Pesetas: I know, I know and that's one of the reasons why I haven't given up on you yet. The only item in this current trend I won't be caught dead wearing is the bow tie. No way am I putting one of those on, unless I'm meeting Lizzie II for high tea at Egg'n'ham Palace. And would you believe it, it's not just in the clothes department, where this whole drive towards belonging to the smart set can be found. On telly Estuary English is ceding ground to posher inflections. And of course with the Beeb defaulting to period dramas to hike up ratings, the upper classes losing their famous devilish image - which both bankers and politicians have adopted now instead - and the new concern about the environment (closely related to locally grown organic food, I know, I know, spare me the acres, don't be picky); when you take all these elements into account, clearly, the way has been paved for Team Cameron to sweep to power shrouded in a cloud of Oxbridge education and private school vowels.

Me: Well, in my defense, I'll say that I am a seasonal toff but I can't afford the clothes. Not only would they bankrupt me but also I like music and books too much to part with my hard-earned money in order to satisfy a craving that arrives in autumn...

Juan Antonio Pesetas: Ahhh... autumn, the herald of good taste!

Me: ... and leaves as soon as coats come off and short skirts begin their quest towards scantiness.

Juan Antonio Pesetas: I understand you. And I'm proud of you. But come 4th June, don't be surprised to see a new Prime Minister wearing a monocle and trying to get rid of the hunting ban.

Copyright 2010

Next Post: 'Prova d'Orchestra (Orchestra Rehearsal) - Review', to be published on 23rd February at 11:59pm (GMT)


  1. A seasonal toff? Doesn't that get tricky with climate change and all that jazz?

  2. wonderful
    , Liza has us squirting java out our eyes!

    good post, Cuban,
    and thanks for the flashback,
    (more Joel, please)


  3. Oh dear, tweed? Really? But I'm with you on country wellies, especially in this weather.

  4. You got me with that political statement at the end there. I hope you're not right but I have a feeling you're spot on.

    As for being a fashion toff, I think you should wear what you want whenever you want. Let your alter ego say what he wants. He's not wearing the trousers. Or maybe he is? I'm confused.

    Wellies are definitely a good idea in this weather though.


  5. Oh, yes, climate change. You caught me there, dave.

    Let's just say that Juan Antonio Pesetas does wear trousers... and kilts.... and long trouser/skirts. The guy has a very versatile nature when it comes to fashion. He's probably what Oscar Wilde would have been had the latter been heterosexual. Juan Antonio Pesetas is metrosexual to the last follicle.

    But I'm happy to have an alter ego like him who keeps me in check and doesn't hold his tongue when it comes to criticising my tastes.

    And yes, Polly, tweed. I've succumbed to even tank tops. They're different from what people in the States call tank tops by the way. Tank tops over here used to be the geek's regular attire. But not anymore. I'm the proud owner of one. And I love it. :-)

    Jai, I'm afraid it looks that way. Fingers crossed.

    Many thanks for your kind feedback.

    Greetings from London.

  6. Hello from Toronto CiL - and thank you for the wonderful flashback with Carbaret - I had forgotten how fabulous it was.

    Sounds like you have this Toffism thing under control and fully analyzed.

    However, your most recent comment has me a bit confused regarding the tank top. Are you referring to what the younger set over here now seem to call "a beater" - my Dad (coming from Ontario farming stock) used to call it an "undershirt" - but it looks like what we women (at least over here) call a tank top. A garment, mainly worn under a shirt (but informally on hot days worn by itself for those not inclined toward Toffism), it is a t-shirt of sort without the sleeves or even shoulders - just sufficient fabric over the shoulders to keep it in place. It does get confusing!

  7. Cuban, thanks for the definition of Toff. I had not heard this word before. And I say wear what you want. Personally I like to be comfortable yet classy. And I'm with you, I don't want to go bankrupt as result of my shopping excursions. And if I want that shiny new purse or name brand shoes, Oh well I will have to find them at a discounted price or second hand store.


  8. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face.

  9. Lovely images here. I think you need to buy a Barbour jacket for the full effect.

  10. Sounds like you are a closet foppish dandy aka Chris Eubanks?? A photographer ( can't remember who) has done a wonderful series of shots of African Dandies - they are stunning photos - full of monocles, plus fours, tweeds, etc - apparently it is a serious movt???
    Greetings from Mexico and thanks for a great post

  11. Nice and tks for the link...I have no idea what's a 'toff' haha :)

  12. Many thanks for your kind feedback.

    Indeed, the whole tank top issue is quite confusing. When I bought the garment I called it 'waistcoat', which is the equivalent of 'vest' in the States. However a vest is different here in the UK. It resembles more the tank top (US version). And thus, we're back to where we started. :-)

    One of these days I will tell you the story about my own experience with the word 'suspenders' in a British and US context. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  13. Cuban, what an amazing piece of conversation, here! That was a big laugh! I'm a big fan of wellies, though I think the last time I wore a pair was about 5 years ago. As for tweed, I can't get enough of the stuff. Nice looking and warm, all at once. Who can resist that? You come up with the most amazing ideas, Cuban. You really do! Thanks for a nice read after work. I really needed that!


  14. Hee hee. I'd be right there with you at the Brick Lane Market buying up tweed. Love it. And thanks for the clip. I'd forgotten how much influence Liza had from her mother.

  15. I know that most of the words were English, but it might as well have been Greek. Toff? Wellies? Moleskin stretch breek? Should I be channeling Bertie Wooster? I am betraying my hopeless ignorance on all things fashion. Sounds like a fun world but apparently one with strict rules and mockery in the offing. Off to the internet to figure out what this post was all about.

  16. My Cuban a Metrosexual? I love it!

  17. This is such an inside job!! I've lost out right from the beginning..don't know what a toff is!! Yikes and crikies..
    Hope to get in on the fun...

  18. Oh, glad you included the definition of "toff" since I had no clue what it was! So, what is the difference between a regular toff and a seasonal one?

    I like to think I am a bit of a clothes horse, as well, but I am the best bargain hunter EVer. You would be a fun shopping partner, Mr. Cuban!

  19. jajajaja, no comments about it. You make me laugh!!LoL

  20. Hello London,
    Just now catching up with your latest posts and quite enjoyed the back and forth of this one! You're very polyvalent with your writing, and we're the luckier for it.

    Peggy's comment caught my eye and made me laugh. She was being politically correct, and good for her - the 'beater' is more fully known as a 'wife beater'. The sort of garment worn by guys who aren't particularly...well, you get the picture.

  21. Many thanks. Yes, I get the picture about the 'beater'. Still, another linguistic oddity to learn about. :-)

    Greetings from London.



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