27 March 2009

The Friday Belt - Braces & Champers

I'm running outta belts - - and room in these trosuers

Back in the mid 80's there was a huge resurgence in suspenders. While some didn't get it and went with clip ons - - there were a lot of guys having buttons sewn into trouser waist bands. In the States, most suspenders came in a box and in one size. Short guys like me had the brass levers almost on their shoulders - - like a 2nd lieutenant - - while tall guys had the levers a few inches above their waist. It wasn't until I made my first business trip to London that I discovered what a huge faux pas it was for levers to be so high. Like socks - - Brits can get braces individually sized and the levers wind up situated where they rightly belong -- three inches or so above the waist.

In London, suspenders are what ladies wear to hold up their stockings. Men wear braces. Always a big laugh back in the 80's when a Yank misused the word. Like someone asking you to pass them a rubber (pencil eraser). Braces seem to have fallen out of favor recently. Which is just fine with me. I still wear them and find they're much more comfortable than belts. That is, when worn with trousers that are loose - - which these are not - - because of a pork obssesion.

In London, you almost always kept your suit jacket on. At least during the work day and through most of the evening. Not until you're out with the boys having a late night curry and coats are given up to the backs of chairs that someone will tell me my levers are too high. I don't think there's anything these people love to do more than correct Americans. Except maybe drinking champagne.

Piper Heidsieck Extra Dry Champagne NV

The Brits love champers. Late at night at the Roof Gardens or lunch at Ball Brothers. And while there is something extra special about a Deutz, Billecart Salmon or a Louise Rose...there is this economy. It'll be a while before I see Louise again - - if ever.

Chilled Piper in a Pierre Duex champagne bucket of heavy pewter and served in tall flutes at home makes for a fine, if not everyday champers, a bi-monthly champers (with Prosseco filling in for the every days). Every other Friday night the Gulf Foxtrot and I enjoy Piper Extra Dry served with pot stickers, or a new favorite, hot french fries shaken in a mixture of freshly grated parmesan reggiano and truffle oil - - the Brits call that a starter - - for more than dinner I reckon.


Ben said...

The only thing I screwed up the courage to buy on Saville Row, back when I lived in London during 2nd year law school, was a pair of custom braces. Still have 'em, despite the decade. And since I'm still the same height, they're still functional.

tintin said...

Ben-Do tell more. Did you go to Thurston? I've had a design in my mind for custom braces for years and would like to give it a try.

Ron_A said...

Tintin, nice post as always. Running out of belts? I can't believe it.

I used to occasionally wear braces. I still have a few pairs of the patterned Trafalgar ones that were popular in the early 90s, when I was a recent college graduate. They are nice braces, albeit a little flashy for my tastes these days.

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

Piper Heidsieck Champagne always a favorite in the Far East. Free of all taxes and import duties, it was inexpensive.
Not being oenophiles, we only knew that the taste was superior. (Right up there with duty-free Filipino Beer, Polish gin, Merican whiskey and Scot single malt.)
Fancy pewter or silver "buckets" a rarity. Usually just stood buncha' bottles in the sink and poured the ice on. Cookout time we used GI hot'n'cold "mermite" cans. Heavy, but most efficient.

Ben said...

Gieves & Hawkes (spelling?) in a deep green that's almost violet blue. On leather loops. Our law school London programme was just a few blocks away from Saville Row. I lived there for a year but didn't dare set foot in one of those stores until my parents were in town Spring term. My pop shelled out 50 pounds in AmEx traveller's cheques for them. We got a few pounds change. We three had scotch eggs from Europa (UK 7/11) for lunch on the fly as we walked from Piccadilly to Marble Arch, if memory serves. Until I got married and had a son, my year in London was the best year of my life.

M.Lane said...

Now I have to go dig out my braces!

But I have to say your Friday evening champers and fries sound VERY fine...


Sartre said...

Tin - "casual" champagne (not celebrating a particular occasion) is one of the great pleasures in life and one which I think more people should indulge in. Maybe it's for certain stages in life.

On Sunday afternoons when my wife and I were dating, we would lay in bed, drink champagne, order in pizza, etc. Even for the first few years of our marriage we would often have champers on Sundays, often with one of my wife's favorite treats, smoked oysters (ahem).

Gotta stop blowing all my blog material commenting on others' blogs...

Anonymous said...

Surprised you lap up the extra dry, which as any self-annointed beverage snob knows, is actually sweet. Thought you'd go in for Brut (AKA dry). Suspect the sweet stuff must be the GF's beverage of choice. Ahhh, what we men will do to pop our corks.
Champers only every other month? Too bad for you.

Anonymous said...

Daily bubbly is the sine qua non of good living.

Anonymous said...

Give her Champale after the third glass.

Brace brass is attached via 1ish inch of easily alterable machine sewing that doesn't show. A NYC "tailor" shouldn't charge more than $50 for the shortening alteration. Or DIY.

Belt&braceless Friday = abstinence?

K @ Blog Goggles said...

I may just be a silly American, but I do believe champagne is a global hobby. At least, as close to a hobby as any drink can be.