I want to dress like Arnold Palmer

The great golfer died this year, prompting accolades, and not solely for his athleticism. GQ editor John Jannuzzi appreciated his style, writing: "... his clothes were in constant harmony, perfectly well fit and classic, polished, nothing ever too loud or crazy.”
“He was not second-guessing what he was wearing, and that’s what a lot of guys are still after, knowing what works for them and owning their own style.”
Ignore the pronoun, and that's a terrific M.O for a woman, too. If you replace the adjectives with their antonyms, you'd get jumbled, sloppy. trendy, loud: in other words, most of the inventory of the fast-fashion empire.
Last year, I said that, as I age, I want to dress like Queen Elizabeth. Now, Arnold joins the list of elder exemplars, but I am not getting into golf wear any more than I'd choose HRH's hats.  

But I do want his focus and polish; despite that, Palmer didn't look stuffy. He'd lighten his game with sky-blue pants or a pink sweater (which most men avoided like a Zika-carrying mosquito), and all of it was of high quality:

What would I buy, following Arnie's lead? A few things:
Maggiore houndstooth charcoal ruana, $275:
J. Crew lace-panel skirt (detail shown), sale price, $320— which I'd wear over tights, but the pretty contrast of lace and geometric print would still show. (Mostly sold out now.)

Jewellery: Real + vintage looks effortless, and has workmanship unmatched by most of today's mass-market designer goods. 

I might wear Beladora's retro rose gold, diamond and ruby bracelet, while enjoying an Arnold Palmer. (Price, $1, 850 and worth saving for.) The marquise diamond is a discreet 80 points, so daywear-able.

A splurge of classic tailoring: Lafayette148 "Ellington"cashmere coat with mink pockets: luxurious, clean, calm; sale price $1, 408:




As I searched for representative pieces, I realized that many are costly, even on sale. Palmer and many of his generation understood buying clothes that last. And if I'm buying for longevity, they better be things that suit me!

In a 2011 interview, Palmer said, "I’ve always felt you have to develop your own style. You can’t take it away, and you can’t give it. It’s something that’s there, and that’s what I’ve worked on through all my life. To whatever success I’ve had, I contribute it to the fact that I developed my own style. It’s how you look, how you think…everything you do is in some way connected to that style…the way you shine your shoes!”


Fast, disposable fashion diminishes that ability. When we slip into thinking, Oh it will only last a season, but that's OK, or (my personal sand trap), I need something new and I don't want to spend a lot, we actually de-skill ourselves. 


By all accounts, Arnold Palmer lived his life with joy and grace, and what he wore was hardly the defining characteristic. But how he looked meant something to him, and he would use his fame to at times improve others' game. 


Apparently he'd cross a clubhouse floor anywhere to request that a man remove his cap indoors.    





8 comments

djo said...

Brilliant, articulate, thank you.

materfamilias said...

I enjoyed this post, watching you add pieces to the wardrobe of an Arnold Palmer parallel on the She side of the room. But what tickled me the most was watching how much a Montréalaise you've become, your "disponible" replacing "disposable," accidentally, I suspect...Those French lessons are paying off, but even more, the immersion....

Duchesse said...

materfamilias: If only; that's my French keyboard doing an autocorrect. And I have a font showing up that I never selected. Too busy to fix that today.

materfamilias said...

Still, you have a French keyboard autocorrect-ing your English -- that's surely très Montréal (or Ottawa!). . . Good luck with your busy day ;-)

une femme said...

I'm in total agreement with "buy what you love, buy what lasts." And yes, while I don't usually associate the words "golf" and "style," AP was a man of discerning style.

Mardel said...

Love this post, and very much the way I am focusing now after a few years of rather random exploration. But I think I always believed in the core message, and my explorations were more of a bend in the road than a lifetime change.

Kirsten Giving said...

What a hero Arnold Palmer has been, for the world and especially for us golfers. I got a kick out of your comment that you would not be wearing golf clothes, but they are essential when playing, especially in hot and/or humid conditions. I wear taupe/beige shorts (to the knee) and nice polo shirts in Performance fibers. Cotton doesn't dry and "doesn't work!" There are beautiful colors and designs available. One just needs to look.
Arnold wore wool cardigans, often in Alpaca, and had his own line of clothing. I believe he was Stylish, which was in his Own style! We will miss his class and his concern for the game itself.
Your selections are yummy, especially that coat!

Duchesse said...

Kirsten: I have not held a club in my hands since before performance fabrics were invented, but I do remember men in alpaca cardigans. My mother, a club champion, wore seersucker dresses by The American Golfer, but our Northern Michigan course was not one of high temperatures.

unefemme: Palmer also had a beautiful athletic build so wore clothes very well.

mardel: Exploration or experimentation no longer works for me, it was fun to play with different looks in my youth but now I have really narrowed the field. Going to my natural grey hair also made a difference.