I’ve been invited to a black-tie event so I rented a tux. I thought I had it covered but the trousers need braces and the rental place doesn’t have any. I need to know not only where to get some, but also the right colour. Should they be black like the jacket, trousers and bow-tie, or white like the shirt?
Mr Dandy: Why bother with braces when modern trousers don’t need them? Anyway, black or white – both are boring. Take a look around and you’ll see nobody cares any more. Anyway, braces, or suspenders, as they are referred to in America, are hidden under your jacket for most of the night, until the party really gets going. You can get them in different hues and patterns for only HK$349 at Tie Rack (Admiralty Centre, Admiralty, tel: 2866 1501).
Mr Dapper: Oh, hogwash. Braces serve the very important function of holding up one’s trousers instead of a belt. Moreover, they should never be seen – a gentleman is expected to wear his jacket at all times throughout formal events. Choosing a waistcoat over a cummerbund will further decrease the chances of exposing one’s braces, obviously. It has therefore always been my rule to hide white braces under a white dinner jacket, and black under black, with the express intention of not letting them show. I buy mine from Albert Thurston (HK$900 a pair; The Armoury, 3/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, tel: 2804 6991), one of the finest crafters of braces; there are two choices of width and they come in white or black, among other colours.
Now that summer’s over, I’m trying to organise my wardrobe. I thought those bags your dry cleaning comes in would be enough to protect clothes for a while, but I’ve been disappointed by them in the past. Where do I get the ones you can suck the air out of?
Mr Dandy: Woah. Rookie mistake! Those things are just supposed to shield your duds till you get them home. People will try to tell you to use dehumidifying stuff like cedar, or those silicon water absorbing things. Sure, they’re great to keep clothes on rotation for a season, but for the stuff you’re saying goodbye to until next spring, you’re right, it’s all about space bags. Here’s a fun fact: the Space Bag brand is owned by Ziploc, the sandwich-bag maker, but it’s not the only one out there. I haven’t seen them sold in local stores, but there are tons of packs online ranging from HK$46.50, to HK$426.50 (www.amazon.com).
Mr Dapper: Perhaps a little bit of fine tuning is required here (as usual). Space Bags are, indeed, wonderful inventions. I would not, however, place my best suit in them. For that, I recommend the “hanging bag” variety (HK$306; www.amazon.com). As you might imagine, Sogo (555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2833 8338) carries several Japanese versions in boxes of two for HK$138 (75 x 85 cm), and HK$490 for a multipack of 11 different-sized bags. Similarly, the ever dependable Japan Home Centre (various locations; www.japanhome.com.hk) offers several versions for HK$25 (60 x 80 cm) to HK$46.90 (100 x 90 cm).
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