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In considering menswear, I found this suit at the Met. Incredibly plain, it reminds me of classic Balenciaga: all about fabric and drape. It also reminded me of Hogarth’s Analysis of Beauty, and the serpentine line.

You could also call it the Ogee curve, and it’s found in the serpentine legs of 18th century tables, and does not come from, “Oh gee, that soldier’s got nice legs.”

In this variation on the theme, the contrasting lining emphasizes the lapel line, but the overall effect is less elegant. It’s about materials, too, not just cut. There’s so much to learn just by looking, really looking, at clothes and paintings from the past. There are subtleties we miss as we rush past, and miss because we haven’t read enough to understand what we’re being told.

So much hides in plain sight, because we don’t see the world the way the tailors and painters and engravers saw it. I don’t pretend to have the key to that world, but it’s worth looking for, mostly just by looking.