Sunday, August 12, 2012

Style Profile: Paul F. Tompkins

Last Friday night I had the pleasure of going on a double date with my girlfriend and a couple of friends of hers to see Paul F. Tompkins at Plays and Players Theater in Center City. A brief review:

1. The man does high-brow humor incredibly well. Not only did I laugh my ass off throughout most of his show, his usage of the word perfunctory forced me to look it up on (decidedly not in a perfunctory way), so I learned something too. Bonus!

2. Mr. Tompkins can dress. Like, really well. Take a look:

I lifted this picture from his Facebook page; hopefully my admitting this and the fact that I make no money whatsoever from this (obscure) blog (with a whopping 46 followers) will contribute to his not filing a lawsuit against me for using his likeness. 

Anyway, he's pictured above in the same jacket and bow tie he wore when I saw him, and I'm 90% sure the pants are the same. This look is excellent because not only is it completely dandy -confident, colorful, and perfectly tailored- but it's also a great image projection for both his personality and his profession as an entertainer. He's clearly having fun with how he dresses, but the cut and proportion of his clothing are so exact that it screams, "I am smart professional who's good at what he does." His hair and mustache, while unfortunately reminiscent of Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy, hearken back to burlesque days when taken in context with his outfit. Here's a breakdown of what's going on here:

1. The Jacket: This is clearly the center piece of the outfit. It's a great shade of medium blue with a bold chalk stripe and is a relatively unconventional 4x2 double-breasted model (meaning it has four outside buttons, two of which are functional). I can't know for sure, but I'll bet that it's custom, judging from the color of the buttons and the contrast-colored stitching on the front-most sleeve button. It was properly done with peaked lapels and side vents, and trust me when I say that the fit was, to quote Marisa Tomei's character from My Cousin Vinny, "dead-on-balls accurate."

2. The Bow Tie: Perfectly proportioned insofar as it wasn't wider than his face, and the color coordinated beautifully with the jacket. Also, he was wearing a friggin' bow tie! How awesome is that?

3. The Shirt: I remember him wearing a white barrel-cuff shirt at the show, but he's pictured here in a French cuff number. You can tell it's custom from the monogram on the left cuff, and while I can appreciate a monogram, I have to say that putting them on a visible part of your clothing strikes me as pompous. I don't think Mr. Tompkins is a pompous individual, so since he's obviously reading this (right?), I humbly suggest taking a cue from Fred Astaire in the future and placing his monogram on the left front of his shirt where it'll be covered by his jacket. It also has a certain old-school charm that I'm a fan of.

4. The Pants: Whereas the jacket is bold and attention-grabbing, the pants Mr. Tompkins opts for here are the perfect counterpoint in their simple grey solidity. Matching the trousers here could work, but it could also turn into costume-y overkill very easily. He made a great choice to tone it down here.

5. The Mini-Boutonniere: I love this for two reasons: men don't wear boutonnieres often enough, and it makes up for his lack of handkerchief. Well-played.

Though they're not visible in the picture, he was wearing brown dress loafers and red socks (matches the boutonniere!) at the show. This guy was killing it sartorially AND comedically; to that end, I leave you with this:

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