Constant. Sartorial. Wonderment.

Ask the Editors

Q. I have a great deal of sweater vests and a number of opera length gloves. And yet, my shoulders are cold. How can I make them less so?

Troubled by a menacing looking tulip plant? White after labor day? People over thirty who wear three kinds of plaid? Perhaps J.Cruel can help. The editors welcome intelligent inquiries about graceful living at j.cruel.queries@gmail.com.


Q. When tying a bow tie, what is the appropriate knot for a boating luncheon?

A. The correct answer is a bunch knot, which is often confused with the popular winch knot. A winch knot is what you should use to tie your wife to your bedpost. A pinch knot is what you use for the trash. A squinch knot is what you use for the recyclables. A finch knot is what you should use to tie finches together. A quince knot is inappropriate before the winter solstice. I mean, please.

Q. How can I transition some of my classic winter items into warm weather looks?

A. Don’t throw your winter coat away just because it got some snow on it! Throw it away because that homeless man brushed up against you on the street. Or transition it into some cute looks for spring. Try paring a heavy coat with no clothes underneath. Temperatures will rise and you will stay cool, just make sure to keep those legs crossed and put down a towel before your sit on the subway. Winter scarves and hats make great chew toys for the dog. Better take off the price tags first! Also, boots can be turned into mulch for roses, and skis into a garden ornament for bougainvillea. Happy spring!

Q. This isn’t strictly a fashion question, but you seem to have a high tolerance for pretension. Today I heard myself utter the sentence, “I’m completely obsessed with French New Wave cinema.” Do you think I’ve traded my humanity for hipness?

A. We love La Nouvelle Vague as much as the next aesthete, but we suspect the tight sleeves of your Thom Browne suit might be cutting off blood flow to the part of your brain that controls your bearability. For a nice change and improved circulation, try wearing a tennis sweater or a capelet.

Q. Is it just me, or do harem pants have one pleat too many in common with Hammer pants? Am I Prince Ali, Fabulous He, or am I too legit to quit? It’s true that I like to give my loins capacious housing, but how much is too much?

A.. Since the dawn of time, mankind has asked this question, and we are prepared to answer. The trick is in the shape. Hammer pants with their low-slungness and their horizontal folds and layers look like post-apocalyptic dhotis, whereas harem pants, when done correctly, are long and lean, like two elegant zeppelins chained together at your crotch. Observe:

Roomy: Hammer

Lean: Harem
Go now into the world. Perhaps someday we shall meet. We will know you by the rustling sound you make when you walk.

Q: This is embarrassing, but lately I’ve been struggling with unnatural urges. You see, J. Cruel, I want to dress up my dog! She’s a chocolate lab, and she’s already chewed through one ballerina costume and one doggie t-shirt that says “Shopaholic” in rhinestones. I think she might be plotting to chew through my neck, but I just want to see her in the biker chick outfit I bought her. Please help.

A:. Take solace, my child, for you are not yet lost. In your hour of need, you turned to a higher authority: J. Cruel. We will admit to having had a chuckle or two over your basic dachshund-dressed-as-a-hotdog or your corgi-in-a-school-bus-suit, but your dog, classic American companion that she is (the Ralph Lauren of dogs), seems to be telling you that she’s most comfortable in her monochromatic, slim-fit fur jumpsuit. Don’t force your pet to be an abomination. The next time you have the urge to humiliate her, put on a ballerina/biker chick/rhinestone monstrosity of your own and have someone walk you down the street on a leash. What goes around, comes around, my child.


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