Degenerate City Men

This little article spends its time in a tiny frame, hung in a place of honor in my apartment. My roommate discovered it inside a completely intact New York Times paper he found on a construction site in Manhattan. The article is from 1906. The second paragraph is amazing. A must read for the menswear-inclined.

DEGENERATE CITY MEN. – A sad accusation is brought against the “city” man by a writer in the London Telegraph. A city man in London, it should be said, is not any dweller in the great metropolis, but simply one whose employment takes him to “the city,” the old London where finance and commerce still centre. Now this city man, if not exactly of the type labelled dressy, has always been a stickler for form. One used to see him riding into the city by bus or tupenny tube, with his inevitable dark suit and silk hat, suggesting a solid respectability worthy of being trusted with untold gold. There has been something stolid and British about the city man calculated to awe the wandering foreigner. No other locality has produced precisely this type. 

But the city man, too, is degenerating. He is becoming flamboyant in his attire. “I am told,” says the writer in the Telegraph, “that some men wear tweed suits when they come to town because it saves the trouble of changing when the get home into clothes which are more suited to the garden or for walking or cycling. If so, this is a concession to laziness which may easily extend to the conduct of the day’s business, and clearly proves that here is danger to our commercial institutions in the tolerance shown to check suitings and the discarding of hats – the latter merely another sign of indifference.” The conclusion is logical. How can the man who dresses ill do anything else well?