Originally posted by Synthese, 7/28/13:
Originally I had meant to keep this for myself, but of late have been overcome with guilt and feel compelled to share the tragic story of my weakness with all of you.
I confess that I have recently been the target of a hideous, and ultimately successful, bribe. Stanley Van Buren, upset at being consistently passed over in the weekly “What is Styleforum Wearing?” articles, mailed me an autographed picture of himself in bed with an unidentifiable woman. This was an obvious attempt to drum up sympathy and sway me into writing an idiotic story about him.
Shamefully, I admit that I was originally taken in, as witnessed in the latest edition of my hugely popular and critically-praised column. However, I now feel that I have an ethical duty not only to report this unbecoming behavior and apologize for my part in it, but to offer the photograph for sale to the highest bidder. Based on the number of “thumbs” that Mr. Van Buren has accumulated, it is obvious that a signed photograph of him should be worth a great deal of money, even if it is not explicitly addressed to you. Moreover, for the sake of the children, all profits from the sale of the photograph (notwithstanding the 68.73$ consignment fee that will take care of my Pinot Grigio requirements for the upcoming week) will be donated to the charity of your choice.
The photograph will be shipped in its current state: It is slightly crumpled, has a single corner that is curved, and has numerous sweaty palm-prints on it. I can look into dry-cleaning costs, but the photograph should be considered “pre-owned/like-new.” It will be sent to you in a dirty, nondescript packing envelope with no names printed on it.
The classified listing containing further information can be found here:
Here is a picture of the picture in question:
What this looks like: I knew the dame was trouble as soon as she walked in. Dames always are.
It’s when the owner of the restaurant appears, bearded and smiling, to present the saganaki to Mr. and Mrs. Van Buren that you realize you’re in the company of royalty. He’s set up a special table in the kitchen, and even laughs indulgently when Stanley makes a terrible joke about a cave, a shepherd, and the invention of cheese. The kasseri bursts into merry flame, and as the proprietor quenches it with a flamboyant squeeze of lemon the three of you toast each other with ouzo.
Later, you stop for drinks at Copa d’Oro. After pinching Stanley’s cheeks and hugging him, the aging bartender offers you a cocktail he has affectionately dubbed “the van Buren,” a concoction tasting of scotch and pineapple. Its namesake happily sips his drink through the tiny stirring straw, and regales you with stories of an adolescence spent wandering the Aegean: the magic of sun and sea, and the murky details of his marriage to Karen; a stormy, passionate affair with hints of danger that he seems embarrassed to discuss. Eventually you realize that he has been neatly evading your tactless personal questions for the better part of an hour, and you promptly settle back into your chair while Karen graciously introduces you to a string of local artists.
A cell phone rings: the cry of an eagle. Stanley answers, suddenly serious.
“Yes, Mr. President? Yes, she’s here.”
He nods twice, hangs up the phone, exchanges a glance with his wife.
“It appears that we must retire,” he says, smiling at you apologetically before allowing Karen to lead him out. You don’t ask for an explanation.
And that’s the last you see of them; a robin’s-egg-blue Fiat convertible fading into the not-dark of the LA nightscape, Karen’s long hair blowing in the wind.
Sneakers: Maison Martin Margiela
Stanley, Stanley, Stanley. Where to begin? First of all, it’s like you’re matching but you’re not. Are you two as awesome in real life as you are on the internet? Does your wife have an unhealthy clothing obsession like you do? Do you live in a posh, 1970’s earth-ship-style house with a grass roof? How many bad guys have you killed recently?
No, ignore all that. Let’s start with getting dressed: What do clothes mean to you? How do you keep things fun while ensuring that they’re workplace appropriate?
Stanley Van Buren says:
I never think “what will make me look good,” I think “what most exemplifies what I plan to do today?” It’s more than just dressing for the weather, which everyone has to do to some degree – I try to approach my entire environment, and then the goal isn’t to blend in but to amplify.
It’s absolutely a collaborative thing with my wife. We play off each other and trade off on who leads, but there’s a lot of “if you’re wearing that, then I’m wearing this.” She’s been seemingly quite comfortable joining me in my unhealthy clothing obsession, and we tend to spend roughly equally on it these days so I don’t think either of us has the edge on the other, although I’m forced to admit she definitely now has more Margiela pieces than I do.
I also take the workplace restrictions as a challenge. Everyone else’s answer seems to be argyle socks. I try to avoid that. My inspiration comes from different places, like London, or different time periods, like the 60s, and I’ve recently begun to try to incorporate some of the colorfulness and boldness of the 1970s, hopefully without looking like an anachronism.
Karen Van Buren adds:
Do you remember the first season of The Real Housewives of New York? No, you don’t, but I thought it was creepy that Alex McCord’s husband was super involved in clothes, and specifically, her clothes. I’ve changed my tune now, since Stanley is husband, stylist, and attorney (in that order) and it’s awesome. And I love how I’m the only one of the two of us who can say, “… that’s what you’re wearing?” without getting in trouble.