A Tailor-Made Gift To The World

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 27 2014 @ 7:29pm

A.A. Gill hails the modern suit as the greatest invention of the British, claiming that “nothing else that comes from this pathetically stunted island has had anything like the universal acceptance, reach, or influence of the suit”:

The suit is the polite taming, the socializing, the neutering, of riding and military kit. Those EGYPT-POLITICS-VOTE-SISIpointless buttons on the cuff were moved from lateral to vertical. You used to be able to fold the end of your sleeve over and forward and button it like a mitten, for riding in the cold. Incidentally, the buttons on the cuff should correspond to the number of buttons on the front, not for any practical reason, but just because that’s what they should do. The vents at the back are made for sitting on a horse. The slanting pockets are for easy access when mounted. …

There is not a corner of the world where the suit is not the default clobber of power, authority, knowledge, judgement, trust and, most importantly, continuity. The curtained changing rooms of Savile Row welcome the naked knees of the most despotic and murderous, immoral and venal dictators and kleptocrats, who are turned out looking benignly conservative, their sins carefully and expertly hidden, like the little hangman’s loops under their lapels.

(Photo: Egypt’s ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives his first television interview since announcing his candidacy in Cairo on May 4, 2014. Sisi is expected to win the May 26-27 election easily riding on a wave of popularity after he ousted in July Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president. The 59-year-old retired field marshal, dressed in a suit and appearing composed and often smiling in what was a pre-recorded interview, is seen by supporters as a strong leader who can restore stability, but his opponents fear that might come at the cost of freedoms sought in the pro-democracy uprising three years ago. By STR/AFP/Getty Images)