The retailer Paul Stuart was once my sartorial lodestone and mentor. In the '80's and '90's they possessed an aesthetic which often combined dazzling innovation in the selection of colors, patterns, and materials wielded with rock-solid, sure-handed Ivy League tastefulness. While not having been inexpensive for a long time, it wasn't about the so-called "luxury" market and certainly wasn't very interested in fashion. I haven't been there in a long time, so I know any such comparison is a little unfair, but seeing what they put forward in their advertising now, much has changed. And for those who are currently fond of this retailer, I am glad you still are. But I truly miss my Paul Stuart. I've kept and still enjoy perusing old Paul Stuart catalogs as I prepare to sleep. And while again enjoying their 1990 Fall catalog, I was struck by all that is now gone. I came upon a page of shirt and tie pairings that I am going to share just because they were so beautiful and creative. Sadly, I can't provide the photos, so a description will have to suffice. First, let's understand what is being shown and described: for some, shirts and ties automatically only mean rather formal ensembles intended for business or more formal special occasions. And while they certainly can mean that, they can also function as a basis for smart, but relaxed casual wear. And that realization, or actually the fuller understanding of that is how they often had been worn in the '30's and '40's, continued to be expressed in some of Paul Stuart's offerings. So what is being described here are shirts and ties intended for more casual sporting/country venues. But all were available in a full range of dress shirt sizing. The first pairing is an example of iconic traditional forms rendered in a fresh and innovative way. Specifically it is a medium tattersall pattern shirt in Italian cotton and a knit tie. But what a shirt and what a tie! The shirt has a soft spread collar and a flapped chest pocket. On a white ground the colors are plum, aqua and periwinkle blue. The knit tie is Fair Isle cashmere that is predominantly wine with camel and hunter green. The second is the same style of shirt, only this cloth is paisley! Yes, paisley! But what a paisley! A medium-sized paisley figure in olive/plum/pine on a wine ground. And despite it's unusual nature, pair it with a darker, earthy tweed, and it can be remarkable. What tie? A herringbone wool/silk stripe woven with a cinnamon colored warp. The stripe is camel and cinnamon, the ground color is cocoa. The last is a smaller tattersall pattern shirt of Swiss cotton in the same style, done in green and rust on a white ground. Worn with it is another cinnamon warp tie, but in silk, with both a jacquard woven paisley and square on an azure ground. Note that these are all traditional forms. That's the syntax, but what a dazzlingly gorgeous vocabulary. It's sartorial jazz. Good luck finding it at your Men's Wearhouse! Sadly, good luck finding it at Paul Stuart.