Suit porn—vintage style!
My latest novel, Stuff, is set in a vintage clothing store, and the owner has an impressive wardrobe of vintage suits. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to write this story was to have a chance to dress up a hero in a range of period outfits, but without the research nightmare of writing a genuine historical novel. There’s just something about a man in a suit…
I didn’t always feel this way, though. When I was younger I was staunchly countercultural, and thought men in suits were incredibly boring and unsexy. I equated wearing a neck-tie with being prim and buttoned-up. Back then I’d much rather see a man in combat fatigues or a faded t-shirt full of holes. But something changed. I blame two men—well, okay, two TV characters: David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Ianto Jones in Torchwood. Those men knew how to rock pinstripes!
Suits can be sexy for all kinds of reasons. For some they signify power and money—the ultimate wardrobe of the alpha male. Others find them appealing because they’re smart and formal. But for me it’s all about the tailoring.
For the first time ever I could really appreciate what an asset a well tailored suit was. And it’s all down to the tailoring. A suit has to hug the body in all the right places, and be loose enough to allow freedom of movement. The men who can’t afford to get a bespoke suit just have to hope they can find something that fits in the ready-to-wear collections, and unfortunately I see far too many men out there in suits that really aren’t doing them any favours.
Because I wasn’t treating Perry’s suits as a way to signify power and money, I could have huge amounts of fun with more unusual styles. One of my favourite outfits in the book was his tweedy 1940s suit which Mas thought made him look like a character from Downton Abbey. And with vintage suits there was the opportunity to have fun with accessories like waistcoats, braces (that’s suspenders for US readers) and hats, as well as the occasional handkerchief poking out a breast pocket. I drew the line at cravats, though!
There is even a scene in the book where I sent Mas and Perry off to a gay club wearing dinner jackets (that’s a tuxedo in the US). The lure of bowties and cufflinks was too much to resist, and there’s something so sexy about a bow tie hanging around a bloke’s neck at the end of the night…
Writing Stuff wasn’t my first foray into suit porn. In my First Impressions short story series I have a man in pinstripes, and the whole storyline of Tailor Made hinges around the creation of a bespoke suit for one of the characters. I have a feeling there are plenty more suit porn stories out there just waiting for me to tell them!
What’s your ultimate outfit on a man? Formal or casual, and why?
Jo is giving away a title from her backlist to one lucky commenter. Comment here by 6/14/2014 to be entered in for a chance of winning.
Stuff is out now from Samhain Publishing, and is book two in The Bristol Collection (which started with Junk)
Where to buy:
When Mr. Glad Rags meets Mr. Riches, the result is flaming fun.
Tobias “Mas” Maslin doesn’t need much. A place of his own, weekends of clubbing, a rich boyfriend for love and support. Too bad his latest sugar daddy candidate turns out to be married with kids. Mas wants to be special, not someone’s dirty little secret.
When he loses his job and his flat on the same day, his worlds starts unraveling…until he stumbles across a vintage clothing shop. Now to convince the reclusive, eccentric owner he’s in dire need of a salesman.
Perry Cavendish-Fiennes set up Cabbages and Kinks solely to annoy his controlling father. Truth be told, he’d rather spend every spare moment on his true passion, art. When Mas comes flaming into his life talking nineteen to the dozen, he finds himself offering him a job and a place to live.
He should have listened to his instincts. The shop is already financially on the brink, and Mas’s flirting makes him feel things he’s never felt for a man. Yet Mas seems convinced they can make a go of it—in the shop, and together.
Warning: Contains an eccentric, bumbling Englishman, a gobby drama queen, fantastic retro clothing, scary fairies, exes springing out of the woodwork, and a well-aimed glass of bubbly. Written in brilliantly British English.
And check out the review for Stuff here:
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. She blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
Jo publishes regularly with Samhain, and has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish, although she prefers to leave the “boring bits” of the book creation process to someone else.