Saturday, May 19, 2018

"No suit should look new."



No suit should look new.  Anderson & Sheppard of Savile Row believe that if a customer leaves their shop and is recognized as wearing a new suit, then they have failed to do their job.  Beau Brummell had his valet wear all of his new clothes first, to take the vulgar newness out of them.
- Paul Keers,  A Gentleman's Wardrobe


65 comments:

  1. Blast! I shall have to roll a new suit I picked up recently into a ball and trow it against a wall several times, as Fred Astair once advised, before wearing it in public. An interesting and useful title in any case. I periodically pull mine off the shelf for perusal and review.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  2. Just getting a man to wear a suit is an ordeal today. I performed a wedding last Saturday. 200+ guests. I wore a suit, and not another soul. I was looked at like I had 3 heads.

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    1. You were not looked at because you had 3 heads. You were looked at because you were the best dressed man there. Stand tall and be proud.

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  3. Men in formal wear look very gallant. Sadly, dressing has fallen by the wayside in many ways. That said, look at the royal wedding and see just how handsome men and women can look. The tux, the tails, hats and long lovely dresses. I love it all. Susan

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  4. I watched the royal wedding and all the guests I saw on my television looked good all dressed up with their hats. Like so many here, I dislike this slobbification in everyday life. I'm reading this book, "The Lost Art of Dress", which talks about how women were encouraged and helped to dress well based on principles of art.

    Somebody always has to expend a lot of effort in order for the end user to make it all look effortless. It's the same in software development.

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  5. What is a "suit"? Is the thing my father used to wear?

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  6. Wearing a suit will never go out of style. Period.

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  7. I recently interviewed for two jobs, one a full time role and the other a contract job. As is my habit, I wore a Brooks Bros. suit to each interview. When I arrived at both interviews, the hiring managers both asked why I was dressed as I was. (They were both in jeans and golf shirts). They told me that HR was supposed to inform me of their very casual dress codes, especially on Fridays (the FT role interview was on a Friday in their global headquarters). I responded that despite business casual workplaces, I always wore a suit to interviews.

    The VP of Procurement for the FT role was British and was dressed even more shabbily than the man I would report to. However, he seemed to appreciate the suit and actually asked where I purchased it. When I mentioned Brooks Bros. he seemed impressed but then asked if I had an outside income and did I really need to work? That was truly a first during an interview and now I think I can say, I've seen it all.

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    1. That's because you're so aristocratic, Paul.

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    2. The current and ongoing societal decay has brought down with it the phrase, "dress for the job you want, not the job you have", when the job you want is dressed down a few levels from you. Along with this is being put on the defensive when asked "how come you're all dressed up?", usually in a condescending tone of voice.

      Not long ago, I was at a rather nice place for dinner for my birthday wearing a blazer, when I ran into a couple I knew. As I went over to greet them, one of the others at their table rather obnoxiously piped up and said "why are you all dressed up in that jacket?", to which I replied, "It's my birthday and I like wearing it. Why don't you try putting one on?" I caught my friends and the others at their table snickering at my retort. Maybe we're not as all alone out here as we think we are.

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    3. Got to smile - there was something more going on than the proselytizing of corporate casual. You must have looked really good in that Brooks suit! I work in SV and when it counts people do wear suits. We just had a BOD meeting with execs flying in from all parts of the world. An email went out the day before asking employee to dress "nice" and the people attending the BOD meeting? Yep, all in suits. Even perpetually T-shirted Mark Zuckerberg donned a suit recently.

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    4. To a rude question such as, "why are you all dressed up in that jacket?", you can always say, "Why do you ask?" My preference, however, is, "I have plans later," implying that you have a more extensive social life than they do. The replies don't matter to crass people but I enjoy it.

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  8. I truly do now whether to laugh, or sob inconsolably. It really seems to be a case of having an inkling of what is appropriate for certain situations plus a realization that there is a better way (in oh, so many ways) versus a totally clueless, even peasant mindset. There. I said it. Fire away.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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    1. What does appropriateness have to do with liking a beautiful wrinkled suit?

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  9. Heinz:

    The irony is that it's mostly leftists--i.e., prole lovers-- who want to dress well; on the "right" it's jeans and polo shirts/jeans and tee-shirts.

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    1. Oh Steve, do be quiet. You sound like an utter prat with your babbling about "leftists." Also, if you'd actually read and understood the Fussell book you're mangling, you'd already know that the folks he describes as "proles" are the ones most likely to have a #MAGA sticker on the back of their dirty pickup truck, and flags everywhere.

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    2. Plausible DeplorabilityMay 20, 2018 at 12:50 PM

      I'm no prole, my truck is brand new and squeaky clean, and I keep my MAGA to myself in public for fear of being assaulted by the emotionally disturbed.

      America is presently locked in an historical moment where EVERYTHING is a made-up moral panic, with people competing to throw themselves publicly on their sword of choice (any "issue" will do) with the maximum amount of hysterical drama; even at the expense of their careers and families. Rather like lemmings, actually . . .
      hard to understand what's so threatening about relative peace and prosperity. The very people who spent the last 40 years intentionally coarsening the culture and breaching ALL the former boundaries of decent dress, acceptable behavior and common sense are the ones now howling the loudest . . . go figure.

      This Too Shall Pass! ;-)

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    3. "The very people who spent that last 40 years intentionally coarsening the culture and breaching ALL the former boundaries, etc." are now running the country and braying about "the emotionally disturbed."

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    4. Politics ? Really ?

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    5. Yes, I thought we were talking about wrinkled suits.

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  10. Hate to break it to you folks, but in 25-50 years things change. Just as by WWII men were no longer "dressing for dinner" with high rigid white collars and women had long since kicked over the corset, since the 1980's the pace of life in most businesses (and the attenuated salaries for most) have determined that expending substantial amounts of time and money on projecting status via dress is not furthering the mission of profit.

    Today, one's electronic acoutrements and corresponding adeptness in using them is much more of a status symbol than a Brooks Brothers suit. Yes, people will always look better dressed more formally, which also lends dignity to a situation deemed important. Ordinary work life, however, is no longer deemed to be one of those "formal" situations. There is also much less face-to-face meeting today, and a lot more "e" stuff.

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    1. Who is talking about status ?

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    2. Anything one wears projects an image which sends a message--intended or not. Historically, this was a principal means of social "sorting."
      Fashion and perception are inseparable.

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  11. The last time I bought a new suit was when my daughter got married, although I really didn't need a new suit. But I'm not so certain that a new suit is such a bad thing. Otherwise, shop at used clothing stores.

    The funny thing is, "business casual" doesn't mean you can wear anything you want. Besides, some people don't care for blue jeans. Likewise, casual doesn't mean informal; that's what a business suit is. Formal is tails, day or night, only not the same. I've never been sure what a dinner jacket is for, perhaps a suit you wear in the evening.

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  12. I used to live in suits. Back then, if you had at least ten suits so that you never wore a suit more often than once every two weeks, dry cleaned them no more than once a year, and hung them on proper hangers so that the wool would come back to shape between wearings, even after 5 years a suit still looked new. Why would anyone want a rumpled suit? Might as well just smear some mustard on your tie while you are at it.

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    1. Beau Brummel didn't mention rumpled or wrinkled. We're reading too much into the quote.

      On the other hand, more than anything, much lighter fabrics are used for suits these days. It's called "year-round," since we spend our days in climate-controlled conditions. I'm almost certain they don't wear as well as heavier fabrics. My father was a truck driver but he wore a suit all day on Sunday. My mother was an invalid and we had a housekeeper but there was no valet to take the newness out of his (one) suit.

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    2. Actually, I think ole Beau would come off today like a bad parody of Michael Jackson crossed with Tory Burch: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beau_Brummell

      Surprising anyone still knows his name!

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  13. "Cause every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man" ZZ Top

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  14. No risk here, last new suit I purchased was a Haspel poplin in 1984.

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    1. Do you still wear it? How is it holding up?

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    2. Summer wear only, Memorial Day to Labor Day. Mix it in with two others poplins and a couple seersucker suits. Still looks pretty good, maybe a little faded but I like the look sort of matches the owner.

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  15. I grew up taught that you always dress for the occasion, and then some. It never hurts to be the best-dressed person in the room. My husband and I alway dress well when we go anywhere, and it's astonishing to see the slovenliness of other people we encounter. Fleece, cargo shorts, sweatshirts - all seen as acceptable attire at restaurants these days. We're asked a lot why we are "so dressed up," to which we reply, "It's just what we do." --Holly in PA

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    1. You forgot the execrable yoga pants and sneakers, seen on 99.7% of all women in Fairfield County these days. But then, the body itself is now the whole point, isn't it? Because that shrinkwrapped-Olympian look requires working out as a full time job. Not to mention a diet of kale and plastic surgery. ;-)

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    2. "It's just what we do" as well Holly. PA

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    3. I have always followed the rule that there is no such thing as "over dressed." That's why I hate air travel now. Weekdays used to be all business, except in summer. The last time I flew it looked like a third world bus. I believe I even caught a glimpse of a fellow with a chicken in a cage on his lap. Not a duck.

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    4. Your comment brought up the memory of Hitchcock's, "To Catch A Thief"... Cary Grant sitting on back seat of bus. He was dressed in business casual.

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  16. If I have said this once, I have said it a thousand times. I dress well because I like to. If someone has a problem with my dressing in a coat/blazer, tie, etc., that is on them, not me. I dress as I saw the professional men in my town dress. I am a proud product of whence I came, and will forever be. You want to criticize me for that? Hah. That is not a criticism. That is a compliment.

    Its interesting the very phrase "dress up" connotes an aspirational mind set. You dress "up," not down. You aspire to more, to betterment, to improvement. Someone wants to criticize me for that? Knock yourself out. I like the way I dress.

    The Concord Diaspora

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    1. The word, "aspirational" seems to be a pejorative now. Why would anyone want to be mediocre? Why would anyone be proud of dressing "down".

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  17. Plausible DeplorabilityMay 21, 2018 at 7:16 PM

    That's also what DJT does; he ALWAYS wears a suit and tie in ANY official or public situation except golf. No trying to pass himself off as a "cowboy," a "good ole boy," a "hipster," or anything other than a businessman doing business. No "casual Fridays" in the Trump White House, and I don't see any of his staff dressing sloppily or inappropriately, either. I suspect that may influence the cultural direction for the better going forward . . . much as the clothes we all like made the comeback we all remember nostalgically back in the last conservative movement of the'80's.

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    1. He is looking less a businessman and more a gangster daily. But you think his clothes and no casual Fridays will trump the lies and corruption? Seems like a tall order for those clothes, but, hey, who knows.

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    2. DJT is too fat to wear anything except a suit. Barack Obama had an athletic body. He could wear anything, and looked better in a suit, or in evening clothes, than any president since JFK. The only "influence [of] the cultural direction for the better going forward" he'll be responsible for is even fatter conservative men and/or a rush on Jenny Craig for Men memberships.

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    3. Ah, the ultimate leftist pejorative--"fat." That's all you've got?
      Pfffft! How's your 401(k) these days? Portfolio since 2016? May want to take a look. I'll take results over image ANY day!

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    4. Heh. If you find it "pejorative," that's on you. The fact is, fawning all over his "style" is ridiculous. He is, quite simply, too fat to wear anything but a suit. He doesn't wear them because of his devastating elegance, or his commitment to "the cultural direction for the better going forward." And as Anon 8:08 PM points out, he also looks like a gangster. A fat gangster. That doesn't make me a "leftist," it makes me not blind. On the other hand, when Trump calls women "fat pigs," is that him being a "leftist" too? Seriously, stop commenting here before you embarrass yourself even more.

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    5. Wonder how "fat" YOU'D look wearing full Kevlar body armor under YOUR suit. BTW, are YOU in charge of the free world? Or just holding down a chair in Starbucks? And it's OK for you to call DJT "fat," but when he called an obnoxious, trolling "comedian" the same now you're all trigglypuffed? Can't have it both ways, Kemosabe! :-)

      I think the real problem some "college" people have with their cultural "elites" losing the recent election is that they've been socialized from infancy to ~actually believe~ they are better, smarter, nicer, classier than everyone else and therefore entitled to Rule the World. Call it the David Brooks Syndrome if you will. Now that events have challenged that assumption, they are behaving exactly like the entitled, snobbish, deluded spoiled brats they've been raised to be. Oh, and BTW it isn't the Right trying to restrict speech, religion, freedom of association, and the right to self-defense. Let alone purport to control the weather and deny grammar-school biology.

      All the Left has right now is negativity and an ongoing tantrum. Their current fund-raising efforts say it all. They need to REFLECT about why they lost. Their recent turn to "progressive," hard-left culture is NOT the American mainstream--it's a BUBBLE confined to the Acela corridor, campuses, and a few periodicals that only quote each other. As my grandmother used to say, "Spread your eyes!"

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    6. Fat, skinny, well-dressed or not, left, right or smack-dab down the middle - it doesn't matter. Saying his actions "may influence the cultural direction for the better going forward" suggests he's a role model. While the extremist evangelicals think so, Trump is anything but a role model, unless the unbridled greed of money is your god. He has absolutely no values that I would want to embrace. None.

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    7. LOL He's not wearing "full Kevlar body armour" under his golf shits and his enormous pleated khakis, that's for sure, though a good, well-fitting girdle and a pair of Spanx wouldn't be the worst idea he ever had.

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  18. Robert ReichardtMay 21, 2018 at 7:55 PM

    My favorite repartee to anyone questioning my wearing a suit (or any civilized dress) is: "Because this how a white man dresses -- I guess you've never seen it before."

    The reaction always tells me everything about the person. Those who laugh at the joke (maybe they've read Rudyard Kipling) are people I like, those who are offended or outraged are just more PC cretins who I could care less about.

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    1. That reply tells everything about you.

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    2. Ah, I see. So you're a pretentious boor in a suit. Got it. Many of us have read Kipling. We still wouldn't say anything that ignorant in 2018.

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    3. Robert ReichardtMay 22, 2018 at 6:24 PM

      Anonymous @ 10:26:

      Yes, and this "boor" (even though I can't speak Afrikaans) -- will be voting in the fall against you while wearing said suit. Thank you.

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    4. I'm not actually running for political office in the autumn, Bobbie, but your confusion and your babbling has a certain charm, I hope you get your suit cleaned between now and election day. Polyester has a short shelf life, and tends to hold onto oily sweat.

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    5. This thread is a perfect reminder of why I finally moved away from New England, the surroundings were beautiful, but so many people living in close proximity with the long developed status anxieties led to a very unpleasant social atmosphere. I do not miss it one bit, and am learning to love my new home region.

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    6. Robert ReichardtMay 22, 2018 at 8:50 PM

      Wrong, actually it's only 65% polyester, and 35% viscose ($79.99 on sale now at Walmart ... Reg. $104)). No dry cleaning necessary, or oily sweat worries -- I just rinse it down with a high pressure garden hose for formal occasions. Thank you.

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  19. The last time I went to a job interview I went in nice wool trousers (fully lined, sadly harder to find these days), a fine gauge twinset, and pearls. Originally I had planned to wear a suit but the workplace called and specifically told me not to wear a suit because the boss that I would interview with (who is a generation older than I am) would be very casually dressed. Indeed he was, and still always is...I got the job.)

    There is no dress code in my office and there is little personal contact with the outside world. I look presentable- not dressed to go to tea at Buckingham Palace-- but I wouldn't be embarrassed if somebody came to the office unannounced. (For example, today dark jeans, a French sailor top, navy shoes, belt and blazer, with simple gold hoop earrings. I live in central Europe and dark jeans tend to be standard for casual officewear, as opposed to khakis and the like that one sees more often in the US.)

    When I go home to the US to visit it never ceases to amaze me how slobby many people look (wearing baseball caps in a restaurant, looking like one is wearing pajama bottoms in the grocery store, etc.) I also discovered that it seems pantyhose is not as common for wearing in professional environments with skirts and dresses anymore (I was back in the US for a meeting and met up with an old friend who laughed at my bewilderment at the lack of selection of pantyhose in a department store-- different than the days when we were in college and starting out professionally when it was often part of a professional dress code.)

    --EM

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    1. Jeans were originally practical clothing for outdoor, physical hard labor. Think construction, livestock, ditch digging. They are actually not very comfortable to sit around in. Can't imagine why anyone would think they are suitable office attire.

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    2. Ahh the days of pantyhose, when ladies dressed like ladies and gentlemen
      dressed like gentlemen. I am not sure if you are familiar with Wolford, they make
      the most amazing pantyhose. I have ordered from them recently and have been very
      pleased with their products and their customer service. I do believe there is a time and
      place for different attire. The problem is not everyone understands that sartorial choices
      convey respect or lack thereof for the particular situation.

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    3. I'd settle for 'em keeping their underwear on the inside!

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    4. To Anon at 12:36pm 22 May: Actually I do find jeans to be comfortable. The cuts of jeans in Europe tend to be more stylish and tailored than what one sees in your average Wal-Mart back home. People here tend to wear darker colors- owning fewer clothes and it does not show dirt as much (people here tend to rewear their clothing more than Americans, laundry takes longer here,and people are closer to dirt and the elements etc.) I love my khakis but actually they tend to make one stand out as a foreigner here and appear dirty sooner. --EM

      To Anon at 12:36 on 22 May: I am very familiar with Wolford. I was just surprised that pantyhose isn't such standard office attire anymore, and wasn't offered in the quantities and some of the places that it used to be. Clearly I need to visit home more often! ;-)

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  20. If a man gets his shoes right he can wear pretty much anything he wants.

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  21. Why do so many, many people dress like they don’t care what they look like?

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    1. Because if they're at home, it doesn't matter because everyone knows them. If they're somewhere else, it doesn't matter because nobody knows them.

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    2. What a way to treat your loved ones. What a way to impress strangers.

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  22. I had my valet read all these comments and only pass along the ones which contained no vulgar newness.

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  23. After reading all the comments here, I can only say from my observance, dressing down is the new dressing up. I live in what is considered a metro city with more than its fair share of high net worth residents who have earned (in the current generation) rather than inherited their wealth. There is something of a covert prestige code of conduct that you don't draw attention to your status/success via the clothes on your back. Hence, the hoodies, the cross-utility of (clean & pressed) sports-oriented clothes (because you are always outdoors, trim & fit). There is a lot of emulation of this sartorial look -- you may call it aspirational, millennial style.

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  24. My father often enjoyed wearing suits and he always looked so handsome. Since my husband worked with agriculture his clothing had to be very casual and hard wearing. He will only wear a suit to funerals and weddings. However, I've learned that you can't always judge a book by it's cover. One of the wealthiest men in our county was a farmer with vast land holdings and he wore bib overalls and drove a battered old pick-up truck. On Sundays we work a suit jacket over the overalls but then that was several decades ago!

    Whimmy

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