"You should match the socks with the trousers," Todd Hamlin tells Reeves, who is listening intently, stirring his Beefeater on the rocks with a swizzle stick.
"Who says?" George asks.
"Now listen," Hamlin patiently explains. "If you wear gray trousers, you wear gray socks. It's as simple as that."
"But wait," I interrupt. "What if the shoes are black? "
"That's okay," Hamlin says, sipping his martini. "But then the belt has to match the shoes."
"So what you're saying is that with a gray suit you can either wear gray orblack socks," I ask.
"Er... yeah," Hamlin says, confused. "I guess. Did I say that?"
"See, Hamlin," I say, "I disagree about the belt since the shoes are so far away from the actual belt line. I think you should concentrate on wearing a belt that coordinates with the trousers."
"He has a point," Reeves says.
The three of us, Todd Hamlin and George Reeves and myself, are sitting in Harry's and it's a little after six. Hamlin is wearing a suit by Lubiam, a great-looking striped spread-collar cotton shirt from Burberry, a silk tie by Resikeio and a belt from Ralph Lauren. Reeves is wearing a six-button double-breasted suit by Christian Dior, a cotton shirt, a patterned silk tie by Claiborne, perforated cap-toe leather lace-ups by Allen-Edmonds, a cotton handkerchief in his pocket, probably from Brooks Brothers; sunglasses by Lafont Paris lie on a napkin by his drink and a fairly nice attache case from T. Anthony rests on an empty chair by our table. I'm wearing a two-button single-breasted chalk-striped wool-flannel suit, a multicolored candy-striped cotton shirt and a silk pocket square, all by Patrick Aubert, a polka-dot silk tie by Bill Blass and clear prescription eyeglasses with frames by Lafont Paris. One of our CD Walkman headsets lies in the middle of the table surrounded by drinks and a calculator. Reeves and Hamlin left the office early today for facials somewhere and they both look good, faces pink but tan, hair short and slicked back. The Patty Winters Show this morning was about Real-Life Rambos.
"But what about vests?" Reeves asks Todd. "Aren't they... out?"
"No, George," Hamlin says. "Of course not."
"No," I agree. "Vests have never been out of fashion."
"Well, the question really is - how should they be worn?" Hamlin inquires.
"They should fit - " Reeves and I start simultaneously.
"Oh sorry," Reeves says. "Go ahead."
"No, it's okay," I say. "You go ahead."
"I insist," George says.
"Well, they should fit trimly around the body and cover the waistline," I say. "It should peek just above the waist button of the suit jacket. Now if too much of the vest appears, it'll give the suit a tight, constricted look that you don't want."
"Uh-huh," Reeves says, nearly mute, looking confused. "Right. I knew that."
"I need another J&B," I say, getting up. "Guys?"
"Beefeater on rocks with a twist." Reeves, pointing at me.
"Sure thing." I walk over toward the bar and while waiting for Freddy to pour the drinks I hear some guy, I think it's this Greek William Theodocropopolis, from First Boston, who's wearing a sort of tacky wool jacket in a houndstooth check and an okay-looking shirt, but he also has on a super-looking cashmere tie from Paul Stuart that makes the suit look better than it deserves to, and he's telling some guy, another Greek, drinking a Diet Coke, "So listen, Sting was at Chernoble - you know that place the guys who opened Tunnel opened - and so this was on Page Six and someone drives up in a Porsche 911 and in the car was Whitney and - "
Back at our table Reeves is telling Hamlin about how he taunts the homeless in the streets, about how he hands a dollar to them as he approaches and then yanks it away and pockets it right when he passes the bums.
"Listen, it works," he insists. "They're so shocked they shut up."
"Just... say... no," I tell him, setting the drinks on the table. "That's all you have to say."
"Just say no?" Hamlin smiles. "It works?"
"Well, actually only with pregnant homeless women," I admit.
"I take it you haven't tried the just-say-no approach with the seven-foot gorilla on Chambers Street?" Reeves asks. "The one with the crack pipe?"
"Listen, has any one heard of this club called Nekenieh?" Reeves asks.