Do You Call That Thing A Coat Hanger?

bickermanOne of Brummell’s celebrated quips is “Do you call that thing a coat.” Here’s a literary tidbit tangentially related.

Geoffrey Woolf’s novel “The Final Club” is set at Princeton in the 1950s and contains the following passage about a clothes-conscious “dandy.” The scene takes place during Bicker, the brutal selection process for Princeton’s eating clubs. The upperclassmen can be arbitrary and cruel when it comes to weeding out undesirables, as the book’s protagonist Nathaniel learns:

A Colonial Clubman, glass of fashion and mold of form, sat across from Nathaniel. “Well, tell me about yourself.” The dandy was touching the shoulder of Nathaniel’s tweed jacket. “Say, that jacket’s badly dimpled!”

“Say what?” Nathaniel said.

“Dimpled! Do you use wire hangers?”

“I guess so, yes, yes, in fact I do.”

“There it is, then. Damned sin against a fine tweed sportcoat. Didn’t anyone at home advise you?”

“Advise me? I’m sorry…”

“Wooden hangers are de rigueur. Curved to the lie of the shoulder.”

“I never knew.”

“Jesus! Guys,” the Colonial Club macaroni said to his fellow-Bickerers, “this guy doesn’t know how to care for a tweed jacket.”

His clubmates stared at Nathaniel, who made a gesture of surrender.

“We’ve got to head on down the road,” said the clothes-care evangelist, rising, jotting notes to himself. “Never forget: curved wood hangers!”

Pictured above is a young gent from the Tuesday Night Euripides Club, from the 1956 Princeton yearbook presented at the Fine & Dandy blog

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3 Responses to “Do You Call That Thing A Coat Hanger?”

  1. Nick Willard Says:



  2. Richard E. Press Says:

    Not many at Princeton today would know what a tweed jacket is, let alone a wooden hanger.

  3. Cheryl Says:

    Joan Crawford would approve.

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