And the word of the day is DEBONAIR!

My husband used to be the best dresser in Boston. He spent a fortune on clothing. He loved looking good. His father was a tailor and for him, a suit that fit perfectly was like a hot sports car — and he had one of them, too. Did I mention his 1969 hot orange convertible Challenger? He actually had a matching wristwatch — gold with an orange background. That’s what he was showing Tip O’Neill in this now almost-famous photograph.

Garry wanted to be debonair. Like Cary Grant. He loved the way Cary Grant wore clothing and over time, Garry became quite a clothes-horse. You’d never know it from his stretchy pants these days, but in his time, he was quite the dresser. He still irons a crease in his jeans because they need that crease or they don’t look right.

Except he almost never wears jeans anymore. He is retired and so is his wardrobe. But he keeps a few things because every now and then, he has to stand in front of an audience and look good.

He looks good!

Recently – Photo: Garry Armstrong

I always felt slightly underdressed in his company — even when he was wearing shorts and a tee-shirt. Even my father — who rarely noticed anything other than himself (a consummate narcissist) — remarked that Garry looked better dressed in a grungy pair of shorts and shirt than most people looked in a tuxedo.

It was hard for me to live up to that, but Garry was a big help to me in finding clothing that looked good on me. He had an eye for drape and line. Even our granddaughter wouldn’t go shopping for a prom dress without his help. That is something!

At Broadcasting Hall Of Fame, September 2013

He never managed to help Owen much, though, but Owen was allergic to nice clothing. Greasy jeans and tee shirts with holes were his thing from very early on. Clothing that didn’t have paint stains on them wasn’t worth wearing. I guess that’s the flip side of debonair? Anti-debonair?

These days, it’s all about comfort. Elastic. I warned him, though. Once you discover elastic, you’ll never go back. it’s true. After you have learned to love stretch, nothing else feels right.

Yoga pants forever!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all plus a big helping of cynicism.

34 thoughts on “DEBONAIR – IT’S A HARD ACT TO LIVE UP TO! – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Looking dapper, Garry! I like the blue and yellow tie a lot. And I always think that any man looks great in well cut clothes. Much easier than for women. When my son was in high school and he and his friends were a little too skinny or a little too chubby, like boys can be at 16, I always found them handsome when they dressed up for a concert or a school dance. A nice suit and a tie. And a clean pair of shoes. Here comes a new boy or man.


    1. Garry was always such an elegant dresser. He still can be, when it matters. There was a time when both of us owned multiple pieces of formal dress wear. Even ME. Imagine that. These days, it’s hard for me to imagine owning the clothing (I wish I’d saved it and I don’t know why I didn’t) — or standing on those high heels. I think men have an easier time because their shoes don’t hurt. I remember my wedding and thinking they were going to have to cut me out of my shoes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We always feel better in a good outfit. I’m not obsessed with fashion and I’ve never been. But I like to put a nice dress or pants and tops when going out.
        I chose simple for my wedding since it was in the country. That made it easy for the shoes:)


  2. I would be firmly in the anti-debonair faction. I don’t even own “nice” clothes. I have one dress shirt and one pair of slacks to wear if I get forcibly dragged to a wedding or funeral… but other than that, if I have to look nice to be there, I won’t be there. I have never felt comfortable in anything other than extreme casual…


    1. You and my son, except I’m not sure he really has one pair of slacks OR a jacket. We’ve had to go shopping for him each time there’s been an occasion. And he is REALLY hard to fit.


    1. See, now I thought so too. He also has the same hand gestures and they both come from that delicious west Indian world. I actually met Harry when he was making “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” I was working down the street from the studio, so for a couple of weeks, I bumped into him every day around lunchtime. He made tears come to my eyes. What a handsome man!


      1. Wasn’t it Sydney Poitier who made “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” Both were gorgeous men. But actually, you are right. He looks a bit like Sidney Poitier as well. Like Sidney married Harry!!! And he was the result.


        1. You’re right. And I never met Harry, though I owned ALL his records. Garry met him, though. And Sidney and the whole gang. I just met Sidney who really DID bring tears to my eyes. Also, Sidney can’t sing. During the one time he sang on screen, if you listen, you’ll hear that Harry is actually singing for him. They were best friends.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember just how debonair and handsome Garry was on TV here! Never having had anything close to a flair for clothing, I admired the effortless way he always presented himself while looking fantastic. And that’s a great photo of you, too, Marilyn!


    1. It wasn’t effortless. He spent MORE time in the bathroom before leaving for work than I spent in an average week. But that’s the thing about effortless flair. It requires a lot of work and one huge wardrobe 😀


  4. I think that David was anti debonair. His mother onc said to me “Have you ever noticed that David only looks in a mirror once a day? In the morning to shave and comb his hair. ” She was right, he never felt compelled to check himself out before going out. When he was working he would wear an open neck shirt and good trousers but once he stopped it was jeans and polo shirts outside the house and track pants at home. The only thing that would exasperate me was that he would often wear his “good” polo shirts to take Cindy to the park and get them covered in mud and dog hair but if we were going out he would grab a top that might be old and faded or stained. In the end I stopped nagging him about it which I mostly did because I thought it made me look bad. I thought if he doesn’t worry about it why should I?


    1. Owen never cared, so whenever something came up when he actually NEEDED something nice, it was always a frenzy trying to find something that would fit him. That he has size 15 feet never helped either. He is a big, tall kid and finding clothing for him — even casual clothing — was difficult anyway, so dressy clothing was really tough and expensive.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Owen is down to a normal weight now, but for a while, he was not only very tall but also rather round. He has thinned down by about 50 pounds since then, but he is still well over six feet and NO ONE carries size 15 EEE shoes.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. You both look great! Fabulous suit that Garry was wearing. When I was practicing medicine, my idea of a good outfit was when someone would say “nice outfit” and I’d have to look down to see what I was wearing. Comfort and function always came first, not scaring the patients a close second. Style, probably about 4th. My stylish and artistic mother struggled that neither of her daughters cared enough to bother. Now, I’m with you, elastic for sure, even as I still work part time.


    1. My husband is a ham. He would not argue with this assessment. He wanted to be an actor and settled for TV reporter. But he wanted to be “one of those people.” He kind of was. I tried to look attractive in an office sort of way, but I was in high tech where “well-dressed” mean clean jeans and a nice tee-shirt 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Isn’t it strange today when I see the tie collection my man had from the earlier suit days with those designer names on three. He even had matching waistcoats, I even made my own clothes, my prize piece a dark blue cashmere winter coat. How on earth did we feel comfortable. Gary and you both look good, always


    1. We finally got rid of most of the ties. He had dozens of them and enough shirts for a couple of shops. He now has a couple of tweed jackets and a couple of pair of nice slacks — which he won’t wear unless forced. Everything else is casual. He had a huge wardrobe. I think it would all be just a bit too small these days, though it depends. He had bigger and smaller years, even while working.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was never accused of being a debonair dresser, even back in my suit wearing days. I was an off-the-rack, Men’s Warehouse kind of a guy. No one ever complimented me on my attire. Now it’s mostly jeans or sweats for me.


    1. Garry was on television every day, so he could justify his huge financial investment in clothing on his work. I think he just really like dressing well 🙂 I also wore jeans to work. High tech is not fancy clothing.

      Liked by 1 person

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