Alan Smason

A Man and His Tom Wolfe Collection.

Alan Smason loves his Tom Wolfe Collection of white suits.

“I just don’t understand why you should stop wearing white suits on Labor Day,” he says. “It’s still very much summer in New Orleans in October and white suits seem appropriate dress until fall really arrives.”

“Thank goodness you aren’t wearing anything from your Truman Capote Collection today,” said food writer Poppy Tooker as Alan walked onto the set for the WYES-TV’s weekly taping of a recent Steppin’ Out show hosted by Peggy Scott Laborde. “It’s only to please you and Peggy,” Alan quickly replied before admonishing her, “And don’t call it a Truman Capote Collection; it’s actually my Tom Wolfe Collection. He is my longtime ‘New Journalism’ hero. And by the way, Wolfe was never a slave to fashion dictums; he wore his famous white garb into the height of winter and beyond.”

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OK. Call it a Truman Capote or a Tom Wolfe Collection, either way if you live in New Orleans you understand both mean the summer costume de rigueur of wearing white suits in the summer. Never mind that most white suits wrinkle when you look at them.

Lunch at Galatoire’s between Memorial Day and Labor Day and you will scarcely find a table that doesn’t include a gentleman wearing a white suit.

“Let’s just call it the stylish man’s summer fashion addiction in New Orleans,” Alan says with a laugh. “And don’t forget the ever-popular seersucker suits, also known for making wrinkles fashionable here.” Then he pauses to add. “I recently purchased a 100-percent polyester Ralph Lauren suit that is wrinkle proofed, but that does seem to be cheating a bit.”

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Alan is quick to expound on what kind of shoes he pairs with his Tom Wolfe Collection of suits.

“A fashion Bible-toting salesman at Perlis told me that I was only allowed to wear white buckskins in the daytime, with regular dress shoes favored for evening wear,” he says. “He also quickly pointed out that you never wear suspenders with white or seersucker suits, an edict I quickly ignored since I like to wear suspenders.” 

What are Alan's favorite ties to wear with his seersucker or white suits?

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“With seersucker my favorite ties are a Bugs Bunny number from the Looney Tunes Stamp Collection released by the United States Postal Service, and two Beatles ties – an early Beatles from the Meet the Beatles album and the other from the Let It Be album – and a Three Stooges number with images of Curly, Larry and Moe. For my white suits I wear ties that pay homage to visual arts icons such as Degas, Lautrec and Botticelli, or a popular TV series such as Star Wars or Star Trek.”

A multitalented man-about-town, editor of the Crescent City Jewish News, weekly theatre critic and reviewer for WYES-TV’s “Steppin’ Out,” and owner of a computer consulting business, Alan considers himself a dapper dresser.

“I would like to think that I am stylish without being overly vain about my appearance,” he says. “I pay close attention to making sure my clothes fit well, so to paraphrase the late Johnny Cochrane, ‘If it doesn’t fit then I care not a whit.’

He then adds, “I just wish I could get the fashionistas to give us white-and-seersucker suit lovers a break and let the temperature and not the month govern when it’s proper to wear our favorite garb. While I may try to adhere to the no white or seersucker suits after Labor Day rule, being a proper Jewish gentleman, I have made my own rule that my Tom Wolfe Collection season of wear begins right after Easter.”



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