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26. July 2020

An American in Monaco


Noah Werner Winslow

One in three people are, the statistic goes, millionaires in Monaco. I don’t know if I believe that. Perhaps among permanent residents (if we could consider the jet set to be such a thing) but squinting and blinking in the bright sunshine, I looked at the crowds I saw walking the streets and alleys of the principality and I’m not sure I saw a single one of them.

It’s possible of course they were relaxing on their yachts; the fleet of boats anchored in the harbour was bigger than most country’s navies so there was ample room for the odd millionaire or billionaire to take shelter. On the whole, Monaco is a city for people who, by means fair or foul, have won at life. I am really, I say laughing, not one of them.

I began my first morning there early. I have a soft spot for the early hours of a city; whatever the place, it is always unrecognizable compared with the throngs of early evening strollers. It is also nicely cool, with a morning breeze and a moment of reprieve before the sweltering heat of the day. This, not coincidently, also makes it a moment where I’m perfectly happy to wear cotton.

I appreciate cotton for the very same reasons many people dislike it: it fades, creases, and begins to change it shape over time. I happen to like all of those qualities. Just like those people who insist the charm of linen is its wrinkles, I espouse that the real joy of cotton is its ability to mould to form over time.

This morning found me wearing a blue suit a few shades lighter than navy- not quite royal- with a white knit tee and espadrilles. Yes, I know, espadrilles, but if there was ever a place to wear them it would be the French Riviera. The suit was single breasted, and with peak lapels it gave a wonderfully sharp yet louche appearance.

Monaco is also, I found, a place centred around idle consumption. This happens to suit me just fine, because – in full knowledge that I am living up to my countrymen’s stereotypes – I enjoy that sort of thing. Monaco is teeming with places to spend: restaurants, cafes, bars, shops. Even the touring and sight-seeing available is a monument to leisure: the must see-sight are the steps of the Carlton where Grace Kelly trod.

I found I particularly liked touring in a dusty yellow double-breasted linen odd jacket. Both the colour and material make it perfect for the Riviera, and it can be paired to good effect with a mid-grey pair of fresco trousers (pleated and cuffed, thank you) and a pair of soft, brown leather loafers.

And, of course, who could comment on Monaco and fail to mention the casinos? There’s really only one place to go, or, at least, one original. Now, I’m not at all a gambler: I don’t know the difference between Texas Hold ‘em and Go Fish, but it does seem like everyone ought to at least enjoy the ambience of the Monte Carlo Casino at least once. Since I find it vaguely unseemly to enter a casino while there’s still daylight, I held off until nightfall.

This provided a happy coincidence, because if I’m going to lose dangerous amounts of money, I’d like to be dressed up in the hopes of maintaining at least some dignity. And so, my Cote d’Azur tuxedo:
I’m usually one to steer away from the shine of mohair, but on this occasion I indulged. I had the full suit made up in a pitch-black mid-weight mohair, with sharp peak lapels covered in smooth silk. The trousers are cut without cuffs, of course, and for this night I tapered down the width of the trousers from my usual wide-legged look. This is worn with a single-end tie and finished off with patent leather slippers.

I’ll certainly be back to Monaco, but on reflection I think I’ll skip that casino next time around. NWW/MM


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