Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf went shopping in Bergdorf Goodman's men's store in New York last week, and he wasn't looking for olive green.
The general, who retires officially Sept. 1, was on the prowl for clothing suitable for a civilian career.
He browsed throughout the store, including the avant-garde third floor (something by Issey Miyake, perhaps?), before disappearing into a fitting room to try on a selection of made-to-order clothes.
Schwarzkopf would not say what brands of clothing he was purchasing, but store executives said he had insisted that everything be made in America. There were seven suits, two dinner jackets and four topcoats.
"Quiet and elegant, nothing flashy at all," said a salesman who had helped with the selections. "He feels very confident right now." Not surprising, considering.
By the way, the general, who is built like a defensive end, wears size 49 long.
With so much plaid out there shouting PLAID, some designers are getting cagey about the Scots stuff.
Richard Tyler, the Los Angeles designer, showed a resort collection that included his marvelous tailored jackets in solid colors, but trimmed in plaid piping and plaid fabric-covered buttons. The plaid is not mad but subtle. A similar idea is currently in Ann Taylor stores and catalogs: a black jacket with tartan accents, including lapel trims and buttons.
Some designers are moving on to accessories. Kathryn Dianos has made plaid handbags, berets, felt hats and backpacks, sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. Henri Bendel's sells black-and-white checked Kelly bags as well as gloves with tartan cuffs.
These styles incorporate the fashion message without broadcasting it.