Otto

"Towards evening Otto, who had spent the day in gloomy lounging--either lolling about the flat or chatting with his friends downstairs at the courtyard entrance--would begin to brighten up. When I got back from work I generally found him changing already from his sweater and knickerbockers into his best suit, with its shoulders padded out to points, small tight double-breasted waistcoat and bell-bottomed trousers. He had quite a large selection of ties and it took him half an hour at least to choose one of them and to knot it to his satisfaction. He stood smirking in front of the cracked triangle of looking-glass in the kitchen, his pink plum-face dimpled with conceit, getting in Frau Nowak's way and disregarding all her protests. As soon as supper was over he was going out dancing." (121-2)

Shoulders, pantlegs, waistcoat...but I bet Otto looked a
bit more scruffy. From a 1930s catalogue.

"Otto smiled subtly, discreetly, very much at his ease. His brand new brown suit was vulgar beyond words; so were his lilac spats and his pointed yellow shoes. On his finger was an enormous signet-ring with a square, chocolate-colored stone. Otto was extremely conscious of it and kept posing his hand in graceful attitudes, glancing down furtively to admire the effect. Frau Nowak simply couldn't leave him along. She must keep hugging him and pinching his cheeks." (136)



Isherwood, Christopher. "The Nowaks", in Goodbye to Berlin. Suffolk, UK: Triad/Granada, 1983 [1939].


Otto Nowak at home and then visiting his mother in her eventual sanitarium. First with no money, then with the support of a girlfriend with a rich daddy. Written in the early thirties, but somehow I don't think those colors and shapes would be out of place 40 years later? I want to see the lilac spats and yellow shoes, an awful pastel nightmare. Or does he match it with a johnny-jump-up in his lapel?