December 1988 | Volume 39, Issue 8
Candor is the keynote in Mark Twain’s famous style of dress, but it is an ironic, sagacious, very American brand of simplicity. The three-piece white suit, so notably taken up in later days by John Huston and Tom Wolfe, so movingly worn by Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird , here becomes the epiphany of an American theme. All the shifting, insistent wrinkles in the loose outfit echo the play of wit over the underlying substance of plain thought. These clothes promote the notion of the clearsighted, good-humored American hero moving unsoiled through the swamps of Old World decadence, casting a fresh eye on objects of outmoded reverence and raising a comic voice to mock them.