When Terrence Howard, the brown-eyed actor with the pencil mustache, arrived Wednesday evening at the subterranean level of Bloomingdale’s for the “Beat of Chic” party thrown by Vanity Fair, he was positively giddy. Thrilled, actually. Tonight he would perform songs from his debut album, Shine Through It, a combination of jazz and soft rock that he recorded with a group of musicians (subtly) called The Band of Kings.
"They greeted me as if I was George Clooney or something!" said Mr. Howard, seeming genuinely surprised by the attention he received upon entering.
"It’s really a music lover’s album," he told the Daily Transom. "I love flutes and clarinets and the viola. I love intricate arrangements that paint a picture. The music is intended to paint the most beautiful pictures."
As Mr. Howard was talking we noticed that he was wearing the most perfectly tailored gray suit.
"My clothes for the past year and a half have been made by a man named David August, who made the suits for Robert Downey Jr. for Iron Man," he said. "I told him I had all these wonderful ideas and he totally got me.
“For example, I told him that I didn’t want buttons over here anymore," said Mr. Howard, pointing to the underside of his suit sleeve. "I just wanted zippers so now all my jackets have zippers hidden inside of them."
The Daily Transom wondered what Mr. Howard had against buttons.
"It’s just that everyone has been wearing them forever and it’s so inconvenient to unbutton each one, but it’s nice to have a zipper, especially when I’m playing guitar," explained Mr. Howard.
“He also made two suits for Will Smith and Will took them and told his assistant, ‘Take all my suits and throw them away’ and he had David make 150 suits for him," he added.
But Mr. Howard’s custom-made suits turned out to be part of a greater issue he’s been having with fashion.
"I’ve been disappointed with men’s fashion for a long time," he sighed. “In every society of animal life, even plant life, the males are so beautiful and so vibrant with color. But the most intelligent and the most creative of species, which is mankind, has been reduced to brown, black, gray, and ugly. You go inside a men’s shoe store and you see these bubbilicious men’s shoes. I used to ask women that would try to sell me these shoes, ‘If you walked in here and these were your options, would you buy this?’ They all said no."
Mr. Howard’s mood had visibly shifted from excitement to mild frustration, so we thought we’d try to change the subject. But he wasn’t finished.
"Men need to start wearing boutonnières and hats again, we need to start having men’s bags to accessorize with, and the shoes need to be more expressive," he said. "When you take color from a society, their intelligence drops and their imagination drops!"
"If you go to France or Italy, the men wear color and they are also more affectionate with each other," he said. "You see a man walking down the street holding his son’s hand and you see a man kissing his son. That’s great. Color allows us to be as expressive as we need to be without being gay."
We wondered whether Mr. Howard would be attending Fashion Week.
"No," he said. "I love women’s shows but I can’t get any of that stuff. Last time was in Italy I ended up buying a women’s fur coat oversized and had it tailored because I wanted that look. But no, I’m depressed by men’s fashion and I don’t want to see it."