2008_05_locisuits.jpgThe best style article in the NY Times isn't in the magazine or the Styles section--it's the Metro section's look at the "tradition of the dapper detective."

Other industries are open to more casual, dressed-down threads, detectives (ones not working undercover) generally stick to wearing suits. One psychologist explains, "Because they are all well dressed it establishes a barrier between them and the messiness."

A retired detective commander, Vernon Geberth, said "put me in a different mode. It slowed me down: ‘Look at this guy. He is all dressed up and he is in an abandoned building.’ ...I was above the fray. My psychological armor.

There's a graphic with some keys to a good suit, having the jacket wider in the waist (roomy enough for a gun, radio, cellphone, etc.). Retired transit detective James Nuciforo, now a consultant for Law & Order, said, "One thing I would always do is put the suit jacket on and point both arms out in front as if I was holding the gun. I always wanted to make sure I had enough room to do that.” Some other fun facts: Manhattan detectives are considered better dressers; detectives in upper Midtown love camel-colored suits; some are inspired by their predecessors, who wore trench coats and ties.

We can't wait until the article that discusses female NYPD detective fashion--do they dress more like Law & Order's Lieutenant Van Buren, in sharp suits, or in tight, form-fitting tops like L&O: Special Victim Unit's Olivia Benson or L&O: Criminal Intent's Alexandra Eames (pictured, second from right).