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Tolkien had a particular liking for decorative waistcoats: he told one correspondent that he had "one or two choice embroidered speci­mens, which I sometimes wear when required to make a speech, as I find they so fascinate the eyes of the audience that they do not notice if my dentures become a little loose with excitements of rhetoric" (from a [[Letter to Nancy Smith (Christmas 1963)|letter to Nancy Smith]], [[25 December]] [[1963]].
 
Tolkien had a particular liking for decorative waistcoats: he told one correspondent that he had "one or two choice embroidered speci­mens, which I sometimes wear when required to make a speech, as I find they so fascinate the eyes of the audience that they do not notice if my dentures become a little loose with excitements of rhetoric" (from a [[Letter to Nancy Smith (Christmas 1963)|letter to Nancy Smith]], [[25 December]] [[1963]].
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Interviewers have noted that Tolkien almost clung to his smoking pipe, cradling it in his hand, or speaking with it in his mouth, sometimes making him difficult to understand. One of these, Richard Plotz, wrote that Tolkien "took out a pipe as he entered his study, and all during the interview he held it clenched in his teeth, lighting and relighting it, talking through it; he never removed it from his mouth for more than five seconds" ('J.R.R. Tolkien Talks...', p. 92).
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==Appearance==
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The early images of J.R.R. Tolkien in school and university show a serious young man, average height, slender, clean-shaven, and with his hair parted in the middle. By [[1916]] and Tolkien had joined the army he had changed to a more conventional haircut, as well as a moustache for a short period of time. [[Richard Plotz]], who visited Tolkien in 1966, described him as
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{{Blockquote|...a medium-sized man ... [who] looks much younger than his seventy-four years. Like one of his creations, the Hobbits, he is a bit fat in the stomach ...|"J.R.R. Tolkien Talks about the Discovery of Middle-earth, the Origins of Elvish", ''Seventeen'' (January [[1967]]), p. 92)}}
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In a letter on February 8th, [[1967]], to inter­viewers Charlotte and Denis Plimmer, Tolkien stated that he was not "tall, or strongly built. I now measure 5 ft 8 1/2, and am slightly built, with notably small hands. For most of my life I have been very thin and underweight. Since my early sixties I have become 'tubby'. Not unusual in men who took their exercise in games and swimming, when opportunities for these things cease" (''[[The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]]'', p. 373).
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In "The Man Who Understands Hobbits" [Daily Telegraph Magazine, 22 March 1968) the Plimmers noted that Tolkien had 'grey eyes, firm tanned skin, silvery hair and quick decisive speech' (p. 31).
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During Tolkien's time at [[King Edward's School]] he was noted for his choice in coloured socks.
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[[Clyde S. Kilby]], who spent some time with Tolkien in the summer of 1966, noted that he "was always neatly dressed from necktie to shoes. One of his favourite suits was a herringbone with which he wore a green corduroy vest [waistcoat]. Always there was a vest, and nearly always a sport coat. He did not mind wearing a very broad necktie which in those days was out of style" (Tolkien and the Silmarillion ([[1976]]), p. 24).
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Tolkien had a particular liking for decorative waistcoats: he told one correspondent that he had "one or two choice embroidered speci­mens, which I sometimes wear when required to make a speech, as I find they so fascinate the eyes of the audience that they do not notice if my dentures become a little loose with excitements of rhetoric" (from a letter to Nancy Smith, 25 December [[1963]], Special Collections and University Archives, John P. Raynor, S.J., Library, Marquette University).
  
 
Interviewers have noted that Tolkien almost clung to his smoking pipe, cradling it in his hand, or speaking with it in his mouth, sometimes making him difficult to understand. One of these, Richard Plotz, wrote that Tolkien "took out a pipe as he entered his study, and all during the interview he held it clenched in his teeth, lighting and relighting it, talking through it; he never removed it from his mouth for more than five seconds" ('J.R.R. Tolkien Talks...', p. 92).
 
Interviewers have noted that Tolkien almost clung to his smoking pipe, cradling it in his hand, or speaking with it in his mouth, sometimes making him difficult to understand. One of these, Richard Plotz, wrote that Tolkien "took out a pipe as he entered his study, and all during the interview he held it clenched in his teeth, lighting and relighting it, talking through it; he never removed it from his mouth for more than five seconds" ('J.R.R. Tolkien Talks...', p. 92).

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