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Showing posts from 2012

Merry Christmas!

This Victorian example has to be the most stylishly dress, most colorful Father Christmas/Santa Claus I've ever come across.  Anywhere.
Just a brief message today to wish readers a happy and joyous holiday season filled with friends, family, food, and good cheer.  Remember to dress it up a bit over the next few days, and mind your manners on all occasions and in all situations.  As stylish guys, we do so not because it's required, but simply because we want to.  And it makes us more pleasant people to have around.  Merry Christmas from The Average Guy's Guide to Style.

Style for a Lazy Day. . .

Here is the notorious cad, bounder, and maven of style, Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke out for a stroll on a mid-December weekend afternoon.
Dressing with flair and style does not always mean jackets and neckties.  Nope.  Sometimes, it includes more casual wear too.  For instance, on a chilly fall day, how about a 19-year old Norwegian wool sweater worn over a button-down shirt (tucked in), well-worn tan corduroy pants with a belt, some old leather docksider shoes and Argyll socks (not visible here).  Extremely laid back, seasonal, adult, and appropriate for a lazy weekend afternoon during the early Winter.  What DON'T you see?   That's right.  No sign of over-sized basketball shorts, saggy sweatpants,  dad jeans, a backwards baseball cap, athletic shoes, or a beer and bean dip-stained t-shirt.  Yes, Vern, it is entirely possible to look pulled together without sacrificing comfort. 

And here's Heinz-Ulrich enjoying a stein of hot chocolate at a local cafe after his pre-Christmas co…

Holiday Dressing. . .

 An illustration of a cocktail party by the late Laurence Fellows that appeared in the old Apparel Arts magazine.  Now, you don't necessarily have to don a suit for holiday gatherings, but how about sprucing yourself up a bit this December?  This particular illustration comes to us courtesy of The Gentleman's Gazette.
And no, we aren't talking about the kind of dressing you stuff a turkey with!  Rather, the subject is pulling ourselves together and raising the attire bar several notches above what has become the accepted norm -- sloppy -- over the last couple of decades.  In other words, guys, get dressed for those special Holiday/Christmas/New Year's Eve dinners and parties that come around each year at this time.  Actually dressed. 

Getting dressed means that the following items should be left at home in your bedroom closet: sneakers, sweatpants, t-shirts, an untucked "going out" shirt, jeans or cargo pants, shorts, flip-flops, or anything resembling a base…

Look and Feel Mah-velous on a Budget. . .

Is it Bertie Wooster, or the late Duke of Windsor?  Nope.  It's just that notorious cad, bounder, and style maven Ulrich von Boffke in  his cold weather gear lounging around Zum Stollenkeller one recent late afternoon.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that you need scads of money to begin dressing more stylishly once you've made the decision to leave the sweats, flip-flops, cargo shorts, and backwards baseball caps behind.  In the photograph above, Ulrich von Boffke models an ensemble for us that was put together for well under $100US courtesy of thrift shops, Ebay, smart online shopping, and a Christmas gift from his wife (hint, hint, hint).  Consider the following:
Harris Tweed jacket from thrift shop @ $5.99 Pants and Shirt -- Land's End Overstocks in 2004 @ < $40.00 English Wool Necktie from thrift shop @ $1.99 Fair Isle Sweater -- Christmas Gift in 2011 Italian Silk Pocket Square with Hand-rolled Edges from thrift shop @ $2.99 Shoes -- Vintage US-Made Florsheim from…

A brisk morning walk. . .

Noted cad, bounder and style maven Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke modeling the ensemble described below.

Enjoyed a brisk morning walk around the neighborhood with my small son this morning.  As the calendar takes us toward December and the start of Advent and the Christmas season, my thoughts for this cold, late November day are as follows: Vintage Harris Tweed.  Corduroy.  Navy wool necktie with tiny orange and grey paisleys.  Windowpane button-down shirt.  Brown suede wingtips.  Orange and brown Italian silk pocket square stuffed carelessly into pocket.  Photo to follow later.  

Yours,

Ulrich von B.

"But I feel so uncomfortable when I'm dressed up!"

This classic menswear illustration by the late Laurence Fellows shows two gentlemen simply relaxing and enjoying themselves in each others' company.  And what do you notice?  Why, they're dressed of course.
A common complaint heard from many average guys is that they feel physically and psychologically uncomfortable in situations where they must dress up.  But what does "dressed up" mean anyway?
Dressed up means unwrinkled, clean adult clothes with decent leather shoes and a matching leather belt with some kind of blazer/sports jacket and wool or khaki pants combination at the very least, or even a suit for those more formal occasions.  A silk, linen, or cotton pocket square is optional for those more adventurous sartorial souls out there.  
Moreover, when you are dressed up, your creased pants should sit at your natural waist (in the vicinity of your belly button), NOT down around your hips or rear end with the crotch between your knees.  Your necktie, if you are wea…

For special occasions, how about dressing for dinner?

Of course, you don't necessarily need to wear a suit for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner -- even though that is the example my father and grandfather set for me -- but for Heaven's sake, don't turn up to someone else's house where you are a guest, or your own holiday table, in sweatpants and a t-shirt!
For those special occasions that come up between mid-November and January 1st each year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner,  how about leaving the jeans, t-shirts, and sweats behind for a few hours?  Demonstrate that you have a little taste and grooming by tossing on a pair of khaki pants worn with a leather belt and loafers, a blue button-down shirt (tucked in of course), and nice sports jacket or blue blazer.  And don't you dare wear a hat to the table, baseball or otherwise!

An Uncomfortably Preachy Topic: Table Manners. . .

Hopefully, when you sit down to a meal with others, your table manners are better than this guy's.
In the blogosphere right now, you'll come across many blogs that talk at length about men's clothing style, grooming, appearance, and how these things contribute to our being/becoming/conducting ourselves as gentlemen.  But there is one hugely important and related topic that no one seems to mention on the many blogs that I read daily.  What is it, you ask?

Why, table manners of course.  Shock!  Horror!  Gasp!  Yep, I said it.  And I'm making no apologies.  Table manners should be as much a part of our personal style as our attire and grooming, if not more so.  Average guys ought to keep that in mind.  Even when we are at home with the door closed.  Newsflash!  Our close family is just as deserving of polite behavior as people we work with, ride public transport next to, or pass on the street.

However, because table manners are, perhaps incorrectly, associated with upbringi…

Let's find some nice middle ground in our attire. . .

Hugh Bonneville in character as Lord Grantham on the popular period piece Downton Abbey.  Although this photo shows only his top third, he is clearly in extremely formal "white tie" dinner attire.
We here at The Average Guy's Guide to Style are all for smartening up our collective appearance as a society.  And finding a nice middle ground in our grooming and attire is a start.  

But a common complaint many guys have is about feeling uncomfortable and constricted when they aredressed up in anything beyond jeans and sneakers(or shorts and flip-flops).  Well, here's a little secret.  If your clothes -- in particular your collar, chest, shoulder, and waist measurements -- are sized and fitted correctly, discomfort will no longer be an issue.  It's very hard to take accurate measurements of yourself though, so get thee to a tailor and have him or her do it for you.

Confidence is another issue related to the perceived level of discomfort that many average guys complain a…

Have Fun with Patterns and Footwear. . .

Even in black and white, this photo of the late Duke of Windsor provides a good idea of his sartorial eccentricities.  We here at The Average Guy's Guide to Style are certainly not suggesting something so outlandish for you.

But don't fear adding a little bit of pattern to your wardrobe either.  An item like this subdued houndstooth jacket -- modeled here by that notorious jet-setter, bounder, and cad the Prince Ulrich von Boffke -- will add a bit of visual interest and flair to your wardrobe without going over the top and straying into more flamboyant territory.  Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Shoes and socks are another place where average guys can shake things up a bit and add some pizzazz to their appearance.  Suede wingtips along with a subtly striped pair of charcoal socks are sometimes just the ticket.  Tasseled loafers, too, will work equally well with dress jeans, khakis, or creased wool pants like those above.  Just make sure keep it fairly simple in r…

A little bit of style goes a long way. . .

Stylish, Understated, and Masculine. . .

Not cheap, but certainly not as expensive as some, the various scents in the Royall line are one of the best kept secrets in the world of men's fragrances.  Not pictured are Royall Bay Rum and my new favorite, Royall Vitiver.
For average guys, kicking up our style a notch or two involves more than just clothes and shoes.  At some point, you'll want to think more seriously about things like aftershave and cologne.  Now, there are lots of these on the market at all price points from the horribly cheap to the frightfully expensive.  Moderation in most things, however, is a good route to travel, and that also holds true true when it comes to male fragrances.  Don't worry.  It's not necessary for you to load up on Axe body wash, spray, and aftershave (Ugh!), or dip into your savings account to afford a bottle of exclusive Aqua di Parma. 
Very often, you can find nice, unique aftershaves and colognes in the US$25-60 range, and that's the case with today's feature.��…

An Eye-Opening Lesson in Men's Style. Or Lack Thereof. . .

Part of the cast from the sadly concluded TV program Boston Legal, looking extremely spiffy, confident, and capable.

This particular blog post was to have been about pants alone, but after an experience I had this week, it made better sense to make a slight detour and discuss some common style gaffs that we see again and again, though I was surprised to observe them given the environment in which I found myself, and the situation of which I was a part two days ago.
On Wednesday, I endured my civil duty for the day and reported for potential jury service here in my small-to-medium-sized Midwestern city.  While I won't go into the details of the case (extremely distasteful), or why I was, ultimately, excused from service, the experience was eye opening with regard to men's style.  There wasn't much in evidence, and if the the men discussed below were striving for a well-groomed, sophisticated professional appearance, they fell far short of the mark.  
Given the gravity of t…

You've got your measurements, now what?

A selection of Brooks Brothers button-down shirts.  True classics in the word of menswear.

Alright.  After braving that all important visit to the tailor, what's next on the agenda for average guys, who are interested in kicking up their style up a notch or two?  Well, once you have your exact measurements, you'll want to begin by purchasing a few long-sleeved cotton shirts.  Avoid shirts that are sized as small, medium, large, or extra large.  Opt instead for shirts that are as close as possible to your precise collar and sleeve size.

Keep it simple for now and pick up half a dozen dress shirts to start.  A good mix is one white, two  blue, and three patterned or striped ones  (keep the patterns and stripes understated) with button-down collars.  This type of shirt is extremely versatile and will work with a tie and sports jacket or blazer, or without.  If you are in the United States, button-down shirts can also be paired with the right kind of suit for that traditional Eas…