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Showing posts from 2013

Christmas Week Style. . .

The lower half of yesterday evening's casual ensemble.
Just because it's Christmas Week, there's been no real reason to venture out, and classes don't resume for your truly until January 8th, is no reason not to dress up a little bit when time and occasion call for it.  Yesterday evening, my wife and I were joined by a former colleague and her husband, retired professors of the German and French languages and literatures respectively. . .  and wine aficionados.  It seemed, therefor, like the perfect time to wear the Dapper Classics socks show above, which were a Christmas gift this year from my better half.  Here are the details of the full ensemble:


* Polo Univeristy Club navy wool blazer -- thrifted
* Brooks Brothers OCBD shirt red and white university stripe -- Ebay
* Land's End dress chinos (these hold a crease) -- sale 
* Land's End braided belt brown -- sale
* Dapper Classics to-the-knee dress socks -- Christmas gift
* Allen Edmonds loafers -- Ebay
* Italian silk…

Happy Feast of Stephen!

'Church in the Snow,' painted by Norwegian artist Theodor Severin Kittelsen in 1907.
Happy Second Day of Christmas!  Just contemplating, for a moment, the quiet joy that was Christmas Day this year in the von Boffke household, the first like that in several years.  Why can't we collectively have more similar days during the rest of the year?Those quiet, relaxed, calm, uncomplicated times that are filled with the small joys of immediate family and pleasant company capped off by a special meal.  We all need more of that, I think, when we actually talk to and laugh with each other rather than stare vapidly into our phones, or check the damn things every few minutes.  Or, where we simply enjoy each others' company as we look over the books and other gifts we've received once again after we finally drag ourselves upstairs to get dressed by early afternoon and return to the living room or other gathering point in the family home with another cup of coffee or a glass of…

Warmest Compliments of the Season to You. . .

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and the children gather around the Christmas tree.
Wishing all of our visitors happy, peaceful, joyous days and compliments of the winter season regardless of your faith or level of commitment.  If you celebrate, Merry Christmas.  We'll be back with more tips on style in its broadest sense during the final week of 2013.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Avoid Endless Deliberation. . .

Anyone who has ever worked in the corporate sector, academia, or government at any level, will be familiar with the endless deliberation, dithering, and useless chatter of committee-based decision making.  It seems we just loo-oove our committees.  That must be because they prevent easy finger-pointing and accepting of responsibility if and when there is a snafu.
The longer I live, the more people, of all ages, I meet who seem to be incapable of making a decision.  It might be as simple as deciding which shoes to put on in the morning, which local restaurant to visit for an evening meal, whether or not to ask that new gal out  for a drink after work on Friday evening, or something more serious like whether or not to take that promotion and transfer recently offered to you by your company.  

Regardless of the precise situation, there is invariably a great deal of hand wringing, apron twisting, and endless talk without a decision being reached.  Arrggh!!!  This phenomenon is not a recent …

Control That Temper Guys. . .

No matter how upset you might get, rein in that temper, guys.  Losing it accomplishes nothing.
With the stress and numerous pressures of the Christmas and Holiday season, not to mention the rest of the year, it's all too easy for tempers to flare and angry words to escape from our mouths before we have had a chance to calm down.  So, I'd like to challenge average guys everywhere, who are making the effort to kick up their everyday style several notches, to exercise greater self control -- a concept no one ever seems to mention anymore -- and swallow that anger. 

Unkind words and/or physical violence do nothing to solve a problem or help a situation.  And most often, you'll succeed only in hurting whatever case you might hope to make.  Open any newspaper, or turn on the TV, and you'll see all kinds of daily examples of what has happened when two or more guys have been unable to control their respective tempers.  Childish behavior, violence, and all too often injury or eve…

A Very Simple Step toward Greater Style. . .

Trust me.  You don't want to be one of those guys who can't keep his gum in his mouth, or chew it quietly.
Here's a very simple tip for average guys who have set out to kick up their everyday style several notches.  Best of all, it's inexpensive and easily accomplished.  Are ya ready Steve?  Andy?  Mick?  All right fellas.  Let's goooooooooo!!!

If you are one of the legions of people who insist on having a wad of gum stuck in the side of your mouth -- and if no one has told you before, it's a pretty tacky and cheap habit to begin with -- chew it quietly and keep it in your mouth.  Anyone over the age of seven who cracks and pops his gum is annoying in the extreme, even if others around you are polite enough not to say anything.  That sort of thing is not even cute in children if we are perfectly frank with ourselves.  And it's also just plain gross for us to treat people to the sight of that chewed up, rubbery, neon wad of stuff in our mouths.  As inconsidera…

Do you have a mouth like a cesspit?

When you speak, are the words that come out of your mouth the verbal equivalent of raw sewerage spewing in all directions?
Late this afternoon, as I read through and graded student papers with a cup of coffee in a cafe and dining area on campus, I was reminded again how awful a steady torrent of obscenity sounds.  Two young men at a nearby table seemed unable to utter more than a sentence between them without peppering their speech liberally with the F-Word.  Keep in mind, these are university men.  Part of the huge "middle class" of which almost everyone is now a part in the United States, yet there was nothing remotely classy about these guys based on their speech and behavior.  You'd think they might have been able to express themselves a bit more eloquently after a few semesters on campus.   Guess not.

But maybe I'm completely out of touch.  Is the prevalence of this kind of thing a byproduct of the democratization of higher education specifically and society in g…

A Gentle Holiday Reminder. . .

The hilariously funny, but unexpected and uninvited, Cousin Eddie and Catherine in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
In the hustle and bustle that is December for many of us, it is worth remembering this tiny tidbit of a social grace, which average guys attempting to kick up their everyday style several notches should do their utmost to remember.  Don't drop in on people unexpectedly, and don't try to wrangle an invitation.  If people want to see or include you, they'll let you know with a phone call or an invitation.  You certainly don't want to add to anyone's Holiday stress by crashing the party uninvited.  It's high time to think of others and, hopefully, consider how your choices and behavior might negatively affect them.  Even if they are polite enough to say nothing about it.  Know what I mean?

-- Heinz-Ulrich

A Couple of Stylish, Cool Gift Ideas. . .

A classic Zippo lighter.  I've got two that look like this although I'm not a smoker.  Quite a step up from the usual disposable Bics!
That you won't see suggested on every other menswear website and style blog!  Whether you have a smoker on your giftlist.  Or you just want a couple of cool, classic accessories for your own jacket pockets.  You cannot go wrong with a chrome Zippo cigarette lighter and/or a leather cigarette case.  Even if you aren't a smoker, both items have all kinds of unanticipated uses.  After all, who knows when you might need to pull out that lighter at the campsite, or to light someone else's cigarette.  Always an amazingly suave and even retro move in our own era when coarse and common behavior rule the day most places.  And a leather cigarette case might be a neat way to carry the business cards you accumulate during the workweek.  Or, it might make a neat billfold in lieu of the more typical money clip.  Just some pre-Christmas food for th…

Another Great Gift Idea. . .

Call it either a late birthday to myself, or an early Christmas gift, but I've got a pair of these purple, orange, and black socks on their way to me from Dapper Classics right now.
Another great Christmas or holiday gift idea for yourself, or the guys on your list, who are looking to kick up their everyday stay several notches in 2014, might include a pair or three of to-the-knee, American-made dress socks by Dapper Classics.  Their Black Friday Sale, with 25% off on all orders, is still going on for a few more hours, so click on the link, and have a look around.  You're sure to find a few designs that you cannot live without.

And here's a hint for you more sartorially conservative average guys out there.  Dapper Classics also offer a variety of extremely sharp, but slightly more muted models of socks for those more formal times and occasions, from weddings and funerals, to those few remaining offices (bless 'em) where business formal dress remains the order of the day.…

A Classic Masculine Gift Idea. . .

Royall Lyme, Bay Rhum, and Vetiver aftershave and cologne.  Three of my post-shower and shaving favorites.
With Black Friday and the approach of the Christmas gift-giving season upon us, it seems like a good idea to say a few brief words -- Yes, it IS possible. -- about possible gift ideas.  Here is one that you might hint strongly for, or to which you might just treat yourself.  The Royall aftershave lotions are delightfully fragrant, yet subtle, classic masculine scents that few men seem aware of.  Thankfully.  

I first learned about Royall products almost 30 years ago, when my maternal grandmother gave me a bottle of Royall Lyme one Christmas.  I've been a fan ever since.  This year, for my annual 29th birthday celebration, my four-year-old son, the Young Master, presented me with the bottle of Royall Bay Rhum you see above.  

Not exactly cheap, but by no means the most expensive male fragrances on the market, it's hard for average guys to go wrong with the Royall line when ma…

Thanksgiving Sartorial Nonchalance. . .

Note the pink socks with green stripes, from Dapper Classics, peeking out from beneath the chinos.
Here is how the males of the Average Guy's Guide to Classic Style household dressed for Thanksgiving Supper late yesterday afternoon, continuing an example set many, many years ago by my maternal grandfather and great uncles, and later my father, all of whom wore at the very least a collared shirt and sports jacket to the table for holiday dinners.  More often, it was a suit, white shirt, and necktie for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Easter, and other special occasions.  And no.  Rest easy, gents.  The Grand Duchess did manage to slip upstairs right before supper and exchange her jeans and Birckenstocks for a dark top, skirt, and a pair of heels.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


The Young Master, who succeeded in looking much more relaxed and at ease than his father.  Chalk it up to the promise of pumpkin pie.

Happy (American) Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

Strangely (for a guy), I really like old-fashioned Victorian and Edwardian greeting cards.  Look what I found online this morning!
A day early, yes, but I've got a few moments to myself for another mug of coffee before pie preparation (pumpkin and raspberry) begins in earnest along with a few other dishes for tomorrow and running the vacuum cleaner around the first floor.  So, allow me to wish all American visitors to The Average Guy's Guide to Classic Style, wherever in the world you might find yourselves, a very. . .  Happy Thanksgiving!  May your day tomorrow be filled with family, friends, fun, and delicious food.  We do indeed have a great deal to be thankful for in whatever form our respective lives take, something that is all too easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of the 21st century.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Celebrate the Holiday Season in Style. . .

If a pack of dogs can get dressed for a special occasion, then so can you.  Put on some dressy clothes for those upcoming holiday dinners and parties, damn it!
With the holiday season almost upon us it, it's time once more to remind ourselves -- average guys making an effort to kick up our everyday style a few notches -- of the need to put on some real clothes for all of those special dinners, cocktail parties, open houses, and other occasions that typically occur between the end of November and early January each year.  

Here's the skinny, guys.  Contrary to what many of you might think, or may have been led to believe up to this point in your lives, holiday-related events are special occasions. Your hosts or loved ones will have gone to considerable trouble and expense to organize and prepare these events in advance.  Occasions like these do not come around everyday, and therefore (Surprise!) are several notches above the usual weekend routine of watching TV sports with your b…

"How do I get a good grade in your course?"

A generic professor type with students.  So, how does a student do well in university and college-level course?
Every semester, there are always one or two students (usually young guys), who come to me on the first day of the term at the end of the first meeting and ask, "How do I get a good grade in your course?"  Mind you, this invariably is after I have bored everyone, myself included, by reading through the entire multi-paged syllabus, which details, among other things, how students can do well.  But ok.  Let's attribute it to freshman or new semester jitters.  I'll play along.  For you average college-aged guys out there, here is how to become better, and maybe even stellar students during your undergraduate career.  Pay attention.  It's not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination.  There are no secrets or magic bullets.  Ready?  Here we go!


1) Buy the required textbook(s) ASAP and bring it/them to every class.  Don't show up without them.  Snap…

Start 'em young. . .

YMP all ready to head with his mother for the final Saturday Morning Farmers' Market of the 2013 season.  Not all that different than the way my mother dressed yours truly in the 1970s, my grandfather dressed as an undergraduate in the 1930s, my grandmother dressed my uncle in the 1950s, and my father dressed as a university undergraduate in the early 1960s.  Classic and timeless.
Just because they are children does not mean young boys should go through the first five year of life dressed in nothing but Sponge Bob or Spiderman items, junior versions of bagged out t-shirts, sweat-, or cargo pants, or any permutation of what has become recognized and known in some quarters as thugwear.  Hopefully, we aren't raising them to resemble little meth heads, petty criminals, or various other types -- and there are many -- who look like they've fallen through the cracks of society.  Or they are about to.  

Nope.  Let's stop kidding ourselves.  Appearance most definitely is importan…

Sometimes, the Stars Line Up. . .

Yesterday's ensemble, detailed below.  This is as casual as I allow my Friday's get.
In just the right way.  Friday morning, before daylight, I managed to throw on the garments pictured above without effort or thought post-shower and shave.  In the dark.  And then forgot about them and strode forth into my day of teaching, meetings with students, and another with colleagues.  Never realized quite how nicely everything worked together until late afternoon, when I arrived home and changed into more casual attire.  Not bad for no planning at all, if I do say so myself.  Here's a break down of the clothing and accessories shown:

* Polo University Club wool blazer (thrifted)
* Brooks Brothers oxford cloth button down (Ebay)
* No-name, unlined wool necktie in MacDonald tartan (thrifted)
* Land's End Dress Chinos, which hold a crease (purchased on sale)
* Land's End braided leather belt (end of season clearance)
* Johnston Murphy loafers, worn on rainy, wet days to spare better …

In Matters of the Heart, Don't Be Desperate. . .

Why, oh why, does it seem these days like so many guys are afraid to be by themselves?
It never ceases to amaze me.  What, pray tell?  You really want to know?  Ok, here you go.  The sheer number of online exchanges, and actual conversations one overhears virtually everywhere, where people are apparently obsessed about the "problem" of being single.  What?  What??!!  

You read it right.  And it's not just something the gals trouble themselves over either.  Guys do it too.  But that sort of worrying to death and overthinking those much sought after, hoped for, and eventual relationships is hardly the way for average guys to kick up their everyday style.  Newsflash!  Sadness and desperation are anything but stylish.  Sorry for not being sorry about that.

Here's a different approach to try.  Live your life, behave like a reasonably pleasant, purposeful individual -- DO NOT become a player whatever you do under any circumstances.  That only breeds unhappiness for someone, y…

Strive to Be Better Neighbors. . .

The cast of the 1970s British situation comedy The Good Life, known in the United States as Good Neighbors.  From left to right Felicity Kendal, the late Paul Eddington, Penelope Keith, and the late Richard Briers.
If there are any super-intelligent lifeforms elsewhere in the universe observing life here on Earth in the second decade of the 21st century for useful tips on how a society ought to function cohesively, they must be chuckling to themselves right about now.  Think about it for a moment.  Even on good days, the news can make it seem like the world has gone mad in places, and that people on one part of the globe or another just can't manage to live together and get along.

It seems, moreover, to be frightfully easy for most of us nowadays to become cut off and even alienated from the people closest to us.  Without a doubt, the decline of community (in all senses) in the last few decades, the more recent rise of technology, and the abundance of various blinking, chirping pe…