The pithy, opinionated, and sometimes brutally frank Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke challenges average guys to live a life less ordinary and embrace classic style in the broadest sense. it's time to rise above the trite, the boring, the predictable, the mundane, the banal, and the commonplace. It's time to stop behaving like barnyard animals at the trough and leave behind the perpetually sloppy man-child aesthetic of the last two decades or so. It's time to learn once again how to present and conduct yourself like an adult with some grooming, finesse, and sophistication. And here is where you can learn how.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dandy Friday. . .

My somewhat dandified get-up worn last Friday. 

Casual Fridays?  Ugh!  Hate the entire concept.  Too many people get it wrong.  So very wrong.  I mean, how can you give clients, people you supervise, or students and pupils you teach the impression of knowledge, expertise, capability, and skill when you wear things like grubby, wrinkled Dockers and an over-sized golf shirt, or frayed jeans and cheap square-toed shoes that fell out of fashion 20 years ago?  No, it's preferable to dress better than you are required to and keep it classic.  Clothing, after all, coveys a message whether we choose to admit it to ourselves or not. 

So, In my neck of the woods, I've rechristened these now ubiquitous dress down days as Dandy Fridays and dress accordingly.  One of the few benefits of being in academia.  No one hassles you about bucking the current company culture, or flaunting the team player "guidelines" laid down in the employee handbook by dressing like you actually give a damn.  After all, you haven't just tumbled off the back of the turnip wagon on market day.  Anyway, here is last Friday's ensemble above, which included the following items:

1) Brooks Brothers red & white micro-check all-cotton button-down -- A gift.

2) Corbin 3/2 Roll wool sports jacket with minimal shoulder padding -- $5.99 thrifted.

3) Land's End Dress Chinos (they keep a crease) in dove gray -- Purchased on sale.

4) Allen Edmonds black wingtips -- $39.99 via Ebay.

5) Land's End Necktie -- Purchased on sale.

6) Alfani Socks in charcoal gray with mid-blue polka dots -- Purchased on sale.

7) Land's End leather belt in black (not shown) --  Purchased on sale.  

8) Black and Gray Paisley Italian Silk Pocket Square with Handrolled Edges-- $1.99 thrifted

My point in sharing this particular combination of garments?  Well, there are two actually.  Or is it five?  First, it's easy to look good and feel comfortable, and do so at reasonable prices, if you a) make the effort and b) purchase clothes that fit without straying into the realm of the terminally over-sized look sported by far too many American guys.  

You want to go to the opposite end of the size spectrum either, and opt for the currently trendy tight Pee Wee Herman look.  A normal, comfortable fit is what you're after.  Neither are dress pants supposed to fit like snug jeans, guys, nor are suit coats and sports jackets meant to hang from your frame like extra large Hefty lawn and leaf bags.  

Minor alterations at the tailor's after you've made your purchases always help, but you've got to get your basic sizes right to begin with.  So, guys, get over yourselves and try on things BEFORE you buy them.  And whatever you do, keep you pants at your waist (where they are SUPPOSED to be) with a belt.  And, surprise, that should match your shoes in color as closely as possible, which is easy with black.

Next, have some fun with your look and don't be afraid of adding a little color, pattern, or texture to it.  No one is suggesting that you go completely over the top, but not everything in your closet needs to be in solid dark charcoal or navy either.  And for gosh sakes, whatever you do steer clear of black suits!  You'll look like a Secret Service agent, junior grade. . .  or, more likely, an out-of-work undertaker.

By the same token, black dress pants will make you look like a waiter.  Far better to go for more neutral colors like gray, charcoal, taupe, or light tan, which can be mixed and matched with virtually any blazer or sports jacket, giving you a wide array of more pulled together ensembles without always resorting to the (wrongly) perceived buttoned-up, nailed down  tight formality of a suit.

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