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Showing posts from August, 2013

"Oh, my aching [fill in the blank]". . .

Besides discussing them with your doctor(s) and immediate family, it's just better to keep health issues to oneself. Something occurred to me recently, as I sat in a group of 30-to-50-something friends at a small party we had on our backyard patio in mid-July that seemed like a valid point to bring up here.  Aches, pains, and ongoing health issues.  Many of us have them, especially those of us over 35 or 40.  Some issues are cleared up relatively quickly with a prescription or minor medical procedure, and some, unfortunately, are rather more serious and longer term.  But everyone has health problems arise in their lives at one time or another. 

The point, however, is that average guys looking to kick up their everyday style several notches shouldn't let aches and pains dominate our lives and conversation.  Sure, if one suffers from a serious, lengthy, and/or debilitating condition, it is on his mind most of the time.  I get it.  And I've been there myself.  More than once.

B…

It Doesn't Need to Be Brand Spanking New. . .

Today's ensemble, featuring nothing that is anywhere close to brand new. . .  except maybe the socks. Garments need not be brand spanking new to look good.  In fact, so long as they aren't visibly ripped, torn, faded artificially, or stained with BBQ sauce, clothes that show a bit of wear and "life" are preferable to anything right off the rack, regardless of the label inside or associated cost.  

Of course, routine care and maintenance should go without saying.  Take care of your clothes, shoes, and accessories, and they'll last a long, long time.  Keep 'em clean, pressed, and either folded in your dresser drawers, or hung up on decent hangers in the bedroom closet.  And no wire hangers ever!  Couldn't resist that one, sorry.

In the case of shoes, keep those shined and replace the heels or soles when they become worn.  Store them with cedar shoe trees inside to maintain their shape and keep them smelling pleasant.  Stay on top of things, and it hardly mat…

Stop Fearing Color and Pattern. . .

A new pair of pink and green cotton, to-the-knee dress socks that I won from Dapper Classics last spring along with a pair of recrafted Allen Edmonds wingtip brogues.
One thing that average guys can do to kick up their everyday style a few notches is to embrace color and pattern.  Too often, when a guy dresses up, it's black (ugh!), charcoal, or, at best, navy blue with a white or blue shirt and some kind of tie.  When that is done right, the look can be extremely elegant in its simpilcity ala Beau Brummel.  But you're missing out on adding some life and dynamism to your appearance if that's all you ever wear.  

So, how about broadening your attire horizons a bit?  Have some fun here and experiment with color and pattern once in a while.  I'm certainly not suggesting that you go over the top with color in the same way that the crazy character "Mark" did on Ugly Betty, but a few well-chosen accents can help get your overall look up on its feet.  With that in min…

Late August (HOT Weather) Style. . .

"Here's the thing about Horror films. . . "  The hot weather teaching ensemble for today.  And yes, those are a Wisconsin cheese head and a fake artichoke on the shelf over my right shoulder.
The mostly pleasant summer we've had in my part of the American Midwest has turned hot, sticky, and uncomfortable at last.  Just in time for the start of school and dressing like one gives a darn.  Typical.  Still, one can keep things pretty casual and comfortable without giving up completely and going the t-shirt, cargo shorts, flip-flops, and backwards baseball cap route.  Today's ensemble consisted of the following items:
* Giorgio Armani linen sportsjacket, made in Italy (thrifted) * Neiman-Marcus hand-made, all silk necktie, made in Italy (thrifted) * Brooks Brothers all-cotton, button-down, made in the USA (E-bay) * Allen Edmonds spectator shoes, made in the USA (E-bay) * Evan Picone silk pocket square, made in Italy (thrifted) * Land's End braided brown leather belt (cl…

The First Two Days. . .

Day #1 of the Fall 2013 semester: Allen Edmonds shoes, Brooks Brothers linen-wool-silk jacket made in Italy, Bachrach wool pants made in Italy, and an Italian parrot necktie (a gift transported all the way from Florence by dear ol' Mom in 1995).  The only items purchased new (on sale however) were the shirt, belt, tie, and pocket square. 
Until a couple of days ago, when the fall semester began in earnest, there has been little recent occasion for me to post photos of yours truly modeling my more professional gear here.  My wife and I are fortunate enough to enjoy two-and-a-half month summer vacations from the end of May to just after mid-August.  One of the benefits, you might say, of teaching college students and attempting to broaden their young minds.

So, it seems like high time to rectify that omission by sharing  a couple of  impromptu photographs from the past two days.  Now, my wife is rarely home when I arrive in the afternoons, to snap a few photos of ol' Heinz-Ulri…

To what should we aspire precisely?

Couldn't resist another photograph of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie as Jeeves and Wooster for this particular post.
To what degree should average guys, who are interested in kicking up their everyday style a few notches, aspire?  To be no less than spiffy in everyday appearance and behavior would be most spiffing.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

spiff·y
adjective
informal adjective: spiffy; 1. smart in appearance.  "That's a spiffy new outfit."
spif·fing adjective Brit. informal, dated adjective: spiffing; 1. excellent; splendid.  "How spiffing you look!"


A Laurence Fellows illustration, I think, showing a few very spiffy gents in their spiffing suits from the 1930s.


16 Tips for Fitting into Any Social Situation with Ease and Style. . .

While the clothing depicted in this illustration is old-fashioned, how you ought to handle yourself in a social setting is much the same as it was 100 years ago.
Certain things about personal style are timeless, for example the art of meeting people and interacting with them, whether they are old friends or brand new acquaintances.  Here, in no particular order, then, are sixteen tips for average guys, who are making the effort to kick up their everyday style a few notches.  Practice these tips, make an effort to remember them, and put them to good use whenever you get together with others, whether it's old friends of your parents, the extended family, your buddies from college, or that new couple who has recently moved in across the street.  Ready?  Here we go! 


1) Shake hands firmly, but no death grip or damp, clammy hands.


2) Don’t talk about money, religion, politics, or sex right off the bat.These subjects are best left until you know someone else really well.And maybe not even …

Check Out This New Swedish Style Concern. . .

One of the many attractive neckwear offerings from Tie Room.
We here at The Average Guys Guide to Classic Style are always eager to spread the word about worthy new garment and accessory outlets that catch our attention.  So, if you are in the market for some good quality neckties, bow ties, or pocket squares at reasonable costs, check out Tie Room.  The company began in Sweden, but it has recently opened a U.S. outlet and started offering its products to guys on this side of the Atlantic.  Those who are looking to kick up their style a few notches at any rate.  

Since my own background is so heavily laden with Scandinavian and Nordic languages, literature, and familial links to southern Sweden, I have a strong desire to see the people behind Tie Room do well.  Be sure to have a look around their website and order something that catches your eye.  I've got my own on several of Tie Room's subtly patterned wool neckties.  "Good stuff!" as Cary Grant used to say.

-- Heinz-…

What's the #1 reaon you should kick up your everyday style?

Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson) and James Bond (Sean Connery) leave the casino where they've just met in Dr. No (1962).
In a word, guys, women are the sole reason you need to kick up your everyday style a few notches.  If you don't buy into what I've mentioned previously about (self-) respect and making a solid impression with professional acquaintances, you need to look pulled together for women. . .  or the guys if that's your thing.

Thank of it this way.  If you're unattached, you want to catch the eyes of and be an attractive prospect to quality people.  And if you're already in a serious relationship, or even married, you want to remain attractive to that person rather than reverting to the sloppy attitudes, appearance, and/or behavior of a bratty 10-year old, which will definitely make you less attractive in the long run.  Right?

Now, you don't necessarily have to go the black tie route of Bond, James Bond in the photograph above.  But, you can certainly t…

Ugly sentiments are totally lacking in class and style. . .

Country singer Taylor Swift's childhood home in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.
Resentment and envy are ugly, ugly things.  As the old saying goes, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.  The nasty tone of multitudinous remarks left by commentators today on Yahoo -- in connection to a story about singer Taylor Swift's childhood home, described as a "mansion" -- make my blood boil.  And I'm not even a fan of Ms. Swift or her music.  But let's get a few things straight.

This is a very nice home in an upper middle-class area just outside Reading, Pennsylvania, clearly taken care of and maintained very well.  Some other families in the area even live in renovated 200-year-old fieldstone farmhouses with the barn and outbuildings intact.  And still others have a couple of horses.  What?  Shock!  Horror!  Gasp!  Horses?  The nerve!  

Anyway, you'll find many examples of both types of houses in SE Pennsylvania and elsewhere in nicer areas thro…

Every Once in a While. . .

Not my neighborhood thriftshop, which is shortly to move into newly renovated premises, but a nicely appointed one from somewhere else.  A seasoned thrifter never, ever, EVER reveals the location of his shops of choice.
Most of the time, what you'll find in thriftshops is junk.  Especially where menswear is concerned.  But every once in a while, you'll strike gold.

This summer hasn't seen me in the three area thrift outlets in my neck of the woods very much.  You reach a point where, due primarily to closet space, you must become even more discerning and simply say no to most additional purchases.  After all, how many Brooks Brothers neckties, Harris Tweed jackets, and pairs of Allen Edmonds wingtip brogues can you hoard?

But sometimes, a guy has to throw caution to the wind and snap up those rare gems when he spots 'em.  And that is what happened yesterday evening and this afternoon when I visited two of my local thrift haunts for the first time in four weeks or so.  

At …

Do It with Dignity. . .

Few men today come across more dignified in their attire and behavior than cardiologist Dr. Andre Churchwell on the left, or Italian clothing and style mogul Luciano Barbera on the right.  No one could accuse either man of lacking passion, depth, intensity, or humor when it comes to their respective lives and vocations, making both worthy of emulation in my book.
The concept of dignity, when it is thought of at all these days, seems to get a bad rap in many quarters.  Clearly, too many people perceive dressing and behaving with dignity as somehow dull, flat, lifeless, without color, and lacking in passion.  They, therefore, go so far in the other direction with their appearance and what can only politely be called 'behavior' that there seems to be little hope for us as a society sometimes.

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines the term dignity like this: 


1: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed 2a: high rank, office, or position  b : a legal tit…

Let's Talk Partners, Part II. . .

Too many guys hop into bed with someone else too fast in 2013.  And it borders on the pathetic.  I'm no prude, but maybe more people would have better luck and less disappointment in the relationship department if they delayed sex and really got to know someone else well. . .  really well.  And guys -- surprise! -- that takes more than a few weeks of casual dating and "hanging out" in a group of friends.
In the previous post, we looked at a dozen things average guys would do well to consider when it comes to developing relationships with a special someone.  On the other side of the coin, what are some red flags to avoid (like the plague) in the search for a potential partner of quality?  Here are a few things to keep in mind.  Remember, no matter how "hot" she (or he) might be, ignore the following criteria at your peril because it most definitely can and will come back to haunt you later if you allow your libido to run the show.  He we go.


1) Is that new wo…

Let's Talk Partners, Part I. . .

One example of an interesting woman is Jane Goodall, shown here with one the many chimpanzees she has devoted her life to researching.  Feminist Gloria Steinem, author Martha Grimes, and literary and cultural scholar Cecilia Sjoholm are three additional examples of interesting women, but the list is endless.
You knew we'd eventually have this discussion, didn't you?  Sooner, or later, the average guy in his quest for greater style and even quality -- of life as well as attire -- will realize that he must reexamine what he needs and wants in a partner or companion of longstanding.  I'll talk specifically about women in this post, but much, if not all, of what I mention here is applicable regardless of one's specific interests.

When it comes to women -- notice I do not use the word 'girls' since we are talking about adults here -- consider the following points before you get too involved (and I mean hopping into the sack):


1) The woman in whom you are interested -- …

It's been a fairly cool summer so far. . .

A snapshot of the winter version of Heinz-Ulrich's wardrobe, featuring a variety of tweed, heavy weight wool, and corduroy odd jackets along with too many pairs really of wool flannel and corduroy dress pants.
We've had a fairly cool summer thus far in our neck of the American Midwest.  Really only about ten days or so of beastly hot weather in the latter half of July.  The first few days of August have been delightful, but I'm waiting for  the other shoe to drop.  Surely, there is a prolonged period of unpleasant summer conditions yet to come during the rest of this month or after September 1st? 

Still, the below average temperatures make me look forward to October, when the Fall season really gets underway here, and things cool off enough to break out the the tweed along with other heavier weight garments in a serious way.  Until then, clothes like these are simply too much for the first six or seven weeks of the Autumn semester at my small university, which begins in abo…

A Gentle Reminder. . .

This lovely reminder borrowed from Mad Dogs and Englishmen will go a long way in helping us average guys to kick up our style a few notches.  I'll add another point. . . if and when you use up the last of the toilet paper, remove the cardboard tube and put a new roll in the dispenser.
Personal style, when you think about it, is about much more than simply the clothes we might aspire to own and wear.  Sure, it's great fun talking and daydreaming about Harris Tweed jackets and John Lobb shoes, but I'd even be so bold as to suggest that the way we conduct ourselves is far more important in the quest to project an aura of style than an immaculately tailored suit made by Luciano Barbera.  After all, a person can have the means to wear the most expensive clothing, footwear, and accessories available, yet that individual can still be boorish in the extreme by way of rude, inconsiderate behavior.  Any claim of ignorance someone might offer in defense is no excuse.

One place where th…

What We Wear and What It Suggests. . .

An interesting Norman Rockwell illustration that seems to present us with a man who seems a bit older than the typical (Ivy League) undergraduate.  Maybe this guy is taking advantage of the Post-WWII G.I. Bill to broaden his mind?
While the Average Guy's Guide to Classic Style does not have the American preppy aesthetic as its stated focus, there is admittedly some overlap now that I think about it.  That must be the subconscious result of where and how I grew up (the Greater Philadelphia area with a healthy dose of genteel North Carolina thrown in).  We certainly never thought of ourselves as preppy in any overt way though.  But the look, lifestyle, and more favorable modes of thought were definitely there come to think  of it.  Even if I did sport BIG 80s rocker hair for several years as a teenager.  No digitized photos to share here, sorry!

It should come as no surprise, returning to the point at hand, that yours truly checks in occasionally at several of the better such "pr…

Vital Points to Keep in Mind. . .

Some may scoff, but the family depicted in this 60+ year-old photograph looks extremely pleasant.  Don't we want others to think something similar about us?
In many online discussion forums, some of which do not necessarily concern clothing, there are a lot people who view manners and dressing decently as somehow false, stiff, and unnecessary.  What a sad state of affairs that is.  How can basic polite behavior and consideration for those around us be bad things? 
The truth is that there is nothing at all fake about coming across as a nice and agreeable individual, whether at work, at a ball game with friends, or enjoying a glass of lemonade with the family on the back porch.  As average guys, let's strive for better standards in our personal interaction with others -- including our behavior at the table -- and the way we dress.  It's just the right thing to do.  
If we make an effort to remember and practice the things our families hopefully taught us*, good manners and pro…