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Showing posts from October, 2013

Warm Style for a Rainy, Chilly Day. . .

Cool, wet weather gear without a nylon rain hat or pair of ugly Birckenstock sandals worn with socks in sight.  As Cheryl Crow might sing, "This ain't no country club.  This ain't Seattle after all."
Yesterday was a wet one in my neck of the woods, and I prefer not to wear the really good shoes when it's like that.  So, out came a pair of Johnston Murphy loafers, which, while not Allen Edmonds by any stretch of the imagination, don't look too bad with  more casual ensembles.  I almost got rid of these plasticy reverse grain leather shoes a year or so ago, but that I realized that a foul weather go-to shoe might be a good idea for those times when L.L. Bean duck shoes just don't cut it.  The combination shown above included:


* Land's End corduroy sports jacket (purchased new in November 2003)
* Land's End cotton button-down shirt (on sale)
* No-name silk necktie (thrifted)
* No-name Italian silk pocket square (thrifted)
* Corbin wool flannel pants (thrif…

Want to put people to sleep?

Voltaire and his homeboy Frederick II of Prussia.
Voltaire said, "The secret of being boring is to say everything."  In other words, blab your entire life's story within the first ten minutes of meeting someone, and you'll cure their insomnia.  Fast.  So, avoid talking too much as well as the pervasive tendency to overshare.  Your family, friends, and new acquaintances will thank you.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Three Is a Magic Number. . .

Today's clothing ensemble minus the Allen Edmonds chocolate brown captoe oxfords, creamy yellow oxford cloth button-down shirt, and gray crewneck Shetland Sweater.  The Pride of Wales tie was also thrifted (I thought very briefly about sending it to my Welsh step-father), and the pocket square was an early Ebay purchase.
Once the weather gets chilly, an average guy looking to kick up his everyday style a few notches can't have too much tweed!  Not only is it warm, but it's exceedingly stylish in that natty Bertie Wooster-down-at-Totleigh Towers-for-a-long-weekend way.  Plus, a tweed jacket when paired with an oxford cloth button-down shirt and wool necktie is much more visually pleasing than one of those ubiquitous man-made fleeces or ugly hooded sweatshirts with Dorito crumbs down the front.  Know what I mean, Alfie?

I submit for your review and approval three such tweed jackets that are part of my own Fall-Winter-Early Spring wardrobe.  I've also combined others items…

Coming Soon. . .

A sample swatch of Donegal Tweed, which is not from my jacket.
Stay tuned for the premier of a muted houndstooth tweed hacking jacket by Hart, Schaffner, and Marx plus a genuine Donegal tweed jacket just back from the tailor's and ready to enter fall-winter wardrobe rotation.  Best of all, the next few days are supposed to be quite chilly here, so a layered look with a crew neck or v-neck sweater below each along with a wool necktie peeking out ought to be just the thing!

-- Heinz-Ulrich

"High five me buddy!!!"

It's one thing when a couple of children or teenagers high five each other.  But lots of parents and other adult authority figures overdo this. . .  charming (really???) celebratory and congratulatory ritual.
It strikes me that there are many parents out there -- at least in the United States, land of overly permissive parenting -- who are afraid to be parents and more interested in coming across to their children as a buddy.  The problem with this misguided way of thinking and being is that when the time comes to get serious and get your kids back on track after a minor infraction, or mete out punishment for something more serious, you can't easily put the genie back in the bottle and restore the right kind of dynamic.  You're the parent and the rational, responsible one in the equation.  The one in charge.  Or that's how it's supposed to be.  

But it's much, much harder to be the authority figure with any degree of success when little Aoife, Conner, Bronwynn, …

Fall Is in Full Swing. . .

Yesterday's clothing combo sans belt, which I forgot to include in the arrangement before I photographed it.
Fall is finally in full swing here, and today has been a delightfully chilly mid-October Friday with slate-gray skies and a crisp 48 degrees Fahrenheit (8.8 Celsius) temperature for a high.  Just the kind of weather we need for some more interesting sorts of seasonal attire like the kind shown above, which I wore yesterday (Thursday), the last day of classes for this week since this 4-day weekend is Fall Break Weekend  and commences today.  It's nice work if you can get it.  The ensemble shown above consisted of the following items:

* Huntin Horn 'Harris Tweed' jacket (thrifted)
* Land's End dress corduroy pants with pleated front and cuffs (clearance)
* Land's End university stripe oxford cloth button-down collar shirt (overstock)
* Allen Edmonds shoes (Ebay and then recrafted at the AE factory)
* Robert Talbott hand-dyed and sewn 'ancient madder' nec…

Flannel Wednesday. . .

The get-up for yours truly on Wednesday (yesterday).
Ahhh. . .   Hear that?  It's the sound of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.  And it has finally cooled off enough -- really, truly enough -- in my neck of the woods to put away the warmer weather stuff until mid-April or so next year, and break out the fall and winter gear.  Naturally, that consists of lots of tweed, wool flannel, and corduroy.  Yesterday's ensemble, for instance, consisted of the following items:


* Polo University Club navy wool blazer, made in the U.S.A. (thrifted 2011)
* Ralph Lauren gray wool flannel pants with 1.5" cuffs and pleats, made in Canada (thrifted 2013)
* Robert Talbott necktie (English Lawn Tennis Association stripe), made in the U.S. (purchased on sale 2004)
* Land's End pink Hyde Park Oxford button-down shirt (purchased on clearance 2010)
* No-name silk cream pocket square w/brown edging and brown and maroon polka dots (thrifted 2011)
* Land's End belt (purchased new 2004)
* Von Maur …

Keep the Following Point in Mind. . .

"My God, does he ever shut up?"  As average guys making the effort to kick up our everyday style a few notches, we want to make certain others never have this thought about us.

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." -- Mark Twain 

The advice offered above has also been attributed to various other public figures but has its origins in biblical verse.  Regardless of who said it first, though, the words are very wise and well worth remembering in the continuous quest to improve our personal style. Talk is cheap as my father used to say, and unless you've really got something to say, it's far better to leave the endless stream of idle chitchat to others.  Practice greater economy with your conversation.  Sit back, observe, and let others do the talking. 

-- Heinz-Ulrich
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.
Mark Twain
Read …

Three Ways to Look Better Immediately. . .

"Bueller?  Bueller?  Bueller?"  The great Ben Stein in 1980.  Yep.  That Ben Stein.
Want to look better right away AND do it without spending any money?  Click here and visit the No Man Walks Alone Tumblr blog.  

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Sartorial Personality. . .

This combination of garments was worn last Friday when I aimed for a Luciano Barbera vibe.
Friday's and Monday's ensembles met with that rarest of animals. . . wifely approval!   My poor other half grew up with male family members who rarely wore sports jackets and odd trousers, to say nothing of suits, neckties, and good shoes. . .  even when such things were still fairly typical back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.  So, it remains exceedingly difficult to get her enthused about classic male style, to say nothing of a little sartorial individuality.  However, yours truly managed to win that coveted spousal approval recently on not one but two days, which is one for the record books if you ask me.

The first photograph above includes a Canali wool sports jacket, charcoal worsted wool pleated pants by Zanelli, a no-name wool necktie made in the U.S.A., and some Land's End monk strap loafers.  The shoes, which were purchased new back in the fall of '07, are much higher quality…

Coming Shortly: Three Is a Magic Number. . .

Any of you remember the old Schoolhouse Rock animated shorts that were on Saturday mornings, at least here in the United States, between cartoons and breakfast cereal commercials, back in the 1970s?
Be sure to drop by in the next day or two for thoughts on how to extend the range of even a small wardrobe without too much trouble or expenditure.  I'll also be sharing a few photos of a recent purchase from Giuseppe over at An Affordable Wardrobe, which is just back from the dry cleaner's and needs only to have the sleeves shortened a tiny bit before it will enter the Fall/Winter rotation.  It's to die for!  And later next week, a post on mixing and matching clothes and accessories without fear and loathing. . .  and the result this past Friday morning even met with spousal approval, something which doesn't happen everyday here at The Average Guys Guide to Classic Style!  See you then.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

"To acheive nonchalance. . . one article at least must not match."

The late Hardy Amis.  At work?  Or at play?
"To achieve the nonchalance which is absolutely necessary for a man, one article at least must not match. For instance, you can wear a dark blue suit and tie with a pale blue shirt and navy blue socks, but you must then have a patterned silk handkerchief say in dark red or a paisley design of green and brown; or you could stick to a blue handkerchief and have dark red socks." -- Hardy Amis


With those thoughts by Mr. Amis in mind, let's talk about that elusive sprezzatura (a word so overused these days that it is losing any meaning at all).  Ideally, you want to strive for an unstudied, relaxed look, regardless of how dressed up you might actually be.  Clothing that looks lived in, along with a relatively carefree demeanor from the man wearing the clothes, suggests absolute ease and comfort both internally and externally.  Think Cary Grant, David Niven, or young Sean Connery here.  In other words, you'll want to avoid per…

"Style is usually something you acquire. . ."

German style expert Bernhard Roetzel, author of Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion.
"Style is usually something you acquire rather than being born with it. . . Style is very much about copying and imitating." -- Bernhard Roetzel

Read the rest of the interview at Torsten Grunwald's The Journal of Style by clicking here.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

"Style is neither superficial nor inconsequential."

The always stylish G. Bruce Boyer.
"Those with little money must count on brains, hard work, and style to get ahead. Good manners and a sense of humor help as well. This is the nature of both the Dandy and Democracy: that our destinies are not written before we are born. I understood this from a very early age, and was lucky enough to have a mother who allowed me to experiment with my vision of myself. My belief is that we all invent ourselves to one degree or another. I tried all sorts of clothes, and noticed how people reacted to them. I carefully noticed how costumes on actors helped them play their parts. And I was quickly aware that some men in our neighborhood got more attention and respect because of their style. Style is neither superficial nor inconsequential." -- G. Bruce Boyer

Read the full interview here at Keikari.com.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

The Word for Today Is. . .

Tweed.  Apparently, much cooler weather is on the way.  Can I hear an "Amen"?  And I'll bet you didn't think I could be so concise either.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Suits and jackets predictable uniforms? Guess again!

I can hardly stand to put on my one pair of sweatpants anymore.
Something occurred to me early this morning as I looked quickly through a few menswear blogs that I visit all the time.  Usually over that first cup of fresh black coffee as I try wake up and become more cognizant before showering, shaving, and dressing.  Anyway, the recurring and lingering thought that popped into my head then did not originate with me sadly.  It stems, instead, from something my old Sociology teacher Mr. Youse observed way back during my last year of high school in the fall of 1984. 

Ready?  Here it is.  Blue jeans -- and later on sweatpants and cargo shorts. . .  along with any combination of backwards baseball caps, stained, stretched, or over-sized t-shirt or wife beater singlet, flip-flops, and/or sneakers -- have become a conformist uniform.  In much the same way that many people thought of gray flannel suits in the 1950s and 60s.


The baggy, lawn and leaf bag look has never made any sense to me ei…

An Unstudied Summer Suit Experiment. . .

Yesterday's assemblage of garments.  The jury is still out on how well it succeeded.
Although the days are noticeably shorter, and Autumn is definitely in the air, we are still having the occasional warm day here in my corner of the American Midwest.  With temperatures in the lower to mid-80s Fahrenheit recently, I haven't bothered dragging out the tweeds, flannels, and corduroys just yet. . .  or brushing down and stowing away the warm weather gear.  So, why not get a bit more mileage this season out of that vintage wool-silk glen plaid suit?

Which was the plan yesterday morning.  Something unstudied without too much additional pattern given that of the suit.  Initially, I was quite please with the result.  However, the more I thought about it, there just seemed to be something a little off about Thursday's combination of clothes.  I think it was the shirt, which is not my favorite.  Too bold a blue, and the plaquette-less design has never really appealed to me.  Time to do…