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.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Color, Pattern, and Texture. . .

On the way back to campus one afternoon in early November.

As yet one more example of how average guys can have a bit of fun during Autumn with color, pattern, and texture -- and kick up their everyday style several notches in the process -- here's a photograph of yours truly from a couple of weeks ago.  The precise breakdown of the overall look that day was this:

* Harris Tweed jacket (thrifted 2011)
* No-name Glen Plaid wool vest/waistcoat (thrifted 2011)
* Rooster Ancient Madder necktie handmade in England (thrifted in 2012)
* Land's End corduroy pants (purchased on sale early 2013)
* Land's End 'orignal' oxford cloth button-down collar shirt (purchased on sale in 2004)
* Allen Edmonds chocolate suede wingtips (a birthday gift in 2012)
* No-name Italian silk pocket square with hand-rolled edges (thrifted in 2011)

There you are!  All set for a weekend in the country at Totleigh Towers with Uncle Watkyn and Madeline Bassett from the look of things.  But I felt good, and that's really all that counts.

There is a a line of thought, stretching all the way back to Beau Brummel, I think, which stipulates that the truly well-dressed man does not attract any attention with his clothing and, therefore, does not stand out.  I agree in theory.  And if I were a weekend guest at someone's house in the British countryside among the upper crust in, say, 1930, clothing like I sport in the photograph above would not stand out.  However, there is a slight problem with Brummel's point of view.  It's late 2013, and the sloppy man-child aesthetic has now permeated virtually every area of life, at least here in my little corner of the United States.  

In addition, there are now two or three generations of guys walking around who have little to no idea about how to dress in anything other than items like over-sized jeans, cargo shorts, fleeces, and flip-flops or sneakers, for example.  How remarkably fast we've sunken to the lowest common denominator where appearance is concerned.  The relatively cheap, mass-produced, proletariat aesthetic prevails in most public spheres now.  Hooray for us.  What a stunning achievement. Well done everyone.  Let's keep at it.  With global warming on the march, and if more of us were under 30 and exhibited highly toned physiques, public nudity might be an improvement.  Um, maybe not.

I'm kidding of course, but in light of the low sartorial benchmark of recent decades, it's almost impossible not to stand out if one wears anything as brash and audacious as a jacket and tie with a decent pair of leather shoes in most professional environments that have abandoned clear business formal expectations in exchange for that vague, ill-conceived, and poorly executed sartorial morass that is the business (or smart) casual dress code.  In most instances, there is very little that is serious and business-like about it from what I've observed.

It's not readily apparent to me, in any case, how we might reconcile the two ends of this particular sartorial dichotomy.  So, I'll take the brazen approach and suggest the following to any average guys out there who want to kick up their everyday style.  And please pardon the somewhat crass nature of the expression, but it seems entirely appropriate in this particular instance.  Ready?  Here it is.  Grow a pair!  Stop worrying so much about what your sloppy buddies or acquaintances might think or say.  Pay them no mind.  Take a little pride in your own appearance, hold your head up, and go forth into the world.  Chart your own course, leave the herd mentality behind, and, as the good fellas say, "Fugeddaboutit!"

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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