A smiling Archibald Leach (aka Cary Grant) in what looks like a jaunty Gen Plaid jacket, white shirt and subdued wool necktie.
Wise words in the post the other day borrowed from Put This On (via Dandyism.net) in which Burt Bacharach commented on the tasteful, restrained nature of Cary Grant's attire.
The problem, however, is that male standards of dress (and behavior) have sunk so far from Mr. Grant's heyday. In our own era of Slob Post-Post Modern of the early 21st century where anything goes (Braved a WalMart or Sam's Club lately?), a man will stand out in most places and situations by virtue of the fact that he is nicely dressed. Even when he takes pains to clothe himself in the most modest, understated way possible. I must admit that I am unsure how to reconcile those differences other than to suggest the following to those average guys who aspire to kick up their everyday style several notches.
Dress well, with modestly and subtlety, and yet with some quiet panache. Go forth, be clear from the outset that you will attract some attention in most places, and don't worry about it. Accept compliments when they are forthcoming, and ignore occasional thoughtless remarks and questions about your sports jacket and necktie, suit, or leather dress shoes. It's part of that highly sought sprezzatura that is discussed so much at the moment. That nonchalance comes from putting on our clothes in the morning, forgetting about them, and moving effortlessly and with confidence throughout our day without giving one's attire another thought.
As my favorite high school English teacher pointed out to me once, if others' lives are so small and empty that a person's attire becomes the subject of conversation because he or she is well-dressed, that is everyone else's problem. Don't lose any sleep over it. And, whatever you do guys, don't stop your own efforts to dress better and behave more pleasantly just because friends or family might give you hard time about it. You are on the right track after all.