From an advertisement for Ballantine Beer in the 1950s.
Happy 2014 from The Average Guy's Guide to Classic Style! I hope your holiday season was pleasant, and the New Year sees you in fine spirits this cold, snowy January day.
As some of you might recall, the overall mission of this particular blog has to do not only with men's clothing, accessories, and shoes, but also how we average guys conduct ourselves. Our manners, behavior, and personal habits in other words are also part of "Style" in the very broad sense like it or not. A guy can wear the most expensive, bespoke garments and shoes, but if he is a habitually rude, boorish schlubb, we can hardly consider him very stylish, can we? He's just a rube, a bumpkin, a clueless prole, etc. with some extra money burning a hole in his pocket. Hardly the kind of person who exudes grooming and sophistication.
The Average Guy's Guide to Style, at its core, is all about how average guys can acquire and/or brush up on that very same grooming and sophistication. With that particular aim in mind, here are a dozen small style resolutions that you can make (and hopefully keep) for 2014. Making an effort to incorporate even just a few of them into your daily habits will go a long way in helping average guys to become more classically stylish individuals. Ready? Here we go.
1) Get you own house in order and make a firm decision to improve yourself and be better in a variety of ways always, externally and internally. And here's a little secret, men. It's an ongoing process. Or it should be.
2) Be less quick with a putdown, smart remark, or dismissal in your conversations and interactions with others. A constant stream of unkind remarks gets really dull quickly and risks making you unpopular. Even when no one says anything to you about your problem.
3) Become a better listener and begin fewer statements with the personal pronoun "I". Not everything is about you. Sometimes, you just need to listen and concentrate on other people for a while. Really.
4) Become more sensitive to others. Again, not everything is about you.
5) Become more aware of your surroundings, and the people you interact with whether they are people you live with, see daily at work, or less familiar individuals who cross your path.
6) Use the words "Please," "Thank you," and "Excuse me" more than you do now.
7) When you apologize to someone else, avoid the ubiquitous, mindless, and meaningless "Sorry" that seems to be on everyone's lips these days. Instead, try "I apologize," which we almost never hear from anyone anymore. And be sincere about it.
8) Let's be less quick to lose our tempers when dealing with people who do not share our points of view. Agree to disagree instead and move on.
9) Learn to recognize and admit when we are wrong about something. There's really no need for all of this silly macho posturing that seems to infect so many average guys. So called pissing contests accomplish nothing. You aren't seven years old on the playground any longer either, so cut it out.
10) On a related note, take responsibility for your actions and own up to your mistakes. The people around you, at home and at work deserve that consideration and will appreciate it. People are occasionally misinformed and, therefore, wrong about any number of things. We're all fallible. Let's get used to it.
11) Let's stop adjusting ourselves (you know what I mean) in public. If you are so well endowed that you actually need to do this, boys, for the love of God retire to the men's room and take care of the problem out of sight. Don't laugh. Lots of guys do this in public with no apparent thought about it and without any embarrassment whatsoever. Presumably, they've never been told not to and don't know any better. Time to stop it, guys. In case your mother has not told you, playing with your nuts in public is crass.
12) Likewise, stop hiccuping out loud, or burping, and blowing the fetid air out of your mouth to share with the rest of the world. The same thing goes for any other bodily noises. Why so many people, who appear to be from the middle and upper-middle income brackets, behave as though they were raised in barns is beyond me. Clearly, money does not buy class. Newsflash! If you do stuff like this, you are being incredibly rude to everyone around you. Time to become more aware of what your body is doing, and take steps to control the situation(s). It is possible.
There you go. While average guys looking to kick up their everyday style several notches, ideally, ought to consider making and keeping all twelve of these small style resolutions, even just a few of them will help improve your social skills and style to some degree. Remember, for all of the talk in the menswear blogosphere about vintage tweed jackets, wool flannel pants, colorful wool waistcoats, and English-made bespoke shoes, true style has less to do with the clothes on our backs and more to do with the way we behave. In the company of others and privately. That's not something a lot of people in the second decade of the 21st century necessarily want to hear, but it's true in any case. Let's make 2014 the year we come to grip with those personal habits that might desperately need an overhaul, and improve the situation more than just the bare minimum requires.