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.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Moving Your Wardrobe. . .

My current necktie collection after culling around 25 or so that I simply never wore, or that failed to knot in an acceptable way.  I think there are about 75 ties in the rotation now.

Moving your belongings from one abode to the next is never easy.  It is even less so when moving hundreds or thousands of miles.  Sigh.  It could be worse I suppose.

The packers are due here on Thursday morning, too bright and early for the two-day job of packing up our household belongings.  Everything will next be loaded up on Monday next and transported to our temporary digs just outside East Lansing, Michigan during the next few days.  Some of you regular visitors might recall that the Grand Duchess and I have both managed to land positions at Michigan State University, teaching for me and department chairing for her, slated to start at the end of August.

Anyway, one of the many questions nagging at me the last several weeks has been how to pack my model soldier collection for safe transport AND the rather large collection of classic menswear I have accumulated over the last dozen years of so since graduate school.  As far as the neckties are concerned, I finally hit upon the idea of rolling them tightly and placing them snugly within shoeboxes, or in this case photoboxes.  These can be had from any large arts and crafts store like Michael's (here in the Unitied States).  Or just use empty shoe boxes if you can scrounge 'em up.

The photoboxes I purchased have stylized illustrations of the Eiffel Tower and old postage stamps withpostmarks on the lids.  Suitably masculine images I guess.  The rolling will minimize wrinkling and the boxes will keep everything from turning into a tangled, dirty mess in transit by the time our stuff is unloaded in just over a week's time.  Without a doubt, there are various ways to accomplish the same thing, this is what I have come up with.  

Talking of neckties, I am reminded of the wedding reception of an acquaintance that I attended about nine years ago.  I was unfortunate enough to be seated next to the ex-boyfriend, a British emigre Philosophy professor, of my now wife.  She dated him for a year or so between me and me.  Why, I'll never figure out because at best the guy was and remains a boring drip.  Clearly, whoever did the seating charts for the reception either possessed a rakish sense of humor, or simply was not thinking.  

But back to neckties.  Throughout the celebratory dinner, this guy kept loudly telling everyone within earshot that he owned no necktie at all prior to the event in question, and that he found the one he sported (clearly man-made material in a putrid shade of monkey vomit green) -- along with with a borrowed suit at least two sizes too large -- at T. J. Maxx for US$2.99.  Clearly, this was a weird point of pride with him.  The apple never falls far from the tree I guess.  Now, keep in mind that I enjoy bargain hunting as much as the next person, but whatever you paid for something, it is generally best to keep things like that to yourself.

This raises another point.  Whatever your profession or job might be, and regardless of the sort of attire required for it -- or not -- it is a sound idea for any adult male above the age of 18 to own at least ONE SUIT THAT FITS (preferably wool in a year-round weight) a couple of conservative silk or wool neckties, a couple of plain cotton dress shirts (one white, one light blue), 2-3 pairs of dark, knee-high dress socks, and a couple of pairs of conservative leather DRESS SHOES without the dreaded squared toes.  And none of that casual comfort sole crap either.  Here is an excellent short piece at Permanent Style on how to make even a cheap suit look good. 

Have everything cleaned and pressed professionally, and keep it hanging (protected by plastic) to one side in your closet, with your shined shoes at the ready beneath, so you are never caught unprepared for those somewhat more formal occasions that still come up in a man's life from time to time.  It's true guys.  Once in a great while, you do need to be dressed better than people commonly do for dinner at American casual dining chains like Chile's, The Olive Garden, or Applebee's.  And yes.  Haughty, smug, disdainful tone intended, thank you very much. Write your congressman or congresswoman if that offends your sensibilities.

To the philosopher ex-boyfriend's credit, he did try to maintain pleasant conversation with me throughout the meal, but silence might have been more comfortable now that I think about it.  The near constant stream of inane questions about my bicycling hobby (pretty serious long-distance stuff at the time) became grating after while.  There were six or eight other people, a few of whom are actually interesting individuals, around the table after all.  It would have been nice to talk about something else for a bit, and let others have the chance to introduce other subjects besides bike parts like chainrings, cassettes, and the merits of carbon frames.  These are of interest only to the most hardcore of cyclists, I fully acknowledge, and even then, the subject needs to be changed after about five minutes.  Know what I mean?

-- Heinz-Ulrich