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, September 29, 2015

Rainy (and Cooler) Day Style. . .

The top half for today, featuring a Canali flannel sports jacket, Brooks Brothers OCBD shirt, a 1990s vintage Ralph Lauren necktie (a little wide, but not unattractively so), and an orange-brown and black silk pocket square (actually a lady's scarf).  Given the rain and wet this morning, the bottom consisted of my rainy day gear: a pair of old Levis Docker chinos and a pair of Johnston Murphy penny loafers.  Not the greatest items, but they help me save the better shoes and pants for nicer weather.

Another necktie that I like a lot although it is a bit wider than the (apparently) preferred 3" (or so) width.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Monday, September 28, 2015

Neckties. . .

Today's tie, a vintage handmade silk number by Orvis.  The shirt is a Lands End 'Original Oxford' (like you can't get anymore) that I've had since 2003 or maybe '04.  It's beginning to fray a bit around the edges of the collar and cuffs.  The missing jacket is an olive green cotton sports jacket by Brooks Brothers.

Neckties.  My narcotic of choice.

--Heinz-Ulrich

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday Nostalgia for Summers of the Past. . .

The Outer Banks of North Carolina in the vicinity of Duck, Nagshead, and Kitty Hawk where we sometimes spent two weeks in the summer during those years when we were not able to join everyone else -- or chose not to -- in South Carolina at the family house in North Myrtle Beach.

Feeling a bit nostalgic for family vacations of the past this morning.  The Upper Midwest, the lakes of Minnesota, the forests of Wisconsin and Michigan, not to mention the Great Lakes are wonderful in their way, but it just ain't the same thing.  Nope.  This morning, I'm a bit homesick for the places along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States where I grew up, and where my family spent so much time in various coastal areas during the summers through the late 198os.

One of the places that was popular with the family when I was young, and throughout my mother's childhood and teenage years from the 1940s to the early 60s, was the Outer Banks region of North Carolina.  The last year we rented a house here was in late August of 1984.  The events of that visit unfolded like a French farce, starting with my teenage sister getting lost on the beach at sundown our first evening at the house during her impromptu walk to the Navy Pier up the beach, which appeared much closer than it was given its massive dimensions.  The comedy of errors continued through the arrival of my uncle's in-laws Bobbi and Al -- who were perpetually soused and sniped at each other like the couple in the Edward Albee play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? -- and the related Spinach Fandango incident, which culminated in rather tipsy renditions of Carolina Moon and When the Saints Go Marching In.  Bobbi, the story went, sang with a big band in Chicago during the first half of the 1940s and still needed an audience during her weaker moments.

Things limped along like that for the next ten days or so, finally coming to a premature end that year during Week #2 when the North Carolina National Guard cleared the area in advance of an approaching early hurricane that August.  Meanwhile, Great Uncle Baxter and his notorious sourpuss of a wife Aunt Jewel, neither of whom should have been driving at that point in their lives, remained somehow blissfully unaware of the changing weather.  The two continued their manic romp on the highways and byways that led to the Outer Banks from the central part of the state with their infamous "car full of melons," a huge 197os-era Buick or some similar vehicle that was a four-door boat.  The car rode like one too if you were unlucky enough to get trapped in it with Uncle Baxter behind the wheel.  

Great Uncle Baxter once drove this same car onto a busy interstate highway by going in the wrong direction up an exit ramp.  He fixed his mistake, once he noticed it, by invoking his inner Steve McQueen.  Uncle Baxter floored the accelerator, reached top speed, and drove with a clanking thud over the median strip that separated the three northbound lanes of traffic from the three southbound lanes as oncoming and passing motorist blew their horns, shook their fists, and made obscene gestures at him.  It was almost like the chase scene in Bullit.  My mother actually experienced this very ride as a passenger in the backseat during the summer of 1983 and lived to tell the tale.  Stuff like this was hysterically funny to my almost 17-year-old self.  Even now, it remains wryly amusing whenever those events from so long ago cross my mind.  But back to the beach.


 North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where Uncle Jack and Aunt Alma had their house, a sprawling 10-bedroom green and white place, where the extended family from up and down the eastern seaboard congregated for two-three weeks each July and August for many years from the late 1940s through the late 80s. 


At other times, we joined the rest of the extended family in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where Great Uncle Jack and Aunt Alma owned a large beach house.  Almost every summer for about 40 years, the extended clan journeyed from where life and careers had taken them up and down the east coast of the U.S. after the Second World War to North Myrtle Beach for two or three weeks each July or early August.  Usually, Uncle Jack's brother Uncle Syd and his wife Aunt Martha (my maternal grandfather's youngest sister) hosted the proceedings, which included lots of Bridge games lubricated by plenty of scotch and sodas, mixed drinks, and the like. . . in the fine tradition of somewhat observant Episcopalians, Methodists, and one Southern Baptist (Uncle Syd).  

 There were usually three or four card tables set up in the large main room of the beach house, and the bridge games usually began in the late mornings, continued after lunch until the late afternoon siesta, and picked up again in the early evenings once the dinner dishes had been cleared away and coffee served.  Often, Great Aunt Marnie and my grandfather (siblings) would call over Great Uncle Bob and my grandmother to play their hands for them for a few rounds, something the latter two disliked because they were the only two in the family who were not avid Bridge players.  They always helped out their respective spouses though.  Granny was a shrewd Gin Rummy player, however, and that cardgame was also played with great gusto now and then.  Sometimes, the men would also, shall we say, make the games a bit more interesting by playing for pennies, nickels, and dimes, but Aunt Martha didn't really approve, so this happened on the QT. 

Oddly, and as I have written before here at Classic Style for the Average Guy, there was never any audible swearing or ugly drunken behavior like seems to be the norm among so much of the populous in 2015.  These family gatherings were pretty understated and quiet affairs all things considered.  People were happy to see each other, or at least polite enough to pretend that they were.  The family laughed together, shared stories, and took part in actual conversation with one another (no smart phones in those days).  Great Great Aunt Polly (my grandfather's aunt) always told stories like The Crooked Mouths to the children.  Adults and children napped in the late afternoons, with the former playing cards until the wee hours.  We ate well, walked on the beach, swam in tidal pools when the tide was out, and overall enjoyed each others' company.  

If there were ever any off color stories with blue language, the men retired to the beach well out of earshot of the ladies and children.  The strongest words I ever heard come out of anyone's mouth during these gatherings was an expression Uncle Baxter used.

"Well, by Ned!" he would exclaim when flustered, surprised, astonished, or incredulous.  The expression drove my grandmother and Great Aunt Marnie, who were close, crazy.  Privately, they thought Uncle Baxter was about as sharp as a mashed potato sandwich. 


And once in a while, we borrowed Cousin Geneva's cottage on Gwynn Island on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia for two weeks. 
 

Last, but not least, there was also Cousin Geneva's less grand cottage on Gwynn Island, Virginia, part of the tidewater region in that state.  My chief memories of staying here include the delicious fresh seafood at a totally unpretentious, quick and dirty restaurant perched on some rocks over the water at the left end of the bridge in the photograph above.  That and the thousands of rotting horseshoe crabs and jellyfish that would wash up on the beach.  

There was also the Independence Day celebration in 1982, I was 15 that year summer, when we almost burned down the woods around the house with some roman candles, the one and only time my sister and I were permitted to have fireworks.  One of the darn things fell over in the sand at some point in all of this, and we took hasty cover behind a dune.  Good thing too.  For a few minutes it was like having live ammo and tracer bullets shooting over our heads in all directions.  

How the dry pine woods nearby did not catch fire and burn out of control, I'll never know.  We were lucky.  Whatever the napalm-like substance that shot out of those was, it remained glowing underwater for some time after the excitement died down, and we were able to came out and survey the damage.  That particular episode, by the way, satisfied our curiosity about, and desire for, anything that goes "BOOM!" for the 4th of July.

And who could forget my grandfather's slightly inebriated late night run to the local Food Lion (or maybe a Winn Dixie?) back in the town of Redart, VA on the mainland?  And the reason behind his foray?  He went after a shopping bag full of cheap candy.  Taffy, peppermint balls, stick candy, circus peanuts, Yoo-Hoo and Knee High sodas, you name it.  That particular scavenger hunt happened in the wake of my grandmother losing her patience one evening with my grandfather's extended soliloquy about how delicious he thought -- so he said -- the steaks were that he had prepared outside on the grill for us that evening.

Unable to withstand anymore of that particular monologue, aided and abetted, naturally, by Granddaddy's usual triple scotch and water before we sat down to the table, Granny finally snapped.  She placed her fork and knife on the edge of her plate, blotted her mouth with her napkin, and replaced it in her lap.  She next looked straight at my grandfather and answered the rather direct question just put to her where the quality of the meat was concerned.

 "No, Dave!  These steaks are not good at all," she exclaimed through a North Carolina accent, softened by many years away from The South.  "They're tougher than shoe leather and aren't fit to eat!"  Granny's words hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity before anyone stirred.  The rest of us around the table had to bite our tongues to keep from laughing, but she said what we all thought.  

I should point out that the steaks in question came from half a steer Granddaddy bought earlier that spring and loaded into a recently purchased coffin freezer in the basement at home.  Turns out the entire side of beef was that tough.  No matter what Mom and Granny tried in the kitchen, and regardless of the specific cut of meat, the results were always the same.  Yep.  Like trying to eat an old pair of boyscout shoes.  Tasted about as good too.  

There was also the small matter of the speeding ticket that Granddaddy had already received several months before while driving in another part of Virginia.  He always claimed it was a speed trap.  The resulting ticket apparently went unpaid and would have meant big trouble legally and at home had Granddaddy been stopped that night by a police officer during his later candy run to the mainland.  The trip followed on the heels of several hours spent on the sofa in the living room where he napped off the sting of my grandmother's observation about the true nature of the steaks and the residual effects of the triple scotch and water.  Granny later unloaded much of the remaining meat on her cleaning lady, Emma, during the next year of so. 

But back to the point at hand.  Family vacations aren't made like this anymore, not to mention Buicks.  The older generation, the perpetrators if you will, have all gone now.  Our parents' generation are well into retirement and spread all across the United States with the notable exception of ol' Mom, who resides in Mexico now and speaks good Spanish at this point.  The various cousins of my sister's and my generation -- now middle-aged ourselves -- have drifted geographically and emotionally.  We are not close in the same way that the previous two or three generations were, and there won't be any more family gatherings at the beach quite like those of days gone by.  There haven't been for almost a quarter century now if I think about it.  That's a bit sad on the one hand, but the memories are priceless, and we still have those.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Late September Office Hours Style. . .


  
One can never be overdressed in my opinion, especially on this campus where there are plenty of male professors and administrative muckety-mucks walking around who know what they are doing when it comes to matters sartorial.  My own garb today included a vintage Corbin Glen Plaid silk-wool suit, a recrafted pair of Allen Edmonds shoes, a Black Watch regimental striped tie by Reis of New Haven (one of my very best Central Illinois thrifting finds ever), and socks by Dapper Classics.  

I know, I know.  A bit much in the sock department given the other patterns and colors.  But I mistakenly thought I grabbed a pair of plain navy Merino wool socks in the dim light of morning.  It was not to be however.  I was pressed for time this morning and went with what I found easily in the overstuffed sock drawer.  Not shown are the white linen pocket square and the blue and white seersucker braces that I chose in lieu of a belt.

Tomorrow is another Hawaiian Shirt Gonzo Friday, and while I would normally not have any commitments on campus, and thus would be free to remain at home, there is a proessional development seminar in the afternoon I wish to attend.  Even if that turns out to be a waste of time (and they often do in my experience), it will at least provide a ready excuse to shave and dress for the event.  There is a new Brooks Brothers Makers necktie that arrived in the mail to day, which I will enjoy wearing.  

"What??!!  A man who actually enjoys wearing a necktie??!  Did I hear right?"  Yep.  You did.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Sunday, September 20, 2015

SE Pennsylvania Nostalgia. . .

One of many familiar barns  very close to my grandparents' old place in District Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania.  Note the Pennsylvania German hexsigns to ward off evil spirits.  If memory serves, this farm is where we once pulled over on a frigid early winter's evening when I was about nine to let the farmer know that his large herd of Holstein dairy cattle was loose and spread out across and along the road.  He must have been hard of hearing because my sister and I banged on a barn window for quite some time until our knuckles were blue.  I guess the old man thought we were playing a prank on him because he was nasty when he finally noticed us and came to see what we wanted.


A beautiful panorama of the Berks County countryside.


The annual Devon Horseshow, closer in to Philadelphia on the Mainline, was a favorite event for Mom, my sister, and me.  Always wanted to ride in it, but never could get the hang of cantering properly on horseback, so jumping was out.  Fast-forward to 2015, and I have found a stable near our new diggs in Michigan where the Young Master will give riding lessons a try net summer to see if it it something in which he might be interested for the longer term.  Come to think of it, ol' Dad might climb back in the saddle for a few lessons too.


 A photograph of my late schoolbus driver's farm in Landis Store.  Rob Weinsteiger died several years ago, but he drove old Bus #20 for decades from September through June each year, hauling a bunch of disrespectful, noisy, and sometimes just downright naughty middle- and high school students to and from school five days a week.  An extremely patient, kind-hearted individual I think from the vantage point of an adult very close to becoming "a certain age."


 Another nice panorama of some old farm that I recognize instantly, although I can't tell you exactly where it is in relation to my grandparents' place.  You really do begin to take all of the wonderful scenery and old structures for granted when you see them on a daily basis.


Huffs Church, about five to seven minutes from my grandparents' place and home to two different Lutheran congregations who share the premises.  Many of my schoolmates continue to attend each Sunday even now.  Until the mid- to late 1980s, the church lacked a steeple, which was only replaced then after doing many years without although the replacement is much smaller than the original judging from old photographs I've seen.  When I was a boy in the 1970s, a Great Horned Owl used to perch on on the four finials at the top of the tower at dusk each evening.  We observed it many times when we drove by on some errand or other.  There was also a working General Store -- Pilgert's -- just behind the vantage point of the photographer here until about 1985 or so.  We occasionally bought milk, bread, and other similar last minute items from Lloyd Pilgert himself.  These days, you must ride down the hill to a Turkey Hill Minute Market on the treacherous Route 100.  The former general store has been a bed and breakfast for many years now.


 The Landis Store Hotel, five minutes up a steep hill from my grandparents' place at the intersection of Conrad, Forgedale, and Baldy Hill Roads. When I was very small in the early 1970s, and I have distinct memories of this, the porch was still open, there was a bar on one side, a general store-post office on the other and an old-fashioned hand-cranked (leaded) gasoline pump outside just to the left of the porch about where the retaining wall and steps are now.  The current manager and chef, Gary, is a former schoolmate of mine, who, apparently, took over from his parents, Gary Sr. and Janet Henshaw, some years ago.  His Aunt Marilyn Hofman, Janet's sister, is still the Executive Chef.  Janet and Marilyn's parents, the late Ralph and Helen Hoffman (close friends of my grandparents) bought the place in the early 1950s and ran it until the early 1970s when Gary and Janet took it over and recast the establishment as a place for fine dining, which it remains.  The Landis Store Hotel -- locals called it "The Store" when I was young -- was once mentioned (and possibly featured) in an issue of the defunct Gourmet Magazine many years ago.  We routinely enjoyed evening meals there throughout my formative years.


I think this barn is on Forgedale Road just below Landis Store where my sister an I took horseback riding lessons for several years from Joy McCarty (Mrs. McCarty to the children), who taught English-style riding.  The McCarty's were one of a then fairly small group of Philadelphia and Allentown families who had moved to the country in the late 1960s-early 1970s.  Oddly all horse people.  My family was part of that set although it isn't like there was that much socializing between us, but we all knew each other and attended school with most of the children with whom my sister and I were friends.


Another farm very close to my grandparents' house in the vicinity of Landis Store.


This is an apparently recent photograph of the old covered bridge over Maxatawny Creek near Pleasantville, PA at the corner of Covered Bridge Road and Tollhouse Road.  The bridge is, amazingly, still open to automobile traffic.  My parents owned an old place for a few years about five minuets to the left on Tollhouse Road.  A couple of schoolmates of mine, Robert and Richard Hartz, lived on a large dairy farm just to the right of the bridge here.


Here is a panoramic shot taken from Pulpit Rock in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  Glad to see that it still looks like this.  I haven't been back to eastern Pennsylvania in over 20 years.


Can't quite tell if this is a photograph, or a painting, but this barn, on Oysterdale Road in Colebrookdale Township I believe, is very close to my grandparents' place in District Township.  The old tobacco ad was faded but still very evident when I was a boy and teenager in the 1970s and early 1980s.


Finally, a shot of our old Episcopal (Anglican) church, Saint Gabriel's in Douglasville, PA in neighboring Amity Township.  The minister when I was a boy and young teenager was the late Father Kenneth T. Cosby, who waded ashore with the U.S. Marines at Okinawa while under heavy enemy fire.  My sister was baptized here, our grandfather served on the vestry for many years, our grandmother was active with the local chapter of The Episcopal Church Women (ECW), and my Anglo-Catholic uncle delivered a few guest sermons after he was ordained in Britain back in the mid-1970s.


Since I have occasionally mentioned the area where I enjoyed my formative years on Classic Style for the Average Guy, I thought it might be fun to share a few photographs and recollections with you.  None of the pictures are mine, all having been culled from the Web.  If you spot your work here, please let me know if you would like it removed, and I will do so ASAP.  Even better, and if you don't mind having your pictures shared here, let me know who you are, and I'll mention your name in the caption.  At some point, once we are in our new house, unpacked, and settled again, I have a bunch of pictures of my grandparents' old restored fieldstone place and surrounding land that I must digitize to share here too.  In the meantime, enjoy perusing these.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

A Few Great Old Laurence Fellows Illustrations. . .




You know.  For inspiration.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday Afternoon Barber Shop Style. . .


With all of this talk about sports jackets, neckties, shoes, and the like, it is sometimes easy to neglect the fact that the stylish man, in a classic sense, needs to keep his hair trimmed and visit his hair-cutter of choice routinely.  Our son, The Young Master, and I were long overdue for haircuts, but life has been hectic since our return from Germany last month, and we have had to delay things a bit longer than usual.  We have become somewhat"shaggy" in other words.  That observations aside -- and it was one my late maternal grandfather, bless him, made occasionally when I was a child and teenager -- the two of us had a delightful experience earlier this afternoon at the Okemos Barber Shop in Okemos Village, Michigan.  

In a nutshell, perfect "short back and sides" haircuts for us both, nicely tapered with enough hair left up top and in the front to part on the left.  A pleasant, relaxed atmosphere with a very skilled staff, who are chatty but not overly so, and good with children.  They even shaved the nape of my neck with warm shaving cream and an old fashioned straight razor, which I've never experienced before.  No appointments are necessary.  Busy, but relaxed and friendly.  My wife, the Grand Duchess, while waiting for us, struck up a conversation with one patron, who turned out to be a neighbor to one of her colleagues on campus.

But back to the shop.  It has been run by the Zea family since 1963 and has been in existence for over 100 years, located in one or another of the buildings right around the same intersection of the village.  The lady who cut my hair, "Patty" the daughter of the man who bought the shop in '63, until recently cut the hair of the man who owned the establishment between 1937-1962.  He still carried his original business card from the late 3os (presumably laminated) in his wallet believe it, or not.  There was another equally old gentleman who had been getting his hair cut there since the late 1920s.  Both of those gentlemen have since departed for the great barber shop in the sky.  

Patty's brother, "Vince" cut our son's hair and managed to keep him still enough while in the chair to avoid losing the top of an ear in the process.  Last, pricing is very reasonable for boys' and men's standard haircuts, less than the salon where we used to have our hair cut in Central Illinois even with tips factored in.  Suffice to say, the Okemos Barber Shop is an old, well-established place, and we plan to return there for all of our upcoming haircuts.  If you find yourself in the East Lansing area and are in need of a standard trim, or even a full non-trendy man's haircut,  you should drop in.  You'll be pleased with the results

-- Heinz-Ulrich



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday Morning Office Hours Style. . .

The top half today.  The navy blazer (just back from the dry-cleaner's) with a yellow paisley pocket square peeking out from its pocket are sadly absent here. 


And the bottom half.  The belt was tan leather to, more or less, match the monkstrap loafers.  The khakis are a recently purchased pair of Land's End non-iron chinos, which might offend ivy/trad/preppy purists, but there you go.  The pants nevertheless hold a crease well and stand up to lots of wear and tear, so long as a jar of spaghetti sauce doesn't explode in your lap.

Wasting time with the smartphone this morning during office hours.  It's funny what you do once the day's prep is done and no students come to see you.  That will, no doubt, happen later in the semester once the first papers have been returned in about three weeks' time.  

There are always a few students whose work earns a lower grade than they expect, which they naturally challenge.  That might be thanks to the tendency of so many parents to overdo it with praise even in those rare instances when, just maybe, none is warranted.  You know, "For the tenth time, I said stop pulling the dog's tail!  We don't mistreat animals.  Now high five me Buddy!"  It might also have to do with the tendency of our K-12 education system in the U.S. to award high grades simply because pupils write their names across the top of a sheet of blank paper.  

The situation is not quite that extreme, but you get the point I think.  In any case, it can be frustrating when dealing with ostensibly young adults at the college/university level who desire a high grade without any actual work behind it.  Not all students are like this, of course, but there are enough of them each term.  Let the whining begin.  I suspect it has replaced baseball as the national pastime in this country at some point during the last quarter century.

Years ago, when I was a graduate teaching assistant working closely with the professor who taught a large undergraduate literature course (about 400 students), we had one young lady with the unfortunate last name of 'Weiner.'  Naturally, when the first essay exams were returned after grading at the start of Week Seven, we learned that the young Ms. Weiner did, in fact, have a knack for the activity.  

That was almost two decades ago, but if memory serves me correctly, the 'A' she received on her exam was not a high enough 'A', the coveted A+.   Which, of course, she assured us she always received for all of her courses in a small Wisconsin high school somewhere upstate as though that would/should/could somehow make a difference to those of us instructing her at UW-Madison.  You tend to remember stuff like this because it is so outlandish.  Even years after the fact.

I had another student in another section of another large undergraduate literature course a semester or two later who had similar problems in that the quality of her written exams did not match up with her desires and expectations.  She requested an appointment with me one Thursday afternoon just as class finished, and the other students filed out of the room.  I replied to her with something like, 

"Yes, by all means, X.  I can see you  next Monday morning at 10am.  Shall we make an appointment?  Let me have your exam back so I can look it over again."  As an aside, we routinely read and graded 100-150 bluebook exams each, three times per semester at five week intervals.  You can easily understand why professor mandated course protocol stipulated that we reread a student's exam BEFORE talking to them about it in a later appointment  when problems ensued.  But back to my story.

"I can't come and see you next Monday," young Ms. X wailed as the tears started.  

"Why not?" I asked, slightly rattled.  "Would 9am be more convenient?  We could do that instead."  

"I can't because I'll be in Paris with my parents for the next two weeks, " she keened before falling totally to pieces and limping away, gravely wounded, in the arms of two girlfriends who were also students in the course.  I referred that particular case to my mentor and friend, the late Professor Y, a wiry Danish basso profundo with high cheekbones and curly hair, who talked down the young lady in question once she returned from her French sojourn.

It should be interesting to see who my whiners are in each of my three classes this semester.  As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bring on the Cooler Weather!!!

A selection of heavier (and unironed) oxford cloth button-down shirts in my very cramped temporary closet.  From left to right, two shades of blue, sea green, red, and pink university stripe shirts by Land's End, Brooks Brothers, and L.L. Bean.

Like many men in the online 'style' universe, cooler fall weather cannot arrive fast enough for yours truly.  Yesterday was comfortable, today is downright cool, and, I believe, the forecast for the weekend looks promising.  Gray, rainy, and cool.  Ahhhhh.  However, the longer term forecast for next week seems to indicate that warmer weather will return by midweek, or so.  This being Michigan, that could always change, of course, and quickly too.  

When Mother Nature finally makes up her mind, and Autumn arrives in earnest, it will be nice to haul out the tweeds, flannels, the heavier suits, and double-breasted items, as well as the heavier navy blazers.  And, then there are the chunky OCBD shirts shown above, which are really too warm for temperatures above about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and even that might be stretching things a bit.  Still, a guy can dream until there is a a distinct nip in the air, right?

On that note, I finally managed to locate my heavy dark green duffle coat after fearing for much of the summer that it somehow disappeared in the move from Illinois.  Apparently, it's in another closet in my wife's temporary home office at the far end of the apartment.  Who knows?  The weather might actually be cold enough here to wear the coat a bit more often this winter.

Finally, in other news, we meet with our real estate lady on Saturday (tomorrow) morning to set into motion formally the eventual purchase of a new home.  Everything we want.  Excellent schools, quiet area far enough away from campus, large front- and backyards, plenty of space indoors, etc., etc.  If the stars align just right, we plan to move in just before Christmas during mid-December.  I know, I know. . .  Serenity now!

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday Morning Office Hours Style. . .

 The whole shebang minus the white silk pocket square that peeked out of my jacket pocket.  My belt was braided brown leather, reasonably close in color to the shoes.  The jacket, a Brooks Brothers 60/40 linen-silk number, and the genuine Indian Madras necktie by Rooster were thrifted two or three years ago.  The shoes were purchased for a song on Ebay 'round about the same time.


A pair of Allen Edmonds spectator shoes closer in.  Fairly understated if we can say that of this type of shoe.

A couple of shots of what yours truly wore today for office hours and later teaching of my two courses that met today, a sunny, breezy day with temperatures in the low 70s Fahrenheit.  

While there are the usual slobs in backwards baseball caps (and their frumpy female equivalents) roaming the campus here at my new institution, I find overwhelmingly that the student population dresses rather well, if not downright stylishly, taking into account our recent very warm weather and the fact that things are still pretty casual.  But the students here are, by and large, NOT sloppy by any means.  

I have even observed many guys in leather boat shoes of one kind or another, Nantucket Red, mossy green, madras, or good old khaki chino shorts and actual shirts that have buttons on them and are not wrinkled beyond belief.  Some of the young men are even sporting haircuts very similar to the kind I noted in Berlin this summer.  You'll also actual hats and caps of various types worn at rakish angles, the occasional necktie with/or without sports jacket, reasonably good shoes that are not athletic  wear, and all kinds of other small stylish flourishes on young men of all kinds, shapes, and sizes.  Their attention to grooming and details like wearing, oh, I don't know, clean and pressed clothes that actually fit is refreshing to say the least. 

The dreaded backwards baseball cap does not seem to hold sway here quite like it has at my previous institutions.  You see it, to be sure, but nowhere near to the same degree.  Mercifully.  That is one of the dumbest looks I've ever seen.  You would think we would have worked through the cycle and left the look behind in the two plus decades since I first noticed it when I arrived in the Upper Midwest way back in late August 1994 to complete my undergraduate work at UW-Madison.  

But back to the present and better things.  Try this on for size!  I even crossed paths this morning with a young guy dressed in a well-fitted charcoal suit (not the currently trendy skimpy kind either) and repp stripe necktie, who actually wore a pair of good looking dark brown leather cap toe oxford shoes with actual leather soles.  No square toes or rubbery comfort soles, bless him!  You could see from even 12 or 15 feet away that the shoes were decent quality and not that plastic, shiny reversed grain stuff.  What gives?   

Pleasant sartorial surprises aside, it's encouraging to see that quite a few young people, of both genders, at a large state institution in the Upper Midwest seem to care at least a little bit about how they appear in public.  Who would have thought?  Shallow of me I know, but I think I like it here.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sound Ideas. . .


A selection of  photographs today, gleaned from various blogs and websites over the last few years.  Some are pretty casual, and some are more formal although not necessarily 'formal' in the sense of genuine evening dress.  See if you can guess who the men depicted are, or were in any case.  The point?  Regardless of your age or station, dress appropriately for the situation, or the event in which you will find yourself, and dress better than you have to.  Always.

-- Heinz-Ulrich