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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

End of March Flannel DB Madness. . .

The upper half of today's get-up.

Well, I don't know if March is going out like a lamb here in Lower Michigan, or not.  We have a mix of snow and rain in the forecast for the end of the week and weekend.  But, for today, let's pretend it's spring, albeit a chilly one, and pull out a wool flannel double-breasted suit for one of the last times this season before the weather becomes too warm (Really?) for it.

The items pictured above include a 4/1 DB suite worn with a Kenneth Roberts necktie.  Both of these items were purchased within the last few years in the better of my two good thrift/charity shops back in Central Illinois, which reliably had quality items hanging on the racks.  The shirt is a recent new purchase from Land's End.  While I always liked the company's dress shirts in the past, I'm not so sure anymore.  

I can live with the "no iron" treatment on the cotton fabric although I prefer the old-fashioned kind of shirts that you absolutely HAD to press before wearing.  But my biggest problem with the dress shirts now sold by LE has to do with the plasticy, stiff collar linings that now seem to be a standard feature in even their most expensive Hyde Park oxfords and pinpoint dress shirts.  I've purchased three such shirts since the start of the year and will not do so again for the foreseeable future thanks to this new development.  Disappointing to say the least, but it is the perfect opportunity to try out some shirts from other manufacturers.  The oxford cloth button-downs by Mercer look extremely tempting higher prices notwithstanding.

What of the bright blue pocket square?  This item is another recent purchase, this time from the folks at Put This On.  Since the sun was out (at least early this morning), I figured that a brighter square might be acceptable for today.  Long-time visitors to Classic Style for the Average Guy will recall that I am a fan of adding a pocket square that bears little resemblance to my necktie of the day.  The thinking is that having one item that does not go with everything else prevents a man from looking too matchy-matchy,  You know, the grown-up version of Garanimals.

Finally, on my feet were the usual pair of Allen Edmonds dress shoes, those trusty recrafted brown semi-brogue wingtips along with some forest green Merino wool to-the-knee dress socks by Dapper Classics.  The suit pants were held up by a pair of navy, red, and silvery gray silk braces by the way.

Now, I am well aware that there are style mavens out there who would advise against a double-breasted suit for a college classroom environment.  It is an over the top affectation and not, these critics might point out, even a required item of dress on most North American university campuses in the 21st century.  These same people might go on to argue that such attire is therefore inappropriate, possibly intimidating to students,  and a sure sign of trying too hard, indicative of a deep-seated personal insecurity or some other character flaw.  Well, to quote my wife, The Grand Duchess, who has a great deal of wisdom about life, "Oh, blah!"  

Unusual?  Yes.  You don't encounter men in double breasted suits and blazers too often these days, although the university provost at my former institution also wore them.  What's more, I like wearing stuff like this from time to time, and there is little point in developing a pleasing, grown-up wardrobe if it never leaves the confines of the closet in which it is kept.  Just because too many other members of the male species in 2016 seem like they cannot even manage to brush their hair in the morning before leaving the house does not mean the rest of us necessarily must follow suit (pun intended).  As you know by now, I consciously reject the slovenly culture along with its related attitudes and behavior that have taken firm hold of the land lo these last 20+ years.

Nope, if you enjoy certain items of dressier clothing, then wear them in good health and fugeddaboutit!  Especially when it comes to suits.  There isn't a man alive who will not look better and carry himself more confidently than when he wears a suit (and tie).  Badda-bing, badda-boom!

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Little Early Spring Playfulness. . .

The upper and lower halves this morning when we had a few moments of sunshine come through the window before the clouds closed ranks once again.

Well, Spring is here according to the calendar.  And while some guys might be almost ready to pull out the Madras, seersucker, and linen items, it's still feels more like February or early March in Lower Michigan at Totleigh-in-the-Wold.  Hence, more tweed, corduroy, and oxford cloth along with a dash, or two of wool quicker than you can say, "Why, Bertie!  Bertie Wooster!"  Still, I couldn't resist tossing the navy blue necktie into the mix.  How can my students fear approaching a guy with tiny green whales all over it?

-- Heinz-Ulrich


Billax, if you ever happen to drop by Classic Style for the Average Guy at all and read this, please contact me.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

More Frivolous Fun. . .

The new Geoff Stocker pocket square in use.

I am a firm believer that a man should enjoy and have fun with his clothes, even when "dressed up."  

With that sentiment in mind, I recently splurged a bit and ordered a new silk pocket square from Geoff Stocker in the U.K., featuring Harry the Labrador, owed by David Evans, the man behind the delightful Grey Fox blog, which deals with style for the older male.  Available in three colors, I chose the one in caramel (azure and strawberry are the other two), which should work especially well during the fall with tweeds, corduroys, and suede brogues.  However, the square shown will nevertheless adorn my pocket come Monday morning next week when Spring officially begins, and it will no doubt get a few more uses before the end of the university semester in early May.  

My sole criticism of this pocket square has to do with its dimensions.  I prefer a larger silk square (15-16 inches), to prevent it disappearing down into your jacket pocket during the day.  Larger silk squares stay in place much better.  The Harry the Labrador pocket squares are about 11 inches square, give or take, so a bit on the small side for my tastes.  However, the silk is sumptuous, and the edges are hand-rolled, so they are certainly worth the 36GBP when you seek something a bit different and as playful as the real-life Harry the Labrador.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Late Winter Irreverence. . .

 The bottom half today, accented by a pair of Merino wool over-the-calf socks from Dapper Classics.

Enjoying suits all week this week since the snow has gone here in Lower Michigan, and I am once again able to wear dress shoes without fear of ruining them before the day ends.  Today, it was a heavy Southwick tweed suit with a 3/2 coat andpants with full lining to the ankles.  It won't be cool enough to wear this much longer I fear.  

Since the bedroom was dark this morning, I grabbed the first pair of socks from the drawer that leapt out at me.  And this was the result.  Nonchalance?  Dumb luck?  Or the unfortunate and gauche result of having too many pairs of socks in the sock drawer and not enough sense to turn on the bedside lamp?  You be the judge.  

I am reasonably certain my students were irreparably scarred when I sat down before them and the egg yolk yellow socks came into view although there was no visible giggling.  So, maybe not?  Or they were just polite enough to pretend they didn't notice. 

-- Heinz-Ulrich 

And the more sedate upper half.  This photograph, unlike the one above, almost makes it look like I know what I'm doing.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Early March Lower Michigan Style. . .

The old central part of campus here at MSU this morning about 8:15.

Still cold.  Still pretty snowy here in Lower Michigan.  Still dressing in tweed, corduroy, OCBD shirts with wool ties, and a crewneck sweater.  Still relying on L.L .Bean 10" boots, or duck shoes with ski socks on the feet each day.  But I'm not complaining.  

I was struck by the beauty of late winter and early spring snows as I crossed campus this morning on the way to a three-hour pedagogy seminar (pretty interesting actually) and just had to take a couple of photographs with my phone.  Here's the nicest one.  To me, snow is always pretty, but it is at its most beautiful in February and March.  

And who knows?  I might persuade myself to rise early in the morning and get out on the cross country skis early tomorrow (Saturday) morning before the sun is too high in the sky, bringing warmer temperatures and serious melting.  Still, we might, just might have one more appreciable snowfall before Spring truly arrives.  A guy can always dream, right?

-- Heinz-Ulrich