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.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Take the Time. . .

One of my favorite old Laurence Fellows illustrations.  Sadly, we almost never see a man dressed this well on flights now.

"I like to look nice, but I have so little time."  Balderdash!  If only I had a dime for every time I heard that excuse from friends, acquaintances, and strangers of the male persuasion.  

Here's a little secret that's really not a secret at all.  It doesn't take much time to look more pulled together than most guys these days do.  And if you like to look nice, then it pays to take five or ten more minutes to shave, brush/comb your hair after showering, tuck in your shirt, and put on a belt  with your jeans for God's sake.  

And hey, if you don't like pressing your own shirts, drop off a load at the dry-cleaners each Friday afternoon and pick up those waiting for you.   Add a sports jacket to the mix when you're headed out, or during normal Monday through Friday business hours, and you will already look more pulled together than just about anyone else who might cross your path.  In any case, do yourself and the people with whom you share your life a favor and step up your daily attire game a bit.

You see?  It's not that hard to look "nice" even during the evenings and on the weekend.  And you'll notice that there has been no mention whatsoever of suits and neckties.  Perish the thoughtUm, that's a joke, son.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

The cut of these suits in this illustration is absolute perfection to my eye.  Would that it were easier to find stuff like this in 2016.

When was the last time you witnessed a wedding party that looked this good?  We wore morning dress for my maternal uncle's afternoon wedding in May 1982 and succeeded only in looking like a troop of rental penguins, at best, when I occasionally come across a faded photograph from that time.

A little over the top, perhaps, or everyday in 2016, but I like it nonetheless.  Herringbone tweed maybe?


Old School said...

"And hey, if you don't like pressing your own shirts, drop off a load at the dry-cleaners each Friday afternoon and pick up those waiting for you."

Or read this from an old Lands' End catalog:

by Roy Earnshaw

My wife is still asleep. I’ve exercised (quietly), showered, eaten breakfast. Now comes time for a familiar early morning ritual.

I take a cotton dress shirt from the closet, a wrinkled cotton dress shirt, shrug it off its hanger, and drape it over the ironing board.

Some men might smirk at the sight of me preparing to iron. “What? You iron your own shirts? John Wayne never would’ve!”

Well, call me a pantywaist, but I happen to enjoy it.

I plug in the iron, check the water level, turn the setting to — what else — cotton. Then pause for a few moments to let it get hot.

The room where I iron is a barren one. No furniture, just the ironing board. A “room we haven’t figured out what to do with yet,” having just recently bought this house. I suppose one day it will fill up with things, but right now I like it this way. Its spartan aspect seems well suited to the art of ironing.

I start with the left sleeve, first spritzing on water with a sprayer, then ironing it so flat, it almost looks as if I could pick it up and slice bread with it.

I turn it over, do the other side, then the cuff. Then on to the other sleeve, while the ironed one dangles just above the dusty wood floor.

(My wife tells me my technique is all wrong, but then so did my golf coach, my typing teacher, other authority figures. I take a perverse pleasure in doing things my own incorrect way.)

Now the back yoke, and a couple swipes at the collar. The easy parts. And then I sweep the shirt up off the board and down again, with its back spread out flat before me.

Sometimes I botch the back pleat, and have to do it two or three times. But no one is watching.

The ironing board cover bothers me. It’s a cheap one, full of childish flowers in jarring hues. Orange. Chartreuse. Purple. The colors of fast food restaurants. I miss the plain white one my mother used to have, with its humble dignity and burn smudges.

I press on. (No letters please — bad puns harm no one.) The cotton cloth is soft, sturdy in my fingers, and responsive to the iron. I swear, it enjoys being ironed! Almost seems to purr. It has a wonderful, tightly-woven texture to it, and glistens with the heat of the iron, and the soft light of the room.

Again I sweep the shirt up off the board, and down again, to do the right front, skating in and out around the buttons, then the left, using plenty of water and going over the stubborn placket again and again, bearing down, until it finally yields and becomes flat, neat. I am finished.

Now, the final pleasure of slipping into the toasty shirt. Especially keen now, in the February cool of the house. It almost crackles as I button it up, tuck it in.

The finches in the back room start to peep as first light looks in the windows. Time for me to go. But I leave with a sense of contentment, knowing that whatever large debacles or small frustrations await me, I have at least done one small piece of good work.

thegentlemanfarmer said...

How I do agree with you! One of the more intriguing characteristics of 21st century life in the western world is just how casual, child-like really, we have all become in our appearance and manners and thought. It is so odd to see grown men in their thirties, not mention fifties, and beyond, wearing cargo shorts, with logo tees, and big, goofy sneakers. Even the elite have taken to the practice of dressing down, I remember seeing images from a recent political summit, and there were our leaders, without a tie, much less a suit. When did this all start, and why? Well, I have my suspicions, which would take up too much space and time to delineate in this forum. However, I will note that too casual dress leads to too casual manners leads to too casual thought.

Old School said...

The source of that essay:,,1_36877_36882_37069_,00.html