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Christmas Week Vintage Christmas Card Style. . .

Here we are three days post-Christmas, but I hope you might be able to find a few quiet moments to sit down and actually chat with friends and loved ones sans electronic devices in your hands or on the table in front of you.  Or the TV blaring in the corner or (shudder) over the fireplace).
Instead, let's look at each other!  Talk to each other!  Be mentally present while you do.  Respect the views and ideas of each other.  Practice basic civility.  
Your talk needn't be about anything consequential or of substance.  You needn't discuss anything as ponderous as U.S. politics, Donald Trump. . . or Duchess Meghan.  Just talk about whatever comes up and see where the conversation leads.  
Before you know it, three hours will have passed by, and you will have reconnected to each other.  Hopefully over a mug of something warm, or a nip of something medicinal.  Try actually talking TO each other rather than AT each other.  You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
-- Heinz-U…

Merry Christmas from Classic Style!

Wishing everyone peace, goodwill, and maybe a even a bit of joy this Christmas season.  Merry Christmas!

-- Heinz-Ulrich

It's Christmas Eve at Classic Style. . .

Three more wonderful vintage images that seems, somehow, a bit more like Christmas ought to be  in stark contrast to the media- and retail-driven circus, um, cycle that now so colors the festive season.  And on the morning of December 26th, it's on to the next big thing.  Surely, there is more to the Christmas season, and the actual point behind it, than that? If you observe and celebrate, Merry Christmas.  Peace, joy, and good will to all in any case.  Goodness knows we are in dire need of more civility and basic decency in the 21st century.  A pessimist by nature, I nevertheless maintain a glimmer of hope that we might get our collective act together at some point.  

If you are in the mood for some lovely and traditional Christmas carols with a church organ and choir, give a listen to the rebroadcast of annual The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from the chapel at King's College Cambridge via BBC Radio 4.
-- Heinz-Ulrich

Christmas Morning Style. . .

A Christmas gift from The Grand Duchess in 2016.  Although I wear and enjoy these pajamas all the year 'round, they seem especially right for Christmas Day.

Gentlemen, whatever your preferred sleeping attire -- pajamas, in your underwear, sweats and a ratty old college t-shirt. . .  or au natural -- it is hard to go wrong with a crisp pair of pajamas on Christmas Morning.  At least until it's time to put on some actual adult clothes for visiting, guests, and/or the celebratory meal.  Add either a wool flannel robe, or a silk dressing gown over top, and you've got a winning casual combination as you enjoy coffee, check your stockings to see what Santa Claus or Father Christmas have left for you, and nibble on some of Great Aunt Waltraud's legendary Dresdner Stollen.

The Grand Duchess makes us an authentic Dresdner Stollen each December, and it lasts about six or seven days.  It's a bit late in coming this year since Sonja has been very busy the last few weeks, but she…

Smooth Christmas JAZZ (Traditional Carols and Songs)

There Is a Certain Something. . .

A very colorful vintage illustration of Father Christmas.

There is a certain something about those old-fashioned images of Santa Claus and Father Christmas that used to be on Christmas cards well over a century ago, long before the now familiar Coca-Cola Santa Claus in red began taking over the world from the late 1940s onward.  Periodically, I cull the web and collect various old images into a folder on my computer desktop.  A digital scrapbook of Christmas long past if you will.  Anyway, here is a very natty version of ol' Saint Nick that is one of my favorites.  I hope you might like it too.  

Now, I've got a pie to bake and a couple of dishes to assemble in the kitchen (it's just after 10am here) for our Christmas Eve Dinner tomorrow.  So, after a second mug of coffee, no more sitting around wasting time.  We will again be having, among other things, a goose as the main part of the meal for the second year in a row.  Our son Young Master Paul enjoyed it so much last year…

Seasonal Tunes by The New York Jazz Trio. . .

Winter Soltice Style. . .

Yours truly, just back from running a few Friday morning errands as we enter the last few days before Christmas 2018.  This particular combination of clothes is what I like to call my out-of-work Off Broadway actor's uniform. . .  which is to say my waiter's uniform*. 

Up and at 'em early today getting the Young Master breakfasted and ready for school, which I've done since classes ended on December 7th, to help The Grand Duchess a bit.  Typically, I also get our son up and serve him breakfast on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the school year, and daily during summer vacations, so no hardship there.  It's all fairly routine.

Anyway, after he climbed aboard the school bus, it was off to his school myself to drop off a fruit platter, strawberries, and bananas for his class' Christmas breakfast.  Finally, it was onto one of our local big box supermarkets to assist ol' Saint Nick by picking up a few things for the Young Master and Grand Duchess to discov…

Getting in the Christmas Spirit at Last!

The Holstentor Gate on the way from the train station into the old city center of Lübeck, Germany, the one-time leading city of The Hanseatic League, a trade federation centered on the Baltic Sea and North Sea but with a reach tat extended well into Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Britain and the Low Countries.  Situated just a mile or two from the old internal border between the DDR and the communist GDR (you could almost see across the border from a high point), the city looked very much like this in January 1986 when I first visited.  I was instantly captivated and have loved the place ever since, visitingg again in 1990 and with my wife 2009.  In the winter of '86, there was still considerable coal smoke hanging in the air, and I even happened upon a young, tall blonde guy all dressed up in 19th century chimney sweep clothing with a top hat and smudges on his cheeks with all of his chimney-cleaning gear looped over a shoulder while walking along a quiet side str…

How To Repair Leather Shoes �� | Recrafting Allen Edmonds With Cobbler Ji...

Paul McCartney - Who Cares

Mid-December Dentist Visit Style. . .

Not seen here, a pair of Allen Edmonds 'Cavenaugh' penny loafers and navy Merino wool dress socks with tiny red polka dots.

The semester has been over for about ten days now, so I have not been on campus much other than for a couple of brief meetings last week.  Most days, are now spent in corduroy jeans and rugby tops here at home along with some chocolate suede Allen Edmonds camp moccasins, which are my house shoe of choice (sans socks) during the colder months.

In any case, I had a session with the dentist this morning early, followed by a few Christmas-related errands afterward.  So, why not have a bit of fun and jazz up an otherwise mundane morning a bit with some understated festive attire then?  You know,  instead of shambling and schlepping around in public like a huge basket of wrinkled laundry on legs.  As others have commented elsewhere, people tend to treat you better when you present yourself well.

The L.L Bean 'no iron' ocbd shirt pictured is a concession of…

Ella Fitzgerald - Christmas Songs (FULL ALBUM)

Tartan Guide - Tartans, Plaid, and Checks in Menswear

Recording 1950s Style. . .

Throwback Sunday. . .

Yours truly in mid-September 2012, wearing a tweed jacket by Magee and a pair of loafers that I used to wear on rainy days given their corrected grain finish.   The jacket, while a nice specimen, was always just a bit green and mustard for my taste, so I donated it to our local thrift/charity shop along with some other things that weren't quite right before we left Illinois in June 2015.

The Young Master, taken at the same time, at play in his old room on the second floor of our old Craftsman house.  He was nearing his third birthday here and already sported some rather stylish autumnal tones of his own with a rather natty rugby top.  Perfect for constructing improvised Space Needles in imitation of the real item in Seattle where one set of grandparents resides.

Looking through some other older photographs this afternoon, I stumbled across these two from mid-September 2012,  Yours truly is slightly heavier now and with a bit more gray in his hair, while the Young Master, now 9, is m…

Minimalist Advent Style. . .

My take on an Advent wreath this year sans the violet or purple candle for the fourth Sunday.  Sadly, I could not find one that is unscented, so white it is.  Of course, the red berries are fake (I know, I know), but they provide a bit more visual interest than simply four white candles sitting there at the center of the table.

The Advent period is almost upon us, so I took a couple of hours today to hang some honest-to-goodness evergreen wreathes on either side of the front door outside, set up the Young Master's Advent house, and put up some white icicle lights along the eaves at the front of the house.  

We don't go crazy with Christmas decorations here at Totleigh-in-the-Wold, and we get a few weeks closer to Christmas before putting up and decorating a couple of trees, but it's nice to have a few seasonal items around the interior of the first floor to help brighten the dark mornings and evenings between now and the first few days of January when we put everything away …

Advanced Edge and Heel Care. . .

Winter Sports 1935 Style. . .

An interesting vintage winter sports poster from the mid-1930s.  Can you tell where my thoughts are this morning?

Well, we've had four or maybe five inches of crunchy snow on the ground since Monday here in Mid-Michigan.  Not quite enough for cross-country (Nordic) skiing, but we are certainly thinking in the direction.  The Young Master is due to receive some new skis, boots, and poles from ol' Saint Nick this Christmas since he has outgrown his inaugural pair from Christmas 2014, which he has used the last four winters (he's actually a pretty good skier at this point).  Time for some longer waxless Fischer skis with normal step-in NNN bindings.

I too have a pair by Fischer that are really fast, but my go-to skis are a pair by Madshus that I purchased in Norway many years ago when I learned how to schuss-schuss-schuss through the snowy forests outside of Trondheim.  These got a bit slow last winter, so I've just ordered some Swix base cleaner to remove almost 20 years …

Snowy Tuesday Tweed Suit Style. . .

Above, featuring a vintage wool challis necktie hand blocked in England.  I found this several years back for a couple of dollars in one of my three old thrift/charity haunts in Central Illinois before we decamped for Michigan in June 2015.  The shirt is a Land's End Original Oxford, purchased way back in 2003 or '04 when the company still sold mostly 'must iron' shirts.  The pocket square is a silk number from Put This On and features flowers in mid- and light blue that look more like snowflakes to me, so it seemed fun to add it to the pocket of today's suit before I ventured out the door and into the cold early this morning.


And the bottom half, featuring red SWIMS overshoes atop the usual Allen Edmonds long-wing brogues.  Not visible are the gray Fair Isle socks from Dapper Classics and the braces I wore with today's suit in lieu of a belt.

Quite cold with about 5 inches of crunchy snow underfoot here in Mid-Michigan, which made it an ideal day to trot out thi…

Holiday Dinner Style. . .

The Young Master, already a bit silly and eager to sit down to the Thanksgiving table here.


The Young Master and yours truly, the old so and so.


The Young Master and his mother, the bright lights of my life.  He has, for better or worse, inherited his father's sense of humor and class clown approach to the rest of the world.  As my wife observed last night at dinner, living with both of us is like living with a combination of Peter Sellars, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Martin Short, and Jerry Lewis.  Good.  We'd be big in France.

Three photographs taken a few minutes before Thanksgiving Dinner was served last Thursday evening here at  Totleigh-in-the-Wold.  The Young Master, as always, was the star of the show, but ol' Mom and Dad look pretty good too.  Accumulating snow today (Monday morning), and school has already decided to close due to the weather, so the long Thanksgiving weekend will last a day longer than expected.  Not a bad thing at all.

-- Heinz-Ulrich



A Late Birthday Gift. . .

A wrist-selfie featuring my new Bulova wristwatch, which arrived the day before Thanksgiving.

One of the few acceptable pieces of visible jewelry that a man can get away with, besides a wedding band, or perhaps a signet ring, is a nice, understated wristwatch.  Now, some guys with big wrist bones and muscular forearms might be able to pull off a sports watch, a Rolex, or one of the many Rolex wannabes out there.  I have always felt, though, that this type of watch -- unless you actually happen to be an oceanographer, a fighter pilot, or an astronaut -- is on the ostentatious side and even veers wildly into needlessly garish territory depending on the model of watch and how prominently it is on display for the world to see.  Thank you, Mr. Agnelli.  

And an Apple Watch is just so. . .  I don't know.  Intentionally obsolescent after about a year?  They don't exactly scream classically stylish either.  More like Dick Tracy meets The Jetsons.

No.  Far better to err on the side of so…

Happy Thanksgiving 2018!

A vintage Thanksgiving greeting from many years gone by that seems appropriate on at least a couple of levels for today.

Gentlemen, start your engines!  The 2018 holiday season has begun in earnest.  To any U.S. visitors dropping by Classic Style today, Happy Thanksgiving!  

Please remember, gentlemen, to dress nicely for dinner, place your napkin in your lap, chew with your mouths closed, don't talk with your mouths full, ask for things to be passed to you (no boarding house reach), and keep your elbows off the table during the meal.  Now, pass that pumpkin pie and coffee!  

As for me, I'm off to make the green jello salad.  I know, I know.  But it's actually pretty good.  Happy Thanksgiving!

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Say "No!" to Another Holiday Season Fraught with Stress. . .

Not overtly seasonal, true, but this vintage dinner party illustration helps set the right tone for the last seven weeks or so of 2018.  Can you believe it?

Although it is just November 21st, and Thanksgiving Day is not until tomorrow here in The United States, the annual holiday season, as it is called here, is upon us.  It will last, in some instances, until after January 1st.  So, you might be excused for feeling exhausted by the prospect of almost two months filled with all of the preparation, travel, and planned festivities either real, or imagined.  

I suggest, in my usual contrarian way, that we strive for a more relaxed and understated holiday period than has become the accepted norm for many people between the end of October and the beginning of January each year.  Here is a short list of ways we might achieve that aim:


1) Don't leave things until the last minute.  
Enough said really.  You can fill the blanks here, but taking care of things ahead of time is its own reward, a…

The Annual Classic Style Plea for the Routine Practice of Pleasant Table Manners. . .

A reasonably formal table setting for the coming Thanksgiving holiday in two days' time here in the United States.