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.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

TLC for Your Shoes. . .

Before and after photographs of my shoes, courtesy of the recrafting people at Allen Edmonds.

An email from the folks at Allen Edmonds was waiting in my inbox this morning.  Although I had been told to expect delays given the installation of a new system at the company's Port Washington, Wisconsin facilities, lo and behold, it seems the shoes I sent them just before mid-June are now finished and on their way back to me via FedEx.  How is that for service?

Besides the usual and routine moisturizing, polishing, and brushing down to keep your leather dress shoes looking their best, occasionally shoes need things like resoling, new heels, and a little general tender loving care.  While some consider Allen Edmonds footwear somewhat frumpy and "entry level" when it comes to leather dress shoes, I disagree.  In my experience, the styles, prices, quality, and service are first rate.  Including this latest pair, I have sent half a dozen pairs to the recrafting department for complete rehabilitation in the last five years.  To say that I have been extremely pleased is a terrific understatement.

If you have a pair of Allen Edmonds dress shoes that looks a bit long in the tooth, you could do worse than send them in for a similar overhaul.  Have a look at the Allen Edmonds recrafting page where you'll find several reasonably priced packages depending on your needs.  You can't go wrong.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

The shoes arrived via FedEx late this afternoon, only a little more than two weeks after I sent them to AE, and they are even more nicely done in person than the photograph indicates.  Toss in the cedar shoe trees, shoe bags, and a squeeze bottle of polish in 'Merlot' and it all makes for a good day.  No reason to wear them until teaching and department commitments begin again in late August, but they're ready and waiting in the extra closet in the second-floor TV room that I use for wardrobe overflow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Avoid Being THAT House Guest!

While there are many possibilities for advice and related discussion when it comes to the subject of house guests, let's keep things short and to the point this morning.  Likewise, short and sweet is best when you have been invited to someone's house for drinks, dinner, dessert with coffee, and conversation throughout.  It's far better to leave your hosts wanting to see more, rather than less, of you.

So, be aware of the time, show some empathy, and know when to head for home.  Especially during the latter part of the evening.  It's far better to leave people wanting more of your scintillating company and witty ripostes than it is to put your hosts in the excruciating position of wondering when in the hell you might say goodnight.  

My experience as an adult, more often than not, has been that people -- even those we actually like -- tend to overstay their welcome when they have been asked to join us for dinner, an open house, a party, or some other kind of gathering.  Apparently, there are many people who just don't get out much, so they forget themselves and get all goosey loosey when in a group.  

Let's remember though that fewer things are more boring and just plain awkward, for most others, than listening to one more cute pet or (grand)child story, workplace gossip, or shoptalk on the current accepted interpretation of a particular late medieval French ballad as the evening wears on post-meal.  Except maybe talking about personal health issues on and on and on ad nauseam.  Please excuse me while I find a nearby chandelier from which to hang myself.

Here's a helpful hint to keep in mind.  If you arrived at 6pm, most other people have already said goodbye and gone home, and it's now pushing 11:30pm, you should have left an hour ago at the very least.  More to the point, if your hosts are stifling yawns and surreptitiously looking at their watches, the clock on the mantel, or they simply whip out their iPhones to check the time and incoming texts, it's time for you to go.  Three to four hours is ample time for everyone to enjoy the evening when you have been invited for a sit-down dinner without hurting anyone's feelings with a departure.  It's not sudden, but timely.

Whatever you do, don't be the kind of guest who arrives too early, dominates the conversation or the buffet table, follows a host into the kitchen to "help", or hangs around an hour (or longer) after most other guests have left.  By the same token, don't take an hour to say goodbye and leave once jackets, coats, and purses have been retrieved.  You know what I mean.  The Midwestern Goodbye.  Or as my 70-something mother might term it in less guarded moments, the dreaded Welsh Goodbye.  For the love of God, put on your coat, say thank you one last time, and walk out the front door, Lloyd!

A large part of being a good guest, the kind your hosts actually enjoy entertaining and want to invite back again, involves this type of social awareness.  Learn to read the room in other words, and don't overstay your welcome.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Humble Necktie. . .

The borrowed photograph comes from the Oxford Cloth Button-down blog where you will occasionally see some of the most beautiful examples of traditional repp stripe neckties work with considerable aplomb.

"I welcome opportunities to wear a necktie rather than searching for excuses not to wear one." -- Old School

Well put.  To borrow a page from the film version of Forrest Gump, that's about all there is to say about that.  Happy Monday everyone.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Useful and Timely Book for New Graduates. . .

Written by noted style author David Coggins, who has penned articles for The New York Times among others..

Well, I feel somewhat vindicated this morning.  It seems that I am not a complete crank, and I am not the only one who has noticed the problem.  This book just hit the market Monday this week, and it strikes me that it might be just the thing for those young men everywhere, who have either just graduated from, or are about to leave behind, high school and college for something that kind of, sort of resembles adulthood.  

You know.  Since we cannot depend on many (most?) parents to teach their children much in the way of basic decency and civility anymore from what I observe on campus daily between late August and early May each year, to say nothing of airports, restaurants, and other public spaces.  We might hear a mumbled "please" and/or "thank you" if we're lucky, but God knows few parents seem even to think about passing on skills like table manners or impressing upon their spawn the idea that you do not hiccup out loud or pass gas in a room full of people. 

However, these social gaffs are not the sole preserve of the millennial generation.  PLenty of baby boomers in their 70s as well as Gen X'ers are just as guilty of being inconsiderate and downright gross at times.  Sadly, being socially awkward and proud of it seem not only to transcend generational lines, but also to be de rigueur.  But let's return to the focus of this particular post and the related publication.

If you are a concerned grandparent, aunt, uncle, other relative, or close family friend who is silently appalled and dismayed by the generally crass nature of society in 2018, this particular title might be an eye-opening (and very handy) graduation present for the young, highly entitled, but no less rough around the edges Master Conner, Finnegan, Tyler, or just plain, old Ralph.  It is precisely what he NEEDS to read as he finally begins the process of standing on his own two feet, at 18 or 22, to toddle away from Mommy and Daddy toward a marginally independent way of life. 

-- Heinz-Ulrich