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, April 25, 2018

Ostentatious, Conspicuous, Unprincipled, Decadent. . .

Not mine, but a photo of a Brooks Brothers double-breasted blazer culled from the internet that resembles the one I wear today with my navy and tan repp stripe Phi Kappa Phi necktie.

In a recent discussion on another lifestyle and attire blog I read about once a week, others discussed navy blazers, how many they owned, and in which styles, single or double-breasted.  One person opined that double-breasted blazers were ostentatious.  Well, guilty as charged then. . .  And I love it!

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Father-Son Moment. . .

Sunday evening, I helped the eight-year-old Young Master finish his bath before dinner and a little TV.  After getting into clean pajamas and before we headed downstairs to the table, he helped me return a few things from the large bathroom he and his mother share to the medicine cabinet in the slightly smaller master bath that is mine.  I asked him if he wanted a bit of aftershave and which of the three in my medicine cabinet he might like.  He looked at each for a moment and then replied, "Dad, I believe I would like to try the Gray Flannel." 

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Nothing Like a Double-Breasted Suit. . .

A number of wonderful old Laurence Fellows illustrations of men in double-breasted suits.  I have and wear a few myself, but they are not good in warmer weather, and, sadly, the school year for yours truly is coming to a close before long, so mine will have to wait until the weather cools again in late September or October.  

But until then, a guy can always dream, right?  And hey, when school starts again in late August, there are single-breasted linen and seersucker suits for those warmer days, which we invariably have through September.  Yes, I know.  I can hear the collective sigh to the tune of "You overdressed, arrogant ass!"  Maybe so, but I cannot quite bring myself to dress like current undergraduates or some of my more clueless colleagues, who often look equally silly in the opposite direction.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Sunday Morning P.S.

Parenthetically, I picked up a light gray-blue D'avenza double-breasted number (new with original tags still attached) in summer weight worsted wool for a steal on Ebay a few weeks back.  However, the inseam, waist, and sleeve length need some attention, so it hangs in the basement cedar closet for the time being until I have the time to visit my tailor.  

Yes, some forward thinking soul built in a cedar-lined closet when the basement was fully finished with various rooms and carpeting in the recent past, and the generously sized closet provides a very handy space to hang off season suits, sports jackets, and odd pairs of pants.  My office, the Young Master's play area, and his desk for schoolwork also occupy this space.  Our two cats also spend much of their time hanging around down here with father and son.

Anyway, our weather here in Mid-Michigan finally seems to be warming, so today (Sunday) seems like an opportune time to brush down the fall-winter gear.  I can then bring up and hang the warmer weather items and put away the cold weather tweeds, flannels, and corduroys, setting aside a few items for dry cleaning and/or that need mending.  Invariably, a couple of suits need a minor alteration or two.  Typically this involves inseam, waist, or letting out/taking in a suit coat or jacket out an inch or so.  It's funny how you tinker like this with various garments in pursuit of the perfect fit and drape.  Definitely a clothing nerd.

I am, in this respect, fortunate to have found a local tailor, originally from Viet Nam, who used to make menswear before coming to this country.  He has been in business here about 20 years and seems highly skilled, charging very reasonable rates for his services.  Best of all, he usually performs an added alteration or two which makes the item fit and present even better when I pick it up and try it on a week or two later.  Like so many tailors, he seems to have more business than he and his helper can handle, and the shop is always a beehive of activity, especially on Saturdays.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

"Alone Blues" by John Barry --The Ipcress Files (1965)

Henry Mancini Em Bossa Nova - 1967 - Full Album

Friday, April 20, 2018

Leading a Discussion. Sort of. . .

Since mid-March, various student learning teams in my courses this semester have been leading classroom discussions on different topics that pertain to the courses I have run since January.  In my course on Scandinavian and Nordic Crime Fiction, the final team, comprised of three young men, brought our discussions this semester to a close on Monday this week with a presentation/talk on how many of these stories have been brought to the TV and theater screens in recent years.

The discussion in itself wasn't bad.  Obvious planning had gone into it, based on the assignment packet, which contains a specific prompt, grading rubric, and additional information on developing  and leading an effective 30-40-minute class discussion.  Their discussion questions, while a bit pedestrian, weren't completely horrible, and the class was reasonably well engaged.  The overall performance of the young men 'met expectations' a euphemistic  way of saying that their execution of the assignment earned a 'B,' according to the grading rubric used for the assignment.  Just. 

But, there were nevertheless a few problems that, frankly, ought not to be issues by the time people -- young adults don't forget --  reach their early 20s.  In particular when giving a talk or leading a discussion at the head of the room in front of others.  

There was late arrival on the part of one team member for starters.  The team had been aware of their assigned date for two months though.  Two team members suffered from a completely disheveled appearance, and one looked like he had rolled out of bed five or ten minutes previously given the bed head and still apparent wrinkles from his pillow across a cheek.  All three, in addition, read directly from their PowerPoint slides rather than look at their classmates.  

Then there were the audible sighs several times from a couple of team members and Beavis and Butthead snickering throughout.  Maybe one or more of them were nervous, or as high as kites by 10:20am, or they were not really interested in what their classmates had to say in response to the questions posed by the team in question?  Who knows?  I credit the 30 or other students present that morning, however, for making an effort to pay attention and participate in the various discussion activities planned by the team.

Suffice to say, while suits, neckties, and shined shoes might not have been necessary (or expected), alarm clocks, showers, a somewhat more pulled together appearance, and a slightly more polished, professional demeanor would, perhaps, have yielded a higher grade.  

I know, I know.  I'm such a mean, unreasonable so-and-so.  But, here's the thing.  In few short years, or even sooner than that in some cases, these late Millennials or Gen-Z'ers, depending on whatever you want to call them, will have to function cohesively and efficiently within the modern team-based, open plan office setting.  Presenting on a specific topic and then leading class discussion on it, while looking somewhat more presentable than is usually the case, is a convenient and even valuable way for young people to prepare themselves for real life.  The inevitable wake-up call involving a bucket of icy water to the face, in other words, that awaits most students post-graduation.

-- Heinz-Ulrich