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A Summer Capsule Wardrobe. . .

The sort of items I basically live in when at home from May through September each year until things cool down enough for corduroy jeans and rugby tops. W ithout going crazy, or busting the ol' bank account, it is entirely possible to put together a versatile casual summer wardrobe that will both keep you comfortable AND looking a bit more pulled together than the sad average in 2021.  As my parents used to point out when my sister and I were children and brought home the occasional 'C' on a quarterly report card card from school, "Average is nothing to be excited about."  Sharing that sentiment will, no doubt, rile up some readers, but ol' Mom and Dad had a point. In any case, you only need a few pairs of shorts and a few shirts to mix and match in various combinations that will keep you looking decent without having to put a whole lot of thought into it when you dress each day.  Since so many fall back on lack of time and too much effort required as the reas
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An International Experience. . .

  T his (Saturday) morning I picked up a couple of suits from my tailor, which were left for minor alterations a week ago, and dropped off several pairs of chinos as well as a pair of khaki shorts that need a button reattached. My tailor comes originally from Vietnam, where he learned his trade, but has been in Michigan for almost 30 years.  While I was trying on things, a tall, attractive 30-something young man came in with his mother to have a suit altered for a wedding, presumably his from the tone of the conversation.   The two spoke good English with the tailor, but between themselves a variety of Spanish, which given the lisps overheard, I suspect might be Castilian or 'Spanish' Spanish as opposed to Latin American Spanish.  But my own knowledge of the language is very rusty at this point, so I could be mistaken. Later, my tailor and I chatted while he printed up a new ticket, and I paid for the latest round of alterations.  He shared that his eldest daughter will be leav

New Casual Belt Style. . .

  This particular belt is a nod to my (idyllic) formative years in southeastern Pennsylvania just outside Philadelphia.  It used to be a common occurrence then to see male and female Ring-necked Pheasants taking off and landing in, or around the many cornfields in the area.  Especially in the late fall and early winter after the harvest and before snow fell. J ust five days after placing an order for three new casual belts with Country Club Prep , a small box arrived on our doorstep later yesterday, containing not one but three new belts very similar to that pictured above.   I am extremely satisfied with the purchase.  Today, I sport one such new belt with some very faded pink shorts and an equally well worn blue and white micro-check cotton twill short-sleeve shirt with a button-down collar.  It's amazing how much more comfortable you feel when your pants are not slipping constantly down your hips. This comes after two months -- the initial order was placed in mid-May mind you --

Sunday Mowing Style. . .

    N one of the pictured attire will win any style awards, but it does help keep the sun off arms and face as well as provide secure footing while pushing around the mower.  And even yard work is no excuse for looking like on has fallen through the cracks of society. Of particular note, however, are the shoes.  These are Kujo lawn shoes -- www.kujo.com -- kind of like a lightweight hiking boot, or a heavier weight sneaker designed for secure, non-skid footing and waterproof comfort when mowing the lawn, or tending to flower beds and the like in the yard.   They were a Father's Day gift last month, and while a bit dorky looking, do the job nicely when used for their intended purpose. Don't worry though.  I don't wear them when I run errands in town. -- Heinz-Ulrich

The Sunday Papers. . .

  I once knew a dean of something or other when I was a graduate student at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, who restored old radios like these and had two or three working models in his office on campus.  He turned them on for me once.  Nothing sounds quite like these old tube (valve) sets with their large, resonant polished wood cabinets.  An iPhone with earbuds ain't the same thing, folks. This particular illustration turns up here at Classic Style with some regularity, but it conveys perfectly the mood of today's post.  Relaxed.  At ease.  Kind of sleepy.  Definitely not worried about the trials and tribulations of the world for the moment.  My late father used to smoke a pipe during the weekends, and, although I am not a smoker, the aroma of good pipe tobacco is not unpleasant when I detect it on occasion. Ok, magazines rather than a newspaper here, but the expression on his face is priceless.  And many Sunday papers do have a magazine supplement, so it's not that

A Classic Summer Suit. . .

  T his morning, I dropped off my seersucker suit -- a vintage single-breasted all cotton number by Abercrombie & Fitch -- Don't laugh!  They used to market adult attire and sporting gear once upon a time. -- at the tailor's for some minor fine tuning a month or so ahead of the Fall 2021 semester cranking into action.  Classes begin September 1st.  Sigh.  Now, I am quite sure many people think I look like a major doofus dressed thusly on warm August and September days, but ah well.  Let's chalk it up to lack of knowledge on their part.  Some people don't get out much, so perspectives are often narrow.  And as I say often here at Classic Style , it is entirely possible to look pulled together and eminently presentable, yet remain very comfortably dressed even in hot weather.  Seersucker does the trick as does linen, which was the other suit left for some minor adjustments. My late stockbroker father -- who grew up during the 1940s and 50s in Florida and Missouri wher

Celebrate Being Alive by Dressing Well! Patrick Hernandez with Born to Be Alive (1978)

I Can Still Smell the Fresh Hay. . .

  I don't recall any men dressed quite this well during my horse years.  Jodhpurs, riding boots, helmet, and a polo top, or even hunting pinks for hunts, but not suits or sports jackets as in this illustration.  That type of attire just ain't the thing for riding lessons, grooming, and feeding.  Or mucking out the stalls. I t's funny the aromas and sounds that stay with you even after decades.  For instance, when I think about it, although I have not hung around horse barns in almost 40 years, I can still hear the horses and ponies nickering and smell the fresh bales of hay.   My sister and I used to argue about which one of us could climb into the loft above to wrestle a few new bales over to the hole in the floor and back down the ladder to fill the mangers when we fed our own horses, or helped with the ponies and sheep up the road.  Typically, our maternal grandfather or mother would suggest that we could both do it.   "And stop arguing!"   As I say.  I can

Once in a While. . .

  Our midsummer get-together on the newly stained and painted screened back porch was not quite like this, but it was very pleasant.  And the six guests all left by 8:30, which was equally nice, er, thoughtful for a Sunday evening.   O nce in a while, the stars align just so, and a small party works out well.  Yesterday evening, for the first time in a long time, we had three couples over for desserts and drinks on the back porch between 5-8pm.  And it went off without a hitch.   People brought a few things to enjoy, which were quickly set out in the kitchen on the way to the back porch.  The house, lawn, and flower beds looked scenic.  Our son The Young Master enjoyed himself (and in a polite, even charming way) before excusing himself after about an hour.  And everyone seemed to have a genuinely nice time with laughter, funny stories, and pleasant conversation.   Best of all, everyone was gone by 8:30, and clean-up went quickly.  By the time I returned from bedtime reading (we hav

Look (and Act) Like You Want to Keep the Job You Have. . .

This sort of traditional professional attire might no longer be considered necessary in most places, but it helps us in the long run to look like we give a darn in dressing for the workplace.  Even in 2021.   D uring my usual morning errands away from the house today (Friday), I stopped quickly at our local branch of a regional dry-cleaner's to drop off a few items.  The clerk who took my things was the same young person who has been there for the last two, or possibly three months.   Either someone is mentoring her, or she has had an epiphany in that time.  Maybe both.   In short, the facial piercings and Doc Martens were gone, the hair was fixed and out of her face, and the attire, while not strictly professional in the pre-business casual office sense, was markedly better than has been the case since May or early June when she first appeared.  Some sort of print dress and a fairly conservative cream cardigan over top. Her general demeanor and interaction with customers seem to h

Let's Remember. . .

  Shhhh!  I hope they remember to moderate their voices as they whisper their sweet nothings.  No sense in the rest of the room hearing it too. L et's remember to keep our voices down, gentlemen.  As I spent about 90 minutes in the dentist chair today enduring a deep cleaning, I was reminded of this particular important point. The hygienist who did the cleaning was very capable, thorough, and meticulous.  Friendly enough as well.  But good god was she loud!  And in close quarters.  While my own ears are still ringing, I wonder whether she is slightly hard of hearing herself, fairly young age notwithstanding, or simply spends most of her off hours with a group of friends in bars or clubs with filled with thumping house music.     Presumably in the age of loud public cell phone conversations almost everywhere one might go, very few even think of moderating their voices when having what are personal conversations after all.  But then almost nothing is kept private anymore, so why sh

The Wayback Machine Style Circa 1962-63. . .

    A s luck would have it, my Uncle David sent me a scan of this family photograph yesterday, taken about 1962 or maybe '63, of my late maternal grandparents, late mother, and, of course, my uncle.  Since I talk so much about my family here at Classic Style , it seems like fun to share a photograph of the guilty parties.  -- Heinz-Ulrich  

Suck in Your Stomach and Put on Some Color!

  Not outlandishly so, but colorful, visually interesting Fellows nonetheless.  We to owe it to whomever we share our dwellings with to keep ourselves pulled together, presented well, and smelling pleasant.  Even during the ultra casual days of summer. L ook around.  T oo many men (and some women too) let themselves go once they find themselves in a committed, long-term relationship when it comes to general appearance and personal habits (use your imagination).  The usual modus operandi seems to be for people to succumb rapidly to 'Da Frump' once careers are set, the wedding recedes ever farther into the rear view mirror, a mortgage is arranged, and the stork visits a few times during the first several years of bliss.  So called 'dating behavior' is left in the dust as complacency takes over. Gradually, people allow themselves to become variegated shades of stretchy, elasticized gray, slate, stone, beige, taupe, ecru, oatmeal, mocha, and eggshell in every sense.  In

Eye Doctor and Errands Style for a Wednesday in July. . .

  As above. . . So below.  Not seen is my usual dark brown braided leather belt, which I always wear with this particular pair of shoes.   O ut and about yesterday morning, still wearing my light blue oxford cloth surgical masks, for a quick check-in with Dr. L., followed by a few errands.  And all within about five minutes of home. As usual, I was the only male, of any age, in the clinic (or a few big box retail establishments visited on the way home) wearing more than a t-shirt and some king of grubby shoes-shorts combination.  Sigh.  It boggle the mind how so many can contemplate leaving the house dressed as though they have dumped the overloaded dirty laundry basket on the floor and pulled out the least grubby items to drag onto their bodies before shambling through the door and schlepping themselves to the car for a five-minute drive up the street.   More often than not, there are visible stains of one kind or another on their attire.  It's hard not to notice these sorts of d

Some 'New' Old Vintage Illustrations. . .

      A selection of vintage 1930s and early 40s Apparel Arts illustrations, which I have never come across before, that I found very early this morning, well before 7am, while enjoying coffee in my pajamas and the blissful quiet of the house before anyone else was stirring.  My late maternal grandmother always used to say that the early morning was her time of the day before the rest of the family was up and running.  I concur. On a different note, I dropped off a couple of new sports jackets with my tailor yesterday for alterations.  We've built up a wonderful working relationship in the last five years or so as I have periodically taken in suits, sports jackets, and odd pants for various adjustments.    Yesterday, within a matter of minutes, Mr. T. measured, made a few chalk marks, and pinned the side seams, sleeve lengths, and sleeve widths on both a navy linen jacket with patch pockets and a blue micro-check worsted wool jacket.  Almost before my eyes, the two items suddenly

Have a Happy and Safe July 4th!!!

  Keeping cool with a seersucker double-breasted suit in 1935 plus other summery iterations in this particular vintage illustration.  A bit much with the white shoes, socks, and cravat on the seated figure, but in the right environment the suit might otherwise work for me in 2021.  Maybe. A warm July 4th here today at Totleigh-in-the-Wold.  Wherever in the world you might find yourself, have a happy and above all a safe U.S. Independence Day. -- Heinz-Ulrich

4th of July Weekend Style. . .

  C aught up outside (all day) yesterday after about two weeks of heavy rains, which prevented much in the way of yardwork.   The lawn is finally bouncing back after several hasty, ragged wet cuts.   Today will see yours truly putting down new mulch among other things.  And preparing our annual 4th of July dinner with a twist of Central North Carolina where my family hails from originally: pork BBQ, red slaw, and hush puppies. We also drink iced tea that has been steeped with mint from our back yard, sweetened of course.   The pork shoulder needs to cook over indirect heat on a grill outside for six hours or more, so it's an all day affair monitoring progress, feeding charcoal briquets to the glowing coals, and basting with an apple cider vinegar-course ground black pepper mix.  I usually do this in and around other tasks like chopping and mixing the slaw along with yardwork outside.   Delicious food, but not kind to the waistline!  So, we do this just a few times a summer and free

Tae Kwon Do Brown Belt Style!!!

  Just moments after receiving his new Brown Belt earlier this afternoon, here's The Young Master posing with his chief instructor 'Mr. R.'   D etermination, persistence, and consistency are the words for today.  Red Belt testing in September, and The Young Master begins training in earnest for his Black Belt, aiming for early next summer.  He was impressive running through his forms out on the mats during the test for the Brown Belt today.  Wow! -- Heinz-Ulrich

Avoid the Seamy, the Sordid, and the Sleazy. . .

  Hopefully, this fellow from 1935, sporting a seersucker double-breasted suit and tartan socks (a nice touch), is contemplating how to avoid becoming ensnared in anything seamy, sordid, and/or sleazy. I n our ongoing campaign to encourage a greater sense of style and self-improvement in the broadest sense, let's talk briefly today about the seamy, the sordid, and the sleazy.  You can look the words up online.  They mean about the same thing.   The seedy, the tawdry, and the disreputable are all around us in 2021.  You needn't look far to find them.  Either online, or in the real world.  But you want to steer well clear of anything, anyone, or any activity in that particular constellation.  Use your common sense here.   You remember what common sense is, right?  Surely visitors to Classic Style have and exercise it on a regular basis.  Good.  I thought so.  Then let's return to the point at hand.   My maternal grandparents, parents, and extended family used to advise us ki

When Someone Asks. . .

  Hopefully, these two gentlemen are not talking at great length about their ongoing aches, pains, and respective tales of woe. A mong the many ideas imparted to yours truly by my late maternal grandmother and late mother are two related points.   First, whenever someone asks how you are, simply reply, "Very well, thank you."  You could, if you feel up to it, also ask "And you?"  My grandmother always instructed, however, that other people do not really want to know how you are.  They are simply being courteous in most cases, so give them a courteous (and concise) reply.   My own addition to this piece of advice?  Save the detailed, angst ridden answers for your analyst or medical doctor.  Behind closed doors.  It's far better to leave certain things to the imagination. Second, my late mother always advised to spare everyone the excruciating details of your personal aches and pains in whatever form those might take.  As she used to say, the world is a highly int

For Those Lazy Weekend Mornings. . .

F or those lazy weekend mornings at the breakfast table, whether you actually sleep in them or not, get yourself a pair or two of interesting pajamas for whiling away the time with your significant other over coffee, toast, and the Sunday paper.   But do make sure the top and bottom match.  Avoid those awful t-shirt-sweat pant combos sold in the big box stores and so many online catalogs while we're at it, and get yourself real sets of actual pajamas.   Toss in an attractive lightweight dressing gown or robe over top, brush your hair, and wash your face before you appear. You'll look a whole lot more attractive to whomever you share your living space with.  Oops!  Very poor sentence structure there.  I know.  Thank you for thinking of it though. Oddly, pajamas are not always easy to find, but companies like Land's End and L.L. Bean do occasionally offer attractive -- and sometimes colorful, interestingly quirky -- patterns in their catalogs and online.   Physical department

The Road Less Traveled. . .

  Another wonderful summery 1930s-ish menswear illustration this time by Robert Goodman, notable not only for the well dressed gentlemen, but also for the number of ladies pictured.  I count five. T oo many people suffer from a herd mentality in 2021.  About a lot of things if you have your eyes and ears open.  One biggie is fear of standing out and neither looking, nor being like the slovenly herd.  Pshaw say I!  Right about now, the world could use more stand-outs in terms of pleasant manners, general behavior, and more pulled together attire.  Take the road less traveled, go calmly about your business, and stop worrying about not being like everyone else.  And who knows?  You might influence the way others think and conduct themselves on a day to day basis.  Hey, a guy can dream, right?  -- Heinz-Ulrich

Self-Improvement 101. . .

  A couple of jaunty fellows from 1941. W ant to buck the trend of the predictable, the commonplace, and the unsavory?   Try these dozen tips on for size.   They just might fit. 1) Do hold yourself to a reasonably high set of standards where personal appearance, habits, attitude, and behavior are concerned.   Make that part of your routine.  Don’t, on the contrary, be content to sink to the bottom of the (soiled laundry) heap when left to your own devices.   2) Do be unfailingly kind, helpful to, and happy for others’ good fortune in whatever form that takes.   Don’t be petty, mean, spiteful, envious, and resentful of others. 3) Do make a habit of thinking about others.   Don’t think of just yourself day in and day out.   Sometimes, a bit of self-sacrifice or self-regulation in the name of the common good is necessary. 4) Do be clear-eyed and honest in your perception of both self and those around you.   Don’t get enmired in the quicksand of self-delusion. 5) Do realize tha