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Showing posts from September, 2013

A Few Thoughts. . .

The very picture of calm, cool sophistication.  The late, great Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957). A s has been written here before at The Average Guy's Guide to Classic Style , there's more to kicking up our everyday style a few notches than simply swapping out those ratty sweatpants, flipflops, and worn cargo shorts for tweed jackets, flannel pants, tan wingtips, and natty wool ties.  In fact, the lion's share of the change must come from within.  With that in mind, here are 10 related ideas to ponder.  1) Strive to be well-rounded.  A narrow guy is an uninteresting guy.  Conversely, a guy with broader interests and knowledge, a guy who looks beyond the end of his nose, has at least the potential to come across as a more interesting individual.  So, make an effort to become acquainted with a lot of different things, ideas, concepts, people, places, art, literature, and events.  In other words, do something more than simply sit in front of the TV watching sports.  And

Hey buddy, lighten up!

The bottom half on a warm Friday in late September. E very average guy who wants to kick up his everyday style a few notches eventually needs a more playful pair of lighter-colored leather dress shoes in his wardrobe.  I submit for your review just such a pair, some Allen Edmonds spectator shoes in tan leather and sage-olive green cloth. These were purchased via Ebay late last winter for only US$9.99 plus negligible shipping and handling charges.  All they required was some moisturizer, a good shine, and some new new heels, the last of which my local cobbler was happy to supply, before they were ready to put on and go forth into the world. I don't wear them too often, chiefly because they strike me as hot weather shoes, and I don't teach from the end of May until mid-August each year.  Must be nice, right?  It is.  However, for those warmer spring, late summer, and early autumn days on and off campus, they're just the thing to round out a more casual sports jacket-

Good Clothes Affect One's Mood for the Best. . .

Jeeze Louise!  All that's missing are Jazz Hands. N o doubt about it.  Kicking up your everyday stye a few notches affects how you feel as you go through the day.  Imagine bounding from the kitchen through the dining room and into the living room, brimming with enthusiasm and verve, while serenading your wife or S.O. all the way with some silly song.  And all because you feel great despite whatever frustrations might be on your pate at the moment. . .  For the record, a momentarily stalled course proposal, an extremely challenging Developmental English class, and nailing down a time for a recurring film course next semester, to ensure maximum student enrollments.  Grrr. . .   No matter.  Decent attire will help you glide through the day no matter what life throws at you.  Something I discovered in my first teaching position post-grad school ten years ago.  I  landed the job and realized that it was time to set aside the jeans, Dan Post cowboy boots, and untucked madras shirt

Dress Shirt Basics. . .

A grouping of fairly basic dress shirts hanging in the basement here at Stollen Central.  A mix of button-down and straight collars, in cotton oxford cloth and lighter weight cotton poplin. F or average guys looking to kick up their dress shirt style a few notches, I'd suggest keeping things fairly simple.  That means you want to have more than just a couple of ugly, smelly man-made fiber shirts hanging in your closet.  We aren't cheap, Eastern European street thugs scoping out the blond babes in a Norwegian disco after all!  And yes, before you ask, I've actually observed this a few times in another life.  Clearly, even the remotest possibility of money, ill-gained or otherwise, talks to some women. Returning to the point at hand though, stick to basic mid- to light blue and white with most of your shirts.  These colors look good on just about anyone and provide a fairly neutral palette on which you can hang busier neckties and/or jackets without too much thought

Fall Is on the Way!

Please excuse the rumpled, unmade bed!  Here's a shot of the attire yours truly selected for and wore yesterday  (Friday, September  13th). A hhhh. . .  That special late, late summer sound of crickets.  That faint, dry aroma before the leaves change color and drop to the ground in October.  The lower angle of the sun in the sky just before the Autumnal Equinox arrives.  Yes, the beastly hot weather in my part of the world has broken, at least for the next several days.  The central air-conditioning has been switched off and the windows opened.  Fall, my favorite season of the year, the time when ol' Heinz-Ulrich feels the most alive, is on the way.  Best of all, the cooler weather means that one can look pulled together and wear some slightly more substantial clothes without breaking a sweat.  The temperatures yesterday remained just below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 21C.), so you can imagine how thrilled I was to pull out some stuff I haven't worn since

A Personal War on Casual?

The late John Lennon in 1980.  He was about 39 or 40 here.  What do you notice?  Yep.  Extremely casual, but no sign of sweatpants or  the dreaded backwards baseball cap.  He looks good.  Like an adult male dressed for a relaxed day in the city, or at the recording studio.  We can't see Mr. Lennon's feet, but I'll wager he wasn't wearing flipflops either.  And he even seems to be hitching up his pants as he exits the car.  Imagine that!   H ardly.  B ut a war on guys dressing like they are terminally 11 years old, or the corner methamphetamine dealer?  You bet.  It's time to make the distinction between the perpetually sloppy on the one hand and a more pulled together casual look on the other.  Let's get some clothes and real shoes that fit, tuck those shirts in, purchase a few belts to keep the pants up around our waists where they belong, and ditch those godawful backwards baseball caps.   Certainly, no one is saying that you need to shower, shav

There's No Excuse Not to Look and Act Your Very Best. . .

  Young Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No (1962).   Terrence Stamp in the early 1970s.   The Quarrymen, featuring (left to right) a teen-aged George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and friend.   Beatle John in a relaxed moment.  And notice the knit tie cinched all the way up like it should be.   Beatle Paul, looking laid back and even slightly wrinkled, but he's still very presentable.   A young Bill Cosby and cigar, looking very cool and very together in a relaxed, casual way. Sidney Poitier, appearing extremely cool, and even a bit dangerous, while still projecting a casual yet pulled together aura.   Young Michael Caine wandering the streets of London in a very casual ensemble, yet he still looks pulled together.   A relaxed Michael Caine in cufflinks and tie, looking very at ease nevertheless. Young Terrence Stamp.  Easy to see here why so many young women fell into his, ahem, arms during the 1960s. T oday&

Novelty coffee and tea mugs, however, are perfectly all right. . .

Here's one of my "novelty mugs," featuring a likeness of Prussia's Frederick II, aka Frederick the Great.  This afternoon, it holds some sugary North German tea, purchased during June 2009 when my wife and I were last in Bremen, Germany. F or all of my railing against novelty clothing and accessories in the previous post, coffee and tea mugs are one area where it's safe to indulge in this kind of lunacy, advertising one's affiliation with various institutions and support of favorite teams.  My novelty mugs include the one featured above plus a red and white one from the University of Wisconsin and a mustard yellow one, that my wife mostly uses these days, from the University of Minnesota, where, coincidentally, we met as graduate students right about 13 years ago.   Unless you're attending the big Homecoming game and showing your team spirit, however, I still maintain that it's best to leave the novelty neckwear buried deeply at the back of your

Novelty Ties and Other Social Faux Pas. . .

If you're above the age of 12, and even that's pushing things a bit, it's high time to find and eradicate any and all novelty neckties from your closet, including the Tasmanian Devil, Peppy Le Peu, Wylie Coyote, and the like along with items like Green Bay Packers or Chicago Bears neckties and belt buckles. T he title says it all.  For you edification, a faux pas is a French term meaning literally a "false step."  In addition, however, the term has also come to mean a social blunder, usually of the worst kind.  Hence the title of today's post.  In our ongoing effort to kick up our everyday style, there are certain things us average guys want to avoid doing ANYTIME we have been invited to an organized and more formal social occasion.  Got it?  We aren't wild dogs and have not been raised in barns after all.  So, let's do our best always to demonstate some grooming and social grace.  Without further ado, then, here are ten related social P&Q&