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"Suck in that stomach and put on some color!"

Several classic menswear illustrations featuring splashes of color and/or pattern that help to illustrate the point of today's post.

The title of today's post is a weak paraphrase of Shellie Tomlinson's 2008 book intended primarily for girls and women in need of some assistance with their sense of personal style.  But that same advice is also applicable to a lot of men, who have also become lost in that impenetrable frumpy fog that has descended over so much of Western society since the early 1990s. 

It's really no secret, or shouldn't be.  Following the advice of those tough as nails drill instructors on Army and Marine bases that turn new recruits into fighting men and women, stand up straight, suck in your gut, and hold your shoulders back!  

Better posture goes a long way toward making us look a hell of a lot better than we otherwise might.  Even when clad in so called 'casual' attire and 'athleisure' technical gear.  Puh-leeze!  

Maintaining good posture is especially important in our era of either sitting hunched over computer desks, laptops, or staring into those godforsaken iPhones that have become permanently attached to so many peoples' hands.  Standing and sitting up straighter is not only more healthy, but it makes us look better in our clothes, helps us to step lively, and appear more purposeful. 

The next step would be for guys to get over themselves a bit, quit worrying so much about what others might think, and add some judicious splashes of color -- a necktie, a non-matching pocket square, with understated socks -- and pattern (fairly subdued unless we're going all madras during the summer, or bold tweed in cooler weather) to their overall look once they've got the basics nailed down (better personal grooming, pressed and tucked in shirt, decent leather shoes, matching belt, etc.).  

You know.  After these same gentlemen manage to move beyond presenting themselves for public consumption while wearing the usual sorts of sloppy attire that succeed only in making a person look like his self-image, self-worth, and personal outlook have hit absolute rock bottom.  Cue UFO with Michael Schenker from 1974!

I know.  I know.  I am nothing if not a confusing, tangled, hot mess of contradictions.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


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