A GENTLEMANLY INTRODUCTION:
From the etymology of the Latin gentili-s: belonging to the same gens or stock. The concise hyphenation of gen-tle-man, aided by the received IPA pronunciation along with offering the pluralisation of gentlemen. The noun form of a man of breeding or of higher class. When produced colloquially it is nothing short of a trip to the 'little boy's room'. It is the gesticulation of prolonging an introduction through implementing grandiose words and an elaborate overindulgence of Wikipedia.
A gentleman's disposition, to few, is of personal taste. To others, it is the ideologies and mannerisms presented in say a toy boy or a sartorially fluent dandy. In each case; a synonym of Gordon Brown. The idyllic association of gentlemen, and not an obnoxious self-definition of one, is ambitious to say the least.
Many claim the man who is always talking about being a gentleman, never is one.
Deluded as scores may be, I see the gentlemanly status as a journey; equally in style, essence and defiance of any prerequisite.
What would it need to shake the dandy-in-training wheels at all, let alone before the age of thirty? You could follow the generics. Tip your hat, offer your arm/ handkerchief/brolly etc. However in honesty the detestable trait of any is a lack of humility. It is the unassuming nature and not the pomposity of the implied song and dance that offers the label 'gentleman'.
A gentleman is easy to define, hard to become and impossible to redefine.
A GENTLEMAN'S WARDROBE:
The wardrobe is an expectation, but not a cliché. It is a cuatro of pieces that maintain the optical but is in no way an illusion. In any occurrence, a woman is pleased to meet a gentleman. She would be equally pleased, more often than not, upon meeting a millionaire; but it is the acquainted style of a gentleman that obtains the female counterpart attention.
Built up from the desired cliché' cuatro and adapted for modern living: Suit. Shoes. Bag.
Any fellow fluent in Spanish [or any who employ foreign language counting skills as a punt at pulling] will argue at my inaccuracy. Nevertheless I will define the latter as and when.
The suit is a staple of ideological 'gentlemanhood'. It is the foundation of a man's costume and the only piece evolved deliberately over hundreds of years. The suit is something to be respected. In any case disregarding a three-piece, a suit is the combination of shirt, suit trousers & suit jacket. Indulging in a three piece suit is to invite a waistcoat into the occasion. The popularity of the three-piece has fluctuated over the decades, a process that is to be acknowledged for personal style and taste.
How a suit is adorned carries numerous connotations. In a business setting it commands attention and respectability; it is your only wardrobe piece that isn't afraid to get into bed with hegemony. Outside the white collar world it can be said to relate to an unimaginative and unadventurous state of affairs. Nevertheless this is counter parted by the fourth piece of the gentleman's wardrobe.
A wardrobe is only as unimaginative as its keeper. If you need help finding your style, follow Tom Ford's advice: “I prefer a wardrobe that errs on the side of simplicity”.
A staple of eclectic British tailoring, Dunhill, preview their S/S 2010 collection. Dunhill, who have no doubt, employed the art of the gentleman.
Below is somewhat of an indexed effort of FashionBeans articles that will suit the suitor of this education suitably… suited.
- Men's Suiting – Get It Right – Ashley Cover
- Men's Fashion Basics – Part 17 – Buying a Suit – Matt Allinson
- Formalwear Tips – Ties – James Field
- Men's Fashion Basics – Part 18 – Suits For Your Body Type – Matt Allinson
Your shoes should be as much of a gentleman as you are. They should follow their leader and be as is he, polished and shined. It is far from the style or the choice of shoes that cultures the gentleman. As in many cases of his wardrobe, it is his attitude to them.
As when meeting a monarch you follow the protocols: Ma'am as in arm, not Mam as in jam, bow from the head, not from the waist, don't courtesy. The same diligence should be evident as your best foot is forward in somewhat of a cliché manner: Shine as in buff, not just clean as in wipe, choose the correct colour, store them right, don't jump in the puddles.
Many will offer their insight and often nonsensical modus operandi to shoe maintenance. At any chance they would have you at your herbal health supermarket on an adventure to make even Indiana Jones cringe. Shoes are an investment of wardrobe stocks and a proper care kit is your broker.
The suit is prescribed as the immediate residence of the paraphernalia of living (money, keys, driving license, handkerchief etc). With any prescription brings the risk of adverse sick effects which, in all their itchiness, are often best to be avoided. The side effects brought upon by those harnessing more than the required paraphernalia are all too common. The suit is a Narnia of pockets; but even Narnia didn't holster the need to bring along an iPhone, a Blackberry, an organiser, a book, a money clip, an e-reader, an iPod, an espresso maker, the entire works of Shakespeare and a pen to a family wedding.
Fit all that in your pockets and you are to certify yourself as elephant-man'esque.
There is a man bag for all occasions; unfortunately none of those occasions reside in the era where the gentleman sprung from. Despite our early debonair progressing no further than to manufacture the bags, he would not sneer at the idea of its use, he would respect and embrace it.
The progressive gentleman is educated in the required taste of bags. Understanding in the premise that a bag is by no means in separation of the ensemble. He is aware of the detrimental qualities failing choice can bring to a look.
Here are my personal picks with bags of gentlemanly merits:
Any anticipation of a play on words for this effort was surely wasted on me.
- What To Keep in the Man Bag – Luke Todd
- Man Bags For Every Occasion – Duncan Copeland
- Men's Fashion Arm Candy – Jacob Kamara
Sadly I will not be a residential expert of the event (send complaints letters to Smirnoff Head Office PO BOX 82310). However, in all my disregard for any linear code of behaviour, I have composed this subdivision of thought before all else. If I am to be invited to represent the dandy as a result of my efforts then so it will be.
If the Americans can drive on the wrong side of the road and Chinese can similarly read backwards to distinguish themselves as rebels then I too shall stick two fingers up to any normalities.
It is not an underlying tone of thought that there remain few gentlemen in the world. Nevertheless, if I dress as a cow (patches, hoof, bell, the lot) what am I? Frankly I am a man citing mental health disobediences, dressing as a cow in order to prove a point. The same goes in any distinction. You can dress like a gentleman, carry the suave visage of the customary modern man; but if you stop for a brief moment to spit on the pavement before you, you are certain to return to you cave walking on your hands. This is in equal thought to the man who lacks the mental capacity to close his mouth as he chews or say please and thank you.
I will ease your anticipation (or annoyance) and reveal the fourth piece of a gentleman's wardrobe: please form an orderly queue with the people who anticipate their style is (despite being all but) unique.
The fourth piece is an item of individuality (I know, I'm not doing all the work for you this time!), how can you be expected to give a lady your exposed handkerchief if all you are carrying in your top pocket is some out of date gum? Just as the gentlemanly etiquette separates the man, the fourth piece of the wardrobe separates the look of the man. Being prepared can bring on all virtues of serendipity. If you are to be carrying an umbrella as your cuatro piece, as it begins to pour, anticipate the flock.
Consider that in the first 10 seconds of someone meeting you it has taken three seconds to study your face, two to sense your body language, a further four to scrutinise your ensemble and the remaining one to make judging assumptions and critiques. You have been judged and duly noted before being given the chance to begin any dialogue in an attempt to show chivalry, charm or personality.
Your fourth piece is not to always be in accordance with the latest trends. Nor should you be persuaded by any means into carrying a piece that only brands dollar signs. It is the eclectic details that can be drawn from this piece that is the true charm of a gentleman's outfit.
Okay so I will do a little bit of the work for you; here are a few suggestions for your 'throwing the rules of engagement out of the window' piece… too long?
EDITOR: Now turn the page (figuratively) to carry on reading the second part of Luke's Gentlemen's Guide…