Class: Adjective – Impressive stylishness in appearance or behaviour.

The classyMAN is a rare beast in this country. I think the last of them may have died out when 007 started getting his hands dirty – as if they lost their leader. From my experience, the classyMAN is the MAN that has lived his life; and did so with grace. He’s probably ordering an ostentatious espresso-based drink in Paris right about now, smoking a cigar and pulling off clubmaster sunglasses – an impossibly hard task for any round faced MAN.

Annoyingly, Europe (that’s the rest of them) does class a fair sight better than we often do. Great Yarmouth, not too far from where I reside, is perhaps the least classy place imaginable. If jogging bottoms even exist in Western Europe, they do a remarkable job of hiding them. Maybe they do some sort of charity event every year for the casual dresser, Jogger-Aid perhaps? The classyMAN is the MAN you can’t achieve before you’re 50. Not too early, but not too late. At this rate I’ll be lucky if I achieve such a feat before I hit 100.

One thing is for certain, if we are at all expected to emulate these men, we are going to have to change our drinking habits. ClassyMEN do not drink lager, classyMEN drink wine. Much like Radio 2 and the Ginger one from Girls Aloud, wine is one of those things that everyone will inevitably learn to love. That point generally comes when you realise you look rather uncouth drinking a pint with an expensive meal. It may take your taste buds a little while to catch up to that idea. It’s often the blunder of a ladMAN to say that all wine tastes the same. That still, I long for the day when I can tell a waiter that the bottle of wine he has produced will suffice, and mean it. This instead of the usual urge to spit the stuff out and scream ‘eeurgh, cats blood!’

A bag of crisps and a snickers bar is not for the classyMAN. He eats olives; and we guarantee he knows what to do with an artichoke. My culinary arrangements are far from classy. My cooking varies in quality and reception. For example, where desert is concerned, the infamous 5-minute chocolate microwave mug cake features regularly. But then again so does a lovely beef and tomato dish, served with noodles… and err, in a plastic pot. ClassyMEN probably don’t even know what a pot noodle is – I once swapped a half eaten one for the promise of a rendition of Macy Gray’s ‘I Try’. Classy.

If I am to become a classyMAN by the age of 50 I’ve a lot of to do. At the moment I think I’m about level with Raymond Babbitt. I’m aiming for Sir Michael Cane. I’d even settle for Forsyth. Hopefully the next 31 years will see me start to appreciate wine, stop considering cardboard noodles a meal, and stop whining about not being a MAN and become one.

As a society we often fail to appreciate the classyMAN. We’ve learnt to scoff and scorn at him and make audaciously proud and widely disregarded claims of how we don’t envy his accomplishments or classy paraphernalia. We can try the alternative and make him our mate, although he’d probably think we’re a bit backwards. We’d even go as far as to enjoy a glass of wine with him even though we hate it, just because we know the classyMAN loves wine. Like we know he probably drives a classic Jag and like we know how he probably summers in Italy – and like how we know he’s the perfect bastard.

The ClassyMAN Ensemble:

Although I’ve already described my Dad as a MAN in this series, I wouldn’t describe him as a particularly ClassyMAN, mainly because I’ve seen him wear sandals with a suit and an accompanying string-bag. ClassyMEN know how to dress their age, while ignoring the stereotype that people their age dress badly. If you want inspiration take a look at the Ivy League look in our recent American Vintage article, or how the men of Milan ooze effortless style.

Here is a selection of items that the ClassyMAN might have in his wardrobe:

  • Paul Smith Classic fit tweed check jacket
  • Joseph Navy Cotton Basket Tweed Blazer
  • Alexander McQueen Prince of Wales Check Jacket
  • john varvatos Long sleeve cardigan
  • maison martin margiela Hand knitted cardigan
  • John Smedley Bobby Merino Wool V-Neck Sweater
  • ASOS Double Breasted Military Coat
  • ASOS Single Breasted Coat
  • Burberry Military Khaki Double Breasted Pearson Long Coat
  • Dockers Navy Stretch Twill D0 Skinny Chinos
  • Incotex Linen Blend Chinos
  • Dockers Slim Fit Lightweight Chinos
  • ASOS Double Cuff Slim Fit Shirt
  • D&G Navy Gingham Twisted Placket Shirt
  • J LINDEBERG Corkz Blue Even Stripe Shirt
  • Skopes TA0021 bow tie
  • Richard James Spotted Silk Tie
  • PS by Paul Smith Wool Blend Tie
  • Ray-Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses
  • Drakes Dotted Silk Pocket Square
  • Andersons Chocolate Stitch Detail Classic Belt
  • MULBERRY Ted Bag
  • Burgundy Leather Satchel
  • LONDON UNDERCOVER Prince of Wales umbrella
  • Grenson Brown Leather Tassel Clifford Loafers
  • H By Hudson Rana Loafers
  • KURT GEIGER Made it loafers black