Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gentlemanly Dress

"The well-dressed man is always a paradox. He must look as though he gave his clothes no thought and as though literally they grew on him like a dog’s fur, and yet he must be perfectly groomed. He must be close-shaved and have his hair cut and his nails in good order (not too polished). His linen must always be immaculate, his clothes “in press,” his shoes perfectly “done.” His brown shoes must shine like old mahogany, and his white buckskin must be whitened and polished like a prize bull terrier at a bench show. Ties and socks and handkerchief may go together, but too perfect a match betrays an effort for “effect” which is always bad.
  The well-dressed man never wears the same suit or the same pair of shoes two days running. He may have only two suits, but he wears them alternately; if he has four suits he should wear each every fourth day."

Sounds high maintenance doesn't it? I'm not certain this fastidiousness of men's dress would be welcome today - if my man took longer than me to get ready for an evening out I think I would become irritable. However, I certainly appreciate the idea of a gent who looks naturally put together.

There was only one style of dress that was appropriate for a man. Anything European. Bond Street simply set the standard for men as Paris set it for women's couture. Everything else is a bad copy. Ms. Post unequivocally preferred English tailoring to American - actually referring to American suits as "the freak American suit" . As is her way, the gloves are removed when sparring:

"It would seem that some of our great clothing establishments, with an eye to our polyglot ancestry, have attempted to incorporate some feature of every European national costume into a “harmonious” whole, and have thus given us that abiding horror, the freak American suit."

She insists a gentleman must be educated in the art of choosing a good suit and/or a good tailor; English tailors of course, being the best. If you can find a good American tailor, it is only because his clothes are identical to those of an English tailor.

Funny, one of her pet peeves is clothing that is worn too tightly. Well fit clothes are perfect in line and shape, not worn too tightly. The same holds true today, but more for the ladies fashions. Just because something is worn tightly around the body, does not mean it is sexy.


I think I could fill Ms Emily Post's shoes. My irritations with bad etiquette seem very close to hers!


Keith said...

Hey there. Great post as usual. Hope you've had a cool weekend. I had a fantastic Halloween here. Take care. Cheers!

Jessica Cangiano said...

Stellar post. It frightens me to my core how little many modern men (of all ages) seem to care about the time-honored art of dressing like a gentleman. Yet, I still hold onto a steadfast hope that one day chaps everywhere will wake up and once again discover the pleasures of fine dressing and (having) pride in their appearance.

Wishing you a splendid Sunday, my dear,
♥ Jessica

Betty Darling said...

Nothing more attractive than a well dressed, dapper man. John Ham in Mad Men, swoon! His suits are so good. Thank god for the gents over at the Fedora Lounge, preserving the art of good tailoring!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

You couldn't have put a better man in a suit than Cary Grant! My husband used to spend hours finding just the right suit and once he found the correct fit, stayed with that label. It could make or break the way he looked and felt. Now the tight fitting clothes is a whole story in itself. I only wish some of the girls today had rear view mirrors!