A gentleman’s advice

It sometimes strikes me

how very easy it is to ruin the impression of a true gentleman. One slip and it’s over. Well that’s kind of drastic and not always truth. But the truth is that some mistakes are worse than others. Not offering your date protection under your umbrella when it’s raining and other boorish, rough and bad-mannered behaviour is of course worse than the “wrong” pattern on your pocket square. But coarse manners and dress do go together simply because unrefined manners reflect in your attire.

Here are a few common issues. In no relative order of importance or other priority…


1. Your shoe situation.

Please don’t forget your shoes. Shoes are extremely important. There is an old saying that the shoes are the first thing you see on a man. Keep your shoes clean – free of dirt and free of scratches. Shine your shoes often, it doesn’t only make them look better, it also helps moisturizing the leather and waterproofing it. It lengthens the lifespan of the shoes. And don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row. They need to “rest” from moist.

2. Non fitting clothes

Too small or too baggy, there is no excuse. It your body type makes it hard to find well fitting off the shelf clothes just wear tailor made.

3. Too many colours

Unless your profession is a birthday clown, please try to limit the number of colours. Colours should complement and adjacent to each other but remember that less is more. Pay attention not only to colours but also to colour tones and different shades. Not all brown are the same for example and please also keep in mind that sometimes it is good not to have the exact same colour and shade if you have a brown jacket, other colour on the pants and brown shoes for example.

4. Wearing the wrong colours

Please match it to your skin tone as well. Help keeping focus on yourself and not the crazy tie or colour on your shirt.

5. Branding

Especially oversized. It was you who paid for the garment or accessory, right? Then it shouldn’t look like you are getting paid for wearing it. Huge logos or brand names makes you look like a walking advertisement.

6. Dirty hands or nails

There is an old invention called gloves. They protect your hands from weather and cold. If you work outdoors or with heavy dirty stuff, wear gloves. Use lotion. Trim your fingernails and keep them free of dirt and cracked cuticles.

7. Wrinkled clothing

Hang them up when you are not using them, don’t use them for more than a day at a time and keep them pressed.

8. Not matching belt

Juist make it match the shoes. Not only colour, which is most important of course, but also the finish should match. Shiny goes with shiny and casual shoes goes with a thicker belt.

9. Comb over

Robin Hood was stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Don’t try to pull that off with the hair on your head. Who are you trying to fool? Short and neat just looks so much better. And younger.

10. Length of socks

Don’t show any part of your hairy legs! The socks should cover that. For casual occasions, other rules apply.

11. Neck hair

Sort it out. Manage your hair on the back of your neck. Cut or shave it yourself if you don’t get a haircut that often.

12. Mixing different styles

Not many would wear shorts with a tail-coat. But surprisingly many are happily mixing aqua sport sunglasses with a suit or cargo pants with a business shirt. Mismatching styles are just… no good.

13. Too heavy or excess cologne

You will have to mind the strength on the cologne and manage the amount accordingly. If a woman can smell you from across the room, what reason would she have to come any closer?

14. T-shirt tucked in

Gentlemen! It’s the 21st century of the Anno Domini era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Please do not tuck your T-shirt in, keep it casual. If it is too long, it’s probably also too big for you. A polo shirt is acceptable to tuck in.

15. Dress shirts

The opposite applies to dress shirts that are cut long and meant to be tucked in. There are also dress shirts that are cut shorter and meant to be worn outside as well. If you tuck it in – and you usually will – make sure it stays in your pants.

16. Jewellery

OK. Are you a hip-hop superstar? No? Are you a rock star? No? Then three rings, a bunch of necklaces and bracelets do look incredibly tacky on you. A watch, a wedding ring and maybe if you a young a necklace is great. But please try to limit yourself to that.

17. Sweat pants

Are you going to the gym? Great, have a nice time. But if not and you are wearing sweatpants, you are not wearing them to look your best. You are wearing them because you are lazy.

18. Facial hair

Just keep it groomed. The first thing people see is your face so keep neat if you want to look sharp. No hair on the neck please and please either clean shave or trim your beard.

19. Monobrow

Speaking of facial hair, it’s just as important to keep your eyebrows trimmed. Sort that unibrow out and take care of the nose hair and the hair in your ears. Just do it. Often.

20. Hair products

Like most things, don’t overdo it. When it comes to hair products use less than you think. It never looks good with too much. Like Bob Marley put it: “Too much of anything is no good for nothing”. By the way his dreads were natural, no wax there, gentlemen.

About the author

Derreck - the distinguished rootsman

Consultant Style Advisor ~ manners and respect ~

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