The strong point of the English gentleman pure is the easy style of his figure and clothing; he objects to marked ins and outs in his costume, and he also objects to looking inspired (George Eliot, Daniel Deronda).These words still have a ring of truth about them, although I am afraid they indicate that there aren’t many gentlemen, English or otherwise, left in the world. Most people succumb to fads, fashions and phases. I’m also rather afraid that the English have unwittingly adapted their manners in accordance with their exposure to American television. English people were not known formerly to whoop. English men did not even scream for the Beatles; now they unleash their girlish falsetto appreciation for passing mediocrities. This by way of an aside. I would rather focus on the positive part of Miss Evans’ observation.
Adhering closely to classic designs, one can build a wardrobe that will hardly date. To borrow an apt aphorism from the sporting world: form is temporary, class is forever. The seasonal highlights of the catwalk are tomorrow’s reason to bury your head in shame. The avant-garde always look silly, ten years later. They do leave behind little bits of elegance that will endure, but it is probably better to be one step behind. Since the classics are always recycled, one can apparently be a trend setter by simply following tradition. Paradoxical? Perhaps, but tradition will (should) always trump the merely temporary tricks of the trade.