April 29, 2010

Substance and Style

Of all the blogs and websites out there trying to sell you something, how many really think very deeply about the substance of their product? In the world of Manliness Inc. the idea of manliness is reduced to an image, a suit of clothes, a telling look. Well, readers of this humble project of mine will know that I am by no means indisposed to a good suit of clothes and a telling look. But it is what the look tells that is all important. Clothes do not make the man, but they do (or should) say something about him. Yesterday, for example, when it was doing its level best to snow out there, the man in shorts and flip-flops might as well have worn a matching t-shirt with the slogan: ‘I am an idiot’. The man who matches a sport jacket and tie with chinos that puddle on the floor and a pair of running shoes would do no worse if he donned a baseball cap adorned with ‘Woman repellent’. In short, one’s clothes, more than almost anything else, make the first impression. If one is to appear as one really is, due discretion in matters sartorial is important.

With this in mind, I have to take my hat off to Austin Reed. Some bright spark in that venerable institution is well aware that dressing well sends a message, and instead of leaving all of us to work out what their brand of menswear signifies, they’ve established a blog (with facebook presence, of course) that is letting us know in no uncertain terms. From hosting dinner parties to tying bow ties; from shining shoes to mixing martinis, the good people of Austin Reed are building a lifestyle around their image, and it is an edifying one, based on the principles of etiquette. And they’re not ramming their product down our throats either. Go and have a look. And then come back!

Remember gentlemen, style signifies substance. How you look will be the basis of how you’re judged, rightly or wrongly. Better then to look the part, don’t you think?


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