Fashion is always changing, but certain items of clothing have remained consistent, defining what it means to be a gentleman, or a man of noble status, for centuries. Hence the term classic, which is altogether impervious to trends and the volatility of human preference over time. Last year, music star Jidenna revived this idea in popular culture, and since, younger generations are seemingly catching onto this way of life that many others have cultivated over time. For those interested in “looking clean” as the song suggests, here are some absolutes your collection:
These days, everyone has a cellphone in his hand or pocket to tell the time, so a watch is not necessary. However, as an accessory, few other pieces of jewelry enhance an overall look like a wrist watch. The watch is a symbol of care and craftsmanship; a statement of punctuality and the mark of someone who means business. Another benefit of the watch is its versatility. It comes in a variety of colors, metals and unique identifiers, like faces without numbers, precious stones, or multiple clocks to manage different time zones. A watch is still a conversation starter, and for many, a most prized possession. Indeed its rareness has enhanced its desirability, and I highly recommend investing a great one to have for life. If you really want to impress someone, invest the older, more rare, pocket watch.
Sagging is a trend that has become popular around the world, but mostly among urban youth. Like all children, those who rock the trend do so without concern and almost certainly out of rebellion. As a gentleman, though, you should always wear a belt. Always. In addition to keeping your pants on your waist, it serves to bring your look together, making it more complete and cohesive. I would suggest investing in at least one black and one brown belt, to best complement the color base of your clothing on a given day. Also, be sure to match the belt with the color of your shoes–meaning, black belt with black shoes, brown belt with brown shoes. Lastly, make sure the quality of the belt goes with what you’re wearing. A casual belt with a more dressy or professional look can actually diminish the aesthetic.
In the professional world, there is not much room for extravagant patterns or colors. Standard business attire calls for dark colored suits and shoes with light shirts. The tie doesn’t have as many rules, and is the best display of individualism for gentlemen who must don black or gray suits everyday. A great tie is, perhaps, the most definitive accessory for a gentleman that is always in season. Learning to tie one properly and experimenting with different knots is a badge of honor; men of all ages benefit greatly from doing so. Bowties are another great option for guys who want to stand out and add an extra layer of interest to an ensemble, and for more formal events, an ascot is a great alternative and sophisticated neckwear.
- Pocket Square
In addition to the tie, most guys use the pocket square to accessorize otherwise monotonous looks. Unless you’re wearing the pocket square on special occasion like a wedding, banquet or prom, along with a tuxedo, it doesn’t have to match the tie exactly, but they should complement one another. The best way to do this, should you opt for different patterns, is to maintain the same or similar colors so that neither accessory is distracting from the other, but working together as a whole. Like the tie, learn different ways to fold your pocket square to add variety to your look, and you’ll always have options. It should be noted that pocket squares are only for jackets; wearing a pocket square inside of a shirt is a not ideal.