How We Became a Generation Without Style

How Did We Become A Generation Without Style

We all know that appearance matters. So why do so many men seem to not care? Doing the bare minimum to get by, no matter what you do in life, will never lead to the most desirable outcome. This includes getting dressed in the morning. A day at the beach or playing with your kids at the park doesn’t require slacks and dress shirt. A date night though most certainly does require looking the part. Your lady will thank you as well. Check out this article written about a survey performed last year that determined women want a 1950’s gentleman.

My paternal grandfather was a professional boxer, taxi driver (until someone tried to stab and rob him — he kicked their ass), cement mason and concrete finisher (at one point working on dams, which required hanging from the side of dams by a rope) — a manly man indeed. He never worked a job that required him to wear a suit and tie. Yet he was a well-dressed man while off work, going out with the family, or taking my grandmother to dinner and a movie. He owned handkerchiefs embroidered with his last initial; my father passed them down to me. The men of the greatest generation knew how to dress like men, even if their jobs didn’t require it. My father worked as a sign maker and while he knew how to dress well, since he learned from his father, he never dressed up unless he had to. I believe this is how we became a generation without style… many of us never learned from our fathers who came of age during the time of tie-dye, long hair and LSD.

I however, kept my grandfather’s handkerchiefs in the front right corner of my sock drawer. Every day I would look at them and think about how cool my grandfather was. But where has this pride in appearance gone? It seems many no longer take pride in how they look, yet as I said before, appearance matters. And this is what dressing well is all about — how you are perceived in the world around you. Focusing on the little differences can have the most impact. The right pocket square can be all that it takes between being just another man in the room or being the man in the room.

And you will be noticed. In this day and age dressing sharply may even help you land a job or internship. More than once I have interviewed college students for internships who come in wearing jeans, black dress shoes and shirts with the “brand new” lines on them from where they were folded in their packages. I’ve seen co-workers go to client meetings wearing what looked like pajama pants. Don’t let this be you. Remember, dressing well is a sign of respect to both yourself and those around you. You wouldn’t attend a funeral in khaki shorts and a Hawaii shirt because it would be disrespectful.

There is hope. I’ve seen that a well-dressed man can inspire others to do the same. It’s easy to view men from younger generations as lazy or unkempt. That is most likely not the case. What is most likely is that they never had a style role model. If it hadn’t been for my grandfather’s handkerchief being passed down to me, the “style seed” may have never been planted. I can honestly say that learning to dress well has given me a confidence that I would not otherwise have. When I first met my wife, she was impressed with the way I was dressed. I may have never gotten her phone number if it hadn’t been for my grey flannel suit. I may have been just another guy on a college campus wearing a tank top and shorts; nothing special.

If you’re a stylish gent, and I know you are because you’re reading this blog, take the time to mentor some lost youth at your workplace or in your community. Like good manners, a sense of style can be passed down from generation to generation. That is if we take the time to do it.

Stay true to yourself. Be kind to others. Define your own style.

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