Alrighty then.. forget all the articles making claim to the '10 essential things you should be wearing/doing/thinking this summer..'; or the 'why you need this brand in your life right now..'. If you followed them all you wouldn't know which way to turn and you'd be left dizzy with all the stuff you need to buy.
Instead, for a definitive and more rounded view of all the things you should be doing right now, look no further than.. well, right here, right now!
As your trusted source on all things gentlemanly and groovy, we took a straw poll from all the women we knew; which surprisingly added up to a healthy double-digit figure (bolstered by the PR office next door, which has a sizeable number of such (Venus-like) creatures) to understand the most singular and conclusive guide on the style and etiquette you should be employing in your life, this summer and beyond. Seriously.
Stripping away the brands and the merchandise (mostly), we instead posed very simple questions about getting it right or wrong in the men's manners, grooming and apparel stakes. And the women in our poll were not shy in coming forward. What started as a modest foray into recommendations, preferences, likes and dislikes, soon became a revved up barrage of do's and don’ts as a wealth of unbridled opinion was focused and deployed.
And so, the results are in. Everything you need to know in order to get it right, and all those other things you need to know that mean you get it very wrong.
We often start our little stories with an invitation to 'grab yourself a coffee' before reading. Do so now...
The one coffee you need in your life. Right now.
(Plus a classic 'Grand Tour' tie)
And so we begin..
On the whole, the women in our poll - encompassing an age range from mid-twenties up to late forties (and the odd one or two who wouldn't be specific, but we suspect had tipped over a certain threshold..) were pretty consistent on certain themes with common threads emerging around dress and grooming; and right here it's worth saying, it's all pretty simple really and not beyond us all.
Firstly, there was very little about being Adonis like, or some sort of super-stud, more the opposite really, as by and large is was just about simply being comfortable with yourself.
Nice! We can do that. Though.. hold on a minute. It's a whole load of women we're polling here and we're not going to get off that easily!
Expanding on this, perhaps unsurprisingly, opens up a whole new ball game where everything still has to fit.. with their expectations! So we took one for the boys and asked for the rules around what is acceptably comfortable with oneself, or not.
Under this banner, it was really about eliminating extremes; neither a peacock nor a slouch; neither overdone or underdone; neither too long nor too short; too tight nor too baggy, all those sort of things; crossing the borders of both fashion and grooming and manners. e.g. the not too long nor too short played out across everything from jackets and trousers, to hair, to - and yes it's all in the detail – finger nails! Too long a finger nail is 'too creepy'; versus stubby and bitten, which was almost akin to being a hobo regardless of anything else you might be ticking off correctly. Anyhow, more on these later.
All in the detail. Including the hands!
On manner, it was more just about being at ease: not too showy, nor trying to be someone you're not. If you have a personality go for it, so long as you're not putting anyone else at unease; if you're not naturally the centre of attention or the life and soul of a party, don't try to be, just be content in your place whatever that might be. And thus, by and large, understated wins. As well as.. nice; apparently women like nice guys after-all.
Other sentiments that came through were: posture, that is, stand up properly! Approachable: confident but not arrogant. Good sense of humour, though not a comedian. ‘Polite’. ‘Assured’. ‘Self-aware’.. those sorts of things. Generally, be cool, and thereby make the ladies feel comfortable and cool too. Thus, job done. Oh and absolutely no swearing, spitting or conversely, vanity.
Next up then. Grooming. This was a big one. There's no flannelling around this issue. It's pretty much if they are taking care, then so should we.. 'it's not rocket science!'.
Here, we’re not talking about preening and pruning and spending vast amounts of time and energy in front of a mirror working on the ultimate selfie. Clean. As a start, just be clean. It shows you take hygiene seriously. Clean body, clean teeth. ‘What are you saying if you don’t?’. Smell good: a little splash of fragrance, but not overpoweringly so. We touched on finger nails earlier: now we have them the right length and unbitten, ensure they are free from dirt; dirty finger nails were a massive turn off. Dirty hair the same. And of course, on the hair side.. random hairs sprouting from the wrong places were a huge no, no. We're talking nasal, ear and so on.. the bush jumping out from your one-more-than-usual-unbuttoned-button shirt. And facial hair - keep it under control, and obviously within the realms of appropriate length; not one of our women wanted to see half a canapé knocking around in the overgrowth.
Keep the grooming under control.
Overall, body hair was 50/50. It didn't appear as if a baby-bod completely free from our homo-sapien follicle origins was de-riguer, despite what the various love-island-men-in-budgie-smuggler-parfum-ads would have us believe. At the same time, strutting the walking carpet look wasn't entirely a massive turn on. So where there is an excess, perhaps a little body grooming or trimming is the way to go.
Ok then. Apparel. The biggest message here was all about the right wear for the right occasion. If you’re required to make an effort, do so. If an occasion is more relaxed, then do so with your wear, while still taking a little care. ‘Whatever the occasion, we think about it and make an effort, so should you.’.. (obviously that was them = women, meaning us = men).
On the apparel side, we had to get a little specific here, and just for once push for an opinion on the neck tie. And thankfully so. A resounding yes to a man in a neck tie for the right the occasion. Better with, than without was the message. We knew it!! 'Shows care and consideration'. 'Makes the effort'. 'A nice way of dressing for an occasion'. Only one female in our group gestured that she wasn't really fussed either way. So we confess now that prior to writing we removed all of her contributions to the poll, as clearly she didn't know what she was talking about.
Other pieces: pocket squares were cool; scarves were nice; hats were a little indifferent; a nice watch that fits the outfit always works.
Take a little care. Make the effort.
Big apparel no's though, were: baggy-ill-fitting jeans; the exposed boxer-band was not a look that was enjoyed one bit. Equally, too 'skinny' was at first the cause of much mirth and banter, culminating in a big.. ‘no’. Going shirtless anywhere other than the beach, regardless of body shape or fitness, was a ‘no’. Socks with shorts.. ‘no’. Shorts with Wookie-legs (see grooming: trimming).. ‘no’. Worn-out apparel, especially suits that start to shine.. ‘no’. Colours and patterns clashing.. ‘cringe’. Fashion victim.. ’yuck’.. especially when just a little over the hill! Unclean shoes.. ‘no’ supported with: ‘oh come on, just sort yourself out!’. Tracksuits when not doing sport.. ‘no, no, no!’. Un-ironed apparel that should be ironed.. ‘no’. Excessive jewelry.. ‘no’.
We lost count a bit here. It became a bit of a free for all. But let’s call these the 10+ Commandments.
One style contribution that divided opinion was on polo-shirts. Honestly, we didn't prompt this one despite the new range of polo-shirts we have coming out.. that you need in your life right now! Anyhow, one of our pollsters just came out and said it.. ‘a pet hate’.. 'I can't stand it when guys wear their collars up on a polo-shirt!'.
Well, controversial! We half get it. There are days when you will and days when you won’t; it’s more than just a mood thing, it’s like a sartorial-personality-disorder; one day it will feel entirely groovy and another, just weird.
Overall we defend the right of the individual to determine their own collar preference. Here, a couple of considerations to help you decide:
Collars down = smart, cool, regular, un-showy. Crosses leisure to semi-formal.
Collars up = slightly more abandoned, relaxed, un-fussed. Funky dude-ish..
Watch out = those polo-shirts where there is a logo on the under side of the collar. These kind of render you something of an advert for said brand of shirt and leave you looking just a little douche-like.
Overall = go with your mood, but maybe get a second opinion before stepping out on the day.
To sum up. We’re pretty sure we agree with all of the sentiment coming through from the poll, and no less some of those direct messages. They chime with those we believe and try to share; that is, just take a bit of care and do things properly. No silly gestures that have the potential to go awry. No style chances that can misfire. Don’t be a douche. Keep within your boundaries. Show respect and integrity. Be nice and employ good manners.
And so we have it. Perhaps nothing new, but still a thorough set of guidelines if ever there was. Hopefully you'll able to take something from here and make the world a slightly better place.
None of our pollsters were sponsored, paid or otherwise bribed in the compilation of this article. There was nothing for our contributors to gain from their participation other than knowing they were imparting some goodwill in our direction that can only play out to some degree in our favour. And for that we should be happy and hopefully a little more cool when doing our best to drop some gentlemanly style.
Dropping some Summer Style.
Some Relaxed. Some Dressy.