Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What has 2015 taught us about being a gentleman?

Tick, tick, tick, can you hear it? That's 2015 counting down and as we enter the tail end of December it's safe to say that this year I personally have learnt a few things (I've probably forgotten quite a lot as well) and stepping back and watching the hipsters and other assorted creatures who inhabit King's Cross in London it wouldn't be out of place to say we are a culture hungry generation. Many trends have come and gone in this time, the wackiest in my view has to be those people (for some unexplainable reason) who opted to go in for the craze of spiralled vegetables (yes, apparently it's been a craze). This is all well and good, but when it comes to a truly universal and timeless style that is free from the pre-notion of fads and populist perception, being a gentleman never goes out of trend.

So what exactly constitutes being a gentleman? Foremost is setting the trend yourself, and letting others follow. A gentleman takes good care of himself with good clothing, grooming, and an overall good attitude that helps others improve themselves based on his awesome example.

I would dare say that 2015 was the year of the gentleman, with an increase in various fashions, trends and self-care rituals that made scrubbing up well an achievable option for the average man - if I can do it, anyone can! So before the year is out let’s review what we’ve learnt, and Christmas shoppers should take notes as we’ll be going through some great gifts for men this year.
Being a gentleman
Source: Lan Phantastic
Watches are back - The traditional wristwatch experienced a period out of favour with the stylish man, who at this time was getting to grips with the first generation of smartphones. These phones introduced a range of features; touch screens, wireless connectivity, easier internet browsing, and to the detriment of the watch, lock screen digital time. However, time has progressed and as people have become more acclimatised to their phones, the watch has experienced an impressive resurgence as a must-have accessory for any gentleman. 

Personally, I stick with three trusty watches - I have the massively expensive watch from Bvlgari that comes out once in a blue moon (for fear of someone hacking my arm off for it), my Armani AX number and a nice Jord Wooden number that actually makes me look far more eco-friendly than I really am.

As my migraines get worse, I have tried to shun my purely electronic existence, such as being constantly glued to my phone, in favour of living partly in the real world (I like neither so retreat into my head). As such, many gentlemen have embraced the traditional watch as a reminder of the aesthetical and technical wonder of horology. Putting together a serious watch collection should also require quality watch boxes and winders to ensure your kinetically powered watches are never a minute behind.

The beard and the bun constitute two very important 2015 trends in the world of a well-groomed gentleman. For those who can, growing a beard has become a significant fashion statement for a wide range of modern men - I've spent most of the year with a bit of a grizzler, shaved only in the interest of reviewing razors and the assortment of lotions and potions that arrive on a near daily basis. 2015 saw the majority of men choose the wild, long and rugged facial hair style over the tightly trimmed, shorter style. There’s no doubt about it; the average beard is getting longer and longer, more reminiscent of a Viking warrior, but with the added gentlemanly touch of subtle trimming and shaping for a neater and more natural look.

The popularity of the beard has also brought to prominence the man-bun (for shame). Long hair is fun, I just wish I could get my hair instantly back to being long without the fiddly period from spikes to flowing locks. Oh how I miss having my long hair that could be knocked into so many different styles, but 2015 saw an overwhelming lean towards the man-bun; similar to the lady-bun, but more suited toward the masculine jawline and facial features. Nonetheless, the man-bun is considered a gentlemanly fashion pursuit due to its historical and cultural significance; one only needs to look at photos of the Meiji period samurai to see how far the style has come since its ancient origins.

Such is the expansion of male hair and beard care that beard oils, waxes, conditioners and other bespoke grooming products for men have grown significantly in popularity over 2015. This has encouraged many men to ditch the 2 in 1 shampoo and go for something more tailored to their grooming needs.

A suit for every occasion - Need to look smart? Wear a suit. Need a more casual look? Still wear a suit. This is an attitude that has certainly surfaced in 2015, with men of different backgrounds choosing the blazer, shirt, and trousers combo as their go to style selection for both professional and more laid-back environments. This has also led to a rise in accessorising for men, allowing for various combinations and fits which can spice up a blazer and suit-trousers combo with relative ease, as well as ties and shoes to match.

If you’re looking to buy a quality suit, consider it an investment and be prepared to spend a sizeable amount on something good - think upwards of £700 for a half decent tailored number. If you’re willing to put the money in, you’ll have something which will last you for years and that you can create a wide variety of looks and styles with. Do your research and learn more about the cut, shape, and colour you’d most be interested in, and keep in mind how the suit will look with the rest of your clothing such as shirts, shoes, and other accessories.

Be the best you can be Perhaps the most important part of being a gentleman is self-improvement. Strive to be the best version of yourself in every aspect of your life and the rest should follow. Use fashion to reinforce and personify this success, so that you can look in the mirror and feel confident about yourself.

Conduct yourself using your own style, but with manners, good grace and do at least one good deed a day, trust me, it does make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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