Long time followers of this blog will know that I've developed an interest in how society has come to define the idea of "manhood." I also happen to have an interest in men's fashion, because it's becoming a lost art for my generation. Recently, on my way to work one day, I heard a story on the radio that piqued both of these interests.
The story was about a man named Tom Ford, who is a highly respected authority on men's fashion. He was recently interviewed by Vogue Magazine wherein he divulged his top 15 things that all men should have. It's an interesting list that I'd like to share and give my input, mixing in some DeMolay and Masonic perspective as I do.
1. A Sense of Humor - Mr. Ford is right on with this one. Any man worth his salt must have a good sense of humor. This is also required in our fraternity. If we don't have a sense of humor about who we are and what we do, we quickly lose our perspective.
2. A Daily Read of the Newspaper - While I don't read the newspaper, I do make sure to go read news websites to get the updates of the day. More importantly, he recommends that every man read something educational everyday, and I totally agree.
3. A Sport that You Love and are Good At - I totally fail at this one, but I do support the idea. Every man should have some physical activity that he enjoys. It's good for the health benefit, plus the competitive sports can offer a good outlet for men's aggression.
4. Tweezers - What? Why tweezers? Well, the idea of "manscaping" should be taught to every guy. Take some time and work on your appearance. Tweezing those rogue hairs is an important part of keeping yourself stylish and hygienic.
5. A Good Signature Cologne - Yep! Every man needs a scent to call his own. Find something that works for you and stick with it. I have a very specific cologne that is imported from Ireland. I love it and it is certainly my signature.
6. A Well Cut, Dark Suit - Mr. Ford recommends that you have a suit constructed for you. Most of us don't have the kind of money. However, there is no excuse for a man to not take a suit to the tailor. It's perfectly okay for a man to buy a suit off the rack at a store, but do yourself a favor, and take it to the tailor. He can help correct it so it fits you even better. Never underestimate the value of a good fitting suit!
7. A Pair of Classic, Black, Lace Up Shoes - Totally! If you own a dark suit, you should also own some basic, black, leather, lace up shoes. This is a no brainer!
8. A Smart Blazer - Every DeMolay and Mason should have a good fitting blue blazer. A simple two button blazer is a must. Take it to the tailor, get it fitted, and you'll realize just how much it can become an integral part of your wardrobe as a professional.
9. The Perfect Pair of Dark Denim Jeans - One thing that many young adults realize is the value of a good wardrobe. Having a good pair of dark jeans is a total must. These pants are very versatile and can offer a lot of fashion opportunities. No, you don't need a $300 pair of jeans. Rather, just get a pair that looks nice, isn't loaded with logos or embroidery, and that fit well.
10. Lots of Crisp, White, Cotton Shirts - The basic white button up shirt is one the most important parts of a man's wardrobe. I always try to have a spare shirt, still in the package, ready to go, just in case my current one gets stained. White goes with any look and is one of the smoothest colors to match with.
11. Always New Socks and Underwear - Yes, I'm going there. While Ford recommends new one's every six months, I'm not as stringent. But, as soon as you see signs of wear, it's time to replace. It's just a matter of being clean.
12. A Classic Tuxedo - As men age, they find more and more use for a simple tux. I agree that every man should have a simple, black, two button tux, with both a vest and a cummerbund. He should also have a lay down collar tux shirt as well as a wing tip tux shirt.
13. A Day Watch with a Metal Band - Here is where Mr. Ford and I diverge. I'm not a big watch wearer. I never have been, and never will be. I don't see it as a necessity, but, I would certainly encourage all men to own a pocket watch at some point in their life. It's just a manly thing to do, plus, if you pair it with a nice chain, it's a great accessory with a tuxedo.
14. Perfect Sunglasses - Eye wear can make a great accessory to any outfit. Get some sunglasses that match your face and do the job. A simple rule for classy sunglasses is that if the frames are made of plastic, then leave them on the sports field. Stick with metal frames.
15. Perfect Teeth - My teeth are about as bad as they come, so I totally fail at this one. I also think it's sort of vain. Use your own judgement.
I hope some of my insights have proved valuable and that you will take a good look at your wardrobe and update as necessary. This is a list to aspire to. The change won't happen overnight, but if you work towards this, you're style and sense of manhood is sure to improve.
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony