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Rules handed down

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Reading over the archives, I notice a lot of people come here for information on rules about dress for interviews (mainly) and formal wear.

My father was a mostly typical boomer, if slightly on the conservative side. I learnt some things from him about how to polish my shoes, some basic dress etiquette and what-not but I never learnt about the fineries of Black Tie.

I was never taught about what to wear to an interview, how to style a pocket square, to leave the bottom button undone and countless other rules.

I'm wondering if these are all things that are normally handed down from father to son. To me they all seem like things that would be, essentially, "how to be a man".

As I mentioned above, a lot of people come here to ask about interview and formal attire. Is it the case that many others didn't receive this knowledge from their fathers as well? Has it come to be that the internet is now teaching us in their place? Did the filtering of knowledge down through the generations stop at the hippie rebellion?

Internet, are you my father?!

Jokes aside, I'd like some input on these thoughts.

Cheers.
post #2 of 18
I'm in the same boat as you. When I was younger, my Dad tried to teach me the same things, but was met with a disinterested ear. At ~13 I couldn't have cared less about a pocket square, or the proper break in a pair of pants. Who at that age thinks they'll ever want to wear a sport coat? I'm sure there are some, but it wasn't me. Now, my Dad is more than happy to answer questions I have, when he can, but he doesn't know everything. Thankfully, there are places like this on the internet where informed people have the patience and time to educate the un- or misinformed.
post #3 of 18
I busy trying to teach my father what little I know. He did teach me how to polish a shoe, and the joy of that knowledge is now multiplying when paired with finer leathers that polish better.
post #4 of 18
I think one mostly learns from observation; if your father dresses well you will develop the eye for how thing s are supposed to be from early on. You'll see him doing little thing such as polishing his shoes etc. and hence you'll emulate how he does them. Then, as a man, you find out some of the finer details yourself, you develop style. My father taught me the basics of how to tie a tie etc. and is an okay dresser. I didn't learn the point of formal wear from him but mostly taught that to myself. Another place to learn these thing , at least common in Germany, is dancing school. Aside from dancing this is where, at least part of the german youth, is introduced to the 'rules' of proper attire and manners.
post #5 of 18
Growing up, the schools that I went to had uniforms, including ties and jackets. In a lot of ways, that helped me because my Dad could advice me on how to look good with the clothes I was wearing. A few things, I'll never forget - the discipline of polishing one's shoes on a regular basis (every morning, no matter how late I was), tying a tie etc, taking care of your clothes etc. A few weeks ago, I had a nostalgic conversation with him on cuff links, and remembered how he used to wear them in his younger years -- it's almost as if I'm following in his footsteps, in terms of style. I have even inherited some of his finer ties, and every time he visits me, he gets us both a pair of similar ties.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mekk View Post
Internet, are you my father?!.

Son, don't be ridiculous. Go clean your room.

My father is from the WWII generation, and his father had no money to speak of, as they travelled from Texas to Colorado. It isn't clear to me that those who spent the last century in the non-urban West had the knowledge of the Saville Row-cum-cosmopolitan Rules to be passed down. I saw little evidence of it.
post #7 of 18
My father provided me with a lot of great information about life, values, morals, etc. but he is a horrible dresser and very resistant to my efforts to "educate him".

He makes a very good annual income via his retail business yet wears jeans (Levis 505s) and crappy loafer to work every single day cause they're comfortable. *sigh*
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jumbie View Post
My father provided me with a lot of great information about life, values, morals, etc. but he is a horrible dresser and very resistant to my efforts to "educate him".

He makes a very good annual income via his retail business yet wears jeans (Levis 505s) and crappy loafer to work every single day cause they're comfortable. *sigh*

+1. As someone who had to drop out of grade school to support his family by running trotlines in rural Illinois, my father had little use for fashion or style. Even as an entrepreneur enjoying considerable success later in life his costume was dark blue poly-blend pants with the lighter grayish-blue poly-blend shirt that was standard issue to all of his employees. The uniform company came weekly with a fresh supply. If he happened to be not working on the weekends or had to wear a suit it was JC Penney type stuff and, to be perfectly honest, he looked pretty "normal" IIRC (except for the black socks with tennis shoes and shorts):blush

I've learned a lot about texture and patterns and "rules" here on SF, (thanks to all!), so yes, I believe the internet has a huge impact on teaching (some of us) "The Rules". Style is subjective though and some rules were meant to be broken. That "what do you think of this Sartorialist outfit" post is a good example. A lot of SFers liked it and a lot did not. To me the "if you don't like it, you don't get it" attitude described in that other SF/Sartorialist post is bull. I get it and I might be inclined to punch a guy in the face for matching orange trous and a powder blue belt with that outfit.

But I digress. I think most of us that care about dress seek that information on the internet in the same way that we used to read books (or GQ). Obviously there are many whose fathers taught them "proper" rules for dress but for me the "other" rules like "if you say you're going to do something then do it" and "the only thing worse than a thief is a liar" and "you have to stand up to a bully before he'll leave you alone" has been much more valuable. I digress again.
post #9 of 18
My father taught me a lot of things, but how to dress was not one of them. In fact, he hates dressing up and hasn't bought clothes for himself since the 60's. He still thinks a decent pair of shoes goes for $30--much to my mother's perturbance when he wears Ferragamos to do gardening.

I don't think dressing well has anything to do with 'being a man' in any meaningful sense. My dad taught me the importance of working hard, being responsible, making sacrifices, and taking care of the people close to me. While I certainly care more about how I dress than he does, I would never presume that I could each him anything about 'being a man'.
post #10 of 18
You guys have obviously not been on the Internet long.

The hard, cruel, irrational truth is: I, personally, make up all the rules, change them at my whim, and enforce them with a bloodthirsty ruthelessness. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
You guys have obviously not been on the Internet long.

The hard, cruel, irrational truth is: I, personally, make up all the rules, change them at my whim, and enforce them with a bloodthirsty ruthelessness. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Eric Glennie, is that you?
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidicboy View Post
Eric Glennie, is that you?

Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
You guys have obviously not been on the Internet long.

The hard, cruel, irrational truth is: I, personally, make up all the rules, change them at my whim, and enforce them with a bloodthirsty ruthelessness. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Speaking of rules, I am actually reading The Suit... right now.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
You guys have obviously not been on the Internet long.

The hard, cruel, irrational truth is: I, personally, make up all the rules, change them at my whim, and enforce them with a bloodthirsty ruthelessness. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

I was just reading the "Is a black suit acceptable business attire" thread.
After something like 20 pages there was the post "by the way, the suit the
OP asked about is still available"

Oh, btw, you owe me 4 hours of my life back.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
That's a good point I had overlooked.

As I understand it a lot of guys these days have problems with knowing "how to be a man" due to being raised by their mothers. Without a father figure around to copy, I guess that could be one of the reasons there's such confusion about proper dress, tradition and whatnot.

Interesting to think about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanseat View Post
I think one mostly learns from observation; if your father dresses well you will develop the eye for how thing s are supposed to be from early on.
You'll see him doing little thing such as polishing his shoes etc. and hence you'll emulate how he does them. Then, as a man, you find out some of the finer details yourself, you develop style.

My father taught me the basics of how to tie a tie etc. and is an okay dresser.
I didn't learn the point of formal wear from him but mostly taught that to myself.

Another place to learn these thing , at least common in Germany, is dancing school.
Aside from dancing this is where, at least part of the german youth, is introduced to the 'rules' of proper attire and manners.
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