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THE RULES

It is our great pleasure at GreyMan Style to offer you this wealth of knowledge and advice, much of it based squarely on my own personal tastes and prejudices, to help you, dear reader, along the road to inner harmony and sartorial redemption. 

 

One likes to do what one can to help!

1. NEVER WEAR A SWEATER WITHOUT A COLLARED SHIRT.

Jumper + T-shirt = “Kidult.”  This is the current and surprisingly evocative modern argot used to describe men who adopt this specious look.  Those of you of a similar age to myself will be more familiar with the terms “prat” and “knob,” both of which remain valid for use in this context.

Get the picture?  Look, just don’t do it.  You’re not “down with the kids” or “chilled,” (itself an irritating, moronic expression which you should not be using) you just look as if you ran out of ideas/clean shirts when dressing.  If you really must dress this way, then you’re wasting your time reading any further, so off you go and watch CBeebies, I think you may be missing your favourite programme.  Mummy will turn the T.V. on for you.  Off you go.

2. ACT AND LOOK YOUR AGE, BUT REMEMBER YOU'RE NOT DEAD, YET!

Style for men of our age is about looking elegant and smart, without being a clone, so add a few twists of your own (ooh, that rhymes!) that personalise the look.  Decide who you are and be you; be authentic au David Beckham!

3. TUCK YOUR BLOOMIN' SHIRT IN!

pierce&halleNothing looks so off-putting and, dare I say it, run-of-the-mill (polite speak for “common as muck” or Plebeian) as a shirt dangling over the backside of a middle-aged man who has seen someone else do it and thought “yeah, right on.”  Well, it’s not – it’s right off.  Don’t do it.  Ever. Unless, of course, you’re  Pierce Brosnan and you’re in Havana with Halle Berry.  And if you are reading this, Pierce (and I have it on good authority that he’s a regular visitor to our website,) please drop us a line to let us know where you got the shirt. 

4. Oh, and while you’re tucking in that shirt, for God’s sake PULL YOUR PANTS UP to avoid exposing that other gross phenomenon, the bum cleavage (unless, that is, you’re unemployed and looking for a  part-time job as a cycle rack.)

5. Whilst on the subject of UNDERWEAR, we’re not talking baggy old, once-white-now-grey Y-fronts, or those novelty boxers you once thought hilarious; rather, think of something more stylish, snug-fitting and (dare I say it) package-enhancing  - Calvin Kleins are a perfect example. (By the way, the package-enhancing bit was my wife’s suggestion – she seems to think that is a necessity for me.  Can’t understand her reasoning, but don’t like to argue.)  

Take a peek at this video for further guidance.  Who knew that underpants could be so complex!

 

 

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6. Now, as soon as you’ve tucked your shirt in and hoisted your “knicks,” go back to the bar and ASK THE BARTENDER FOR A GLASS.  You’ve paid good money for that beer and you should not have to drink it from a bottle.  If they can’t afford to provide you with a suitable receptacle in which to hold your chosen beverage, then repair to The Savoy at once and savour a proper drink, served with style and panache.  In a glass.   But you will have to take off that Hawaiian shirt, I’m afraid – tucked in or not.
7. This brings me on to the ubiquitous TROUSERS WITH THE KNEE-LEVEL CROTCH.  Unless you’ve married a much younger wife who wants a family, and you are suffering from low motility in the man-tadpole department, necessitating keeping the old “crown jewels” loose and cool, then men of “un certain age” should on no account be seen sporting such items of clothing.   And as for tears in the knees of your “pantaloons de nimes,” well, think of the draught and your arthritis:  is it ever worth the risk?
8. Now I’m really on a roll.  TRAINERS!  No, no, no, no, no!  They’re not smart, they’re not clever – don’t do it!  In fact, outside the gymnasium or sports arena, there is only one occasion in life when you are permitted to wear trainers.  And as you are a man of respectable years, you’ve already used your one allocated occasion, so don’t do it again!

9. As for SANDALS…………AAAAHHHH……and, no, calling them “mandals” does not make it acceptable. And never mind the “no socks with sandals” school of thought; NO SANDALS.  Full stop. Similar rules apply for flip-flops.  And shorts.  Unless, of course, you’re on the beach.  You have been warned.

 

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Are you beginning to get the idea?  Good.  Let’s move on to a few “do’s” to help calm my frayed nerves.

10. Collect a few HATS and wear them with confidence.  You’ll soon develop a feel for just which hat suits which occasion, and they are immensely practical, keeping you warm and dry in the Winter, while keeping the sun off your head in the warmer months.  Trilbies, fedoras, and tweed caps are the staples, but consider some leather headgear – no, not that sort of leather gear – perhaps a sturdy “Akubra” or leather baker-boy cap for slightly less formal outings.  

A couple of good quality (which, in this case, nearly always means “designer”) baseball caps can also provide you with the option of some casual chic;  but choose carefully – loud, gaudy logos look cheap but not cheerful, but a discrete emblem does not go amiss.  Shop around, and be prepared to pay a few bob extra for something with that certain “je ne sais quois.” N.B. Wearing it back-to-front instantly lowers your IQ by 90%.

Take a look at this smart example from Henri LLoyd, or these simple classics from Ralph Lauren and Dubarry.

Henri Lloyd Cap   Dubarry cap

CLICK ON IMAGES FOR FURTHER DETAILS

11. TALK PROPER!  Seriously, when speaking, do adhere to the basic rules of grammar – it enables you more accurately and succinctly to put across your point, whilst also showing you to be a man of refinement and education.  Remember, the split infinitive is indicative of a lazy mind, and the double negative is, of course, an absolute no-no. 

Whilst on the subject of grammar, which, as you may have surmised, is a particular bête noir of mine, apostrophes and commas are enjoying a resurgence in popularity (well, they will soon, if I have anything to do with it) so use them, and use them correctly.

12. ACCENTS – now here’s another subject about which I feel strongly.  To talk with a regional accent is not demeaning, nor does it mark you out as a ne’er-do-well.  What you say and how you say it is what counts, so if you’re from Tyneside, speak up and be proud;  if you hail from Somerset, let your dulcet tones charm all who hear you;  if you were bred in the Home Counties and speak with Received Pronunciation, then let it shine through.  And if, like me, you’re from Manchester, then remember that elocution lessons are relatively cheap and represent a great investment in your personal grooming!  Finally, if you’re from Liverpool, consider The Tremeloes UK no.1 hit from 1967, “Silence Is Golden,” and act accordingly.

 

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13. BAGS – these are the current hot item in menswear, and serve a useful purpose:  sometimes, my wife claims that there is insufficient room in her handbag for my keys and wallet, and this means I am sometimes left carrying my knick-knacks all by myself!  Oh, the unspeakable effect this can have on my elegant lines!  But fear not, all is not lost – the “manbag” is now de rigeur amongst younger chaps, so why not we oldies, too?

Well, why not, indeed.  However, it pays to give a bit of thought to when and how you intend to wear your luggage – is it for work, evening, or just casual?  Whatever it is, the answer to this style conundrum is never, ever a rucksack.  Nothing lowers the tone faster then a cheap piece of nylon hanging down your back – not only does it look ridiculous, it distorts the line of any jacket or coat and just says to all-and-sundry “there’s a man who couldn’t care less.  What a loser!” So, ditch the rucksacks, chaps, and invest in some smart leather.  A briefcase or attaché case is perfect for work, whilst a shoulder bag or messenger-style bag work well for less formal occasions – some of the better canvaas fishing bags are great for this, such as those by Barbour or Orvis.

One last thought.  Whatever you buy should last a very long time, so “splash some cash” here and go for a classicall investment piece.  Or do what I did and try to persuade your wife to get a bigger handbag.                           

Here are a few more to look at, from companies such as Smythsons at the top end of the market, MR PORTER in the middle market and then, of course, good old Marks & Spencer. Shop around a bit and I'm sure you'll find something elegant, practical and stylish that not only suits your budget but enhances your personal image.

 

14. GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR "INNER GAYNESS:”  not for no reason was “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” a huge success. And who can forget Colin Firth’s understated elegance in “A Single Man”  (although God knows I’ve tried to erase the memory of his sad and soggy sartorial episode in “Pride and Prejudice” – difficult when my wife insists on replaying it every weekend.)   

Never be afraid to wear something you might fear to be slightly "camp" (this advice is, of course, particularly useful for gay people!) - you don’t have to go as far as learning “Polari,” but a little touch of something a dash outré can provide interest and elegance.

15. TATTOOS – whilst now considered acceptable among the middle classes, my advice would be that, unless you’re “Pop-Eye”, forget it.  You’ll regret it in the morning, believe me.

16. Likewise BODY PIERCING – unless you need somewhere to hang your keys when your wife’s handbag isn’t available. Better still, see “Bags” (above.)

As for those unseen piercings in private places.......oh, dear - I'm having one of my funny turns just imagining it! 

16. MAN-JEWELLERY is another subject that firmly divides opinion and, whilst some bodily adornment is acceptable, keep it simple – no medallions, ingots, love beads (haven’t got the faintest idea what these are, but my wife said to include them) or necklaces of any kind, even if you’re a Latin dancer.  Same goes for ear-rings.   Identity bracelets are sooooo 1970’s, darling, but could come in useful as the years roll by and you find it increasingly difficult to remember who you are. 

Yes,  a simple, classic, elegant watch, together with a plain wedding band, signet ring or family crest on your pinkie is quite acceptable, but never be seen sporting the skull and crossbones ring so favoured by yesterday’s man.  Oh, wait a minute, Keith Richards has one of those, and I’ve named him in my list of Style Icons.  Bugger!  Tricky business, this blogging.  (Never mind, I get myself neatly off the hook later, with the cunning addition of rule 21 – read on and learn more!)

 

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17. DON'T FOLLOW FASHION– The Kinks did it, and when did you last hear of them? No - look at it, make a nod to it, doff your cap to it or, more likely (if you’ve observed our rules) tip your Fedora to it.  And, again, if you’re following these rules carefully, you will never be a slave to fashion and will recognise what it is that differentiates the chic from the cheap, so the question of raising your beanie will never arise, will it?  Promise?
18. By now, I’m sure I don’t really need to tell you this but, just in case – NO LYCRA, unless you’re Bradley Wiggins, or need some – eh hem – “enhancement.”  No, on second thoughts, just avoid it.  But if you’re into cycling, have a look at some of these unusual and exciting reflective tweeds for a practical and stylish twist to your appearance in the saddle.

19. Now, here’s one that I know half of you will ignore, but woe betide you if my style police catch you doing this.  BROWN SHOES WITH GREY TROUSERS, do you really think it looks smart?  Avante garde, perhaps?  A  little bit bohemian?  Well, how can I put this without causing too much offence (i.e. so as to cause just the right amount of offence)?  It’s none of those things, it’s just a pair of shoes that doesn’t tone in with what you are wearing.

The rule is simple – black shoes with grey or black trousers, brown with most of the rest.  (The exception is a pair of blue trousers, when either black or brown shoes may be appropriate.) Yes, by all means be a bit dashing – a pair of snazzy co-respondent shoes, or double-strap “monks,” even boots, but the rule must still be followed.  Remember this simple little ditty and you won’t go far wrong;  “brown with grey has had its day.”  Actually, it never “had its day” at all – it’s always been naff (just like my little ditty!)

20. AND FINALLY…….RULES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN – KNOW WHEN TO AND FEAR NOT.

 

Here's an example.......

 

M&S CARGO TROUSERS

 

 

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