Using the bathroom (toilet, WC, pick your euphemism) in an old gentleman’s club is an absolute pleasure. Rows of sparking sinks, toiletries laid out and every sort of brush imaginable – for hair, shoes and clothes. Having made use of all the conveniences, you walk out feeling pampered even though these are all things you have in your own home.

There is a lesson here. Just because a modern bathroom doesn’t have any of these facilities doesn’t mean you can’t use it to refresh and primp yourself. It is what the bathroom is for.

Few things make dress look more affected than a man playing with his pocket handkerchief. It punctures the impression of nonchalance. Elegance requires an ease about one’s clothing that is undermined by consciously arranging it. So do it in the bathroom.

After you have relieved yourself, take the time to wash your hands in warm water, dry your hands thoroughly, and make use of any scents or moisturisers. Then make sure your handkerchief is sitting properly – the key is that it is touching the bottom of the pocket so it will not fall down inside. Pay the same attention to your tie – often a little tightening of the rear blade (holding the knot horizontally) is helpful. Check, if you feel inclined, the laces on your shoes. And walk out into the restaurant/club/living room feeling refreshed and self-assured.

As Patrick McDonald said, we are all blank canvases when we get up in the morning, and we paint ourselves. There is great pleasure in taking time when you get dressed in the morning. There is also pleasure in taking time in the bathroom. It is how one achieves the simple, satisfying neatness that is the essence of elegance.

Picture: Murdock Barbers, Liberty
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Nice little vivid vignette you painted there. I’m not a member of a gentleman’s club, but I love a good bathroom. In my salad days as a waiter in an expensive Hotel I often popped into the luxury bathrooms to freshen up and fix my clothes.