I am not a gentleman. Or if I am, it has nothing whatever to do with what I wear.
I get increasingly frustrated with the peddling of the idea of the ‘gentleman’ as a vehicle to sell tailoring. Everywhere you go, fashion brands push this bizarre association, usually accompanied by images of confident, laughing men in tuxedos.
There is no necessary connection between what a man wears and his gentility.
Gentility can imply a refinement in many things, from manners, to morality to culture. It may also involve a refinement in clothing – but it does not have to. And the idea that smart clothing directly suggests something about a man’s ethics is absurd.
This would all be pretty funny, if it wasn’t so depressingly ubiquitous.
In menswear magazines around the world, we are presented with the same images of brooding men, sipping whisky, puffing cigars, surrounded in a cheap and frankly misogynistic way by submissive women.
In fact, that might be the worst aspect of it all. For the lifestyle, the morality and the culture we are presented with are deeply suspect. To be a gentleman, we are told, is to be a rich, famous, womanising drunk.
Where is the celebration of other aspects of life? Physical achievement, as seen in stamina and suffering. Or the creativity and originality of intellectual achievement, .
It may turn out that refinement in life is best encapsulated by a yoga teacher with a wife and two kids, who cycles to work. But of course that would sell fewer sports cars.
If I see another perfume ad where a smirking man walks away from a prone woman on a bed, puts on his shirt in slow motion, and sips a drink while staring out of his balcony window, I will shoot someone.
Please, let’s have enough of this celebration of shallow pleasures and hollow conquests.
Life is a lot more interesting.