I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.
Take a guess at who that is above. You probably won’t get it right if I gave you ten guesses (though if you’ve been on Reddit at all today, you might).
It’s world-renown physicist and author Stephen Hawking before motor neurone disease set in.
Granted, we can only see these yearbook-style shots of him, but there is no doubt on this one. That shadow plaid with a modestly pindotted tie are money. His collar points tuck neatly under his lapels and he has the slightest amount of white pocket square peeking out, saying “hello.” Combined with the thick, black glasses and neat side part, this is some quintessential ’60s Brit style from an unexpected source.
To be frank, I’m not 100% sure I’ve actually been to a real black tie event. Perhaps my sister’s wedding almost a decade ago when my rented tux fit me like a slim-fit Hefty bag. But zooming around the internet looking at ideas, brands and the general ethos of clothing can tak you to some relatively unexplored corners. One such corner is the black tie event.
This code has evolved with time and by now, the camp has shifted to a more 50-50 split on the matter of watch vs. no watch. But with the simplest bit of deductive reasoning and logic, one would assume that a sleek black watch—akin to the sleek black tuxedo you’re hopefully wearing—would be a viable option. And to imply that it wouldn’t causes a surprisingly strong reaction in me, someone who doesn’t frequent such events.
But this is a prime example of not letting an archaic point of view get in your way. If you want to wear a watch with your tux, wear a damn watch. Just make sure it reflects the formality of the occasion. Don’t walk into a gala with a fraying NATO strap. And if you’re missing that killer formal occasion watch, this provides you a good scapegoat to convince yourself that you need one. Personally: white face, minimal interior widgets (do they have a better name for those?) and a slim leather strap and you’re good to go.
The art of ironing a shirt varies depending on who you talk to. My mom has never ironed a shirt in the way that the above guy does. Which is just fine. But aside from this three minute clip inspiring ASMR across the internet, it does well to illustrate an important point for any man worth his salt, and his wardrobe.
I finally purchased an iron after months of not having one. It’s nothing fancy. But it definitely works. Now, aside from this being borderline repugnant, it speaks to the actual investment I now have in my clothes. This iron and miniature ironing board will go further than buying a new shirt or pair of pants. Together, they will ensure that the old shirts I have look as good as the new ones.
Now, I have eight or nine shirts and maybe three or four pairs of pants I’d label worthy of ironing because, for the most part, my closet treads on the casual side of the spectrum—I’m working on building a more formal foundation currently. But the shirts that do need the extra level of formality have a compatriot able to elevate them in this iron.
Not only that, but the process of ironing is as soothing as a hot shower and as stimulating as solving a tricky riddle. That hour or so I’ll spend every week is a time of decompression and mind re-appropriation. For someone with a pretty heavy case of anxiety such as myself, an iron is like steamy Xanax.
I’ve never had any formal ironing training. I may have watched my mom a dozen or so times over the course of my life and absorbed some knowledge through visual osmosis, but the learning process to learn how to properly iron a shirt or pair of trousers can be cathartic. Read, watch and slide. Every guy should know how to handle one.
I own a pair of Clark’s Desert Boots and guess what? I wear them on a regular basis. It seems that the desert boot had a strong resurgence, a quick plateau and a devastating drop off. Guys without much money flocked to them for a shoe that split the middle between ratty sneaker and cordovan lace-up. The chukka silhouette provided a clean canvas of leather or suede with earthy colors.
Maybe it was the recent proliferation of men’s style that did the CDB in—or the hivemind of Reddit’s MaleFashionAdvice section that ended up pushing them over the edge, but the desert boot rep has taken a few punches to the jaw. But still, maybe three times a week, I lace up my Oakwood suede desert boots for work or, more likely, play.
They provide that bridge of style for me personally. Aside from my brown leather saddle shoes, my CDBs are the shoe that can realistically function in 90% of my engagements. That’s not to say I own tons of dress shoes. Quite the contrary in fact. But a good chunk of my shoe collection is suitable for mostly work with other light wear-and-tear activities on the side. So those times when I’m not totally sure what’s going to happen or there’s a strong possibility a drink will be spilled on my shoes, the CDBs ride in, ready to take one for the team.
Remarkably, they’ve stayed pretty scot free after having a few drinks dropped on them and walking through a couple storms. They’re steadfast and reliable. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend them as a total chukka replacement (the sole isn’t the best and the nap is too shaggy) but they’re the perfect non-sneaker beater shoe.