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Friday, February 23, 2007

Basic Instinct#3 (Manqué): Creating a Picture of Sartorial Eloquence

The other day, I dug around for the classic "Desiderata" for a fellow blogger, and realized there were some bits in it that I needed to heed, such as "take kindly the counsel of the years", which I never really understood that well—till last week, which I presumed to mean "appreciate the advice of the older generation."

So it was not going to come as any surprise that I would take kindly the counsel of none other than my parents, especially my Dad, who both offered a homily-cum-coaching of "sartorial eloquence", some two weekends ago.

Now, a quick google search brings up a slew of lyrics from the classic 1980s song by Elton John, which, btw, is a great song. As for the actual definition, it takes some time getting it, and when you do, it’s juicy, especially because the term that is most apt is "sartorial elegance", as in this BBC news report here, entitled "A picture of sartorial elegance":, which I am quoting:

"A picture of sartorial elegance, his suits are tailored from Savile Row in London."

The interesting website defines sartorial thus: Of or relating to a tailor, tailoring, or tailored clothing: sartorial elegance

Now, the reason for the homily was my Dad reckoned I need to renew my wardrobe. A basic instinct that has been mine since I started working professionally in 2000 was to wear a suit at best (2000-2004), or at worst a shirt and trousers—but no jeans. Jeans do not see the day of light at the office, and it never will, unless it’s our customary institutional retreat, where we feel more casual than normal.

He made a point about having a few blue, and white shirts—rather than one or two, which I think makes sense. As a son of a father who was in the international civil service milieu (from Ghana’s Foreign Ministry to ECOWAS, then OAU to Brussels) for over thirty years, I knew I was going to get some serious dressing down, without stretching any pun;-)

Dress down, he did do well. He intoned that it might be vanity, but it’s better to make a good impression and be considered vain, than be considered a slob. You can be the most intelligent person in the crowd, but being sartorially eloquent/elegant underscores not just your intellect, but a consideration and some might say respect for yourself?

In short, it behooved me to buy more shirts, of the blue, white and brown hue, with (fewer) t-shirts, and trousers that fit well and loosely;-)

Brown, especially of the beigish colour, is one that suits me fine down to the ground, so I’m going to concentrate on getting more of those, but upon great reflection, I do agree about all those points, as well as getting good shoes, including a brogue, among others.

Any more tips on dressing well? Clearing clutter from my bag, and my room is the next battle!

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