This blog started in November 2009 out of sheer interest and curiosity in the world of menswear. I have always had an idea that a man is supposed to dress presentably, and as much as I tried, I had more losses than wins. I used to also subscribe to men.style.com prior to 2009, and as I perused the website back then, I found the information irrelevant because I could not relate to it. If it wasn't impractical runway looks, then it was the high priced brand names or the consequent inaccessibility of said quality clothing; and when the foreign currency rate was factored in, I was out of my depth.
This is when and where my whole sartorial and menswear journey started. I serendipitously came across menswear blogs that appealed to me in highest sense. Their overall presentation, tone, style, and insight resonated with me. And the writing, whether objective or subjective, always seemed to be fitting. The more I consumed these blogs the more I realised that they hit closer to home. The looks, combinations and information was practical and extremely useful. Most importantly, I started to learn more about menswear, where I fit in the landscape, and what I could do to contribute.
Thus the advent of Perfect Gentleman SA. After assessing the blogosphere and how it is saturated with international/ Western voices, I decided to start this blog, as a unique voice from a learning and passionate perspective. Passionate because I want to see men in Durban dress better; dressing better, in the right way, for the right reasons. Learning, because I have come to realise that I can't be on the Internet talking about a subject I am passionate about yet I have not the slightest clue on its foundations and provenance. Therefore, I gain new insights into the world of menswear and also because I get a lot of inspiration from my own sartorial experiences and surroundings; thus my desire to share them with an audience.
If anything, I feel that the key to dressing well is by knowing, understanding and applying the basics. This may not be as easy as it sounds because all the concepts pertaining to menswear can be overwhelming if taken in all at once. However, the basics, such as dress code, fit and proportion, mixing and matching, should be learnt and applied so as to achieve a high grade in presentability. Acceptable to both the wearer and those around him.
Previously, the tone and style of this blog was casual and subjective. That is not going to change, however, my aim is to be of greater service to gentlemen such as myself who are enthusiastic about dressing well and have a constant desire to learn about dressing well; ultimately it's about influencing other gentlemen not only to dress well but to do it in the right way, consistently.
I believe that my voice is unique because of my location. There aren't many men's style bloggers in South Africa, therefore, this is a vantage point because I am faced with a largely untapped audience. Which I hope to inspire through style and dress. What I have come to appreciate about this blog is the educational journey it started and how it still continues today. The naive, judgemental, know-it-all attitude, especially at its inception, has been supplanted with a more professional, mature, balanced and objective mien. It is imperative that my message gets across, however, more importantly that it influences gentlemen the world over to do the right things when it comes to maters of style and dress.
My sincere hope is that you will enjoy the new look Perfect Gentleman, because it is a fresh take on all things that pertain to gentlemen's style and dress. I really feel that the new approach leaves no style stone unturned.
Sometimes the make or break with a pair of trousers is whether to insert or remove a pleat. Something seemingly insignificant to one gent literally means everything to another. One of the greatest lessons I've learnt is that just because a garment costs more than I make in a month it doesn't necessarily mean I should criticise it. If it's not in my price range then it most certainly wasn't made for me. So, as much as I decried a Paul Smith knit tie going for R900, what I didn't understand at the time is that there are many more people that can afford it. To counter balance this assertion I have to state that dressing well and looking good needn't break the bank. Not at all. There are various ways that R900 can be dissected to produce a stylish and coherent ensemble. These are the lanes that this blog will intermittently straddle in order to show that one can never really rely or be inclined to one extreme.
As a parting shot I would like to draw your attention to the following excerpts I collected from various publications over the years. They appeal to me because they convey the divergent views that exist on men's style and dress. What can be deduced from them is that some men care a great deal about dressing well, others have simply resigned themselves to a sartorially bland life, and the rest are merely misguided thus needing a push in the right direction.
Men looked like yahoos at gala affair The Mercury, Monday April 23, 2012
The Report "Dressed to Impress" (The Mercury, April 13) about the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry's annual gala dinner conveyed the impression of a high-fashion affair.
The invitation to the dinner stipulated formal dress. Why then, when the women went to great lengths to acquire stunning outfits for the occassion, did so many of the men appear as yahoos?
A not-insignificant number of the captains of commerce, industry and tenderpreneurship were garbed in what could not, under any definition, be described as formal attire.
Windcheaters, sports jackets, chinos, jeans, open-neck shirts - anything seemed acceptable. This was meant to be a formal dinner, not a cocktail party at a casino or office.
If businessmen can thumb their noses at dress requirements, and in so doing pay little respect to the efforts of the women, what is the point of describing a dinner as "gala"? Indeed, why should women make the effort? Jeans, T-shirts and takkies would do.
TSAMAYA - THIS WEEK'S SOCCER BUZZ Sport, Sunday Times, January 27 2013
Eish! Benni, that jacket! McCarthy has rightfully taken his place among SuperSport's star-studded analyst team for Afcon. But his jacket looks like it's five years old, from when the striker was still a thin gazelle. It fits so badly it folds up behind his neck. Whatever you do, Benni, just don't exhale.
It's not easy for men to be MET PHLY Sunday World, 27 January 2013
For most women this is the most exciting part - putting together a stand-out outfit suitable for the dooh.
But for most men it seems that living up to the theme remains a challenge as most come in their everyday suits.
Fashion blogger Sandiso Ngubane says menswear is highly conservative.
Unlike women's clothes, it isn't easy for men to interpret this year's theme - "Made to Fly" - with their normal clothes.
This equestrian affair is also characterised by a level of seriousness and formality. "Just like a birthday party theme, you could wear a Spiderman or Batman costume, but I wouldn't advise it in this instance," says Ngubane.
Designer Paledi Segapo of Palse Homme says: "I often find that themes create obscurity, let alone unnecessary pressure to look the part for men in general. "The trick is to decide what works and have a sense of fashion identity." Segapo says it comes down to expressing style and following trends.
He says one should be able to marry the two aspects to follow the theme.
Fashion Blues and Don'ts Fortune Magazine November 6, 2006/ Vol 19
OZWALD BOATENG in brown shoes with a blue suit! In Savile Row! I fear that writer Nelson Schwartz ("London Calling," Business Life, Oct. 2) may have confused fashion with style.
Ballito, South Africa
Chrysler 300C - Whale on wheels Sunday Times, Motoring 28 October 2012
Some people can go into any clothes shop and buy any item from any shelf, knowing that when they put it on, they will look good. I am not one of those people. I've never even been able to find a pair of socks that don't look ridiculous once I've put my feet into them.
Trousers are the worst. Because my stomach is similar in size, colour and texture to the moon, it's difficult to know whether they should be worn above or below the waist. Both ways look stupid.
I'm told the problem can be masked with a well-tailored jacket, but this simply isn't true. Attempting to mask my physical shortcomings with carefully cut cloth is like attempting to mask the shortcomings of a boring play by serving really nice ice-cream during interval.
This is why I have cultivated my own look over the years. It's the look of a man who has simply got dressed in whatever happened to be lying at the end of the bed that morning. I pull it off very well. Mainly because that's what I actually do.
I'm not alone. Many people struggle to find clothes that work, but, unlike me, they continue to make an effort. Pointlessly.
We see the same problem with cars: people drive around in stuff that is really and truly wrong.
But the truth is we buy a car as we buy clothing, with scant regard or how it was made, because we're too busy looking in a mirror thinking: "Would this suit me?"
But there is a problem that takes me right back to the changing rooms. It's a very showy car, very brash. And who would that suit? It's like the perfect pair of trousers. They are keenly priced and made ethically and well by adults in a clean factory with many fire escapes and wheelchair ramps. They are exactly what you need and they fit like a glove. Lovely.
Except they are purple.