What ever happened to good old-fashioned manners? Not many men follow the simplest rules these days and as a consequence, it shows in how they behave.
Aside from the momentary fashionable trends that seem to grip society every half generation, good etiquette never goes out of style. Whether it’s tipping appropriately, or knowing where to place the forks, Mybrotha.COM has provided the 10 most important tips men can use:
1.Restaurants – Whenever dining out (especially in a formal setting), be sure to allow your female partner to be seated first. You can control this situation by pulling out a chair for her and seating yourself afterwards. For those of you who dare to be really chivalrous — it is common practice to stand when a woman gets up to leave the table.
2.Table Manners – When sitting at a table (either in a restaurant or at home), your elbows should never rest on the eating surface. Elbows on the table are acceptable only between meal courses, or in extremely informal settings like bars or pubs.
3.Addressing Women – Did you know that there is a correct and incorrect way to address a woman, both verbally and in writing? It all depends on her age and marital status.
You should speak and write “Mrs.” when addressing married woman. For any woman who is unmarried, or if you’re not sure about her marital status – use the term “Ms.” For girls and teens under the age of 17 years, you should use “Miss”.
Various cultures inside and outside the U.S. usually have two distinctions — (i.e. Madam, Señora, Frau (for adult and married women); and mademoiselle, señorita, fräulein (for unmarried teens and girls). Of course you could always use a generic, respectful “ma’am”, for women of all ages and classifications.
4.Hats and Caps – Never enter a building with your hat or cap on. The only exceptions are public places of interests such as train, bus, and subway stations; indoor and outdoor pavillions; or places near public street entrances like lobbies or hallways. You should always remove your hat for photographs, when entering a home, for the national anthem, and when in the presence of a woman.
5.Flowers – Unless you mean to say — “I love you my little Snookum-Cakes”, something other than red or pink roses should be given to female acquaintences. Roses are a symbol of love, romantic interest, or “respectful love” — as in situations when giving roses to a mother on Mother’s Day.
For occasions when a female is not a love interest (i.e. birthdays, graduations, promotions, or new friendships) — choose from a variety of “friendly flowers” like Lilies, Sunflowers, Daisies, Chrysanthemums, Bamboo, or Irises.
6.Personal Property – If at all possible, men should refrain from touching, moving, or interferring with ones personal property. For example, you should never touch and move an unknown woman’s purse — even if it’s in your way. You should also steer clear of touching clothes, vehicles, equipment, or any personal items belonging to another.
The only exceptions are having to return lost or misplaced items to their rightful owners, or if an emergency calls for your intervention. More strict rules apply to home properties such as mailboxes. Not only is opening someone’s mailbox bad etiquette — it’s also illegal.
7.Shaving – Men don’t like to shave, but it’s a necessity in certain situations. When attending such events as weddings, formal gatherings, reunions, business meetings, job interviews, etc. – your face should be stubble free. If you’re venturing into an unfamiliar territory, it’s best to leave that shadowy look at home. The only exceptions here, are well-trimmed beards, moustaches, or goatees.
8.Coughing and Sneezing – You were probably told as a child: “Cover your mouth when you cough!”. This is still good practice, but you should go one step further.
If you have a handkerchief or some tissue nearby, try sneezing or coughing directly into it and when finished — throw it away. Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, whooping cough, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are spread through airborne germs, and germs on your hands. If no tissue is available, sneeze or cough into your sleeve. This helps keep germs out of the air and off of your hands.
9.Invitations – Believe it or not, there are a few occasions when you should never turn down an invite or request for attendance. Two such events are requests for funeral assistance and honoree events. If you’re asked to act as a pallbearer at a funeral, or if a banquet or dinner is being held in your honor — you should make every attempt to attend.
10.What To Wear – Knowing what to wear and when to wear it is important if you want to save your reputation. There is a difference in casual, business casual, and professional dress. In reality, it all depends on the event.
If attending a day wedding, school play, or luncheon – a button-down with slacks is the way to go. A formal wedding, class reunion, job interview, or business meeting all require a button-down, tie, and slacks. Jackets and/or blazers are necessary when presenting, facilitating formal meetings, or when in a place of recognition.
Shorts of any length and t-shirts should not be worn — even if an event is labeled as “casual”. The only obvious exceptions are outdoor events such as barbecues, pool parties, and family reunions.
There you go. Those are 10 great etiquette tips that should keep you from making a total fool out of yourself. Use at least five of them, and it’s likely that someone will label you as a “true gentleman”.
The Evolution of the Necktie
Have you ever wondered why men wear ties ? Did you ever ask yourself how this style trend evolved? After all, the necktie is purely a decorative accessory. It doesn’t keep us warm or dry, and certainly does not add comfort. Yet men all around the world, myself included, love wearing them. To help you understand the history and evolution of the necktie I decided to write this post.
Most sartorialists agree that the necktie originated in the 17th century, during the 30 year war in France. King Louis XIII hired Croatian mercenaries (see picture above) who wore a piece of cloth around their neck as part of their uniform. While these early neckties did serve a function (tying the top of their jackets that is), they also had quite a decorative effect – a look that King Louis was quite fond of. In fact, he liked it so much that he made these ties a mandatory accessory for Royal gatherings, and – to honor the Croatian soldiers – he gave this clothing piece the name “La Cravate” – the name for necktie in French to this day.
The early cravats of the 17th century have little resemblance to today’s necktie, yet it was a style that stayed popular throughout Europe for over 200 years. The tie as we know it today did not emerge until the 1920s but since then has undergone many (often subtle) changes. Because lots of change has happened to the design of the tie in the past century I decided to break this down by each decade:
The tie was a must-have clothing accessories for men in the first decade of the 20th century. Most common were Cravats which evolved from the early 17th century ties that were brought to France by the Croatians. What was different however, was how they were tied. Two decades earlier, the Four in Hand knot had been invented which was the only knot used for cravats. While other tie knots have been invented since, the Four in Hand is still one of the most popular tie knots today. The two other common neckwear styles popular at the time were bow ties (used for evening white tie attire), as well as ascots (required for formal day time dress in England).
The second decade of the 20th century saw a decline in formal cravats and ascots as men’s fashion became more casual which haberdashers putting a stronger emphasis on comfort, functionality, and fit. Towards the end of this decade neckties closely resemble the ties as we know them today.
The 1920s were an important decade for men’s ties. A NY tie maker by the name of Jessie Langsdorf invented a new way of cutting the fabric when constructing a tie, which allowed the tie to spring back into its original shape after each wearing. This invention triggered the creation of many new tie knots.
Neckties became the predominate choice for men as bow ties were reserved for formal evening and black tie functions. Furthermore, for the first time, repp-stripe and British regimental ties emerged.
During the Art Deco movement of the 1930s, neckties became wider and often displayed bold Art Deco patterns and designs. Men also wore their ties a bit shorter and commonly tied them with a Windsor knot – a tie knot that the Duke of Windsor invented during this time.
The early part of the 1940s didn’t offer any exciting change in the world of men’s ties – possibly an effect of WWII which had people worry about more important things than clothing and fashion. When WWII ended in 1945 however, a feeling of liberation became evident in design and fashion. Colors on ties became bold, patterns stood out, and one retailer by the name of Grover Chain Shirt Shop even created a necktie collection displaying sparsely dressed women.
When talking about ties, the 50s are most famous for the emergence of the skinny tie – a style designed to compliment the more form fitting and tailored clothes of the time. Additionally tie makers started experimenting with different materials.
Just as ties were put on a diet in the 50s, the 1960s went to the other extreme – creating some of the widest neckties ever. Ties as wide as 6 inches were not uncommon – a style that got the name “Kipper Tie”
The disco movement of the 1970s truly embraced the ultra wide “Kipper Tie”. But also worth noting is the creation of the Bolo Tie (aka Western Tie) which became Arizona’s official state neckwear in 1971.
The 1980s are certainly not known for great fashion. Instead of embracing a certain style, tie makers created any kind of neck-wear style during this period. Ultra-wide “Kipper Ties” were still present to some degree as was the re-emergence of the skinny tie which was often made from leather.
By 1990 the style Faux Pas of the 80s slowly faded away. Neckties became a bit more uniform in width (3.75-4 inches). Most popular were bold floral and paisley patterns – a style that has recently resurfaced as a popular print on modern ties today.
Compared the the decade before ties became a bit thinner at about 3.5-3.75 inches. European designers further shrunk the width and eventually the skinny tie re-emerged as a popular stylish accessory.
2010 – 2013
Today, ties are available in many widths, cuts, fabrics, and patterns. It is all about choice and allowing the modern man to express his own personal style. The standard width for ties is still in the 3.25-3.5 inch range, but to fill the gap to the skinny tie (1.5-2.5″), many designers now offer narrow ties that are about 2.75-3 inches wide. Besides the width, unique fabrics, weaves, and patterns emerged. Knitted ties became popular in 2011 and 2012 saw a strong trend of bold florals and paisleys – something that continued throughout 2013.
Bow Ties: A Wearer’s Guide
Bow Ties are back in styleThe bow tie is experiencing a long overdue Renaissance. For good reason, the world of bow ties offers a rich tapestry of different styles, textures, patterns and possibilities. It’s high time you start thinking about getting in on the ground floor.
Be excited, but don’t blindly forge ahead. Learn these bow tie basics first, so you make the fashionable choices that lead to bow tie brilliance from the start.
Display Your Bow Tie With Conviction
Even with their recent resurgence, bow ties all too often still get a bad rap. Nerdy, pretentious, unattractive, and fit only for children are all arguments the chorus of visionless bow tie detractors cite. In reality, these are painfully short-sighted views and convince far too many men to throw the bow tie out of their fashion toolbox or never include to begin with.
Sporting a bow tie requires confidence. By the same token, securing one firmly to your collar exhibits self-assurance and individuality. The man who wears a bow tie with pride is a man comfortable in his own skin.
Sure the bow tie might not be for someone who simply wants to blend in with the crowd. But there are moments in life when your outfit calls for a little extra panache. A well matched bow tie can deliver it in a pinch.
Bow Ties Are Accessible To The Fashion Novice Too
Wearing a bow tie does require confidence, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a fashion aficionado to pull it off. Too many men interested in bow ties shy away because they feel the tying process is too difficult.
Tying a bow tie is not for the faint of heart to be sure, but thankfully other options exist. Pre-tied band collar bow ties make the fashion’s regal splendor accessible to even the most inexperienced bow tie tenderfoot.
Bow Tie Styles
The first step towards being a bow tie aficionado is familiarizing yourself with the different styles out there. Here are three of the most celebrated options.
This is the classic bow tie you’re familiar with. It is the ideal choice for black-tie events but paired with a tweed jacket can also work well conveying a professorial look. The butterfly is a safe bow tie choice, but it can be spiced up with vibrant colors, unique fabrics and lively patterns.
The skinny is a narrower, less formal bow tie. Nonetheless, they’re suitable for occasions that call for dress attire. They look best on skinnier
men with longer facial profiles. The skinny’s “indie” vibe makes it an ideal pairing with a striped oxford shirt and suspenders. Skinnys posses a special something that creates a casual, but distinctively polished look.
The diamond tip is a good option when you want something a little different in your bow tie. The diamond tip can shine in a number of situations and in a number of solid colors or patterns depending on your personal taste.
Your Shirt Collar Matters
Your shirt collar is the bow tie’s home, and like any good residence, the bow tie you choose should feel comfortable there. Different collar styles work well with different types of bow tie.
A conventional straight collar should be your catch all choice, a modest but safe place for just about any style of bow tie to hang out. The more proper wing collar pairs strikingly with a classic black butterfly bow tie in formal wear situations.
But don’t box the bow tie in by only considering it suitable for tuxedos. The right bow tie can be the perfect stylish complement to a more casual outfit too. A patterned button-down collar shirt is a more casual option that teams well with the straight bow tie in particular.
Like any piece of clothing, be sure to choose colors and patterns that compliment the other pieces in your outfit.
Think About Time Of Day And Venue
Time of day, season and the event you’re attending should all play important factors in your search for the picture perfect bow tie to top off your attire.
Bow ties worn in casual daylight situations should utilize a more textured fabric than silk. Think flannel, madras, seersucker or wool. Wool and flannel are ideal fall and winter options. Seersucker and madras are most at home in spring and summer.
Patterns, like paisley, polka dots or stripes, are also appropriate in the light of day.
Under the cover of night is when more formal solid-colored silk bow ties should come into play. They’re the ideal bow tie for any dressy or black-tie event you attend.
Once you have these basic guidelines down, you’ll have more room to experiment and tweak the rules to your own fashion sense.
Happy bow tying!
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