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39 rules for the modern gentleman

 What makes a gentleman these days? While many traditional customs and traditions are still valid, others have long since become obsolete. The Starrymille blog presents 39 rules for the modern gentleman: all the important dress code and etiquette rules for business and dealing with women. Dos and don'ts.

Man in stylish suit

The rules for modern gentlemen

1. No brown after six

Even as a perfectly dressed man in a tailor-made suit, you have to justify yourself for your brown welted seams in front of sweatshirt wearers in health treads at evening receptions. The British of the upper class once put on evening suits for dinner, this is what the dictum refers to. From this it was deduced that after 6 p.m. one wears black shoes with a dark suit. Only applies to very formal occasions.

2. No brown in town

The analogous translation of this rule should be “no brown in business”, because the British tradition equates the city with business life. Seen in this way, this saying is a valid business dress code. On the other hand, you can forget about it in your leisure or smart-casual wardrobe.

3. Never combine two or more patterns

This is of course nonsense, you can wear a checked shirt and paisley tie with a striped suit without any problems. Provided that the designs are well coordinated. It is only important to note that the adjacent patterns differ in size and rhythm, i.e. small checks with large paisleys. If you have no sense for such fine-tuning, you should actually wear plain colors.

4. Man takes precedence when he enters the restaurant with a lady

The gentleman was supposed to be exploring the terrain as a one-man raid to find the safety allowance. In gourmet restaurants or chic bars, however, there is hardly any trouble and you probably don't go to lousy taverns with your sweetheart. Therefore, today you can confidently let the woman go first, especially since many would find anything else to be impolite.

5. No button down collar with a business suit

The button down shirt comes from the USA, around 1900 it was brought to market by the New York men's outfitter Brooks Brothers. From the beginning it was worn as an alternative to the stiff collar of the European tradition to the jacket suit and until today it has remained a US business classic. Unfortunately, this is not known to everyone in this country, so if you want to be on the safe side, it is better to choose a different collar with your suit.

6. The bottom button of the vest is left open

There is no objective reason for this, only two from history. 

  1. The knee-length vests of the 17th century were not buttoned up completely, otherwise they would have hindered walking. 
  2. The English King Edward VII, as Prince of Wales, is said to have once forgotten to close the last button of the waistcoat, which was then copied by all over the world.

7. Never cut potatoes with a knife

Obsolete, dates from the time when potato starch could tarnish silver blades.

8. Always knee socks

This applies without restriction to evening and business wear. A well-trained, tanned man's leg is not an unaesthetic sight, but it should not look out between the upper edge of the short sock and the lower edge of the trouser hem when sitting.

9. Never kiss the hand in the open air

Correct, anyone who wants to kiss a lady's hand should do so indoors. Important: The lips must not touch the hand.

10. Dinner jacket only on the high seas

Wrong, you also wear it on summer evening events in the open air.

11. The white bow with the tailcoat, the black one with the tuxedo

That's exactly how it is. Why? With tailcoats you can distinguish the guest from the service staff, because they always wear the black bow on the tailcoat.

12. Never smoke during the day

Correct, the tuxedo is an evening suit. As a result, it is not worn during the day for a wedding. In the USA you see it differently, there the tuxedo (the US expression for tuxedo) is the standard dress for the wedding.

13. Get up when a lady enters the room

Should still be done. However, within a reasonable range. So please don't jump up like a devil when a complete stranger enters the restaurant.

14. No Sports

Popular pretext for lazy sacks, it has nothing to do with gentlemen. Winston Churchill, who is credited with this dictum, has ridden over seventy fox hunts. So he couldn't have been completely unfit.

15. Never take off your jacket at the table

It may seem old-fashioned, but it's still popular in better restaurants. Although today there are various outfits with which one is well dressed even without a jacket. But if you wear it, please stick with it.

16. Enjoy and be silent

This is exactly how the gentleman does it. Discretion is the top priority when dealing with women.

17. Shoes always have a glossy finish

This requirement comes from the times when the fine gentleman had his shoes cleaned, but people with a tight schedule often lack the desire for the polishing aria. Suede shoes come to the rescue, because the maintenance effort is minimal.

18. Toast with sparkling wine only

Was valid in the past, is now out of date.

19. Always wear double-breasted suits buttoned up while standing

The Italians don't see this point that closely, but they also love not to button the collar tips of their button-down shirts. Ultimately, it is a question of how the double-breasted is processed. With a tailor-made design, the front parts do not stick out, but nestle against the body without buttons, only with cheap suits they stand up like barn doors.

20. Only Windsor knots for the shark collar

That's nonsense, the slimmer four-in-hand knot also looks good in the wide opening of a shark or cutaway collar. The Duke of Windsor, after whom the double, V-shaped knot was named, probably thought that too. Photographs show that he himself preferred the simple loop.

21. Loop always self-tied

No style-conscious person would pin a pre-tied tie on their shirt collar, but most people find it normal when it comes to bow ties. The pre-tied variant is not stylish here either. Why? Prefab is unimaginative, in the kitchen as in the cloakroom. And tying a bow is just as easy to learn as tying shoelaces.

22. Always carry the umbrella rolled up

Apart from the fact that the modern gentleman rarely carries an umbrella with him, this rule is obsolete. Unless you are an English soldier in civilian clothes, where only the tightly rolled thunderstorm gun is comme il faut.

23. No leather stains on the sleeves of new tweed jackets

Right. Would you put a plaster on your skin even if you weren't injured at all?

24. Punctuality is the courtesy of kings

If you arrive late, you waste other people's time. So at least call or send a text message when you're stuck in a traffic jam. By the way, worse than showing up after the time is premature arrival.

25. Only touch wine glasses by the stems

Right, because that's what it's there for. With white and sparkling wine, it should prevent the cool drop from getting warm in the hand. In addition, fingerprints on fine glass do not look particularly appetizing.

26. Have the butler register tweed suits and bespoke shoes

It's hard to say whether this was really common in the past. There are some corresponding anecdotes, but they contradict the idea of made-to-measure clothing. People who could afford a butler wore clothes made especially for them. And it fits right from the start.

27. Never leave the buttons on the jacket sleeves open

The British are considered boastful if left open to indicate the suit's provenance. Italian men are more relaxed about it, they use the open sleeve slit as a stylistic device. Conclusion: everyone as he likes.

28. Stripes on the tie only from your own club or regiment

Originally, all stripe designs could be assigned to a club, regiment, college or boarding school, today the color combinations on the binder are purely fashionable. So choose as you like.

29. You no longer wish to enjoy your meal

That is the unanimous opinion of the etiquette experts. That may be true in upper-class circles, but for most other people it would be impolite to start without a word. So handle it one way or another depending on the environment.

30. Always turn up with double-breasted trousers

Not a must, at least there is no objective reason for it.

31. Never put the milk in the teacup first, always the other way around

With the British it is considered particularly nice to pour the tea first. E.g. the waiter when he serves you afternoon tea in the London luxury hotel Claridge’s. The so-called “little people” supposedly prefer the more practical method of putting the milk in the cup first.

32. Never walk behind a lady on the stairs

The background to the rule was that you shouldn't stare at a woman's legs and bottom while walking behind. On the other hand, it can be meant to be caring when the gentleman stays behind securely on a narrow staircase. If in doubt, it is better to go side by side.

33. In the evening, wear a white shirt with a suit

Right. The light blue business shirt, monochrome or striped, is not considered fine enough for the evening. At a time when many men prefer to wear T-shirts in their evening free time, this rule may seem absurd, but the gentleman takes it to heart.

34. The tailor-made suit worn by the father or grandfather is the most stylish

Typical English snob idea. Conversely, men in tailor-made suits they have bought themselves are upstarts. One may well ask what should be stylish about a made-to-measure suit that is hardly likely to fit properly.

35. Take off your hat when entering a house

This is what the hat etiquette wants. Public buildings such as B. For practical reasons, train stations are not considered a house, after all it would be extremely annoying if you had to hold your hat in your hand in addition to your suitcase. Hats are also not removed in elevators, here for reasons of space.

36. No jewelry

This rule only applies to jewelry that does not fit into the traditional image, i.e. earrings, bangles, wrist chains, visible necklaces, piercings and brilliants in the flight of the nose. On the other hand, seal and coat of arms rings, the wedding ring and a single jewelry ring are allowed. Otherwise, the gentleman can only adorn himself with cufflinks and a watch.

37. Always wax jacket when it rains

There have long been better methods of making textiles rainproof, but the waxed jacket still enjoys cult status among traditionalists. The modern gentleman, however, has no problems with a synthetic raincoat and functional materials have priority in sports anyway.

38. Worn collars and cuffs on shirts are a sign of style

This only applies in England and in aristocratic circles (see also No. 34), where worn out is considered a patina and an indication of old money. Otherwise you just look neglected with a shabby shirt.

39. The gentleman must love horses and dogs

Humbug, after all, we don't live in England in the twenties anymore. With the British, however, it is still considered good form to be able to ride horses and keep dogs.

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