It's easy to believe that being a true gentleman has fallen out of favour but all is not lost my friends. There are a few fine men who land between the overtly suave metrosexual that pushes past you at the cosmetics counter and the rough brute ahead of you who lets the door swing back in your face without a flinch. These gents have taken up the task of bringing manliness back into fashion. One of these modern bastions of righteous behaviour is known as Vir Beatum, the dapper fellow at the helm of Being Manly. Pondering daily on life, style and worldly pursuits, the historian and blogger was kind enough to spend a few moments with us, shedding light on his own personal take on the art of 'being manly'.
How do you describe your personal style...Englishman abroad. I was once accused of being ‘prep’, but a duel sorted that out.
Style Icon(s)...Lord Sebastian Flyte, or, on a bad day, Charles Ryder.
Modern day style crush...Timothy Everest.
Go-to outfit...Grey flannel suit, brown Oxfords.
Accessory you can’t live without...Black gentleman’s umbrella.
Current weekend uniform...Linen boating blazer and slacks.
Signature scent...Dior Intense.
Most coveted item in your wardrobe...Shoes get the most attention, mainly because people see a good pair so infrequently. I have a pair of Gruppo Forall brown Derby shoes that are just the ticket.
Must-have grooming essential...A traditional safety razor and badger-hair shaving brush. Ritual is everything.
Best style/grooming advice you have ever heard...Tricky one; there are so many. Real men wear pink, perhaps? That’s not too practical though. Tailor off-the-peg clothes so that they fit. It’s the best way to make mid-range look top shelf.
You can never have too many...Pairs of outrageous socks. But one pair of novelty socks is too many.
Style “Don’t”/Pet Peeve...I had not realised until I addressed this that I have so many pet peeves. It’s probably unhealthy. At random: men who fasten all of the buttons on their suit jackets.
Favourite style era...1930s.
Trend you could do without...I could pretty much do without trends altogether.
What will never go out of style...The gentleman.
East coast or West coast...East, I suppose. I’m a recovering Bostonian.
Currently obsessed with...I’m a temperate man, so I’d hope to check an obsession. But I’m perennially fond of P.G. Wodehouse.
Favorite night out...Cocktails at Café Einstein, before the Philharmoniker in Berlin.
Favorite city/vacation destination...Montreal.
Favorite sites...NYC skyline; St. Pancras station, London; Unter den Linden, Berlin; Harvard Yard.
Favorite film...Annie Hall
Favorite quote...‘The procrastinator is always wrestling with ruin’. Hesiod, Works and Days.
Always searching for the perfect...That would describe me quite well.
Greatest extravagance hanging in your closet/wardrobe...A certain pair of plaid trousers.
Never leave home without...A handkerchief. Or two.
Signature cocktail...Classic gin martini. Before offering me vodka, please consult with the man who called me ‘prep’.
Currently reading...Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters; Gustave Flaubert, L’Education sentimentale; Donna Tartt, The Secret History.
Ultimate luxury splurge...I’ve coveted a Rickenbacker 330 for at least the last fifteen years. That’s a guitar, by the way.
Never travel without...My wife, if I can help it.
Dream dinner guest... Living: Stephen Fry; Dead: Thucydides.
What inspires you...That which endures.
Hobby/pastime you could not live without... Anything one cannot live without must be far more important than a ‘hobby’. To that end, I could not live without playing an acoustic guitar.
It wouldn’t be ‘my’ party without... My friends.
Life would be grand if I could start every day.....On time.
If I could bring back one thing it would be....The wearing of hats – proper hats. The male head used to be an elegant place, but the modern bonnet tends only to cheapen it.
Stranded on a desert island, what 5 things could you not live without...A guitar; pen, ink and paper (I’m counting that as one); Test Match Special (BBC cricket coverage); an umbrella; bug spray.
Why Don’t You....: Polish your shoes. People will think more highly of you, but they won’t be able to put their finger on why.