I experienced a surge of emotions when I first saw this photo.  The Elegance of the gentleman  took my breath away!  So polished and tasteful!  Such finesse and refinement.  It forced me to stop, stare and think.

Elegance has become somewhat of an obsolete concept in the modern society.  Crude and rough behavior/actions are considered aggressive and are rewarded.  Alarmingly, aggressiveness is somehow a virtue in modern times!

People talk loud, dress loud, act loud.  For a slice of loudness, experiment going to a Starbucks at 6.00 a.m.  The energy is palpable.  The loud whirring of the fan is deafening (why one would need a fan in 60 degrees temperature is beyond my comprehension.)  The Baristas wired on caffeine are screaming long, incomprehensible drink orders; the patrons on their Blackberrys are trying to talk over the noisy din and of course the shrill whirring of the cappuccino machine adds to the madness.  Nope, there is nothing in this scene that is even close to being defined as a “coffee break!”

The expression “squeaky wheel gathers the most grease” is apt and appropriate in present times.  In a recent article I read, as per statistical data, the employees who spoke the loudest and were most boisterous got the maximum raises and least reprimands.  Yes, no place for a person with delicate, fine sensibilities in our society.  Dress loud, speak loud and in general live loud is the mantra!  Cult shows such as Jersey Shore and the Kardashians are a perfect example.

Vulgarity is sexy and roughness a turn-on!

The “casual” look has replaced the “formal” look.  Jeans and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable in most settings, even formal ones.

In the midst of such coarseness when one sees an elegant gentleman, regally perched on his bicycle is cooling for the eyes and senses.  It is a breath of fresh air.  It make you stop and stare, even if for a rushed moment.

Notice the attention to detail in his dressing-the peak-a-boo striped socks and shirt cuffs; the thin silhouette of the suit; the well-trimmed silver beard; the retro glasses perched on the bridge of his nose, the well-polished loafers; the suede elbow patches.  An absolute optical delight!

It is evident that he took time to get dressed.  There is attention to detail.  He takes pride in the small things.  He has dignity and grace.  He is polished and refined.  He is an Elegant Man. I am compelled to stop and stare at him.

  • You are SO right … about the loudness, aggressiveness and basic lack of courtesy all around.

    This gentleman is indeed a breath of fresh air, in fact I read your post and then spent a good minute just looking at him. He has such an old world charm and class to him.

    ♡ from ©

  • Agree. For me, what stands out about the man would the well-groomed ‘stache and beard, then secondly the stripes. In real life, I tend to be an observer, the quiet one in any crowd…and I am looking for others like myself. I always notice elegance and people who move with deliberation, slow grace.

    Methinks, we should start a movement.

  • Albert:

    This gentleman looks as if he doesn’t even need to speak! I agree, we should start a movement.

  • Bere:

    As usual, you are SO well-timed Ambu!! I have perceived the decline of Elegance too, not only lately but since maybe 10 years ago: instead of speaking, people scream; the neighbours don’t care if their party at 2:30 am on a weeknight is bothering us; my former students couldn’t be quiet for ten seconds – not even when you’re explaining something important which will be on their exam! I’ve seen teenage girls go out to have a street breakfast on Sunday mornings with their pijamas and slippers still on (!!!). It’s not only rude and vulgar, it is detrimenting because it shows that people no longer care, about anything, anymore. I commend you for paying attention to this gentleman and sharing your thoughts with us. Elegance is not only a matter of dress, but also of the attitude we have towards ourselves and to others.

  • Albert:

    Bere, I agree. Your anecdotes make me a little sad. But I think fashion can bring hope. Fashion is the art of living. So if people pay more attention to fashion, maybe they’ll pick some things about how to dress and behave.

  • Firstly, I adore this post, because I feel that much of society today has lost the polished way of dressing… some call it “old school.” I mean when we live in a day where an average schoolboy does not even know how to tie a tie? My goodness, as much as it’s humourous to know that exists, it’s deeply sad as well. This post reminds me why I initially went into menswear design at university for I had such a love and hunger to know more about apparel structure and the art of men’s dress. I find myself becoming more and more influenced by my parents, especially my father who, though is very tall and larger gentleman dresses so dapper and has taken time (through decades of living)to learn about his acquired quality items. There really is an artful elegance of dress, whether a person believes they think too much about it or not. The proof is in the pudding, so-to-speak!
    When I viewed this photo I immediately see his style for what it is, grace, elegance, striking. I don’t look at his age orwhat I’d assume his age would be, many people judge immediate, basing how you dress with how you loook for your age; i.e. a person saying, “that skirt is too short for her to wear at that age.” Why does it matter, if the person is comfortable & conifident?

    Superb photo, especially in addition to the stone colours on the ground… near perfection!

  • First of all I was thrilled to look on my google reader and see you have 2 posts up!!!!! Yay! I love your blog, you know this.

    Secondly, I adore this image. I think his elegance is really really palpable and the effort he puts into the details of his outfit is so tremendously beautiful. I love when people are articulating in ever single piece they wear. It totally inspires me.

    I am so sad that you read that bit about the workplace, but I can’t say I’m surprised. I often find that so many people talk a greeeeat talk but then they don’t do any work. Being intimidating and circumventing can really get you far and that’s super sad to me. But I have to say I really love that casual is way more acceptable. I don’t like to wear makeup and I like to be comfortable and easy so really this shift in culture really suits me.

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