“You can’t handle the truth!”
Right up there with “Hasta la vista, baby,” that has to be one of the most memorable movie lines from the 1990s. Even if you never saw the movie A Few Good Men, I’d be willing to bet most people know which actor said it. I’ve always found humanity’s relationship with the truth a fascinating one. American author and newspaperman H.L. Mencken made remarks on numerous occasions that mankind did not like the truth – at a most instinctual level. The sentiment is not lost on me, but I might refine the thought a little further and say that we humans do not like anything that collides with our established way of thinking; whether it is truth banging up against our falsehoods, falsehoods slapping our truths, or just a new dose of silly notions altogether is unimportant; we like to feel as if we know what we are doing and become uneasy when the boat starts to rock a bit.
Jackie Gleason once remarked on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, “I’m not advocating that everybody should drink. It just worked for me.” Much the same could be said about what I am trying to do with this blog series. I’m not advocating that classic style is for everyone. It works for me, and I am hoping to awaken a, perhaps, dormant appreciation others may have for it, as well. Classic style in its purest form is merely clothing well proportioned to our bodies. If we use that as our base, we can add our personal style by how we choose to wear and accessorize our clothing. Like the leaves on a tree, if your clothes are well suited to your body, they are going to look right on you always. That is what makes classic style timeless. But classic style is not the established norm in general dress anymore. Like I said in an earlier post, most view classic style as “dressing up” today. In other words, dressing in a classic, but not old-fashioned or out-of-date, manner may be butting up against some established ideas about dress in your head, or, horror of horrors, the ideas others might have about how you should dress. All I can say to that is that you should give classic style more of an everyday chance in your life if you are at all interested in it. You will be surprised how many people truly appreciate seeing a well-dressed man and how dressing well can inspire confidence in others areas of your life.
I chose A Few Good Men to go along with my comments in this post because I not only find it to be a great movie, but it also showcases the origins of classic style – the military uniform. I have long thought that the military has acted like a sort of finishing school on us ol’ lads. Left to our own devises… well, we know what we tend to do. Sometimes a little bit of external structure and discipline can be beneficial for us. Whether the military life agrees with someone ultimately or not, anyone who has experienced it is bound to have learned a few skills that can be useful in other areas of life – including the power of personal presentation. Remember, you have to have a uniform to have the appeal of a man in uniform. Short of seeking out your nearest navy recruiter, give the uniform’s less structured and more versatile sibling a try – classic style.