I need to talk about a trend that’s been taking over Instagram and other social media lately. Ok, so it’s not that recent, but it’s starting to get out of hand; this idea of being a “gent”. I’m sure you’ve seen these posts. They usually involve four or five guys wearing impeccably tailored suits with exceptionally bold patterns, double monk-strap shoes, an inordinate number of accessories, and any other number of eccentric, stylish amenities.
Look, I get it. I am all in when it comes to pushing your own personal style outside of its comfort zone. I’m also in favor of suits over sweatpants. But this isn’t realistic. I’m sure right now, there are plenty of stylish men dressed this way (probably at a cafe in Milan). This isn’t normal, appropriate, or achievable for most of our everyday lives. I try not to be too critical on this blog. Who am I to judge someone else’s style? But I need to speak out in favor of being a gentleman over being a gent.
A gentleman dresses appropriately.
Double breasted, flashy suits and high-profile shoes aren’t always the right choice. Sometimes, say Sunday brunch with the family, chinos and a blazer are perfect. Other times, tailgating, for example, all you need is jeans and a sweatshirt. The men in these pictures look great, but I worry that most guys will feel pressured to dress like this all the time.
A gentleman makes others shine, not himself.
The purpose of the clothes involved in a “gent” style are to draw attention to the wearer. I don’t have an issue with a little flash every now and then. I have those pieces in my wardrobe that are designed to yell, “Look at me!” But the opportunities I take to wear them are rare. The more I wear them, the less effective they are. Additionally, for those who have a significant other, I have another thought. I think letting them shine, instead of focusing on yourself, is the true expression of a gentleman.
Gents set unrealistic expectations for most men.
For me, and most people, this is not an affordable lifestyle. BELIEVE ME, if I could buy all the clothes I wanted to, I would! But I have bills, groceries, college funds, and a whole host of things that need my financial attention. My fear would be someone who felt so pressured to live up to some unattainable lifestyle that they ignored the real things that made them men: responsibility, prudence, patience, etc.
My purpose with this piece is not to bash some lifestyle that differs from mine. I just want to offer a word of warning. These images, social media posts, whatever, are moments in time, not ongoing. Don’t try to translate them to every aspect of your life, because you will fail. And in failing, you will ignore the much more important characteristics that already make you a true gentlemen.