I received a compliment last night. In a public lecture I was referred to as the most sartorially elegant Methodist in Britain. I wasn’t mentioned by name but everyone sitting around me looked pointedly at me at that point.
It’s a lovely compliment but, like many compliments, isn’t of course true. I can think of several more worthy recipients of that accolade.
What is interesting to me is that the person who made that statement does not appear to be particularly interested in matters sartorial. In that same lecture he made the following throwaway comment: ‘The last time I was able to afford a tailored suit was in the 1970s. But that was before I discovered that fine gentlemen’s tailors, Oxfam.’
So this is not a man who appears especially interested in his own clothing, but has not failed to notice another’s. He is not alone. I have a couple of colleagues who would happily state that they have no interest in clothes. Those who know them well would concur. Nonetheless, each has with some regularity made positive comments about my wardrobe.
The day following the public comments a number of male colleagues sidled up to me to indicate that they agreed with the comments made about my wardrobe. Some were stylish men. That they should notice my wardrobe is unsurprising. More surprising were those among whom a gentleman’s wardrobe is apparently low in their list of priorities. I was a little surprised that they paid any attention. So what’s going on here?
It suggests that even among men who pay little attention to their own wardrobe are not oblivious to a well-dressed gentleman. I guess you don’t have to be a petrol head to notice and appreciate a Ferrari or a lothario to notice a beautiful woman.
So it is, I guess, that even among those men who expend little time or energy on their own style are not impervious to the intrigue of a well dressed man.