It often seems to me that elegance is all but dead. An associate of mine recently wanted advice on what tie he should wear to a wedding. I suggested a few, but he dismissed them as being too boring. He wanted something that would make him stand out. I asked him if he didn’t think the other ones were more elegant. “Well, yes, they’re more elegant, but I want something interesting,” he said. That’s what most men seem to want these days – to look interesting, even if it’s at the sake of elegance.
Of course, there are some men who are interested in elegance (and being elegant), but many of them come off as contrived. The only truly elegant men I’ve met have all been over the age of 50, and I never got the sense that they “studied” it. There’s one of the managers of De Corato, some tailors I know in Italy, and one gentleman I met a few years back in Oakland. To be sure, they were all impeccably dressed, but their elegance was more defined by the way they carried themselves, their way of speaking, and the things they seemed to know so well. Perhaps it just takes decades before a man gets that kind of confidence and wisdom.
La Vera Sartoria Neapoletana’s Facebook page has a photo album titled “Elegance is Passion.” In it, there are photos of wonderfully elegant men such as Vittorio de Sica, Cary Grant, and Gary Cooper. I don’t think it ever works out for the best when men try to copy these figures. I do think, however, that they should serve to inspire. Elegance is worth striving for.