I've been enjoying the gentleman lifestyle for a few years now. Through reading, experimenting, trial and error, I've refined my taste in music, art and my overall outlook on life. Throughout this process I've taken in consideration the way I present myself to the outside world. Choosing to "dress up" as some have remarked.
Though my appearance is generally well-received and often complimented from the ladies, I am sometimes the punchline of playful teasing. Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Diddy's one time assistant Fonzworth Bentley are often the comparisons I get. Words cannot describe how much I loathe this comparison. Not only are there personalities repulsive but we share little in common other than being young, black and dressed up. What's a gent to do?
Great question Mr. Johnson. There was once a point in time when wearing a cardigan, loafers, tailored trousers and some designer frames would instantly garner comparisons to Mr. Rogers or a professor at a community college. Fortunately for us, those days are gone but not everyone has got the notice.
A quick look at any NBA post-game interview is the biggest sign of the times. Players like LeBron James, Amare Stoudemaire, DeWayne Wade and Dwight Howard can all be seen rocking the latest in geek chic.
What was once synonymous with Carlton Banks is now suddenly en vogue with millionaire basketball players and downtown trend chasers alike.
Don't believe me? Check out this piece on the sports blog Grantland on the Rise of the NBA Nerd
Athletes and hipsters aside, if the image or style you've created for yourself is genuine, who cares if the guys still sporting oversized tees and sagging pants have something to say. As you climb tax brackets, they'll be left to their wise cracks. Who really gets the last laugh?
If you're merely playing dress-up because you think that's what a gentleman is about you're as far off base as your tormentors. Being a gentleman isn't about what you consume or adorn yourself in but how you go about navigating this crazy world with poise, grace and swagger.
Being authentic to yourself is what the lifestyle is all about. If you've taken the time to actually consider how you look to the outside world, you've got a head start on 90% of the male population. Dressing the part is key, but you must also embody the lifestyle, it can't be purchased or faked.
So wear what you want. Nothing is sweeter than being introduced to the girlfriend of the guy who just cracked a joke on your clothes and having her compliment you, then asking you to give her boyfriend a few pointers.
If you have questions for next weeks Q&A Thursday send them to @GentLife on Twitter or email GentLifeMail@Gmail.com
foregoing the David Stern approved "Suit and Tie" rule for an edgier and dare I say geek chic look.