Far more important than any fashion etiquette, is the fundamental code of honor, with strict observance of which no man, no matter how “polished”, a man can be considered a gentleman. The honor of a gentleman demands the inviolability of his word, and the incorruptibility of his principles; he is the descendant of the knight, the crusader; he is the defender of the defenseless, and the champion of justice–or he is not a gentleman.
Nowadays, nobody knows the real fundamentals of being a good gentleman, since childhood, I was taught what being a Gentleman was supposed to mean. I believed all men could be separated into three different categories:
- The Man who was still a child and has yet to grow-up into his responsibilities
- The Macho who used force and a false sense of masculinity to hide his insecurities while abusing others.
- The Real Man who took on his obligations with pride.
Keep in mind that for me at that time a “Real Man” was always a Good Man, and all Good Men were Gentleman. My grandfather had a crafted vintage hat made by the Italian house Canali, known worldwide for its tailored suits. I’ll always remember the smell of that hat, hanging in a coat rack, when he used to arrived at home, he always used to say, “manners are a reflection of proper attitude to life”.
While etiquette is a set of rules and information that can be taught to anyone, irrelevant of being a good person or not. As for being born to a “good family” and being well off as a determining factor to becoming a gentleman? Most of the gentlemen I have met in my lifetime come from rather humble beginnings and all hace more important pursuits in life than money.
A gentleman’s manners are an integral part of him and are the same whether in his dressing-room or in a ballroom, tailoring suits and coats in double-faced cashmere can help you to be distinguished among others.
As soon as you realize how your actions affect others, how you are accountable for the joys and pains you might inflict, the way you view how you act changes. You will think of others, and not just yourself, every time you do something. You will become more considerate and more responsible in your decisions. And when you do make mistakes, you actually are willing to accept them. Only after accepting your errors can you learns from them, something surprisingly are in this world of denial.
Simplicity is like it, in that it also has a quality of self-effacement, but it really means a love of the essential and directness. Simple people put no trimmings on their phrases, nor on their manners; but remember, simplicity is not crudeness nor anything like it. On the contrary, simplicity of speech and manners means language its purest, most limpid form, and manners of such perfection that they do not suggest “manner” at all.
Being a gentleman is not a permanent title but rather something you strive for every day, with every action, and every reaction.
Words by Chris Cruz
Photography: Collection A/W 2017 by Canali