Sunday, January 22, 2012

I held my tongue.

The subject of style keeps cropping up in my life recently, in everything from cycling to our wedding. I have a few thoughts I would like to write down on the matter.
For me style is not just about looking good but more about the attitude and appearance an individual has almost without choice. In simple terms;
Your 'style' is who you are when no-one is looking.
Being stylish is a compliment but an almost unachievable goal to those who chase it. When it comes to clothing it's very easy to make a fool of yourself by trying to be something you're not in an effort to impress.
I had my first suit fitting earlier in the week for what I will wear on my wedding day. The only other time I have been measured for something was my Bob Jackson, so I was interested how a tailor would differ to a frame builder. As it turns out they are more similar than first thought, my point of view is I want to trust that this person knows his craft, so while I have an outline of what I want I'm prepared to be guided to the best outcome. This worked perfectly with the bike and I have a feeling it will for the suit too. By allowing the 'crafsman' to be in charge they do it their way rather than fitting their way to your demands - the simple way to get what you want is to choose the maker who produces the goods you like the best. No point going to Mercian and asking for a Brian Rourke or going Saville Row and wanting mass-production.
It's not a case of high quality or brand names being the best either. The phrase "fit for purpose" rings true - you shouldn't get married in a hoody or wear the 'Sunday Best' for washing up.
If style is being yourself then this also raises the problem of punching above your weight. This one is more obvious in material possessions rather than clothing. The ill-advised sports car or the bike scared to be ridden in case it get's dirty or scratched. In my circle of friends we all do (and always have liked) to have 'nice' things and it's good to have people around you who share similar ideals. But most important of all is to have folks near at hand to remind you of who you really are, mostly this is done by friendly ribbing. If this banter has no ill effect and the decision was quick and felt right - it's usually right, fitting as it were.
I experienced this first hand a couple of times this week. Once when I opened the box revealing my new 'disco slippers' aka cycling shoes and then later the same day when guiding a customer through speccing his custom build on one of our Condor touring bikes. In the latter, I was the playing the trusted expert who was being allowed to do his job to provide the best possible service, while the customer added the personal touches to make it exactly like he had imagined. We both walked away happy.