If it’s good enough for King Charles, is it good enough for me?

If it’s good enough for King Charles, is it good enough for me?

Q. A while back you wrote in answer to a reader’s question that you do not approve of a man’s wearing a pinkie ring. And yet, the new King Charles wears a pinky ring. So do many other British gentlemen that I have noticed in British programming. What say you? Hopefully they are not gangsters.

A. There are always exceptions. And there are people who are exempt from most of the rules… and by exempt, I mean they get away with them, even if they still are technically not considered “right.”

Sometimes this is because there is an element of their position, their fame/reputation, or other features; sometimes it’s just because power has its privilege. Certainly it is more reasonable for Scots to wear kilts; Tom Wolfe could wear white out of season; and I can imagine that a snakeskin company president wearing boots, belt, and more would not be questioned. The CEO of a company, as the boss, can get away with breaking the rules that most of the rest of us should not ignore. This would further extend to royals’ not just having a history of wearing certain jewelry that few others would consider, but actually using signets for imprinting on wax on critical documents. All of that said, even King Charles has critics who point out that the ring should be on another finger.

As I made clear my opinion in my first response to whether or not pinky (American spelling) rings are appropriate, in my opinion, and for most men, they come under the heading of “undesirable embellishments.” I strongly believe that, because pinky rings attract attention in the wrong way, they should be avoided. Perhaps your question even re-enforces that; wearing such a ring seems to be pretentious or pretending, when only royals can get away with it.

Well-dressed men want to emphasize what looks good on them both in business and in social situations. When a man writes for advice or to comment on my advice, he is usually interested in what the average traditional dresser should wear. What kind of attention does he want? Remember, do not confuse what is distinctive with what is just bad taste.

Here is my list of things to avoid — ones that most who are knowing and observant will react negatively to. Take them or leave them. Your list certainly may be different from mine; it’s up to you.

  • Both pointy-toed and square-toed shoes (stay with traditional round-toe styles)
  • Fraternity pins (and the like, such as political pins)
  • Hair pieces (if you have to wear one, get a good one)
  • Loud-patterned shirts (aloha shirts are acceptable exceptions)
  • Trousers that are too tight, too short, or too long
  • Large belt buckles
  • Gold chains
  • Bracelets
  • All attention-grabbing, oversized, and glittery men’s jewelry
  • Wearing a T-shirt when something dressier is called for.

A few that others, particularly younger critics, would not necessarily oppose include:

  • Men’s earrings
  • Goatees and other oddball facial hair
  • “Man Buns”
  • Untucked dress shirts in professional settings
  • Wearing colors that clash.

In other words, keep it tasteful and simple.

Please send your men’s dress and grooming questions and comments to MALE CALL: Lois.Fenton@prodigy.net

Categories: Male Call