Every Swell Man Should Learn…

I read a blog post recently on The Art of Manliness called “What the Young Man Should Know” from Harper’s weekly. It was a great article from the 30s that was a list of skills or tasks that the author believed every young man should learn. It included a few A few items that are still important today, and a few that are no longer necessary (keeping a horse), practical (chopping wood), or advisable (hitch hiking), but it is a great list none the less. I thought for all of you swell readers I would update it for the modern man. I have compiled a list of skills that every swell guy should learn in their lifetime.

I think that this post may spawn a loose series of small posts about how to carry out these tasks; after all I can hardly give you a list without telling you how to accomplish it. So look for some of these items coming up in the category ESMSL, so on that note let’s begin.

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Vote

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This will be a short post, it is sort of a public service announcement from How to be Swell. I will not be endorsing any candidate (although some of you know my party affiliation). No, I am going to urge all of you to go out and cast your ballot.

If you are a reader fortunate enough to be living in these great United States then not only is it your right, but responsibility to be a part of the political process and vote regardless of who you support. Many battles were fought to secure that right so tomorrow morning make your way to the ballot box because that is an exercise in being swell.

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Garden and gun

A friend turned me on to this publication some time ago. He came over for a dinner party at my house and said “I know you will appreciate this, talk about being swell, well this is it it’s all in here.” Well he was right I was all in… Well once I got past the title that is. I am speaking of Garden & Gun, for those of you in the know, I don’t need to tell you how great this magazine is Garden and Gun really is about all things swell, specifically in the south. Continue reading

William Jones and his Swell Motivation

There are a number of places to learn about how to be swell. If you look around the walls of your dentist’s office you might see one attempt that has been made. I am sure many of you are familiar with the obligatory motivational posters that became popular in the late nineties starting with “success” printed below all sorts of thematic pictures. Even Barney Stinson has dipped his toe into proverbial the motivational poster pool. The motivational posters that we are all familiar with are symbolized by the Sharper Image Store staple, the Sucessories.  They are usually the butt of the office joke, but back in your grandfather’s day, they revered as sound advice.And some of these original posters are now considered art. Continue reading

The Martini

Shaken, not stirred.

Every man worth his salt knows this line and who to attribute it to. In honor of his upcoming movie I thought we should talk about Bond’s drink of choice, the Martini (as you may already know I have a fascination with all things Bond).

The Martini is traditionally a gin cocktail flavored with vermouth, and occasionally garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Since its inception, the Martini has become one of the most commonly known mixed beverages. If you prefer cocktail onion instead of an olive in your Martini, you would order a Gibson. Others skip the gin all together and opt for vodka instead, thus creating the Vodka Martini. The Martini has been called”the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet “and “the elixir of quietude”. Winston Churchill was said to whisper the word ‘Vermouth’ to a freshly poured glass of gin. Dorothy Parker expressed her opinion: “I like to have a martini/two at the very most. /Three, I’m under the table. /Four, I’m under my host”.

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Frederick Douglass on Being Swell

Frederick Douglass portraitFrederick Douglass was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. He had a lot to say about the world around him, as well as the people occupying it. Drastic changes were happening in society and culture in his day which helped to thrust him into the role of a great leader. After escaping from slavery, he became a driving force of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and anti-slavery writing. I am going to share with you some of Frederick Douglass’ wit and wisdom on being a man and ultimately being swell. Continue reading

The Proper Care and Feeding of your Summer Style

After writing on mens swim wear, I decided to continue the trend of helping men look swell in summer wear. When it is warm us guys want to be comfortable, and we sometimes have limited options depending on the occasion, so here is a guide to help – The care and feeding of your summer style.

Shorts:

There arent many items in a man’s wardrobe that elicit as much debate as shorts do.I am going to give you some help on wearing them. Shorts are a modern addition to a man’s wardrobe and thus are still finding acceptance.  Although common everywhere in North America, they are not common in many other parts of the world,even where its hot.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries there were many English words for shortened men’s pants. “Knickerbockers” were baggy pants that gathered below the knee, shorter, tighter-fitting trousers that ended at the knee were “knee pants”, and “short pants” sometimes meant knee-pants and sometimes meant shorter garments still. Outside of swimming trunks or boxer shorts most varieties were considered clothing for boys, both unofficially and as part of many school uniforms. Grown men didn’t start wearing shorts beyond a few extremely hot climates around the globe until after World War II.  Soldiers stationed in the tropics were issued short trousers both for comfort and to ration cloth, and this caught on when they came home. Continue reading

The Swell Guide to Getting Tattooed

Body ink and adornment has always been a part of culture, every culture. Around the world people tattoo their bodies in various ways with a myriad of images. Sometimes it is for mere adornment; sometimes it has a deep spiritual meaning, or a mark of class or status. In popular culture the draw of inking oneself has ebbed and flowed over time, but in the last several years has experienced a renaissance. There are so many resources for tattooing, every city of size has hundreds of tattoo parlors, there are huge tattoo conventions, and at least 20 television shows, including a half a dozen spin-offs of Miami ink.

With the huge popularity of tattoos thought it was fine time for a guide on how to do it swell. I am a fan of tattoos of nearly all types, and when done well by an artist with an important meaning, they can be very cool. That being said here are some guidelines for you, if you’re getting a tattoo, to be sure that it looks swell.

My Sun representing my Sons

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The Effortless Gent

 Here is another swell blog for you to read. The Effortless Gent . The Effortless Gent is a site “dedicated to helping dudes figure out what looks best on them”. It was founded and run by a guy named Barron Cuadro, who also co-founded Fifth&Brannan, a menswear label based in San Francisco. EG is a fantastic analog of How to Be Swell, their forum is for men, and their personal style, whatever style that may be. They promote classic looks and themes, pieces that are timeless that will keep the women interested year after year. Most importantly the site is full of good advice on what to buy that is good quality on a fair budget. They lay out every thing in a simple tasteful manner helping men look like gents effortlessly, so check it out because to me the Effortless Gent is very swell.

Barron Cuadro