Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

A matter of style

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cary-grant-style-icon-sitting-in-tux-tuxedo-crossleggedAnd so it turns out I am not enough of a gentleman.
Or something.
I just tried – and failed – for a post as content writer for a male fashion magazine. They needed someone savvy in the ways of an elegant gentleman and I said to myself, what the heck, if it’s a paying gig, elegant gentleman is my second name. Davide elegant gentleman Mana.
So I contacted them, got through the first selection, and then submitted a 300-words sample of my writing on a fashion-related subject, with a reference to Italian style.

I wrote a 300-words piece about the silk tie I pilfered from my father’s wardrobe when I left Turin to go study and work in the UK, and how a no-class university student can borrow a quantum of style from his elegant, classy dad.
But apparently it was not good enough.
Pity – the pay was good and it’s always interesting to try and write in a very different field. It’s good exercise, and a way to broaden one’s horizons.

50aad8e9681d069f8dd8659ff5a3cbc5--michael-cain-michael-okeefeAs for being an elegant gentleman, I must admit I always preferred Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer to Sean Connery’s James Bond, and my idea of a classy gent is someone that wears comfortable clothes and can improvise an omelet to impress a lady1. Caviar, champers and monkey suits are not my style.
So probably the magazine did the right thing – and it was a good thing for me, too: it’s hard going, pretending to be what you are not when you write.
Had they been looking for a research powerhouse, or for a writer that can fake anything given time and motivation, I would have been the man for the job. But an Italian style gentleman writing about Italian style elegance?
That’s not me.
Tweed, corduroy, knit sweaters, jeans, running shoes, newsboy caps and cheap marketplace fedoras, fingerless knit gloves, that’s more what I’m about. I figure I’m more at ease reading The Art of Manliness than I am reading The Rake.
Or even better, I find both websites funny, but I prefer the first.

PURPLE-TRIANGLIES-ITALIAN-SILK-TIE_mediumBut anyway, should you guys out there need to buy a silk tie, here’s what I learned by pilfering my father’s 25 years ago: caress your tie. The best silk sticks slightly to the fingertips, like it’s electric. Check that it’s long and heavy, and go for a small pattern and an unusual color.


  1. that’s incidentally one of the reasons I taught myself to cook back when I was in high school. 
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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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