Over the next few days, I thought I’d feature a few books and unusual gifts for Fathers’ Day, in case you’re stuck for ideas. I think our men’s book week should start at the highest level of refinement, with Debrett’s The English Gentleman Series - a wonderful vintage boxed set of whimsical etiquette books by the late Douglas Sutherland.
The three slim volumes are written especially for men wishing to clarify the quirky eccentricities of the English gent and confirm their place amongst the English upper classes. The books are full of useful tips and advice for aspiring gentlemen too, for instance:
“A gentleman always has well polished shoes, which are handmade and last a lifetime. They are polished with ox-blood, which is a similar eccentricity to washing his riding breeches in urine.”
Apparently, no gentleman ever has a garment called a ‘sport’s jacket’, nor a blazer with a badge on the pocket (Rod Stewart, be warned), except at events like Henley, where old rowing blazers are worn.
A gentleman also carries the minimum of accessories, “Those who go around with what is know as the Cartier set – gold lighters, gold cigarette cases, watches with crocodile straps and so on are put down as bookmakers or confidence tricksters.”
I’m sure there must also be some comments on the wearing of cravats, beards and knitwear under jackets…
And I wonder what Sutherland would have made of the curious new trend of brooches for men?
The English gentleman’s mistress is the subject of one of the volumes, which should bring a smile to Dad’s face. Sutherland asks if the demise of the English gentleman means that his mistress must also be “swept away in the avalanche” of change.
Another book in the set is devoted to the gentleman’s long-suffering wife and broaches tricky topics like divorce and unmarried ladies – though stands firmly on the side of tradition and the preservation of the classic, old-fashioned English gentleman, of course.
All said and done, this curiously characterful and informative book set from ShopCurious is perfect, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced, fun Fathers’ Day present for someone with the most important prerequisite of any gentleman - a jolly good sense of humour.
Curiculum Vitae Jeffry Zebua
7 months ago