Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Gifts for the gentleman father

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.

Are you?


Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

Brooches for men?
Why not! Admire men who isn't intimidated by fab style...

worm said...

they're right about the shoes - you're not a man until you have a really decent pair of shoes

(not sure about the ox blood though!)

Ezgi said...

Today I found the english gentleman series among dusty secondhand books in a charity shop located in a remote little town of Turkey! It was hard to miss with its beautiful vintage box and design! I knew it would make my day while turning the pages quickly. I rushed home to find out about the writer and the books, here I am! I came across your blog and loved the fact that we have totally different reasons, ways and places of buying the same book :)

Susan said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Ezgi - and for being Shop Curious! It's lovely to hear from you - and remarkable that you found a copy of this charming little treasure in Turkey! x

Ezgi said...

it's amazing how internet can bring people together, thank you for sharing your ideas with the whole world :) I live in a town called Fethiye and there are lots of British people living in here. They brought British touch to our little town and founded a charity called FIG. One of their activities is to sell second hand books and clothes and use the income for the poor. These little shops enabled us to discover lots of different writers and ideas.. and obviously connect with bloggers worldwide :p