It’s live! Both the ebook and the paperback versions of The Middle Ground are available through Amazon.com.
This isn’t necessarily a book for the accomplished sartorialist; it is meant for the reader who is still a bit perplexed by the “smart casual” dress code. The inspiration came from fielding the same three or four questions asked by my wardrobe clients. What would you choose? What would you keep? What do you recommend? What do you think about….? I hope I’ve answered well.
At any rate, I’m chuffed and hope you’ll enjoy the book. At the very least the illustrations by Brohammas are worth the price of admission.
I’ve often counseled my clients that a shortcut to developing dressing well is to find a couple of role models and emulate them at their best. Today, I’d like to suggest one of them to you: George Bligh, of AcornTV’s “A Place to Call Home.”
The character is most often in a suit and tie, this being the 1950’s – ’60s, but he knows his way around a sportscoat and jeans. The jeans in question are most often a five-pocket model trouser in tan or off-white. This is one of the most versatile combinations for our 21st century dress code of smart casual.
I’ve taken to wearing “The George” for any occasion that calls for dressing in what I’ve called “The Middle Ground.” Not too formal, not too casual. This combination also makes a great travel outfit. Which is probably why Banana Republic, which carries the stone colored jean that I recommend, calls them the “Traveler Pant.” Just the right amount of stretch to keep them wrinkle-free and comfortable for the journey, not too heavy and not too light, trendy color, and they go with any shirt and sportcoat combination. Pair them with a chelsea boot for the full effect.
When I started Easy and Elegant Life ‘lo those many years ago, I had lofty ambitions. Design, dress, cookery, travel, reading, and music were all to be addressed in the interest of pursuing the art of living well.
Slowly those topics fell away. I had to start somewhere and looking around at the sorry state of menswear, or more precisely what passed for acceptable modes of dress and fashion, I honed in on helping the average man look better and feel better about looking good. (FYI, The Middle Ground, my booklet about smart casual, is just about ready to be released into the wild.)
I’m happy to report that these days there are myriad resources to get solid advice about menswear. So maybe it’s time that I once again explore a few ideas about living well.
No time like the present.
You’re going to groan when you realize what I’m recommending.
Become a morning person.
Admittedly, getting up to watch the sunrise whilst on vacation isn’t a huge sacrifice, but I realized that I’ve grown to love getting up before dawn and watching the sun come up. My morning routine has changed over the years. Around the turn of the century, I would get up to run, ending up on my front porch to stretch and watch the sun rise over the rooftops.
These days exercise is walking the dogs and yoga, both of which happen after I return home from dropping my daughter off at school. But I still make time to enjoy the dawn.
Most mornings I get up, pad downstairs, throw on some winter weight track pants and a fleece, drink a glass of lemon water, put the kettle on to boil for some Moroccan Mint tea, and settle in at the dining room table to write my morning pages. Keeping a journal has become a habit and a great way to start my day. It focuses me by letting me get things out of my head and onto paper before the daily intrusion of email and responsibilities. I strive for the Julia Cameron recommended three pages.
About 15 minutes into my writing, the sun begins to come up. In a few more, I wake up the kids, make the tea, and start to warm up Mrs. E.’s car (C.A.D. has her housebound for the cold months.) And so my day begins. I stroll into it rather than leaping, all because of a few extra minutes that I’ve built into my schedule in the mornings.
If one of the tenets of the Easy and Elegant Life is to appear calm and unruffled, strolling into a morning is highly recommended. Start to become a morning person and see how much it adds to your life.