Friday 10 September 2021

Essential Snobbery 101: In the class of contentment

On a borrowed height

One Sunday morning in the mid-1970s, I asked our houseboy; a man in all respects and a servant in our household if I could wear his new platform shoes to church. I had feet big enough to fill the shoes and I was only 9 years old. He obliged willingly.

That morning we attended church, I looked quite fashionably attired in a suit and borrowed shoes, but my mother frowned this presentation, in broad terms we were not brought up to keep up with the Joneses, and definitely not to extend ourselves beyond our means, contentment mattered because it also moderated behaviour.

Grins within your means

Yet, it was a lesson that took a long while to learn, one that meant aspiration should not be inspired by covetousness. How others looked is how they have decided to look and hopefully without extending themselves unreasonably to make that appearance.

As children, we were rarely attired in the trendy things, we were neat and presentable enough and that was just enough to help us beyond needing to compare ourselves with others. The legacy of that for me is, I have my own style, the way I choose to look, rarely acquisitive or ostentatious, but well turned out.

Effortless class is affordable

More importantly, I am not instructed to change anything by reason of what others do, the material is acquired as is needed, if one can stretch a bit more for quality and durability, it could also pass for effortless class without unnecessary vulgarity. For instance, wearing a good suit to work ends up being more affordable than casual clothes and it appears sophisticated too.

I accessorise with a day cravat, a hat is just chic, my walking cane is a tad expensive and very well made, the shoes also should also meet the mark of clean, polished, sturdy, maybe fashionable, but not loud and showy. You make an impression without having to make the tabloids. I guess I have learnt not to be embarrassed or shameful about being different, it takes being quite comfortable in your own skin and the choices you have made to feel that way.

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