Today, I am very proud to host the renowned Tee Morris writing on a subject near and dear to my heart: the well dressed man! Lord Akeldama would most certainly approve. So, for that matter, would Madame Lefoux. Without further ado, Gentle Reader, Mr. Tee Morris . . .
Clean shirt, new shoes
And I don’t know where I am goin’ to.
Silk suit, black tie,
I don’t need a reason why.
They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
Coz’ every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.
~ “Sharp Dressed Man,” ZZ Top
There is a lot to steampunk that makes it appealing. The recent release of Jeff Vandermeer’s Steampunk Bible touches on many of the visual aspects within this quirky, clever, and complex Future that Never Was; and therein lies a current debate amongst authors — are we reducing steampunk to nothing more than a veneer of gadgets, gizmos, and gaudy displays of extravagance?
My response to this: “Manners!”
Steampunk, if you wish it to be, can be a commentary of the real Victorian Era, certainly, or if you wish it to be a reflection of today’s modern problems told via 19th Century allegory, be my guest; but spare a moment on one of the subversive issues steampunk: a return to manners. An unquestioned appeal of steampunk, amidst the tinkers, the boilers, and the roguish airship pirates, is a salute and — dare I say — the return of the D.E.G. or Dapper English Gent. Not since the days of John Steed have we enjoyed such an underground renaissance of walking sticks, bowlers, and fine-cut suits. I still remember watching late-night reruns of The Avengers, and feeling a true appreciation for Steed’s style.
Yes, I also remember feeling something for Emma Peel as well, but that is a column best saved for another time.
The D.E.G. of steampunk carries a commentary in itself: You can still go against the grain, still bring the fantastic to life, and still declare your own individuality while remaining true to tradition and civilization. When wearing a bowler, it only feels natural to tip your hat to a lady as you walk past. When wearing a stylish vest and pinned cravat, your posture immediately corrects itself as the fashion feels more comfortable when you walk with your back straight, your chin elevated just so. And you cannot help but smile when a lady’s eye falls upon you and her appreciation is most evident.
Add to your thought-out ensemble a touch of brass and Victorian flair, and it will be more than the tight corsets that will make the ladies swoon. Perhaps a pair of tight jeans, provided you are frequenting the gym and getting in quality time with the squats, would also earn you a lady’s regard as well. With a properly cut suit, the right accessories, and the right hat, you make (what can never be questioned as) the right first impression.
So, gentlemen, I entreat you to consider your fashion carefully. I agree that the armored gauntlets and multi-ocular eyepieces are “wicked cool” but equally so are quality boots and spats, a fine top hat (which provides a lovely place for one’s goggles), and a spiffy pocket watch. Before you present your card, remember that your first impression is what counts, and clothes not only make the man but they refine him. Even a mad scientist’s frock should say something about how you take your tea.
And if you worry that concern over such details make you less of a man, I suggest you take in a private showing of The Great Train Robbery with Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland. Connery’s character, Edward Pierce, concerned himself just as much over his fashion as he did the details of his daring heist. In the end, he not only got the Crimean gold, he also got Lesley Anne-Down. Something to keep in mind.
Tee Morris is the co-author of Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, described as a romping steampunk adventure, featuring, undoubtedly, some very dapper gentlemen indeed. His co-author is the indomitable Pip Ballentine. I reviewed her first book, Geist on Goodreads.
Timeless: Third draft done and in to editor!
Secret Project F: It is ALIVE! (again)
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.
Just a quick note to say that I have been having some epic internet woes recently. Facebook is revamping the groups, causing me to close down the old Parasol Protectorate Group and launch a new one with much less useful features. I’ve also lost all access to the internet via my main computer (a VERY old Mac), which is the one I run my blogs off of, among other things. I was hoping to wait until I had completed the first book of the Finishing School to buy a new computer but it looks like I might have to push that forward. I’m hoping all of these changes look seamless to you, but you have been warned, Gentle Reader! Doom! From your technophobic Author Beast.
Quote of the Day:
“Anyone can be heroic from time to time, but a gentleman is something you have to be all the time.”
~ Luigi Pirandello