Si Monvmentvm Reqvires

A special thanks to Blue Shepard for allowing me to publish his weekly e-newsletter here on Vigilant Wolf. The Blue Shepard is a friend and past guest of Ever Vigilant podcast (episodes 43 and 86 ). I personally look forward to his weekly thoughts on Christianity, Manhood, and Brotherhood and I believe you will feel the same.

A young JFK sporting a dapper boutonniere on that gorgeous double-breasted morning jacket.

Does anyone know what Kennedy's supposed flair was? I'll reveal it at the end of this email.

Every man (I think) imparts some amount of persona into his wardrobe. Sometimes this is less advantageous than others. For example: If the persona in your wardrobe is the word "BEAST" on every article of dollar store clothing, there are very few questions I need to ask about you. But enough of the railing on modern fashions! let us leave the "don't"'s and cut into the "do"'s.

Personal flair once was part of every craft, from stationary to the iron forge. The industrial revolution stamped (literally) every bit of that out and left us with cold, hard uniformity. Now, in a post-industrial society, flair has almost exclusively retreated to our tastes and passions. We express personal flair through art, and one of those forms of art is whatever ensemble we slouch into in the mornings before heading out to brave the fetid masses.

We can, and should, embellish personal flair into the other aspects of our lives, but inasmuch as I am writing about dress I will discuss it in this. You may be the one who says, "My flair is my ripped jeans," or some sort of generic article of clothing, and that may be well and good. But I exhort you to choose a method of expression which will leave a timeless legacy for your descendants.

My wife's maternal grandfather, a carpenter by trade, did just that. He departed this world when I was a small child. But everyone recalls him by his flair. Overalls, a collared dress shirt, a white handkerchief with an old-timer three-blade knife rolled up in it, some various agricultural or local business trucker cap, and a flat carpenter's pencil were unquestionably his things. To this day he is remembered by these items. Her paternal grandfather, a 1950's-esque Pentecostal Pastor, will invariably be in some level of business casual wear if not a loudly plaid suit and tie, often with a neatly matching fedora (her father bears a similar description and vocation). My father's father, an US Army veteran and career tobacco farmer, iconically clad himself in solid color Dickies work uniforms with black leather shoes, and a white cowboy hat (or aforementioned trucker cap per occasion), and always had a Barlow folder (when one broke, he simply took another out of the ancient 10-pack of the knives which apparently has been sitting on his night stand since the 80's). My mother's father, an US Army veteran and career business man, is known by his slicked back COG (Cleveland) hairstyle, black leather gloves in the winter, obsessively clean hands and nails, a Japanese made Sabre folder, and his Bersa .25 auto in his right hand pocket. My father can just about always be found in a wide brim hat, with a Smith & Wesson Shield, and pockets filled to the gills with small tools - he is a mechanic. Each of these men are known by their things. You can not reasonably separate them from them in mind.

For better or worse, I developed a reputation early on for my hats and overalls.

Me at 15 performing at the Mast General Store in Valley Cruces, NC, with the Leftover Bluegrass Band in my old Liberty overalls and Stetson fedora.

This description follows me. I often still run into people while hatless or in a cap who say, "I didn't recognize you without the hat", meaning the Australian leather hats for which I am now reputed.

When your great grandchildren look at photos of you, your taste and maturity in fashion should be distinguished. This is all my opinion, of course, but this is also my forum so my opinion is what you'll get.

By what personal flair are you known? Is it classy, or crass? Is it meaningful and mature, or boyish imitation? Is it timeless, or just another fad?

In Christ,

The Blue Shepard

One of Kennedy's more notable (or at least more discussed) fashion pieces were his commonly seen tortoise shell, wayfarer style sunglasses.

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