His name is out site – but many people know him much more than the man who brings us closer to the classic men’s fashion. Meanwhile, he has become an equally faithful guide when it comes to women’s fashion and the British lifestyle.
He is not only the author of the bestseller “The Gentleman. Handbook of the classic men’s fashion”, but also a successful journalist, respected expert and charming columnist. In the interview Hirmer BIG SIZE tries to find out who is behind the sympathetic smile.
Dear Mr. Roetzel, how do you actually get the idea to write a book about fashion? Have you encountered so many men who have lacked the necessary know-how for men’s fashion?
out site : It may sound strange. But I am writing my books for myself. And in the sense that I write about what I find interesting. I do not want to change the men or their clothing style.What I find interesting, but seems to interest other men.
In fact, after all, one of your most famous books is “The Gentleman – Handbook of the Classic Men’s Fashion”. Please describe in a sentence what makes your eyes a gentleman.
out site : A gentleman wins hearts by completely withdrawing himself and placing the others in the center. This is more important than the style of clothing you associate with the gentleman, that is, the never fashionable and never unmodified clothes.
Fashionable, unmodified – remember when you got your first suit and what it looked like?
out site : Since the first class, I have worn the jacket / pants combination as a school uniform of the German school Pretoria in the South Africa of the early 1970s. My first suit was dark gray flannel, I bought it 1990 as a student at the sale in Hanover. He was regent, hand-sewn and wonderfully soft. At the regular price it would have been prohibitive. I’ve been wearing it for ten years. Today he would be a bit too tight.
So the suit has accompanied you all your life. Suppose you are standing in front of a man who has not grown up with suits and has not read your book. You might think he did everything wrong, which can only be done wrong. You can only change one thing about him to prevent the worst – what would it be?
out site l: False is in most cases not the clothing, but the combination of clothing and occasion. If you replace the word occasion by situation, it becomes clearer. You can wear short pants and a T-shirt. But better not in the office or at dinner. Sleeping suit and silk morning skirt are on the Sunday at the family breakfast almost elegant, in the breakfast room of a hotel but again unsuitable. The two most common mistakes are that the clothes does not fit the situation and does not match the fit.
Then the Morgen rock in the hotel counts rather to a no-go. What fashionable faux pas do you personally find the worst?
out site : Many people are surprised that I am basically very tolerant of clothes and styling. I do not expect all the world to dress and adjust according to the standards that I describe in my books. Criticism and advice can only be obtained from me on express request. What actually bother me is a presentation according to the motto “wanted but not skilfully”. Besides, I do not like overly tinted styling. And what really annoys me are business travelers, who sit shirt sleeves in the breakfast room, not to mention the table manners. When I was in Naples the other day, the Italians sat in the morning with their neckties at the table. And no one has put the tie over his shoulder. This is probably a North European maladjustment.
Wanted but not skill full – sounds somehow still os. This word ‘style’ always appears in the fashion world. But are we now born with style, or is this something you can learn?
out site : Nobody is born with style. Just as little as with taste for literature, sense of music or an interest in culinary. These are all things that bring the parents and the environment close to you. And if you do not know all this as a child, you can get familiar with it at any time. Poor taste is no fate, bad taste is laziness.
Well then you are anything but lazy. Much more you are familiar with the classic fashion and the people who are responsible for it. Is there something in which you feel that it is actually superfluous, but will remain an integral part of the classic fashion?
out site : Now one could philosophize about what is really necessary and what one should regard as superfluous. The majority of people feel everything is dispensable, which goes beyond T-shirt, jeans and sneakers. Even ironing a shirt and cleaning shoes is an unacceptable effort for most of them. Classical clothing is purposeful. But if you look closely at the classic suit, it is very well thought out, an absolute sophisticated design. Every detail has a meaning or at least a meaningful origin. Why is there a buttonhole on the left side of the lapel? Because the jacket could be buttoned up. Why does the two-rider have a buttonhole in both lapel? Because you have a lapel on the inside button. The function disappears. No one has a walking stick anymore, and no man is wearing leggings.
Today there is a lot of things that make life easier for us, for example, ironing-free shirts. Is the fashion now perfect, or is there something else that you dream of?
out site : I’m not a friend of iron-free fabrics. The few minutes you save you are paid with a wearing feeling that can not be compared with the untreated shirts. But the women, who are mostly still responsible for clothes care, do not have to wear the shirts. In the classic area, there has been no innovation for decades, the fashion has only been repeated or cited itself in this segment since the 1920s. The most popular basics are also old-fashioned camels in the casual area. The jeans are from the 19th century, canvas shoes with rubber soles also. Chinos have also existed for more than 100 years, the light cotton trousers come from the 18th century.
So it just comes back. But there is one more question: What do you think of colored socks?
out site : If they fit into the situation and style of the wearer, they like me well. To the dark business suit I advise in Germany. I prefer wearing tweed jacke and kordhose or tuxedo.
Thank you very much for bringing Gentleman-Like to the classic fashion.