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Attire is important – even if we don’t meet anyone in the streets and even if socializing has been reduced to a minimum.

Jeroen van Rooijen

It was to be expected… but thank you, anyway, to everyone who wrote to criticize the first Alferano lockdown episode and inform me that during such dire times, there are more important things to worry about that your outfit or your styling. On Facebook, someone sent me packing, along with my suede moccasins and cashmere joggers, saying that he would not be rebutted by the style police.

Well, first of all, we are not reprimanding anybody and we are not policing anyone either. What we wish to do is offer you a tad of assistance, inspiration, and entertainment. If you lack the necessary sense of humor, then we still hope that you fare well in these times of Corona. Two, clothing is not secondary – not even during times of crisis. Thus speaking, we will not budge from our convictions.

In challenging times, clothing can provide support and a sense of agency. A freshly ironed shirt is a different kind of act of civil courage than simply grabbing a t-shirt out of the tumble dryer. By the way, vapor ironing is meditative and also good for your respiratory paths – and we currently have sufficient time for it. Allow me to repeat myself: Nobody is going to put on a suit and tie to sit in front of his laptop at home. But there are people – and we count ourselves among them and believe to count several of our customers among them too – for whom clothing can provide a bit of guidance and assurance in life.

So let’s get a grip on ourselves, let’s groom and shave and put on fresh clothes. We’ll all feel better. Every soldier knows that order must prevail – even on a battlefield. Financial Times style columnist, Robert Armstrong, recently wrote: In a crisis, order matters, including forms of order that are purely symbolic. Thus, Armstrong quoted Christian Dior who named “simplicity, grooming and good taste” as the keys to a good life, claiming: “They cannot be bought but they can be learnt, by rich and poor alike”.

More words of wisdom? What about Adolf Loos, the apostle of contemporary lifestyle: “You can measure the culture of a state by the circumstance that several of its citizens put the liberal achievement of good clothing to sound use”. Loos wrote this in 1920, one hundred years ago, during the Spanish influenza. And 50 years ago, the great British tailor and royalist, Hardy Amies, added: “Civilization means respecting law and order, holding in esteem inventions and beauty, seeking love and friendship”.

In the name of civilization and the apparently acutely endangered preserving of the latter, I call upon you to dress nicely, especially now. As a sign of hope. And bear with me for one last quote: “If, in a society, improper conduct, to be found everywhere and all the time (….) is constantly rewarded, then less and less people will feel the need to behave properly” – Axel Hacke in his recently published book, “On decency in difficult times and how we treat one another”.

Jeroen van Rooijen is a style critic and was one of the founders of the Alferano concept store.
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