David Coggins on life advice: ‘As a young man you’re taught lessons, and if you’re lucky you’re taught them by someone wise. But to actually learn them you have to live through failure of your own.’
These are the opening words to David Coggins’ book, Men and Styles: Essays, Interviews and Considerations, and they are relevant now more than ever. Much like fashion, the odd and poorly defined journey of manhood can be rife with trials and tribulations. But it is those difficulties that make us the men we are, now and in the end.
Fortunately for us more uncivilised types, we have famed American dandy David Coggins to light the way and limit our fashion faux pas. Here are a few of his best pieces of life advice, sourced from the internet and beyond.
Always Carry a (Decent) Pen
In a world dominated by Gmail and Microsoft Word, some may consider the need for a pen a defunct piece of life advice. Those people are wrong. Coggins also says woe to those who would stuff their pockets with 20-packs of blue Bics. Instead, go for one or two excellent features and for those rare occasions where a pen is necessary, you’ll be ready.
‘It really helps if you have a trusted pen. No, not some rarefied, limited-edition Montblanc that sits in a drawer, weighs a ton and never has any ink in it. Rather, a good pen that you use every day.’
Try Fly Fishing
David Coggins is a man of fine art, fine dining, and fine clothing so it seems fitting his past time of choice should be fly fishing. According to the man himself, fly fishing affords man a time to be alone with nature and lone with his thoughts in an otherwise bustling world.
Linen has a long and proud history of supplying mankind with warmth, comfort, and style. What’s more, is that the material is perfect for any season.
‘To wear linen is to embrace the season. If you unbutton your linen shirt a few buttons, you embrace a certain swagger, and are ready for gelato. It seems to go hand in hand with an aperitif, with bodies of water, with nights that still retain the heat of the day.’
Relax, It’s Just a Game
We all love sports. But it’s crucial to remember that a couple of sweaty men fighting over a ball doesn’t actually have much of a credible value in your life. Don’t be like David Coggins’ ‘partisan’:
‘He’s known the triumph of victory and secretly feels that he is vital to the cause, thanks to his bizarre superstitions that border on OCD. He’s also known the misery of defeat as if he were on the field itself, and has blamed himself for that time he watched the game without wearing his lucky pin badge. Idiot!’
Perhaps Coggins’ most pertinent piece of life advice is don’t get too comfortable. Comfort breeds complacency and the team uniform of the complacent are the sweatpants (shirts optional).
‘Sweatpants are the physical manifestation of giving up, of communicating that you have had enough. You stubbornly refuse to ask more of yourself, like a child refusing to get dressed for school. What redeeming qualities do sweatpants have? Well, their partisans say, they’re comfortable. Comfort is the justification of the unimaginative, the health food of the sartorial world.’
Two Posts a Day on Instagram is Enough
This goes without saying. Even though you may consider yourself an ‘influencer’ and might be getting hundreds of likes from paid accounts and quasi-fanboys, Coggins agrees that 99% of people don’t care about your hourly activities. Daily updates are more than enough.