Fathers are known to teach their sons many lessons. These include surviving in the “big bad world”; being courageous in the face of any adversity; and the art of being an effortlessly distinguished gentleman.

Fathers (or father figures) have played a very important role in history in defining and honing a son’s appreciation of style. It’s not something that was taken for granted – just look at images from and documentaries about the Sophiatown era and how our fathers and brothers remained distinguished and groomed even in the face of extreme difficulty.

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Here are a few lessons that we can learn from our elders that will never fade in the face of incoming and outgoing trends:

Quality trumps quantity

While quantity may seem beneficial in the sense that you’re wearing something different everyday, what’s the point of that if everything you wear has a lifespan not longer than a year? Our fathers taught us that if you invest in quality items that are timeless over time, these can go a long way. Quality never goes out of style and can quite literally last as long as you need it to. Investing in two or more suits and matching these with the right shoes can actually do a lot more for your closet than random, low-quality items can.

Detail matters 

Our fathers taught us that to stand out, you don’t have to be extravagant, but you must care for the details. So while you may look dashing as you walk into a room in your navy three-piece suit, you’ll make even more of an impact if you add a tie clip and cuff links. These little details won’t stop the world from moving, but will reveal that you are refined and distinguished.

Style is an attitude 

You are confident before you are stylish and not the other way around. Confidence is any man’s best accessory and a lack of this is doing an injustice to yourself. Have you ever noticed how one guy can wear a simple white T-shirt and chino shorts and come across as really stylish, while another guy might have the same thing on but make no impression of being stylish? Often the difference is in the way that two guys carry themselves – the confidence factor.

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Always be clean 

Our fathers epitomised the true image of a gentleman and, at the root of this image, was a lesson of discipline. Our fathers obsessed about polishing their shoes, a task that’s often tedious and sometimes feels unnecessary. But shoes could never be caught with a speck of dust. This was an image of neatness, and the same can be said about facial hair – it was always nicely trimmed and neat.

These are lessons that will forever hold us in good stead as far as fashion or style is concerned and lessons that we should be teaching our sons as well.