Ed's letter | What a mighty good man

(From left): Coat, R43,000, from Dolce and Gabbana; Trenery coat, R4,000, from Woolworths. Production, Sahil Harilal
(From left): Coat, R43,000, from Dolce and Gabbana; Trenery coat, R4,000, from Woolworths. Production, Sahil Harilal
Image: Judd van Rensburg

An ex of mine always had a gigantic glass jar of capers in his fridge. I remember being very impressed by that. Last-minute pasta puttanesca or boiled bagels laden with smoked salmon and cream cheese and piles of the salty little green gems — he was always prepared. A god of impromptu brunches and dinners, I fantasised.

He also had a bathroom door that wouldn’t close properly. I liked that less.

In my formative years, there was a boyfriend who had an utterly fantastic coffee machine. One of those fiddly ones that required a PhD from MIT to use it. It/he made perfect espressos. I stored the info about the device in my brain under the headline, “Things that maketh the stylish man.” Likewise, the RM Williams Chelsea boots that said fella had had for aeons and lovingly looked after.

Another chap I dated had a great local-art collection and wonderful books. The stuff to make a nerdy girl giddy, really. The shelves were packed with intelligence and charm. There were new releases by local journalists on various political brouhahas and sparkling, much-thumbed fiction. And then, tucked in between the Achebe, Roth, and Ephron were his favourite childhood books. Honestly, as soon as I clocked the latter, I was sold.

My mental picture of a modish man very much still includes that bookshelf, those boots, and the jar of capers. I’d also like him to have a proper leather weekender bag, wear a kikoy instead of shorts when on holiday, and read the newspapers every morning. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all symbols of an easy sophistication, attention to detail, and an awareness of the world.

My sister said, on hearing the above list, that I sounded just as weird as the guys I’d dated. And my composite dream man even worse. So perhaps gents, in matters of taste, you should not be listening to anything I say.

LOOK | Page through the digital copy of Wanted's August issue (enlarge for easy viewing):

Luckily, you don’t have to, because for this issue we’ve called in the experts. In our roundup of the stuff you need to truly exude style (page 14) we have asked the best for the best. This includes contributions from our grooming guru Nokubonga Thusi, décor doyenne Leana Schoeman, tech god Toby Shapshak, and fashion aficionado Sahil Harilal. They have gathered up the jackets and potions and day beds that are deeply desirable. Plus, we’ve got the most covetable gadgets and chic cars too. Men (and women in charge of men) — if you read nothing else this year, their findings will set you on the right stylistic trajectory.

There is just one thing: I compiled the list of basics every good gentleman should always have in his freezer and pantry. I left out the capers, but you have been warned.

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