In many ways, a car and a suit can be very similar. They both make a strong first impression and the way you drive a car is very much akin to how you wear a suit in this regard. As such, if you drive, you should take just as much appreciation and care for one as you do for the other.
Much like fashion, the way men relate to cars has changed over the years. While some prefer to be loud and bold, others prefer to be discreet and charming. For today’s gentleman, this means finding a style of driving that suits your tastes, as well as accepting the practical needs of the modern world.
One of the biggest problems with driving for gentleman is the stigma that is still sometimes attached. If you’re a young driver, for instance, you might still be labelled a ‘boy-racer’. Hopefully, your choice of car should ensure this isn’t the case, but your driving style can also help.
For many motorists, driving is a joyful experience. This doesn’t mean you should drive at high speeds or make reckless maneuvers to impress people. A true gentleman will drive smoothly and efficiently – letting the car subtly demonstrate its own prowess – while appreciating the engineering behind the vehicle.
Of course, where you live will also change what you drive. A small hatchback might work for the sophisticated city gent, but someone living in the countryside might appreciate the durability and higher profile of a classic Land Rover. These will change how you drive but they are reflective of their surroundings and driving environment.
When it comes to your car, specifically, you will need to meet your specific needs. Are you driving long distances? If so, something with high speed performance sounds beneficial but, if you spend your mornings doing the city commute and stuck in traffic, an impressive engine isn’t going to offer you any favours.
For example, the modern father spends more time with his family than ever before. It would make sense that your vehicle would follow suite. As much as a vintage sports car or coupe might offer the sheer sense of style and elegance, a 2-door car isn’t practical when you have a family (unless you can afford two different cars). Today’s dad is arguably more likely to drive a hatchback – these offers the additional seating and storage requirements needed for day to day use. That said, there’s still plenty of room for parents to find their own style and choice within this range. Not everyone appreciates the large estate cars, due to their sheer size and unattractiveness. They’re great for big family holidays, but not ideal for quick trips into town.
Suits get dry cleaned and shirts get washed and vacuumed, so why doesn’t the car get as much appreciation? Some drivers take loving care of their rides, while others only hose them down when the mud starts to stick to the sides.
When you drive somewhere, the car is the first thing people see. It doesn’t matter how well dressed you are, if the car looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in sometime, people can often make numerous assumptions. A clean, well maintained car, on the other hand, makes a bolder statement. It’s presentable, shows you take pride in your own appearance and demonstrates your sophisticated attention to detail.
Look at it another way. If your car tyre pressure is uneven, it’s noticeable. People on the outside will see the disbalance in the car, while it will be even more obvious to guests driving inside. Like a worn out pocket square or a missing button on a jacket, these little touches can make or break an entire image.
Perhaps this is at its most important when attending events. In these cases, is it too much to consider your car an extension of your suit? Whatever car you driving, taking some time to clean and polish the exterior will make a better impression. The same can also be said for the inside if you’re expecting company. Nobody appreciates a cluttered car and it creates an image counterintuitive to your smart sense of dress.
A 21st century gentleman is not without the comforts of modern technology. The smartphone is an important tool for various aspects of everyday life, so why shouldn’t it enhance our motoring experience?
While some men may still try to avoid asking directions, nobody feels ashamed of using GPS and other smart features to guide them. While in-car GPS systems are useful, a modern smartphone can take care of all of this, allowing gentlemen to smoothly set up instructions on the way to the car, rather than wasting a few minutes at the start of every drive. You don’t need a new car to do this, either, as both Android and Apple have services to retro-fit digital dashboard features.
Finally, what better way to look the part than to have a few accessories that add a little luxury to the driving experience. Nothing states this more than a pair of driving gloves. These are typically made from a soft leather, so they can effortlessly compliment a wide variety of shirts and suits. The same can also be said for a great pair of driving sunglasses. These keep the glare out for your eyes and help contribute to the classic motoring gentleman aesthetic. For long drives in colder weather, of if you happen to own a convertible and want the top down, a driving jacket can add another practical yet stylish touch.
In short, this is almost harking back to the very early days of motoring, when drivers would take their vehicles out to simply enjoy them. Today, cars are more accessible and many people, regardless of wealth or status, can enjoy a drive in scenic views.
Finally, there are also a few upcoming developments in motoring that might cause the typical gentleman to choose what they want. One of these is the development of smart cars and driverless vehicles. When your transport takes care of itself, does this remove some of the experience? When the likes of Apple and Google start working on cars of their own, do vehicles become more like a watch or smartphone? A fashion accessory rather than a more personal and in-depth choice?
Similarly, we’re also seeing an increase in green vehicles, specifically with a move to fully electric vehicles, rather than hybrid models. Given that some of today’s driving generations, such as millennials, care greatly about the environment, the right choice of car is just as essential. As more and more electric vehicles are available, it’s hard for a gentleman to claim a conscious awareness of the environment without reconciling this with their choice of car. Again, it’s one of the first things other people notice when you arrive somewhere and, unfortunately, first impressions can often count for a lot.
Ultimately, driving means different things to different people. Some do it because they enjoy it, while others find it to be a necessary part of their life. Whatever the reason, there’s no harm in taking the time to look the part and consider how your driving makes you appear in the eyes of others.