Grooming and gravitas

There are some skills that every gentleman ought to know, yet aren’t satisfactorily covered at school. Take tying a tie, for example: perhaps you learnt the basic four-in-hand knot, but there are several stylish alternatives. walks you through 14 different knots for a long tie, and also covers the all-important bow-tie knot – say goodbye to clip-ons and stand out from the crowd at formal events.

Grooming and gravitas

You may think growing a beard is simply a case of letting nature take its course, but there’s an art to choosing a style and maintaining it. At, you’ll find more guidance than you could ever wish for, including diagrams of beard types and advice on trimming and cleaning.

Once you look the part, it’s time to show a little class, and how better than by demonstrating a discriminating taste in wines? Of course, becoming an expert takes years, but eHow offers a handy online guide to faking it: memorise these tips on tasting and storage and you’ll be ready to hold forth about any vintage with an air of authority.

If you actually want to know what you’re talking about, offers a wealth of detail about different grapes and regions, along with a guide to making sense of the label. Or rise above the whole thing and ask a real expert: visit AskMen for advice on what to ask your waiter.

Finally, while you’re developing an air of sophistication, it’s important not to let yourself down with awkward behaviour. Etiquette bible Debrett’s is more than 240 years old, but it’s still giving sound advice, even for modern situations – for example, if you’re unsure whether a lady getting on the Tube is pregnant or merely rotund, you should quietly vacate your seat and move away without drawing attention to her. See the Debrett’s website for a whole catalogue of additional advice, while for tips delivered straight to your Twitter feed, follow @Debretts.

More life skills

Learn a foreign language

Express your creative side

Become a musical maestro

Be handy around the house

Be the life of the party

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