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What does it mean to be a gentleman in the modern era? Discover the expert’s definitions of the term, in this philosophical pondering from Whitehouse Cox.

When someone is referred to as a ‘gentleman’, what image comes to mind? We have little doubt it is one of a rakish and suave gentleman, dressed to the nines and ready for action.

It might be that the image conjured is James Bond, resplendent in tuxedo stepping out from the confines of a fast car. Perhaps it is Steve McQueen, David Beckham or another picture perfect ideal of masculinity that emerge at the forefront of your mind.

Why is this? Because of the clothes they wear, the way they hold themselves or their devilishly good looks?

As David Gandy recently articulated in The Telegraph, there is a lot more to being a gentleman than the clothes you wear.

“You come to learn that not all powerful and well-dressed men can be defined as gentlemen – far from it in some cases … What I have learned is that being a gentleman isn’t about what you do, or what you wear, it’s about how you behave and who you are.” – David Gandy

At Whitehouse Cox, we rather enjoyed Gandy’s frank observation of what it truly means to be a gentleman so we decided to delve deeper into the subject by asking three experts for their take on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern era.

Read on to discover their thoughts.

Traditionally, men have been conditioned to behave only in a ‘masculine’ manner – one that can cope with pressure, difficulties and problems, and showing little or no emotions (or for the Brits – a stiff upper lip).

This seems out of date when equality for all is increasing in global support. However chivalry, often considered old-fashioned is still welcomed in today’s society. Chivalry is simply a modern gentleman being respectful and considerate of others.

Many of my female clients tell me that while they want men to treat them with respect, they appreciate men who have good manners and treat others with respect. A true gentleman will treat everyone with respect, whether it is a woman, older person or another man. Etiquette is about consideration for others.



A modern gentleman should:

Be Polite – always and to everyone

Be Well Dressed – it shows self-respect

Hold a door open for anyone

Be on time for everyone

Never swear (etc) in public …


As society will always change, our expectations will always change, however good manners and politeness shouldn’t. For example:

  • My 24-year-old daughter recently had a dinner date with a young man who was rude to the server and was very disappointed by his behaviour. She didn’t want a second date.


  • My husband of 20 years still holds the door open for me. Always.

Being a gentleman is about having manners, style and body confidence.

You can’t be considered a modern gentleman by just dressing well. You have to have a good character and be kind to people. Staying positive and being yourself is also a must for the modern gentleman.

Two defining characteristics of a gentleman are:

1. A man who speaks with a fine, erudite, sophisticated and commanding use of language. He immediately puts himself in a distinguished category.


2. A man who dresses with flair, who has a highly personal persona and communicates that at first site. This does not imply stuffiness. Mick Jagger is a rock star and a gentleman.


When one fuses the verbal and sartorial skills, voila: gentleman.

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