I have a new attitude, an attitude of nattitude. Not for nothing, I don’t want to be naughty; I have a need to be natty. I’m too used to not being spruce, and the time has come again at last to put on the dog – or at least to get a new leash on looks. I’m known sometimes for nuttiness, but now I want nattiness.

What, by the way, is this word natty? Well, we know: trim like a fancy tree (a spruce, clearly); smart in the sartorial sense – and perhaps not just that. In its earliest known uses it has a clear tone of craftiness and cunning – clever fashion, and perhaps not just well-chosen cuffs but well-picked pockets, too: natty lads was noted as a term in the late 1700s for light-fingered young men.

I am not so young, and no thief either, but my fingers are light in other ways (if you know the type, or the typing), and I have uses to which to put them – to wit: to wit. And I may or may not trip the light fantastic, but I will try to take a fantastic trip, or at least a light one, and have a ball. Because after two years of dressing down or, when cold, dressing in down (or staying in my dressing gown and hoping not to get a dressing-down), I want to dress up, mister.

We don’t really know where natty comes from – OK, it comes from England, the London area in particular, but we aren’t sure of its lexical heritage, other than it may be related to neat – but it has spawned nattily and nattiness. And, yes, now nattitude, which may seem redundant given that we have nattiness, but I’d say nattitude has more of an attitude, dude, and perhaps a greater sense of measurability, like altitude: how high is your fashion?

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