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19. December 2021

Style Icons: Theo Koll


Daniel Paul Finbar Carey

Every now and then, you will encounter a piece of clothing that makes you ask yourself: What is going on here? If I turn on the nightly news on ARD or ZDF, my face often looks like I’m halfway down a water slide. A mix of fear and uncertainty.

This is, however, never the case if Theo Koll is on screen, be it as an anchor, host, commentator, or interviewer. Mr Koll always seems to follow the same principles: He appears reserved, maybe even tame, and yet, he never fails to stand out from the crowd.

Let’s start with the suits. Mr Koll exclusively wears low-closing three-button lounge suits (not too dissimilar to one of our own models, namely Josef). The big advantage of this particular cut is that it accentuates the hourglass shape of the jacket. The proportions also work perfectly for Mr Knoll, due to his height. Often, he will add a single-breasted waistcoat to the ensemble. With his suits, his rounded glasses, and his side part, you could easily imagine him rubbing elbows with the former chancellors of Germany.

However, his suits mainly serve to set the stage for the true virtuoso performance of his shirt and tie combinations. The traditional choice for a news anchor is to opt for a white shirt and a navy tie (perhaps even with small polka dots on an adventurous day), but Mr Koll always makes the bolder choice. Think a light pink shirt with a burgundy tie, a light blue shirt with a red tie, or even a darker pink with a purple tie. The true stroke of genius lies in the balance of the boldness of the colours. Mr Koll often skirts the line of clashing colours, which gives one the impression of a man with no ego.

His choice of a quite short tab collar is also key to his sartorial success. Much like his suits, the collar itself is reserved and serious, which creates a perfect balance with his shirt and tie choices.

Occasionally, Mr Koll will opt for a check pattern on his shirt, in which case he always chooses a more subtle tie combination. He lets the pattern of the shirt and the Wall-Street-inflected collar do the contrast work. Generally, Mr Koll’s ties come from a certain French maker whose playful approach wonderfully and subtly mirrors Mr Koll’s own approach to journalism.

If there is ever a risk that the shirt and tie combination will be too wild for the German viewing public, Mr Koll will always go for a three-piece suit, almost as if to shield the masses from his tie.

In the end, though, what sets Mr Koll apart (much like most of the world’s best-dressed) is his confidence and his authenticity. Mr Koll is never wearing a costume. He begins with an idea of himself that he would like to convey to the person in from of him and has found a recipe to achieve just that. This has allowed him to create an unmistakeable brand for himself, far removed from much of the monochrome and boring looks of his colleagues in the media.

If I may go back to the water slide metaphor from earlier: If too many news anchors leave me with that expression of fear that appears on my face halfway down the slide, Mr Koll, by contrast, always make me look like I do at the end of the water slide. I know that I’m in safe hands. JoLo/DC/KP