- How did you start with menswear? What was your first contact with classic menswear?
I got into high-end men’s tailoring in my late teens, in the late 1980s. Most of the things I liked were from the Hollywood films of the day. Two that stand out are The Untouchables(wardrobe by Giorgio Armani), and Wall Street(all the stuff I love in that film was made by Alan Flusser). I remember saving up my pocket money to buy two higher quality shirts — one by Armani, one by Ralph Lauren — at the time. Both white, both with cutaway collars.
- How do you normally put your outfit together?
I always start with the shirt and tie combo and build the rest of the outfit around that. I almost always wear dark suits — solid, striped, or windowpane — which I use as a blank canvas of sorts for the shirt and tie. Then I try to blend in boutonnière, pocket square, and socks around the colours/patterns/textures in the shirt and tie.
- Tips for starters?
Get clothes made that YOU like, that speak to YOU. Think of your clothes as a lifetime investment, and don’t get too caught up in the fashion vagaries of the day. And, perhaps most importantly, find a good tailor who is willing to work with you to help you find your own personal style. Editor’s note: We actually happen to know a tailor you might like. wink
- How would you describe your style?
Quite formal. Suit and tie every day, but always with a twist in the form of bold accessories. As I said before, I’m quite conventional when it comes to suits, but always look to make a statement with the furnishings.
- Where do you look for inspiration? Who are your role models when it comes to style?
I’d say film has always been inspiring to me when it comes to style. In addition to the ones I mentioned above, I loved Robert Redford’s style in The Great Gatsby(tailored by Ralph Lauren), and loved Michael Caine’s style in The Italian Joband Get Carter (Douglas Hayward provided the tailoring for both films). I love picking bits and pieces of detailing from different eras. No decade should have a monopoly on style. Mix and match and bring stuff together as you like.
- Which are your favourite brands at the moment and why?
There’s a tailor in Berlin named Maximilian Mogg (maybe you’ve heard of him) who already makes my shirts and from whom I will commission some suits and I am also partial to my London tailor (Timothy Everest) and shirt maker (Turnbull & Asser). I’ve moved on from these two excellent houses since I relocated to Berlin, but I’ll always have a soft spot for them.
- Do you have a favourite garment and is there a piece of clothing that you would never wear?
Current favourites are my two shirts from Max, actually. With regards to something I’d never wear: I would never wear a bowtie with a lounge suit (only with a dinner jacket for me), and I can’t quite see myself wearing an ascot!
5 quick-fire questions
- Favourite Bond film?
I’m going to cheat a bit and say: Anything with Connery. It would probably say Goldfingerif I had to choose one. It’s actually somewhat ironic because I don’t love his style as much as other Bonds. Everything — the suits, the ties —is a bit too narrow and tight to the body for my liking. Honourable mention goes to George Lazenby OHMSS; I’ll even forgive him the sin of wearing a two-button SB jacket (more on this later). Pierce Brosnan had style in his turn as 007, as did Roger Moore at times. I don’t really like the clothing Daniel Craig wears in the latest films, although Ralph Fiennes’ M is impeccably dressed.
- Favourite shirt colour?
Without question, pink. My wife loves it on me, too. That helps.
- Your favourite shoe model?
With a suit, black Oxfords (NEVER brogues) or monk straps. Occasionally, black loafers. On the weekend, suede, usually loafers, but sometimes a monk strap or desert boots.
- Break or no break?
No break. To me, socks are a crucial part of an outfit, and trousers that break cover up a part of an ensemble that can really reflect individuality.
- DB or SB?
As much as I absolutely ADORE double-breasted, my wife has always preferred single-breasted on me, so I’ve stuck with SB for the past 23 years. That being said, Max is making me question that, so you might see me in a DB some time soon. If I do stick with a SB, it will be either one-button or three.button. Something about two-button SB jackets makes them a non-starter for me. The two-button looks too pedestrian and unimaginative for my taste. It screams ‘corporate’ and ‘off-the-peg’, although I know many fine tailoring houses offer the style. RJ/DC/MM