The desire to develop a dialogue around men's style and fashion has always been one of our key motivations to blog. Of course it is quite easy to get distracted by all the new shiny product releases and latest collections along the way but we are frequently left wanting. The topic is of course much greater than pure consumerism. With this in mind we have devised a new feature for the blog in which we can all explore a different side of the industry. Each month we will be inviting a cross section of thoughts on and around a given subject. We have approached a mixed bag of knowledgeable folk to air their thoughts and responses will come from designers, store owners, PRs, journalists and a few fellow bloggers alike. We will feature a number of responses a week throughout the month while inviting you to share your thoughts


"If you are talking sartorial style rather than conversational, intellectual or artistic style then here is the list - sorry, there is not one but a few.

1. Glen Howell, Ipswich 1977. Glen was my mate just as I was leaving school. Ipswich, my home town, was a little behind the times, and a biker/hippy hybrid was the style du jour. Glen was the very embodiment of this style. He could wear hippy girly style clothing and still be effortlessly masculine. He had the requisite lush, long flowing hair and beard - my sorry, soggy semi-afro did not really cut it in the same way - and had a green Afghan waistcoat that I was very envious of.

2. Keir Fraser, Camden Town 1978/79. I left Ipswich for a squat in Camden town. The scales where immediately pulled from my hippy eyes as I saw the burgeoning North London post punk scene close up. Keir was effortlessly cool with a long orange/blond tendril like fringe and the ability to mix completely random items of second hand and army surplus clothing to starling and original effect.

3. Lance Martins, London mid-1990s. Lance is the very talented director of visual display at Paul Smith. Lance has a great sense of style, but most importantly, can pretty much wear anything and look great. Just a man being very comfortable in his own skin.

4. Now. I work in menswear, so I come across many very stylish men. It would be unreasonable, unfair and unwise to single out a lone star.

5. Historic. David Bowie 1975-1976. How a man falling apart as a result of a near fatal cocaine addiction can look, act and sound so cool is beyond my comprehension. Bowie has been 'with' me for all my adult life and yet I am still endlessly surprised by things I had not noticed before. By a million miles the coolest, smartest, best dressed pop musician of the 70s."
Tim SoarMenswear Designer.
"This probably seems like a very cut-and-dry answer, but the most stylish man I have ever known would have to be my father. Although we may not talk about fashion, we do often talk about presentation. One thing he has always taught me, that I really do take to heart, is the importance of taking pride in your appearance. If you are sloppily put together or under-dressed for an occasion, it is not only a disservice to yourself, but actually somewhat rude to others. As much as dress is an intimate and personal activity, it is also by virtue of its position as an outward signifier, or to use Alfred Gell's phrase, a way of our 'selfhood becoming objectified', how we choose to present ourselves to the world. As such it is important to keep in mind your presentation, and that does not necessarily mean that you have to be particularly fashionable or dressed in expensive clothing, but rather that you are thoughtful and take care. 

My father always tells me that I should try to do my best in everything I do, and part of that is making sure that I am presented at my best. The example he tends to give is that of being a bin man. He says that were I to be a bin man, I ought to be the best bin man I could be, and with that my uniform should look the best. Therein lies that rather tired phrase: it is not what you wear, but how you wear it. I think that is what I admire about him, in that he has a casual elegance about him and a confident sense of self, which shows in whatever he wears. It may just be something that comes with age - knowing yourself better, but that confidence translates into what he wears. That is not to say that he dresses badly but does so with confidence, but rather that style is not simply about clothing.
Then again, he has never worn a pair of jeans in his entire life, and even when doing building work he will wear an oxford shirt, pleated trousers and loafers. This is a man who I have never seen wearing a t-shirt, because it is always a collared shirt and blazer. He rarely if ever buys clothing, and I think that is perhaps part of his secret. Many of his clothes he has had for at least a decade. Clothing which ages gracefully forms a rather close relationship with the wearer. They are comfortable in that clothing because it has adjusted to their body. It becomes soft where the body is harsh, such as the elbows and knees. Through repeated wear, wash and age it becomes a signifier of the person even in that person's absence. He looks comfortable and smart in his clothing, because he literally is comfortable. 

He taught me to always take pride in my appearance, no matter what it is that I wear. One piece of advice which I think he takes on is that it is not what we have to do that defines us, it is what we choose to do that defines us. In a situation where you 'have' to wear a suit, simply wearing a suit does not make you well dressed. It is by choosing to take care in how you wear and put together that suit that matters, and it is that care he always takes regardless of whether he is going to an event or simply painting the fence.
 There was actually a photograph I wanted to scan in and share, but unfortunately was not able to. The photograph is of my father and my elder brother when he was a little boy. My father is crouched in front of my brother, adjusting my brother's collar on his school uniform. My father is wearing a crisp white shirt, slightly unbuttoned, with a navy blue v-neck sweater, grey pleated trousers and a grey driving cap. It is perhaps a bland outfit by description, however the fit and ease with which he wears it is spectacular. It was taken before I was born, and yet looking at that photograph reminds me of what I have to live up to and how style truly is timeless."
Dapper Kid, Blogger.

"There’s always tons of men whose style I look up to at any given time, but I'll choose three B's to answer this question:
1. Bertie Wooster – of Jeeves and Wooster, his dandy spin on the aristocratic uniform of that period made for a wardrobe rich with inspiration. He also had a sense of humor about dressing up, putting on the most ridiculous yellow golf getup for golfing on a weekend, and a cream dinner jacket for dining at home. 2. Marcelo Burlon – the Argentinian known for his parties and his work in Rodeo magazine, I love his distinct mix of Patagonian folk and tough Givenchy off-the-runway tailoring. 3. Brandon Acton-Bond – up-and-coming shoe designer I met in New York, I admire his sensate approach to clothing: everything is about how the fabric feels, the way it drapes, the way layers peek through holes and diaphanousness, how an article of clothing makes him feel. His no-rules philosophy in dressing is very refreshing."
The Dandy Project, Blogger

"I have to pick one? That's hard because I'm lucky enough to know a lot of stylish men. I tend to like it men who wear high quality clothing. Custom suits, Italian or English shoes. The kind of man who knows who Turnbull & Asser is. My uncle is one of those men, who really puts a lot of care and attention to his wardrobe, even his casual wear will hint at quality. However, not everyone can spend $1200 on a pair of shoes. I do admire the the classic nature of traditional suits and ties, they're pieces you can really invest in, nothing looks better than a man in a well-tailored suit and beautiful shoes. My husband Rocky, of course, has wonderful style, though because the last year he's been focusing on finishing college and our three moves, the last move, we've spent all our money on furniture, leaves little for the clothing budget. Rocky has a great knack for picking out pieces that last for years. He mixes boutique brands like Filippa K, A.P.C, and Acne with vintage, which really withstand the shift in trends while still looking very current. Of course everything he wears has to be bike friendly, because he's always biking around San Francisco."

Jennine Jacob - The Coveted and IFB, Blogger and so much more.
"I don't think I have one specific most stylish man I have encountered, but I am fascinated by men (and women), who use clothing as function related to their line of work. One such person is my 'tailoring grandfather' as he calls himself. His name is Domenico and he is a Sicilian tailor I worked with for some time on Savile Row. He is now retired but I always admired how he was so utterly involved in his profession and how his manner of dress reflected that, in and out of the workroom.

In the interest of discussion, I would love to know if any of your readers or indeed any of your other collaborators have images or stories of people who individualise their functional work attire with their distinct personality. I think some of the most interesting dress comes from people who use clothing as function, butchers, painters, builders, gardeners, fishermen the list goes on and on .....! Does uniform hinder personal style and creativity or does it in fact focus it by giving one boundaries to play with?"
Paula Gerbase, Designer.

"Without doubt my dad. He’s got a real don’t give a **** punk/mod attitude in bespoke suits and much better hair. It amuses me when I receive look books and editorials and see items dad has been wearing for years and with much more panache. Certainly not interested in fashion but, just manages to look pretty damn cool. I mean off duty the guy’s been wearing Trickers with slim pants - sometimes slightly rolled sometimes unrolled sometimes tucked into socks for years, a shirt with slightly frayed collar and unstructured jacket or windbreaker.

He was the person who taught me the importance about a decent pair of shoes and spending the most you can afford on a suit. My grandchildren will probably hit 30 and be wearing my Dad's suits to muck about in. When my sister and I were very little we hated the way our dad dressed. Constantly asked mum to give him a make over. "Why can’t he look like all the other dads?" I now realise this was a serious strength. Who wants to look like everyone else? Who wants to wear what someone else puts you in? I see far too many men who look like they’ve given in to the inevitable. Well I refuse to and I blame my dad for that!"
Daniel Jenkins, Retailer focusing solely upon British fashion talent.

"We have been inspired by many different iconicly stylish men through out the many years of b store. On personal reflection, my great Uncle Arthur was a very stylish man, all be it in a classic working class English way, although at the time I never appreciated his style. His daily look involved; hair cut in a short back and sides so you could see his scalp and the top Brylcreamed back, high waisted wool trousers with button on braces and a little short, white loose shirt, undone at the neck with a tied neckerchief and a heavy, almost military black shoe.

He did not drive so rode his Runwell town bike everywhere, with his trousers kept in place with a bicycle clip at the ankle. He was a very frugal man, so made sure his clothes were not discarded until they were unrepairable, which led to many blazers and trousers being patched at the knee and elbow, something which I now attribute to his style. His style cost him many problems with his bike riding. He was very rarely seen without his trilby but he lost many and a favourite big tweed overcoat had rips at the bottom, from being caught in the chain. He kept a double breasted grey wool tweed suit as his 'Sunday Best' complimented with a small bow tie."

Matthew Murphy, Owner/Buyer/Designer at b Store.


"1. “It's always better to be overdressed than underdressed.” (my mother) – I will always be the fellow in a button-down when everyone’s in t-shirts, in a suit when everyone’s in plaid flannels. It never hurts to be more dressed up than the rest of the crowd, and frankly, that’s how I get remembered.
If it feels right, it's right
2. On the importance of jewelry and fragrance (myself) – I always say that the sparkle of jewelry announces your arrival from meters away and a memorable fragrance encores your presence for moments after you leave. Also, a highly interesting piece of jewelry might be your best networking tool."
The Dandy Project, Blogger

"Unfortunately because of our profession we are normally asked to give style advice rather than receive it... in our opinion the best advice to give anyone concerning their own style is 'be yourself', don't be lead by trends or influenced by opinions of others, a TRUE personal sense of style is obvious to recognise."
Matthew Murphy, owner/buyer/designer at b Store.

"I think 'style advice' can often be about rules and regulations of menswear- whereas fashion isn't really about this, it's about creating something unique and personal. I'm very interested in the emotional aspect of dressing so, on this note, I think my advice would be not to wear anything that doesn't feel right- you have to be comfortable in your own skin first, but then you also have to be (emotionally if not physically) comfortable in what you are wearing."
Carolyn Massey, Menswear Designer


"My most stylish was when I bought my first tuxedo. I was right out of college and living in New York City for the first time. I was working for a theatre company and knew that there would be several events coming up requiring black tie. After doing the math I realized it would be much more economical to own than to rent. I remember clearly being attended to by the eager salesman at Eisenberg and Eisenberg (a NYC institution) and the pride I felt in making that purchase. The salesman then sent me to the tailor next door and I was thrilled with the idea of clothing being altered to fit ME. I picked up my new, customized tuxedo a week later, just days before my first formal event with my company. I wore that tuxedo with such pride, like a matinee idol in an old black and white movie.

My least stylish (or perhaps another most stylish moment) was during my fourth grade Spring Chorus concert. Between sets my older sister came running back stage to tell me that the entire family was totally embarrassed by what I was wearing. Apparently I missed the memo and while the entire chorus was dressed in white long-sleeve dress shirts and black dress pants, I was wearing chinos and a mint green polo shirt (collar popped of course). I didn’t notice how out of place I was until my sister pointed it out and then I was mortified. I laugh now at the image of a sea of 9 year-olds in white with me in the middle popping out in mint green."
Matt Fox, shopkeeper, Fine and Dandy 
"When I was eight years old I was living in the US with my parents, and went through a particularly colourful phase. It is not one that reflects my aesthetic these days, but it is a phase that I admire for my absolute freedom to choose what I wanted to wear regardless of whether it was appropriate or if it matched with anything else I had on. As well as colour, this period was led mainly by a need for extreme comfort (hence lots of jersey and baggy sweaters which you can see in the picture).

If there is one piece of clothing that absolutely defines this year in my life, it has to be this ridiculously insane multicoloured / multitextured winter coat which I believe even had mirrors attached to it in panels along the side and back.

I wore the coat for a year or so and it rolled around in the back of my cupboards for quite a few years after, even moving with me and my family to various countries, until it ended up in Switzerland, when my mother finally decided to donate it to charity around 1997.

Fast-forward to 2004, and I'm walking through the corridor of St Martins during my Womenswear BA, and who/what do I spot with the corner of my eye, but my tutor David Kappo wearing my multicoloured coat!! We had a long chat about it and apparently he had bought it in a charity shop in Paris .... The coat had really done a world tour, only to find me at a completely different period in life, quite an amazing path for a single garment!"
Paula Gerbase, designer of 1205.

"On my most stylish moment...For a couple of years, I have been getting some clothes tailored by ICHO in Japan, who have a knack for understanding my personal aesthetic. Whenever I'm in ICHO, I feel great (here I am wearing a few pieces), and my friend Diane Pernet says that I have found "my designer". They are amazing.

On my least stylish moment...Growing up in Canada I used to perform in a show choir, a la Glee, and although we sounded great, unlike the stars of the television show, our costumes left a little bit to be desired. Picture an offwhite, synthetic tuxedo with emerald green bow tie and cummerbund. Enough said."
Imran Amed, a fashion business adviser, writer and entrepreneur, and Founder and Editor of The Business of Fashion.


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