My style manifesto
“Clothes,” according to designer Michael Kors, “are like a good meal, a good movie, great pieces of music.”
I love the idea of clothes as something you enjoy and which allow you – through your personal choices of what you like and what you champion – to express yourself in another way.
But my own relationship with style is not that simple. To keep it brief, I was not a stylish child. Or teenager. Or young adult, to be honest. My childhood is recorded in rafts of photos of a chubby youngster with a questionable haircut and clothes which don’t fit very well. This was not due to a lack of care on the part of those around me, I just didn’t care and wasn’t very good at it. I had a pair of green Adidas popper trousers which I adored and enjoyed putting on a tuxedo for events, despite it being a modified grown-up’s one which swamped me.
Things did not get better during my student years – do they ever? Be honest. I basically lived in either board shorts, flip flops and hoodies or baggy jeans with a shirt and t-shirt combo which made me look a bit like an unpaid extra in a cheap California TV series.
It was about my late twenties that I started trying. I fell in love with TV shows like Suits and White Collar and adopted a uniform of slim-fit, three-piece suits for work, this also had the advantage of making me look slightly like a grown-up in the workplace. Away from work I fell onto a staple diet of slim and skinny jeans, t-shirts, slim-fit jumpers and leather or denim jackets.
I also spend large amounts of time devouring style, lifestyle and fashion literature, both in print and online, from publications like The Rake and GQ to the thoughts of people like Tom Stubbs and William Gilchrist.
But I have run into a problem: I may have developed a taste for and interest in fashion – but most of it doesn’t fit me. I want smart, stylish pieces for work and relaxed, simple ones for the rest of my life. But I am 5’5” and have a 36” chest, a 28” waist and a 29” inside leg. These are not off-the-peg measurements.
So wanting clothes is one thing, but finding them is quite another. While hopping around the web looking for advice and guidance I came to a realisation – there isn’t much. There is plenty telling you the top trends and where to shop, but only if you fit the bill. I started wondering where I can look.
So, I’m off on the hunt; it’s a mission to refine my own tastes and find out what style actually fits. I’m not offering advice here – if my history has told you anything it’s that I don’t have the foundation to do so – but I’ll happily take you along for the ride.