My ‘best dressed’ list – of any year

What makes someone classify as ‘best’ or ‘worst’ dressed?  Ultimately, of course, it’s subjective, but the internet is chock full of lists of the best and worst dressed celebrities – lists that often change on a weekly basis. There’s intense scrutiny around awards season, of course, reaching a crescendo each February at the Oscars and then again each May at Cannes.

I have my own list of those celebrities, male and female, that I think tick the sartorial boxes.  So here is my list of the ten best dressed of the past half century.  Now you may disagree with some of these – in fact, I hope you do – and I’d love to hear your comments.  You’ll see that some of these people (my top five, in fact) are no longer with us.  As you have probably gathered by now, my taste is skewed towards classic style found in the mid to late twentieth century.

My ten best dressed

  1. Cary Grant: as I’ve written previously in this column, Mr Archibald Leach was often cited as one of Hollywood’s best dressed men. No-one wore a suit quite like him. Watch North by Northwest if you don’t believe me
  2. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: whether posing in pillbox hats in the White House days or rocking white jeans on Capri, the late great Jackie O always wore it well
  3. David Bowie: do I have to explain?
  4. Diana, Princess of Wales: as many others before me have said, it was fascinating watching her evolve from a gawky Laura Ashley-wearing Sloane into an international style icon
  5. Steve McQueen: the ‘King of Cool’, equally at home in a t-shirt and leather bomber, a polo neck and jacket, or ultra-sharp tailoring
  6. Queen Letizia of Spain: from newsreader to queen consort, this woman never puts a foot wrong. She’s often seen in Hugo Boss, but also in high street pieces, particularly Zara (obviously).  She’s a fan of Adolfo Dominguez, too (one of my favourite Spanish labels)
  7. Roger Federer: I love the fact that he’s created his own elegant post-match look by donning a crisp white monogrammed blazer.
  8. Sophia Loren: epitomises timeless Italian style.  At age 81, she still gets it right.  But then, she is Italian.  They are born with an innate sense of elegance, knowing that simplicity is key and less is more.
  9. Bill Nighy: evidently his favourite article of clothing is his light blue Margaret Howell shirt, and his favourite accessory is his dark blue polka dotted scarf (also Margaret Howell).  But I loved him best in the white and black splattered suit in Love, Actually
  10. Helena Bonham Carter: yes, really.  Stick with me on this one.  She often looks outrageous and quirky – but that’s the point – she has her own look and she is true to it.  And somehow she always manages to pull it off, due to her fabulous English eccentricity.

So there you have it, my ten best-dressed.  I’d love to hear who yours are.  Happy New Year !

Everyone needs a stylist: part 2

I recently wrote that people often think it’s negative to hire a personal stylist. That by doing so, they’re admitting that they don’t know how to dress.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Politicians know that what they wear is vital to their ‘brand’, (Hillary Clinton has a styling budget) and our own PM is starting to pay more careful attention. But that’s another blog post entirely…

There are a number of very positive reasons that people hire me.  I offer honest and objective advice but there are other reasons too.  The fact is, I can save you both time and money, and reduce the stress of shopping or putting outfits together.  How?

  • I do the hard work (so you don’t have to).  I research the items you’re looking for and build relationships with the brands and boutiques that matter.  This results in better service from those retailers – and often a discount too!
  • I save you time.  By doing that research I’ve pinpointed the items that are most likely to work for you.  So you don’t have to try on loads and loads of stuff, or waste valuable time ordering and returning things.
  • I take away the pain of changing rooms, of endless searching, of being afraid to try something new. When you shop with me, I bring clothes to you ready for you to try.  No fighting with armfuls of items you’re not really sure about, getting all flustered.  You can relax in the knowledge that you’ll be getting your own personal ‘edit’.

Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what some of my clients say:

Steve: I’ve never had the confidence to shop for clothes properly.  The small investment with Sam has paid for itself, preventing me buying the wrong stuff and my new style has already been positively noticed, even by complete strangers.

Katharine: It really is an investment in yourself.  I was hesitant to ask for help – surely by now I should know what suits me and what to wear.  Wow…what a difference Samantha makes.  She makes you feel comfortable with your own style offers ideas, recommendations and suggestions with integrity and honesty.

Susan: This is the first time I’ve ever considered working with a stylist.  After all, I could spend the money on new clothes!  I can say unequivocally that feeling great about my clothes has been invaluable.  I continue to hold Samantha’s advice in my head… it stops me from rash, impulsive shopping.  Money very well spent indeed. 

So what are you waiting for? Contact me today.

 

 

 

 

 

Guys: the ultimate guide to shorts and sandals

Mr W in his chino shorts and funky trainers

Mr W in his chino shorts and funky trainers

After a positively autumnal start to the summer, the weather is finally warming up, and evidently we are due some serious sunshine in the next week or so.  And many of you will be thinking about shorts, sandals and other holiday wear as you prepare to jet off.

Unfortunately, we Brits do not have a great reputation when it comes to hot weather dressing.  As soon as the mercury begins to climb, all sense of decorum seems to go out the window, with acres of pale skin being inappropriately revealed.  We never quite manage to look ‘effortless’ in the sun the way our Continental cousins do, and men, unfortunately, seem to particularly struggle with shorts and sandals.  Here are my tips which I hope will help you up your game this summer, whether you’re heading to Bali, Barcelona or Blackpool.

Oh, and if you need anything, stock up now while the sales are still on (you’ll find links to the key items I mention below).

Let’s talk shorts

Shorts can be a sartorial minefield for the average British man. But here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. First of all, get the length right.  Your shorts should end just a couple of inches above the knee – in other words, neither too short nor too long, and ideally, if they suit your frame, they should be slim cut.  If you choose denim shorts, no rips please – you are not in a boy band
  2. Tailored shorts will ensure you look the part. Make sure to choose heavy cotton (chino) rather than linen, which will crease like mad. Scotch & Soda and HE by Mango do some great options.
  3. Wear your shorts, whether they are denim or chino, with a good quality t-shirt that fits. Not a huge holey, baggy thing with a Hard Rock Café logo circa 1987, but a slim fitting, good quality version in a complementary colour.  Add a fine knit jumper (keep it fine, you don’t want to add bulk) or a stylish sweatshirt (again, no logos) when the sun goes down.  Chino shorts, by the way, look particularly sharp with a Breton striped t-shirt – this is a classic look that never dates. You can also add a casual blazer to this look to dress it up a bit.

Sandals and socks – no !

It’s hard to believe, but sandals and socks had a brief fashion moment earlier this year as Bottega Veneta styled dual strap sandals with chunky socks.  Thankfully that moment ended.  So what are the best sandals a stylish man should consider?

  • Soft leather sandals will keep your feet comfortable. Choose classic Birkenstocks (which come in a range of shapes, styles and colours) or woven sandals, which can be worn with chinos, jeans and shorts
  • Rubber pool sliders are waterproof and comfortable. These have been around for the past couple of years and will take you from poolside to bar with ease
  • Thong sandals are more substantial (and less sloppy) than a traditional flip flop. Kurt Geiger’s navy leather sandals would look great with the chino shorts-Breton t-shirt look and they’re on sale, so grab them now !

If you can’t bear to bare your feet (or invest in a pedicure), choose breathable trainers, canvas deck shoes or luxe espadrilles.  A pair of classic Converse in white or navy is an easy starting point if you’re unsure.  And to keep things fresh, invest in some footie socks that don’t show – they’ll keep your feet happy and your trainers sweet.

And remember, if you’re in any doubt about how to wear any of your summer items, or need some help with shopping, get in touch !

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone needs a stylist: part 1

men need stylist tooSome people think it’s somehow negative to hire a personal stylist.  That they’re admitting that they don’t know how to dress or that they don’t look ‘quite right’. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are a number of very positive reasons that people hire me as their personal stylist, and one of the most important is that I offer honesty and objectivity.

working hard as a stylistWe all have far too many clothes (me included), and we often have emotional attachments to them. Sometimes these emotional attachments are valid, but sometimes they are unnecessary (and can hold you back).  With so many clothes, often people can’t see the wood for the trees: it’s difficult to be objective and honest with yourself when your wardrobe is full to overflowing.  This is where a personal stylist like me can help.

And here’s something really interesting that I’ve discovered working with clients and observing people’s behaviour: sometimes our partners/best friends/spouses aren’t completely truthful about what suits us or what we should be buying.  I’ve witnessed more than one example of someone persuading his or her partner/friend not to buy something, even though that item looked great and he or she loved it.

lucy needs a stylistWhen you hire me, you get honesty and objectivity, built on a solid foundation of trust.  With my objective, non-emotional eye, I can help you:

  • make decisions about clothing that you may be having doubts about
  • get a clearer picture of your ‘style identity’, whatever that may be
  • recognise if your existing wardrobe is helping or hindering you in reaching your goals

But don’t just take my word for it.  Here’s what Katharine says:  I was hesitant to ask for help – surely by now I should know what suits me.  After all, I would be admitting to some shortcomings on my part. Wow, what a difference Samantha makes.  She makes you feel comfortable with your own style and guarantees you outfits that you have not thought of before. She offers ideas, recommendations and suggestions with integrity and honesty… I felt stylish, inspired and organised!   At a recent interview, I was easily the best dressed and it gave me more presence than the others.  I got the job…

Contact me today if you’d like to benefit from some honest and objective style advice.

creating gap list 2

Clothes maketh the man…

Kevin Duala edited for blog

I am passionate about clothes (well, obviously).  But I also have a particular appreciation for stylish men, and it’s great to see that Brighton’s Platinum Club (of which I am a member)  certainly has its fair share of them.  They say clothes maketh the man, and that’s certainly true for Kevin Duala, Relations Manager at Overline.

I sat down with Kevin recently, to hear more about his unique style and what inspires him.

Professional with a twist

Kevin takes dressing very seriously – it’s important to him and supports his multifaceted role at Overline, which involves meeting clients, generating business and training staff.  But his passion for looking good started years ago.  He says, ‘My Dad always said you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  He instilled in me that no matter where you go or what you’re doing, make sure you look presentable.’

Kevin likes to look sharp at the office.  He told me that in previous jobs he wore what he wanted, but didn’t feel ‘ready to work’.  So he took his casual look of dark jeans and a jacket, and elevated it.  His style has evolved, and he’s now much sharper – he knows it helps him to be taken more seriously.

But Kevin also likes to add a twist to professional look.  His signature item has become his knitted ties.  The Overline team often tease him, saying ‘Kevin’s got a sock on again today’ but people notice, and they remember him as a result.

You may find it surprising that Kevin often buys from secondhand shops, picking up vintage ties, pocket squares and waistcoats.  His suits are from M&S or Debenhams, but he always gets them altered to fit exactly the way he likes – he never settles for a poor fit.  Jackets must be tapered at the waist, trousers must be slim-fitting and resting on the front of his shoe, and his tailor helps him achieve this.  In doing so, Kevin personalises his look without spending a fortune.

Kevin says, ‘I love being original.  None of my clothes are designer or flashy, but they are unique to me. And I’m good at finding classic pieces.  I recently bought a camel cashmere overcoat from Rokit vintage clothing in Covent Garden.  It was absolutely huge on me, but my tailor altered it to fit perfectly at the fraction of the cost of a brand new coat.’

Kevin’s rules for dressing:

  • don’t settle for ‘that will do’ – get things altered to fit properly
  • be original and express your personality
  • think beyond the high street – look in vintage, charity and secondhand shops (and online) to create your unique look