I have featured a lot of men in this icon series that have very refined classic “Hollywood” style, wear suits and get tailoring to perfection. I have also featured Pharrell Williams who drifts in the direction of a more casual “street” style – which was a good breath of fresh inspiration. This week I wanted to combine the two, and show you how versatile mixing smart and casual can be.
I’m using my style icon of the week to show off this idea of combining and clashing different styles effectively. The icon I have chosen this week is Patrick Junior Chukwuem Okogwu… Who is that you may say? Perhaps his stage name Tinie Tempah is more recognisable? The South London rapper has burst onto the music scene in the past six months, and with his first single ‘Pass Out’ going straight to number one for two weeks, he has certainly stamped his mark on pop culture. But he also made a name for himself within in the world of fashion. His style is personal and quirky, and I think his look is full of fashion inspiration for the everyday male. His credentials as a style icon are reinforced further with release his own fashion label, Disturbing London, which he describes as “high fashion mixed with street-cool” – the perfect way to describe his personal look.
Have a look at his lookbook for starters:
As you can see from the lookbook above, his style is a combination of smart and casual, – which is how he defines his personal style – and is a nice twist on the traditional formal outfits. This look is great for dressing down a suit, whilst offering a bit of flair and street ‘cool’. I particularly love the outfit above that is a combination of a tuxedo jacket, bow tie, dress shirt, jeans and hi-tops. I like to think of his style like this: you know the old saying to describe a haircut as ‘business at the front and party at the back’? His style is business on the top and party on the bottom.
Tinie never seems to wear smart shoes, and with roots within the urban street scene he sticks to hi-tops, retro sneakers and has a particular penchant for Nike. From seeing the amount of variety and iconic trainer styles he rocks, it seems as though he is a bit of sneaker head. His other looks that combine smart and casual usually consist of a combination of tailored/slim fit jackets with a pair of jeans, worn with a simple tee or shirt underneath. He is never seen without eyewear – either clear specs or dark sunglasses – which adds another element and clashing of styles by mixing in a bit of ‘geek’. This is ironic because the rest of his outfit is always so effortlessly cool.
What I love most though is his attitude towards dressing. Yes shoes would probably look better with a suit, but he sticks to what HE is all about, and what HE is comfortable in. When I see him rocking hi-top Nike’s with a blazer or tux, I feel like that is HIM through and through, and a true reflection of where he came from and his personality. His style is instantly recognisable, and he is putting his own mark on the rules of traditional attire.
To get the look of Mr Tempah, it’s important you have a pair of slim fit dark wash jeans as a base for the outfit. Adding a pair of hi-tops or converse in the footwear department is the definitive choice for these outfits. The top half is where you can play around to get different looks. Wearing a v-neck plain t-shirt with a tailored jacket is one option, whilst wearing a buttoned-up un-tucked denim shirt with a dark fitted blazer is one of my favourites.
For his gigs he dresses a lot more casual on top than his usual “going out” look. Mixing a graphic tee and leather jacket with jeans and hi-tops is more street-cool. I admit that the pieces you need to get his style are nothing we haven’t seen before, but it is the WAY in which he wears the clothes that is the important thing. You have to be able to style yourself according to what YOU like – this is what Tinie does well – he loves traditional attire and street-wear, so he combines the two and clashes styles to produce an eye catching look which is personal to him.
Some of the key pieces that you can play around with to get the Tinie Tempah look are:
Tinie Tempah shows that it’s not the clothes you wear, it’s the way you wear them. Combining traditional smart with street-cool is a look many of us can be inspired by. Remember each of the men featured in the series will be in the running for the Fashionbeans men of the year award at the beginning of next year.
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