Over the last decade or so, Charlie Casely-Hayford – along with his dad, Joe – has been quietly transforming the way British men dress. The shift into more relaxed tailoring; the blending of sportswear and Savile Row; the increased confidence guys have with picking clothes that work for them – all can be traced to the duo’s East London design studio. And though they’ve outfitted guys with serious sartorial nous – from Benedict Cumberbatch to Drake – it’s their personal style that most inspires.
Before they launched the brand, Charlie cut his teeth as a stylist. So unlike those designers who live in jeans and sweats, his eye extends to his own wardrobe as well. Perhaps why he regularly pops up on GQ’s list of best-dressed – and most influential – British men. And why Superga tapped him up as its new face.
Not content with letting someone else run the rail, Casely-Hayford styled the footwear brand’s latest campaign himself, to showcase his own take on dressed-down tailoring where smart shoes are chucked for sleek, minimal trainers, and the buttons on a double-breasted jacket are always optional.
To try and steal some of his signature laissez-faire, we tapped him up on the 11 essentials every man should have in his spring wardrobe. “It’s about having things that work together,” he says. “That way, you don’t have to think about it in the morning.” We’ll take his word for that.
1. A Slim-Fit Trouser, With A Turn-Up
“In spring, it’s hard to predict the weather. So I like a lightweight wool, or a cotton if you’re not in the UK. But spring here doesn’t really mean much anymore, which is why I like the combination of a wool trouser with a cropped turn-up. It feels like spring, but you don’t get too cold.”
Casely-Hayford Navy Basalto Slim Trousers, available at Casley-Hayford, priced £320.
2. A Chunky Derby
“I’m all for the mankle and these are the perfect thing to pair with a cropped trouser. A slender or long shoe throws it out. The sturdiness comes from having something with a bit of a sole to it.
“You can get traditional shoes with a military sole unit on and I think that that stops the cropped trouser from becoming too dandyish. It allows you to wear it in a relaxed way.”
A.P.C. Gustave Derby Shoe, available at END Clothing, priced £279.
3. A Clean, Sleek Trainer
“In white, it works. Tracksuit bottoms with the trainers is really nice, it’s a really good look that feels like a modern man. In New York, the buyers there say a lot of customers buy into that look, and a lot of our customers in London as well. I think it’s about taking something very classic and innovating it.
“The streamlined look of something like a Superga trainer is so versatile that it just works in any wardrobe. It has that unique quality of being both timeless and modern simultaneously.”
SUPERGA 2750 EFGLU, available at superga, priced £60.
4. An Unstructured Jacket
“You want no padding in the shoulder, no canvas in the chest. Almost like a cardigan, really. It shouldn’t feel like tailoring, it should feel like loungewear. It can still be in a wool, but in a cotton, a printed fabric, is nice as well.
“Something like a double-breasted jacket, with a peaked lapel, I’d never wear it closed. I’d have it open with a T-shirt so it feels relaxed. I gravitate towards dark colours, so go for textures; navy with a white fleck. It’s easy and you can wear it with a T-shirt and look super casual, but you can dress up your look as well.”
Casely-Hayford Navy Koston Slim-Fit Double-Breasted Textured-Cotton Suit Jacket, available at Mr Porter, priced £450.
5. Crisp Tracksuit Bottoms
“They’re really nice to pair with an unstructured jacket. It’s a nice mix of sportswear and formalwear. There aren’t any rules anymore and I think that a lot of guys who don’t have office jobs, who don’t have to wear a suit every day, it’s nice to feel relaxed but you’ve still got that formal aspect.
“As long as they’re tonal – you’ve got navy tracksuit bottoms and a navy jacket – it’s a nice look.”
Casely-Hayford Warfield Tapered Cotton-Blend Sweatpants, available at Mr Porter, priced £220.
6. A Linen Shirt
“I’ve got a number of colours and I just bring them out every season. I wear a suit most of the time but when I’m not, most of my essentials are pretty relaxed. I like my shirts to be pretty crumpled. I’m not so good with an iron, but I like to embrace that slightly dishevelled thing. It’s part of my love of it, that relaxed look of linen, being a little bit crumpled. That works well with the crisp trousers because there’s a nice contrast.
“I’m very particular about the type of shirt I buy. It should suit your body shape, so the length of the shirt finishes at exactly the right point on your seat and the width of the chest is right for you. A lot of shirts, particularly with linen, can be quite wide and it’s not very flattering.”
Uniqlo Premium Linen Long Sleeve Shirt, available at Uniqlo, priced £29.90.
7. A Knitted Polo Shirt
“A short sleeve polo, that’s knitted, I love. It elevates the polo shirt, which is so commonplace.
“Sunspel do some great ones, if you can afford it. If you get a really high quality one and it’s super-fine gauge, you don’t feel any hotter than you would in jersey. It can work perfectly if you’re going to a summer wedding and it’s not too formal, so you don’t have to wear a tie.”
Sunspel Riviera Polo Shirt, available at Sunspel, priced £80.
8. A Bright Cotton Suit
“Most guys opt for blue, I’ve got a green suit with a notch lapel. You can pair that with the polo shirt and it’s a nice, relaxed look. Neutrals are the way I operate, so everything can work together. Then you can have pieces with a bright colour, to add in as a top note.”
Casely-Hayford Mottled Suit, available at Mr Porter, priced £575.
9. A Long-Sleeved Knitted Crew Neck
“I’ve got a load of different colours, in cotton so they’re breathable. We don’t really have a summer here, so I’ll wear them right up until July, with just a T-shirt on and a pair of shorts or relaxed trousers.”
Topman Grey Marl Crew Neck Jumper, available at Topman, priced £20.
10. Crowe Bomber Jacket
“This is one that’s specific to Casely-Hayford. It’s a long bomber jacket and I love it because when it’s too hot, but you still want to take an outerwear piece out, it’s tough to find something other than a mac that sits between a coat and a jacket. A long bomber jacket has the movement and feels very summery.
“It’s unlined, so it moves like a parachute would. I love playing around with proportions because I think there’s so many rules of where things should and shouldn’t be, it’s nice when you break it up a little bit. Menswear’s quite restricted, so small things like that make such a big difference.”
Crowe Black MA1 Elongated Bomber, available at casely-hayford.com, priced £530.
11. Oversized Sunglasses
“I’ve been veering towards something bigger, but it’s quite a hard look to pull off. I think everyday, stylish guys are wearing more rounded sunglasses at the moment, but oversized is where things are going.
“But you’ve got to be quite a bold character for them to work. To pull them off, it’s just about having confidence. You can wear what you want, just make it your own.”
Acne Studios Square-Frame Acetate Sunglasses, available at Mr Porter, priced £175.