We Answer Your Questions
Staying up to date and in the know can prove a tiresome and time-consuming task, so we took some of your personal fashion and style queries to an industry insider who knows his stuff. Resident style consultant and founder of men’s style blog The Chic Geek, Marcus Jaye answers your questions in this month’s FashionBeans Q&A…
The Churchill Effect
“I’ve been inspired by Winston Churchill’s style, after seeing all the programmes commemorating his death, recently. What do you think about his style, and how could I update it for today?” As befits a statesman, Churchill’s style was entwined with that distinctive Savile Row classicism that still resonates today. As an aristocrat, Sir Winston obviously had the budget to afford, and the jam-packed social calendar to warrant, an extensive wardrobe of tailoring. Churchill’s personal style was in part dictated by etiquette and social standing, but also characterised by his penchant for customisation – much of his wardrobe was bespoke. Fashion and, particularly, menswear is continually referencing the 1920s and 1930s – when Churchill was alive and arguably at his most visible – so many of his wardrobe staples are still entirely relevant today. To commemorate fifty years since the British Bulldog’s death, British heritage brand Turnbull & Asser have produced a Churchill Collection, which includes reproductions of pieces he commissioned and wore from the company, as well as items emblazoned with images of the man himself (we’re big fans of the pocket squares):
The Siren Suit
One of Churchill’s most iconic pieces made in collaboration with Turnbull & Asser is the siren suit – something Churchill designed himself and was dubbed a ‘romper’ by his children. It is essentially a smart boiler suit, made to wear in the Cabinet War Rooms during the Second World War. If you’re looking to emulate the Bulldog’s aesthetic today, Turnbull & Asser are currently offering two siren suits as part of its made-to-measure service at its Jermyn Street store: one in Johnston’s of Elgin Donegal wool trimmed with leather covered buttons and lined with the original Churchill silk spot; the other in 14oz navy wool fox flannel with a peak lapel and top welt opening pocket. Alternatively, you can turn to Mr Porter’s limited edition Kingsman collection, which features a grey pinstripe siren suit in wool – Sir Winston famously wore a pinstripe version for wartime duties.
FYI: The original Siren Suit created by Turnbull & Asser for Winston Churchill can be seen at London’s Science Museum as part of the commemorative exhibition, Churchill: Science in War and Peace, until 1st March 2015.
The Churchill Spot
If the siren suit is a little too ostentatious a homage for you, then give a nod to Sir Winston’s style with the signature Churchill spot – a classic white polka dot pattern on a background of deep navy. This motif will never go out of fashion and looks particularly sophisticated on ties, pocket squares and silk scarves. Otherwise, stick to classically British tailoring and don’t forget to accessorise with a Homburg hat – I’d lose the anti-social cigar though!
- Reiss Dino Silk Polka Dot Tie Navy
- Reiss Coco Silk Polka Dot Bow Tie Navy
- He By Mango Polka-dot Pattern Knit Tie
- River Island Navy Polka Dot Pocket Square
- Begg And Co Polka-dot Wispy Scarf
- Drakes Polka-dot Silk Pocket Square
“I’m a father of two with a full time job finding it increasingly difficult to stay stylish. What advice can you give me to keep me looking my best while caring for my kids?” The best thing you can do is keep it simple: opt for neutral items – no logos, no slogans – in a timeless palette of grey, navy, brown and white, which can be mixed and matched effortlessly. You’ve probably heard it hundreds of time before, but a ‘capsule wardrobe’ is exactly what you need. By building a capsule wardrobe, you can rest assured that every piece you own goes with everything else, so you don’t waste valuable time figuring out outfit pairings and combinations. You say you have a full time job, so I’m guessing you wear a suit? If your current tailoring collection is looking a little dated, then consider investing in a new slim-cut version in navy, mid-grey or charcoal to ensure you look your best in the office. I wouldn’t blow the budget on high-end tailoring – let’s face it, being a father you probably have other more pressing financial commitments – but rather shop around for the minimal care, ‘throw in the washing machine’ variety for those messy mishaps (see our recommended high street brands in the question below). That said, a quick visit to a local tailor will help ensure these off-the-peg versions fit you perfectly, instantly upgrading your appearance without having to spend the earth. For off-duty or dress-down work days, I would go for a classic navy slim-/straight-fit jeans, white Oxford shirt and crew neck jumper (in something like charcoal, burgundy or forest green) combination, finished with a pair of desert boots/brogues and blazer/biker jacket, depending on the occasion. These are all simple, unfussy elements in their own right which will work together to create a classic and practical look that complements your body shape.
Capsule Wardrobe Lookbook Inspiration
With just a few select key pieces, it’s possible to create a variety of stylish looks for any occasion:
For a full breakdown of the items all men should have in their capsule wardrobe, along with recommended brands at varying price points, check out part one and two of our 30 Pieces To Reinvent Your Wardrobe guide.
- Gap Stretch Crew T-shirt
- Asos Slim Fit Blazer In 100% Wool
- He By Mango Wool-blend Peacoat
- Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Cotton Broadcloth Long Sleeve Shirt
- He By Mango Water-repellent Nylon Trench Coat
- Reiss Leather Reversible Belt
- Uniqlo Men Cotton Cashmere V Neck Sweater
- Uniqlo Men Slim Fit Chino Flat Front Trousers
- J. Crew 9 Inch Club Short In Lightweight Chino
- Reiss Youngs Two Piece Suit
- A.p.c. New Standard Regular-fit Dry Selvedge Denim Jeans
- Sunspel Riviera Cotton-mesh Polo Shirt
- He By Mango Leather Blucher
- Reiss Classic Brogue In Grained Leather
- T.m.lewin Navy Slim Silk Tie
High Street Suiting
“Can you recommend a few high street brands who do suiting well?” You’ll want somewhere with plenty of choice in terms of both styles and sizes, so you can try on a few in one go and really get a feel for what best matches your personality and style. You will also want to prioritise value for money and brands that offer high quality cuts and fabrics for the price point. With this in mind, T.M.Lewin (average cost: £200-300) and M&S (particularly their Savile Row-inspired line – average cost: £300) are excellent starting points. Both offer a wide range of office-appropriate suits that run the gamut from skinny to more traditional styles, in locations up and down the country. We’ve also seen good feedback for Next on our forums and previous articles (average cost: £150-300). At the upper end of the high street, Jigsaw (average cost: £350-400), Charles Tyrwhitt (average cost: £400) and Reiss (average cost: £400-500) are worth checking out if you’re after a slightly more special or occasion suit.
High Street Suiting Lookbook
- Savile Row Inspired Navy Tailored Fit Suit
- Savile Row Inspired Grey Tailored Fit Check Suit
- T.m.lewin Perry Navy Blue Mohair 2-button Slim Fit Suit
- Next Signature Suits: Jacket
- Next Charcoal Tailored Fit Suit: Jacket
- Jigsaw Bloomsbury Fit Micro Check Tailored Jacket
- T.m.lewin Wilson Light Grey Cool Wool 2-button Slim Fit Suit
- Charcoal British Panama Classic Fit Luxury Suit
- Navy British Panama Slim Fit Luxury Suit Jacket
- Reiss Stryker Tonal Check Suit Navy
- Reiss Youngs Two Piece Suit Grey
- Reiss Harvey Modern-fit Suit Black
“Can you recommend a good pair of white trainers for £50 or less?” Believe it or not, the most compliments I’ve received recently have been for my trainers from Clarks. When opting for more inexpensive trainers, always keep it plain and simple. There’s not much point in pretending to be Usain Bolt and shelling out for highly technical styles when the most energetic you’re going to get is walking to the bar. Clarks’ Torbay Craft trainers have that minimal Scandi feel that would look perfect both now and well into the summer, when they could be easily paired with pastel chinos or shorts. Crafted from full grain leather, the trainers’ padded topline ensures they’re comfortable to wear from day one, while its vulcanised rubber sole provides support and all-important grip. Not bad for £50.
White Trainers Lookbook
With minimal white trainers making it onto our 5 Key Menswear Pieces For Spring/Summer 2015 list, you’re sure to get great wear out of them for the foreseeable future. Below you will find some inspiration on how to style them, come the warmer weather:
Quality Leather Belts
“I’m looking to invest in some quality 100 per cent leather belts; where can I find them?” Belts have fallen out of favour over the last few years, so it’s best to keep them matte and minimal – i.e. avoid large, shiny or ‘look at me’ branded buckles. May I suggest supporting British manufacturing while also supporting your waistband? Try The British Belt Company, a small brand that is part of the Arnold Wills & Co Ltd, founded in 1946. Made in Rutland, England’s smallest county, their belts are traditionally crafted using the finest English and Italian leathers:
I particularly like this Benscliffe Reversible Leather Belt in brown & black, priced £60. Being reversible, you’re getting even more bang for your buck:
Get Involved/Submit A Question
Do you have any burning questions for our style advisor? Drop them in the comments section below, submit them via our dedicated contact form, or tweet us using #FBQA. Who knows, you might make it into March’s edition of the FashionBeans Q&A.