Quietly and without fuss, British men have become the most stylish in the world.
From our unrivalled tailoring heritage to our intuitive ability to draw on eclectic styles from elsewhere, to the fact that London is now the hub of the global menswear industry, men in Britain have never looked better.
So allow us to do a most un-British thing for a moment and blow our own trumpet, with these 8 style rules we can learn from, well, ourselves…
Less is more: A simple one this, but an important one. Look at any stylish man and you’ll notice that his outfit is actually very simple – he’s just made it look more impressive by focusing on cut, fabric and detail. Though this is a universal style truth, it’s particularly prevalent among the British. Bill Nighy, for instance, only wears navy and believes tailoring should be just that, tailored – what’s more, he wears the same pair of black rectangular Cutler & Gross spectacles every day, meaning that he permanently looks unfailingly elegant, smart and like someone you’d really quite like to be.
Tailored Items: Suits come naturally to us Brits – but that doesn’t mean we should wear them all the time. The key to keeping any outfit sharp is to ensure that no matter how soft and slouchy everything else is, at least one item in your look should be properly tailored. From a great pair of perfectly fitted trousers, to a jacket cut to suit your shape to an immaculate overcoat. One beautifully made item will mask a multitude of sins.
Mix & match: We’ve always been an eccentric bunch, us Brits. Just look at the young design talent coming up through the British fashion industry (think Craig Green, Bobby Abley and JW Anderson) and you’ll see that our creativity is unparalleled. When it comes to your own wardrobe, don’t be afraid to play with colour and pattern – a burgundy polka dot T-shirt teamed with a soft double-breasted chino suit, a popped lapel and a midnight blue silk scarf, for instance.
Stand out: Look at the streets of Milan, Paris or New York and you’ll notice that the overriding style rule is to dress like everyone else, only better. In the UK, we do things a little differently. Walk around London and you’ll notice men vying to out do each other in increasingly flamboyant ways. It’s like the eminently stylish Londoner Oscar Wilde once said “be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
…but not too much: That said, you don’t want to look clownish (frightfully un-British). If you’re going for a shirt in a floral pattern opt for something in the vein of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (see Harry here) as opposed to Charlie Sheen. Colours are, of course, great, but go for muted complimentary shades rather than clashing primaries – you’ll still look unique, just not like a crazy person.
Be Inspired: Few other countries can claim to be as wonderfully diverse as the United Kingdom, and the influence that this has had on our national style cannot be underestimated. From style at street level to the clothes produced by our greatest designers, an enormous breadth of cultural inspiration is palpable in everything we do. British designer Oliver Spencer, for instance, is seasonally inspired by the many cultures seen in and around London’s Portobello Market, where he once had a stall.