Just like beauty, style is in the eye of the beholder. Of course the word ‘style’ means very different things to different people. Some people have it, some of us don’t. I’ve never pretended to be a dedicated follower of fashion, which I am sure you will find a massive surprise given the rather lovely picture that adorns this page. Indeed, when I attended the Attitude photoshoot (a sentence I never thought I’d write) I was given a Hugo Boss suit to wear, which given the rather odd shape of my body (long in the back, short in the leg), fitted astonishingly well. Now I am sure everyone thinks that at these photoshoots we get to keep the clobber. Not a bit of it, so off I trotted to Hugo Boss in Sloane Square to try locate this rather well fitting suit. Naturally I ended up buying two.
In all honesty, I hate buying suits. Whatever I buy tends to look crumpled the moment I put it on. I’ve only ever had two suits I felt I really looked good in – apart from these recent Hugo Boss acquisitions. Incidentally, that’s three mentions of Hugo Boss in the first two hundred words. What does a boy have to do to get a freebie in these days of upstanding propriety?!!! It’s only recently I have taken to wearing blue suits and matched them with brown shoes and a brown belt. See, I know more about style than you thought! I went on the Daily Politics recently and we ended up discussing why politicians dress so badly. I ended up revealing that every single item of clothing I was wearing had come from Marks & Spencer – yes including the skanky knick-knacks. In fact, I think I probably keep M&S in business. All joking aside, they do produce some rather stylish clothes at a price which most people can afford. The only trouble is, you do often see quite a lot of people wearing the same clothes, and I’m not just talking about the knick-knacks.
The only item of clothing I take genuine pleasure in buying is a tie. In my experience, most men just thrown on any old tie, without a thought about whether it matches the shirt or suit. I’ve lost count of the times I have seen a politician wear a stripy tie over a stripy shirt. Just no. In fact, I’d outlaw most stripy ties. For me there are only two brands of tie worth buying – Duchamp and Van Buck. Both are very colourful – the kind of tie Jon Snow wears on Channel 4 News. Van Buck ties have the distinct advantage of being around a third cheaper than their Duchamp equivalents which retail at about £70. I always wear a loud tie when doing political punditry or the Sky Newspaper review. It means that people pay attention to the tie rather than the utter bollocks I sometimes utter on these occasions. Maybe that’s why Jon Snow wears them too. I hadn’t thought of that before now!
Shoes. I mean apart from protecting the feet, what’s the point of them? I could no more get excited about buying a pair of shoes than I would be if my partner had got me tickets to see Stoke play Millwall. Why is it that some people have several dozen pairs? Surely two or three pairs ought to suffice? One black pair, one brown and one casual pair. Otherwise wear trainers. They’re far more comfortable, and much cheaper.
Of course I am now of an age where I am supposed to forego the pleasure of wearing jeans. Am I supposed to resort to cords, or a nice pair of slacks? Give me strength. Perhaps a onesie then. I have never understood the reasoning behind older people not being seen in jeans. Surely it’s more dependent on body shape than age. Fatter people never look good in jeans, it has to be said, but then again, neither do stick thin people.
What would be really nice is for mens’ lifestyle like GQ to show pictures of men who don’t necessarily possess the body beautiful. Because we buy clothes too. When we have to.
This article first appeared in the April issue of Attitude Magazine