The ‘Style Guide’ dinner: What is the essence of style?

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Last month, we organised a dinner at the beautiful Beaumont Hotel to celebrate The Style Guide - the book published earlier this year by myself and photographer Jamie Ferguson. 

There had been official launch events, and signings, at Fenwick's of Bond Street, Bergdorf Goodman, and The Armoury in New York

But this was an industry event - an opportunity for the sponsors of the book (Vitale Barberis Canonico, Anderson & Sheppard, Begg & Co and Edward Green) to talk to some of the men featured in the book.

We scheduled the dinner to coincide with the visit to London of our cover star: Yasuto Kamoshita, creative director of United Arrows and his own line Camoshita.  

It was a pleasure to be able to host such an influential person in the modern history of menswear. 

I also wanted to use the opportunity to produce some interesting content - something that readers would value, and that would take advantage of all the accumulated brainpower in the room. 

So we decided to make a film, in which we would ask the attendees two questions:

  • What do you particularly like that you're wearing today? and
  • What do you think makes a man stylish?

The first question is easy for men that put so much thought into their daily clothing, and produces some interesting points - Jake on his windowpane check, or Aleks on the colours of a 'gentleman's square'. 

The second is much harder to answer, a personal and subjective question that many would struggle to put into words. 

But I found it interesting how every attendee had a slightly different answer (it's about personality, or context, or history, or comfort) that nevertheless circled around the same theme.

That theme was that style is not a question of picking the precise blue in a shirt, or the precise break of a trouser. It is, rather, the mental approach to wearing those clothes, and how that changes over time. 

I think, in total, our film achieves it's aim: to produce something of substance out of what was a extremely enjoyable evening. 

I hope you agree. 

Thank you very much to all our sponsors, to the team at The Beaumont Hotel, and to Sipsmith for their support. 

On the subject of the Style Guide, by the way, several shops around the world have re-stocked since our last post - including Leffot in New York and Chicago, Skoaktiebolaget in Stockholm, and Double Monk in Sydney and Melbourne. (The latter has also just launched their new website, which is worth a visit.)

And we have a few new stockists. They are:

  • Solito, Mexico City
  • Basics & Bespoke, Luxembourg
  • Anglo-Italian, London
  • Nide, Finland
  • Crane Brothers, Auckland 

Please support your local store and pick up a copy - and if none are near you, buy from the Permanent Style Shop

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Gus

“…the chambray blue with the off-white stitching embroidery on the side just caught my attention…” — Sartorial Psycho?

Always interesting to listen to the craftsmen as opposed to the dandies. Messrs Drake and Kamoshita on top. Who is the Scouser?

JB

Great video, highly enjoyable. It’s really nice to see and hear the old guys and also the younger guys take on style.
Slightly off topic perhaps, but Anglo-Italian’s offerings looks really nice, will you be reviewing them at some point in time?

Anonymous

Interesting on the second point, but I’m quite surprised by the “look” of some of these folk.

Last time I saw a shirt collar worn over a jacket like that was in Saturday Night Fever.

Matt

Some of it’s not my cup of tea either but a dozen blokes sat around a table wearing charcoal and navy suits would have been a bit boring.

Any thoughts on why Anglo-Italian, Drakes, et al only tend to offer one length size in their jackets? Surely there’s enough taller / shorter customers out there to justify ordering a small quantity of stock in different lengths?

Kev Fidler

An interesting variety of items and outfits; good that not everyone necessarily had to have top grade bespoke in order to achieve “style”. What was a particularly notable point to me was more than one of your guests emphasised personal attitude to what was good to wear – confidence, not trying too hard and comfort, appropriateness to the place and occasion. One definite benefit of the relaxation in dress expectations in work and social situations is you can dress in comfortable cloths and combinations yet still look and feel good.

Nick Inkster

I think there is a distinction to be made here between style and taste.

In my view, taste is something that is quite personal; Davide’s look is very specific (close to Sexton?) and I suspect just reflects what he likes to wear or look, not driven by a code or convention.

Style, perhaps, is how other people look at you and judge. So you could follow a Gregory Peck or Paul Newman look to create an image that you want others to see and then think of you in that image, thus being a bit like them.

Personally, I just chuck it on, knowing that I will feel pretty good about life and to hell with what others may say………….

David

Wonderful and very interesting video.

What suit are you wearing? It looks like your Henry Poole double breasted.

Thank you Simon

thank you Simon

MichaelH

First time I’ve watched a video of one of your events etc., I will do so again. That was really interesting to hear from some of the people I’ve only seen & read before (including yourself), particularly their thoughts on what they were wearing. Came across as genuine, nice guys. I’ve never mastered the collar over the jacket look but in my opinion that guy (sorry didn’t get his name) pulled it off…

Rik

Great video Simon. A very thoughtful and stylish bunch. Interesting no one mentioned shoes!

Christopher

Simon,
Wonderful video with excellent insight into the unique character and style that each gentlemen embodies. It’d be exciting to see a production similar to this played out across the Europe as well as the states (a “tour of style” of sorts). Thanks for sharing.

Lynn Pierson

Klingberg – black tie with navy suit and white shirt. Dull

Browne – elegant.

David

Very interesting.
Obviously a lot of different styles with people pulling it off to a greater or lesser extent.
One thing that stands out with three individuals (no names, no pack drill) is that they were dressing without any regard or probably understanding of their own colouring.
I’m seeing this more and more on the blog. Neutrals and earthy tones just don’t work if you are as white as a ghost! Maybe men just aren’t as aware of their skin tone and hair colouring as they could be?
The stand out cat here is undoubtably Michael Brown. He has a strong innate sense of style and plows his own furrow. The points he makes about his shirt are spot on. I’ve had Drake’s make to measure service make me a couple like this and they look great. Much better than the cutaway.

John

Hi Simon,
A great initiative!
John

Anonymous

Everyone will have their favourites; to me Klingberg and Kamoshita are the most elegant. Klingberg because he has a spared back look that is crisp and precise. Kamoshita wins overall for the cut, colour and combination of his outfit (or costume as Amies would have it). The Japanese rival the Italians for their immaculate sense of style. It is interesting that the great engineering nations also reflect a great sense of style… Britain, Italy, Japan, US (for street style). Without a hint of schadenfreude it makes me wonder where the Germans are..? On style one thing always strikes me – in true style the garment or outfit always takes second place to the individual in poor style in takes precedence. Does the suit wear the man or does the man wear the suit. Which is drawing your attention? If soemone says ‘you’re looking well, the style is right, if someone enquires ‘where did you get that jacket?’ there is something not quite right. With Kamoshita and Klingberg their personalities are not subsumed by their choices of garment or the way that it is worn. I do not criticise the others but use K & K to illustrate this point.

Michael

Simon, thanks for the video. Aleks Cvetkovic’s jacket looks amazing. Do you know who made it?

Bobby Lee

Hi Simon,
Just a quick note to you and your production (or even your guest). Whenever dress up for a photo or a video shoot, please do avoid certain texture as it will create (as in the video) moiré pattern when play back, the higher the resolution the worse the look. There is no way to correct the effect afterward except softening the images.
I think this is a good reference to those who will attend parties or gathering with TV crew or photographers as not just planning how to present their style but also how to make themselves look great in front of the camera.
Best,
Bobby

Loic

Hope you enjoy the little video, changing a bit with humour your dinner for your book.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CD-nn2zpvRN/?igshid=1deds976zz0ra