Women’s best-dressed man of the year: Yukio Akamine

Runners-up: Shuhei Nishiguchi, Adam Rogers

Other nominees: Ethan Newton, Andreas Weinas, Jake Grantham, Bruce Boyer, Yasuto Kamoshita, Douglas Cordeaux, Chad Park

 

This headline is a deliberate piece of rhetoric – but you knew that, didn’t you? 

An award like this cannot hope to provide a complete view of what women like men to wear. If indeed such a thing existed – if it were not just a chaotic, inconsistent group of preferences.

It is not intended to. Its aim is more modest: merely to provide a slightly different slant, a brief alternative to the normal discussion in menswear, which is men commenting on other men. 

Women don’t all think the same, just like men don’t think the same. But I find there are enough commonalities to make this topic interesting. 

Just as it can be broadly commented, for example, that men are often geeky about ‘stuff’ – whether cars or clothes – so I find that women often care more about how comfortable a man is in what he wears than anything else. 

This year’s award for best-dressed man is an exercise in exploring that. 

I asked four women I know who work in menswear (two cutters, one tailor and one designer) to pick their best-dressed men from the list created by readers two years ago, in our first best-dressed award

They could use whatever criteria they wanted (this isn’t necessarily about physical attraction, and that was never mentioned) and knew they would be anonymised. 

It was fun. Full of biases, I’m sure, not least the fact they all work in menswear. But fun, interesting, and with enough commonalities to make it feel worthwhile. And I love the fact that Yukio Akamine won.

 

 

Permanent Style: Who did you think was best dressed, and why? 

K: Yukio Akamine (above, @akamineyukio) was my favourite. I thought he did colour and texture so well. There were a few outfits on his Instagram where he was very tonal – like a brown suit, brown shoes, brown socks, and tan tie. It was unusual, but it really worked for him.  

N: I agree, it felt like he knew his own style and what suited him. Even though there are quite a few unusual outfits there, it all looked very natural. 

S: I thought the number of different styles was impressive – formal suits, blouson and boots, roll neck with tennis shoes. And it doesn’t look posed – although the shots clearly are posed, he doesn’t look that self conscious. 

C: There’s a lot of character there, and personality, but without showing off. Women certainly don’t all like the same thing – I have so many female friends with completely different tastes – but if there’s one thing you can generalise about, it’s that they like guys that aren’t trying too hard. 

As a cutter, I find a lot of guys come in wanting a look like that – tight jackets, narrow trousers. They think it looks sexy, but it doesn’t. It’s a kind of a French look to me. I don’t like to tell them, but I try to ease them away from it. 

 

 

S: It’s definitely off-putting if someone looks too fussy. They look uncomfortable, which makes you feel uncomfortable. 

I think it’s the same with how women dress too, actually. Even though women might wear more things generally, more jewellery, more accessories, there’s definitely a point where they’re wearing even more than everyone else, and trying too hard.

(Things like botox are similar in a way – they feel a little unnatural, and so make you uncomfortable.)

I liked Adam Rogers’ style (above, @adam_rogers_) a lot for that reason. I’ve seen him around and he always looks so easy and elegant in his clothes. They’re quite unusual, but he clearly lives in them. And I didn’t like Chad Park so much for the same reason. God it’s so hard be judgmental about people! It doesn’t come naturally to me.

C: I agree on Adam’s style, though personally I adore linen so I love how he wears that with everything. 

Another bias I know I have, is that I like men to look good in casual clothing. I spend so much time around sharp business wear – it’s what I make and fit all day – that I take that more for granted. It’s really impressive when a guy can look just as great in casual things. 

 

 

K: Shuhei Nishiguchi (above, @shuhei_nishiguchi did that well. He probably has the greatest range of looks of anyone in the whole list – T-shirts, leather jackets, suits, roll necks, jewellery. He’s a little more posed, but looking good in all of that is impressive. 

N: For me that range is important, but because I feel it expresses different parts of the person’s personality. We all have different sides to us, so I like it when someone can express all of that through their clothes and how they wear them. 

I was quite rigorous with my analysis – I had different categories, and rated people out of 10 for each one. Range was an important one. 

I also think that point about looking natural in your clothes is about honesty. If someone is being emotionally honest and open with you, it’s attractive, and that comes across in how you dress as well. 

Ethan Newton (below, @ethandesu) had that authenticity for me. Nothing looked forced. 

 

 

K: Yes Ethan looks good – and Ben [Phillips] and Tony [Sylvester] should have been in that list too, they all look so good, in similar ways. 

Hats are a real sign of confidence in how you dress, and all three of them have that. A beret looks fairly subtle on them, easy, and then Ethan pushes the boundaries a bit more with his cowboy hats. 

S: Kamoshita has that too. He looks so happy and at ease, yet often unusual. Perhaps there’s just something about being in the industry for decades, having to dress well every day. It must give you a lot of confidence in what you look good in. 

N: I liked Kamoshita’s style, though I thought maybe his look wouldn’t work for everyone, particularly the ascots. 

 

 

S: Andreas Weinas (above, @andreasweinas) clearly does tailoring very well. His execution is perfect. Though as a tailor I think he’d look great with shoulder pads! He’s got good shoulders, they’d look sharp and strong. 

C: Andreas might be the most tightly curated of everyone – and best put together in that sense. It was very consistent. We get a lot of people coming into the tailoring shop with pictures of him to reference (as well as you Simon – it’s always you or him!). 

N: I spend some time judging fashion students, and even with them, I think the point about being comfortable in what you wear is important. No matter how unusual, it has to feel like an extension of themselves. 

K: Across all the men, it feels like the best-dressed ones have spent time slowly finding out what they like, what suits them, and settling into that look. I’m not sure how you can tell that from a set of photographs, but that’s definitely what comes across. 

C: Agree. I’ve never thought about it before – never rationalised it all actually – but that’s core to looking good.

 

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Matt H

I doubt if the average woman would pick many from that list of men. I think that the average woman probably likes tight-fitting and somewhat flashy clothing.
Women who work in the tailoring side of the clothing industry will probably appreciate a lot of the same people as we men. I think this list is indicative of that.

Gonzague

Interesting angles. I never understood that people rank Ethan’s looks so much. It is casual but so sophisticated that it is kind of obvious he must spend an hour getting dressed every morning. Kind of a hipster.

Kenny

I have chatted to Ethan at the PS pop-ups and found him to be very charming. He was dressed more conservatively, like the photograph on the right. on that day. Contrary to Simon’s view, The outfits in the other two photographs do look “forced” to me – “contrived” would my description. So which outfits did the judges really prefer? All we have are their comments on his hats and the red beanie is a very hipster look, more suited Hoxton and Shoreditch than the Row. I wish Ethan every success with his venture and hope that will return to London soon.

E L

I think I agree with the women: it is hard to think of a better dressed man than Yukio Akamine. Unlike some others on this list, his clothes aren’t costume-y (they can be worn by real people in the real world). Moreover, he does a lot of interesting clothing combinations that I would not have thought of. I also like the way his clothes look very relaxed on him–not too tight, and not too pressed.

Linden

Maybe not *too* pressed, but he does love a good crease. Have a look at this video of him giving tips on pressing trousers:
https://youtu.be/2fI4ALsg1t4

Anonymous

It would be interesting to have full-length articles in which the same women describe those guys’ style more in depth, e.g. why would Andreas W. look so good with shoulder pads, what does his style convey to them, etc.

Becks

geez, i would love to run this question past some of the females I know (who are admittedly, very stylish in their own right). I would present them with these same men, but also allow them to throw their own men in to the mix and see what we come up with. I reckon there would be a few thin lapelled, puddle jumper trouser wearing GQ style masters in there thats for sure.

Anonymous

Truthfully, most people in the UK dress pretty badly and I suppose that this may also be true to a greater or lesser extent in other countries.Given that, I think that most women here would be quite happy to see their men dress in high street clothing,jeans,T shirt,anorak,white sneakers etc.IMO most women would find a man dressed in the formal or casual style advocated on Simon’s site quite intimidating in a one to one situation.

VSF

May I suggest that women who would find a well dressed man, along the lines of Permanent Style, intimidating one on one are women that you don’t need! Personally I find that hard to believe. The women I know are very pleased when the men in their lives dress well and would like to see them do so more often, much more often actually.

Evan Everhart

I would say that yr impression is not that accurate. The reaction of most of the women with whom I associate is very positive to the suits that I wear 5 days a week, and to the generally sport coats and loafers or similar which I wear on weekend while in the city. I would say that the reactions of any woman, let alone person to quality tailoring and high brow clothing in general is entirely dependent upon the class of woman or person in general.

That said, there are women out there who like men in sweat pants who are covered in tattoos and have multiple piercings. Taste while not relative, mostly, varies based upon the acculturation of the individual and different things will appeal to different classes with their different tastes.

As a final note, my position may not be the popular one in our collective Western society’s rush towards supposed classless ideals as espoused by the driving force behind much of academia’s present establishment, but I have seen my above stated position borne out far too many times to count.

Jason

Quel result !
The ladies obviously appreciate experience and have given the gong to a sprightly 75 year old.
It just goes to show that us more mature flaneurs know a thing or two about the sartorial arts.
These things are always very subjective but Yukio does seem to have rather too much going on with some of his looks for my taste and I’m not sure about his penchant for brown.
That said, he sports it all well and sips a mean cup of coffee.
I’m going to amp up my curation in the hope of being in with a chance next year !

Scott

Akamine San is one most sophisticated and well dressed men on the planet, well chosen ladies! He looks so natural and nonchalant in his clothing. This is a very important lesson to learn.

Andrew

Great article! By the way have you ever had anything to do with Neapolitan tailor Gianni Volpe (Sartoria Volpe)? Any opinion about his work? Merci

M

I think a lot of what women like and pick for men are obvious in men, who let their wives/girlfriends pick their outfit or for weddings. Just browse through those weddings outfits where men and their friends wear matching outfits.

Keith Taylor

Bit of a Catch-22 there, as the women above mentioned that a big part of the appeal of these men is that they seem at ease with themselves. I could let my wife dress me up like a Ken doll (please nobody suggest it to her; she has no eye for menswear), but I’d look and feel ill at ease, which would in turn make her feel uncomfortable. I’ve never seen a man dressed by his wife who looked either comfortable or happy (apart from those odd couples you sometimes see hand in hand wearing matching tracksuits, but I can only assume they’re involved in some sort of sportswear-based cult).

Evan Everhart

Perfect retort, and thank you for making it to that confusion of a statement.

Anonymous

I have to say I’ve not explicitly canvased my female friends (wife excluded) to see what they think but I do think that we are inevitably influenced by the company we keep and those working in this area of the menswear industry are going to be more in tune with the readers views than anything close to the norm.

A quick conversation in the office (someone spotted me reading the blog at lunch) and the female vote here (finance department of an insurance company in the City) goes clearly with Andreas with fairly negative views mentioned on the others… footwear matching outfits seemed a big consideration. There was an almost universal dislike to the suit 2 sizes too small look though.

I do wonder what you hoped to achieve with a “female vote” and if that has been achieved by use of industry insiders.

Anonymous

They were fairly critical of high gloss leather shoes with jeans even if we’d argue brown tassel loafers are fairly casual and similarly tennis shoes with what they viewed as formal trousers… I guess you could summarise that they saw less nuances in levels of formality of items.

Confident/relaxed was also seen as more of a hygiene factor, to use the language of the motivational theorists. Ie a guy in a good tuxedo can be made to look bad if he is evidently uncomfortable but a 150kg middle age man in his speedos will never look well dressed no matter how confident/relaxed he is in them.

They did agree that they don’t want fussy or too flamboyant but overall impact of the outfit and fit was key with a tendency towards more formal looks or at least “tidy”

Rory

Besides his style (which I also appreciate) I appreciate how Yukio Akamine follows you back if you follow him on instagram. Meaningless? perhaps, but it feels good to be followed by the women’s best-dressed man of the year.

As an aside Simon, have you met any Italian cutters, tailors, etc in your travels who you found praticularily jovial and relaxed?

Thomas

Akamine-san (75 years old ?) really does embody the idea of Permanent Style – how nice to know that he and others like Antonio Liverano demonstrate that with some great taste in classic menswear and perhaps some good teeth 🙂 – a man can remain cool and distinguished for many many years….

John

Hi Simon,
Eventually, this post gives me the opportunity to resume reading PS after a break. What strikes me from these women’s perspective actually are two criteria explicitly mentionned: authenticity and comfort in how being well dressed means to them. I think we could easily agree on those two scores.
But when it comes to “fabrics and colors”, we would quite share the same understanding. Broadly speaking, women do possess a wider perspective on colors as reflected in clothing. And yet, that doesn’t stop them from being inspired by how colors are mixed in menswear.
Perhaps, this inquiry could be broadened to include women’s view on how big a well dressed man’s wardrobe should be, and how its core items look like. I presume that they dislike huge wardrobes. Thus a question could be why?
John

Emerging Genius

As soon as I see a post from “Jason”, I know that somewhere in there will be a reference to a “flaneur. ” I just keep on moving along due to the lack of interesting content and the irrelevant and irritating nature of flaneuring therein.

Evan Everhart

Jason’s a very nice fellow, and quite knowledgeable from what I’ve seen, but I do also agree that the odious word is invariably thrown in (unnecessarily), and that it is incredibly nauseating. I detest that word as it always casts a grotesque pall of pretentiousness upon any comment or statement which has been attainted by its inclusion, even when its user is not pompous or pretentious. I literally roll my eyes and stop reading when I see it. There are of course far more interesting terms and turns of phrase which might be used instead. I do actually like Jason aside from his fascination with flan 😉

Peter

Gotta say, it would be tough to pick any one of those fellas as better or worse than the others, but it makes me happy to see Mr. Akamine up there. I particularly like how he goes from suit and tie to sweater and sneakers and still looks great, age notwithstanding.

It would be interesting to corral the judges together in a video to have them speak more at length about their choices. It’s always revealing to hear a woman’s voice about men’s clothing.

Elizabeth C.

I do not reside in or even visit the fashion world, so I offer an outsider’s opinion.

From this group of men, Yukio Akamine is my choice. I don’t actually like the pieces he wears, but I love the way he wears them, giving the impression of a man who is clear on who he is. He is at ease and secure in himself.

On my husband, those clothes would look ridiculous; he looks brilliant in a Hawaiian shirt. Tailored attire conflicts with who he is; as an attorney, however, he must wear attire suitable for the courtroom. Once he returns to the office, he changes back to his Hawaiian shirt and jeans.

It isn’t the clothes so much as the congruity of the clothes for the particular man. When clothes fit the man, not merely his body, he looks appealing.

For best-dressed men, I nominate Gunther Krabbenhoft , Randy Rainbow, Gustavo Dudamel, Steven Jobs, and Derek Jacobi. A quick Google image search shows Sir Derek looking perfectly at ease and gorgeous whether in a suit or a toga, which leads me to observe that men — make that people — who are comfortable with who they are, who aren’t trying to prove themselves with their attire, look great.

Depending on the man, his clothes may be flamboyant, campy, conservative, casual, neo-Georgian, or thrifted. You do you.

Is the man wearing the suit, or is the suit wearing the man?

A great look comes from authenticity, integrity, and being secure in who you are. Maybe that’s why most politicians look awful.