OK, so. Friend and photographer Jamie Ferguson has been locked up indoors for weeks, as we all have. And he’s gone a bit stir crazy.
We had started talking a while ago about shoots we could do remotely. Perhaps looking at a few outfits of his, shot in his studio at home. Last week forced confinement made that a reality.
The results are really fun. Outfits and shots that make the corners of my mouth curl into a smile, even as I’m trying to write eloquently about the appeal of chalkstripe flannel.
They’re also, perhaps, timely in being a touch of levity in very serious times.
We all need a bit of light relief at the moment.
Outfit 1: Polo shirt with chinos and cream denim jacket
- The Worker’s Club off-white denim jacket
- Rubato brown V-neck sweater
- Polo Ralph Lauren white polo shirt
- Stoffa trousers
- Uniqlo Socks
- Alden cordovan tassel loafers
- Mollusk cap
One of the reasons I’ve always liked talking to Jamie about clothes, is that his style is more exploratory than mine.
He grew up with skateboarding, loves sports- and workwear, but also tailoring. He draws from a wider range of influences – then and now – and so it’s interesting hearing what he’s into, and filtering it through my own tastes and preferences.
In the outfit above for example, I love the colour combination of cream, brown, taupe and white. It’s very tonal, not too dissimilar to what I like doing with a polo shirt – just more sporty and playful.
Outfit 2: Barbour jacket over brown chalkstripe suit
- Barbour Bedale waxed jacket
- Berg and Berg chocolate chalkstripe suit
- Lock and Co Rambler’s hat
- Barbanera light-wash denim shirt
- Alden snuff-suede Indy boots
While Jamie’s influences may be broader than mine, however, he commented while we were arranging this shoot that he thinks his style has settled down a lot recently.
“It’s been interesting putting all these looks together – shooting my own clothes on myself for a change,” he says. “It’s crystallised a few thoughts around how I like to dress, and what I enjoy about clothing.
“One is that I always like to dress up casual clothing, and dress down smarter clothing. That might be, for example, throwing on a bucket cap with a suit, to dress it down; or wearing dressier loafers with a T-shirt and chinos, to dress that up.
“I guess it’s a form of high/low dressing. But it also means more outfits cluster around a sweet spot in the middle – a narrower set of combinations that feel more like me.”
Outfit 3: Sawtooth denim shirt under high-twist suit
- Saman Amel suit
- Bryceland’s Sawtooth Westerner denim shirt
- Alden cordovan penny loafers
These mixed combinations can be quite subtle, and only really unexpected in their texture, or weight.
In the outfit above there is nothing that unusual save the heavy denim shirt under a relatively smart suit, and perhaps the lack of socks.
“This will sound boring, and something everyone talks about,” says Jamie, “but it really pays to have the basics covered – and that’s a place I’ve only really reached in the past year or so.
“A great grey suit, a solid set of oxford shirts, jeans that you like in the rise, the wash and the leg line. They’re foundations for everything else – and make mixing together styles like this a lot easier.”
Outfit 4: Cream dinner jacket with tartan trousers
- Caruso cotton-linen dinner jacket
- Suitsupply shirt
- Campbell’s of Beauly trousers in Ferguson tartan
- Drake’s cummerbund
- La Bowtique bow tie
- Stubbs and Wootton slippers
- Kirk Originals glasses
One particular area where our styles differ is black tie. Jamie tends to seek ways to make it personal and unique, while I like the idea of it being the most refined outfit of all.
But as with anyone that really finds clothing interesting, I always like to see what he wears.
For example, the combination above seems like everything I wouldn’t wear for evening attire. But actually, it’s only the colour/pattern of the trousers, and perhaps the lack of socks. Everything else, like the white/black combinations in the top half, is very classic.
I think this speaks to the value of understanding and trying classic combinations, before you play around. Everything is built on those same fundamental ideas.
Outfit 5: Field jacket with cream sweater
- J.Crew field jacket in cotton and linen
- Barbanera light-wash denim shirt
- Drake’s lambswool rollneck
- Saman Amel trousers
- Alden suede chukka boots
“This feels very me,” says Jamie. “Smart trousers but denim shirt; simple boots but a knowing sweater around the shoulders. None of it taking itself too seriously.
“I used to be very envious of people like Gauthier [Borsarello], Tony [Sylvester] or Ethan [Newton], who all combined different types of clothing yet looked very much themselves. That was always my ideal.
“I feel like I’m there now. It’s not a final point: clothing keeps changing, you keep finding new things; I think too many young guys think there is some end goal, where everything will be perfect.
“But you do settle down. It happens when you have a bit more money, too, and you’ve been able to try enough different things. Eventually you find you’re circling around the same kinds of clothes, the same ways of putting them together.”
Outfit 6: Tweed jacket with chinos and sneakers
- Thom Sweeney bespoke Harris Tweed jacket
- Drake’s off-White rollneck
- Orslow trousers
- Doek Sneakers
Speaking to that last point about circling around the same clothes, it’s instructive how the same pieces have been used in different ways in these shots: cordovan loafers with a suit or chinos; denim shirts with everything.
“I hope people enjoy these shots,” says Jamie. “I always try to find a little bit of fun when I’m shooting – it stops everything becoming too earnest, which is always a danger with menswear.”
“It’s just dressing up after all.”
Amen to that.