André Larnyoh has enviably easy style.
It’s tempting to put this down to his work as an actor, but that would be too simplistic. That training certainly creates “natural physical awareness”, as he puts it, but there’s also fascination with aesthetics in general, and the influence of working in menswear. André used to work at Trunk in London, and recently started at Drake’s.
It’s also easy to think that there are photos of André everywhere. After all, he appears in Trunk’s feed, has modelled for Scott Fraser Collection, for Adret and for Polo Ralph Lauren (see bottom of article).
But as he says, none of those were his clothes, reflecting what he actually wears every day. And as with Gianluca Migliarotti – whom we covered most recently in this series – André posts very few selfies.
So I think he’s a great subject for this latest ‘How to dress like’ feature.
Outfit 1: Finding the right denim
OK André, let’s talk through the first look. Where’s everything from?
This is a lightweight Mackintosh that I got at Trunk about two years ago, with a Levi’s shirt. I have a lot of Western shirts, I pretty much live in them.
Where have you had them from?
It’s been a bit of a learning curve. My first one was from Levi’s and a size medium, and as you can see I’m pretty tiny. It fit in the shoulders, but was just too blousy in the body.
It was also too light – I think the secret to a good Western shirt is nice snaps and a mid-weight. It can’t be as light as a normal shirt, but you don’t want a original heavyweight either. Just something so it can soften nicely over time, all that good stuff.
I have a Polo one, which is OK, and then this heavier Levi’s which is my favourite. Maybe one day I’ll be able to get a Bryceland’s one.
The trousers are Kit Blake, the Aleksander cut, with double pleats – a high-twist wool in a mottled grey/brown colour. It’s a bit more casual than normal flannels, and I love the rise.
I always wear high rise. I think it makes me taller: I hope it makes me taller. But either way I like it because it’s so comfortable.
A good example of being aware of menswear principles without necessarily following them.
True. The shoes are Crockett & Jones, my absolute favourite shoe, period. They go with everything. The jacket underneath is from Lardini, and the glasses are from the Japanese brand that Trunk sells, Ayame. They don’t sell this model though – the Around (which is a terrible name!)
The glasses are big, bug-eyed, with a 50% blue tint, and I love them. I’m wearing them right now actually. I don’t know, maybe I look ridiculous and nobody’s told me yet, but the tint makes everything seem calm, and I love the size – there’s almost a Jackie O thing about them, where the size hides your face.
Outfit 2: Wearing colour
Number two, the green shirt. Now I know we’ve talked about this before, but not on PS: do you think your skin colouring makes it easier for you to wear colour?
I think it does, yes, but actually I don’t wear that much colour. I’m scared of big blocks of it. Partly from teenage years I think – all the mistakes you make, going round in a violet shirt with a paisley tie and thinking you’re the shit.
So I wear neutrals mostly – white, grey, black, dark brown, navy. But I really like the colour of this shirt.
I laughed when I first saw the drop from Drake’s, along with a yellow one and a pink. But then I went to this exhibition at Tate Britain, by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. It was mostly portraits of black men and they were often in dusty-pink, black or green shirts. That inspired me to try the pink and the green Drake’s ones, and I love them.
That often seems to be the way with colour, or perhaps with any clothing you don’t usually wear – you need to see it on someone else before you feel confident to wear it yourself.
Yes, true. And in those portraits it made their skin seem more vibrant.
Maybe I can wear more colour than other people, and if that’s true I’ll take it. But it’s still always easier to wear neutrals, and so I do it more. I mean I already have a big wardrobe for someone my age – it’s hard enough to choose what to wear from among dark colours. I don’t want to have to think about colour coordinating in the morning as well.
I feel self-conscious in strong colour, and perhaps that’s because I’m wearing big sunglasses and other unusual things too. You need some self-restraint.
I see the trousers are the same as the previous outfit. How about the shoes – that’s a fairly light colour with the trousers, and with dark socks.
Yes, I think the shoes (from Adret) look a little paler than they are in real life. Or maybe they’ve lightened over time. And the socks – yes I think was actually planning to wear no socks with this outfit, but I forgot to change!
I don’t think dark socks are that bad though, to be honest. There’s the whole thing about matching socks to trousers, and that lengthening you etc. And that is probably true, but the fact is I’m wearing pale khaki shoes, so they’re going to stand out against the trousers no matter what.
Outfit 3: Shawls and cable knits
Is that RRL, your lovely cardigan in the next outfit?
Oh yes, I love that thing so much, and it’s the one piece of RRL I’m lucky enough to own. It’s not the hand-knitted ones, but it’s still lovely. It’s wool but with some silk too; the colour variation is lovely; and the concho buttons have this satisfying ping whenever I take it off.
I’ve had it almost two years and while it looked a little aged at the start, it’s really nice and worn in now. I shove things in the pockets – not just my hands, but books, anything. If it’s not cold enough to wear a coat, then I just wear this, so everything goes in those pockets.
Is it hard to get the right size in slouchy things, given you’re smaller?
Yes – any bigger in this cardigan and it would have drowned me. But it’s just right. It fits on the shoulders, which is the main thing, and then it doesn’t matter if it’s a little long.
Shawl-collar cardigans are great too, I’d love more. They frame my face, they feel cosy, you can wear them over shirts, T-shirts, knitwear, anything.
Do you often layer knitwear like you’re doing here?
Yes a fair bit, and this combination of a cable-knit jumper, trousers and loafers is my absolute go-to in the morning. You know everyone has something they just turn to when they have no other particular ideas? This is mine.
I wear the cable knit with a bandana if it’s cold, but otherwise not. And I wear a jacket, coat or cardigan over the top. It’s a base outfit that takes me anywhere, and is good for anything.
I notice you rarely wear shirts under jumpers like this one. Is there a reason?
I just don’t like myself like that. I think maybe because it looks a bit old, and a bit clean-cut? It looks great on other people, but it makes me look like someone I’m not.
I’m only 26, and I feel a button-down under a crewneck ages me 10 or 20 years. So I wear the cable knit on its own or with a bandana instead.
The trousers are Edward Sexton, in a camel Fox flannel, and the shoes are Crockett & Jones, the Boston model.
Outfit 4: Mismatched navy
Talking about dark colours earlier on, here you are in all navy.
Yes I like slightly mismatched navy combinations like this. The jacket is from Vetra, bought at John Simons, and I think it looks good because of how much it’s been worn and washed. It’s the first thing I get out in the Summer – when I get those lightweight things out from under my bed (they’re kept in a suitcase).
The shoes we’ve chatted about before as well – it’s the jazz/dance shoe right, from Crown?
Right, the Regent model. I got them only a year-and-a-half ago, but they’re pretty bashed up already. It’s a dancing shoe really, it’s not designed for being worn out and about. Similar to Repetto shoes, the French brand.
They suit your style a lot I think, as they look so soft and relaxed. But I can imagine other people feeling they look a bit too much like a ballet shoe.
Yeah, and I get teased about them all the time for that. It helps that I actually did a little ballet, so that’s some kind of comeback.
I’m sure some readers will be able to relate to being teased a bit for their clothes. Does that ever stop you wearing things?
Sometimes, but when it’s things that are fundamental to how I dress it’s fine, because it feels so part of me. If you feel awkward in the clothes already, or a little stiff, it’s then that you can start to feel bad.
You wear vests a lot under shirts and knits as well. That’s something else that I think people can be nervous about, thinking it makes them look like some kind of lothario.
It’s weird, I’ve gone through stages with vests. When I was a kid, I wore them all the time. My background is Ghanaian, and everyone in that community wears them. Then when I was in my teens, I didn’t want to wear them anymore, because they made me feel like my uncles.
Then about three or four years ago, I put one on instead of another undershirt, and it really worked. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it in the UK – how do you feel? I know you wear them sometimes.
I guess I like it just peeking out of a shirt, so one more button done up than you have. But I think that’s about recognising who you are and your style too – if they had that heritage for me, as they do for you, I might feel differently.
To be honest, most people where I come from would cover them up, but I think you’re right that that makes a difference. Plus, I do think it has a little sex appeal, hard as it is for a guy to say that.
Outfit 5: Navy and black
So many great themes coming up. OK, so last outfit. We have mismatched navy again, and the undershirt. The same black loafers as outfit one as well – do you ever wear brown shoes?
Not really. So many people seem to think black leather shoes are formal, but they don’t feel like that to me, at least as a loafer. And I used to think that they couldn’t go with everything, but they do.
There’s probably some light shade of brown that they wouldn’t work with, but I honestly can’t think of anything else.
Is it a little bit a function of what else you wear?
Yes perhaps. I also wear them with military tan, but there might be a stronger khaki shade there that wouldn’t work. But I just think black looks so much more sexy and elegant than brown ever did. That might also be associated with drama school.
It’s weird. We were just always told to wear black. Because it’s neutral, because you’re there to learn and to perform, not to be noticed for your fashion choices. And I was getting into menswear at the time anyway, so I had black and brown shoes (and hats, and lots of other silly things I won’t get into).
Over time that kind of bled into what I liked, and I’d wear for example a black rollneck, because it would mean I wouldn’t have to change when I got there. It was New York too, so it was probably part of the feel of the place.
When I moved here and started working in menswear, it was all about brown. But I just don’t like brown shoes – sorry, but it’s true. I’ve got the exact same shoe in brown calf, and they’re killing me, because I haven’t worn them enough for them to wear in.
Where is everything else from?
It’s the Lardini jacket that you could just see in the first outfit, a baby-cord shirt from Camoshita, and vintage navy trousers.
Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt, except images below, Ralph Lauren and Adret