Saturday, 1 October 2011

Lindsey Bareham - Food Writer

The Look: 1940's French workwear jacket, Portobello Road. Black Capri Pants; Gap.

Workwear jackets go anywhere, are really durable and improve with age. You have to ferret out the vintage ones by searching market stalls and ebay. New versions are on the The Carrier Company website, T. Burrows do them for men, Margaret Howell and Uniqlo have produced them in the past. Lindsey wears hers all the time, with casual and smart clothes. It's perfect for when she's heading off on her bike to do some shopping for her 'Dinner Tonight' column in The Times.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

British Autumn - Kent, UK

The Look: Jacket;  Malcolm Levine, 10 years old (Malcolm has now left Chiltern Street for the US). Trousers; Gap, this year.  Shirt; T. Burrows, James Street, W1.

"Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humour, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here is Nick Baker in his patch of woodland in Kent, where he escapes from London to recharge. He always looks rather elegant, in an understated way. He is very discriminating and his forte is finding classic designer items in the sales. He is a great fan of T. Burrows in James Street W1, near St Christopher's place. There will be more on T. Burrows (Michael Gennoe and Alan Murray) later, the shop is worth an entry of it's own, stylists from various European fashion mags can often be seen nipping in there to check it out.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Skirt Issue - London

The Look: Dress; Cos, Ankle Boots; Natural Shoe Store last year.

At the moment skirts are either to the floor or above the knee. The gripe is that in a floor length number, if you are a certain age, it's hard not to look like a relic from Cranford. Above the knee skirts mean you love the way your legs look, which is not always the way, knees being a key issue here. So where are the perfect just below the knee skirts? Check out your Mad Men boxed set for how, in the fifties, skirt length was just that bit longer and more flattering. Here's a current version we found earlier.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Form and Function - Fulham, London

The Look: Navy Blue Cotton Sailcloth Jacket; the Carrier Company £54, T Shirt: Gap. 

Production Designer Andrew Sanders has minimalist taste and likes clothes that perform well under pressure when out on location. This jacket is well made, will last forever and gets better with age. It's categorized as a gardening jacket but you could take it anywhere.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Mary Ottaway Artist - London

The Look: White Sailor Trousers and Matelot Top; Gap about 3 years ago. Shoes; Bensimon

Finding clothes is quite a problem these days if you are into low key fashion. Mary always looks very chic, but she is frequently frustrated by the amount of fussy details on current clothes and why so many things are very low cut, when not everyone wants to have everything on show. The current trend is for seventies style colours and loud details...a bad look then and a bad look now. Mary is in classic matelot gear, sort of early sixties St Tropez, when St Tropez was very cool. It still works.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Emily Young, British Stone Carver - Grosseto, Italy

The Look: Jacket from Pietra Santa, Italy where Emily also buys her stone. Trousers; (5 years old) Joseph.  Shoes: Wedding Shoes by Emma Hope (12 years old), originally white, dyed black by Emily.

Here is Emily in her monastery in Italy where she has been preparing for her show 'The Maremma Heads' to be seen at The Fine Art Society, Bond Street from 8th - 28th July.
As for her clothes, she uses a lot of plain black very effectively and is always altering or dying things she feels aren't quite right. She has been known to splurge a fair bit on items that catch her eye, but she works very hard, in a tough, dusty environment, breaking into large rocks and a trawl round the shops is a bit of well earned, light relief.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Made to Measure - Hasting, Sussex

Craig's jacket, circa 1991; made from organic hemp by Ronnie a tailor in a basement on Bishops Bridge Road. Craig dyed it blue.  T shirt; organic linen made to measure by playwright and fashion designer Lorna Holder.

Craig Sams has always been ahead of the game in fashion, business and pretty much everything else. Here he is with his favourite seagull outside his greenhouse in Hastings. Having founded, among other things, Green and Black's chocolate with his wife Josephine Fairley, his latest project is Carbon Gold a biochar fertiliser.

His overall view on clothes is this: if you shop for clothes quite often they don't fit properly, the sleeves are too short, trousers don't fit round the waist etc. It therefore makes more sense, long term, to have things made to  measure. He roots out small independent tailors, uses organic fabrics as much as possible and hardly ever buys anything new. As a result he has a lifetime supply of suits, shirts and t shirts.
Audrey of Hasting repairs everything, relines waistcoats etc; salvaging garments that would otherwise be thrown out.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Elusive Plain White T Shirt - Notting Hill, London

Gone are the days when you could easily find a loose, plain white, cotton T Shirt. Now they are either stretchy, too tight, too thick, fitted, polyester etc etc etc. The nearest thing is to raid the men's departments, root out an extra small and alter the sleeves, the length etc. What an effort for such a basic, easy and essential item. We used to find loose, white Hanes t shirts but those days seem to be long gone. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Charlotte Horton Wine Producer - Seggiano, Italy

The Look: Wool Jacket, 2nd hand market Bolivia 3 Euros; Scarf, a present; Jumper, Grosetto market; Grey Trousers, Castel del Piano 2nd hand market; Boots, by Arandu, bought new in Argentina £80.

Charlotte has been producing prize winning wine and olive oil at Castello di Potentino in Tuscany for ten years.  She doesn't go in for major clothes shopping, she has better things to do, but she does like classics that last and has a large collection of vintage items. She loves good boots and buys them in Rome and Buenos Aires. In winter she she takes off to Argentina and Bolivia where she raids the second hand clothes markets.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Angela Piddock Headteacher - London

The Look: Jacket Phase 8 last year; Black Top Gap four years old; Trousers Hobbs last year.

The joy of plain clothes is that they last, we are happy with less. We aren't interested in endless trends,  and buying into the 'must-have' culture. It's a relaxed approach yet it's not boring, we're aware of structure and what works. Less is definitely more. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Gerald Marks Painter - London

The Look: Jeans - Wrangler from Debenhams, Levi shirt - (Gerald has an increasing problem finding plain ones that haven't been stonewashed) from Jacket - Levi, again, difficult finding classic plain ones. Boots - Russell & Bromley.

Gerald will be 90 in June and has been wearing his uniform of Levi or Wrangler jeans, shirts and jackets for years. He is a true example of ageless style.
A lot of us like wearing a look that becomes a uniform. If you actually look at fashion designers. you see that they often prefer to wear a uniform of pared down classics, even though they are turning out multicoloured and elaborate designs on the catwalk.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Carmen Du Sautoy Actor - Hampstead, London

The Look: Jacket - Ventilo Paris circa 1998. White Cotton Ribbed Camisole - Paris circa 2004. Jeans - Classic Cut On The Waist Slim Leg Armani circa 2008 (now sadly obsolete, Carmen had the sense to buy 6 pairs in the 2 years they were available).

Plain clothes people are unashamedly fond of black, we rather like a crisp white shirt and a well cut pair of jeans. We're not averse to colour but use it sparingly. We like to look relaxed, rather than trussed up and have an eye for proportion and detail.
We're low key, minimal types (sartorially speaking), but also real people who enjoy comfort and a certain degree of practicality. Shops in the main seem to have forgotten about us (such as a certain chain store we could mention). They think their customers either want to look like designer fashion victims, head to toe in patterning, detailing, draping, embellishing, logoing etc, or offer clothes that are just plain dreary, dull and horribly middle of the road. Yet we are not a tiny minority. There are thousands of us out there on a quest to find those items that still have that edge that we want.