Saturday, 27 August 2011

Become your own style icon

MilanStyle.co.ukKJ Beckett's friends at MilanStyle.co.uk - the Men’s style and luxury brands blog - gave us their thoughts on what makes a snappy dresser...

'Style icon', like so many expressions these days, is a phrase which is completely overused in our opinion.

If you are a footballer, you are hailed as a 'style icon'.
If you happen to marry a footballer, you are a 'style icon'.
If you are an actor, you are a 'style icon'.

To be honest, it's a phrase we avoid at MilanStyle.

And while there are certainly a number of footballers, actors and others in the media spotlight who know how to pull a sharp outfit together (or let's be honest, have a stylist do it for them) money is not necessarily the only way to being stylish. And one thing we always try to convey to our readers at MilanStyle.co.uk is that you must in fact become your own style icon.

At MilanStyle.co.uk we celebrated our favourite dressers in one of our most popular articles on 'Timeless Style' for men.

Interestingly, many of the gentlemen we picked for our list had completely different looks and came from different backgrounds, from Motown to Buckingham Palace. Importantly though, all those on our list dressed true to their own personal style, something which they had each developed over the years.

But, so too did they all know the rules to completing an outfit.


While we were recently reviewing the article, we noticed that in all the pictures of the gentlemen we'd picked, they were wearing what we in England call handkerchiefs and what Americans call 'pocket squares'. (And what Europeans call 'pochettes' since you asked). Was this what made them look so smart?


A standard accessory worn with all jackets until the 70s, many men today however often fear the wearing of a handkerchief in the breast pocket of their favourite suit. The man from a working class background fears it will make him look 'too posh'. The successful businessman fears it will make him look out of touch or 'elitist'.

Forget these silly fears and give one a go. Our experience when wearing one is that people will generally really appreciate it, frequently coming up to you and giving you compliments on how smart you look. And who doesn't like to receive a compliment?

A silk handkerchief really does separate the men from the boys in our opinion.

If you're still dressing out of fear of what other people might say about your outfit, you may not be mature enough to pull off a handkerchief anyway!

If you are ready to give handkerchiefs a go though, it may be best to start with something simple and plain. You can't just go wrong with a luxurious white cotton 'kerchief by one of our favourite brands Derek Rose with whatever jacket colour you are wearing.
If you're a little more experienced with handkerchiefs, you can afford to be a little bolder. Ralph Lauren, for example, seems to be the American ambassador for the 'pocket square'. Something we've seen a lot of in the look-books we get sent for his labels like Polo Ralph Lauren and Ralph Lauren Purple Label is a smart navy blazer or rustic tweed jacket (which we British are of course very familiar with wearing) teamed with a beautiful, patterned silk handkerchief to really complete the look.

KJ Beckett are stocking the range of artisan handkerchiefs by the Soho (London) based designers 'Penrose London' in modern paisleys, which will work a treat with a navy or grey suit jacket. (Black jackets in our opinion can not tolerate so much colour, best to stick to a plan white cotton/linen or red silk handkerchief only).

There are many guides and illustrations on how to fold a handkerchief perfectly. We tend to just fold it in half so it forms a triangle and just shove it into the pocket using your middle fingers, so that it generally looks OK, don't worry so much about getting it 'perfect' - it's enough that you're confident enough to wear one. Once it's in, you'll be most stylish man in the room, and, dare we say it, maybe even your office's own Style Icon?

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