When I went to see Women, Fashion, Power, I was a little surprised to see Mr Patrick Grant giving an interview at the end on the history of women’s fashion. Like me you may have known this guy from the Great British Sewing Bee. He is not an academic; he is not a journalist; he is not a tailor; but now he has become a foremost style expert for both men and women. He bought a defunct tailors’ and became its style advisor. Recently he produced a range for Debenhams, badged as quintessential British style. Good luck to him – I hope he is successful.
Patrick was born in Scotland and trained as an engineer, but has always (rarely for a man it seems) been most interested in style and looking right, even as a school boy (knee high socks up, but turned down). He is tall, with wide shoulders and a fairly slim but not effete body shape with smart facial hair. He is selling his own style, claiming he would not produce anything he would not wear himself. I follow Paddy on Twitter and he is a good guy – but as he sets himself up as an expert on style I hope he doesn’t mind me giving my opinion on his outfits.
Let’s have a look, at his look.
Here he is (1) in a double-breasted coat over a nice grey checked suit with decent brown shoes. The coat is a bit naval, but the wide collar is flattering on hin and he looks smart. I don’t think the suit cuff should be revealed, or has he pushed up the coat sleeves deliberately? Is it a new look?
I like (2) , his diffusion range for high street store Debenham’s. Patrick again develops the fisherman look with a heavy polo necked jumper, a coat with the collar artfully turned up, plain grey trousers, and a pair of light tan shoes. He is tall enough for the contrasting shoes, and in fact the outfit would be a little dreary with black shoes. Patrick has his horizontal lines in just the right places. His cuffs are just long enough, the trousers are the right length and the knee-length coat is a good on him, balancing out his wide shoulders. Personally I find the collar of his jumper a little bit too wide, but it this is just a matter of opinion.
The messy linen double-breasted jacket and rolled up trousers (3) is a bit off. Here the horizontals make him look fairly short and a little bit fat. Although he has a tan I think the blue is bit bright – muted colours are more flattering for him, with some deepness – and this emphasises the width of the tummy area, making him look a bit like he is pregnant. The tatty turquoise shopper undermines the natty pocket handkerchief. And does the outfit need a tie too? The rolled up trousers could look OK as he has long slim legs, but I would have matched them with a nice round neck cashmere jumper, or a loose jacket.
“Some people have the ability to carry clothes, and whatever clothes they happen to wear they look right in. Other people, sadly, could be dressed by the greatest stylists in the world and still look slightly uncomfortable. I think the point is that you have to wear the clothes that you feel yourself in. Then, even if you’re scruffy, you can be incredibly stylish. Style is about individuality and continuity, and fashion is about uniformity and constant churn — but you can buy into fashion and retain a sense of personal style. Although I do think there’s too much fashion in the world.”
Let’s have a look at another outfit. Patrick likes to wear a double breasted suit. He is tall and broad chested enough to wear a DB jacket but to me the proportions are wrong. The trousers, shoes and tie are way too skinny for such a full jacket. It makes him look a portly and the length resembles a dress. And although you can wear them undone, this just looks a mess to me. The colour of this suit and shirt (muted blues) work well.
We have the same issue with the two double breasted jackets below. The single breasted grey suit (no 2) is far more flattering than no 4 and no 5. The two button tweed looks really nice and neat (although I think the trousers may be a little tight in the crotch). The mid grey suit and soft blue shirt work well with the dark tie and shoes. On the other hand the double breasted suits are not so good. He has had them fitted into the waist when I believe the jacket would look much more pleasing if it were tapered to the hip, giving a stronger V shape, rather than a slight hour glass. Patrick has slim hips but is a bit thick in the waist and the flare on the jacket just emphasises it. I like the evening suit, matched with a midnight blue coat, but possibly the tied belt was a mistake. But the worst outfit here is the loud check coat and hat. Although the hat is good style for his angular features with the coat it just looks too much like a fashion victim to me – and the trousers are bagging around the ankles.
Let’s have some pictures of where Patrick nails it. In all these views he has chosen a more muted colour scheme; I especially like the shades of green which complement his eyes and hair. The mixed textures – linen, tweed and gingham – mean that there is a low contrast to the look – very harmonious and and elegant. The two more traditional, but not over formal suits, show the classic English Savile Row fit – not too slim cut, but well fitting nevertheless. The trousers are slightly fuller and balance his tapered body shape perfectly. The two button jacket looks great without cutting him off at the top of the legs. I really much prefer this style of jacket to the double breasted ones above.
What do you think – especially about the double breasted jacket and coats?