Presently presiding over creative duties at Chester Barrie — where, for the past five years, he’s masterminded a dandyish stylistic renaissance at the 80-year-old British tailoring house — and previously doing a decade’s service as buyer with Ede & Ravenscroft, Christopher Modoo knows his sartorial stuff.
Here, this discerning, dapper individual divulges the tricks, tips and carefully considered menswear prejudices that ensure he steps out in exquisite style. Follow suit, and you soon will too.
10. “For black tie, wear a bow tie. Hand tied. Cummerbunds, wing collars and shirt studs should be approached with extreme caution. Your pocket square, meanwhile, can be chosen with reckless abandon.”
9. “There are some excellent tailors and outfitters in Italy, Paris and New York. But always go to a London tailor for your formal clothing. This is particularly true of morning dress.”
8. “Always long socks and never black.”
7. “If you go to the effort of wearing double cuffs, wear proper double-sided cufflinks.”
6. “The three suits you always need are a grey woollen flannel, a blue ‘Fresco’ worsted and a fancy check. One should be double-breasted and at least one with a vest. Get a second pair of trousers on the grey flannel. Brown matte horn buttons on the blue suit will enable the suit jacket to be worn as a blazer. If your tailor puts blue buttons on your blue suits, consider changing your tailor, but definitely change the buttons.”
A formal look from Chester Barrie's current collection — debonair pocket square deployed with “reckless abandon.”
5. “Avoid short-sleeved shirts, roll up sleeves in warm weather. Pockets on shirts? I like four on a guayabera otherwise the answer is none. (There is always an exception that proves the rule. Those NASA scientists in the 1960s looked cool in short-sleeved shirts with ties and a pocketful of pens. You don’t.)”
4. “If you knew the work involved in creating an elegant and well-fitting shoulder-line on a tailored jacket, you would never carry anything with a shoulder strap. You particularly wouldn’t carry a rucksack.”
3. “My favourite shirt fabrics for travel are giro inglese and pique. They can be worn with a three-piece suit and tie, or open-necked with jeans. Voile twill is also useful if a little more formal. All three cloths resist wrinkling and are extremely comfortable. The most versatile style is an extreme cutaway (almost too cutaway), semi-fitted and button-cuffed.”
2. “Knitwear looks better when it is not layered over a shirt.”
1. “That expensive watch can make your shoes look really cheap.”