Monday, 31 December 2012

2012: A style retrospective

It's that time of year where all the mainstream media are busy filling column inches with lists of stuff from 2012 - from best movies to worst political mishaps. After a relaxing and laptop-less Christmas break, I thought I might as well seize the opportunity to get in on the action. So here is a hastily assembled selection of notable style 'stuff' from the past year.

Least hideously dressed Apprentice contestant
The nice thing about The Apprentice is the certainty of the format: there will always be essentially the same set of tasks, most of the contestants will be frighteningly deluded about their own abilities, and all of the men will be appallingly badly dressed in one of a handful of separately ghastly ways. It's rare, nay unheard-of, for me to watch the show and think "I might actually go out in public in what that chap's wearing". This year, however, was an exception. Ladies and Gents, I give you Mr Tom Gearing.

Modern cutaway collars, tie bars, a pocket square in a colour other than white, and a matte tie with a discrete pattern tied with a sensible knot, all give his outfits personality whether or not they happen to be your particular cup of tea. More than anything, though, I love the fact that he's wearing a suit that's not plain (shiny) blue, grey or black. I have a particular personal dislike for plain coloured suits most of the time (though there are obviously exceptions) and anything that adds a little bit of texture is good news.

Best dressed movie character
The latest James Bond divided style bloggers. Many loved his restrained British dress sense, others bemoaned the strangely tight fit of his suits, which looked as if he was almost ready to burst out of them. For myself, both factors felt like deliberate choices, illustrating either side of his conflicted character: a suave English gentleman, and a violent, muscled, goon. Regardless, it's hard not to love those beautiful Tom Ford suits.

I'm not normally a fan of the restricted palette that Bond wears - plain blue shirts with plain grey suits rarely look great, and a plain blue tie on top risks looking bland, but of course that is partly the point when one is a spy. In this case, the costume-designers lift the outfit out of mediocrity with restrained touches of personal style: a slightly broader than usual herringbone on the suit, a quirky but oh-so-2012 tabbed collar, and a neat, businesslike pocket square. If everyone dressed like this for work, the world would be a better place.

Best Oscars black-tie outfit
The terrific Black Tie Guide website does a far better break-down of the hits and misses of the red carpet than I could hope to, and has done so for several years. All the same, I was struck by one particular outfit that couldn't go without a mention. Hollywood royalty looking like Hollywood royalty, it's Tom hanks:

It's a double-breasted shawl-collared dinner suit, and yes, that's 'legal' though highly unusual. It's by far the most casual dinner jacket, a mere toggle and trim away from a smoking jacket, which is itself only one step removed from a dressing gown, and historically would be appropriate only at a very private dinner in ones own home. These days, that distinction is rarely important and certainly not at the Academy Awards where merely wearing a bow tie and a white shirt makes you one of the smartest men there. No, Tom Hanks has got everything right - from the beautifully proportioned suit to the simple white pocket square and the inch of cuff. If I were to be picky, I would personally wear a slightly smaller bow tie, but that's a personal choice, and doesn't detract at all from the most classically elegant outfit seen at the Academy Awards in quite some time.


  1. Tom Hanks got it spot on. Beautiful suit.

  2. The Midnight-Blue tuxedo alone would have been enough to secure Craig that title. An honourable mention should also go to Ralph Fiennes for his attire in the same movie


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