10 February 2009


The wonderful H, of Prêt à Porter P and Candid Cool, recently tagged me an interesting question and answer post.

Describe your personal style / What is your signature look?

I find the word 'style' is most often used in quite a misleading way, the concept itself is indeed a fluid one and perfectly open to individual interpretation. The root of the word lies in the Latin stylus, which was the pointed tool used to for writing. As is the case with handwriting, the word may be applied to the expressions that are characteristic to an individual. Each and every person has a personal style, however the term seems only to be used as to signify what others would consider as 'good' style. This is therefore inherently condition to the prevailing tastes of the time, and the personal preferences of the one who uses the term.

The fact that style is an ever changing concept within all of us, for example in terms of clothing, a man in his twenties will invariably dress differently once in his forties, makes it hard for any of us to really describe our own style. I think I would have to rely on others describing my style, as the way I dress has a specific personal meaning to me, yet it is the way others interpret it that influences the way I would be perceived.

In general terms I guess that I have a love for dressing 'up', I will take any excuse to dress smartly, or even simply don a tie and shirt. Regardless of whether I am dressed smart or casual however, I always try to make sure I am well presented. Our clothing and choice of appearance is afterall a form of semiotics: If one dresses messily or with no care, it conveys much about them, none of which is really positive. If one is dressed respectably and with care, it means they are respectful of themselves.

In terms of general style, I am not sure that I have a set ideal. I am as comfortable in a suit and tie, as I am in colourful sneakers and a vibrant hoody, or as I am in skinny fit jeans, fully buttoned shirt and cardigan. My style changes on a daily basis, as inspired by recent experiences, my emotions, movies I may have seen, music I may have heard, art I may have heard or even food I may have tasted - it changes as I change.

What are staples in your wardrobe?

- Dark (preferably raw) slim cut jeans
- Crisp white shirt
- Various single coloured v-neck wool sweaters
- Black brogues (wingtips for my American readers)
- Ties (each dependent on occasion and shirt collar style)
- Vibrant single colour t-shirts
- Vibrant single colour socks

Who or what is your fashion muse?

I have never really had a singular inspiration in terms of a celebrity or fashion icon around which I base my personal sense of dress. Yet, that being said, the greatest influence for me has invariably been my father. I like to think that my father belongs to that old crop of gentlemen, he wears only smart attire and stills bows when greeting ladies. He has famously never even tried on a pair of jeans, and he taught me from a young age the importance of always looking presentable.

In general terms I seek inspiration in history and the arts. I have always looked to the past and the gentlemen of old, to the times when all men wore hats and suits, even in leisure time. I particularly have a love of Victorian and early Edwardian London, essentially the time in history from which 'fashion' as the industry and concept we know of today originated. I also often find inspiration in the clothing of the elderly, who wear their clothing in all senses of the word. When seeing them, one does indeed do that, see them, they are seldom dominated by their clothing.

Favourite purchase of all time?

My brown leather brogue boots?

Biggest splurge?

Again the boots, they were around £80. That may not sound like very much to most, however I am very careful in the amount I spend on clothing. I usually purchase most of my pieces on sale, and as such I can invest on quality pieces for a reduced price. I also buy a number of my clothes second hand, via charity shops or vintage stores. I firmly believe that one should only ever splurge on investment pieces, those that one will wear for a number of years, not simply the latest trend item.

In general I think my spending is curtailed by what I call my 30 Day Rule. Essentially, when I really like a piece, I will wait a month before purchasing it. This means I am forced to consider the implications of the purchase and truly value what I have bought after wanting it for so long. Shops also tend to trick the consumer into the exclusivity ploy: if one does not buy it today, will it be there tomorrow, and indeed will it be the same good price? By waiting, I often find the piece I want at a reduced price, and if it is no longer available, there is usually a similar item elsewhere.

What is your beauty routine?

I have quite sensitive and dry somewhat skin, so I always try to keep well hydrated and moisturise daily. I also use lip balm, usually strawberry flavoured, quite frequently to avoid dry lips. Also, as anyone will curly hair will be able to testify, conditioning is essential to avoiding frizz. As such I use conditioner daily in the shower, and try not to shampoo too frequently, opting for those manufactured for curly hair when I do. I also make sure to use coconut oil once a month, as it gives a nice gloss to my hair and keeps it soft.

What jewellery do you never take off?

I actually have quite the collection of necklaces, wristwear and rings. I always make sure to wear a watch and a ring on my right hand ring finger. For my wrists I actually, more often than not, end up wearing elastic bands. My postman always delivers the post held together with a red elastic band, and as such I keep the elastics from when I get a piece of mail that holds a certain personal significance. An added bonus is that one often finds having an elastic band to hand quite helpful in certain situations.

What are you wishing for?

Good health, good friends, good family and good home. As the Buddha famously said, "Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship".

What are your obsessions?

I am somewhat obsessed with photography. I have a small collection of vintage cameras, ranging from the turn of the century to modern digital, which I care for and use where possible. Whenever I have a roll of film developed and printed, I always make sure to catalogue each print and write the date of shot, location, film type and camera used on the back.

Another obsession of mine, related in a way to the above, is that of movies. I have a love of early Hollywood movies and the technical aspects of filming. Even with contemporary movies, I often watch the movie and then watch it again with the director's commentary, so as to understand the technical aspects and general context. I enjoy both the understanding of how and why movies were made the way they were, and also the technique and work that went into them.

One obsession I also have is for tea. I enjoy trying various blends and types of teas, the subtle differences in taste, smell and general experience behind each. Not only do I enjoy the teas, however I also enjoy the beauty of the certain tins that the teas come in and tea sets. I have a certain fascination with vintage tea tins, each with their own designs and beautiful artwork.

* Dapper Kid's Question Time, as in PMQT for Prime Minister's Question Time

Currently playing: Say (All I Need) - One Republic



  1. Loved the interview. Liked that 30 day rule too. Oh, the importance of lip balm. I must have so many sticks of bees wax products around. After going to a concert with a friend recently, I realised just how often you have to apply the lip balm. I guess I'm lazy, but in the four spand we were together. I bet she applied it at least more than once an hour. And no, she wasn't drinking, either.

  2. Fascinating and thoughtful. And I aspire to be more like you in my shopping decisions. The very idea of a 30 day rule makes me anxious. ;)

  3. DK, I loved your definition of style!
    I also love that you draw inspiration from your father, how fantastic to have a fashion role model in your own house :)

    I also consider a 30 day rule when it comes to buying certain things that I know might only be seasonal. I weigh the pros and cons...all my friends make fun of me for it, and yet they always have no money in their bank accounts, so I don't feel bad at all.

    I loved learning more about you, DK!

  4. this is why i tagged you, i always like to read your insightful answers. thank you :)

    I really like your 30 day rule and what you say about splurges. I agree about the investment pieces.

    And very interesting about the red elastic band.

  5. This was a good read :)
    I too have an obsession with Hollywood films and the whole artistic process that goes into making them particularly older films like those in the "Film Noir" era's, not excluding some great film makers of today though.

    Strawberry lip balm = loveeee.

  6. i like that 30 day rule... seems so hard to follow though. esp if u shop at stores like tjmaxx or target where things just disappear so quickly.

  7. i cld not ave explained personal style better, n u're so right abt a persons style changing as he ages...

    i kinda dress according to my mood too, but mostly i prefer tees to dress shirts.

    That 30 day rule of ur's is sth i shld adopt but i'm afraid i cnt :o( and clothes do not necessarily need to be expensive being a marketer i'm able to ignore all of the marketing employed on certain goods and only buy based on inspiration.

  8. I love all of your answers! There is so much thoughtfulness and dedication for the things you talk about showing through and I really admire that. Like most people, I am a mere consumer, which means that things are disposable and their true value are not sufficiently appreciated due to a thoughtlessness and the need for always something new. I like that you ponder about the things and their meaning and can thus see the real beauty behind them.

    This 30-Day-rule sounds hard for me to stand through, though. As I said, I am a mere consumer.

  9. Lovely post.

    The answers we're wonderful.
    I myself am a huge fan of both Victorian and Edwardian fashion, the grace and elegance in fashion at that time is rarely seen these days.

    I also love teas, I think I got that from my mother. There's a tea shop near our house that's owned by a family that travelled the world just to find the perfect teas. They always have something new and exciting. The back wall is covered in shelves and shelves of teas from all over the world and in many different flavors, all loose. <3


  10. I love getting to know my favorite bloggers. This was all so well-said too.
    "I usually purchase most of my pieces on sale, and as such I can invest on quality pieces for a reduced price. I also buy a number of my clothes second hand, via charity shops or vintage stores. I firmly believe that one should only ever splurge on investment pieces, those that one will wear for a number of years, not simply the latest trend item."
    You are me! I wish there were more bloggers out there with this mentality. All the expensive designer duds on here make me depressed that I can't afford that lifestyle! But I think in the end it's the thrifty types that end up with the best pieces.

  11. So interesting!!!
    Loved to know more about you and thanks for sharing, hun


  12. what an eloquently natural interview! i love the 30 day rule idea. it prevents buying things on impulse, and if it's meant to be yours, it shall be...