“Style and luxury are meant to enhance your life and not cause you more stress. Breathe and find something that works for you.” Golden words, coming from one of the century’s greatest fashion icons, Tom Ford. Also, diktats he follows closely in real life. As the erstwhile creative director of Gucci and YSL, and now helming his eponymous label, Ford has been influencing how we perceive and understand style for nearly 30 years. The epitome of sartorial eloquence, he himself, though, follows just a handful of rules for dressing. From a white shirt to a slick suit, we pored over his many looks to understand what one needs to emulate his style.
The sharp poplin shirt
A gentleman’s staple, a white shirt is something every man needs in his closet. And not just one, but a few in different textures and fabrics. Besides the habitual oxford and cutaway collar, invest in a poplin shirt. This fabric comes with a crispness of its own, and when worn with a dark coat, it brings out a certain sleekness. Ford prefers to wear a collar bar with his shirts, an ideal way to pull off a sophisticated look with the smallest of details. Our best pick for an ultra-sleek white shirt with a great fit? Canali, which has a range of luxurious fabrics and minimalistic designs.
A well-constructed suit
Structure is key when it comes to this wardrobe staple. A well-fitted suit broadens one’s shoulders, and creates the illusion of a thinner waist and hip. Ford insists on having a strong shoulder that can give a definitive structure to one’s outfit. Add to that a generous, peaked lapel, and your suit just makes a stronger impact. All in all, if it’s a bold design you want, going bespoke may be your best choice
In one of his recent interviews, Ford claimed he has a bottle of perfume every 20 ft in his house and he sprays himself throughout the day; he joked that by night, he’s a walking-talking potpourri. The message is clear: Don’t shy away from indulging in perfumes. They help create a great first impression. Citrus and tropical notes are meant for the first half of the day, while muskier, heavier notes are for post-sunset soirées. After picking out your perfume of choice, understand the relationship between pulse-points and your favourite ingredients. Applying the fragrance on the neck, wrist and inner side of your forearm makes the smell last longer. Body heat warms up the perfume’s oils, allowing the fragrance to bloom more effectively.
“Being overdressed is better than being underdressed,” said Ford and rightfully so. In the context of evening dressing, a tuxedo is ideal. But find the right fabric – velvets and satins work well for weddings, while linens and woolens are durable and warm, and therefore optimal for business commitments and leisure indulgences. Considering the current season, layering is an easy choice. The rules are simple: A dress shirt, sweater, suit jacket and a long winter coat, give or take a few layers depending on which side of the hemisphere you live in.
The right timepiece
Digital or analog, a watch holds a special place in the wardrobe of an urban gentleman. While investing in a new timepiece, remember: It’s a metal strap for your suit, a minimalist watch for a tux and design heavy one for casual wear. Therefore, understand the occasion and dress code before you pair your watch with your outfit. For eg, Tom Ford’s latest timepiece collection, which is all about simple elegance, is great for a formal event, while the intricate, handcrafted and bold Vacheron Constantin ‘Skeleton Minute Repeater’, could be ideal for a board meeting. Over time, aim to build a collection that embraces your personality.
Sporting a blazer
“Blazers are meant to make one look trimmer,” said Ford, whose favourite blazer colours are grey and navy. Lighter shades work for the day, while darker ones for the night. Indulge in textures, and even different shades of grey. When having one stitched, be sure to order an in-stitched pocket square to add a bit of zest to the mix. A linen blazer is a must-have in every wardrobe for its sheer versatility (and also perfect for the Indian climate). You can pair it with anything; it will always win the day.
All images: Courtesy Shutterstock; perfume & watch image: Tom Ford.