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Style Referee

On the spot style judiciary administered where its needed.


Evening cold hunted dress slipper wearers. My it was cold last night outside the Biftas. Some people weren’t even allowed coats so I shan’t complain about anything. Will say Bally ‘Scribe’ chocolate/cocoa brown toe cap Oxfords did pretty well in actual sodden rain, especially as they’re crocodile/suede. Its the welts don’t you know. Notably ‘Our Matey of The Box’, live from the carpet, just absorbed the hideous cold like it wasn’t there. He was in Rake Lounge and Mr.Hare. At least he had a coat. ‘Girls were cold in dresses on wet dark red Astro Turf” would be one brief description of the scene. Might do a Style Ref.

Meanwhile, didn’t see too much inspiring mens stuff walking past us. I did like the idea of what Martin Freeman, Halfling-Mod, was wearing. Shawl collar evening coat, shawl collar two-piece royal blue shawl collar suit. Grosgrain shawl collar shoes. Joking. Little tassel loafers (Mod! Mod! Mod!). Tie pin, I liked too. I liked it cos hardly anyone else was even doing anything. Anyway, started to have a couple of doubts today. About proportion and stuff. Thought might give him a yellow. Hmm. Actually, no, back of the net for having a go Frezza. Bafta goal!


Yes he looks like the Major of Moddleton, but at least it has spirit and vigour. Someone told me the suit is Richard James. Must google it. This will probably come up with me saying its probably Richard James. More detailed reports later perhaps.

Stubbs out.



The weekend didn’t go as imagined and my bow tie/midnight blue evening suit aspiration was scuppered. I was forced to make a last minute black and white substitution on Matey off the telly. While he still looked rather good in Dolce, Louis and Hare, black and white itself feels like quite a problem for me these days. Am properly adverse to it. It’s twenty years since Reservoir Dogs and its Agnes B black/white homogenised pyscho-defining moment, and its since been overplayed so thoroughly in a TV arena/popular styling, The Bublé effect has traumatised the combination sartorially, particularly when worn with a loosened straight tie.

A white shirt does ping out bright against black, and thats why it works so well on TV and film. But in real life it looks especially cheap now. The ongoing ubiquity of white shirt, black cocktail suit stance has led to mass mono-chrome fall-out. When worn in the UK it looks at best light entertainment safe-bet, at worst budget smoothy/natty waiter. In Italy Dolce & Gabbana’s success has put a legion of its style conscious men in the format, to Dolces credit, but the look now seems exhausted and the black/white men like nicely turned out ushers. Its the nature of the business, and true stylers need to park the look for a decade or so while it refreshens it up. These popular symbols/images are just too potent to ignore. Had a similar problem with a blue suit, white shirt, black tie and a bright spotlight once. Thought was comfortably working Rat-Pack, the next thing it all went Can’t Hurry Love*. Drop the mono-chrome set and go textural my brothers. I need you to be cool. Are you cool? Or are you Bublé?

Stubbs out.

*by Philip Collins



Get sent quite a volume of bad styling suggestions by people. Ignore most. This firm approached one of my clients who passed it on to me. Is quite mean of me to feature then card off, but then again, surely none of Style&Error’s readers would consider a pre-folded, cardboard mounted pocket ‘handky’, would they?

Quad-fold cornet ‘Mayfair’ Handkz in elegant white

Too, too busy too, but simply had to mention these contrivances, especially as have promised/threatened to do pocket square showcase on here. This is quite an amusing starting point, no? They’re double naff, but they aren’t even cheap. This Mayfair fella is £30. Nuts, eh? You could get a quality, unfolded one for less. Folded and mounted onto card! Why not get it laminated and have done? This one channels Dick Whittington’s first day at the technical drawing evening class.

From the aptly named ‘Belgravia’ collection.

Was reminded of reader Rups’s mention of folding serviettes as at ladies luncheon by the one below, such intricate work. I get up to some little creations sometimes when doing the Matey Off The Telly’s ones, but that’s ’cause have got hours to do it, an ironing board and endless espressos/canteen desserts to fuel my obsession.  I do try not to do stuff that looks poncy. Two boxes of squares collected over many years is rather handy for getting the look right. Still, maybe I’m as bad, with iron and pins and so called ‘tit-tape’. We are on Telly though. I’ve invented a couple and am developing more. Might do for my column in FT HTSI next year. Did I mention that I’d got one?

From the prestigious multi-peaked Wedding collection in striking regal purple.

The company being disciplined is called Handkz.Com (click), and can’t almost cut them some slack as they’ve got such a rubbish name. Maybe they’re laughing too. Note. Laughter can be very attractive to women, and perhaps it could garner you a worthy bride if you kept this level of elegance up. Who wouldn’t want to marry the man with this Milk Tray triffid sticking out of the breast of his Moss Bros., hmm? It’s very pompous and snobbish to laugh at these, but then that’s a metaphor for style itself: Those that know/that have, laughing at those that don’t for getting it wrong. Am I right? Fire at will men. It’s a horrid, spiteful world out there, and pocket square spite is just the beginning.  Everyone is looking for ‘a tell’, that you’re not the real deal. What’s yours?

I’m holding my hands up for doing a bit of Womens Institute origami orchid the other day. In my defence it was ‘An American’ (a style of deployment), that went off almost too, too well, and was only for a still. That doesn’t change the fact that wearing a pre-folded pocket square is tantamount to wearing pre-tied ties or driving pretend vintage cars, or worse (can’t even think of similar at mo’). For such a heinous lack of verve, Hankz.com get a red card from the Style Referee. Early bath.

Anyway, all that aside, let’s have a heated handky debate*.

Stubbs out.

* at some point soon.



-name taken for lacklustre, middle-of-road tailoring-

Let’s get one thing straight: I love Tom Ford’s signature work, particularly his tailoring. Hope not gonna find self in bad books at the house of Ford, but I’ve gotta lay this down. Bond’s suiting wasn’t up to scratch in Skyfall. Name taken for various affrays, stays on pitch/screen by skin of teeth. Let’s not get sucked into endorsement debate or we’ll never get the DB out of the car park, right? Okay, from the top, should Bond be wearing British tailoring? Initial reaction is yes, course. Then again this is effectively costume and not a statement of plot intent, so in theory anyone could make for him. If Ford could deliver a Savile Row Brit-look correctly then let it roll. They flopped though. You didn’t look at JB and think, yup, would like to be him/look like that (which for many men, is supposed a prerequisite of the Bond thing, isn’t it?). Nothing demonstrates this look isn’t ready-to-wear. There’s almost no rope to the rope shoulder. The narrow lapels are a bit too narrow, a step away from the zeitgeist in the wrong direction and as a reader of S&E pointed out, the armholes look too big (thanks Rups). The grey fresco looking suit seems a bit cheap, and styled with a white shirt Craig looked more like a sales rep taking his scrambler up and down the M4 corridor, than an educated, worldly bloke with serious resources and background.

The blue pinstripe was weak. Zero umph. Bond in pinstripe, yes, but it needs to be ballsy Brit-Pinstripe. While moments of the plot included a ‘Make-Do-And-Mend’, A-Team like improvisation armoury section, the styling contrived to deliver ‘make-do-and-blend’. Let’s allow the idea that Agent Bond doesn’t want to stand out, and an elegant British man might exhibit the epitome of low-key taste, but even very understated Savile Row tailoring can conjure up a potent resonance that the viewer can feel whether they know why or not. That’s what Bond should be channelling. This subtle allure was absent. The tab collar shirts did pull it round on the attitude stakes, saved the day for him really. That’s quite a Fordonian thing, along with collar bars. Not particularly British, but we like. But then the little strip of pocket handkerchief was apologetic, not slick. The black shoes which could read as stoic and unfussy, the mark of a serious man, in fact looked a bit clumpy and inelegant. Perhaps that’s why in the film Bond runs like T2/Terminator in school sports day fathers’ egg race?

Shall I mention his watch, The Omega SnoozeMaster? Best not. His sunglasses were dull, in the manner or William/Harry at Lords. His Walther gun was fetching, but standard Bond stuff, though the holster did crank it up a bit in jacket-less scenes. Christ, even writing this hasn’t been exciting. Okay, what can we mention that’s positive? Shawl collar evening suit is a good idea. But then the material not madly convincing and tie too small for the width of collar.. Er, also liked the bit of leather trim on his overcoat behind the collar. Almost fetishistic. Maybe that’s where Bond should be going: Pinstripe, double breasted fetish banker. A bit of Kenny Everett almost. Just a thought. Sorry to have bored ya, but James Bland just got me down. Gonna channel this into something. Going down Mount Street to start a petition I think. Hayward were good at Bond. They understood what the service requires from a tailor. Maybe it should be a Brit’ making Bond’s whistles. It wouldn’t have been correct if an Englishman had dressed Dirty Harry, so all I can say is Tom, in the unlikely event you’re reading this, am loving your work, just not your Bond.

Stubbs out.

PS. It appears Skyfall is on at cinemas today. Go and have a look if not to see Daniel’s funny run, Ben Whishaws cardigan and some great homosexual overtones from the brilliantly dressed Javier Bardem character. In the interests of impartiality am doing him next by the way.



-Olympic Gold Medalist/Tour de France winner works mohair one button suit stance-

Wiggins met Weller at an Adidas do on Monday where the Stone Roses were playing. Wiggins is a Mod and therefore Weller is his hero. Cycling is such a Mod sport- always has been, and Wiggins is such a Mod. I think this is smashing, as so often big-achieving athletes and the like are complete mono-nerds and can only do one/think about one thing. That or they’re like horrid Old Bill characters with starry, cold eyes. Either version is usually bereft of culture or style. G’wan Bradley Wiggins, Mod-cylcling hero and style merchant to the people. Think he’s wearing a tonic (maybe royal blue and black) mohair suit- which have just been told is by Mark Powell (click)- the light button would back that up. Also Wiggo is so lanky he’d need bespoke. Note slightly rope-shoulder- he’s in great shape too, really good in a lean one button. Completely digging the tab long collar-again gotta be Powells handwriting- but then am a firm believer and it makes such a big difference to the attitude. He’s finished it off nicely with dark tie and what am certain are Paul Smithy shoes as they’re pals (maybe could have done a tad better there). Wiggo’s sidies are non-conformist- as he’s taking the authentic later Sixties mod ethos right through. Talking of ethos/right through, Paul looks double good for his age, no? Love a light teak tan and a beautifully maintained Mod-Monk-feather cut. Its a credit to him. A longer shot reveals his pants were a bit lacking in narrowness- but shall certainly excuse that. Anyway, full marks for Wiggins- Winner and Style Merchant.

Stubbs out.

NB. Just marvel at the quality Mod-Cuddle execution- firm, brotherly and clipped. Wellers hand neatly/stoicly tucked into Wiggins compressed waist, fingers perfectly aligned, just enough clear sky between their hips, Wiggins large hand resting meaningfully yet orderly on Pauls shoulder. Text book Mod-respect-move.

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