My Style: Christian Barker

Christian Barker CEO of wearing a Gucci velvet blazer

Photo: Andy Barnham — Courtesy of Christian Barker

Which city has the best-dressed men?

London, definitely. There’s a great quote from Paul Smith: “People always say ‘why do British men dress so poorly when other nations, like the Italians, dress so well?’ Well, the Italians do dress well. But they also dress identically. They all look stylish but they all look the same. I’d rather have the British eccentricity and humour any day.”

Please describe your style in three words.

Cut. Colour. Cloth.

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Wearing what’s trendy, rather than what’s flattering.

Do you believe in role models?

Absolutely. I’m trying to be one for my daughters. But in certain respects, I hope they’ll do as I say, not as I do.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Flannel, linen, silk, and good cotton.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

UGG boots and anything.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

Depends on my mood.

What are the rules, if any, in the way you dress?

Wear clothes that fit. Be comfortable. Be myself.

Celebrities and style...

Shouldn’t that be celebrities and their stylists?

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Charvet pocket handkerchiefs.

A man should always look like...

A man, a grown-up, an adult.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My father, a very dapper dad. My mother, a passionate seamstress.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

I’ll often pick my shoes first and take it from there.

What is your biggest regret?

Clothes-wise? Buying things on sale that I never wore (see below).

The three essential things a man should know about style are...

Good fit is paramount. Invest in quality. The clothing you never wear — even if bought on the cheap — is, in the long run, the most expensive.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I always visit the Paul Smith outlet shop behind Claridge’s whenever I’m in London. Always go to Tom Ford when I’m in Milan, it’s probably the most beautiful store in the world. Rarely pass a Ralph Lauren shop by without a browse.

We will never see you wearing...

Ugg boots.

The most stylish person you have ever seen...

It’s tough to whittle down that list, but Tom Ford is always flawless, as is his creative director Peter Hawkings, and Yasmin LeBon is innately elegant. A great lady, too.

What is the first thing you notice on a man?

His handshake, and whether he looks me in the eye.

The one image that defined your approach to style...

Cary Grant, sitting cross-legged in a tux.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

They’re tailors, not designers, but I really like what the Thom Sweeney guys do. And my friend Kevin Seah in Singapore.

The only article of clothing that a man needs to pay close attention to is...

His jacket/blazer.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

My dad’s 1970s velvet Gucci smoking jacket. My grandfather’s 1955 Omega Seamaster. Everything else is replaceable.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Not necessarily. If you feel comfortable, you feel confident. And I’ve got a soft-tailored bespoke suit from Steven Hitchcock, which is sharp as hell, but comfy as pyjamas — I slept in it on a London-NY flight, and disembarked looking a million bucks.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

At risk of sounding like a broken record, Tom Ford. The man can do no wrong.

Who would you like to see next in €œMy Style€?

Tom Stubbs.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

Tomorrow is today is now.

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