My Style: Gerold Brenner

Portrait of Gerold Brenner

Portrait: Alexander Palacios — Courtesy of Gerold Brenner

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

When someone isn't himself. Clothes have to be a reflection of your soul and your feelings, and not a reflection of others. Dress for yourself, not for other people.

Please describe your style in three words.

Boho, hippie and dandy.

Do you believe in role models?

Yes, in all parts of life. There are a lot of inspirational people in history, culture, nature and technology—but keep in mind they are there to inspire and not to copy.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Natural, crafted and organic ones and any fabric that has its own soul, with structure and character. Patched fabrics, ones with pattern (camouflage, animal prints, paisley, ethnic prints). I also have a great love for denim and fabrics that are getting better year after year.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

Don’t be too perfect. Be relaxed, break the rules (but you have to know the rules you are breaking), mix, and be yourself. After all, it's just clothes.

Which city has the best-dressed men?

There are several cities, because they all have different characters. A fashion melting pot is Florence when it hosts Pitti Uomo. Also, Tokyo, London and New York.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

Both. I am traditional in my values system, but then my emotions take over.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

There are no rules, except when it comes to special events. I don't really care about how others react when they see my outfits. What I find really important is finding the right combination of colours, pattern, styles and fabrics. I always pay attention to the shoes. And last but not least, I like accessories and sport coats.

Celebrities and style….

Are more important than catwalks for many people today. That means that stylists rule fashion, since celebrities don't dress themselves.

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

Denim and scarves.

A man should always look like...

He is feeling it.

Who taught you what you know about style?

At the end, myself. I learnt by watching and doing. I have met a lot of inspired people and I’ve seen them in pictures and films. It is then my imagination starts working.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

It depends on the activities of the day, and then I decide emotionally. It could be anything that I like (shirts, pants, jackets, ties, or cufflinks) and then I build the rest of the outfit around it until I’m dressed. It's a special moment to prepare for the day doing something that makes me feel good. But I don't need more than five to ten minutes to get dressed.

What is your biggest regret?

There are no regrets. All the things that I've done, good or bad, have lead me to be what I am today. And I cannot change the things that have happened in the past, I can only change my experiences in the future.

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

Wear quality items in terms of fabric and manufacturing. Feel comfortable in what you are wearing. Know both your good and bad sides.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

No, I like to be surprised.

We will never see you wearing...

I would never say never, with the exception of fur.

The most stylish person you have ever seen...

There are a lot stylish people that I know, but the most stylish person isn't a man, it's a woman: Iris Apfel.

What is the first thing you notice on a man?

His eyes and his shoes.

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

The pictures of my dad in the 1950s (double breasted suits with very wide pants), his relaxed look when he sailed, and when he was wearing headgear.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments for his mix of patterns, colours and proportions...but he isn't really new.

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

He should pay attention to all of them, but the most important thing are his shoes.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

My journeyman's piece of a tailor (a suit) from 1986.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

No, a good cut and fabrics of high quality are always comfortable.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

Yohji Yamamoto, Dries Van Noten, Paul Harnden, Nigel Cabourn, Vivienne Westwood, and Walter Van Beirendonck.

Who would you like to recommend for My Style?

You've interviewed a lot of stylish people until now, so my recommendations would be Michael Pretolani, Lourens Gebhardt, Kevin Stewart, and Andre Judd (Chang).

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

All or nothing.

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