My Style: Jim Fairfax

Portrait of interior designer Jim Fairfax

Photo: Leslie Van Stelten — Courtesy of Jim Fairfax

Which designer never fails to impress you?

Thom Browne. He lives in my neighbourhood and I can’t stop myself from leaning out the window to check out his daily choices. He has no problem wearing the shortest of shorts in the middle of winter. He has great legs so why not!

Please describe your style in three words.

American, refined, edited.

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

If it feels fussy, it will look fussy. Try again.

Do you believe in role models?

I get inspired by visual people with an eye for the 'big picture' such as great collectors, editors, film directors…

What are your favourite fabrics?

Fabrics with aggressive textures turn my crank, not only in my wardrobe, but also in my interiors. A tactile quality is important to me in both my wardrobe and the homes that I create. I’m obsessed with homespun linen right now.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

Labels from head to toe—less is more.

Which city has the best-dressed men?

New York! The men have a unique confidence.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

Conservative is a dirty word.

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

I hate rules and have few. The few I do have I am constantly breaking.

Celebrities and style...

I wish more celebrities, particularly men, would engage the assistance of a good stylist.

One garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Jeans that fit well.

A man should always look like...

He is comfortable in his skin; it’s an attitude thing for me.

Who taught you what you know about style?

Personal style is so much more than assembling a handsome wardrobe. A life well-lived is the key. I read, I travel, I eat well and I have friends that support and celebrate my creative spirit. I’m intensely curious.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

New York is a city of many moods and I like to be in the correct one on the correct day. It’s all about what I’m doing that day.

What is your biggest regret?

I had the opportunity to visit Egypt many years ago and didn’t jump at the chance; it remains on the top of my travel wish list.

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

Find a good tailor, invest in quality, and that vintage is good.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I always shop alone and I make quick decisions.

We will never see you wearing...

Anything with a major visual will make me feel uncomfortable — bright colours and large patterns don’t exist in my closet.

The most stylish person you have ever seen...

I met Bill Blass many years ago and I will never forget the jacket he was wearing. It was grey cashmere with gold buttons and the cut was incredible. He also had legendary style in how he chose to furnish his homes. I constantly draw inspiration from images of his New York apartment.

What is the first thing you notice on a man?

His haircut.

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

A 1995 photograph of Yves Saint Laurent with model Sibyl Buck sitting on a sofa in the grand salon of his apartment on Rue de Babylone. The tables are overflowing with bronzes and objects and an early surreal work by Leger hangs over his head. That image captures for me perfectly the idea of a well-defined personal style. My environment, the artwork I choose to hang on my walls and the objects I have collected are all means by which I celebrate my personal style. I work closely with every person that commissions my work to find that same special and very personal mix.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Alber Elbaz’s collections for Lanvin are so fresh and exciting he remains a constant in my visual inspiration in both men’s and woman’s wear. The details, fabrics and shapes he conjures blow the dust off something you think you’ve seen a million times over. That’s what “new” means to me.

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

His suit. The fit is key.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

I purchased an 18th century Georgian ring while at University in England—two classical figures holding a square stone. I hardly ever wear it but it reminds me of a wonderful period in my life.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

On formal occasions, possibly. I hate to open an invitation and see the words “black tie” in August.

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

I want to see the people “behind” the household names—the stylist, the assistant…

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

ALWAYS have a point of view.

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