Each To His Own: How To Find Your Style Lane, And Stick To It
If menswear trends are a cycle, then the wheels might just have come off. Over the past 12 months, thanks to our collective attention spans being zapped into oblivion by TikTok, we’ve seen everything from blokecore to balletcore, from cottagecore to clowncore and even a brief foray into goblincore. Then, to bring them all together, there was “namecore” – the constant trend for new trends. Feeling exhausted yet?
At MR PORTER, we’ve never really gone in for all that. Sure, it can be fun to try something new, but there’s something compelling about choosing to ignore the latest novelties in favour of developing a consistent and considered approach to getting dressed. So we’ve gathered together a cast of men who do just that: whether it’s through collecting vintage workwear or donning high-tech Gorp gear, these people all have a clear idea of what works for them. And rest assured that it’s nothing “core”.
Mr Lewis Dalton Gilbert, curator and art consultant
“I’d say my outfits are minimal, but my wardrobe isn’t,” Mr Lewis Dalton Gilbert says. “I have a lot of things. But it’s plain, and I only have things that I think I want or need or have a purpose for. I don’t have anything in there that I think I might wear to something in 2024. I have quite a considered wardrobe.”
For Gilbert, his “considered” wardrobe is filled with minimalist pieces in a colour palette of black, white, khaki and some blue denim, with almost no logos in sight. While that can sound constrictive, Gilbert still finds space for experimentation and variety within personal style. “I tend to play with silhouette and texture,” he says, exploring those subtle differences to create outfits. “I’ll have a polo neck for going out, I’ll have a polo neck for the day, and they might just appear like black polo necks to everyone else, but to me, there’s something about them that makes them feel different. There’s something about them that signifies and symbolises a shift in occasion.”
Gilbert’s adherence to a certain aesthetic presents challenges, particularly when the items he loves – wide-legged black trousers, for example – are less popular. “Lots of my shopping habits are looking to replicate things that I have that I love and that I want another one of,” he says.
“It’s not rare that I’ll buy multiples of the same things, be it trainers or trousers, jackets, whatever. It is about consistency. I have to trawl through websites for where you can find those things. It becomes a mission. It’s rewarding when you find that thing you wanted and you know that there’s not going to be lots of other people who have it or if you’ve been looking for a particular piece for a long time and then you find it. But it can be highly frustrating if you’ve got something in your mind and you’re not even sure it exists.”
Mr Atsushi Hasegawa, creative director
Mr Atsushi Hasegawa’s relationship to fashion goes all the way back to the 1980s, when he was a classmate of luminary designers Nigo and Mr Jun Takahashi at Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College. Since then, he has spent more than two decades in Europe, living in Paris and the UK. Despite all the changes in his life, his style has always been shaped by the same elements.
“I’ve always been DJing, fly fishing with friends and then designing,” he says. “They’re three pillars that haven’t changed since I was 16 or 17. My lifestyle hasn’t changed, and the way I’m thinking about my wardrobe didn’t change.” At different times, the balance between the three pillars have changed and, increasingly, the utility and practicality required for a life spent fishing has played more of a role.
“I have a collector’s mind,” Hasegawa says, pointing to his collection of “20 or 30” fishing vests or the vintage French workwear he discovered on record digging trips at flea markets across the country. Although Hasegawa chooses not to follow trends, sometimes his beloved vintage workwear or fishing gear is elevated by a new audience.
“Everyone started wearing blue French workwear coats or Japanese indigo about 10 years ago,” he remembers. “When these big trends happen, I try to step back, go into my wardrobe and find something that other people aren’t wearing. I know I don’t need to do that at my age, but it’s part of me.”
Despite his reluctance to engage with it, the trend cycle has also started to impact Hasegawa in another way. “My teenage daughters are beginning to understand the value of my clothes, so they go into my wardrobe and steal my clothes.”
Mr Junyin Gibson, marketing manager
Rather than looking at current trends for inspiration, Mr Junyin Gibson incorporates different references from throughout his life into his style. All of these elements – from the music and subcultures he was into while growing up in Hong Kong to his current work with the British menswear stalwart Drake’s – fuse together to influence the way that Gibson dresses. “Everyone’s grown up differently, everyone has different influences, everyone has different hobbies,” he says. “I think the things that you wear and you surround yourself with are an impact of that.”
Gibson is particularly influenced by ties and tailoring, both of which he has a long-held affinity for. “I’ve always had a love for well-made things, well-made garments, well-made objects,” Gibson says. “With tailoring, the care and the quality behind it is super important to me, the longevity, the life behind the products.”
Alongside tailoring, Gibson’s personal style is also shaped by things around him. Rather than identifying with one set genre or style, he prefers to focus on individual items he likes. “I don’t try to follow trends,” he says. “For me, what’s really important is just finding things that you like. I usually fall in love with something and fit it into my wardrobe. It’s messy, but it’s things that I like and think work together. It can be as basic as the perfect white T-shirt or it can be Japanese indigo-dyed double knee trousers made 20 years ago that have been worn and worn.”
Mr Oisín Ruben, stylist
While Mr Oisín Ruben’s clothing is always functional and practical, he initially approached the outdoors world from an aesthetic direction. “Since I was a kid, I’ve always enjoyed the styles from 1990s raves,” he remembers. “As I grew up, I found myself always looking for old shells and mountain caps and then I started looking at what scousers wore to Glastonbury.”
Over time, however, Ruben began to put his hardwearing and technical clothing to good use. Whereas once it had been dictated by archive references, it was now worn on long hiking expeditions or camping trips. This gave Ruben’s personal style a new meaning. “Technical clothing used to be much more of an aesthetic aspect of my life,” he says. “In recent years, I’ve found it’s become a vital one. For me, it makes sense to invest in the best gear possible, because I’ll be relying on it when conditions can turn for the worst.”
For Ruben, the practicality of his clothing combined with his aesthetic considerations gets to the heart of his personal style and the role that his clothes play in his life. “Clothing should be a means of function just as much as expression of who you are, and my clothing is a perfect balance between both.”
The relationship between Ruben’s outdoor pursuits and his work in the fashion industry has influenced more than just how he dresses. “I’m grateful to be able to do the things I do, especially when I combine work and adventure,” he continues. “Being outside can be some of the most inspiring time periods, too, especially when you can spend it with people close to you.”
Mr Mark Anthony Bradley, stylist
Mr Mark Anthony Bradley has always been inspired by iconic subcultures, but it’s the 1960s mods who loom largest for him. “That will always be a part of me,” he says. “I love the ethos of what they were about. The word ‘mods’ is an abbreviation of modernists, so modern day modernists would have a different perspective.”
For Bradley, this ethos is also the way that he approaches his own style. Historic references are important – be they from his films, magazines or different movements. But giving them “gentle tweaks”, as Bradley calls them, is key. “I do love a classic look, but it’s important to move it forward,” he says. “I’m not a huge fan of reproducing what’s been, so I have to try and take that retrospective look and reinvent it in a progressive way.”
Bradley attributes this approach to a “a chameleon sensibility” that sees him infuse his classic aesthetic with a diverse mix of references and influences. The resulting style is a reflection of Bradley’s personality and his interests. “I try to fuse things together that reflect me, my personality and the way I look at life,” Bradley says. “I think it’s important for everybody to showcase their own individuality, and that’s what I try to do.”