Jeremy Hackett: My Formalwear Rules

The Hackett founder is dressing some of the creative industry's coolest young talent at this year's BAFTAs. We asked him for his formal wear rules. 

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Jeremy Hackett is a man who knows style. 

After spending the seventies working in a Savile Row tailors, he founded his eponymous shop, which grew from a second-hand outfitters to the classic British brand we know today. 

He'll be lending his expertise to the likes of Tinie Tempah, Four Lions star Riz Ahmed, and Skins actor Luke Pasqualino, who he's dressing for this year's BAFTA awards which takes place on Sunday. 

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We asked him for his formal wear rules, so you can look at sharp as they're sure to. 

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How should  a man choose his perfect formal suit? 

Traditional is the best way – nothing that's a novelty or makes a big statement. Formal dress isn't fancy dress – it’s a monochrome affair. 

It’s all about fit, proportion, being beautifully tailored and looking your best. 

So often you see guys with badly fitting dinner jackets, the shirt collars all-askew with ready made bow ties, and the whole effect looks awful. It’s the detail that makes a look work. The whole look should be strong and graphic. 

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What are the rules for accessories?

Your bow tie should be black and self-tied. If not, black velvet or knitted silk.

It’s crucial you wear studs. It always looks like you haven’t really made the effort when you see a guy and he’s got buttons on his shirt – these should also match your cufflinks and your watch. I also think a silk scarf in an ivory white is a nice accessory. 


What about shoes?

Some people spend a lot of money on their outfit, and then they ruin it by wearing really cheap or scuffed shoes.

I would choose a black, patent, Oxford shoe. I’ve also seen quite a few guys wearing Gucci loafers, which look quite good. 


Are there any definitive faux pas?

Don’t wear trousers with belt loops.

And I'm not a fan of colour with formal wear –  to me, it’s a bit try hard. I think the more classically it’s worn, the better the image. George Clooney was at the BAFTAS last year in a classic single breasted with silk facings, and he looked an absolute movie star.

 

What's your number one formal wear style rule?

Always wear long black cotton socks, and if you have the budget, long silk socks – there’s nothing worse than seeing a person sitting down and half a sort of, pale calf is showing between the socks and the trousers. It really ruins an outfit.

 

Are there any formal wear items that have fallen out of favour that you'd like to see come back?

Well the double breasted dinner jacket certainly fell out of favour, but again I’m seeing that creep back in.

I'm not sure if it will be as big as it was in the eighties – the ones people are wearing now aren’t so wide shouldered, and are a little bit more tailored. 

 

If a man can have just one suit, what should it be?

A navy blue, single breasted, medium weight cloth one. The beauty of a navy blue suit is that you can wear it to the office, you can wear it to a cocktail party and you can wear it with just the blazer if you need to. 

 

Is there one thing item every man should have in his wardrobe?

A navy blazer. You can wear it with a pair of jeans, a pair of corduroys. It’s the women’s version of the little black dress  – it's just the easiest thing to put on for any guy at any age.

hackett.com

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