Patrick Grant: My Style Rules

The Norton & Sons creative director talks style over fashion and the importance of a good suit

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What I wear is relevant to me, who I am, the way I live my life, the size and shape that I am and the things that I like wearing. Style is one of those things that just takes time.

I’m kind of anti-style rules. I think as a general principle I’m against trying to establish rules for other people to dress by. I’d rather they worked out their own style.

People need to develop their own style. Study hard, look at all the people you think have style and emanate style. We’re lucky that we have access to an almost infinite library of stylish men from the last century and beyond to take inspiration from.

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You have to set yourself slightly against fashion and work out your thing. Until you go out and push things and make some howling errors, I don’t think you find where you’re comfortable with your own style.

My style influences are a real amalgam. I’ve been in thrall to the style of all sorts of different people. You end up being like a big of a magpie, picking bits from the way people dress, their mannerisms and the things they enjoy doing. You assemble all of these bits of character around yourself and end up creating your style.

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I like people you can identify through their clothing. David Hockney. Nick Wooster in New York is very cool. I love that Jarvis Cocker shops at Oxfam. If you blanked out his face you’d still know it was him from the clothes. With most contemporary celebrities you wouldn’t be able to do that.

E Tautz did very rich and saturated colours for autumn. Teal seems to have popped up a bit, a really, really rich petrol-esque, almost blue colour. We also did a very dark, rich red that looked almost like dried blood.

I have two uniforms that I keep going back to. My smart is a grey flannel suit, a pale blue shirt, a navy blue tie and dark shoes. The other one is a pair of heavy weight E-Tautz field trousers, an old shirt and a pair of Redwin boots. I also seem to live in crew-neck navy blue jumpers for about half the year.

If you like wearing trainers with a suit, then fine. I would never do it. But if you feel comfortable in it and it suits the way you live, then fine. We should all be allowed to do things the way we want to, as long as we choose these things with care, I think everything goes.

A gentleman should always be on time, so presumably he needs a decent wristwatch. I have an old 1970s Rolex. I like a simple watch. I don’t like a big chunky watch, I want something discreet. Black leather strap to match my shoes.

A charcoal or a dark grey flannel suit is a timeless investment. It seems to be the archetypical English suit. If you have to have one suit, that should be the one, and I think everyone should own a good suit.

I’ve just finished writing a book about 80 men that I think are really cool, they span architecture, literature, poetry, science. I’m thinking about building a store so architects are front and centre of my thinking right now. The whole idea that architecture can change the world is interesting. There’s a very architectural feeling to the clothes that we do at Tautz.

We’re very lucky that we have complete freedom to do everything we like in menswear with E Tautz. We’ve roved far and wide, we’ve included references from Japan, China and the Middle East and Africa. Now we’re going for a British feel again.

I’ve had thousands of style mistakes. I grew up long before the advent of the digital camera so all of my terrible mistakes all happened safely in the 1980s.

I feel sorry for the next generation of stylists because they don’t get the opportunity to learn without being publicly ridiculed. Everyone is taking pictures of everything and slapping them on the internet.

If you indulge in the world of fashion you’re almost always going to look back and think “what on earth was I thinking?’ but if you adopt simple style you invariably don’t look back with quite such horror.

Patrick Grant has designed a one-off modern knight's coat for Affligem, in celebration of their heritage dating back to the 11th century.

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