Toby Bateman: My Style Rules

The buying director at Mr Porter on avoiding Speedos, square-toed shoes and overdressing

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Over the past few years, Mr Porter has become the online destination for premium menswear. The offering is carefully curated so that what you see is the designers’ very best or most wearable items, and that curation is down to a team of buyers as dedicated as they are savvy, a team headed up by Toby Batemen. Widely considered to be one of the best-dressed men in London, he took the time to discuss his wardrobe and dole out a few of his rules for living a stylish life. You’d be wise to take heed.

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My style is classic and smart, although I do like some quite left-field trainers, which is slightly at odds to that description.

My go-to daily outfit is dark slim jeans, a hard shoe (derby or brogue), button down oxford shirt and soft structured jacket.

I am lucky enough to have my own dressing room, but we’ve only recently moved into the house, so it’s not completely kitted out yet. But the one thing that I will include when I do so will be a grid on one wall so I can hang outfits up in the same way our styling team might do when prepping for a shoot. Sounds poncey, I know, but it’s practical.

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My wardrobe is fairly well organised, it has to be with all of the travelling that I do. I don’t decide what to wear until the morning - my outfit depends on what meetings I have that day and the weather. 

If I’ve had a late night then I always overdress as a disguise.

The five things every man should have in his wardrobe are: A decent pair of tan leather derbies, a pair of slim dark rinse selvedge jeans, a white oxford shirt, a grey cashmere crew neck sweater and a navy blazer.

A man should never wear trainers with crystals on them, or tight Speedos. Especially not together.

It’s a tough one, but my favourite piece of timeless menswear has to be a suit or blazer. Everyone needs one good suit in their wardrobe (at the very least) and a good blazer is incredibly versatile.

When I was young I tried to dress like whoever was my favourite pop star was at the time – it started in prep school with Andrew Ridgely, then for a worrying period in my early teens it was Robert Smith, then Michael Hutchence. Clearly I never actually looked like any of these people, but they certainly influenced my haircuts at the time.

In my Twenties I realised that I might in fact be my own person and that’s when I discovered I quite liked tailoring. I didn’t really like wearing full suits all the time and I naturally adopted the jean and jacket style of dressing. That has pretty much stuck with me.

My style hero is Roger Moore in Live & Let Die. Need I say more?

David Beckham is the best-dressed man today.

I hate square-toed shoes, particularly the ones with two seams stitched either side of the toe.

Trends are important – looking and feeling “contemporary” is an important part of being stylish. Men (as opposed to women) are fortunate in that trends often include timeless styles so when for example Peacoats are “on trend” then one should embrace such a movement because not only will you feel more “trendy” whilst this is happening you can continue to wear such a thing when Parkas take over the mantle – then it becomes simply a staple item.

A good example at the moment is Chelsea boots. I’ve always liked them, and they’re a staple menswear item. Best worn with a slim jean in my opinion, they give you a feeling of being slightly retro but slightly rock n’ roll at the same time.

Accessories are a good route of expression for most of us, but my golden rule is less is more. We see tragic over-accessorising each season around trade fairs and fashion shows. Avoid this at all costs, and never match your pocket square to your tie.

Other than dressing well, every man should be able to cook a Sunday roast, mix a good Negroni and appreciate fine wine.

I moisturize every morning, and that’s it.

My one rule for living a stylish life is to be comfortable.

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