Neale Whitaker: On being true to your own sense of style
IGNORE THE NAYSAYERS AND BE TRUE TO YOUR OWN SENSE OF STYLE
Recently I was reading a list of things a man should apparently avoid wearing beyond a certain age. I won’t reveal the age in question, but let’s just say I’m it – and then some.
Baseball caps and skinny jeans were on the condemned list (I’m guilty on both counts), but guys, fear not – it’s all about degree. Baseball caps are fine for us seniors as long as we don’t wear them back to front. Ditto skinny jeans. Just avoid the ballet-tights variety.
But it made me think about the endless judgements we inflict on ourselves, and our obsession with being on-trend and appropriate. At this time of year we’re inundated with those “styles-to-say-goodbye-to” and “trends-to-say-hello-to” lists, but do you know what? It’s all nonsense. Don’t ever farewell anything in your home that you love simply because a list tells you to, and by the same token, don’t open your door to any strange trends unless you really trust them.
I’m an evangelist for the non-trend, for the real, the bespoke, the original, the one-off. The pieces you see at the bottom of this page are not there because they’re on-trend, but because I like them and want to share them with you.
Another list I read said it was time to say goodbye to butler’s pantries because they’re impractical. What the? Weren’t they de rigueur just a moment ago? And don’t go thinking you can convert your BP to a European-style laundry, because they’re out, too. What’s a Europeanstyle laundry anyway, per favore? Where I grew up, our washing machine was in the kitchen and Mum dried everything on an outdoor clothesline. Mind you, then as now, England wasn’t in Europe.
So ignore the naysayers telling you it’s time to ditch your poured concrete floors (because now it’s all about terrazzo), your white kitchens (“Go black,” they yell), Moroccan rugs
(cliché), subway tiles, fiddle-leaf figs, rose-gold taps, batik cushions and everything else deemed passé.
And I’m telling you now that the colour you will be seeing everywhere in 2017 is a deep, vegetal shade we once called army green. In these more PC times it’s been rebirthed as “kale”. It’s a fantastic and versatile shade that I personally love, but if it’s not for you then walk on by. This year’s blues or last year’s greys will be just fine. Believe me – I’m the old guy in the skinny jeans.