Growing up in West Africa, I was surrounded by colourful clothing, patterns and eclectic styles. Not only was this thanks to our vibrant culture, but also to my family who have always been entrenched in fashion design. From an early age I found myself being inspired by what others would wear and started creating my own outfits from anything I had in my wardrobe, or anything I could borrow!
Cultivating a great appreciation for dressing well lead me to working in fashion as soon as I could. When we moved to Australia I began working for several esteemed brands including BALLY, Emporio Armani and David Jones, before launching my personal styling business and founding Face Fashion – an event for emerging fashion designers.
With the Spring Racing season now well underway, and the fast approach of special summer occasions, I’ve pulled together some of the main tips I give to my clients when advising them how to choose outfits and dress for different occasions.
Both men and women can benefit from these tips, but I thought readers of The Carousel might want to learn some of these off by heart so you can give subtle hints to your partner, friend, father or brother next time you have a special occasion.
Helping men feel confident is a key objective for me, and it’s amazing what some great clothes and careful pairing can do to boost a man’s confidence.
Men are no longer restricted to ‘masculine hues’ – there are so many beautiful shades to choose from, including peach, emerald and mauve. I recommend establishing which shades work for you depending on your skin tone as the right colour can enhance your skin’s appearance. Or if you are trend focused, this Spring, tones of yellow, purple and green will be popular!
Mix & match
Go through your existing wardrobe and consider the variety of looks you can create before searching for new items. Mix and match patterns, and colours, to create new combinations you’ve never worn before. Get creative and if you need to, search for some inspiration online, in movies, or in magazines beforehand.
Have fun with accessories
Your choice of accessories should represent your personal style and tell a story of who you are. Experiment with bow ties, pocket squares, cufflinks, tie or lapel pins and watches but most importantly, aim to only select pieces you really love.
Wear with confidence
Confidence is contagious. If you feel confident in what you’re wearing, this will shine through your personality. Whilst it’s what’s on the inside that matters most, there is no doubt that when we look good, we feel good, and that emanates through us.
Wearing ill-fitting clothing
Nothing looks better than a tailored suit, period. Wearing a suit that is too long or too baggy can make even the most expensive pieces look cheap, so take your suit to a tailor before race day and get ready to look a million dollars.
Not abiding by the dress code
Many racecourses and venues uphold a high standard of attire from general admission to VIP areas. When planning your outfit, ensure you have looked into the dress code and that all your items will be accepted – you don’t want to be turned away at the door!
Although you may want to show off all your favourite accessories, special occasions are not the place to do it. Try focusing on one or two accessories, such as a stunning pair of cuff links or a classic pair of suspenders, and seamlessly working them into your outfit.
Buttoning up your jacket all the way down
A rookie mistake made by many is securing all the buttons on your jacket, making your outfit look stiff and unflattering. As most suit jackets are tailored with the assumption the bottom button will not be fastened, it is best to follow this advice to keep your outfit looking sharp.
Wearing dress shoes that have collapsed toes
Don’t underestimate the importance of a great pair of shoes! Dress shoes are an absolute must at special events and need to be clean, polished and still in their original shape. Dress shoes that have a collapsed toe simply do not look good and will bring down your entire outfit. It is worth investing in a durable pair of leather dress shoes for your special occasions, and make sure you look after them!
I’ve dressed a number of celebrities over the years, which just goes to show the variety of men who hope for some fashion styling advice. From radio host Matt Okine and rapper Timomatic to sports personalities Curtis Rona and Archie Thompson; so many men want to look and feel great when attending special occasions.
If you remember just a few of these suggestions, the men in your life will thank you for it – and I’ll let you take the glory!
The Carousel would like to thank Marvin Osifo for this article.