Club Rules: Joe Ottaway

Luxury menswear stylist Joe Ottoway talks to The Rake's Online Editor about keeping it personal through styling, touches and taste, as well as his love of British brands.
Club Rules: Joe Ottaway
The first thing that strikes you about Joe Ottaway, is just what a decent and down to earth chap he is. Sartorial consultant, stylist and authority on luxury menswear, when he's not being papped by street style photographers or making the front row of every catwalk his bitch during fashion week, he’s dressing a wealth of discerning private clients, who come to him to gain his own personal insight into just what makes the modern British man stylish. Nevertheless, he’s as straight forward and honest as the day is long - just what one looks for in a personal stylist. Always well tailored and well versed, Joe is a natural subject for The Rake’s Pocket Guide. Quite apart from the range of personal shopping experiences and consultancy services Joe offers, his latest venture the Joe Ottaway Style Club, takes his much sought-after services as a personal stylist to another level. Offering different degrees of membership with his ‘Herringbone’ and ‘Houndstooth’ packages, Joe will spend time visiting his members at home to critique their wardrobe, analyzing areas where additions and improvements can be made, before organizing for a personally curated style edit of to be delivered to the member’s chosen address once a month. It’s a bold new move, and takes the concept of personal styling to a fundamentally more modern, dynamic place – with an exclusively curated wardrobe arriving directly to your door. What’s more Joe’s focus is very much on investment dressing and the creation of a cohesive, versatile long-term wardrobe for his clients. We at The Rake thoroughly approve. Any readers interested in Joe’s style consultancy services can visit to get in touch.
Joe’s necktie and pocket hanky are softly textured pieces from Gieves. “For me a tie and hanky have always got to be contradictory; there’s got to be some form of clash.”
Joe’s pocket watch is another prized personal possession – the chain was his grandfather’s “he was a proper Londoner, born and bred in the markets of the East End”, and the watch itself was a present from his girlfriend.
Joe’s shoes are “good old Church’s monkstraps.” Joe chose them not just for their style (he’s a fan of a double-monkstrap), but also for the last, which he finds particularly comfortable. Ever the expert, his advice for those in search of fine footwear is to take time to invest wisely: “I always say if you’re going to spend anything on your wardrobe it’s got to be on shoes – I think you can spend that little bit more intelligently in the realm of tailoring, shirt and trousers, but shoes are the one thing a guy should pay attention to financially.”
Joe’s rich terracotta wool, silk and linen mélange blazer is from Gieves & Hawkes, naturally. “I love the texture” he says, “a lot of guys are frightened by soft textures, but texture lends tailoring character and a sense of personality. I love this shade of tan too. Again, lots of guys are scared by it but it goes with everything – greys, brown colours and creams.”
Gieves is naturally a first port of call for Joe when it comes to dressing clients. “It’s such a rich British brand” he explains, “it’s the place to come for those who want to experience a really English sense of style. There’s so much history and heritage in this store alone – its ridiculous – well worth celebrating.”
Joe’s socks are his own design – the result of a unique collaboration with the London Sock Co., a houndstooth pattern was chosen for its British quality, and the colours used for same reason: “they are inspired by the colours of British military dress” he explains, “the burnt orange comes from the gold of the epaulettes and the pillar-box red from the tunics of the Household Cavalry.”
Clashing applies to braces too in Joe’s book, “you can’t beat a bit of British clash”, he says. These braces are a quirky vintage acquisition, in a soft brown and cream tweed houndstooth.