Icons / June 2019

Nick Wooster: the Rule Breaker

The menswear iconoclast on his love for shorts, disdain for dress codes and how the demand for comfort is changing men’s style, as told to Christian Barker.

I’ve always loved clothes and since the age of four or five, have always demanded the independence to decide what I’ll wear. The worst thing in the world for me is a dress code. The minute someone tells me that I can’t wear something, I want to rebel and do exactly the opposite. It’s true what Tom Ford says, that dressing well is a form of manners. It’s polite to make the people around you at ease by dressing appropriately for the occasion or setting. And I’ll try to be as appropriate as I can, but I want to do it in the framework of what makes me comfortable, not what makes someone else comfortable.

For example, I love wearing shorts. I understand that sometimes, that can be super upsetting to certain kinds of people — they don’t like it, they don’t think it’s appropriate. Well, that might be true in particular cases, and I do try to err on the side of like caution. The great thing today is that I can wear shorts more freely than I was ever able to do in the past, and I’m happy about that, I like it. But I prefer to do it with a tailored jacket and to not wear sneakers and shorts — to wear, instead, a benchmade shoe from Tricker’s or Church’s feels like I’m still making an effort, but in my own way.

You can easily run afoul of dress codes, especially in places like London. A while ago, I was wearing a pair of Rick Owens, well, not really ‘shorts’, they were super long, but I was refused entry at Claridge’s to have tea, even though I was also wearing a tailored jacket. And I get it, that’s fine, that’s their prerogative, they have their rules. I really can’t get upset about things like that, it’s just funny to me more than anything. Nevertheless, more and more, we’re seeing guys in formal business and social settings adopting casual and athletic clothing.

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.