Return of the Dapper Man Return of the Dapper Man

Trent Payne of the heisdapper.com style blog talks to the Insider about what it takes to be a modern man…

Define Mr. Dapper’s style…
He’s inspired by the British gentleman. When I was eight my dad took me up to the West End of London for the first time and I was dazzled. We visited Harrods, Carnaby Street and all that. I loved hearing all the stories about the times and the fashions. We visited Savile Row as well, and he said this is where he had wanted to get his wedding suit but couldn’t afford it at the time. It made an impression on me. Being a 70s London baby, I also found myself being influenced by Ska music and its fashion: pork pie hats and checkered trousers. So I’d say Dapper’s style is a blend of that: Jamaican ‘Sunday best’ meets Savile Row.

Your style icons?
David Bowie. His style is as eclectic as his music. He’s never been scared of pushing boundaries, yet he never did it for shock value: it was for himself, building his own styles around his music. Then there’s the Motown era guys as well. I don’t really have any modern day icons, maybe Tom Ford or Oswald Boateng – there’s so much color to his suits: fuschia, emerald, orange. And then the lining is usually the opposite – the inside is every bit as beautiful as the outside.

The blog: speak…
I’m not knocking the fashion blogs at all, but you look at some and you get the idea the guy is just standing in one position while the photographer walks around him.
I wanted to do something different. Professionally, I work as a creative director: basically I tell stories for brands so that they can engage with their audience. So I wanted to do something like that, something that was story based. And that’s what we do, if you notice there’s a beginning, a middle and an end. We shoot around the story and using a fixed lens – you see things from a more honest perspective. But you know what, this is not a blog about fashion. I never talk about the clothes I wear, though I always add the items in the credits. It’s a blog about style and I hope people find it inspirational.

How would you advise someone looking to reinvent themselves as a man about town…
I try to be accessible to every person with the blog – of course there are expensive items, but there’s also things from the high street: I mix and match. As for style itself, well that’s a personification of your individuality. But if you are looking to revamp your wardrobe, then I suggest starting with the basics: a white shirt and t-shirt, a navy blue suit, a pair of jeans, black and brown shoes and crisp white trainers. Once you have those, layer other things on. You can get seven different looks in the space of a week from the same suit by say wearing a cardigan with it one day, a new belt the other. Style is not an expensive thing. You don’t need hundreds of items, just build combinations, introduce your personality, dabble with accessories…

Your flat’s on fire, but you spot the chance to save one item. Run!
Hmm, it’d have to be something irreplaceable, so I would go for my first bespoke suit. It’s not just about the quality, the whole experience of getting it was beautiful: being measured for the first time, picking the buttons, lining, stitching…
Just beautiful. Ha, and I’d also be really quick and run back for one more thing – a trilby that was an engagement gift from my wife. It was from the JJ Hat Center in New York, and once more, everything about the process was great: having your head measured, being taken through the history of hats, etc. The rest can burn!

(Photos by Magda Bulera)

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