British model Jack Guinness who has fronted global campaigns for brands including Gucci, Dunhill and Dolce and Gabbana welcomed the enforced break from his usual jet setting lifestyle during the pandemic. Stuck at home in London his beloved sharp suits have remained (for the most part) hanging in his wardrobe, he confesses.
“Like everyone else, I’ve just been in my pyjamas and in my tracksuit,” says the 38-year-old model, writer and fashion commentator, who has brought together a joyful celebration of queer culture and history in a new book, The Queer Bible. “On Zoom calls I’ve been like Donald Duck, pyjamas downstairs and shirt up top. No one knows.”
Jack Guinness (Ian West/PA)
He may have lived lockdown in his comfies, but Guinness knows the value of clothes: “We joke about fashion being a frivolous, shallow world but I really believe in the power of good clothes to make you feel your best and make you feel really proud of yourself. When you put on a beautiful suit it makes you feel human, like you have worth. There’s real power in it.”
And he’s an expert when it comes to selecting suits and putting together incredibly dapper outfits. Here, he offers five top tips on choosing the right suit and wearing it well.
1. Play to your strengths
“Dress for the body you have, not for the body you want. Find a shape and a cut that’s flattering to you,” Guinness says.
What suit jacket would he recommend for larger guys? “I wouldn’t go for double-breasted. I’d go for two buttons but not double-breasted. You always want to think about elongating your shape and creating nice lines.”
2. Keep it classic
You don’t need to be in the know about the latest catwalk looks, Guinness says: “Ignore trends. Go for timeless classics.”
And he believes there’s nothing wrong with being a copycat when it comes to tailoring: “If you are worried about style, a really easy checklist is to find a famous icon whose style you love and emulate that. It could be Marlon Brando, James Dean or Steve McQueen. If it’s tailoring find someone who has worn suits at some point and copy their vibe.”
3. Don’t overdo the accessories
“I think there’s a trend with guys going a bit too far with accessories and looking a bit too much like a peacock. It’s great to look smart but you don’t want to look too ‘try hard’, you don’t want to gild the lily,” Guinness warns.
“Sometimes, if you over-accessorise you look like an 11-year-old going to your auntie’s wedding. It’s fine to wear a lovely tie. You don’t always need a pocket square.”
4. Be aware of button rules
With waistcoats there’s one key tailoring tip to know, Guinness says: “Never do up the bottom button of your waistcoat.”
And for three-button blazers, there’s a three-part rule: “Sometimes; always; never – sometimes do up the top button; always do up the middle button; never do up the bottom button.”
5. Know when to match
What belt goes best with a suit? Guinness advises: “Just match the colour of the leather belt with the shoes you are wearing. It’s like women with handbags, isn’t it?”
But you don’t have to coordinate every single element of your outfit. “If you are going to wear a pocket square and a tie, they don’t have to match but make sure they ‘talk’ to each other.”
The Queer Bible edited by Jack Guinness is published by HQ, priced £20.