Alexander Kraft @alexander.kraft, CEO, 44, Monaco, 34,700 followers
"I only started Instagramming a couple of years ago. I’ve always loved taking pictures of my crazy life – I’m CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty – so I said, I’ll keep a visual diary of what I’m doing and wearing. The idea was to do it in the style of Slim Aarons – a kind of gilded Riviera life: ‘Here I am with my beautiful dog, beautiful car and beautiful house,’ but not taking myself too seriously.
I’ve always put a lot of effort into presentation – I worked out my personal style formula in my late 20s, and I’ve stuck with it for the past 10-15 years. Even when I started as an intern at Sotheby’s I wore a three‑piece suit and polished shoes. I would like to have lived in the 1950s and 60s; Connery as Bond, Gianni Agnelli, Stavros Niarchos, Michael Caine in The Ipcress File – I love all those guys.
My grandfather always dressed for the occasion – black tie meant black tie – and I inherited that sensibility. If I’m doing business or I’m in town, I wear a suit and tie; I make the extra effort. I can’t tell you the number of people, from clerks to hedgefund managers, I see in grey or blue suits with open-neck blue shirts and boring black shoes. And they don’t fit! I really deplore that.
I’ve been wearing suits from Parisian tailor Cifonelli exclusively since 2010. I have very strong ideas about how I want to look, and they were the first to indulge me. Together, we came up with a double-breasted waistcoat with a three-piece suit, inspired by morning dress but for an everyday look: a shawl collar, button-through, not too high and not too low. We worked on it for six months. Plus a slim, low-button coat and narrow flat-front trousers. I like a streamlined silhouette.
I pay as much attention to dressing casually – I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I were in some shapeless sweatsuit. I like the kind of off-duty look that David Niven favoured – polo shirt, cashmere jacket, linen trousers.
I wouldn’t say I started my Instagram page to advise guys on the art of dressing well, but I quickly noticed a thirst to learn about these things, particularly with men fed up with the dress-down mentality. And I’m happy to pass on any wisdom. It’s a dialogue: ‘Where do you get your shoes polished?’; ‘How much cuff should you show?’ People appreciate that it’s authentic and I’m not a paid clotheshorse, though the work with Cifonelli has gone so well I’m now in their ads. I had a lot of bespoke disasters before them – house styles imposed on me, shapes I didn’t like. I don’t usually buy suits off the peg now, but I get the occasional jacket from Ralph Lauren Purple Label – his clothes stay fresh and the quality keeps getting better.
I like shoes by Edward Green and also get them made at Stefano Bemer in Italy – I’ve driven them crazy with my ideas on how open loafers should be and how much sock should show, to the millimetre. A gentleman only ever wears long socks (or none at all), and I prefer handmade Italian – from Gammarelli, Bresciani, Gallo, which I buy online from Mes Chaussettes Rouges in Paris. I always go for vintage accessories. I love Chrono24 for watches, 1stdibs for curated inspiration, Hornets Kensington for cufflinks and top hats. There’s great stuff even on eBay; you just have to dig a little."
www.1stdibs.com. www.audemarspiguet.com. www.chrono24.com. www.cifonelli.com. www.drakes.com. www.edwardgreen.com. www.hornetskensington.co.uk. www.marianorubinacci.net. www.meschaussettesrouges.com.www.myhermes.co.uk. www.ralphlauren.com. www.rolex.com. www.stefanobemersrl.com. www.violamilano.com.
Dennis Walter @kleidsam, digital marketer, 31, Düsseldorf, 18,600 followers
"I’ve always been interested in style, and Instagram was a quick, fuss-free way to get pictures out there and exchange ideas and views. I think people like that I’m a regular guy who has found his own style and wants to share it.
I started wearing ties and jackets on a regular basis when I got my first job in IT. The official dress code was ‘semi-professional’, and the more I researched it on the web, the more I found that there was so much more out there than going for a block-stripe tie, for example. I’m more smartly dressed than the average digital marketer; our CEO would wear jeans and a hoodie if he didn’t have to go to a client meeting. I think I’m the only one – out of 400-500 people – who wears a jacket and tie on a daily basis. People tell me they like the effort I make, but it’s no hardship for me – far from it. I have fun with all the small details – the length of a jacket, the shape of a shoulder, the width of a tie. Now that dress codes are so relaxed, there’s plenty of room to mix things up. I’ll often pair a formal double-breasted jacket with a pair of red trousers.
My style influences tend to be Italian guys like Fabio Attanasio of style blog The Bespoke Dudes and Neapolitan tailor Luca Rubinacci; both champions of sprezzatura, their style reflects their individuality. It’s all about being relaxed and respecting the rules while tweaking them. I would never have dreamt of wearing a double-breasted suit, for instance, but when you see so many great-looking images of guys with the same build as you, wearing a DB with a kind of rakish nonchalance, you think, hey, maybe I could give that a go. Now I’m into the Peaky Blinders 1920s style; double-breasted flannel suits, chalkstripes. I meet clients every other day, so if there’s business riding on the outcome, I’d probably wear a plain blue suit and keep the colour in the tie. But if I know the client already, I’d be fine with dressing like a 1920s gangster. For casual looks I subtract the tie, add some high-waisted linen trousers and loafers without socks. I haven’t worn a T-shirt in years.
I buy most of my suits at Suitsupply – its house cut perfectly fits my body. On Saturdays I also work at Sons of Savile Row, a made-to-measure store in Düsseldorf, so I have hands-on experience of fabrics and styles. I also discovered a great store for blazers and shirts in Portugal called J Lisbon – I love its materials and cuts. I’m always on the lookout for sevenfold handmade Italian ties, which I find from places like Viola Milano and Cordone 1956. There’s also Bonn by Hand, which stands for Based on Norwegian Nature – it’s run by two Norwegian brothers who handmake beautiful grenadine, shantung and knitted silk ties. My shoes are from Scarosso, a Germany-based brand that manufactures its loafers and monkstraps in Italy. I also have three or four pairs of Grensons from the UK.
The next stage of the journey is going fully bespoke. It’ll mean upping the budget somewhat, but I see it as an investment."
Olof Nithenius @olof1982, bank manager, 34, Gothenburg, 44,900 followers
"There are a lot of guys in Sweden today who dress in suits, sports coats and ties, but not in the classic formal, old‑fashioned way. It’s about shorter jackets, softer shoulders, skinnier, shorter trousers, and colours other than charcoal or navy blue – a more contemporary spin. I wear a lot of brown, light grey, checks and vintage blue. I like the democratic nature of the internet – anyone with a smartphone has a window on the world, and part of having Instagram is the ability to reach out to like-minded people. It’s not about showing off exclusive custom-made suits; it’s about getting feedback from friends in London, New York, Italy – everywhere.
I don’t look to the past for inspiration. It’s more about the people I’ve met through social media or in real life. A mentor for me is G Bruce Boyer, the American writer and expert on menswear from the 1950s onwards.
I’m a manager at a bank and dress codes are a little more relaxed in Sweden than in some countries. I wear a navy or charcoal suit once a week if I have a client meeting, otherwise it’s a tweed jacket, moleskin trousers and Oxford shirts. I wear a tie every day because I love them, but it can be a casual one in cashmere, an unlined one in wool, or a knitted one in silk. Shoes can be cordovan or brown suede, and the socks can be bold, in red, purple or pale green.
Weekends are about family time with my wife and my son and going to our summer house in the countryside, so that tends to be a more functional look: walking boots, heavy selvedge denim, an old Barbour jacket and a beanie. But I’m always looking for quality, well-made goods. I have bespoke pieces not just because I’m interested in material, cut and fit, but also because I’m really tall and can never find ready-to-wear that fits well.
In the UK, Thom Sweeney is young, contemporary and has a British look that I like – a slightly shorter jacket and snug fit. In Italy, I like Sartoria Corcos in Florence and Sartoria Solito in Naples, both with very different styles: Corcos is a classic Italian look made with Japanese precision, while Solito is more Napoli in style, with soft construction and shoulders – its sport coats feel more like cardigans. And I’ve worked a lot with a tailor in Poland called Zaremba, which I found on Tumblr. The construction is very light and the sports coats and jackets have shirt-style shoulders known as spalla camicia.
I love Drake’s for ties and pocket squares. I can spot its items from afar because the patterns are so distinctive. For shoes, I like Alden in the US and Tricker’s and Edward Green in the UK; I tend to go for bulkier, chunkier styles. And I carry all my stuff in bags from Frank Clegg in Massachusetts. Outerwear tends to be British – Grenfell and Private White VC. It doesn’t draw attention to itself, but the craft that goes into each piece is amazing. That’s the kind of thing I like to celebrate."
www.aldenshoe.com. www.christiankimber.com. www.drakes.com. www.edwardgreen.com. www.frankcleggleatherworks.com. www.grenfell.com. www.lucavitabile.it. www.patriziocappelli.it. www.privatewhitevc.com. www.rculturi.com. www.saintcrispins.com. www.sartoriacorcos.com. www.sartoriagege.it. www.sartoriasolito.it. www.thomsweeney.co.uk. www.trickers.com. www.zaremba-krawiec.pl.
Khaled Nasr @sartoriomerta, software entrepreneur, 37, Los Angeles. 63,700 followers
"My interest in style comes from my parents. They ran their own semiconductor company, making microchips – I’m in the same business – and I would always see them going to work, with my dad in sharp suits and my mum in Chanel. I was never that interested in social media, and I started my Instagram account just to post the occasional family shot, but then I put up a picture of me dressed for work in a bespoke suit and it got a huge reaction. It felt like I had a certain type of look that I enjoyed and people connected with. It’s not crazy unique, but I think I put things together in a way that’s a little different. I now have a core group of online friends across Europe. We are in touch every day.
My two favourite eras are the 1930s and the 1970s. The 70s because guys really put it out there then and had fun with their clothing, the 30s because of the shapes and materials; the slimmed-down sleeves and trousers, the flannels and the tweeds. My own style is classically influenced, with a little bit of flair – ‘composed flair’, you might call it. I like details such as a pop of colour in a tie or a gold lapel pin, but crazy big flowers or oversized pocket squares push things over the edge and make it look too thought-out. I choose beautiful colours that lift an outfit without going over the top with pattern.
Bespoke is definitely my thing. I often go to Sciamat, the Italian tailors known for soft, flowing jackets and roped shoulders. Valentino and Nicola Ricci, who run the house, have been big inspirations. Valentino’s style is very classic, in navys and dark greys, while Nicola is more experimental with shape and colour. The first piece I ordered was a dark-green notch-lapel jacket; when it arrived I thought it was phenomenal. I love their wider lapels, the exaggerated curve of their pockets, especially their patch pockets with flaps, which you don’t see anywhere else, and even their history; the fact that Valentino was a lawyer but gave it up to dedicate himself to tailoring. There’s no canvassing in a Sciamat jacket; it just kind of melts onto your body. Ours is a special relationship; I come up with fabric ideas I like, or they send me unusual swatches, and I order from LA.
Another guy I really like is Angel Ramos of Angel Bespoke, who’s based in New York but comes to LA a lot. Los Angeles is not a suited-up city, it’s athleisure land, really. People sometimes look at me and ask, are you going to a funeral? But Angel puts suiting together with a little bit of street; a slightly funkier take. He showed me how to mix the two and make it work for every day.
I’d like to try B&Tailor, a Korean tailoring house, because its pieces look so elegant. I rate pocket squares from Monsieur Fox; it has fun patterns and themes – this year it’s doing circus scenes. It’s mostly hidden in your pocket, but every so often you’ll look down and glimpse an acrobat or something. That’s really cool.
There are two casual looks I like; a Brunello Cucinelli style where you’re dressed down but you still feel smart; and then some basic jeans, Saint Laurent sneakers and John Elliott sweaters. That’s my native LA look. Recently, I’ve noticed a few of my friends dressing a bit smarter. I’d like to feel I’m having some effect."
David Evans @greyfoxblog, former lawyer and teacher, 61, London, 11,000 followers
"As a lawyer, and then a teacher, I never took a huge interest in style until my mid-50s, when I started writing a blog about the angst men have over what to wear when they reach a certain age – dressing age-appropriately, that sort of thing. I saw that there was a need to address this; as you walk around London it feels like 95 per cent of the guys in the City are wearing suits that don’t fit properly, or horrible shoes. With a little bit of thought, and not necessarily a huge expenditure, they could be making more of an impact.
I see Instagram as a kind of shop window for the blog, an opportunity to showcase the kind of outfits I’m talking about. I feel that the menswear industry often ignores the older man – models are in their 20s, yet the clothes can be worn by most age groups. I’d like men to take more of an interest in cut, fit, pattern, colour, texture, those kinds of things. I’m not telling people what to wear; I’m in the business of showing what’s possible.
Early on, I was inspired by style blogger The Sartorialist’s shots from Italian menswear showcase Pitti Uomo, of older guys looking great in jeans and double-breasted blue blazers and so on. They were mixing sharp tailoring and brogues with more casual looks, and they had a certain insouciance that I liked, in the same way that certain Hollywood stars like Cary Grant, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman had that quality of looking relaxed and confident in their clothes.
When I was a lawyer my own style was all double-breasted pinstripe suits and black Oxfords, but these days I’m more smart-casual. I like wearing ties, but I’ll pair a knitted tie with a chambray shirt to dial down the formality. I also like comfortable unstructured suits. You can be a lot more playful these days, and I think part of my remit now is to explore this middle ground between formal and informal, because it’s relevant for a lot of men.
I’m keen on British-made. One of my favourite brands is SEH Kelly, which makes all its pieces in the UK. It’s great-fitting workwear-style clothing – linens, tweeds and knitwear – and not that expensive. I also really like Private White VC and its modern take on classic military‑inspired pieces, all produced at its factory in Manchester. I buy bags from Cherchbi, made with tweed from Herdwick sheep in Cumbria; and Tusting, a British family firm that’s been making leather goods for over 100 years. Not enough people have heard of Tusting here, but it is lauded in Japan. I love Shaun Gordon’s ties – he’s a real enthusiast and produces beautiful British-made patterns, often in limited editions. I also really like Carréducker, which makes fantastic bespoke shoes, from tassel loafers to Derbies and plantation boots, at its ateliers in Bloomsbury and on Savile Row.
I’m interested in encouraging more of a willingness to experiment – that can only be a good thing."
www.carreducker.com. www.cherchbi.co.uk. www.cravat-club.com. www.dashingtweeds.co.uk. www.geoffstocker.com. www.jigsaw-online.com. www.loake.co.uk. www.moss.co.uk. www.privatewhitevc.com. www.sehkelly.com. www.shaungordon.co.uk. www.triplstitched.com. www.tusting.co.uk.