Style: Dedicated foragers of fashion: Do the style gurus who offer advice through the pages of men's magazines practise what they preach? Roger Tredre finds out

EVERY MONTH Peter Howarth, style editor of GQ, and Nick Sullivan, fashion director of Esquire, tell 168,000 of Britain's most style-conscious men how to dress. But do they practise what they preach?

At this season's men's fashion shows, they certainly looked the part. No ties and no formal suits. They were casual, modern men in relaxed linen jackets and dark glasses.

I tried a label check. Howarth was dressed in a stone-coloured Nicole Farhi suit, grey Hanes T-shirt, and Timberland deck shoes with no socks. Sullivan was wearing a linen jacket by Valentino, soft cream trousers by Nicole Farhi, and deck shoes he had picked up in a market in Florence. Underneath, they assured me, they were both wearing Calvin Klein.

I remarked on their shared liking for Nicole Farhi's clothes. Howarth grinned sheepishly: 'Well, I did once work for her. I launched her menswear collection.'

He has three suits by her, in stone, black and blue, and wears them over and over. 'When we launched the menswear, we didn't want it to be quirky English - Paul Smith already does that brilliantly. Nicole is French, a European who lives in London, so we created an Anglicised version of the European look, interesting but wearable.'

Howarth has come a long way from his student days when he had his hair dyed black and wore plaid shirts, Johnson's leather jackets and baggy trousers. 'Well, I have to be careful now,' he says. 'As you get older, there's less you can get away with. If I wore some sort of grunge combination, people would laugh at me.'

Howarth is GQ man: late twenties, outwardly self-assured, inwardly (here I'm guessing) probably full of the same mixture of neuroses as his peers. 'I think our generation was exceptionally self-conscious,' he says. 'We were teenagers in that post-punk era when music and fashion dovetailed in a very exciting way.'

Men such as Howarth were weaned on the Face. Arena, the first modern British men's style magazine (and, some say, still the best), was launched in 1986 as a spin-off from the Face. GQ and Esquire arrived in 1988 and 1991 respectively, British editions of long-

established US titles with their own editorial teams and content.

GQ is the market leader, with monthly sales of 94,000. Esquire, after a shaky start, is closing the gap, with sales now topping 74,000.

Nick Sullivan came up through the trade press, learning all there is to know about warps and wefts at International Textiles. In his teens he went through a skinhead phase: shaved head, Doc Martens, jeans, Fred Perry shirts.

These days he describes himself as 'fairly conservative'. His wardrobe includes a herring-bone single- breasted Armani suit, but he also likes the classic British look. 'It's great, particularly if done with wit, the way Richard James does it in Savile Row. I like those stiff-collared shirts you find in Jermyn Street. Lots of men think Jermyn Street only makes blue shirts, but there are some wacky designs.'

Does he ever feel guilty about encouraging his readers to splash out on clothes? 'Oh, no, my job is to show them how not to waste their money, to act as a filter, and to find the best on offer.'

Both Sullivan and Howarth agree that men are changing. Sullivan says: 'It's no longer considered sissy to be interested in fashion.'

In the September issue of Esquire, Sullivan makes the point that the way clothes are put together on the catwalk for the press and buyers is rarely how the designer expects them to be worn. These days, designers recognise that most of their customers are sufficiently confident and independent to do their own thing.

Howarth is convinced that magazines such as GQ have had a genuine influence. 'Men are more educated, more informed about clothes. They know that a well-made suit in a good cloth is worth the money, because it will last for years. They've realised that a pounds 200 pair of shoes will last 10 times as long as a pounds 50 pair. They're also more willing to talk about fashion. Guys in pubs now ask you where you get your shoes from.'

I asked them both to name their favourite old garment. Howarth volunteered his R M Williams outback boots and then went misty-eyed over his 10-year-old blue cotton crew-neck sweater from Marks & Spencer. 'I've had it since university. It's nicely faded and washed-out.'

Sullivan nominated a grey flannel sports jacket that used to belong to his father. 'It's from the Fifties. I've sewn it up loads of times, patched it in places, replaced the buttons. It's the sort of jacket you can wear with huge sweaters underneath.'

And what about your beauty routines, boys? Howarth winces. 'I never wear fragrances, but I use Body Shop products.' Sullivan's preferred two fragrances are Polo by Ralph Lauren and Green Irish Tweed by Creed. 'I don't use moisturisers,' he says. 'But I probably should.'

(Photograph omitted)

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

    SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

    Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

    £85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

    Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

    £55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering