The Style Guide by Simon Crompton

Fenwick of Bond Street and cult menswear website Permanent Style have launched 'The Style Guide', a new book by writer Simon Crompton and photographer Jamie Ferguson that focuses on the sartorial secrets of the world’s most stylish men.

 The book features striking street-style shots, largely taken by Jamie Ferguson, featuring some of the most stylish people in the menswear industry. 

Each image has accompanying notes on why the outfit works well - in terms of colour combinations, shape, texture and mixing up sartorial and more casual clothing.

Yasuto Kamoshita, creative director of United Arrows, is pictured on the cover, while inside are the likes of Michael Drake, Valentino Ricci and Michael Williams.

'The Style Guide' is available exclusively at Fenwick of Bond Street for £42, from 30th to 6th March, before it launches worldwide.

Navigate through Simon’s style tips and get inspired by the fashion guru's exclusive looks for Fenwick of Bond Street. Shop the edit in our menswear department now.

 texture final

Valstar brown suede bomber jacket, £695; Private White oatmeal sweatshirt, £149; PT01 khaki trousers, £210; Common Projects white pumps, £290

We sat down with Simon to talk all things style.

Q. You’ve launched a number of highly successful books in the past, what was the concept behind this one and how did you partner with Jamie Ferguson to bring it to life?

Previous books I've done have been much more based around text and analysis - the imagery has been illustration really, rather than the focus.
I’ve always disliked straightforward street-style books, principally because they have little focus on actual style. Often the subject looks good because of the lighting, the background or the composition, rather than the clothes they are wearing. And there is little discussion of why the clothes work well (if they do).
So if I was going to do a style book, I wanted it to be practical. Hence, alongside every image in The Style Guide there are notes on what I like and why. The subject is often colour, but also fit, texture, and the parallels between sartorial clothing and workwear, for example.
Jamie has both a great eye and great style, and had amassed a wonderful archive of street-style shots over the years of the most stylish men we knew. Combining them with the photos of me he had taken created a truly instructive collection. 

Ring Jacket navy woven jacket, £1040; Drakes blue & white striped shirt, £205; Fenwick paisley cravat, £80; Borsalino beige straw hat, £185; Carmina brown leather brogues, £375

Q. Is there a region or a country that you think is championing change or innovation in menswear?

Much as I hate to say so, Japan is way ahead. I was there last September with Jamie - several of our images in the book were taken there, of Aki at Ring Jacket, for example, or Ethan at Bryceland's.
Their dedication to craft, particularly the consistency of it in the culture, is very hard to compete with. If their bespoke shoemakers travelled more, in particular, I think many European makers would find it hard to compete.


Aspesi green jacket, £220; Sunspel long sleeve white t-shirt, £70; PT01 dark beige chinos, £200; Common Projects tan suede pumps, £310

Q. There is a tendency to not consider fit or shape when buying casual clothing. How do you see sartorial principles applying to casual clothing?

Good question. The ideas around fit in casual clothing can often be different to formal clothing - there is less focus on the shoulders and waist, for example. But the importance of fit is the same. Nothing makes a jacket more casual than giving it a straight, full cut. Biker or flight jackets are defined by their short length and close or full body respectively. Hopefully a familiarity with sartorial clothing encourages you to focus on these things.


Ring Jacket blue pin striped suit, £1560; Richard James white shirt, £135; Fenwick blue/green striped tie, £145; Crocket & Jones black leather brogues, £380

Q. You’ve said good style doesn’t shout. What advice would you give to a man who wants to have personality in his style but is unsure how to achieve it?

Start slowly and subtly. So many men go crazy when they start having clothes made. A loud check; a patterned lining; that bright blue that every man under 30 seems to own a suit in. Instead, start with something like flannel. Unusual, but subtle. And try wearing it for a few months, with different accessories, in different combinations, until you feel you fully understand what you like about it. Then move on.


Aspesi denim shirt, £130; John Smedley long sleeve navy polo, £160; PT01 light beige chinos, £200; Carmina brown suede leather shoes, £375