They say behind every great man is a great woman, so it should come as no surprise that editor behind the men’s online fashion retail portal, Mr Porter, is the very stylish Jodie Harrison.
The former executive style and grooming editor of the British edition of GQ magazine, Harrison is no stranger to being surrounded by well-dressed men and feels there is no excuse for not being stylish, not even when you’re on a beach holiday (see below).
We pick her brain for her thoughts on men’s fashion and style, and get some pointers on the ways in which we can up our man’s style ante.
herworldPLUS: Why did you choose to join the men’s fashion industry over the ladies’?
Jodie Harrison: I’d like to say my furore into menswear was intentional, but the truth is it happened to me somewhat by accident whilst on a work experience stint at British Glamour on the features desk. It was exciting, but gradually I found the range of feature topics a little limited. Instead I applied for a job in fashion features at British GQ and it went from there. I did seven years with them before learning about an opening at Mr Porter. Over time menswear has really got under my skin. I enjoyed the subtle nuances of the styling, the less-is-more rule to dressing and learning the historical narratives that go alongside the clothes.
HWP: There’s a myriad of clothing and styling options for women, but men usually stick to a staple of shirts and bottoms. Would you say this makes putting together a stylish outfit for guys easier?
JH: I don’t think it makes it easier at all. It does make it a little more expensive, however, as menswear relies on the quality of fabrics and cut much more than womenswear. It’s difficult to find this on the high street, which is why good menswear looks at more quality-driven, long stay pieces. The fact that men have less item choices in their closet – suits, jeans, shirts, ties and jackets – means that finding an individual style within this that doesn’t feel too tricky is hard to do. Those men that do, stand out a mile and in a good way.
(L-R): Grenson G-One Chancery leather brogues, Charvet cotton shirt, A.P.C. New Standard Straight-Leg Selvedge-Denim jeans
HWP: What three fashion items should every man own?
JH: Every man that cares about his style and appearance should own a pair of brogues by either Church’s or Grenson, a white shirt by Charvet and a pair of standard slim APC jeans. (pictured above)
HWP: Which male celebrity do you consider a style icon?
JH: Ryan Gosling ticks every box for me — stylish in a masculine way, good-looking and low-key. He looks just as good in a beat up leather jacket and jeans walking his dog as he does in a blue tuxedo on the red carpet. Honestly though, I prefer to consider icons of bygone eras when it comes to great style figures; men such as Alain Delon, Paul Newman and a young David Hockney are the top three on my list, all for different reasons.
HWP: What would you say is a foolproof gift to get for any guy?
JH: I’d always recommend a navy blue pair of Orlebar Brown swimming shorts (pictured left). I know a lot of men that like to wear hideous sports-branded swim shorts on the beach; this has always been a pet peeve of mine. You can imagine my delight when Orlebar Brown launched in 2007 with a range of perfectly cut, cheerful yet not comic-coloured swim shorts. I bought my boyfriend a pair immediately.
I always hark back to one of my favourite Hardy Amies (in his style book, ABC of Men’s Fashion) quotes when it comes to commenting on men on what to wear to the beach: “The natural desire to relax is often the cause of the abandonment of all standards of taste”. My advice? Stay stylish, no matter what the time, place or temperature.
HWP: What’s your pet peeve when it comes to men’s fashion?
JH: I have several, but one that is particularly high on my list is forced fashion — men who buy every item they consider to be key pieces for the season and wear them everyday in every way to prove their fashion worth. This is particularly prevalent at the fashion collections in London, Paris, and Milan; I can’t bear it.
HWP: What can we expect from Mr Porter in the coming months?
JH: As well as profiling some big names in the world of celebrity and design, Mr Porter will be launching some exciting new features in the weekly journal; pieces that really advise men on outfits and choices and help them choose the right investment pieces for the jobs and downtime. We are also producing the second volume in our Manuals for a Stylish Life and working on a very exciting new launch for 2014. This, however, is top secret. Sorry!
For more information on the products mentioned above, visit www.mrporter.com/intl/home.mrp.