On a chilly November morning, following a night of downpours, the Journal takes a walk, with alluringly titled blogger, the Grey Fox, and his writing partner, Harry the Yellow Labrador.
And the Fox, AKA lawyer-turned-writer David Evans, does not disappoint, as he strides out across Bushy Park. The British design advocate is charming, genial and, of course, immaculately turned out –sporting a Harris Tweed Norfolk jacket bespoke by Brita Hirsch, a corduroy cap made in Yorkshire by Kempadoo Millar, a jumper by Shackleton, trousers from Cordings and Loake brogues – he is the modern English gent reimagined.
The Journal discovers that Evans was a (stylish) solicitor for 25 years before starting his Brit-focused men’s style blog. Following a shocking cycling accident, he decided to seize the day and begin writing about style, after realising that middle-aged (post-40) British men struggled with what to wear.
How did your interest in style develop?
I have always had an interest in dressing well – as a lawyer I had to wear snappy suits. But since my early forties, I’d found it hard to know what to wear and where to buy my clothes. At that age, men become uncertain about when they should be wearing jeans and a T-shirt or not, etc. It’s not a huge worry, but it’s something we think about.
What is English gentlemen’s style to you?
I think back to what my grandfather used to wear, and that was nicely tailored tweed suits and beautiful English-made brogues, and I still think of that very much as English style. But it’s developing. It’s taking on a more Italian theme. Tailoring is becoming softer and more comfortable. The traditional English gent used to wear very heavy tweeds and structured tailoring, but nowadays, with central heating and so on, it’s not practical, so the Italian style of tailoring is becoming more popular.
How would you describe your style?
I suppose I’d describe myself as a contemporary English gentleman – not as stuffy and tailored as the traditional style. It’s more comfortable. I might match a tweed jacket with a pair of jeans and a pair of suede brogues – it’s all about being comfortable, but looking stylish at the same time.
Who are your biggest style influences?
I would have to say Prince Charles. He’s one of the best-dressed icons of British style there is. What I particularly like about him is that he has spent a lot on tailoring in his life, but if you added up what he’s spent, it’s probably less than the average high-street shopper, buying rubbish every week. He buys a suit on Savile Row and keeps it going for years. And I like that sustainable approach.
What is your favourite piece of clothing?
My Savile Row suit by Dege & Skinner. I worked with Johnstons of Elgin to design a merino/cashmere cloth – it’s a Prince of Wales check in light charcoal and grey with a blue overcheck. I took it over to Dege & Skinner and asked them to create a suit in their signature style – the finished product was double-breasted, with military accents.
How has the world of British luxury changed since you started the blog?
A lot. I discovered early on that there’s this burgeoning British manufacturing sector, based on a heritage that nearly disappeared in the Sixties and Seventies but is finding its way back again. And a lot of the people getting back into this scene are young entrepreneurs in their twenties. People invite me to their factories and I see everything from shoes to clothes being made and cloth being woven – it’s great to get out and see the wonderful things that are happening in this country.
Is your family stylish?
My maternal grandfather was very stylish – he lived and worked in Spain for much of his life. He had a Mediterranean approach to style and, although he was quite a short man, he dressed in a way that made him look much taller. He wore slim tailored suits, with turned-up trousers and elegant brogues. He’d wear his suit as if he were wearing an old jumper and jeans. If you can feel relaxed in your clothes and they fit well, you will wear them well. He had a big impact on how I dress.
What is your favourite era, style-wise?
I’d have to say the Forties or Fifties. Most men had one suit, a couple of pairs of trousers and a jumper, and that was it. So you had to look after them and wear them well and make sure you looked stylish in them. Today’s style takes a lot from that era, but makes it more contemporary. There’s a lot to be said for this combination.
Why is London the style capital it is?
London and its tailoring lies at the root of all western clothing styles, for menswear. It’s partly because of the City, but also country style – if you think about it, the pinstripe and the country tweed between them, form the basis for much of contemporary men’s style.
What is your favourite animal?
I would have to say a Labrador – Harry, my four-year-old rescue lab, is standing behind me and he would be very hurt if I said anything else.