While he hosted a shopping event at J Crew’s Regent Street flagship, we grabbed a quick 5 minutes with newly named Style Director of British Esquire Teo van den Broeke for an expert’s perspective on trends and dressing to suit your body.
Where is your name from and how do you pronounce it?
My name is Dutch. My Dad is Dutch and my mum is English and Swiss. He moved here when he was 18 and my mum wanted me to have a Dutch name, so he was like it can be Yip, Yap, Jopp, Johannes, Andreas, and it was like no. So my Name is Teo van den Broeke (pronounced Tay-o van den Bruka). Its like a pan-european name like its Spanish as well. And my surname is van den Broeke which is ‘of the river’ or ‘of the trousers’ depending on how you want to look at it, but I think because of the industry I’m in, ‘of the trousers’ is kind of good right?
If you could give fashion advice in one sentence or word what would you say?
Understand your body shape. So many people will buy something because they like the colour or the fabric, and that’s all relevant but unless you know what works on your body then you have no idea. You have to understand how your body works in order to know how to dress it well, and sometimes that can mean asking for help, whether it’s going to a tailor, I have a great tailor on South Molton Street who kind of knows what I want – because they can see it. So learn to understand your body.
What fashion trend do you wish would go away?
The thing is it’s not so much trends – it’s more like…in menswear there are these pervasive disgusting things that hang around for years, because trends take ages to form in menswear. Like you see something in womenswear, next season it will be in stores and everyone will buy into it. You see it in menswear, it will take at least four seasons to make it’s impact. On the flipside of that is that sometimes some things come in and they never go away. One for instance is the pointy shoe, the winklepicker that turn up at the end like a weird elf. That is the thing I wish would go. That and jeans that are too long so they fray at the back. The thing with menswear is that its not so trend based. It’s all about timelessness its about improving things that already exist.
What would you like to see come back into menswear?
The thing about menswear is that it becomes quite polar – so you hear ‘tailoring is dead’. At the moment it’s not about tailoring, it’s all about soft jumpers and that kind of thing, and I think actually I’d quite like good, really beautiful tailoring that accentuates people’s bodies to come back instead of the pocket square, tie bar crap, actually buy clothes that are tailored to you. And it doesn’t mean you can’t buy into the casual stuff, it’s finding that middle ground.
Maybe it’s me looking at from a kind of insider perspective. I’ll give you something else. Fabric. Fabric because at the moment there’s so much shearling, suedes crushed alpacas, shaved alpacas, and its really brilliant and the high street is picking it up well, but you just know that men are going to continue to buy matted wool and poplin shirts because they’re afraid of it, and I hope that doesn’t happen, I hope they buy into it. It’s a subtle way of giving the difference to your outfit.
Do you have a failsafe go-to look?
Oh yeah definitely. I always wear a pair of Gucci blue trousers, I have three of exactly the same style and sizes because I love them – slim, not too tight, with a crop hem, white hi-top converse, because in winter I hate having the trouser-shoe meet. I hate I really struggle with it, so that helps me. That or a Chelsea boot, and a slim very fine gauge blue jumper, a white granddad shirt and a really light cashmere coat – in blue. It’s such a uniform.
Cover Image credit: David Clulow