You’re probably used to us saying this a lot, but we’re proud to be featuring today’s men’s style blogger: Craig Hammond, a.k.a. That Dapper Chap.
He’s got a unique sense of British style, works hard with his blog and social media outlets and gives us a different spin on style advice for our readers.
He even gives us a taste of some affordable shopping suggestions in the UK!
Much like a lot of other bloggers we’ve featured, Craig’s had humble beginnings and is now a well-respected men’s style blogger who has found his own unique voice and has developed his own unique style throughout his journey.
We’re big fans of your blog, http://www.thatdapperchap.com. Tell us about how your blog got started and what you feel distinguishes your blog from everything else out there.
I was given an iPad as a Christmas present 2 years ago. Shortly after, I read an article in GQ which listed the top 10 apps for the iPad and one of these was Instagram. I downloaded it and after posting a few images of menswear, I started to get a nice following.
As things progressed, I was regularly asked if I had my own blog.
Around the same time, I was approached by BespokeUnit.com and asked if I’d like to become their European Creative Director and contributor (which I did). This position gave me a huge amount of experience and soon after I set up ThatDapperChap.com.
It officially went live on February 2014 and I haven’t looked back since.
The fact I’m an older British guy sets me apart from the majority of male bloggers out there. I also tend to focus on smarter, more ‘dapper’ looks while other guys post a lot of street wear and more casual looks, which again makes my blog a little different.
I will always write in my own style – being me – and writing with honesty. It’s vital I retain this so readers know they can trust me.
I’m not in this simply to promote brands. I genuinely want to inspire other guys out there who may be unsure how to style an item or who are not sure what look will work for a particular event.
Tell us about yourself. Is blogging your main career? If not, what do you do for a living? How did you get into blogging for men’s style? What were some of the challenges you experienced in the beginning? What are some of the benefits you are currently experiencing now your site has been up for a while?
While I’d love to be a full time blogger or begin a career in the fashion industry, I’m currently working in the Financial Services Sector. I enjoy my job but it doesn’t allow for much creativity and I have always been a very creative person. Blogging is the perfect outlet for me.
I have always had a keen interest in menswear but things changed when I searched the internet for a look to wear to a wedding.
I stumbled across mrcavaliere.com and was really inspired by Jonathan’s content. His posts resulted in a change of style for me, and I’ve since been featured on his blog, which was a great honour for me: http://mrcavaliere.com/style-profile-craig-hammond/.
The main challenge I face is time (or lack thereof)!
Working full time, working to build a solid readership for the blog, working on my Instagram account and other social media takes time. Add in photoshoots, meetings with brands, research, events and writing and I could do with a few more hours in the day.
The main benefit is the people I have met along the way.
I have forged some great friendships with some of the most interesting and stylish people out there and I’ll always be grateful for their support and friendship.
I also love brand events and press days, seeing all of the coming season’s looks before anyone else.
ESM is all about style. If you could describe your personal style in one sentence, what would it be?
I would describe my personal style as ‘dapper with a modern, vintage edge‘.
What advice would you give readers who are also trying to develop their style? What about those who are developing their style on a budget?
I always tell people to ‘be you‘ – wear what makes you feel comfortable and wear things you feel confident wearing. If you feel confident in what you are wearing it’ll be apparent to everyone around you.
Secondly, look around online. Search blogs and Instagram for looks you like. You may not want to adopt the entire look but you can take elements from it.
Third, make sure the colours you wear compliment your complexion, hair and eye colour. For example, I can’t wear pink as I have a very pink complexion and I look ridiculous in it, but it looks great on darker or olive skin.
Having said this it’s sometimes great to play with colour and pattern combinations but it takes a confident person to do so.
Fourth – fit is vital! Know your measurements and really look at yourself when trying items on. Are those sleeves too short? Are the trousers bunching at the ankles? Are they too big on the waist meaning you’ll be constantly pulling them up? Can you do up the buttons on that blazer and still be able to breathe?
Don’t be afraid to get items altered to fit either. There’s a huge secondary market in menswear with Ebay and thrift shops selling huge amounts of unwanted clothing. This is great for a man on a budget and you can get some great items and really low prices.
Finally, if you’re on a budget make any look more stylish with accessories. Ties, braces/suspenders, bow ties, pocket squares, bracelets, lapel pins and socks are all inexpensive and can make a plain outfit much more stylish.
To learn more, I have written an article all about accessorizing for “Socially Shoppable Style”: http://sociallyshoppable.com/style/gentlemens-guide-to-accessories/.
But as Oscar Wilde said “Be you, as everyone else is taken“.
Once you realize no matter what you wear, there will be someone out there who doesn’t like it – you can move on.
Does it really matter what a passerby thinks of your floral tie? No, it doesn’t.
What matters is you’re wearing something you love and you’re sporting your own unique style.
Has your style developed as your social media presence (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) has developed? If so, how has it changed?
But this has only come with the confidence I’ve gained through feedback from awesome people who follow me and take the time to comments on my posts.
I no longer worry about what people may think of my style and I’m happy to try new looks. Through trial and error I’ve found what suits me and what I feel comfortable in.
I accessorize a lot more than I used to and wear a lot more suits and blazers. So much so I now have a clothing rack full of them!
What are some of your favorite looks right now?
I love the gentleman’s heritage look: tweed blazers, wool trousers and bow ties. I’m also a fan of preppy style with its fresh colours and relaxed styling.
Do you have brands or designers you favor? For our readers who are developing their style on a budget, do you have affordable brands you can recommend?
I’m a massive fan of Patrick Grant. He’s a British Savile Row Tailor who has recently developed a ready to wear range called Hammond & Co. and this range fits my current love for heritage style really well.
It’s very British and comes with a much more reasonable price tag than his Savile Row pieces! Lots of great suiting, fair isle knits, blazers and bow ties as well as grandad shirts and peaked caps. Think a modern take on Peaky Blinders.
I also shop a lot at Next, they are a very affordable high street brand and they do basics really well but also have some more unusual stand out pieces for the more adventurous. Their patterned shirts are great and they are also stocking some very cool printed patterned chinos for summer.
Primark is always a winner for those on a very tight budget. They’ve won fashion retailer of the year countless times and stock current trends at low prices. I’ll often wear pieces from Primark teamed with more expensive items.
At the end of the day, it’s all about how you wear it. You can easily make a £5 shirt look high end if you pair it well with the right pieces and accessories.
What is your philosophy on men’s accessories? What are your favorite accessories to wear?
As I’ve already mentioned a few times, accessories are the key to finishing your looking and really making it your own.
I’m a fan of all accessories and have stacks of ties and bow ties, bracelets and lapel pins. I make a lot of my own bracelets and lapel pins from old necklaces from thrift shops and other bits and pieces. It’s very easy.
I’ve also made my own bow ties and ties. If you know how to use a sewing machine, I’d recommend you give it a go, it’s not as hard as you may think. A pocket square is only a square of fabric with a rolled and sewn edge!
Do you have any style icons? Who are they and why?
Again Patrick Grant, he is always perfectly attired and represents the true British gentleman. He’s also a well respected business man and has a great sense of humour too.
I’m also a fan of Nick Wooster. He, like me, is an older guy and has a real edge – taking risks with his style others would shy away from. He’s a real inspirations for a lot of men.
A lot of film stars and footballers, like David Beckham, are considered as style icons, but it must be remembered they have a team of stylists behind them and designers who throw outfits at them on a daily basis.
So, while they may look great is it really their ‘own’ style that we’re seeing? I doubt it, and that detracts from my ability to see them as a real inspiration.
At ESM, we have a list of “Style Essentials” or pieces that every man should have in his wardrobe. Do you have your own list of style essentials? What are they?
A well fitted classic white shirt. It’ll go with everything: jeans and trainers, untucked with the sleeves rolled up or with a sharp suit, leather brogues and a great tie.
Chinos are a staple for me. They come in so many different colours and again can be dressed up for a smarter look with a shirt and blazer or dressed down with the cuffs rolled up, Chucks and a favourite T-Shirt.
Every man should have a navy suit. This will take you from interview to wedding as well as date night to funeral.
Just make sure it fits like it was made for you. Check out my suit buying guide at Socially Shoppable Style: http://sociallyshoppable.com/style/buying-a-suit.
And remember: “A well fitted suit to a woman is what lingerie is to a man“.
What is your definition of “style”? Is there a difference between “style” vs. “fashion”? If so what differentiates each?
Style is not fashion. Style is how you wear an item.
Fashion is what to wear right now. There are many very stylish people out there who are not ‘fashionable’.
Style trumps fashion every time. Style is considered, it takes time and confidence. fashion is instant, it is accessible to all and it is disposable.
Often fashion is not stylish, it can be crude and ugly but it also tests boundaries and creates discussion. It allows for extreme creativity. Style is personal, unique, and comes from within.
What does the future hold for Craig and That Dapper Chap?
Who knows! I don’t have a crystal ball!
And in the words of Phoebe from Friends, “You have a plan? I don’t even have a ‘pl’!” This entire venture was unplanned and I’m really enjoying not knowing what’s coming next.
Every week I get emails from different brands, both large and well-established and new and independent, who are interested in collaborations. I also get invites to exciting events that then open up more doors for me and allow me to meet more interesting people.
It’s great everything has progressed to the level where I seem to have been accepted and respected by the industry and by people who like what I do.
Whatever the future holds, I’ll remain humble and thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been given so far.
I will always write with integrity and be honest to That Dapper Chap brand.
It’s really important for me the people who read the blog and follow me on Instagram trust what I do and how I do it.
To keep up with Craig Hammond and That Dapper Chap, you can check out his official website at http://www.thatdapperchap.com, his Instagram account at https://instagram.com/that_dapper_chap, his Twitter account at https://twitter.com/ThatDapperChap and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Thatdapperchapofficial.