My style rules: by EDGAR ambassador Tatenda Mutunga
Words by Rob Chilton
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Simplicity, tailoring and good white sneakers
Fresh from an epic eight-day trip trekking through the forests of Uganda observing gorillas, Tatenda Mutunga feels revitalised. The 33-year-old marketing manager from Zimbabwe has been in Dubai for almost eight years and today is wearing a smart grey checked double-breasted blazer. Now an ambassador for The EDGAR Store, Mutunga laid out his manifesto for getting dressed.
I think it’s important to dress for the occasion, keeping in mind the dress code or theme and what kind of impression I want to make. It’s important to be comfortable and it’s important to know your body shape and what is flattering for you. My look is always very minimal – I like simplicity.
I like to throw in a few accessories to spice things up. An outfit is not complete without a watch. I have loads of bracelets, a couple of rings, and cufflinks. I have about 20 pocket squares, I like to have fun with them. I’ve inherited some from my dad, which are beautiful vintage ones made of silk.
Acne Studios, Uniqlo and Cos are my favourite day-to-day brands because they never disappoint. Their pieces are modern, essential and timeless. They don’t go out of season and go with everything.
I have about eight pairs of white sneakers, mostly from Cos and Axel Arigato. I have my eye on a dream pair from Saint Laurent. White sneakers go with everything, they represent my clean and simple style. I can wear them casually or with suits, too. I rotate them and keep them in really good condition – I have a shoe cleaning kit and a shoe rack.
The oldest thing in my wardrobe is a winter blazer and waistcoat from the 1970s that belonged to my dad. I know he got these pieces in New York. I have some of his suits that I’ve tailored to fit me. It’s always a nice feeling to wear pieces that belonged to my dad.
There’s nothing worse than a pair of pants that crumple at the bottom. I’m a strong believer in getting things tailored because I think fit is so important. If it fits right, even something from H&M will look better than something bought from a high-end store.
A big no-no for me is stuffed pockets. Guys who keep their wallet, phone and keys in trouser pockets kills the look – especially if he’s wearing skinny jeans.
Don’t be afraid to express yourself. We’ve all seen people who buy designer brands with massive logos across the front but you can tell it’s not them. Dress for yourself, not for other people.
It’s the trend to wear sweatshirts and joggers but I don’t like seeing a guy in Adidas joggers with a Nike hoodie and Under Armour socks – it all needs to be in sync and each piece needs to speak to each other. Logos are not my style but I make an exception for Adidas, just the three stripes, which is subtle branding.
A lot of men build their wardrobes around seasonal trends, which I think is the wrong approach. Stuff that is cool this season won’t be cool next season. For example, last season was all about neon, now it’s earth tones. I own timeless pieces so I don’t have to worry about re-doing my entire wardrobe next season.
I always wear a belt, except if I’m wearing high-waisted pants, but I avoid a big logo buckle.
I think it’s important to often refresh your wardrobe and create room for new stuff. If you don’t wear something for more than a year, get rid of it, unless it has sentimental value. I don’t believe in keeping pieces in the hope that they’ll come back in style. You don’t need a lot of clothing to have style.
I use Viva Style Lounge in Satwa to get made-to-measure suits, pants and shorts. These guys know my measurements, they’re quick, and I like choosing the fabric. I find a lot of inspiration on Instagram so I show them photos and they produce the pieces. I go in there knowing exactly what I want.
I think you grow your style by getting a little uncomfortable and taking yourself out of the safe zone. You might make mistakes but that’s how you learn. Playing it safe is not fun.
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