Inheriting Style from Edward Fox

Passing on the Panache

A chap stood next to me at the luggage carousel at the airport. In his late forties, he wore a hooded top with shorts. On his feet he had slip-on pumps with anklet socks peaking out. I won't beat about the bush — the man looked ridiculous and unserious. There was something life denying about him dressing like a child. Could he be trusted? Possibly, but I'm not sure what with. Time was boys tried to ape their fathers in the way they dressed, not the other way around. I mention this often in the hope that it becomes a meme and I single-handedly change the culture.

Men dressing like boys
The worrying thing was that this chap was with his son — aged 8 or 9 — who was dressed in the same way. What lessons is this boy going to learn from his father on how to present himself in civil society? Where is the passing on of tips — the way to tie a tie, to polish a shoe? What's driving this desire for men to dress like boys? Whodunit?

Thankfully, there are families who understand the art of dressing well, where style and your actual clothes can be inherited. To remind me of this, I kept the e-cutting (top) of Edward Fox and son Freddie from an interview they gave to the Mr Porter Journal in 2011. It's still available.

I was reminded of the cutting whilst watching the 1980 film adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd with Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple, directed by Bond man Guy Hamilton. I've always been a Joan Hickson man when it comes to Marples, but Angela is fine in this. The film has some amusing dialogue, particularly between rival actresses played by Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak. It's quite a hoot. Something that is not often acknowledged is the wit of Agatha Christie's dialogue in her novels. The dialogue in the Mirror Crack'd reads like Alan Bennett at his most amusing. Agatha had an ear for dialogue.

I digress — Edward played Miss Marple's nephew Inspector Craddock and looks as dapper as ever.

Edward likes to dress smartly. In London, 'you wear a London suit'. In the shoot for Mr Porter, Edward wears a 25-year-old suit from Johns & Pegg, now absorbed by Davies & Son. He never has his suits dry cleaned, they're merely sponged and pressed.

100-year-old shoes
Most impressively, the shoes Edward is wearing in the photos are over a hundred years old, made 'in the reign of George V' for his grandfather. Buy timeless clothes of the highest quality and they will last a long, long time, so much so that future generations can still make use of them. The shoes may have been expensive when they were made, but they have returned so much value. And they may be heading to Freddie: 'I'm very fortunate that I can inherit my father's clothes. Dad has taught me by the way he keeps his wardrobe.'

What lessons will you be passing on?


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