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Shoe maestro Tim Little on why you should always start with your footwear, and how not being noticed is no bad thing

Stephen Doig
Grenson designer and founder Tim Little - Jay Rowden Photography

The creative director of heritage shoe brand Grenson tells us about the wardrobe rules he lives by  – accessorised with good  footwear, naturally.

Stick to what works for you

A sense of what you like and don’t like develops over time.  I’m in my 50s now and it’s something that’s evolved. I think stylish men are those who have a real view and stick to their convictions on what looks good. It’s great to discover something new, but  not for the sake of just buying the latest thing. 

It’s OK not to stand out

I’m from the Midlands and grew up in the 1970s. I think that instilled in me the sense that  a man’s style should be something  under the radar. I’d feel uncomfortable with the idea of someone saying, ‘Wow, I love what you’re wearing.’ I’d rather dress nicely and not be noticed than have the opposite. 

Choose your inspiration and  keep it in mind

Someone once said to me that my style was very 1950s, and I think I do reference that era in terms of easy shirts and very classic silhouettes, particularly that Miles Davis look. I’m a huge blues fan.

Opt for an everyday go-to

I definitely adhere to a uniform.  I love hardwearing, functional workwear items. I tracked down a company in France that makes the perfect workers’ jackets from its small factory near Le Mans. It’s a simple, low-key design with an easy shape and patch pockets. 

Tim Little's relaxed style   Credit: Jay Rowden

Start with your shoes

Being my stock-in-trade, obviously shoes are very important to me. I spent years working with footwear brands in Italy and what struck me is that, irrespective of salary, Italians will spend a lot on accessories to finesse a look. It taught me that you can have the most functional jeans, and an everyday overshirt, but if you wear them with an excellent pair  of shoes, it can make the whole outfit.

Tim's favourite things...

The jacket

I swear by this Loire-based brand, which specialises in classic French workers’ jackets – very solid and rugged.

Vetra

Washed moleskin jacket, £164, Vetra

The T-shirt

I bulk-buy these in white. I probably own thousands, but they’re all you need.

Sunspel

Cotton t-shirt, £70, Sunspel

The watch

A good watch is an investment and this one is a classic.

Tag Heuer

Monaco 37mm, £1,400, Tag Heuer

The jeans

A friend runs this  denim factory in Wales and I wear its jeans every day. The fit is great and they’re hardwearing.

Hyatt

Organic jeans, £155, Hiut Denim Co

The shoes

Every man should own a pair of Goodyear welted shoes and a pair of leather trainers.

Grenson

Triple-welt leather shoes, £470, Grenson

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