James Marriott has attracted 16.5K Instagram followers with his clean, minimal looks and natural gift for combining luxury elements with an urban aesthetic. Through social media, Marriott shares his love of sneakers, torn denim, and hoodie sweaters, combining them with timepieces, cologne and tailored suits. This is where the uniqueness of his style comes from: two distinct visions reconciled, an encounter of the designer with the streets (as popularized by Helmut Lang and Yohji Yamamoto, the latter being one of his idols). As a result, the Manchester-based blogger has acquired a mastery of “sport-chic” that you either wish you could perfect yourself or hope your boyfriend could learn a little from.
So, how does he do it?
// A STRONG URBAN INSPIRATION
Like many stylish men, Marriott loves sneakers and understand their ability to define a look. He has dozens of pairs in many different styles, but what they have in common is a certain elegance that makes them stand out. High-tops or low, printed or soberly black or beige, in leather or novelty materials, designer-made; they all have an added value that attracts the eye and makes a strong statement, making them so much more than your basic gym sneakers.
Sneakers aren’t the only street elements in Marriott’s style. He also favors hoodies, simple crew tees, and jogging pants. More often than not, his jeans are stressed and torn—but always fitted. A constant among all these pieces, however, is that he always chooses them high-quality, ensuring long-lasting and comfortable pieces with a beautiful hand and feel. If you have one thing to remember from this point, let this be it: street doesn’t have to mean cheap.
// SIMPLICITY AS A MOTTO
A sure way to add the “chic” in “sport-chic” is to avoid doing too much: a sleek silhouette, a sober color palette made of black, grays, and neutrals, classic pieces that will be your go-to for just about anything. Marriott says it best himself: “I live by a very simple motto when it comes to clothes, which was made famous by Vivienne Westwood: ‘Buy less, choose well, and make it last.’ Simple pieces such as a leather biker jacket, dark slim denim, Chelsea boots and quality tees (from the likes of John Elliott Co, for example), will last you for years and are truly timeless. Your aim should be to build a versatile capsule wardrobe, where pieces can be dressed up or down with ease.” It is all about keeping your style seamless and effortless.
// QUALITY IS NEVER OPTIONAL
What makes Marriott’s urban wardrobe stand out is the high quality of his clothes. And if, like him, you like to define your style through a few timeless pieces, it would only make sense to invest in these pieces, and ensure they will remain with you for a long time. To ensure perfect craft and garments that last, he favors designers such as Helmut Lang, Y-3, Maison Martin Margiela, McQueen, Givenchy, or Kenzo (for suits), and of course, Nike for sneakers. Apart from these well-known designers, he cites Fear of God, John Elliott Co, Allsaints and Favela Clothing as some of his go-to labels. We agree with James on the importance of acquiring some investment pieces- and if, like him, can’t afford the investment? Topman and Zara remain among his favorites for good, stylish finds with a reasonable price tag.
// DETAILS ARE A PRIORITY
Marriott knows how to play with details in order to add both elegance and sartorial worth to his style. He appreciates and makes use of high-quality accessories, such as a Daniel Wellington timepiece, a black leather bag or Chelsea boots when he wants to take a break from sneakers. Don’t underestimate the importance of such pieces; shoes, timepieces and bags can add value to any look. If this is your thing, you can take it even further and experiment with scarves, sunglasses, hats or cufflinks- just remember to choose one and stick to the simplicity motto.
If it’s not in the accessories, then Marriott likes to use prints to stand out—always in moderation. A graphic sweater, like the one he wore from Givenchy, a classic plaid shirt over a simple tee or printed sneakers will add a fun element to any look without looking like you tried too hard.
In a few words, keep it simple, look out for quality and do not neglect details. These simple principles have been mastered by James Marriott, the picture of modern, effortless urban-chic—Yohji would be proud.