Rikesh Chauhan: the finishing touch
Our style expert gets to grips with the fine art of accessorising
The devil has always been, and always will be, in the detail. Whether it’s the dimple in a tie knot, the fold of a pocket square, the cuffs on a pair of trousers or the shine of an Oxford cap toe, there’s something incredibly special about the smaller, refined elements of dress.
Accessorising is well and truly an art form and, like all art forms, it takes years to master. To factor in colour and patterns, cloth and texture, as well as the occasion for which you’re dressing – and the journey to it. Get any of those wrong and you’re in for a world of trouble. It still pains me whenever I see people match their pocket square with their tie. Similar colours, fine – but using the exact same fabric for two different accessories only reiterates that this is something one is yet to master.
So what accessories do I consider the most important? If I had to answer that question before the pandemic, I would not have hesitated to say the tie.
I am still a big fan and wear ties four days out of five, but I am aware I’m now in the minority in this regard. Today, my first port of call would be an accessory that’s not directly included in your attire, but will definitely accentuate it: the bag. This could be a beautiful leather good or a sustainable cotton tote but, either way, a functional and stylish bag is an absolute essential in an aesthetic and practical sense.
The perfect blend of both worlds is the leather tote by Bennett Winch. I’ve relied on this for a couple of years, and it’s probably the most essential accessory I own. It’s sleek, stylish and works with any outfit and, considering the dimensions, it packs an incredible amount. In fact, I am writing this article from my hotel room in Milan following a trip to visit Vitale Barberis Canonico and, beside me, my Bennett Winch tote currently holds my laptop, camera, two lenses and hard drives, a book for the plane back to London, charger cables, cigars, and my scarf and gloves. This might tell you everything you need to know.
Another must-have is Aspinal’s slim credit card holder. The supple pebble grain leather in tobacco can be spotted by aficionados a mile out, and that’s no bad thing. It’s beautifully crafted, in keeping with the brand’s ethos, and ensures your cards remain intact. My favourite thing about it is that its slim design allows you to keep it in your internal suit jacket pocket without it bulking out.
Finally, I am a sucker for a neckerchief. I’ve found that it’s a great solution for those who love the necktie but want to dress their look down without annexing the accessory altogether. Rampley & Co’s prints are unrivalled. They take famous works of arts and use their pocket squares as blank silk canvases to be adorned. Their size enables you to repurpose these squares as neckerchiefs with aplomb, and the array of styles and colours will ensure you’ll have the perfect option, no matter your outfit.