In Conversation with David Evans, creator of Grey Fox blog

A year ago, David Evans of Grey Fox blog invited me to take part in his Masters of Style series profiling people who have something interesting to say about clothes and how they express their style. Ever since, I’ve had him in my mind to feature here.

David has been championing British menswear brands for the past eleven years and what I like is that his focus is on style for the older man (from the 40s onwards). He says that with age comes great experience and self confidence and thereby better sartorial self expression. In a youth-dominated industry, it’s refreshing to have someone focusing on the more mature demographic, an area which is too often (and to my mind foolishly) ignored.

Here I talk to David about colour (something he doesn’t shy away from), wardrobe staples to invest in and how Covid has influenced the way men now dress.

                                                                                                                                 Photo: Jonathon Daniel Pryce

David, how did you go from law (and later teaching) to running a very successful fashion blog?

Thank you for saying it’s very successful – certainly I enjoy writing the blog and managing my Instagram very much and maybe that shows. I originally wanted to write a book and a blog seemed a good way of practising my writing. I didn’t know what to write about at first but decided to try talking about men’s style for the point of view of the older man (even though I had no background at all in fashion or menswear). I planned to find another topic within a few weeks, but it all took off unexpectedly, so I persevered and here I am in the twelfth year of the blog!

Is style innate and why is it important to you?

I don’t think style is innate. We can acquire it like we acquire any artistic skill and inevitably some find it easier than others. Being observant and having a basic sense of colour and proportion and understanding the subtleties of taste all help too. I was brought up in a very artistic family who loved collecting art and antiques – I think that helped me understand some of the vital elements of style.

Do you have any style icons and, more generally, do you think it helps to have one, especially for those struggling with their own style ideas?

No I don’t have style icons. I have people whose taste I admire, but I wouldn’t place them on a pedestal as icons simply because it’s best not to copy but to be open to ideas. Certainly looking around and being open to influences is essential to developing your own preferences when it comes to choosing clothes and styles. These needn’t be icons, they are more likely to be people you see in the street, follow on social media or see written about in the press.

How extensive is your wardrobe? Are you disciplined about letting clothes go even when they’re no longer working?

It’s larger than I’d like it to be, but that is part of the role of a menswear blogger and lnstagrammer! I get sent clothes to try and to write about (some borrowed, some given). I have a clear out every now and then and give much away to charity shops. Having access to so many choices makes me realise that, if I weren’t in this position, I’d be very careful about restricting my wardrobe to manageable, sustainable contents. I would buy well and not too much.

Has Covid changed fashion for the better or worse?

I’m sorry to see men being more reliant on sportswear and leisure clothes, which are never elegant. I understand how we wanted to be comfortable during lock down, but to continue looking too casual misses the fun of dressing well in good quality clothing. We are also losing the use of clothes as marks of respect for others, whether clients, customers or friends. This may not matter too much in the end, but making an effort sartorially often sharpens the mind for dealing better with business matters.

Why do you think men (and women) struggle most with smart casual looks?

There is an assumption that sloppy, shapeless clothes are the most comfortable. If many of our friends and colleagues are looking too casual sartorially there is a risk that we all fall into that mindset. Finding casual wear that is smart and elegant is not as hard as is often assumed. Look for well-made softly tailored clothes made from quality materials and relax into them.  

Which item of clothing has been your best investment buy?

A tweed jacket that I can wear with jeans or tailored trousers, a tie or a roll neck. It can be worn smart or casual and, like all well-made garments, gets better with wear.

Do you spend your money on designer or high street? 

I avoid both in the main and try to buy quality products from smaller brands that manufacture within the UK or at least have genuine sustainable credentials. I avoid designer wear as you are generally paying for the name rather than quality. I sometimes buy better-made high street essentials from shops that make an effort to buy and produce ethically, such as Marks & Spencer.

What do you feel about ‘dressing for your age?’

Strangely this isn’t something that bothers me much. Some men carry off anything at any age – it’s about confidence and a sense of style. I do feel sorry when I see dads trying to dress like their sons, but otherwise I am in favour of men finding their own style to reflect their personality. There is no age at which you should no longer be wearing jeans or t-shirts, for example. Look around you, see what works, develop your own tastes and slowly build the confidence to wear what you like. A good personal stylist can help with this process.

Are you asked for fashion advice by other family members?

Occasionally. It’s always fun when younger men ask for my thoughts. This works as the best styles at the moment are very classic and can be worn, possibly with slight tweaks, at any age.

If you were limited to buying your clothes from only one brand (mean of me, I know), which would it be?

Cordings of Piccadilly. Classic, well-made, British clothing that can be creatively adapted to your own style. It’s not fashion, but it’s style.

Cordings of Piccadilly

Colour plays a huge role in fashion (and in the work I do with clients). How important do you think it is to wear colours that compliment hair and skin tone? 

I did go though being tested for my best colours some years ago and I generally automatically select colours that fit in with the recommendations I was given. However, I find I have an acute sense of colour and tend to go my own way. For those who aren’t so confident about colour it’s sensible to seek help from a personal stylist to get them started off. It’s important to try clothes and then check combinations in the mirror to see if they work. Until you gain confidence stay muted or neutral in tone and pattern. You form a base from which you can develop your own style as you become bolder.

Online shopping remains a dominant force with yet more shop closures (Fenwicks in Bond Street will go next year). How must the high street reinvent itself in order to survive?

The most successful shops integrate the two seamlessly. Many of us still like to see and feel clothes before we buy them, so there will always be a place for the high street store even if most of their sales are online.

And finally, what has fashion taught you since you first took up the mantel to champion British brands?

That style is a never ending search! I don’t think we ever find the ultimate style for ourselves, but looking is fun. While fashion is about wearing what brands and advertising tell you to wear, real style is about using your own adventurous spirit to find what you like and what best suits your character. 

I started out thinking that dressing well and having an interest in menswear could be seen as vain and empty, but the reality is that looking good not only boosts our confidence and self respect, it also shows respect for others.


7 thoughts on “In Conversation with David Evans, creator of Grey Fox blog”

  1. I loved that blog Emma. It is so refreshing to see men who care about their appearance. I agree we have become less stylish as a result of lock down and now is the time to find reasons to dress up. I like a man who knows how to wear clothes and has swagger. It’s very sexy.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jo. I think there’s a combined lethargy in changing the casual dress ethos. This is mostly down to buyers who seem to think that’s all we want to see on the high street. But I think the tide is starting to turn and by the autumn, a more elevated and fitted look will start to appear.

  2. Very insightful Emma. I struggle with finding garments that work well together for a smart casual look and this has given me lots of great ideas to try.

    • Thank you for your comment, James. You are far from being alone in this. Smart casual is an area both men and women struggle with. I’m actually tackling this subject in my next newsletter. I’ll keep you posted.

  3. I really like Emma Davison. She’s great to work and be with. A couple of years ago I reluctantly let her clear out my wardrobe – and restock it with things that work. Now often told I look good.


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