Matt Chapple is the first ever male champion of the BBC2 Great British Sewing Bee. Matt competed against 9 other stitchers in pattern, alteration and made to measure challenges over 6 weeks to take the title. We asked him a few questions regarding his personal style, and this is what he told us:
Describe your personal style:
Well I think I’ve got the business casual look nailed, it’s all about the smart yet casual for me. Chinos, shirt, jacket and smart shoes….with a little flash of colour when possible.
What was the first item of clothing you ever bought for yourself?
Ah, that’ll be a black long sleeved polo shirt with a red floral print on it, I’m not sure it was ever really fashionable at the time, but looking back at old photos I seemed to live in it. I’m sure it’s probably about due to come back on trend.
Any faux-pas you'd rather forget...?
Oh my dungarees and ginger curtains days….jeez I still wince when I think back to that time. That’s certainly a style that will never see the light of day again.
Tell us about the oldest item in your wardrobe:
That’s probably my green blazer from when I joined the Army. I enlisted at the tender age of 16 ½ and I always remember coming home on leave all suited and booted, My dad was stood gobsmacked at where his mischievous teenager had gone, and who was this well presented chap picking wayward fluff off of his attire. I think that was the beginning of a big step change in my life.
What's the most expensive thing you've ever bought, clothing-wise?
I’d say it’s probably my ski jackets, when you’re on the mountain you definitely get what you pay for. In my mind there’s no use cost cutting when it comes to survival in -20 degrees.
Clothing is not just about cost for me, it’s about the fit, feeling good and the individuality something can give you, that’s why I’ve enjoyed making a few of my own things more recently, including a shirt, a pair of loud Ian Poulter style golf trousers, and more recently a casual denim blazer.
Favourite brand of jeans?
A slim fit pair of Diesel’s for sure, they fit me well and I like the range they offer.
How many pairs of shoes do you have?
Probably around 35 pairs, although I guess only half of those are currently worn. They’re a mix between reasonably priced ones for accessorising with outfits and styles, plus a few nicer pairs. I think every guys wardrobe should have a few pairs of good quality shoes that last through the years. I love my Loakes and RM Williams.
I’m even hoping to make some shoes in August, albeit ladies ones for my wife, with the help of icanmakeshoes.com. I’ll put up a blog post on my site sewwhatsnew.co.uk to let you know how it goes.
Patrick Grant (Of the Great British Sewing Bee) tailors Norton & Sons are a fantastic example of a fine English tailor, their styles are contemporary elegance yet with a modern cut. I was very lucky to get a tour behind the scenes during London Craft week a little while ago and loved everything about it. Great to see masters of their trade at work.
This season you'll be wearing...
Well I like a bit of Hackett for an occasional treat, mixed with a some Banana Republic thrown in. I find their off the peg fit to be a good measure for me so they can be quite a staple garment in my wardrobe.
Who are your style heroes? (past and present)
I think for someone who carries a confident young style it’d have to be Nick Grimshaw from Radio1, I’d like to be brave enough to dress the way he does. But the man who really looks good is Henrik Lundqvist the Swedish Ice Hockey player, that guy is just something else.
What fragrance do you wear?
I’m a sucker for Penhalions, I tend to swap between the Endymion and Opus scents.
And the secret to maintaining your signature hair? (Any particular products?)
Well the colour is all mine “au natrelle”. Other than that my hair dresser makes sure it doesn’t get too long and then I just ruffle it up with a bit of V05 Clay or Bed Head. I’m normally done in under 2 mins.
Which menswear designers do you admire?
Matthew Millar, and not just because of his first name. His styles are both cutting edge but still with a sense of practicality, something I’d actually wear.
Which is the best dressed nation?
I think without a doubt the Italians still take top spot. There’s just such an elegance and style in the air when you go to places like Milan.
Should guys really know how to make a sewing repair?
I think it’s a bit of a shame that so many guys can’t manage their wardrobe with a little running repair. All joking aside I believe that the majority of men tend to think in an engineering way, I certainly do, and that’s all there is to it really. It’s all processes, concentration and accuracy.
Come on chaps, don’t be afraid. Look after your clothes and they’ll look after you. You can pop onto my site sewwhatsnew.co.uk and get some helpful tips and advice if you like or follow me on twitter @sewwhatsnewcouk or Intsgram @sewwhatsnewcouk