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My personal style, Niyi, 33

My personal style, Niyi, 33

Breaking down the style of designers and celebrities is nice and all, but we’re equally (if not more) interested in decoding the style of guys we meet in everyday life. We’re talking guys like Niyi, an affable Londoner who we ran into while scouting street style a few months back. It wasn't just his unique personal style that stood out to us, but his energy too, so we invited him to take part in our “My personal style” series, which dives into the choices that go into how a person dresses. 

As part of this series, Niyi partnered with one of our stylists, Millie, to put together a look that reflects who he is. And even though Niyi works in consumer insights for a fashion retailer, at the end of the day, he doesn’t consider himself a ‘fashion’ person. Because as he says, “I don’t dress to look good, I just want to be happy.” But we’ll let him tell you more about that himself. 

Name: Niyi

Age: 33

Job: Consumer insights specialist 

Home: London

How would you describe your personal style?

I’d say French preppy. It’s not really American preppy, and it’s not really British preppy. I’ve always got something French on. I like wearing tailored pieces alongside streetwear. 

Do you plan your outfits in advance?

No, I don’t plan my outfits. I wake up, and I’m like, ‘Okay, I feel like this’. That’s probably why I end up in the sartorial chaos group. I feel like if you plan your outfits, you start asking yourself, ‘Oh, can I wear black with blue?’ I hate rules. The more rules go away, the better the designs are. That’s why I hate Savile Row, but I love it as well, because I love tailoring but I hate the rules. The only rule that is there is the rule of your body. What does your body dictate? 

How do you approach your style?

I don’t see myself as a fashion person. I care about comfort. I don’t dress to look good, I just want to be happy. 

What brands do you tend to gravitate more towards?

I’m more loyal to the cuts and the fabrics and the way they feel than the brands. 

What are some of the colours you tend to gravitate more towards?

Earthy colours mostly, so orange, green, terracotta. I also love pink. It’s awesome. 

How did where you grew up influence your style? 

I was born in Nigeria and for the majority of my life, I’ve lived in London. Nigeria has influenced me more. A lot of the traditional stuff is quite colourful and interesting. There’s so much culture to pick up from. 

Do you tend to mix vintage and new pieces?

Yes, every day. I’d say 50% of my wardrobe is vintage. 

Do you think about sustainability when you shop?

It’s an unintended consequence. If you want something well made, chances are that it will be sustainable. 

Do you feel like your style has changed at all since working in fashion?

No, it’s the same. I still wear what I want to wear. 

Do you dress differently on the weekend then you do at work?

No, it’s all pretty consistent. The best part about changing my career is getting to wear what I want. When I used to work in finance, I used to have to wear a suit. I used to find ways to break the rules. I’d play with material and see what I could get away with. 

What is something you’d never wear

Anything that’s impractical. Because why do I need a pocket where I can’t reach it? Think of the Vikings. They wore certain things for certain reasons. 

What are some sentimental pieces in your wardrobe?

A pair of vintage pleated tartan trousers. They sit high in the waist. The drop of the trouser doesn’t feel contrived. This is proper Carey Grant-type shit. I’ve had them for quite a while now. They have the elements of proper tailoring. I’d wear them with anything. 

The other pair of trousers are from a Nigerian skate brand. They’re tailored, they’re loose. They look luxurious. I’ve had them for about three or four years. 

How do you accessorize?

I like my neck scarves – I usually have a French scarf on. Rings wise, I have my go-tos. I’ve had a couple made from a local jeweler. I also like signet rings. 

How do you feel in the look you and Millie put together? 

Happy, I feel happy. 

Why did you gravitate towards these pieces?

Utility. I cycle everywhere and I always think to myself, if I fall off my bike, am I going to graze my skin? It’s like an armour of joy. Your outfit protects you from the elements.  

Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Millie Rich