One of my great weaknesses is being profoundly interested in what celebrities consider essentials – their favourite beauty products, preferred bed linen, that sort of thing. The more pretentious the better.
Vanity Fair always had the best lists, some fashion insider recounting with great solemnity which obscure toothpaste brand, eye cream or coffeemaker they prefer, or my special favourite, towels: “Marimekko are fun for the kids when they’re in the pool, but for me it has to be Frette.”
Makeup recommendations are fun too, especially when an ex-Victoria’s Secret model lists how many products it takes to do her everyday no-makeup look (one I watched used 23 different and superfluous products, it was strangely riveting).
So, when I came upon designer Tom Ford’s list of essentials, originally published in Self Service magazine, I was intrigued. He’s an elegant chap, and I wondered if there were any crazy new fashion essentials for gents that I didn’t know about.
Interestingly, no. His list covered off the tried-and-true classics: dark denim jeans, a well-cut dark suit, black loafers, a tuxedo, black lace-up shoes, crisp white cotton shirts, a blazer. Yup. That’s the basics. Then he added the all-important accessories: a day watch with a metal band, an evening watch with a leather strap, great sunglasses.
But then here’s where it got interesting – he went directly to grooming. Nail clippers. Tweezers. A magnifying mirror. Mouthwash. A ‘beautiful’ toothbrush (I guess that means designer, maybe something like Koh I Noor, an Italian brand dating from the 1930s – Vanity Fair would love it).
Tom then mentions perfect teeth, advising that you should save up and have them fixed. Wise words indeed. He is very, very fixated on oral hygiene, and rightly so. But then his list gets hilariously personal.
Whereas I would say to a woman, you need a good tote bag, or a classic trench, or a Cartier love bracelet, Tom is all in for “a sense of humour”, ”a daily read of an intelligent online newspaper “ and “a good bed”.
He’s not wrong. I think my essentials lists have been too narrow. So, to my list of wardrobe staples, I’d like to some behavioural items.
- The ability not to look at social media on your phone while we are having a conversation in real time.
- Not to be baffled and judgemental when someone is genuinely scared of dogs. Especially when I’m supposed to agree that it was odd that your Alsatian went for me, because normally he’s a mild-mannered sweetheart.
- When a person says they don’t think they need to watch or even discuss some dumb reality show that’s trending, maybe drop the subject.
- Try not to constantly interrupt a nice natural social interaction for a group selfie because you’re very attractive and photogenic from all angles.
- The “I bought just at the right time” real estate chit chat. It has to stop. Sydney is unbearable.
That’s my grinch list for now. But I would like to finish with Tom’s best tip. And let’s circle back to the truly practical. New underwear every six months please.