Oscar Wilde famously coined the phrase: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
The Irish playwright and poet summarises the parallel that runs between style and success beautifully.
Here, we look at some of the most influential figures in history. They didn’t turn up with bedhead, unpolished shoes, or a crinkled suit. No, they arrived at the podium, in whichever field they operated, with their a-game in tow.
So, why does it matter? Well, when you stand up in front of a crowd or in a board room, before you have even so much as opened your mouth, the audience has already formed an opinion of you, and that opinion is based upon your appearance. You wouldn’t stand up to address the nation in a clown outfit, would you?
So, with this in mind, those at the very top of their game, the true definition of how the other half live — how do they dress? In this article, we examine Britain’s rich list, focusing our attention on the shirts that they throw on under their lavish suits.
Simon and David Reuben, Britain’s second wealthiest siblings, have earned their fortune from the property business. The two brothers, both of a swarthy complexion, can almost always be found donning a pin stripe, open collared shirt — perhaps a cravat or a tie restricts their entrepreneurial thoughts. They certainly pull off the look though, as it is simple yet effective.
Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos CEO, who appears on the rich list at third is not one for appearing regularly in front of the camera. So much so, the Times described him as “publicity shy”.
When he is pictured, however, you can almost guarantee the multi-billionaire will be turned out in a crisp white shirt, top button undone. Ratcliffe’s laissez-faire fashion choices epitomises perfectly a quote from Luciano Barbera — “To be noticed without striving to be noticed, this is what elegance is all about.”
Ukrainian born British-American businessman, Leonard Blavatnik has been a regular face around the film and music scene over the past decade, rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Snapped alongside singers such as Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran, and Rita Ora, it’s fair to say that on every occasion Blavatnik has looked nothing less than suave.
Just like his predecessors on the list, Len has little admiration for a done-up top button, more often than not donning a plain shirt with no tie. Interestingly, the founder of Access Industries will often be seen wearing a black shirt under a slim-fit suit, something quite individual in regard to his counterparts on Britain’s list of wealthiest men. He has, similarly, built a reputation for extravagant birthday bashes, during which a plain shirt is nowhere to be seen, swapped out for rather outlandish clothing alternatives.
It is probably no surprise that one of modern Britain’s most innovative minds, Sir James Dyson, has a wardrobe awash with colourful variety.
Usually photographed wearing long-sleeved striped tees, which we must admit, he pulls off incredibly well, the inventor of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner can often be found in an open neck blue or navy shirt. That said, he has been known to pop in the top-button without a tie, however.
One owner of Swedish packaging company, Tetra Laval, Jorn Rausing has, for some time now, sported a very sophisticated, yet simplistic look. Unlike many of those who join him on the list, white shirts don’t appear to feature in Jorn’s wardrobe. Instead, the businessman’s attire often centralises around a light blue number, topped with a classic knitted tie.
Michel De Carvalho
Possibly the most limelight-laden entry on the list, thanks to his once-career as an Olympic skier and child actor. However, his business acumen and wealth certainly compete with his achievements as a minor.
Married to Heineken Heiress Charlene de-Carvalho Heineken, Michel is vice-chairman of Capital Generation Partners and Executive Director of the world-famous beer brand.
Michel has developed somewhat of an affinity with the pin stripe and when he’s not going for an unbuttoned look, he can be spotted looking rather debonair with a patterned paisley tie.
While assessing Chelsea FC’s no-nonsense approach to relieving managers of their duties, it becomes to clear why owner and former Governor of Chukotka Roman Abramovich has been so successful in regard to making money.
The 53-year old Israeli-Russian billionaire promotes a look typical of Don Draper in Mad Men, with a crisp white shirt, plain tie, and classy black suit. At Stamford Bridge, home of his beloved Blues, however, Roman will often be pictured wearing a cotton V-neck jumper or quarter zip fleece over the top of a striped shirt.
There is clearly no denying that the richest men in Britain share similar qualities when it comes to their fashion sense. The most popular item on each of these multi-billionaires, when cross-referencing, however, appears to be an open-topped shirt.
So, there you have it — the first stage of success has been discovered!