My Style Rules: Bola Odusina | SLMan
London-based model Bola Odusina combines classic tailoring with streetwear to create an individual look. SLMan caught up with him to find out the influences and rules that inform his enviable style…

Describe your style in three words, Bola…
Refined, elegant, classic.

Do you have any style heroes?
There’s not one particular person. I gain inspiration from lots of different people and styles ranging from classic tailoring to streetwear – I try to merge the two styles. Nick Wooster and Pharrell Williams are a couple of guys who inspire me.

What five things couldn’t you live without?
My phone, fragrances, white trainers, travelling and friends.

What's your go-to outfit at the moment?
It’s pretty hot right now and I’m working from home, so I’m mostly wearing loungewear. Terry cotton towelling shorts and t-shirt combinations, or linen shirts and shorts – simple and easy to stay cool.

Is there anything you try to avoid?
I’m not a big fan of wearing suits with dress shirts and trainers. I think it looks unnatural and a bit try-hard. Suits with a well-fitted t-shirt is the way to go – it’s a nice blend of smart casual.

Tell us about your most recent purchase…
It’s an 18k gold necklace from Tiffany – a gift to myself for my birthday. It’s a versatile piece which I intend to wear with most casual outfits. It adds a nice soft touch instead of being a standout piece.

If you could only shop in one place, where would it be?
I’m going to be quite strategic with my answer and go with Mr Porter. I can pick up everything I need including tailoring, streetwear, grooming products and home essentials. It has so many brands I love: Saman Amel for its refined approach to tailoring; British brand Thom Sweeney also for tailoring; amd Acne Studios is one of my favourite Scandinavian contemporary brands. It’s also got some high-end fashion brands such as Saint Laurent for a biker aesthetic and Thom Browne for business casual pieces.

"I gain inspiration from lots of different people and styles ranging from classic tailoring to streetwear."
@BOLA_O_
@BOLA_O_
@BOLA_O_
"It’s important to understand the menswear rules in order to know which ones are okay to break."

What are your rules on tailoring?
I think proportions are extremely important. It took me a while to realise the importance of good-fitting trousers. Poor-fitting trousers can easily ruin an outfit. I prefer a cropped look with my trousers, which require alterations from my tailor. I also prefer turn-up cuffs for a distinctive look – showing some ankle is not a bad thing in my opinion. I tend to favour larger lapels on my suits – it’s a striking look.

So what would you wear to a black tie event?
I would wear a black or navy shawl-collar tuxedo with a silk bow tie. I prefer hand-tied bow ties as they look way more sophisticated. For the finishing touch, I would go with a pair of velvet loafers or patent leather loafers.

And how do you get summer dressing right?
It’s important to wear breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. I would also recommend lighter colours like beige, off white and light blue. In keeping with my smart-casual theme, I would suggest a blazer, t-shirt and shorts with some sleek tennis trainers or loafers.

Any rules on summer footwear?
For the finishing touch to a summer outfit, I think you can have some fun – like pastel colours on sleek tennis shoes. Espadrilles and driving shoes are also great for summer, though I would probably opt for more conservative colours in these styles.

Talk us through your full footwear collection…
I love the versatility of a tennis shoe, particularly how minimal and sleek the design is. I’m a big fan of Common Projects, Margiela Replicas and Lanvin low-tops because they complement minimal outfits and can be worn with tailoring. I own around ten pairs of tennis shoes in different colours and styles, mostly muted tones. I have a classic taste in smarter shoes: loafers, derbies, oxfords and monk straps. In terms of brands, there’s a mix of Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Margiela, Tod’s, Joseph Cheaney, Hackett, Church’s and Sandro, so a bit of everything.

@BOLA_O_

Where do you buy your denim?
Most of the denim I own is from Paige and Levi’s, though recently I’ve had my eye on a Visvim denim shirt and Saint Laurent jeans.

And are you into jewellery?
I’ve just teamed up with the British luxury accessories brand Alice Made This on a collection of bracelets so keep an eye out for the launch. My own jewellery collection started with a vintage Rolex which was passed down from my dad. It has slowly expanded to other pieces: a bracelet, necklace and a ring. I am a big fan of investment pieces which last – if looked after properly – and I typically prefer to invest in gold.

Finally, what's the secret to great style?
It’s important to understand the menswear rules in order to know which ones are okay to break. Don’t button both buttons on a two-button blazer? Correct – never do this! Don’t wear black and navy? I break this rule all the time! Finding and finessing your style is an iterative process that can take some time. It’s good to experiment – I constantly evolve, tweak and refine. Find your niche, collect reference images, understand the style elements you like and implement them. But most importantly, have fun with it.

 

For more style inspiration, follow Bola_O_

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