My Style Rules: Eric Underwood

My Style Rules: Eric Underwood


Eric Underwood is an American British ballet dancer. An established soloist at the Royal Ballet, he can currently be seen on the big screen in Cats. A regular on men’s fashion-week front rows, we caught up with him in between photo shoots to find out where to buy a red carpet-worthy suit and the other pieces he thinks are worth investing in.

Describe your style in three words…
Classic, timeless, vibrant.
Let’s start at the beginning of the day. How do you choose what to wear in the morning?
A failsafe formula is to pick one statement piece to feature in your look and work around that: for instance, if you own a pair of check trousers, choose them first and take it from there. If you are going with something bold like that, keep the rest of your look simple. It’s the same with colours. Grey and navy work well together, so they’d be my go-tos in the morning. And if you wear a bolder colour like red, make sure to team it with a more muted colour like beige or light grey.

Are there particular clothing combinations you think always work?
High end and high street is a great combination. Wear something tailored like a blazer from Canali with something more casual such as chinos from Cos or some knitwear from Joseph.

And anything that doesn’t work?
The current obsession with very chunky trainers is a fashion trend I am avoiding.
What is the best style advice you’ve ever received?
It was from my uncle James: “Never use the front pockets of suit trousers.” Tailoring should be seamless; having rubbish in your pockets ruins that silhouette. Fashion has always been a big part of my life and I’ll often try to pick vibrant colours as they represent my personality accurately, more so than the very serious all-black look.
Where do you like to shop today?
I love to wear clothing that can take me from daytime to night without feeling underdressed in the evening. Brands like Zegna, Canali, Joseph and Polo Ralph Lauren allow me to manage a hectic and unpredictable schedule while ensuring I’m dressed for any occasion. Turning up somewhere underdressed is never a good look.
What about when you’re off-duty?
My weekend style is comfortably stylish. Lots of jumpers – my favourites being from Joseph – with oversized, relaxed-fit trousers from Cos. My holiday style is always beachwear focused as I often choose hot holidays. My packing list will include plenty of Orlebar Brown and Frescobol Carioca as they both have stylish swimwear as well as a great selection of linen trousers and shirts for the evening.
Tell us about your most recent purchase…
A pair of classic black Gucci loafers – they will go with everything and last forever, so they’re an investment buy. Accessories are a great way to introduce luxury brands into your wardrobe and, if you buy sensibly, you’ll get plenty of use out of them. I bought a Louis Vuitton travel bag on my first trip to Japan in 2005 and haven’t stopped using it since.
And what five things couldn’t you live without?
I’d put those classic Gucci loafers straight onto the list, alongside jeans from Frame, a Cos white t-shirt, a Burberry mac and a pair of JW Anderson Converse.

What are your rules on tailoring?
For me, suits must be tailored because the fit is the most important part of wearing one well. Where necessary, I will always try to get suit trousers altered. I’d always opt for a double-breasted jacket as they’re more elegant.
So what would you wear to a black tie event?
We’ve surpassed the time when ‘black tie’ simply means a plain classic tuxedo for men. If the occasion calls for it, the dressing gowns by New & Lingwood are incredible as are the black satin robes from A Sauvage. Be adventurous and choose a colour or velvet tuxedo jacket – a recent favourite of mine is a charcoal Brunello Cucinelli tuxedo, which stands out in a sea of black jackets.

And if it was a more casual event?
I would choose a suit from Ralph Lauren and wear it with a simple white t-shirt if the weather permits, or a white shirt if the event veers towards a smarter look. I might add a pocket square with a bit of colour just for fun.

Where do you buy your denim?
Frame for straight-leg cuts and Paige because its stretching denim range is so comfortable.
What is your footwear collection like?
My footwear collection is extensive and I own mostly formal shoes. One of my favourite brands you’ll always find me wearing is Santoni. Trainers should be worn mostly for the gym, but a clean, simple trainer can be a nice way to dress down a formal look – but keep it simple. No logos or chunky soles. For socks, you can’t beat the colour selection available at Happy Socks in Covent Garden. 
And are you into jewellery?
I’m not hugely into jewellery, but I do wear a simple T bracelet from Tiffany’s which goes well with my watches – of which I’m a huge fan. Breitling and Rolex are my go-to brands. For leather goods like wallets and work bags, you can’t go wrong with Mont Blanc for design and quality.
If you could only shop in one place where would it be?
For clothes it would be Jermyn Street in London. If you like tailoring, beautiful suits and classic shoes, it’s the perfect destination. And if I could only wear one brand, it would have to be Ermenegildo Zegna. It has a great mix of smart and casual, with blazers in fabrics made to travel, so they work for every occasion. I like what the brand stands for with its last campaign: ‘Love makes a man.’

1. Travel Wool-Hopsack Blazer, £899 | Canali    2. Pure Knit Jumper, £445 | Joseph    3. Brushed Cotton Chino Trousers, £59 | COS   
4.White Logo Grid Chuck Taylor Converse, £90 | J W Anderson

5. Slim Wool Mix Trousers, £79 | COS    6. Round Neck T-Shirt, £15 | COS    7. Woking Double Breatsed Blazer, £190 (was £325) | Reiss   
8. Tassel Carlos Flex Loafers, £580 | Santoni    9. 1971 Archive Printed Silk-Twill Pocket Square, £75 | E. Marinella

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