For 16 years and counting, Willem Baars has been in charge of JFK. In his monthly column for Modefabriek.nl, the editor-in-chief of the internationally acclaimed men’s magazine invites you into his world.
After thirty or so years in the fashion industry, I’ve learnt a couple of things: 1. Good styling is an art in itself. And 2: Accessories can make even the most boring of outfits shine.
Thanks to my time at Playboy and – by now, a good few years – at JFK, and my somewhat excessive passion for fashion, I have witnessed dozens of Fashion Weeks in all corners of the globe, chatted to some of the world’s foremost designers (with the absolute highlight being Hedi Slimane – if you ask me, the most influential and coolest men’s fashion designer ever – in his early years at Dior Homme) and been part of hundreds of fashion shoots.
At shoots, I always relish seeing how photographers, models and stylists succeed, time and again, in turning something as ‘simple’ as fashion photography into something stunning. The most important lesson this taught me is that it’s all about the details. Ask three stylists to work with three identical outfits for the same fashion series, and you’ll end up with three totally different looks.
I personally learnt a great deal from stylist Steven Dahlberg, my main man for 12 years and fashion director at JFK. I didn’t envy him at times, as the looks that certain brands were after – because they were important for their marketing – were often one dimensional, ten a penny, and simply too boring. So it’s all the more to his credit that the photographed looks were absolutely scintillating. The secret was the accessories, which were added to give the outfit that little something extra. Be it a hat, a bracelet, some glasses or a shawl. Accessories can add distinctive flair to the simplest of outfits.
"Clothes make the man’, but accessories make perhaps even more."
Of course, this lesson doesn’t only apply to fashion photography, but also to everyday life. It’s great to see an increasing number of brands offering stylish accessories. I’m personally a fan of a cap or hat (Barts, Jack & Jones), but glasses (Izipizi, Björn Borg, A.Kjaerbede) are always a good option. Inspired by the Milan scene, sunglasses are becoming increasingly popular here in the Netherlands, with both men and women, and both in summer and winter. And rightly so! They’re cool, fashionable, and even help block UV rays.
But bracelets also still do the trick (Steel & Barnett has some great options). Just remember to make sure you don’t overdo it – when it comes to bracelets, less is certainly more. And lastly: even good quality, distinctive socks (Marcmarcs), gloves (Hestra Gloves) or a smart shawl (Terre Bleue) make all the difference. This may all sound fairly obvious, but it only takes a quick look around when you’re out and about to see that it’s apparently less obvious than you may think. Even though the solution is simple and, well… obvious.
‘Clothes make the man’, but accessories make perhaps even more.
Written by Willem Baars, editor-in-chief JFK