Friday, September 20, 2013

what ali wore

Meet Ali.  He's an 84 year old Turkish tailor (formerly a doctor) living in Berlin.  He has 18 children and over 80 suits.   Ali's sartorial adventures are documented on photographer Zoe Spawton's amazing blog What Ali Wore.   Zoe is Australian and hardly spoke any german when she started photographing Ali, but after seeing him walk past her work every day at precisely 9:05, decked out so thoughtfully from head to toe, she asked in broken german and gestures if she could take his picture.  He consented (obviously) and they've had a very fruitful relationship ever since, winning all kinds of blogging awards and being featured on cnn and Huffington Post.

Ali definitely has his favorite outfits, usually based around a suit, but he's flexible in his style too, not one to be tied down to any one look.  This whole concept just brought such a smile to my face, and makes me think of fashion as fun and playful again.  This is street style at its purest.

I think there's a few things we could learn from Ali...

Rule #1: You can never be overdressed.
Rule #2: Don't be afraid to perfectly match your shoes to your pants - it elongates the legs.
Rule #3: Find a pose that works and go with it.
Rule #4: More is more.  If a 3-piece suit is good, matching your tie and hat to make a 5-piece suit is that much better.

Rule #5: Consider the importance of headwear.
Rule #6: Don't be afraid to mix formal looks with more casual elements.

Rule #7: Don't be afraid of color.  Color is your friend.
Rule #8: When going monochromatic, blend your shoes in completely (see rule #2) or use them to pick up an accent color.
Rule #9: White shoes are valid year round, as long as you keep them spotless and polished.
Rule #10: When possible, color-coordinate your pryer beads as well.

 Rule #11: When the weather warms up, take your blazer off and roll up your sleeves.  It's a look that says casual and approachable but still meticulously put together.
Rule #12: Your hat makes an excellent perch for your sunglasses when not in use.

Rule #12: Casual does not mean sloppy.
Rule #13: There is no age limit for hardware.
Rule #14: Urban chic is for everyone.
Rule #15: Break the rules.  Who says full body camo is not work-appropriate?

Rule #16: Don't be afraid of leather.  Make it work for you and your personal style.
Rule #17: Rule #4 applies to denim as well.  So does Rule #12.

I don't think I have nearly as much fun with my clothes as Ali does.  Maybe it's time I learned a thing or two from my elders.


  1. He's brilliant isn't he? I've come across him before and he does bring a smile to my face. And the poses - love them all. Like you say, we could learn a lesson or two from him and just get on with it and have some fun.

    Could be scary though.

    1. I only just recently discovered him and I'm feeling more fun already. But yes, I think if we followed his example too literally it could be pretty scary! You crack me up...

  2. I love that little guy! Loving the slick black suit paired with the Nike beanie..haha

  3. That's a great story! I guess the main rule that came in my mind when I saw all the pictures of Ali is: When you have found your style and are comfortable in your outfits, you can wear anything!

    1. Absolutely. And to just be comfortable being yourself and just rock it. Ali's got it all figured out.

  4. Isn't he just adorable! I love how his personality just shines through.


    1. So true! I think that's why it feels so good to look at his shots, you get the feeling that he's a happy and playful guy and that joy just shines through.

  5. Oh my gosh! He is incredible! I'd love to a coffee with him! xx

    1. Isn't he though? And yes, totally makes me want to know all about him. Must be such a character!

  6. I am DYING. I love him. A great reminder to wear what you love, even if it breaks the rules or gets you a few side-eyes.

  7. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog! cpf nomination

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