Interview with Tom Parker Bowles

Award-winning food writer, restaurant critic and son of the Duchess of Cornwall, Tom Parker Bowles is no stranger to the world of the Great British gentleman.

He is also charmingly down-to-earth and a proud London Sock Company member. In fact, an order comes for him from his mother at Clarence House every Christmas.

We caught up with Tom to find out why he loves LSC, what makes the British style iconic and what colour socks he’ll be wearing to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding (spoiler: they are bright).

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Q: How would you describe your personal style? Has it evolved much over the years?

I think my friends and family would howl with laughter at the idea of me having a personal style! More scruffy bugger than anything else. But I do like a good suit. Timothy Everest mainly. And shoes too. I have a pair of Lobbs I love.

Q: Are there any sartorial lessons that you have learned from family or friends?

My grandfather was incredibly well dressed. Immaculate in pinstripes. But boring basics: never wear a clip-on bow tie, invest in the likes of dinner jackets and tails.

 

Q: The world you were brought up in and are a part of is quite traditional: do you think tradition is restrictive when it comes to personal style?

I’ve never really thought of it like that. I quite like formality. If it says black tie, or suit, or Morning dress, I know where I stand. But I cannot bear ‘smart casual’.  What the hell does that mean? Either I’m in some form of suit, or jeans, trainers and a t-shirt.

Q: Do you remember your first London Sock Co. experience? How did it come about and what did you like about it? What sets them apart from other socks?

I think I was given a pair at an Esquire Christmas party. I loved the quality, the British craftsmanship, the wonderful range of colours.

Q: What is your go-to sock colour for making a statement?

I have just the pink, or the aquamarine. It makes life easier just to have all my socks from one place, in two colours.

Q: Do you have a lucky pair of socks?

Nope.

Q: Have you got your socks picked out for the Royal Wedding?

It’s going  to be pink or aquamarine. For a change.

Q: You’ve travelled extensively over the years – what does British style mean for you? 

There is a mix of formality and iconoclasm. You think of Andersen and Shepherd, say, then John Galliano and Vivian Westwood. Great tailoring meets inspired iconoclasm.

Q: Why do you think that British style resonates with so many globally?

For the same reasons. We have the traditional uniforms. Immaculately cut. And then that more idiosyncratic, personal style. But really, I’m the last person who should be commenting on fashion!

Q: What three items should no gentleman be without?

A please, a thank you and a well cut suit

Q: You always have many projects ongoing; what are you working on at the moment

The new Fortnum and Mason cookbook, Christmas and Other Winter Feasts, which is out in October. And the new series of Family Food Fight on Channel 9 in Australia.

Q: Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t ask for some foodie advice: where is your favourite place to eat in London at the moment?

Gosh, depends on my mood. I love Brat at the moment, and Sabor. Plus old classics like Barafina, Bar Shu, The Wolseley, St John and Scotts.

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