“I’ll list a few,” says a grinning Sam Way — to my utter surprise. I’ve just asked the model and musician whether he’s ever made any colossal, unforgivable style gaffes in the past. And I really, completely, fully expected the answer to be a no. And yet, ever the humble, self-effacing sport, Way has kicked back in his chair and kicked off on a long list of his most shameful sartorial low points — all while sporting a huge smile.
“There was the time I used to wear these really horrible trousers,” he admits, checking off the first fashion failure on his finger. “Like really horrible. Tattered, skater trouser kind of things — with rips all down the legs. You know when jeans actually fall over the bottom of your ankles and start fraying? Well I used to kick around in ginormous trousers like that. And, for some reason, I used to pair them with these super tight tops. It was quite a look.”
“Also,” he says, launching straight into another anecdote, “I was on a catwalk once, and lost a flip-flop. I picked it up, but that meant that, in the picture of me at the end of catwalk, I was sort of wearing one flip-flop, and holding the other in my hand. The designer was livid.”
You’d think that would be it, but Way presses on — a font of excruciating, if thoroughly entertaining stories. “Even more recently, I’ve worn things to fashion weeks that haven’t looked good. You decide to pull a couple of looks together, and you borrow a few bits, and then you end up not pulling it off when you put it on. The ingredients might all be there — but you just find yourself walking around feeling a bit self conscious.”
You see? Even professional models — and even professional models who look like Sam Way — can struggle with their style. Thankfully, in a world where we all need help, help is most definitely on hand. We recently introduced Way to online personal styling service Stitch Fix and, after creating an online style profile during which he selected his preferences and explored a range of different looks, a Stitch Fix personal stylist picked out five items of clothing specifically suited to his tastes. They were sent directly to Way’s door, and he’s turned up dressed in them today.
“I was actually super surprised how well Stitch Fix did. My stylist, Katie, actually totally nailed it,” says Way. “These trousers, almost cord joggers, fit really well. And the burnt orange colour of this overshirt? I love it. Katie really nailed it.”
Stitch Fix is a perfect service for those struggling to identify, or build on their existing styles. When you receive your five items, they will not only bolster your wardrobe in size — your personal stylist will also include tips on how to integrate and incorporate them into your daily looks. And, if you don’t like something, when you send it back you can feedback on each individual item so your next delivery is even more tailored to your tastes.
It’s an especially ideal set-up for someone like Way, who admits that, although he may have an underlying, existing sense of personal style, sometimes it can be hard to put into words — or visualise into actual outfits. And, while he counts industry influences and reaching his thirties among the factors that have affected his favourite fashions and looks, he confesses that Stitch Fix’s online style profile has given him a much clearer idea of what does, and doesn’t suit him.
“My style’s still quite hard to define, though,” he laughs, “but I will say one thing: I don’t like checks. Don’t get me wrong, I like printed shirts and quite exotic styles like batik or Indonesian patterns. But a checked shirt came up during my style consultation and I immediately realised I wasn’t a check kind of guy. And that was interesting. Because, while I already knew that I like oversized stuff, and that I’m really into slightly tapered trousers that fall a little bit shorter at the bottom, I didn’t know that about checks!”
Way’s tastes have changed. Now 32-years-old — “An older gent!” — the model has been part of the fashion industry for 16 years. But, despite the swirling styles and ever-changing trends that he’s spent almost two decades being swept up in, Way reveals that he didn’t settle into a signature style until three or so years ago.
“I feel like now, after being around these people for so long, and almost through osmosis, my sense of style is starting to develop,” says Way. “I’ve been getting into a few brands specifically over the past few years. Maharishi is the sort of brand I love, I love COS for the simplicity; really nice colours there. Although I do wear a lot of black.”
So what would the model say his everyday uniform currently consists of? He counts the orange overshirt, and navy Farah jacket from Stitch Fix as items he would wear daily, but what else would we find in Way’s wardrobe?
“Largely, every outfit starts with some kind of trainers,” he says, “which could be nice ones or even really battered ones — I seem to have a real problem letting trainers die. Then I’ll have some sort of athleisurewear jog pants, which would be fine in a social meeting, but you could also go running or do yoga in them. And then, largely, it’s a simple t-shirt or a nice knit or sweater that might have some embroidery or detailing to it; something to show its quality.
“I guess I’ve become more of a stickler for quality working in this industry,” Way adds. “And I’ve made a much more conscious effort to incorporate recycled, upcycled clothing into my wardrobe — because that should be our responsibility.”
Way’s most treasured item of clothing — a black Maharishi bomber jacket with a large dragon embroidered on it — was a birthday present from his father. He wears it two or three times a week and it’s nothing if not distinctive. But, the musician reveals, he doesn’t ever dress that flamboyantly when he’s performing at concerts or gigs.
“I don’t have an outfit that I always wear every time I play live,” Way reveals, “but I do like wearing something I’m comfortable in. Anything with metal buttons doesn’t work, because I’m playing a guitar — so that’s more of an ergonomic point. But I’m just not that overstated when I perform. In fact, sometimes I just perform in black.
“I’m certainly not a performer who would wear something crazy and printed,” he continues, “because I want it to be about the music. And my music can be quite melancholic and introspective, so it just wouldn’t fit. When I get up there, I just want it to feel as authentic as possible. But maybe, one day, when I’m playing Glastonbury, you’ll catch me in a full sequinned, feathered robe…”
Way’s way of dressing seems to be guided by his wide-ranging interests. If he’s visiting a global fashion week in a modelling capacity, he’ll express himself a little more than when he lets his music do the singing. “We choose clothes to represent something we want to say about ourselves,” Way concludes. “And I think that’s important for anyone, especially those of us trying to reach that place where genuine, authentic creativity comes from”.
Get styling tips from an expert when you try Stitch Fix. Tell us your tastes, fit and price preferences and a personal stylist will curate you 5 items of clothing and accessories from a selection of over 100 brands. You’ll receive them within days to try on and choose whether or not to buy. Styling costs just £10 and you don’t have to subscribe. Get started here…