Prince Charles in the Middle East
Though he might not instantly spring to mind as a style icon, the Prince of Wales has a surprising number of fans when it comes to his sartorial sense. Esquire UK once voted him as their most stylish man of the year, while we here at Esquire Middle East attended a reception at St. James's Palace in London back in 2012 to launch London Collections: Men, where his future kingship was slightly bemused (though clearly secretly pleased) to host such a prestigious occasion.
In front of fashion luminaries including Dame Vivienne Westwood, Tommy Hilfiger, Tinie Tempah and David Walliams (and your correspondent of course) Prince Charles said: "I am finding it very hard, ladies and gentlemen, to live with myself after I discovered that somebody has suggested I might even be an icon of fashion. It has taken 64 bleeding years!"
But actually, he's always been a bit of a legend. For decades now he has, like his father Prince Philip, reminded the world of an immutable law of the universe: a well-cut Savile Row suit, a pair of high-quality British-made shoes, and a slightly dandyish pocket square will never ever not be a stylish ensemble befitting a gentleman of a certain age.
So, on the occasion of his latest Middle East tour, along with the Duchess of Cornwall, we analyse his carefully chosen desert outfits, which you will note from the following pictures, form the bedrock of the perfect desert-themed capsule collection.
A chap grappling with a sword, even just for ceremonial purposes, needs to feel strong, upright and confident. And this simple, elegant, tan suit is just the ticket for straitening a man's poise and also his resolve. It's single breasted, and just roomy enough to feel comfortable while maintaining its form. As usual, Prince Charles gone beyond a simple pocket square, this time adding a poppy for Remembrance Day and a badge, which we can't quite see to tell you what it is, but feel sure has some significance beyond adding extra panache. Oh, and those Oxfords look like they have been polished to within an inch of their lives, and probably for several decades. Shoes that are cared for as much as these ones will outlive him, and the rest of us.
Note the change of shoes here from the previous outfit. These lighter coloured desert shoes are perfect for wandering backstreet alleyways in the souks of dusty Middle Eastern cities, while the light pink of the shirt seems to find its moment of fruition as the sun casts its late evening glow over the party. A most excellent choice.
Dressed for an evening reception, and accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince has opted for the more formal - and his personal favourite - shape: the double-breasted jacket. Note how the trousers are cut looser than has been fashionable in recent years and yet they retain their shape perfectly. The material looks to be lightweight and therefore perfectly suitable for a warm Oman evening. His shoes are probably the same John Lobbs that he has had for over 40 years. And thanks, no doubt, to some industrious valet, they still look perfect. Finally, the pocket square and tie clash just enough to add some creative tension, soothed by the off-white shirt which restores order. The ever-present poppy, meanwhile, is a tasteful reminder that there are far more important things in the world than fashion.
Here's another beautiful, lightweight, tan, single-breasted suit. But note now the Prince hasn't overpacked: the pocket square is the same as in the above outfit, as are the shoes. A true gentleman of style is confident enough to recycle elements of his wardrobe so that he is not appearing to show off. Finally the blocks of contrast offered by those shoes and the dark blue stripes of the tie keep him well away from the Man from Del Monte territory. Both the Prince and his wife are perfectly dressed for the occasion, showing respect for their hosts and adhering to all the traditions that made the United Kingdom great in the first place.