Here Comes The Son
There are many things a man can inherit from his father. A strong chin, for example, or perhaps a penchant for stamp-collecting. I, for one, was gifted my dad's exhaustive need to be polite. It's a blessing, really, but it would be nice to spend less time holding doors open for people.
Some men are lucky and acquire one of the most valuable commodities known to mankind - something altogether intangible, unquantifiable and ethereal. They get 'style'. You can hit the gym, spend all your money in Bond Street and surround yourself with the most beautiful, most sycophantic people, but you can't buy style.
More than anything else, it's an attitude. And if you're looking for the apex of attitude, cast your gaze back to the British punk scene. Paul Simonon, the bassist in The Clash, had serious style: slicked-back hair, shirt unbuttoned to the chest, sleeves rolled up to the shoulders. Impossibly thin and pretty-faced, he formed one of punk's most enduring icons. Today, his sons Claude and Louis are models. A cosmetic achievement and nothing more, I hear you suggest, but a quick image search reveals their father's vaguely terrifying thousand-yard-stare has been passed on, and it will no doubt see the boys gracing billboards for many years to come.
“Now you may not have noticed, but there's a stylistic link between punk rock and Prince Charles.”
Now you may not have noticed, but there's a stylistic link between punk rock and Prince Charles. Let me explain. In the same way that Simonon and co could pull off an outfit of net tights and safety pins, the Prince can pull off a belted safari suit. A bastion of double-breasted suiting (Anderson & Sheppard) and fine shirts (Turnbull & Asser), his much-praised air of 'unflustered English gent' has drifted down to his boys. William and Harry are formalwear experts, demonstrating that a well-cut navy suit should be a staple in every man's wardrobe.
There have been faux pas over the years, admittedly - jeans occasionally pool over boat shoes, wax jackets feature all too often and gilets are wildly overabundant - but when it comes to the big occasions (royal births, deaths, marriages etc), there are few better flag-bearers for traditional British style.
From one royal family to another. It would be remiss to omit the Beckhams from any discussion of hereditary style. David and Victoria's triumphs and disasters have been well documented for almost two decades, but now the fashion world has turned its scathing eye on their children. Brooklyn is an expert on skinny jeans, white T-shirts and blazers, as most teenage boys are. But thanks to that familiar quiff, the cheeky grin and a shrewdly conceived Burberry campaign, it seems Romeo is the major beneficiary of the style chromosome.
It's yet to be seen if the Beckham boys will follow in their father's sporting footsteps - surely one of them will - but herein lies the dilemma for all sons of successful men. Do you join the family business or forge a new path? Those who have opted for the former include Michael Douglas (a T&A client, incidentally), siblings Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, Josh Brolin, Kiefer Sutherland and Alexander Skarsgård, to name but a few. The last of these might have had the toughest time - his father, actor Stellan Skarsgård, is one of the coolest men in the world. In fact, a picture of the two together perfectly vindicates my original 'style vs dress sense' point. Alexander wears great clothes, but Stellan has style. That's a lesson for fathers to take away: Be cool, and encourage your sons to be cool. Just make sure they're not cooler than you.