In Conversation with Grey Fox
David Evans, known to most as the Grey Fox Blog is a men’s style blogger and a good friend to Budd. Originally a lawyer before turning to teaching in his fifties, his interest in style and menswear came later in life. His inspiration was (ironically) the lack of inspiration and information available for older men who were unsure of how to dress. High street clothing brands typically ignore the older male demographic and without many – if any – role models, a lot of older men were left in the dark about how to dress. Cue David. Using his blog and Instagram as platforms to explore these questions, he became the Grey Fox Blog. Ten years later, he’s still enjoying the fun.
What have you been up to during lockdown? And what are you most looking forward to when restrictions are lifted?
Maintaining the blog and social media has been the perfect pastime during lockdown - and walking Harry, my dog. Sorting out my wardrobe, organising a #mylockdownstyle challenge on Instagram and keeping up with friends and contacts have kept me busy. Once this is over, I’m looking forward to seeing friends face to face again, having a pint in the pub and, above all, going out for a good meal.
What keeps you inspired and curious?
It’s just the way I am. I love the creativity of what I do - something that was missing from my career in the law. Meeting entrepreneurs and creative people in the manufacturing and menswear world has been an eye opener for me.
What is a style you cannot get enough of? And what is one you wish you people would leave behind?
Classic British style is popular around the world and among all age groups. It’s possible to be creative and different without being too stuffy. I’d love it if people left behind the present popularity of sportswear - it’s just sloppy and lazy. Making an effort with what you wear shows respect for others and for yourself.
I’d like to see a return to colour in menswear and to wearing more natural and sustainable fabrics. The present vogue for black and monochrome is unadventurous and wearing more sustainable cottons and wool would be better ultimately for the environment.
What is your favourite way to style a denim shirt? And which shade of denim do you think is the best?
I prefer a natural raw denim shade - denim should be allowed to fade naturally rather than bought in a pre-distressed condition. I’m all for clothes being bought to last and allowed to wear into the user’s personality.
Double denim, or even triple…discuss!
I hate to make rules about style - there are too many as it is - mostly poorly thought out too. If a man wants to wear double or triple denim he should do so.
How successful this will be depends entirely on how confidently he wears the look and how he styles it. I like to wear denim mixed with a good quality shirt or a tailored jacket and hand-made shoes. Playing with different types of clothing allows a fascinating interplay - the denim relaxes the formality of the tailoring while the tailored items show off naturally faded denim in a very satisfying way.
Try a denim shirt with a tie, a denim trucker jacket with tailored flannel trousers and jeans with a blazer.
Beyond jeans, you celebrate denim jackets. Has denim always played a pivotal role in your wardrobe?
I’ve always worn jeans, but until early in the first lock down I hadn’t owned a denim jacket. Within a few weeks I collected vintage examples and, while I’ve not worn them a lot, as mentioned above, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with wearing them with tailoring and bespoke shirts - mixing the styles works.
GFB has always championed British brands and made in Britain. Do you think people are more invested in British Made than ever before?
Many retailers tell me that customers are increasingly interested in the origins and manufacture of products. I think it’s a slow process; there’s a perception that British-made is expensive but I’d like people to see this in the context of sustainability - how well are workers treated where products are bought very cheaply from abroad? How environmentally friendly are the manufacturing methods? How long will the cheap sweatshop clothes last? In the end a well-made British product is the better buy. By buying British we also support our home industries at a time when Covid and Brexit have caused (hopefully temporary) difficulties.
Do you think the panorama for older models has changed in recent years?
I’m not sure I see myself as a model, but in general terms I feel that the older market is overlooked in menswear. The older demographic is more affluent so it’s not sensible to try only to sell to the young. Having said that, two thirds of my audience is aged under 45 and there is a great interest among younger men in classic menswear. My generation had its well-dressed fathers and grandfathers to look to as role models; too many fathers now want to dress like their sons so that element of guidance is lost and I find that younger men look to the many older men on Instagram for sartorial inspiration.
Where will you head off to first when travel restrictions are lifted?
We were due to go to the Arctic but that has been put off until next year - instead we will go to my family in Cumbria and from there to Scotland for a few weeks – with hunting malt whisky, otters and good mountains to climb.
What is your best styling tip?
Buy good quality clothes that fit perfectly. That’s the best way to start on the road to style. If you’re nervous about colours and patterns use the services of a personal stylist to help you gain knowledge and confidence. Whatever you do, don’t step outside your comfort zone - confidence will come with experience.
Beyond fashion, what are your must-haves for everyday life?
My dog, Harry the #blogdog labrador, my 1967 Land Rover, my family (I have a second granddaughter on the way) and the occasional single malt whisky (not necessarily in that order).
What styles are you most looking forward to wearing once we’re out of lockdown?
What has been your favourite Budd item of clothing over the years?
I have a striped shirt with a tab collar which I love particularly, but the denim shirt is a close favourite too, especially as it begins to wear in and develop that beautiful patina that much-loved clothes take on with use. James Macauslan has cut both for me and it is always enjoyable developing an idea.