Meet Francisco Xavier Andrades, The Founder Of Suit And Tie FixationThursday August 10, 2017
Since 2013, menswear blogger Francisco Xavier Andrades has been sharing invaluable sartorial inspiration on his renowned blog Suit & Tie Fixation. His style expertise and passion for classic formal attire have earned him an impressive Instagram following. We caught up with him during an exclusive photoshoot where he modelled our celebrated suits, shirts and accessories.
Who is your style inspiration?
It's impossible to choose just one. I have so much appreciation for classic style icons: the smooth elegance of Fred Astaire, the casual elegance of Gary Cooper and the sophistication of Cary Grant. Trendy and stylish in their era, they remain timeless and effortless; a clear example that style is eternal.
Currently I am influenced by other menswear bloggers, some of whom started at the same time as myself. One of my favourites is Brian Sacawa from the blog "He Spoke Style". Brian combines exquisite style with outfit ideas and useful tips on how to dress well.
How would you describe your style?
My style it's undoubtedly classic but with a modern twist. I describe myself as a modern gentleman; one who is not afraid of dressing up, adding colour, texture and accessories to complete the look. I like wearing classic accessories like tie bars, braces, cufflinks, and at the same time I would wear a fun pair of socks or a quirky pair of shoes (no trainers!). I like the British sartorial elegance of Savile Row and Jermyn Street combined with an American or Italian preppy aesthetic.
Francisco is wearing a royal blue slim fit suit, a red silk tie, a blue and white stripe slim fit shirt, a navy and white herringbone pocket square - all from Hawes & Curtis.
What inspired you to write your blog?
I've always been interested in men's fashion. I am an avid reader of books and style magazines and follow menswear online forums like "Style Forum". But it wasn't until I joined the platform Tumblr around 4 years ago that I got a lot of inspiration from other users. Their posts showing their daily attire in a very modest approach gave me food for thought... If they can do it, so can I, and that's how it all began.
I have to say that this also coincided on a period that I had to dress smart for work. I was finding it hard not to dress in a uniform, by wearing the same suit and tie. So I used my Tumblr account as well as an exercise to improve my style, and to become more creative and alternative in my choice of clothes.
You say that you used to wear suits for work – what was your job before you started your renowned blog?
Back in Spain, when I was on my last year at university studying Software Engineering, I started working for a tailoring company on a part time basis. This was just before I started sharing some of my looks on my social media. Not only did this job help develop my passion for fine tailoring, but I learnt a lot about the technical part of it. And even though I only did it for 1 year, I still look back at it with great pleasure. After that, I joined an IT company, and even though a suit wasn't required for every day, making an effort was really important to me.
How has your style developed since starting your blog four years ago?
My style has changed drastically. It was bad in the beginning, so bad that I have ended up deleting many of my first posts. I remember I used to make basic mistakes like doing up all the buttons on waistcoats and jackets or mixing striped shirts with striped ties that you could see clashing from a distance. I hope this is an inspiration for other men to try to improve their style.
My biggest development was in incorporating texture and the use of different materials, like linen and tweed to build a more interesting wardrobe. For example, I used to wear silk ties exclusively until I discovered knitted ties. They are such a great addition to a man's wardrobe and they allow you to create a whole new spectrum of looks that are in between formal and casual.
Francisco is wearing a navy Prince of Wales suit, a white twill extra slim fit shirt, a light blue herringbone tie and a silk navy pocket square - all from Hawes & Curtis.
What is your favourite range from the Hawes & Curtis collection?
I really like the new shirts from the Mark Francis collection, and I really recommend them. They have a bigger collar which is great for those with a more elongated neck to help balance the proportions and they work perfectly with a suit and tie, as the point of the collar will always stay in place, tucked in under the jacket lapels.
From the suit range I love the 1913 Italian suits range in super 140s pure wool . They have all the qualities of some of the big Italian labels, but at a more affordable price and superb quality.
Do you think it is important to always look your best?
I am very open-minded when it comes to personal style. I believe a man should dress according to what makes him feel most comfortable and confident, but at the same time, it's that confidence inside you that will make you look your best. Clothes don't make the man but they can make the man look great.
In the same way I wouldn't wear a suit to go camping with my friends, you shouldn't go in jeans and T-shirt to your best friend's wedding. You would be wrong assuming they wouldn't mind you being under dressed for their wedding, but you will always be right in trying to look your best. And this is why I think looking our best is so important, because when you do it, you are actually sending subtle, subliminal messages that say, “I care"," I made an effort",” I want to look good". It doesn't matter if it is at your best friend's wedding or in front of a client, or visiting your doctor- this applies in all situations.
I believe most of my followers are people who have an interest in looking their best or maybe they want to gain some more confidence in order to do so, because they know the importance of looking their best.
Are ties a central part of your look?
Yes they are, and I have a fixation for them. But contrary to popular belief, I don't wear them at all times. When wearing a suit, I will always wear a tie. A tie brings the whole outfit together whilst adding a pop of colour and formality. It is also the central part and focus of the outfit . Without it, the suit is incomplete. If you don't want to wear a tie and want to achieve a more relaxed look, team a separate jacket with chinos and add a pocket square for a bit of colour.
What do you like the most about wearing high quality suits?
I am always fascinated about the craftsmanship and attention to detail behind a quality suit. Needless to say that the cut of the suit is extremely important, so is the attention to detail, from the stitching to the material used for the buttons, I am very aware of all this when I am wearing a suit. The fit is crucial. A high quality suit feels more like a second skin, the fabrics are softer and smoother, making it also more comfortable to wear. A good quality suit will also last you longer if you look after it well - this means using the proper hangers to store them and dry clean them as few times as possible.
Francisco is wearing a slim fit white cotton jacket and a blue and light pink stripe shirt from Hawes & Curtis.
What would you wear for a formal summer occasion?
A light-weight light-coloured three piece suit made of a mixture of wool and linen with peak lapels and double breasted waistcoat with wide peak lapels. This is quite a formal attire that would allow you to beat the summer temperatures. And if it gets too hot, you will always be allowed to take off your jacket and remain in the waistcoat. You will still look quite smart and it is more acceptable than remaining in just your shirt and tie. And for the colour of the tie, I would choose any from the pastel palette.
What is your relaxed weekend style?
A silk dressing gown and pyjamas for those lazy Sunday mornings or chinos, a semi casual shirt, a sport jacket and loafers for the rest.
Two-Piece of Three-Piece Suits? And Why?
A three piece suit because you can still use a three piece as a two piece, making it very versatile. And not just that; you can use the waistcoat as a separate piece for a different outfit, it also accentuates a man's chest, it makes your collar and tie stand out more.
As a general rule, I would wear double cuffs when wearing a suit and single cuffs for the rest. I love cufflinks - they really add personality to an outfit.