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With his long messy hair and worn, baggy clothes, you’d be forgiven for thinking that hip-hop loving Ally Gowans is a typical teenager going through a scruffy stage. But Ally is now 24 and left his teenage days behind him long ago. His family and friends think it’s about time he smartened himself up.
Ally, from Dundee, said: “I’ve been wearing the same style of clothes since I was about 15. I got into hip-hop and started wearing baggy jeans and baggy t shirts, and not really much has changed since then.”
The snowboarding fanatic has wanted to change his style for a while but has been a bit scared to do it without any help in case it goes horribly wrong and he ends up looking silly.
“In my wardrobe I’ve got a lot of t shirts that I really like,” he said, pulling out moth-eaten clothes full of holes. “They’re old but I’m not going to throw them out because I quite like them.
“I don’t know what my female friends think of my style but I don’t think I do myself any favours. I think girls look for a guy that dresses a wee bit smarter than me. My shoes are falling to bits.”
One of Ally’s friends thinks that his hair needs to be cut and styled and that he dresses the way he does because he is lazy. “He’s had the same dress sense since I’ve known him and that’s been about 10 years!” she said.
Ally has a very distinctive snowboarder style but his mum thinks he’s a scruff and that he has needed to change his style for a long time, as do the rest of his family.
She said: “The age you’re at now you should be smartening yourself up. You’ve gone through your student days and I know you still do festivals and things but it would be nice to see you tidy and in smarter, fashionable clothes, just so you don’t look like a tramp!”
Enter Michael Munro-Dunn to work his magic and to turn Ally into a proper young gent. 64-year-old Michael, who was a finalist in Esquire magazine’s 10 Best Dressed Men in Britain, said: “My philosophy in life is good style and good taste. I would describe my style as traditional and classic, not high street. Fashion comes and goes, but style which you develop is an extension of your personality. Dressing well makes me feel good.”
Michael and Ally meet in a posh cafe in Edinburgh. “Today’s definitely going to be a challenge!” exclaimed Michael. He certainly has his work cut out for him.
First stop is T.M.Lewin, one of Michael’s favourite stores, to get Ally a suit. “A pocket handkerchief is very important as it sets the suit off,” Michael says, holding up a dark blue suit with a red handkerchief in the pocket. “If you are walking down the street and you don’t have a smart handkerchief it’s almost like something is missing.”
Ally tries on a black suit with a light blue shirt. “It’s different to what I’d normally wear but yeah, I like it,” he says.
Next the pair go to Austin Reed, where Ally tries on several shirts and ties to go with his new suit. “That’s not your colouring,” says Michael as Ally models a stripy colourful shirt and a navy blue tie. “It’s too bold, and whoever tied that knot needs shooting.”
Last stop is Brooks Brothers, where Ally gets some cufflinks, a good quality belt and some smart new shoes.
With Ally’s hands full of bags, it seems Michael’s work is done, but there is one more thing Ally needs to complete his new look – get a hair cut. “Not my hair,” he groans. His long curly locks are getting the chop!
Michael's tips for becoming a stylish gentleman:
The focus should be on developing individual and personal style through good dress sense, not based on fashion. There are four basic items of clothing that form the basis of a well dressed man's wardrobe:
Remember, high street fashion comes and goes each year but personal style and dress sense lasts forever, and a good well cut sports jacket and good quality shoes will never go out of fashion.