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I live life at the frontier. When we built our first house the word was, “How could the Saids buy land that is 6 x 25 metres? You just can’t build a house on it!” Well we went right ahead, loving the challenge of constructing our dream house on an unusual site - and in the end it sold for a record price. Our natural inclination is to go against the grain - visiting a town we have never heard of or buying impossible land. It just makes life more interesting.

I have equally strong opinions about aesthetics and the look that I like for myself. In fact I’m the opposite.  Because I am always on the move, traveling halfway across the globe, planning our next leap or working, I don’t want to fuss over fashion. 

It’s easier to identify your own personal style. I feel 100 percent better when I am true to myself; that’s when my look is spot on. Trying to be someone else backfires on me anyway. When I went to Europe as a younger man I tried to be a chameleon and do the whole gent thing - buying the polished shoes, suits, certain. Of course as soon as I returned home to Sydney, the land of bright, Southern light and sporty, body-conscious casual, I was a ludicrously overdressed duck out of water. You have to be born into certain ways of dressing - or at the very least be hitting the right geographical coordinates! What looks great on Milanese men sipping café lattes in a 300- year old marble arcade is not going to fly amongst the surfers of Bondi Beach! 

So I have developed several uniforms that get me through airports, athletic mornings, out and about in the daytime or dressed up to hit restaurants, bars or clubs at night. My core wardrobe has evolved over the years as I travel, and change personally, but the mood is always ‘relaxed and at play.’

DAYWEAR

I rely on standout brands that nail smart casual for me - with the slightly worn, faded look that says, ‘been out boating but may check out the DJ at the rooftop bar later.’ I’m not a buttoned up type of guy; I much prefer dressing down. But I find that if your comfortable clothes still have crispness, natural fabrics and enough design edge, you don’t need a tuxedo to go to some pretty smart places.

There’s my core summer uniform that you’ll always catch me in by day, whether out on my deck at home looking at Sydney Harbour, glued to my laptop at an airport lounge or tossing back a little ouzo in a taverna in the Cyclades Islands.  

I am most comfortable in GStar jeans and T-shirts by Italian street label, Diesel. I like whites, olives and tend mainly towards blue - such a good colour that goes well with denim or white; red really pops. Whatever the colour, I prefer the washed out and faded look.  

Quite recently I have started wearing more shirts in pinstripes, which look crisper and fresher. I tried a number of Australian brands but discovered a favourite Dutch label about 5 years ago, Scotch and Soda

I love denim and thongs, as we call rubber sandals in Australia, but not just any. I slip on a pair of Havaianas, the iconic Brazilian brand that launched the flip-flop into the world, and comes in every colour and pattern. I collect a lot of different shades but wear the chocolate brown most. The blue and white version is an everyday no-brainer with denim as well. 

Believe me, now that I know what I like and have honed my default position I don’t have to over think it. I am focusing on planning trips, Sheira and the kids; life is full. I like a look that lands somewhere between not being out of place and not being too fussy. And there is always room to layer in a new find.

WATCHES

Watches are my only accessory - I don’t wear necklaces or jewelry, not even a wedding ring. If anything, it’s watches not clothes that have been a real hobby of mine; I have been building a collection for years. Early on I had a Sub Mariner Rolex, which will always be a classic. When I came across my all-time favourite brand, 100 yr-old Panerei, with the oversized faces and sub dials - it was an instant love affair. They were originally worn by commando frogmen in the Italian navy: pretty high tech and cool. Finding their limited edition, Luminar Submersible Chroma 1000 (PAM187) became a mission. When I tracked one down in Portofino they held it for me for months out of respect from my “passion for its beauty.” How Italian! 

Over the years I have added an IWC Big Pilot’s Watch, A Breitling in titanium that even I can’t break. I have a square Bell and Ross pilot’s watch and a giant U-boat that could give rapper Flava Flav a run for his money! They look good with T-shirts and sometimes it’s good to throw in a bit of high-low.

My boys have already earmarked the watches that they think are cool - for when I kick the bucket or am ready for the “the handing down of the watch,” a manly, father-son ritual that other Dads will appreciate. Funnily enough both of them have gone for less fashion options. Josh, my eldest has earmarked the Panerai Luminar Ratopante 1950. Noah has kept it quite simple, “I’ll just take the two Rolexes.”

I am very careful with all my watches, as I am with all the things I have worked hard for. Now I’m pretty much done - I’m not a compulsive collector so I can walk past watch stores without stopping. More time to obsess about something else - like the best pizza or prettiest family beach! 

So my basic signature - jeans, loose shirt, havaianas and a big old Panarei on my wrist - puts me in my happy place. It takes me through my travel day or early evenings in a chic resort. There is a sort of hipster wardrobe that I see around the playgrounds of the world where smart casual is never formal, but still very clued in. People somehow put themselves together with style and ease, with quality fabrics in colours that work. Comfort and traveling doesn’t have to mean the tracksuits and shapeless tourist uniform in migraine colours.

SPORTY

When it comes to running shoes I only wear one particular brand at the moment, Adidas.  I go through stages where I wear a particular shoe because it is well designed to counterbalance my inner step. But I’m not married to one brand. Like anything, I treat even a functional piece as fashion; you express yourself so the mood can change. I like a good shoe, like the Adidas “Super Nova,” and I burn through them every few months as I pound the pavements of each place that I visit. 

I’ll bring along baseball caps as another basic for sun protection but you’ll never see me under the hot sun stamped with branding. I like a crisp, blank canvas.

My son Noah, at only 16 seems to have caught on to European chic; it must be all that Capri! On a recent trip to Hydra in Greece with Sheira, Zoe and I, Noah rediscovered his favourite luxury swimwear brand, Vilebrequin after wanting some for years. He brought it back across my radar. He was thrilled to strike gold and find a small boutique that stocks these unique ‘swimming trunks’ as they are officially called. I realised that for me too, this was the fashion solution that I was looking for. 

The French label captures that European flair for an upbeat splash of colour and resort fun without ever dumbing down and being tacky. Each pair has an original pattern and sense of fun that brings a smile to your face when you’re ready to hit the water. My choice included a tortoise pattern, Moorea, is one of Vilebrequin’s original designs that they do year in and year out. 

All of a sudden I am just as comfortable walking around in my new-found collection of Vilebrequin swimtrunks because they are so beautifully designed. On paper you might think that only a temporarily insane person would add frogs, flowers, pink and beige to his fashion lexicon but under a striped umbrella in Europe it all just works.  I am now dressing them up with nautical-striped shirts to carry me through all day. Future trips to St Tropez will now have the extra bonus of the Vilebrequin treasure trove.

I also enjoy the idea that Noah and I can share shopping together with almost the same eye. Now that our styles our starting to converge there doesn’t seem to be much of a generation gap. I like young and sporty and he, unusually for his age, is starting to get into really good quality. We’re starting to meet in the middle! He is sharing a lot of my things. 

EVENING, PARTIES

Even when wheeling and dealing I manage to avoid suits and ties; it’s just not going to happen. I don’t think my daughter Zoe has ever seen me in corporate mode! My more formal, evening look hinges on a structured, dark jacket with a sharp, open shirt. 

I found my perfect match with Prada. I absolutely love the perfect cut, inky colours and modern elastane fabric. These are nightlife suits meant for the Buddah Bar, not the legal bar! They look sharp and cutting edge - with that faultless European tailoring that lets you walk into any club in the world with your party battle armour on.

Who knows, maybe I’ll come back with a whole new, Masai-inspired look when I come back form this year’s trip to Africa! 





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