Thabiso Mkhize gives TWoU the royal treatment, sharing his essential menswear tips
Words: Nabeel Allie | Photography: Samora Chapman
Thabiso Mkhize, or PrinceThabz as he goes by online, is a man who has almost seamlessly emerged from the fashion hub of Durban – local pioneers like uSwenka, Linda Makhanya, the man behind Johannesburg-based Linda Makhanya Tailored Suit, and others are also cut from the city’s almost infinite ream of creative cloth. He’s always on the move, often jumping between Joburg and Durban, constantly drinking in the latest styles and plying his trade as a stylist, designer, blogger and influencer.
PrinceThabz, like so many of the country’s most fashionable people, drew his initial inspiration and love of fashion from his parents, who he described as being “very brand conscious.” “My mom is a fashionista as well, and my dad is such a pedantic dresser. He was always someone who paid attention to those little things. They’ve really been an inspiration in more ways than one."
Thabiso is fully immersed in learning as much as he can about the local scene and allowing all that he learns to flourish through his signature style. His is an ongoing thesis whereby he is constantly engaging with the various styles within our borders and outside of them as well.
“I try not to being one dimensional, but of course formal fashion is my forté. I do suits a lot, I love them, but I’m also a guy who can rock dungarees. I pride myself on being someone who wears denim well, who wears shorts well. I’d describe my style as timeless, classic, elegant and fitted. I really pride myself with the fit."
So, what advice and knowledge does the debonair man of Durban’s design and fashion scene have to offer men, particularly at a time when we’re getting back into the routine of work. The answer? Plenty.
Finesse the Fit
Dressing for work has the potential to be both a simple affair as well as a drawn-out process of confliction. Is it too much? Am I dressed too casually? These are questions that go through many men’s heads, but for Thabiso, there will always be a golden rule.
“First, men need to understand their body shape because what necessarily works for me may not work for you because of your body shape. Please, please invest in the fit. I could rock a suit from Superbalist and you could rock a Hugo Boss, but if mine fits better I’ll look better."
Make Your Accessories Work
Thabiso stresses that fashion is an expression of the self, and while some garments – like white T-shirts – may be ubiquitous, how you style them shouldn’t be. This is where the finer details can enhance your look. Learning how to accessorise is an important part of dressing for work, as is accessorising accordingly.
“What use is a nice scarf in Durban? Suspenders and belts are accessories but they serve the same purpose so don't use both together. Which I’ve seen men do, what’s the point? Your accessories need to make sense. My one piece of advice would be to always have a watch on. Whether it’s a leather strap or a matte-finish it can do so much for your look. I feel naked without one."
Build your look from the bottom up
As the sneaker-train continues full steam ahead and men look to stock up for their rotations, it’s important to remember that the world of shoes is vast. In accordance with the expansive and diverse nature of shoes, your collection should afford you options to construct various looks.
“Look, not everyone is going to be a shoe fanatic like me, but you need to own at least five pairs of shoes as a guy. You need boat shoes, chelsea boots, brogues, sneakers and loafers. Brogues will take you through your chinos, denims and your formal outfits. Classic white sneakers is a trend I’ve seen at the Sun Met and similar events, because men want to keep their identity when they’re dressing formally – especially young men. I’ve seen a lot of plain white T-shirts with suits and classic plain sneakers – it does well."
Maximise your style even outside of the office
Perhaps the most crucial aspect to your get-up for work is to ensure that it is adaptable – for those impromptu lunch gatherings and for the inevitable, albeit unplanned, after-work drinks. Going home to change into a new outfit only to arrive at a venue where your coworkers walked to once they left the office is impractical. And travelling unnecessarily in the heat is no good, either.