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My Wardrobe: Tinie Tempah

There’s really no knowing who ZZ Top had in mind when singing about a Sharp Dressed Man. This was the early eighties after all, even George Michael was cool.

Though had he been around, we’re sure the rockers would have given a hearty beard-swinging seal of approval to Tinie Tempah, a musician so habitually sharply dressed he might have someone’s eye out.

As at home on the red carpet as a living room carpet, the Brit Award-winning rapper is almost as synonymous with menswear as he his hit records. And so with London: Men Collections now coming to a close, we quizzed the dapper musician on his sartorial picks of past and present...

Tinie Tempah is pictured at Black Space by Lynx. An immersive, understated space dedicated to style and sound; Lynxblackspace.com

When did you have your first tailored suit?
It was when I was 8 or 9, for and I had it for my holy communion. It was a blue velvet suit so I was already pretty extravagant from an early age.
 
Who is your style idol?
Kanye west – he is very influential, and has this thing where regardless of what he wears everyone wants to copy him and it’s pretty commendable. 
 
Most treasured piece of clothing?
A black Alexander Wang bomber jacket. It has bobbles, but I always find myself falling in and out of love with it, and eventually going back to it.
 
Most extravagant piece of clothing?
Probably my Audemars Piquet watch, which was pretty extravagant. Or the Nike Air Mags which I bought in an auction, and were from the Back to the Future films. They were the first ones available too!

What are your favourite clothes to travel in?
It has to be tracksuits. D&G did a nice cashmere one, and Sandro do a nice cotton one. When you're stopping at the security points or on long haul flights to Australia you need to be comfortable as possible.

And the best three travel accessories?
A nice watch, glasses ( I am wearing some vintage Ray Bans with the original logo, which are difficult to find. With shades it is hard to find something different, and I tracked these down in New York in a shop called Silver Spoon) and some swim shorts, if they count?
 
When did you last dress to make an impression?
Probably for my video for my latest song with Jess Glynne called Not Letting Go. I have a stylist who provides a selection I choose from.

Biggest fashion faux pas?
A velour tracksuit. My mum bought me a baggy cream velour tracksuit from America. They were in at the time, and I wore it confidently, but it definitely wasn’t cool.
 
Budgie smugglers or swimming shorts?
Shorts. It’s cool how you can experiment with the colours and patterns. There's a brand called Okan which makes shorts with an underwater wallet - a clear bit of plastic that you can put money/cards in. If you are going somewhere where there are a lot of people like Ibiza or Menorca, you want to have something a bit different.
 
Do you buy the same item more than once?
Yes – especially when I was younger. It wouldn’t be the exact same item but every time I saw a denim jacket or collared shirt I’d need to get it. But now I’m older I’ve realised I have a style and stick with it, as opposed to buying similar stuff from different brands just for the sake of it. I wouldn’t buy two or three in the same go, but I used to have so many denim shirts I had to give some away. It’s a bit different when I’m on camera, and I convince myself it’s ok to give myself some leeway.
 
What do you wear to bed?
Boxers – don’t over-complicate it. You want to sleep so the more relaxed the better.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Quite a few – I’ve been the same size for a long time. I buy classics and keep them - the ones that are collectors items and will look cool regardless. 
 
Your favourite pair of trainers?
At the moment I like the Nike free 5.0 or the Nike free collaboration with APC.
 
Finally, give us one piece of fashion advice:
Just because a jacket costs £1000 doesn’t mean it’s nice. Because of social culture where everyone is looking at each other, people give off the impression that because it looks good it has to be expensive when you can achieve the style you want without spending big. People confuse fashion with being pricey. Style is expression after all.

Tinie Tempah is pictured at Black Space by Lynx. An immersive, understated space dedicated to style and sound; Lynxblackspace.com