When I think about the various elements of personal style, my thoughts do not stop at the wardrobe door. As I have said many times before and will continue to say, style is not just about clothes. Anyone can buy nice clothes and walk down the street. That’s not necessarily style – it’s fashion. Personal style encompasses your entire personality; what do you value, what interests you, where have you been and where do you want to go? One place where that all comes together is your study or library.
I have always wanted my own study. Growing up in a large family, I didn’t really have much personal space. So what I craved from a young age was my own room laid out the way I wanted; not a bedroom – a study. I would have all my stuff in there – books, pictures, collections, etc. It would be my personal place.
I think every man should have a study of some sort, be it a room to yourself or just an empty corner ready for a desk and bookcase. Equally important is how you fit it out. When we moved into our house several years ago, I claimed a spare bedroom as my study and slowly transformed it into the place I always wanted. I have a wall of bookshelves, an antique desk, and a wall filled with family pictures and art ranging from classic hunt scenes to modern abstract.
If you have the space, I suggest you think about creating your own study. One of the first tasks at hand is to gather all the things you have that are inspiring to you. This is a great way to actually see all the books, magazines, pictures, collections, and ephemera that make you feel at home.
When all these special and personal items are in one place, a mere room begins to transform itself into a sanctuary. Design the room so that it matches your personality; are you a modernist, clean and sparse, or anglophile, with lots of Persian rugs and mahogany? Truth be told, if I had a big budget and enough room, my ideal study would look very much like a Rugby store. I’m a sucker for classic Anglo/American style though, so that should come as no surprise.
In addition to your books, magazines, and newspapers, I think all studies should include a nice collection of pens, good writing paper (engraved with your monogram if you can afford it), Moleskine notebooks, and several lamps. To me, indirect lighting makes a big difference when it comes to the general feel of a room; creates better atmosphere. A nice leather lounge chair, or better yet an old leather sofa, provides a place to work or read.
If you are so inclined, a little table stocked with a good selection of scotches and bourbons is an indulgent touch. Add a humidor and a bowl of match books collected from your travels and you, sir, are in heaven (or at least my version).