Power dressing: Paul Houlding

Paul Houlding established the independent advertising agency Isobel along with his partners in 2003, working with brands such as Kettle Chips, Bernard Matthews and Grand Marnier.

Suit by Armani

I dress informally and for comfort, because one moment I could be talking to a chief executive in a business environment and the next a creative director in a creative environment, so my outfit needs to be occasionless. I treat work clothes like a uniform – three identical Armani suits, and I mostly wear shades of black or blue. I never wear a tie because it feels constricted and I think you can still be smart without one, and sometimes I’ll wear a suit jacket with jeans if I’m travelling. I do love dressing up formally for black-tie events, though.


Shirt by Thomas Pink

If I’m feeling adventurous I’ll wear a pink shirt, but mostly it’s blue or black. There has to be no starchiness about it, and it’s always a single cuff in a classic fit. I have about eight versions of the same shirt in the same size. Now when I go into the shop the sales assistant just hands me the shirt. I’m not a great shopper, but I have a sort of uniform so I can concentrate on other things. Colour matching – that’s hard.


Shoes by Clarks Originals

I’ve been through Church’s and trainers but these black desert boots are my favourite shoes – I have two pairs. Occasionally I’ll wear slip-on trainers by Agnès B – they add a bit of style without being pompously formal. I think we’re more creative dressers in advertising because of the nature of the job.


Watch by Longines

This was given to me by my wife. I like the simplicity – no big ostentatious watch face. It has an understated elegance.


Glasses by Lafont

I like these because they feel Parisian, slightly 1950s. And they don’t make me look middle-aged. They’re actually my first pair of glasses. I love France and Parisian style, it’s elegant and understated.


Wedding ring from Waltons Jewellers

This is a second-hand one from an antiques shop in Cardiff. My wife and I bought the same one on the same day, rounded yellow gold. Really simple, really plain.

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