With that magnetic, raspy voice and cheekbones that could draw blood, it’s no shock that James Bay has quickly become one to watch. Bay, who grew up in a Northern suburb of London, has been busy making a name for himself in America after releasing his first album, Chaos And The Calm, with much acclaim in early 2015.
The musician, who at 24 can already claim to have toured with the likes of Hozier and Tom Odell, will soon be sharing the stage with Taylor Swift on the European leg of her 1989 World Tour. The coveted gig will rightfully attract even more eyes towards Bay and his slouchy, rocker style.
Bay has mastered the laid back aura of early British rockers (think: The Kinks and The Rolling Stones), without appearing overly retro. He prefers subtlety to the on-stage-and-off peacocking of other big acts- an almost novel concept in the age of constant self-promotion. Just before he hits the road with T-Swift, here are a few style tricks to steal from Mr. Bay.
1. Always wear a wristwatch. Gender-bending watches have been been resurfacing in recent seasons and are finally being made to suit smaller wrists. An oversized face and leather strap can lend a chic-garconne vibe for the downtown darling.
2. Long hair, don't care. James's simple hairdo is a welcome respite from coiffes that require hours of maintenance. Wash it, maybe throw in some leave-in conditioner if you're feeling fancy (James uses TRESemme), and go!
3. Invest in a sturdy, black, wide-brimmed hat. Somewhere between a fedora and a sun hat, the structured shape has a subtle '70s effect that'll take you from the arena to an east end pub. If you choose wisely, like James, you'll only ever need two options.
4. Adopt a uniform. James's no-nonsense wardrobe seems to consist entirely of slim-fit jeans and leather jackets, a look that is definitely working for him (**swoon**). While there's no harm in experimenting, if you're lucky enough to have found a signature style early on... stick with it!
5. Denim is the simplest solution when temperatures render your leather impractical. A loose-fitting jean jacket with 3/4-length sleeves thrown over a white T-shirt is your effortless summer look. Part-American dream / Part-Urban Outfitters catalog model.