Norwich B&B owner’s quest for a quirky style

When Clive Harvey wrote to the Life Matters' makeover team with a plea to help him look stylish we sprung into action to give him a smart/casual look that would reflect his quirky nature, his business and his home. By Emma Harrowing.

Running a bed and breakfast in the heart of the city is not an easy job. Making sure that the rooms are clean and tidy, the house is decorated and styled to a high standard and being at the beckon call of guests is a task that even the most meticulous of people would find hard to manage at times.

For Clive Harvey, owner/receptionist/chef/cleaner/manager of Gothic House, a Regency-styled bed and breakfast on Magdalen Street, the challenge of running a successful hotelier business has become second nature.

The 61-year-old moved into the luxurious Grade II listed house in 2006 and turned the property into a bed and breakfast in 2007.

The house has been given a complete revamp with exquisite paintings, colourful walls (the ceiling in the lounge has an impressive painting of a sky on it designed by Clive) and elaborate antique furniture.

The bed and breakfast has been described as 'quirky' by many visitors, a description that you could also use to describe Clive's personality.

'I am a flamboyant character,' says Clive. 'I love getting dressed up in a suit and bow tie and I have a wardrobe crammed full of clothes, but when it comes to day-to-day outfits I am at a complete loss as to what to wear.

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'When I get dressed in the mornings it is in something that is warm (if it's winter time), practical and comfortable. I've got to get on and cook the breakfasts and yet look presentable when the guests come down. Whatever I've put on is usually on for the rest of the day, so I'll be working turning the rooms around, cleaning and yet by mid-afternoon new guests arrive and I still have to look presentable and welcoming.

'Gothic House is quite special and guests arrive expecting me to look the part, but my crumpled and faded chinos and an old sweatshirt doesn't really cut it. I need something that helps make me look as special, yet as comfortable, as Gothic House.'

The solution to Clive's fashion dilemma is the smart/casual look. It's a style that can easily be achieved with a pair of dark denim jeans, a shirt and a jacket, which will make him look smart for front of house and yet the look is practical enough for him to go about his daily tasks.

However, Clive craves to ooze style, and to be stylish you need to add a few finishing touches that will bring out your personality in your clothes.

Luckily Tim and Nic, the personal stylists in the menswear department at Jarrold's are on hand to offer some advice.

Says Tim: 'Clive has a slim frame and so it's important to choose a jacket and shirt that is cut to fit him perfectly. The vintage cut is ideal as this is a slimmer cut than the classic shape. Teamed with a pair of jeans, a pair of two-tone brown boots, Clive is well on the way to achieving a smart/casual look that suits his lifestyle.'

Adds Nic: 'To bring out Clive's vibrant personality adding a pop of colour by layering a waistcoat or cardigan over the shirt and under the jacket will give this classic look a quirky twist.'

Tim agrees: 'Clive is the person that most visitors will remember long after their stay at his bed and breakfast so why not bring even more of his personality into his look by adding a bow tie. The bow tie could become his signature piece that really sets him apart from other bed and breakfast owners.'

Clive's new look mixes patterns; the stripe in the shirt, the tweed in the jacket and the tartan in the bow tie are perfectly held together with the plain dark denim jeans and classic boots.

It's a look that Clive would not have even contemplated before.

'If I had gone into Jarrold's to buy some new clothes I wouldn't have picked up half the items I am wearing let alone put them together like this, but this look is amazing, I really like it. In fact I already have some bow ties in my wardrobe that I used to only wear on special occasions; as this is now my signature look I must get these out and wear them!

'I have never been afraid of mixing and matching colours and patterns but running a business from home has made me fall into a big hole when it comes to my style. Having someone else tell me how to dress has given me the shake up I needed to take pride in my appearance once again.'

To complete Clive's makeover Jarrolds treated him to a mini facial with Kelly O'Connor at Clarins.

Says Kelly: 'There has been an increasing number of men wanting advice on how to take care of their skin over the past few years which is why Clarins has developed an extensive range of men's skincare products.

'Men often suffer from dry, flaky skin, skin rashes due to shaving and, of course, the first tell-tale signs of ageing and Clarins has products to help prevent all these skin conditions.'

Clive suffers from Rosacea, a skin condition that results in regular redness flaring up on the skin.

'All of Clarins' products are made from plat and flower extracts, making them gentle on the skin,' says Kelly. 'In fact most of our products soothe and improve the condition of the skin.'

Clive was treated to a thorough cleanse, face scrub, face massage using a skin oil, hydrating mask, eye cream and moisturising treatment.

Says Clive: 'It's amazing how relaxed your whole body can feel after a facial. My skin feels refreshed and soft.

'I've had an amazing makeover, it was great to have so many people take me in hand and sort out my failing style. I now feel as quirky as Gothic House!'