MIDWAY:Hats off to dapper prince

I’m not at all surprised that Prince Charles has topped Esquire’s best-dressed men list this week. For the love of a corgi, here’s a prize that was well and truly overdue. I’ve always had a soft spot for an English eccentric with a jolly signature style. Jarvis Cocker and David Hockney are longstanding style crushes of mine, and in recent years HRH Prince Charles has joined them. In a family where the fashion chat is all about the women, I admired the fact that Charles wears his clothes with an air of dressed-up confidence.

His image riffs on a quintessentially perky British look, which is essentially based around smart tailoring with dapper touches. Think Panama hat for a Caribbean tour, or traditional wooden-handled umbrella for a wander round the grounds of a stately home.

One of his recurring styling tricks, whether wearing a coat or suit jacket, is to add a bit of a Brideshead striped tie with a clashing silk hankie poking out of the jacket pocket. Both of these old-school flourishes add instant jauntiness.

If there was a trophy for lifetime achievement for services to double-breasted suiting, HRH would knock out the competition in a flash. One of the trickiest looks in menswear — it’s always coming back into fashion but never actually does — it is a linchpin of Charles’s wardrobe. Somehow he manages to wear it with effortless charm; I remember first noting such sartorial know-how during a TV documentary last year, as he waltzed around his garden in a sand-coloured linen number.

I’m also particularly fond of his camel wool overcoat, which has a whiff of Prada from a few autumns ago. I love its strong, tailored line, and the way its shade perfectly offsets the silver of his hair tone. Charles knows his accessory trends, too — and no, I’m not referring to the almost American Apparel-likeness of those blue knee-high socks he wears with

his kilt. Last summer, while the UK was gripped by a Wayfarer-style epidemic, Charles stepped out at the polo in a pair of slick black shades, which nodded to those iconic frames.

He looked like James Bond, if he was a silver fox, on holiday. And he’s wearing white shoes. White shoes! I know. How brilliantly best-dressed list is that?