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Ad exec grabs best dressed headlines

October 14, 2005

Ad exec grabs best dressed headlines

Philip O’Neill - New Zealand’s best dressed businessman


Auckland advertising executive Philip O’Neill is New Zealand’s best dressed businessman.

Mr O’Neill has been named the overall winner of the annual style-fest for men at a cocktail function in Auckland tonight (October 13).

Murray Shaw and Sam Wimsett


Regional winners in the Working Style Best Dressed Businessman 2005 awards are Murray Shaw from Christchurch, Mr Wellington Sam Wimsett, Jude Pereira from Auckland and provincial winner Ben Vanderkolk of Palmerston North.

Jude Pereira and Ben Vanderkolk


A self-described ‘fashion freak’ of the advertising world, Mr O’Neill says he is probably the only person in the industry to wear a suit and tie in preference to the normally-preferred t-shirt and jeans.

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“It feels natural,” he says. Mr O’Neill’s first suit sits framed on his wall, a fact that might seem unusual until you find out it was made for him by his mother when he was three years old.

He has long been fascinated by suits and at an age when most are contemplating attire more suited to the sandpit, Mr O’Neill made the unusual request for a tweed suit from his mother.

Professing a liking for classic styles, the general manager at Whybin TBWA in Auckland confesses to a fateful fashion faux pas as his worst purchase.

“In my graduation picture I am wearing a button-down collar with a double-breasted suit. It’s the most informal collar with the most formal lapel.”

He regards as his best purchase a grey Dunhill single-breasted suit with pale-blue pinstripe, acquired in London a few years ago.

Working Style, managing director Chris Dobbs says the high standard of entries for the NBR Working Style Best Dressed Businessman 2005 forced the organisers to grow the winners list.

“Perhaps the increase in sartorial responsibility can be attributed to a burgeoning economy, perhaps not. But for whatever reason, we have had a quite unsurpassed response to the call for entries.

“The competition has been so hot we decided to make runner-up awards in the main centres and one for the provinces too.”

On behalf of the judges, Mr Dobbs says overall winner Mr O’Neill demonstrates “a quintessential Kiwi style combined with a young man’s flair which distinguished him from the other entries”.

Auckland winner Mr Pereira has a “modern, adventurous style that remains naturally at home in the boardroom” while Mr Wimsett is a “natural stylemeister with a new take on dressing for the law”.

Murray Shaw from Christchurch demonstrates a “vibrant, quirky take on fashion in one of the country’s conservative strongholds”. Provincial winner Ben Vanderkolk stands out for his “clean cut, fresh and natural sense of style”.

In addition to the priceless fame as the finest-attired businessman in the land, Mr O’Neill’s corporate flair earns him a Working Style made-to-measure suit and five tailored shirts valued at $3,500.

Mr Dobbs says style is a key ingredient for success at work.

“First impressions do count but standards need to be maintained week in, week out. For that reason our best dressed businessmen are aware of the changing patterns that influence style.

“In 2005, the dominant suit style for Summer is the two-button cut, but we are also beginning to see the emergence of one-button jackets as a new alternative. Jackets are tailored at the waist, longer in the body and will always feature twin or single vents.”

Mr Dobbs says the award is an excellent fun event that provides an “unashamedly male to balance the female fashion onslaught we live through during the four seasons”.

  • The NBR Working Style Best Dressed Businessman award is co-sponsored by National Business Review and Working Style.
  • ENDS

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