The Story of Onno Aerden

The Story of Onno Aerden

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Onno Aerden - Author & Journalist


The seventh episode of a series of personal blogs in which quirky and self-confident men together with author Onno Aerden go in search of the soul of style. This time the writer exposes himself.

We proudly present our friend Onno Aerden (1967); communication strategist, traveller, author, journalist. Between 2012 and 2017 he weekly wrote the widely appreciated and setting column “Man of the World” in the Financieele Dagblad. Nowadays he has a weekly column in Elsevier Magazine..Onno Aerden


Homemade espresso macchiato

Together with ten authentic, creative and self-willed men, I am invited by POSSEN to search for the soul of style. All eleven we are ambassadors for this bespoke-menswear-with-a-modern-twist tailoring house and this creates a special bond. I had the honour to have lengthy conversations with each one of these gentlemen and learn about their passions, aspirations and their personal intricacies for style, craft and individuality.

This article shares my own thoughts on the soul of style and I would like to do this with a personal memory that - to me - says a lot about style:

We were going to conquer the world, Peter and I. As advertisers and art directors. Our first customer was going to be a construction company; Peter was a man with contacts. That morning we would leave for Rotterdam to talk to the board of the company, but first we had arranged to meet in Peter's room at the Willemsparkweg in Amsterdam. His room turned out to be a pleasant mess filled with posters, stickers, signs, books and clothes, thus forming a work of art, an ode to creativity. It all had the sense of someone living here who was about to dance a wild tango with life. 

Peter insisted that we would first drink an espresso macchiato before we left. I said yes, but had no clue what to expect: in my student room there was only a device for filter coffee. He disappeared into a corner where there was a shiny Italian machine. From a small cast-iron chair on his even smaller balcony - it was a summer morning - I was watching with fascination for fifteen minutes how Peter handled the art of making coffee.

In the end, my student friend and business partner came up with two tiny porcelain cups, each with coffee and a topping of milk carefully foamed by himself. We drank them in one gulp, looked at each other inquisitively and then, with a big smile, straightened the ties our fathers had given us: life could begin. 

It was on that sunny and exciting morning that I discovered two things. One: having your own style not only has a contagious effect on your surroundings, but also on yourself and your belief in your own abilities. Two: style isn't just what you wear and how you smell; it's a mentality built on individuality, creativity, the will to be a personality.

Onno Aerden

Of course, objectively speaking, we looked rambling and messy with our silly jackets and ties. The director who - sharply dressed in a cut to the bone suit - treated us to a lunch with oysters and Chablis surely noticed that.

But beneath that surface he must also have seen our intrepidity: we were going to conquer the world - that's what we radiated. We got the deal - a big one - and then another one. After that, our advertising agency fell prey to other plans. 

The other day I ran into Peter again after so many years. Turned out he became the creative freebooter of which his old student room was the predictor. Just like me, he himself drew a broad and deep trail full of memories of ambitions, women, children, houses, jobs and dreams. When I told him about our long ago coffee experience, a broad smile appeared on his tanned face. Espresso macchiato, he said, a fine coffee. Homemade. Of course!


My soul of style


Salad Niçoise in the garden of La Colombe 'd Or (St.-Paul-de-Vence). 


Amarone Zenato on Christmas Eve.


A completely renovated Range Rover Classic from 1976 - on gas. A collector’s item.


The past decade nothing but custom made items tailored by POSSEN. First mainly from the Essentials and Heritage collections, in later years I fell for the sprezzatura of the Soft Tailoring collection. Last year I married the love of my life and of course my outstanding wedding suit, just like my tuxedo, was tailored from the POSSEN Formal collection.

Onno's Colleciton

Photo By Reinier RVDA