Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Office Christmas party style

The date’s been confirmed, people are putting their name down and the venue has been booked.

Yes dear reader ‘tis the office Christmas party or ‘Xmas work do’ for the less formal.

The question on everyone’s lips in our office is ‘Are you dressing up?’.
My response is a rather vague ‘Sort of…’.
Deciding what to wear for the occasion can be a bit of a minefield.
‘Is that too dressy?’ ‘Is this too casual?’ ‘Why bother?’ echo in your mind.
Obviously the location of your staff party can act as a helpful aid in directing you to occupational festive success.

If your party is going to be held in a rather upmarket bar or club then I think you could wear something that you’d normally wear on a Saturday night out.
But if it’s in a pub or bowling alley I think it’d be fine to go in jeans and a casual top.

Going the extra distance and consciously making a bit of an effort with your outfit can only be a positive thing. Not only will you look and feel good but you’re bound to receive positive comments from your colleagues and maybe even that much sought after approving nod from your boss.

I can’t promise that by donning your new designer shirt will lead your boss into finally giving you that pay rise you’ve been angling for but it can’t hurt, right?

If you’re going straight from the office to the venue then there you have two options:

1) Wear your outfit during the working day then you can go straight to the party or
2) Bring a change of clothes and do a quick Clark Kent in the cubicle of your office loos.

As with many occasions you can’t fail with the tried and tested smart casual direction and go for the classic smart jeans and tailored shirt approach.
You could also choose tailored trousers if you want to really make a night of it.

Due to the cold weather it’s a good idea to add a smartly tailored jacket to keep you warm and also add a touch of suave style.
You should probably not bother with a tie or bow tie as this would formalise your look and one of the best things about work dos is the loosening of your look but do get a bit of your personality in. You could add a colourful pocket square or some jazzy cufflinks.

Finish off your outfit with some smartly polished shoes and you’re all set to look cool for yule!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

On the Fair Isle…A look at the hottest trend in men's knitwear.

The cold has set in and people are now donning their finest knits to keep warm.
This a/w has seen one of the most traditional and eye-catching knits make a much welcomed comeback.
That knit is Fair Isle.

Brought into the realms of popular men’s fashion by that original 20th century dandy the then Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) when he took to wearing Fair Isle sweater vests in 1921.
Named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland the knitting technique uses multiple colours. The Traditional Fair Isle pattern has a limited palette of five or so colours, using only two colours per row, which are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run of any particular colour.
But more recently the term Fair Isle applies to a wide range of knits that use several colours knitted in a blocks of varying patterns.

Fair Isle knits have a classically British feel with the heritage of 1930s-1950s enthused through the knits.
The dazzling use of contrasting colours and zigzag patterns were a much needed splash of colour to menswear’s often drab colour palette. Even almost 90 years later the effect is still the same – eye-catching, fun and stylish.

Recently designers such as Ralph Lauren (always a pioneer in heritage knits and Anglophilia) have produced some authentic vintage style Fair Isle pieces ranging from classic sweater vests (or ‘tank tops’ depending on your inclination) through to modern chunky knit cardigans with shawl necks.

This recent trend doesn’t stop there – Fair Isle has been applied to scarf trims, mittens and gloves. If it’s knitted it can be Fair Isle. From top designers through to the Great British high street all have welcomed the trend with open arms.

It’s taken a while for them to cotton on to this trend which has been years in the making. Original Fair Isle jumpers in vintage outlets have been much coveted items in recent years and these wonderful second hand boutiques were often the only place to get an authentic Fair Isle. But with the new trend high on the crest of the wave of style it’s now accessible to well dressed men about town everywhere.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The problem with backpacks...

The journey in to work is never going to be the most amazing of trips but recently I have seen something that I found truly shocking…

As I endure my daily commute, my eyes have been drawn to something so terrible that I find it hard to retell…

On more than one occasion I have had the dismay of witnessing an average businessman wearing his well-made well-tailored suit accessorised with nothing other than a shabby backpack.

Wearing a backpack when you are not hiking or in fulltime education is bad enough but to put so much effort into making yourself look professional and smart, and then to go and ruin it with a backpack is just baffling.

It is not only a crime against fashion, but does it really send out the best message? When a promotion is on the table it could just be the difference between you and Dave from accounts with the dapper briefcase.

Ok, so perhaps I am getting carried away, but detail is important both in outfitting and at work. ‘What can I use instead?’ I hear you cry, well, the obvious and most traditional bag for men of the working world has always been the briefcase. The briefcase has recently been enjoying a renaissance and all the top designers now offer their update on the menswear accessory classic.

But then there is also the satchel with a shoulder strap that makes it both incredibly stylish and practical. Then, of course there is the modern ‘man bag’, in fact there’s a wealth of stylish yet practical options for us chaps to choose from for work. There is really no excuse.

I personally like to match my bag with the rest of my leathers of that day, so for example; if I’m wearing brown leather loafers, my belt and watch will be in the same shade along with my bag for the day. It makes a subtle but confident statement. But for your first transition from backpack to grown ups bag, just a stylish bag is enough.

So men of the city I appeal to you to please bin your backpacks and invest in a new bag that you can carry off with style, let the backpack wear you no more and show Dave in accounts just who’s boss.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

How to buy men's coats

With winter well on the horizon we are all thinking about our winter wardrobes.
Especially with coats and jackets.
Buying outerwear can be a daunting experience with so many different styles and fabrics around. But it really need not be. I like to buy a new winter coat every year and 2010 is no exception.
Along the way I learned a few tips to help you get the perfect coat and the most out of your outerwear this season.

It helps to break your criteria down through questions and answers you need to ask yourself. This way through a process of elimination you’ll be left with your winning coat. Parfait!

1) Do I wear smart clothes often?/Do I want a smart coat?
If you often wear smart clothes or are after a coat for wearing to and from work then a smartly tailored coat is going to be the best choice for you. Coats like a clean lined wool coat go perfectly well over suiting as well as keeping you warm.

2) Do I wear navy trousers or black trousers more?
Colour is always a personal choice but as every well dressed man-about-town knows mixing navy with black is a no-no. So if you personally favour navy trousers then aim for colours such as browns and greens that enhance and set off blues wonderfully.
If you tend to wear black trousers then of course you can wear black coats but also grey shades make a classically striking contrast.
Grey coats can also go with navy trousers so if you wear both black and navy shades then a grey coat is the one for you.

3)What size should I get?
Obviously try your regular size first. I’ve always tried to make sure there is allowance of space for thick knitwear or suits underneath the coat so it’s wise to keep this in mind whey purchasing your winter coat. When trying on the coat the key areas to focus on are the shoulders, cuffs and chest.
Do the shoulders sit well on your frame? Make sure they are not continuing after your shoulders end. Are the cuffs touching the end of your wrist/beginning of your hand?
Sleeves that are too short make you look like you’ve had the coat for a while and you’ve outgrown it (think back to that child in your primary school class who was forever wearing ‘half-mast’ trousers and shrunken jumpers) which is never a good look.
The chest is another key area. Use your normal chest size as a guide. The fit of the chest should be neither too big nor too small.

4)What style? This is where you can let your personality and style shine through.
Keeping in mind the times you’ll be wearing the coat most will help you decide between a smart or casual design. 2010 A/W’s coats for men have two clear winners as the must-haves of the season.

The duffle coat is a timeless classic that has made a comeback in a big way.
With the essential toggle fastenings, hood and warm wool fabric the duffle coat instantly conjures up images of school days, rioting 1960s Parisian students and Paddington bear. Go for either a traditional design or one of the many updated styles on offer.

Quilted jackets first created by Barbour are the other ‘on-trend’ choice and there are a wealth of options available. With the diamond quilted design these jackets give you excellent warmth.
I often refer to mine as my ‘portable duvet’ as it’s so cosy it’s like walking around in your bedding. These jackets exude country style. The perfect choice for winter, quilted jackets look great worn with both jeans or tailored trousers for that archetypal city boy look.

Whatever your style, whatever your outerwear needs there are many coats out there for you to choose from and make your own.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

You're cordially invited…to wear corduroy!

With the autumn chill having firmly gripped the nation it’s time to reach for the warmer fabrics.
The once much maligned corduroy fabric is one of this season’s key trends and features from everything from trousers, shirts through to shoes and hats.

Corduroy has been a much loved favourite of farmers and good countrymen alike and often comes in vivid shades such as burgundy red, moss green or bottle blue.
In the USA there is even a corduroy appreciation society that involves mottos, secret handshakes and even strange rituals!

Aside from dove tailing with autumn menswear’s hot heritage trend, corduroy gives you excellent warmth with the deliciously soft cord texture of the fabric.
The velveteen-esque corduroy gives a cosy feeling on wear as well as screaming ‘touch me, touch me’ to others (making it a perfect choice for those hot dates).
Wear classic corduroy trousers with a check flannel shirt for a ruggedly rustic look or wear a corduroy shirt with jeans for a laidback style.

Mixing corduroy with other touchable fabrics like chunky knits, chambray and flannels really makes a simple yet effective statement. Perfect for keeping those autumn blues well at bay.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

You're mad if you're not a hatter!

Newsflash! Hats are back! Hurrah!

Autumn is well underway chaps.
Hats for men are enjoying a much needed renaissance. With retro styles and Mad Men inspired looks there has never been a better time for jumping headfirst into headwear.
I’m not talking about baseball caps and beanies; I mean a proper man’s hats.
A gentleman is merely a man without a good hat.

With this in mind it’s time to straighten up and fly right with the perfect headwear.
Hats are wonderfully versatile when worn with confidence and panache.
A flat cap is a great option for casual days. You can go for a classic country gent style and wear it with knitwear and a quilted or waxed jacket or modernise it with a t-shirt, casual tailored jacket and jeans for urban cool.

The trilby hat is one of the most popular styles and this is perfect for wearing with your workwear such as a suit and trench coat for a traditional city man-about-town flair or you can easily take it down the indie route by wearing it with jeans and a leather jacket.
This season the pork pie hat is the style of choice for the foppish, painfully hippest of cats. A favourite with jazz aficionados and 'Ol’ Blue Eyes' himself, Mr Frank Sinatra, the pork pie hat is perfect for those who want to get ahead of the pack.
I recently got my very first brown felt pork pie hat from a wonderful online store called Village Hats . With high quality, reasonable prices and a wealth of styles to choose from I found it to be one of the best sites for hats. The hat arrived in less than 5 days and was professionally packaged. And the hat itself fits like a dream and looks the business quite frankly.
Whatever style you go for there is a hat to suit you and your personality.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Fall for autumn style…

The possibilities of summer are gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon. The skies are turning grey and the wind and rain are a weekly occurrence.
It’s certainly getting colder but the warmth of summer still hangs in the air like the smell of beer long after the party is over.
With winter quite not with us and summer fast becoming a distant memory it can be pretty difficult to decide what to wear each day. Not quite chilly enough for your new duffle coat yet not warm enough to strut about town in your polo shirt.
As a self-proclaimed fan of this season over all I feel I have autumn style down to a fine art.

Layering is your keyword here. Wear short sleeved tops like polo shirts or t-shirts under jumpers or cardigans. This keeps you warm yet if you’re in a hot bar, stuck on public transport during rush hour or the air conditioning at work is on the blink you can quickly and easily de-layer to cool off.
Plain polo shirts under patterned or colourful knits or checked short sleeve shirts under simple knits are a fool-proof look.

As always, you can’t go wrong with a decent pair of jeans. To vary your autumn style try the chinos you bought for the summer and wear them with bright or strong coloured jumpers or patterned shirts for a fresh trans-seasonal approach.

Coats and jackets:
There are reasons that certain styles keep appearing on the catwalks and highstreet year after year and it’s because they work. No where is this more true then with the trench coat, the waxed jacket and the Harrington.
They shelter you from the wind and rain, keep chills at bay and give you a classic yet still strangely modern look. Trenches and Harringtons are your best friend for both spring as well as autumn and can easily be dressed up or down to suit your mood and the occasion.

When it comes to your feet you want something that protects from the elements.
A good pair of boots works wonders. Also deck shoes, the casual shoes of choice for men in the know, are perfect for this time of year. They were made for sailing after all! Their specially grooved outsole ensures there are no embarrassing slips on those wet shop floors or pavements. The specially treated leather (if you get a proper pair) will keep your feet perfectly dry during those blustery showers.

To finish off your look reach for a classic flat cap to keep your hair dry and in check during wet and windy days.

Here are some key items to see you comfortably and stylishly through this changeable season:,default,pd.html,default,pd.html,default,pd.html,default,pd.html,default,pd.html?cgid=20000,default,pd.html?cgid=0007,default,pd.html?cgid=2090,default,pd.html

Friday, 17 September 2010

Carry on Harrington!

The chill of the autumn is making itself felt slowly but surely.
The time to fold up your shorts and pack away your flip flops is nigh.
With early morning starts you certainly need to cover up more and more.
But it’s not exactly arctic temperatures quite yet so you don’t want a full on wool number just yet.

Enter the Harrington jacket.
This lightweight, waist-length jacket was first made by British clothing company Baracuta since 1937. These easy to wear jackets are the perfect choice for these in-between weathers. Light enough to keep you cool, yet substantial enough to keep those chilly winds at bay.

Since their early days Harrington’s have grown from strength to strength with Elvis Presley and James Dean wearing them in the 1950’s then Steve McQueen and mods sported them during the 1960’s.

Harringtons are wonderfully easy to wear yet cut a cool look that oozes classic masculine confidence.
Often seen with tartan lining and button details to the neck and pockets, these jackets are excellent for wearing both on work days and weekends out and about.

Wear them with jeans, a polo shirt and trainers for a classic Brit lad look or dress them up with tailored trousers, loafers, shirt and trilby hat for a nod to Sinatra.
Whatever your personal take on the Harrington there is a wide choice available for you to truly make this menswear classic your own.

Baracuta Clothing Home of the Original Harrington Jacket

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Men's knitwear: not for the sheepish

The glorious summer is on its way out and the chills of autumn are creeping in closer with each passing day. The drop in temperatures does not forecast a gloomy outlook. Au contraire, the drawing in of the nights means that you can wrap up in wonderfully warm and trendy knits. Free those winter warmers from the back of your wardrobes or use it (like me) as the perfect excuse to go and get some new ones.

Never before have men had such a great choice in jumpers and cardigans. Knitwear has seen several trendy updates such as shawl neck collars that wrap around your neckline give a snugly, cosy feeling on wear through to whilst the toggle fastenings add a subtle rustic edge.
From the ever popular argyle golf inspired jumpers through to the classic Fair Isle pattern, jumpers can say as much or as little about your personality as you wish.

A chunky cable knit cardigan says you like comfort. A modern man with a respect for the past and one eye on the ball of style. An argyle patterned jumper hints at a traditionalist nature who likes to be well turned out and smart yet comfortable in his attire.

The Fair Isle knit gives a wonderfully rustic look and when worn with jeans gives a quirky twist.

The traditional Scandinavian inspired ski knits are the perfect choice for those who love colour and shapes as well as a bit of attention.

Whatever your own look, there is a knit that is perfect for you this season.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

'Bang it baby!' New men's fragrance by Marc Jacobs

OK chaps and chapettes, here is yet another review on a men's fragrance.
Launched on 26th August Marc Jacobs Bang is Marc's newest fragrance invention and his first male scent in almost ten years.
His new design goes against the grain of traditional fragrances with a disconcerting and at first alarming aroma.
In true Marc Jacobs style Bang blends irony and irreverence with a dash of glamour.
Bang on first sniff is almost overpowering in its pepper scent. As it quietens down, its real pleasure and appeal come through and soon enough you are hooked on the delicious smell of masculine woods, explosive peppery woody spices and sensual white moss and patchouli.
Bang is undeniably masculine with a modern elegance and sophistication.
This fragrance is perfect for awakening dulled noses with a burst of energy that tickles and tantalises the senses, injecting a calming and euphoric tranquility with each inhale.
Available in 50ml(a reasonable £39) and 100ml (£49) the range also includes aftershave balm, shower gel and deodorant stick allowing you to keep the Bang scent pure and untarnished with other scented toiletries.

Bang truly is for the gentleman of style and elegance, a scent that improves with every blissful insufflation.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Bleu de Chanel: The must-have scent for men of sophistication

On 16th August 2010 the giants of the fashion industry Chanel unveiled its new scent for men Bleu de Chanel, it is the first major men’s fragrance launch since 2004’s Allure Homme Sport.

Bringing a touch of sophisticated,suave charm, the classically goodlooking French actor Gaspard Ulliel (star of 2007’s Hannibal Rising) is the new face of Bleu de Chanel. Director extraordinaire Martin Scorsese has also been brought on board to direct a film especially for the launch. The film will make its debut September 2010.

The fragrance itself is concocted by Chanel's in-house master perfumer Jacques Polge. It has top notes of grapefruit, peppermint, pink pepper, nutmeg and ginger; and a heart of dry cedar and jasmine, the dry down is a combination of vetiver, patchouli and frankincense. The overall scent, is clean, fresh and modern, and perfect scent for day or night.

But wait that’s not all…

Bleu de Chanel is in fact an innovative formula that not only makes you smell gorgeous but also refreshes your skin and helps tightens pores; leaving you with sensually scented, soft-to-the-touch skin. So not only do you smell absoluetly sumptuouse, your skin is actually improved. Two birds, one stone. What more could you possibly want?

I'll certainly be adding Bleu de Chanel into my frangrance rotation.
Click here to find your nearest stockist:,default,pg.html

Friday, 13 August 2010

How to wear pocket squares

Right now formalwear is having a resurgence of popularity. For far too long ‘smart casual’ has been the order of the day and a lot of men have grown tired of this dull way of dressing. Attention to detail and the finer things in life have become de rigueur of menswear.

Following on from the popular Mad Men style are the pocket squares, a basic essential of any well heeled businessman of the mid 20th century. But wearing them can be a landmine of potential faux pas. Here is a quick brief on how to wear pocket squares following the rules of both etiquette and style.

Formal occasions such as weddings, interviews, and black tie events require you to wear a suit or at least a jacket and tie. Part of this attire is a nicely folded pocket square in the breast pocket of your jacket.
Choosing a suitable pocket square can be a landmine. But it need not be. The tie and pocket square should not match perfectly, this looks cheap. To be a bit safer (and more suave), buy the tie and pocket square separately, but ensure that they complement each other.

The pocket square should echo the colours of your tie or bow tie (unless your tie is a plain colour then match away).
For example, if you have a black tie with purple paisley details a purple pocket square would look very dapper.
Pocket squares and pocket handkerchief are terms used interchangeably, but how do they differ?

A pocket handkerchief is made from linen woven cloth or white cotton cloth. These are perfect for giving a clean and fine finishing effect when placed in a breast pocket.
Pocket squares on the other hand are those made from a wider range of fabrics like silk or cotton. Silk fabrics, silk blends, cashmere or wool are most commonly used for squares as they are softer.

For a final flourish why not learn a smart way to fold your pocket square? There are several websites and youTube videos to choose from with various styles.
Go forth my good man. Straighten up and fly right!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Mad on Mad Men's Stirling style

The whole world and his wife is hooked on the hit US TV show Mad Men. I myself feel like the show was created for me being a huge fan of the history of menswear.
Aside from the multi-faceted characters, gripping story lines and quotable one-liners, Mad Men is a visually stimulating showcase of classic menswear.
Set in New York in the early 1960’s Mad Men harks back to a golden age when men were men and women were ladies.

Aside from the comments on social history, the show has given men a greater realisation that men’s fashion and style can be masculine and powerful.
The late 1950’s and early 1960’s at a first glance can seem quite restrictive in terms of men’s, but it was the social rules of etiquette and perceived masculinity that made men work harder in self expression through dress. Attention to detail with a focus on accessories gave men the chance to shine.

It’s this attitude that is making a major comeback. Grey slim fitting suits are the order of the day for both work and occasion wear whilst bow ties have gained back a momentum that would make the Playboy Bunny proud.

You can flick through any men’s fashion magazine in the newsagents today to see this trend is everywhere. And it’s not just in clothing.
I was having a chat with my barber the last time I got a trim and he said that there has been a great rise in his customers asking for a classic ‘Short back and sides’ and also for the iconic quiff. Slicked back hair gives you a clean, fresh and confident look that is perfect for both the office and the nightclubs.

On my recent trip to the opticians I couldn’t help but notice the vast array of thick rimmed specs available. The classic Buddy Holly and Malcolm X ‘geeky’ style is once again de rigueur of ‘face furniture’ instantly giving you a retro, intelligently chic look.

Cardigans blend wonderfully well into this trend and are great for adding layers to both your workwear as well as your casualwear.

Going after that Mad Men look will leave you feeling classic, confident and strangely powerful.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

City break style

Summer is well under way! Time to get packing for those last minute holidays.

With low cost airlines a quick break is only a short flight away.
For those with little time and minimal annual leave, the European city break is the perfect vacation destination.
With a limited amount of days and luggage allowance it can be tricky to know what to pack.
As a frequent traveller I’ve had to learn the good old ‘trial and error’ way. To save you the hassle and now give you the essential guidelines to what to take for a headache free and stylish holiday.

Wear your favourite pair that are comfortable and will go with a majority of your tops you intend to take.

Unless you have a clear itinerary that says otherwise, take a pair of chinos in case you choose to dine in a sophisticated restaurant. Chino’s are smart enough for dining yet casual enough for wearing during the day saving you space in your suitcase.

For a traditional long weekend you don’t need more than two. Tailored shorts are a smarter, on-trend option. Choose one plain pair in a basic colour like beige or navy and one fun pair in an eye-catching check.

T-shirts and polos:
A polo shirt should be your basic top for summer. Pack a white and navy one for a standard colour base and one brightly coloured polo that would work great with both your plain shorts and your chinos.
A t-shirt is a classic choice for men’s casual summerwear. A horizontal white and navy or red striped crew neck t-shirt gives you a laidback yet stylish look.

A simple fine striped long sleeve shirt is ideal for wearing on smarter evenings away. Perfect for teaming with your chinos and deck shoes for a classic city break look.

You may be heading off to Rome or Madrid but the weather can change anywhere at the drop of a hat, especially at night so a simple cardigan or v-neck jumper.

On a city break you’ll most likely be walking all over the place, visiting museums, bars and tourist attractions. The size of airports these days makes you feel like you’ve walked from Land's End to John o' Groats before you’ve even boarded the plane! For this reason comfortable footwear is a must. I find the best option is a traditional pair of deck shoes.
With a great non-slip outsole, water resistant leather uppers and a cushioned insole, deck shoes have the smartness of a loafer with all the comfort and ease of your favourite pair of
Deck shoes are the perfect for wearing with shorts or trousers, again saving you space.
An easy to wear pair of canvas trainers are great for putting in your suitcase without weighing it down too much. It’s always a good idea to have an alternative pair of shoes incase your original pair hurt after long periods or wear, get wet, etc.

Depending on your location and time of year a jacket is always a good idea if you have the space. You can always carry it onboard the plain or squeeze it into hand luggage.
If you are destined for somewhere sizzling like Athens or Florence in August you probably won’t need anything more than a bit of knitwear.

Depending on the weather a straw hat is an obvious choice. Lightweight, classic and ideal for keeping the sun off your head. They are a bit tricky for travel as you can’t put them in your luggage without damaging them so you either have to wear or carry it.
A good quality medium sized leather bag is essential for carryon luggage. Choose an updated satchel or a vintage flight bag for authentic jetsetter style.

You should now have a clear idea about what it is you should pack for your well deserved city break.
Bon Voyage!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Standard dressing rules men should live by

Confused? Don't be!

Some men seem to have some trouble with dressing. There are some unspoken rules that should be adhered to in order to allow you to always put your best foot forward without hesitation or deviation.

Never mix patterns
I have seen this a lot recently and it's just wrong! I saw a young gay man and he was wearing checked shorts and a striped t-shirt. Looking at him hurt like a hangover. What on earth was he thinking!? If you have a strong patterned piece team it with something plain. This way you don't dazzle the unsuspecting public with your patchwork quilt inspired ensemble. For example, you have a light blue and white wide striped long sleeved shirt. Do you team it with the navy pinstripe trousers or perhaps the plain navy trousers? Or you could go for the beige classic chinos?
Answer: Depending on the occasion the plain navy trousers or chinos are correct. If you work in a financial 'serious' profession then go for the navy plain trousers, but if you work in a creative media world then chinos are acceptable.
A word on striped shirts with striped trousers: A fine striped shirt can work well with some fine pinstripes. Steer clear of bold,wide striped shirts with pinstripe trousers.

A few words on layering
When wearing a shirt with a jumper, or t-shirt with a cardigan etc always have the lightest toned garment as the base. Par exemple: A pale blue shirt with a grey v-neck jumper, or a deep red shirt with a black cardigan.
Dressing well, dressing with style (and not the latest fashion trend that will have you looking back at photos ten years from now cringing with self loathing and doubt) really is about following aesthetics with a scientific efficiency.

We are living in a very exciting time for menswear and this goes along to footwear also. We have more options than a smart brogue for work and a trainer for the weekend.
But more choice does not mean more opportunities to wear them!
A word of caution; NEVER is it acceptable to wear sandals, flip-flops or any sort of open-toed footwear in the office. Never. This is not up for negotiation.
I'm afraid women can and do get away with this. 'Double standards!' I hear you cry? Yes. Yes it is, but so is the number of sexual partners and also of giving up your seat to a female on the tube yet never is it expected for a woman to give up her seat to a man (disabilities and age can and do hopefully make exceptions).
I can't abide boots being worn with shorts. Boots are for trousers. Either jeans or tailored trousers are fine depending on the style of your boots. The more formal of boots known as 'shoe boots' are ideal for wearing with trousers, but DM's should really go with jeans only.

To tuck or not to tuck? That is the question.
Now, this can and does change with fashion but your body shape should really take more of a lead in determining when it is appropriate to tuck in your top or not.
In the 1970's it was all about tucking in your shirts and your t-shirts. This was the order of the day and this continued right into the late 1980's. By the mid 1990's (possibly with a nod to the grunge and Madchester music and fashion movements of the early 1990's) t-shirts and shirts were loose and flapped about freely over trousers. You would literally be laughed at if you tucked your shirt in.
The 00's has heralded a new chapter of menswear. We have gotten bored of messing up and have turned to dressing up. This is also the same of womenswear. The late 1990's- early 00's was all about messy hair and jeans. Women would wear some heels and perhaps a glittery top but that's about as dressy as it got. Then things changed with men wearing waistcoats, brogues whilst the girls scoured the vintage stores for full on 1950's prom dresses. Trilbys and flat caps for the chaps and fascinators for the ladies came to be the order of the day for special occasions.
With this return to looking well groomed comes tucking in. But with more of an attention to the item itself then with a dictation from the fashion conscious.
Casual tops such as t-shirts and polos should always be worn untucked. If you feel your top needs to be tucked in then it is too big and you should either have it tailored or buy a size that is correct in fit to your shape.
Whether it's a smart casual or formal occasion shirts should always be tucked in.
It really is that simple!
Meow for now.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Britannia rules the style waves

Not since the swinging '60's or the hedonistic years of '90's Britpop has the Union Jack been so widely used. Starting off with Union Jack's appearing on the roof's of the achingly cool Mini Coopers, the Union Jack soon popped up in fashion and conquered its way through interior design. Everywhere from John Lewis, Debenhams and Liberty, the Union Jack cushion is something of a must have item. Many versions have a strong vintage look working strong British Empire regalia with the red, white and blue.

With this century there has been a great rising against the West with the terror attacks of 9/11 and of the London bombings in 7/7. Perhaps it's this threat to our way of life that has once again stoked the fires of Britannia. Ringing in the spirit of the wartime and tweezing out our patriotic pride. In light of this, it is only natural to take influence from our golden eras. The main ones of the last 150 years surely are The British Empire, WWII, Swinging sixties and Britpop in the 1990's.

With a new sense of what Britain and to being British is, we can take a new pride not only in our country but also in our homes. After all, 'A British man's home is his castle'.

Tea and sympathy

There is nothing more British than a good cup of tea.
For centuries tea has been the cornerstone of British life. Once only the preserve of the very rich, tea soon became more accessible to all and is now deeply embedded in the psyche.

Within the last few years looking back has taken us forward in terms of fashion, film, music and popular culture. Recently there has been a big trend on thoroughly British style and memorabilia.
The art of tea has had a massive resurgence of popularity with the young and hip. The elegant and dainty tea party has made it more cool, more 'frock & roll' than rock & roll.

Tea sets are being reinvented with a new vision of style but still with a foot firmly in the best of British.
People are falling over themselves to buy or make cupcakes and even have a cupcake tower for a wedding cake. Prices for a ready made cupcake from £1.50 and can even reach £4 in some places.
The tea party also has risen in popularity albeit with a tongue firmly in the proverbial cheek.
It is quite common to now receive an invitation for a tea party of a weekend with a full spread laid out in the host's home complete with cupcakes. The ridged etiquette and form of the traditional tea party has been dusted away with more of a focus on fun than formality.
Marks & Spencer has a wonderful range named Posy Gingham which captures the spirit of the modern tea party. Gingham printed saucers are complimentary clashed with floral printed cups for a sweet mix and match English eccentric style. A milk jug, teapot and plates are also available along with floral gingham print tea towels giving you everything you need to throw your very own tea party.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Garden party dresses

A return to classic feminine dressing has recently become one of the key trends for this Spring/Summer. Seen on the catwalks of Oscar De La Renta, Chanel and Dior with a focus on prints, this look is perfect for giving your summer a bit of sass.

In a wide range of fabrics from classic cottons through to lightweight, floating chiffons, the garden party trend has a focus on smart fitting cuts and bold and outrageously feminine prints.

Taking inspiration for traditional British garden party style, garden party dresses can be nipped in at the waist and then bloom out into a wonderful full skirt, or flow down into a slim line pencil skirt for a more confident, mature look.

Cheerful, bright and floral should be your mantra this season when shopping this trend. The floral prints add a burst of colour to a likely rainy British summer, whilst detailed necklines such as the timeless bateau give a smart line and a sleek silhouette to your neck making you as elegant as a swan on a lake. The prints can be large and loud or small but throughout the dress.
To modernise the look you can add edgy accessories such as spike heels and chunky necklaces or stay classic with flats and subtle jewellery.

Dress by Donna Ricco