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.