Top 5 Beard Oils for Men

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Does your beard look shiny and groomed or dusty, flaky and unkempt?
Many gentlemen use beard oil to remedy this.
What is beard oil and what do we need it for?
When is the best time to apply beard oil?

WHY DO WE NEED BEARD OIL?

It might come as news for some but what does Beard Oil actually do? Why do we need it? Firstly; a little bit of science. Each beard follicle has a pair of glands called the sebaceous glands. These glands enable your beard to stay nourished by secreting called sebum oil. As your beard follicle gets longer it demands more sebum oil to coat the follicle. This is why we apply beard oil, to act as a sebum oil and nourish and moisturise the hair follicle. 

What I look for in a Beard Oil is one that softens my beard, gives it a nice shine and above all, keeps the itchiness levels down to zero. I have an interchangeable beard oil collection, below are my top 5 beard oils for men. 

1# Gentlemen's Chuckaboo - The Gigglemug Beard Oil - £19.99

Whilst this list is in no discernible order, I'd have to rate this number one on the name alone. It has a mixture of mint, zest and spice. I like the fact it contains Sandalwood Oil, which has been widely used for its anti-aging properties. When shopping for beard oil try and find one with Vitamin E (which The Gigglemug Beard Oil has) as it stimulates the hair follicle.

2# Tom Ford Conditioning Beard Oil - £36.50

Bringing in the big guns now. The Tom Ford beard oil has a very soft appliance without being greasy. It's probably the punchiest and longest-lasting fragranced beard oil I’ve tried and possibly the most potent. You'll definitely get a whiff of almond, maybe a little grape seed, but the Oud oil will deliver the most impact. Quite pricey but you get what you pay for. 

3# Jonny's Chop Shop Beard Oil - £6

I'm not sure if this is a best kept secret or not but it's definitely my top bargain pick. It has some interesting core oils (sweet almond, olive, wheat germ and apricot kernel), I like bottle - very voguish-retro. There is a mild scent, although it says it's un-fragranced. The best thing is the price, can't go wrong for £6. 

4# American Crew Beard Serum - £12.95

Another inexpensive bottle from a trusted brand that's been going over 20 years. Not as thin and spreadable as some of the others, but it still does the job and leaves my beard feeling soft. I have this as my emergency go-to serum if the others are running low or misplaced. 

5# Susanne Kaufmann Beard Oil Line M - £32

Who wouldn't trust someone with a name like Kaufmann? I use this one when my beard feels a little itchier than usual. Its active ingredients strengthens the elasticity of my skin and it also delivers a nice shine.

Men's New Collection Transitional Style Edit

Who else loves Autumn? The season of layering and getting excited for the new menswear collections, well that's until about January or February when it practically gets draining having to wear everything in your wardrobe just to hit the local shops. This weekend, other than going to the wedding of the century, watching Lewis Hamilton boss the Singapore Grand-Prix, watching my football team Crystal Palace lose their 5th game in a row without scoring and scrolling through a new batch of Bumble matches, I've also been shopping the latest threads from Reiss, ASOS & Stradivarius.

By getting some new pieces of clothing it can really reignite the confidence from within that you may have been lacking recently and these brands have some exceptional collections coming out. In my eyes, in particular Reiss who have an incredible selection of clothing focused around a green palette. So I've decided to make two of their AW17 pieces the statement of this look. The paint, brush stroke, pattern shirt and grey/green double-breasted pea coat work great together or as individual pieces. The final transitional look has been supplemented by a pair of black or green sneakers from Stradivarius and black ripped jeans from ASOS. Thats my transitional style edit for autumn 2017.

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Kylie Eyra

A TRUE DAY TO NIGHT FRAGRANCE | ARAMIS MODERN LEATHER

London as with many other major cities of the world is a fast-paced environment. Our lives can be extremely busy with work, personal life, family, friends, fitness and mine is no different. I thrive on pressure and I love remaining busy. I’ve been blogging now since 2014, yet many people do not know what I do day-to-day, so when I had the chance to sample the new Aramis Modern Leather fragrance, I wanted to tie it in to a typical day in my life day-to-night. Who else’s day starts with a rushed morning followed by a day in the office, meetings, jumping on an off the London Underground, the gym and maybe even a few drinks or a date in the evening. No time for an outfit change, only time for a quick refresh, an extra spray of Aramis Modern Leather.

For me wearing tailored clothing has always given me confidence in everyday life. Fashion has been around for decades and the same trends cycle around with minor adjustments to bring the clothing into the current, modern era. Aramis are the fragrance equivalent having created an incredible new scent Modern Leather improving on a timeless classic and bringing Aramis back to the forefront. Aramis Modern Leather is inspired by the enduring and iconic key notes of Aramis Classic with an updated perspective that is distinguished in its unique blend of elements.

When working in shirt tailoring, it is imperative to look and smell great; your personal presentation is everything. Aramis Modern Leather is a great day fragrance - distinctly masculine and unmistakably elegant, the provocative fragrance marries the contemporary and timeless with ease.

However a truly immense day-to-night fragrance doesn’t only have to smell tremendous, but almost as important, it needs to travel well. The Aramis Modern Leather is packaged in a slim line clear glass bottle, showcasing the handsome amber-coloured fragrance. The gold-tone cap elevates the new design and is a statement of modern masculinity. The clean, straight lined, non-bulky shaped bottle makes it perfect to slide into your briefcase, laptop bag or even suit pocket ready to spray on the go for a quick freshen-up from the office to meetings.

You couldn’t live in London without spending a lot of time creating the perfect work/life balance, as it is such a vibrant, exciting city. The culture here is very much work hard, play hard and this scent encapsulates the essence of this.

As with any classic day-to-night scent it has to perfectly balance bold masculine ingredients with fresh notes. The new interpretation on the quintessential leather base includes top notes of Basil and Thyme for lift and distinction. Geranium enlivens the senses and adds a masculine floral heart, while Patchouli creates depth of character and fluidity. At the base, refined Leather and Oak Moss bring to life the premium quality of this robust and earthy luxury.

Aramis Modern Leather is available nationwide now.

*This post was created in collaboration with Aramis.

Photography & Videography by Husam Al-Deen

Quirky One Off finds to Everyday Essentials at Homesense

I’ve been one busy interior designer this week. After completing a new, improved area of the front room for my French bulldog Charlie (which you can view the results here), I’ve moved on to improving the general wow factor of my home with a couple of quirky one-off finds purchased at Homesense. I absolutely love traditional, historic features of houses mixed with modern interior design, however, unfortunately my London flat doesn’t have many original features. If you are in the same situation as me, you might want to invest in a couple of quirky eye-catching pieces of interior decoration. Something that draws your attention to whenever you walk into the home. For example a piece of incredible design or artwork.

What I love most about shopping at Homesense is that you could be shopping for quirky one off finds then also leave with some everyday essentials and vice-versa. Therefore when I just have a basic idea of what I want to buy but I’m also in serious need of some inspiration, I shop at Homesense. It is the not knowing what you’ll find that is exciting. We can thank the Homesense buyers for that as they are forever searching the globe for new exciting products rather than shopping in bulk for each season, it makes for quite a unique retail experience.

During my visit to the Greenwich Homesense store I grabbed a trolley and did a lap of the place, in and out of every aisle, browsing for inspiration but not making buying decisions *yet. What I found after picking up everything with a ‘wow, love that’ expression was that the quality of all the products was incredibly high. I recall the cushion, bedding and throw section was all neatly aligned based on colours, making it easy to pick the right products for your home interior. Everything had that quality feel to it and I feel in love with a super soft 100% wool throw. It wasn’t just the high quality materials used in the products on sale but also the expert level of craftsmanship. Dotted around the store were single one of a kind items, from a majestic hand-crafted wardrobe to beautiful foot stools. Even the gourmet food was out of this world, but I had to wait until I was home to figure that one out.

Whilst in-store and after doing my reconnaissance laps, I gravitated towards this large antique style clock with a black bezel, white numbering and rope detail that gave it a very rustic feel to it. This item would work perfectly either hanging on my brick wall in the dining room which will be one of the first things you’ll see when entering my home or on the floor, propped up against my existing furniture. How on earth was this only £39.99?

One quirky find down, one to go!

In typical Homesense style, I wasn’t after anything for my bedroom until I breezed past this mounted imitation rams skull. I like my bedroom to have a very dark, moody, masculine feel to it – a bit like a cool menswear store. So this small decorative item was a perfect fit.

Whilst shopping, I couldn’t resist purchasing a few everyday essentials to upgrade my existing (cracked) bowls and depleting collection of glasses, whilst also stumbling across this mirrored, copper serving tray.

So there you have another idea of how a few small pieces can transform the look and feel of your home, please find below the cost of everything that I’ve featured in this blog post and for under £100, I’m extremely happy with this result.

1 x Large Antique Clock £39.99
1 x Mounted Imitation Rams Skull £14.99
2 x Whiskey/Vodka Glasses £2.99 each
1 x Mirrored Copper Tray £24.99
3 x Patterned Bowls£2.99 each
Total £94.92

It would be great for you to also share you own Homesense finds and join the Homesense sharers by posting your unique finds or interior design using the hashtag #HomesenseFinds. To find the nearest Homesense store to you, use the store locator here.

*This post was created in collaboration with Homesense, part of the TK Maxx family.

Get Kingsman: The Golden Circle Look at MR PORTER

As part of the now, not-so-secret list of Kingsman agents, my first assignment was to style a sartorial assemble, of course from the Kingsman collection exclusive to MR PORTER. This was an easy introduction into the Kingsman way of life as MR PORTER has once again teamed up with exceptional costume designer Ms Arianne Phillips to provide a bespoke collection of epic proportion. Much like the film, it is bigger, bolder and an even more stylish affair than the last. 

If you love classic Savile Row tailoring, you'll need to watch Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which is hands-down the most stylish movie of the year of which the orange velvet tuxedo jacket has become an iconic masterpiece. But what is Kingsman?

Kingsman: The Secret Service introduced the world to Kingsman - an independent, international intelligence agency operating at the highest level of discretion, whose ultimate goal is to keep the world safe. In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, our heroes face a new challenge. When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organisation in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organisations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world. 

Kingsman x Mr Porter is a luxury menswear collection that features throughout the film and is inspired from the sartorial details within the two film’s scripts. For anyone wishing to shop this style, you'll be extremely happy to find that it is extremely wearable and transitions perfectly from film to luxury retail. Plus its been road tested to the highest secret service standards and handled everything that was thrown at it.

In my Kingsman look, I've chosen to wear the Harry's Navy Super 120s Wool and Cashmere-Blend Suit which is cut in a double-breasted pattern and feels luxuriously soft. Being a Kingsman agent, I need a crisp white shirt of which this one is from Turnbull & Asser and works perfectly with the Drake's striped navy, pink & brown tie and white pocket square - a classic combination. If you are wearing this Kingsman sartorial style in London then you'll need an umbrella but not one of those small flimsy ones, as winter is coming you'll need something more sturdy to protect that incredible suit.

 

SHOP MY KINGSMAN X MR PORTER LOOK

SHOP EGGSY'S SARTORIAL STYLE

*This post was created in collaboration with MR PORTER x Kingsman.

10 Best Gin Bars in London

A Gin Palace is the name originally used for a lavish bar selling gin, and this was later associated with late Victorian pubs designed in a similar style. In the 18th century, gin shops or 'dram shops' were small establishments that sold gin to take away or to drink standing up. It was only as the legislation changed that they became larger, and were licensed to sell ale or wine. In the late 1820’s the first ‘Gin Palaces' were built. Thompson and Fearon's was built at 94 Holborn Hill in 1831, and there was Weller's in Old Street. They were based on the new fashionable shops being built at the time, lit by gas lights and luxuriously decorated. Even though they were thought to be vulgar, they were hugely popular!

Gin has risen in popularity in the last few years, and gin bars are back! Whilst only a few of the first gin palaces still exist, we certainly are now spoilt for choice. Here are our ten favourites…

1. The Gin Bar, Holborn (Holborn Dining Room, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN)

This is one of the newer bars on the list, with over 500 gins and 30 different tonics, (including its own), it’s very impressive! The bar is relaxed and stylish, and with more than 14,000 possible gin and tonic pairings, it the perfect place for a gin connoisseur.

2. C.O.L.D, Blackfriars (22-24 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DT)

If you head here on a Saturday night, it’s always surprising to see how quiet the city is. Located in The City of London Distillery, this bar has a relaxed atmosphere. Just like a fancy living room, you can chill on leather seats whilst admiring the view of the copper stills. There is every gin you can think of behind the bar, and a great gin cocktail list. You can also book in for a number of ‘gin experiences’ from distillery tours to distilling your own gin.

3. Pedler, Peckham (58 Peckham Rye, SE15, 4JR)

This laid-back restaurant/bar has an amazing gin cocktail list, all made with Little Bird (the local gin). They even add gin to their sausages so head there for brunch, you won’t be disappointed.

4. Graveney Gin, Tooting (Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN)

Since Tooting has recently been named one of the "coolest places on earth”, it naturally demands a gin distillery and bar. Their gin is organic, handcrafted and is incredibly moorish! You can visit their cosy bar in Tooting market.

5. The Princess Louise (New Oxford Street & The Salisbury, St Martin’s Lane)

Whilst many original gin palaces do not exist any more, you can still visit some that have been lovingly restored. Whilst they may contain more than gin (and in some cases not a great range of gin), you certainly should visit a couple to get that historic “Gin Palace” experience. The Princess Louise, New Oxford Street and The Salisbury, St Martin’s Lane, are both fitted with fine wooden fittings, glittering mirror glass and tiles.

6. Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour, Covent Garden (1 New Row, WC2N 4EA)

Mr. Fogg’s is a cosy gin bar with an amazing gin collection! The interior is rather fancy and very comfortable. You can book onto a gin masterclass where you’ll get a bit of a history lesson, while sampling gins from all over the world.

7. The London Gin Club, Soho (The Star, 22 Great Chapel Street, W1F 8FR)

Don’t be fooled that this place is just any old London pub, as you walk inside you will enter gin heaven. There are over 300 different bottles and cocktails dating back to the 1800’s. Every effort goes into making sure you have the best gin drinking experience. Big copa glasses full of ice, and the tonic and garnishes are carefully paired with each gin too.

8. The Distillery, Notting Hill ( 186 Portobello Road, W11 1LA)

After the great success of The Portobello Star, home of Portobello Road gin, you can now pop over to London's first ever gin hotel. The four-storey venue has a 400-litre distillery in the basement, a visitor centre, pub, restaurant, Spanish gin lounge and a handful of hotel rooms at the top. You can even make your own gin at the Ginstitute, and they’ll save your recipe so you can reorder whenever you need a top up!

9. 214 Bermondsey (214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ)

You will find this secret gin bar under Antico restaurant in Bermondsey. The G&Ts are unique here as they make their own tonic. Their gin list is extensive and you can even test your taste buds with a blind gin flight of three different G&Ts. If you make it down on a Sunday, their weekly changing menu of gin tipples start from just £5.

10. Worship Street Whistling Shop, Shoreditch (63 Worship Street, EC2A 2DU)

If you fancy the experience of an old gin palace (but with the modern day menu), this is the place to go. It is a dark and atmospheric bar, lit by an indoor street lamp. The bar also has its own cocktail lab, which is used to create infused gin potions. The cocktails are incredible!

Grooming at Home with Ted Baker & Ted's Grooming Room

When you find a great barber, keep them, cherish them and trust them...do not cheat on them, just watch the parody video below and you'll realise why! The service that I received on my recent visit to Ted's Grooming Room in Covent Garden was absolutely top notch and one that would keep me a customer forever. Over time I've built a great relationship with Ted's Grooming Room and my barber Bruno (book him, trust me!) so when Ted Baker develops a grooming range I trust them to deliver an exceptional collection. They'll use in the collection in their barbers as well as in Ted Baker stores for you to purchase to use at home. I trust they have created something incredible, with their customers at the fore front of the product design.

Firstly lets look at the product packaging, which takes inspiration from the traditional barbershop pole with a luxurious update with metallic chevrons, contrasted against a pearlised base that leaps off the shelf - making it look great in your bathroom or bedroom at home. The collection itself includes shave gel, cologne, hair & beard shampoo, face wash, moisturiser, beard oil and hair mud. Infused with ingredients inspired by the ancient Ottoman Empire, this performance-led treatment regime by Ted's Grooming Room has been authentically crafted to recreate the master barber experience.

The collection has been perfected in London with a emphasis on the traditional Turkish shave, using powerful, naturally active ingredients to transform the grooming ritual.

Ted’s Grooming Room range includes:

COLOGNE, 200ml, £40 Inspired by the traditional Turkish aftershave, Ted created an invigorating cologne to complete a shave and turn heads. Top notes of grapefruit and lemon are balanced with leather, black pepper, amber and musk to deliver a clean, masculine scent that lingers long after shaving. Salon tip: Splash face post-shave to close pores and prevent razor burn.

MOISTURISER, 75ml, £18 This lightweight moisturiser absorbs quickly to leave skin feeling soft and hydrated. Sour Cherry fruit oil and Moringa extract help to protect skin cells against ageing and everyday pollution. Suitable for all skin types. Salon Tip: Use post-shave to calm and protect skin.

HAIR & BEARD SHAMPOO, 300ml, £15 Ted’s Hair & Beard Shampoo offers a thorough cleansing and conditioning treatment. Aloe Vera and cumin seed extract help to protect the sensitive skin beneath beards while taming follicles for a smoother, more nourished texture. Salon Tip: Leave on beard for 1-2 minutes for extra softness.

SHAVE GEL, 200ml, £18 Ted’s moisturising Shave Gel is formulated to deliver a close and comfortable shave. Containing antioxidant vitamin E to help moisturise and reduce razor burn, this active gel leaves skin soft and fresh, while an invigorating scent of citrus and spices energises the senses. Suitable for all skin types. Salon Tip: Wash face ahead of shaving to open pores and soften hair.

BEARD OIL, 45ml, £20 Ted’s Beard Oil leaves beards at their best. This lightweight formula with Meadowfoam seed and Jojoba Oil softens and smoothes facial hair while moisturising the sensitive skin underneath. Salon Tip: Ideal for twirling moustaches.

HAIR MUD, 100g, £14 Ted’s Hair Mud offers a firm, lasting hold and matt finish to shape and define hair. Cumin seed extract and olive fruit oil help to improve hair health, while adding texture and style. Salon tip: Style hair when wet for a naturally textured finish.

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GROOMING AT HOME...Coming soon.

The range will be available from at all Ted’s Grooming Room locations and online exclusively to tedsgroomingroom.com from September 21st and in Ted Baker stores from October.

Must Have Autumn/Winter Menswear Pieces From REISS, ASOS & ZARA

As you are well and truly aware, the high-street and online already have their AW17 menswear collections ready for you to dig in to. Although what happens every single season is that the best pieces always run out of stock and you are left with the same old stuff that hasn't sold and will most likely end up on sale. So this year, I'm getting ahead of the sartorial game and I'm bringing you along for the ride. Although it is still technically warm outside, now is the time to plan and buy your AW17 coats and jackets because as soon as the weather turns, the rush is on.

Of course my first stop off on the high-street was Reiss, standard! Anyway I managed to pick out two incredible pieces, they could work extremely well if styled together but also great as individual pieces. The Reiss Double-Breasted Pea Coat is available for £325 and it a beautiful crafted piece of tailoring. My second item is a pattern shirt which resembles some neat checked painting, is super soft and available for £90 and is going fast with only the sizes S, M & L left in stock right now.

My next 3 items, I've been shopping online at ASOS. All of these items are wardrobe essentials and could span seasons, so you'll get more bang for your buck. Click on the above images to shop.

Finally I'm back on the high-street shopping at Zara Man and with my budget for this Fall Haul blog post dwindling, I've found just two exceptional pieces (but it could have been 15!). Zara Man have been bringing out the best winter coats season after season for the last few years and AW17 is no different. This jacket is on the money and even reversible, you'll have to be quick to get this one. Then I have found a black pinstripe smart shirt for only £30, a beautiful piece and quite versatile. 

Home Interiors for Dogs!

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We all love to treat ourselves but if you have a dog you’ll be the same as myself and get just as excited about treating your dog. Whether it’s seeing their eyes bulge when you give them a leftover roast dinner bone, treating them with a new toy or even a new comfortable bed. So for my first interior design project out of three that I’m going to complete over the next couple of weeks, is going to be a renovation of ‘Pet’s Corner’ which is an area of my front room that is space for Charlie, my Frenchie. Basically as you can see from the images above, it has just got his tatty bed and a couple of old toys in and what I’m looking to do by shopping at Homesense is renovate this area to make it a little more easy on the eyes.

I’ve been shopping at Homesense to improve three areas of my home that represents very good value, so make sure you head back over the next couple of weeks as I’ll be sprucing up my sofa as well as other small touches around the house to give you some inspiration to do the same. It’s amazing how you can transform an area of your home simply with one or two little items such as candles, cushions or even a throw, you do not have to spent a fortune and in fact Homesense offers savings of up to 60% compared to the RRP. Homesense are part of the TK Maxx family so if you have already shopped at TK Maxx Home you’ll absolutely love Homesense and you can find the nearest store to you here.

During my first trip to Homesense, I grabbed a trolley and was overwhelmed at the large variety of products that they stock, from everyday essentials to one off unique finds. The thrill of not knowing what I’m there to buy was great, it was a totally different shopping experience as I usually shop for something specific whereas at Homesense you could go in to buy a new kitchen set and leave with some dogs treats, candles, a wardrobe…my point is ‘anything’!

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Okay so, as hopefully you’ll agree I’ve managed to transform a boring corner of my front room into something that is actually quite eye catching and homely – Charlie certainly approves! The area has been converted simply with a new dog bed, which because of its tonal grey colouring blends in better with my current interior design. I’ve also added a grey check throw, a wicker box for Charlie’s new dog toys and some scented candles to keep the area fresh.

All of which came to a total of:

3 x Dog Toys = £12.97
1 x Wicker Box = £9.99
1 x Dog Bed = £29.99
1 x 100% Wool Throw = £39.99
2 x Scented Candles = £8.98
Total £101.92

Well that is the dog sorted and I’ve got loads of other Homesense homewares to start creating something special with. It would be great for you to also share you own Homesense finds and join the Homesense sharers by posting your unique finds or interior design using the hashtag #HomesenseFinds.

 

*This post was created in collaboration with Homesense, part of the TK Maxx family.

Jazz Age Gin Cocktails & Where to Find Them in London

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We love our cocktails in London and there are so many places to try incredible, innovative recipes. However there is something particularly exciting about being made a cocktail with an interesting history. Thanks to the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby a few years back, there was a resurgence in prohibition era cocktails. America attempted to ban alcohol in the 1920’s and early 30s, but instead a culture was born full of decadent cocktails and glitzy parties. Not only shall we have a look at three classic cocktails, but here are also the best London bars to find them (and their updated versions).

After looking through The Savoy Cocktail Book from 1930, it is clear that there was an enormous array of cocktails throughout this period. It was Harry Craddock, the head barman at The Savoy hotel, that decided to record his classic collection. Today you can still visit the stunning hotel and enjoy drinks that make you feel you have stepped back in time. As well as the American Bar, The Savoy's Beaufort Bar is famous for its theatrical drinks and dramatic décor. They have a cocktail menu that takes you on a tour of the hotel through its legendary tales and extraordinary guests. This is the perfect place to start your cocktail journey…


Classic cocktail: Gimlet
Modern Twist: Pomelo & White Pepper Gimlet Where: The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar (99 Strand London WC2R 0EU)

The Gimlet cocktail is traditionally made of just gin and lime juice, and a description from 1928 was “gin, a spot of lime and soda”. However in the 1953 Raymond Chandler novel The Long Goodbye it stated that "a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's lime juice and nothing else”. The delicious modern twist at the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar is one not to miss! Their Pomelo & White Pepper Gimlet includes Bombay Sapphire Gin, with a pomelo and white pepper cordial. Whilst a classic gimlet (as seen in the photo by Gin Foundry) is rather simple and delicious, the ‘modern twist’ is fragrant, full of fiery pepper and particularly special!

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Classic cocktail: Clover Club
Where: Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel (20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED)

If you want to recreate the full Art Deco experience, then Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel is the place to head. This basement bar, part of the Zédel complex, is perfect for a place to stop en route to dinner or for a nightcap before heading home. It has a stunning Art Deco design that hasn’t changed in decades. The cocktail menu also has all the classics you would like to see. For that reason, it is nice that they have kept to the original recipe for their Clover Club. This cocktail actually pre-dates Prohibition and takes its name from a men’s club in Philadelphia. It was popular during the twenties though and according to ‘Bottoms Up’ in 1928, it was American comedian W. C. Fields favourite drink. The Clover Club is a classic cocktail, with a rich, silky texture, consisting of gin, lemon, raspberries, egg white and sugar.


Classic cocktail: Charlie Chaplin
Modern Twist: The Nightjar’s Charlie Chaplin Where: The Nightjar (129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB)

The Charlie Chaplin was first created at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York sometime before 1920. It was just before Prohibition and the Charlie Chaplin was named in honour of one of Hollywood’s first A-listers. The Charlie Chaplin is fruity, citrusy and very sweet. The equal mix of lime, apricot brandy and sloe gin is documented in A.S. Crockett's "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book”. The Nightjar has a brilliant selection of historic cocktails and their version of the Charlie Chaplin is definitely one to try! It features some unusual ingredients including a bael fruit infusion, Madeira wine, their own grenadine, aronia berries and peach bark. With the Nightjar’s extensive menu, you can sit back, relax and follow your Charlie Chaplin with a gin-filled Moulin Rouge or Diki Diki.

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Perricone MD | Meet the New CBx for Men Collection

With National Grooming Day behind us, I'm hoping that every single guy out there has learnt a little bit more about what products to try when looking after your skin. I've put together a list of all of my men's grooming essentials from skincare to shaving, so if you haven't read it yet, do so as there are some amazing products that you should try. However this week I've been made aware of a new men's skincare collection named CBx by Perricone MD. An interesting launch because it is a completely new concept and formulation using phytocannabinoids, which is naturally-derived from the hemp plant. Interested?

But what the hell are phytocannabinoids and why are they good for your skin when used in the Perricone MD formulation?

Phytocannabinoids are naturally derived aforementioned from cannabis sativa and they are known to visibly calm irritation, soothe dry complexions, bring balance to oil-prone skin and promote moisture-retention. Phytocannabinoids are non-psychoactive cannabinoids and have no recreational use. The Perricone MD phytocannabinoids are extracted from the mature stalk of the hemp plant, are prized for their powerful antioxidant properties and have been used to address a variety conditions such as chronic pain and sleeplessness as well as skin conditions such as acne.

Phytocannabinoids deliver impressive antioxidant benefits which help stressed, oil-prone skin feel soothed, healthy and refreshed. Most men would benefit immensely from these products if you suffer from the result of prolonged shaving, irritation and continued exposure to the elements.

The 3 products in their range are the CBx for Men Super Clean Face Wash, Soothing Post-Shave Treatment and the Lightweight Moisturizer

CBx for Men Super Clean Face Wash | 150ml for £29
This product initially appears gel like but soon turns into a soothing, foamy face wash. Use sparingly as I've found that only a small fingertip amount is required to cover your face due to the heavy foam application. The product cleanses dry skin and softens your stubble pre-shave and works on all skin types.

CBx for Men Soothing Post-Shave Treatment | 118ml for £39
This soothing post-shave treatment gets applied to the skin much like many other post shaving creams I have tried. You need to use generously and straight after shaving to make the most of the cooling, calming feeling.

CBx for Men Lightweight Moisturizer | 59ml for £49
Use the moisturiser as the last step of your daily skincare treatments. This will give a final hydration to the top layers of your skin whilst minimising the appearance of fine lines and also evens your skin tone. This product is fast absorbing because it's a light moisturiser and will not leave your skin feeling oily.

 

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In stores from October 2017.

Dermot O’Leary launches two new fragrances exclusively for M&S

Dermot O’Leary Fragrances

This week started off attending a breakfast event with M&S and Dermot O'Leary to celebrate the launch of his two new fragrances, available from the 7th September. The breakfast was at The Ned hosting some of the countries leading journalists and influencers in the UK. Whenever a fragrance is launched by a celebrity it is normally met with some apprehension from industry insiders and customers alike however after talking to Dermot about the fragrances he was clear that these fragrances were a true collaboration between the master scent creators, M&S and himself - so except something a little special.

M&S has been part of the fabric of mine and
lots of people’s upbringing, it’s a brand you trust
which was very important to me when choosing
to work together. We started the process over
two years ago and during this time I have learnt
an awful lot. It has been such a fulfilling
experience, with some really lovely people. I
have worked with the experts and enjoyed every
second of it.
— Dermot O'Leary
Dermot O'Leary

Dermot is well known in the entertainment industry but also in the fashion industry, being part of the British Fashion Council for years and regularly featuring in GQ's most stylish men in the UK. It is fair to say that a very humble Dermot easily has the credentials to help create what turned out to be two amazing fragrances. The two fragrances are very different and for my nose a clear day and night scent, the Bergamot & Basil is fresh and aromatic whereas the Vetiver & Cedarwood is a contrasting warm, silky and spicy blend to suit your mood and style. 

Following the success of Dermot O’Leary’s skincare range exclusively for M&S, the retailer is proud to announce the launch of two men’s fragrances Bergamot & Basil and Vetiver & Cedarwood. 

Dermot O’Leary Bergamot & Basil

The Bergamot & Basil fragrance, you've heard it here first is Dermot's favourite out of the two. It opens with fresh and uplifting notes of bergamot and lemon, core accords of spicy pink pepper, juniper and patchouli offer depth, complimented by base notes of vanilla, musk and amber. 

Dermot O’Leary Vetiver & Cedarwood

My personal favourite out of the two is Vetiver & Cedarwood as it really packs a punch, it's sophisticated and masculine. This fragrance leads with invigorating top notes of pink grapefruit and mandarin combined with deep accords of black pepper, clove and geranium on a warm and woody base of cedarwood, amber and vetiver. 

I like to tailor fragrances based on my mood, the atmosphere, my surroundings and the weather. Winter and Summer fragrances are very different for me. Day – zesty, lovely sea salt smells. Night - something with a little more body.
— Dermot O'Leary
Dermot O’Leary Aftershave

I've found that both fragrances are insanely good, they serve different purposes, are long lasting, sophisticated, and modern. They are beautifully styled with minimalistic packaging and bottles which will look fantastic on your grooming shelf at home....all for £22, astounding effort.

Bergamot & Basil and Vetiver & Cedarwood by Dermot O’Leary launch on the 7th of September online at www.marksandspencer.com and in M&S stores for £22 each.

Genoa – The unsung city of Italy?

It's €39.40 from the Genoa airport to the Bristol Palace Hotel, which took all of 3 minutes. I gave a scathing look at the cab driver and ordered the missus to get the change from this pillager of tourists. Bristol Palace? An odd assembly of words one could argue an utter contradiction. 

Figure 1The Elliptical Staircase in the Bristol Palace Hotel

Figure 1The Elliptical Staircase in the Bristol Palace Hotel

Depending on your vantage point, Genoa could boast several identities. Start north from the hills by taking one of two funiculars for €1.50 that connects Zecca to Righi and see the city at its finest. It's mottled buildings of faded complexions; burnt yellows, rustic auburns are redolent of any Pisa, Lucca or Pienza panorama. Walk serpentine down the steep roads back into the heart of the city, reach the imperious stretch of Via Garibaldi and you'll think you've slipped down a magical side alley in the heart of Rome. For €9 you can visit Palazzi Rosso, Bianco and Tursi.

Genoa

Venture down the winding streets that taper and twine to the harbour and eventually, once you've been accosted by a Somalian immigrant hassling you for change or 'a go' on his wife for 30 minutes, you'll instantly be transported back to Edge Lane in 90's Liverpool. The topography of these narrow streets were designed to defend the city of Genoa from naval attacks by forcing their enemies into a labyrinth of alleys, funneling them into single file and pouring hot oil on them from the terraces and apartment windows overhead.

Genoa Appartments

Once you've escaped, if you escape, you can catch your breath on the The Neptune; a ship replica of a 17th-century Spanish galleon built in 1985 for Roman Polanski's film Pirates. As you look back at the city from the ocean, you could think that Genoa is one big Hornby Scaletrix. It's raised highways encircle the city, much to the chagrin of my missus - 'Stick that crap underground in tunnels, who wants to see that monstrosity'. However, this has given the the urbanites a chance to leave their own creative modern taint on this ancient city by glossing the underneath with animated creatures and fictional monsters. After all this is still Italy and no one does grandiose art better than the Italians.

Genoa Art

Place to stay: Bristol Palace Hotel - €115 a night (August) inc Breakfast

Place to visit: The Aquarium - £23 a full adult day pass

Place to eat: Icuochi

Place for awesome Instagram profile pic: Palazzi Bianco Roof Gardens or the Christopher Columbus Column Square. 

Place to avoid: Back alleys to the city harbour. 

Genoa

Written by Peter Brooker

How to build your entire wardrobe with only 10 outfits | ep. 1 The navy suit

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I like to follow the concept of a minimalist capsule wardrobe but at the same time have great outfits for every occasion. The main requirement for a look to make its way into my wardrobe is to withstand the test of time: it worked ten years ago, it works now, and it will work ten years from now. The first look that fits that bill to a T is a fitted navy suit combined with white button up, grey tie and a finishing touch of a white pocket square.

There are few simple rules you should follow in order to perfectly style your navy suit (and any other suit in general). These include:

The Blazer: There are three things you should pay your attention to when selecting a blazer which are the widths of lapels, length of the sleeves and overall fit. Make sure the lapels on your blazer are rather slim, sometimes wider lapels can make your appearance wider, but this all depends on your body shape. Wider peek lapels are a tailoring classic but do not suit the masses, so I would suggest getting a second or third opinion when going for a wide lapel. A general rule is - don’t have anything wide around your face, because it makes everything else appear wider as well. The Sleeves should be a tiny bit shorter than you might expect (even though it may feel counterintuitive) so that the cuffs of your crisp white shirt show approx. ¾ of an inch below your blazer. Getting the perfect fit is key to everything, pay attention to how much extra space you have in your shoulder area (where the top button of your blazer buttons) and your bicep area. In these areas the blazer should be snug but not tight. You should be able to comfortably put your arms in your jacket yet not to have it too loose, which would create wrinkles of excessive fabric.

The Tie: As Oscar Wilde wisely pointed out “A well tied-tie is the first serious step in life”. Besides knowing how to tie a tie it’s also important to know how to style it correctly. I suggest to follow the same principle as for lapels and go for a slim or semi-slim tie of which a grey tie works wonders with a navy suit. A simple rule you should adhere to is to match the widest measurement of your tie to the suit lapel width. A semi slim tie has a width of around 6 to 6.5cm, measure your ties by calculating the distance between the two widest parts which should be at the tie blade.

The Trousers: You want them to fit you like a fitted pair of jeans. It’s the middle of the spectrum between slim fit and relaxed fit you are looking for.

The Shoes: The key thing to remember about the shoes is that their main role is to complement your outfit and not to make a statement. This is why I believe you should avoid wingtips or any other major details. Also, avoid a boxy shape.

The Pocket Square: There are so many ways to wear a pocket square but my recommendation is simple. Go for the straight line fold. It might be understated yet it screams class. If you are styling your suit and pocket square without a tie, this gives you more freedom to experiment with a pocket square fold.

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Now you have my complete guide to one of the top 10 essential looks in men’s wardrobe. I call this look “the confidence booster”. Whether I want to look great when meeting a business client or impress a date, this is the look I can always rely on. Try it for yourself. When you do this look right you will feel like a million dollars, yet, you don't have to part with a million dollars to get it.

 

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Nobis | Redefining Performance Outerwear

If you haven't heard of the outerwear brand Nobis, you need to check them out this autumn/winter season especially if you are going away somewhere cold and are looking for a new class of luxurious comfort when outdoors. Nobis specialise in creating outerwear, footwear and accessories using performance textiles and exceptional levels of technological innovations. When browsing the Nobis signature jacket collection, you'll quickly work out that although they have some exceptional ethic fur or faux fur collars for the coldest of environments, they also have some coats for everyday life.

Here are my two favourite styles from Nobis, The Yatesy and The Sir Salvador because they serve two completely different purposes but both are made from remarkable tailoring and have the most strictest attention to detail possible. Of course they are super stylish too!

The Yatesy | A heavy duty outdoors maestro | An exceptional piece of tailoring and what I would consider as the brands hero piece of clothing, a jacket that looks incredible but still delivers on those all important technological specs. This jacket is highly breathable with a removable coyote ethical fur ruff (*or replace with a faux fur option) for warmth in windy or snowy environments. The jacket boasts premium Canadian origin white duck down for ultimate warmth as well as being wind and water proof.

The Sir Salvador | A stylish almost blazer like jacket | I love this jacket, in my eyes it is a hybrid of a classic single-breasted blazer and a traditional overcoat combined to form a technical outdoors jacket that you could equally justify wearing to your allotment on a cold winters morning as well as to a London private members club. This jacket seemingly makes the impossible, possible. A seriously savvy investment piece of clothing with all the trademarks of a true Nobis masterpiece.

Proudly stocked at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, these garments from Nobis are the new name to know in luxury high-performance outerwear, designed to withstand even the most extreme weather conditions, without sacrificing style.

 

SHOP MY NOBIS TOP PICKS FOR AW17

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Photography by Husam

What to wear this Party Season | Black Tuxedo vs Navy Tuxedo

With the AW17 party season looming it's time to start thinking about what you are going to wear. Never has there been so much choice as there is today when it comes to tuxedo suits or dinner jackets and I've styled two of the most popular colour choices, black and navy for your inspiration. A black dinner jacket is the most classic of all styles whereas navy versions are making a comeback whilst gaining in popularity for those fashion conscious individuals who want to buck trends and look marginally different to the masses.

When asked to dress as 'Black Tie' it is worth double checking the exact dress code because 'Black Tie' could be just a generic term to wear dinner jackets regardless of the colour. White tuxedos are also quite popular, although you'll either have to be uber cool or the office joker to get away with such a bold statement suit - as I'm neither of those, I can't wear one!

That leaves me with either black or navy and if you want to look your dashing best, here are a couple of styles that tick all sartorial boxes. 

When wearing a black dinner jacket, the key is to respect the history around such a classic, tailoring masterpiece. With that in mind, stick to a timeless cutaway white shirt rather than wingtip collars, as it's much more sophisticated and stylish. When I generalise wingtip collars, I think about my 18 year old self and badly dressed Christmas parties. A black bow-tie is essential. If you are an expert in tying a bow-tie, try to make the knot small which will give you more fabric to create a butterfly style bow-tie. Black shoes complete the look. If you have the budget to buy a new pair of shoes to wear with your tuxedo, I would recommend buying patent shoes, it's a perfect match. Finally if you have over-indulged in the lead up to party season, or if your suit is a little tight, match the dinner jacket with a well fitted waistcoat and you can then leave the jacket undone and no one with notice it's slightly too small!

 

SHOP MY BLACK DINNER JACKET STYLE

I'm a massive fan of navy tuxedos, it's a slightly more modern style, so therefore you have a certain level of freedom to wear this slightly differently without repercussion and I have tried to accentuate this in my styled look above. Of course a navy dinner jacket or tuxedo would work extremely well styled the same as my first style, with a black or navy bow-tie and waistcoat. However in this look I wanted to showcase a completely different approach fixated around the pin collar shirt. The pin collar shirt is a 1920's classic, it is super smart, it's designed to protrude and champion the tie. 

Often when at your work Christmas party or winter party season event, there are two distinct timings to the evening. 1) The arrival or the dinner, where you keep your tie on and look pristine. Then 2) The wind-down which could be a DJ set, where you'll be welcomed to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. With this in mind, this outfit works extremely well. The pin collar bar, tie and scarf are all accessories that you'll wear to wow your audience on arrival, whereas later on in the evening you can remove the pin bar, remove the tie, undo a couple of buttons and you're ready to party the evening away. Navy tassel loafers with no socks is not everyones cup of tea, so I'll suggest alternatives such as dark brown or black Oxford shoes (*with socks!).

 

SHOP MY NAVY DINNER JACKET STYLE

Photography by Toni Tran with all photos taken at The Franklin Hotel, Knightsbridge.

Introducing Paco Rabanne Pure XS Fragrance for Men

With so many fragrances coming out this side of Christmas it wouldn't be possible to write about every single one. So I only review exceptional fragrances that I truly believe are great enough to become classics; ones that men would choose to wear year-on-year as their signature scent. Scent memory triggers an area of the brain that compares a particular scent with a certain memory. That could be the scent that your girlfriend wore on your first date, it's memorable, it's something that will live with you forever. So when choosing a fragrance, it has to turn-heads, it has to be memorable, it has to be bold, sexy and give you confidence. PureXS from Paco Rabanne is one of those fragrances.

Paco Rabanne XS was originally launched back in 1993 and then in 2005 they launched Black XS. Each of these fragrances were designed for the man who loves excess in every form of their lives. Today in 2017 Pure XS has taken this energy to another level for a man who oozes sex appeal, charisma and confidence. The fragrance is fresh and smouldering, an explosion of freshness with an overdose of almost icy ginger. Then you'll get your second excess of a spicy sin with cinnamon followed by a surge of power with deep, noble vanilla infused with leather-liquor-musk inflections. Finally, sink into the pulsing warmth of myrhh dusted with sweet sugar. A sensation to spark those scent memories from today and long into the future.

Every exceptional fragrance has to have a bottle design which is a work of art and compliments the fragrance perfectly. This weighty bottle with a zippo style opener is reflective of a luxury whiskey glass; it's pure excessive indulgence of exceptional design.

You can find the fragrance sold nationwide at The Purfume Shop at £64.50 for 100ml.

Paco Rabanne Pure XS Key Notes:

Ginger

Cinnamon

Thyme

Vanilla

Mryhh

This week I was invited along with some other exceptional bloggers, celebrities and fragrance experts to celebrate the launch of Paco Rabanne Pure XS, which started off at The Ned which has never smelt so good. If you haven't been to The Ned, you need to, located at 27 Poultry, close to Bank underground station. It's a historic building reborn in the heart of London City. Set in the former Midland Bank building, The Ned hosts 252 bedrooms, 6 event spaces, 9 restaurants, a men's grooming space and other membership benefits such as a gym, rooftop pool, Hamman and late night lounge bar which is situated in the banks original vault! 

The day was #PureXS dining at The Ned for lunch before having a grooming refresh and down-time using the relaxing facilities. In the evening we headed off for dinner and whiskey tasting with all the most stylish men in the UK in attendance who were all shooting the next day at The Worx Studio with epic photographer Joseph Sinclair

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SHOP PACO RABANNE PUREXS

Studio Photography by Joseph Sinclair

#EXCESSIVEME #PUREXS @pacorabanne @pacorabanneparfums

How to be a smarter shopper with “Cost per wear” fashion math’s

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It’s that time of year when brands and retailers start drip-feeding us with information regarding their new season autumn/winter collections, whetting the appetite for our impending purchases. Seasonal weather changes are often a signal from the fashion gods to start investing in a new wardrobe and whether knitwear, overcoats or even a chunky pair of socks are your thing you should start to consider "cost per wear" math's on your fashion purchases.

I mean lets not beat around the bush. Upgrading your wardrobe every single season is expensive yet that doesn’t stop us wanting the new seasons must have threads. New fashionable clothing makes us feel self-assured which is why we tend to buy clothing based on events, a special occasion such as a first date, wedding or even an interview when you need a significant confidence boost. “Cost per wear” fashion math’s is something many of us already calculate when considering purchases and it is a great way to calculate actual cost of buying certain items of clothing. 

Take for example my favourite camel 100% cashmere overcoat, tailored to last, classic in style, handmade by Hawkins & Shepherd at £1,600 (*currently on sale at £800 for pre-aw17) is a true investment piece. I've had the coat for 24 months and have worn it 144 times costing £5.50 per wear. The quality of the product is so high and the style is a classic that will always be on trend and with an estimated 10 year lifespan of the garment - the cost per wear ends up at around £1.

Did you know that the average Brit spends an average of £1,042 per year on clothes (myself a lot more than that!) It's a lot of money, so you need to get the most out of your fashion purchases and one of the brands that I get maximum "cost per wear" return is from Reiss.

If you have been following my blog for a long time you’ll realise that I love Reiss, it’s a brand that I’ve brought since my mid-twenties and remain to do so. Reiss have a small selection of their AW17 new collection in-store right now, which is a perfect opportunity to see first hand if I can buy a timeless outfit which will give maximum "cost per wear" return. I’ve got loads of dinner events coming up over the forthcoming season so I needed to shop for a fashionable, sartorial outfit that was comfortable yet sophisticated and this is what I brought. A navy double-breasted blazer for £250, an Oxford pink striped button-down shirt for £90, a pair of slim mélange soft grey trousers for £115 and a pair of navy suede tassel loafers for £175 – totalling £630. IF I wear 1 item in this outfit 3 times per week for 52 weeks of the year my cost per wear would be around £4. However it is realistic that I'll have some of these clothes for much longer than a year and I'll wear it more, so the costs will come down per wear. Personally I always try to aim for £1-£3 per wear, although I do have a couple of t-shirts that would come in around 2p per wear!

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Photography by Toni Tran

4 White Ports That You Need to Try With Tonic

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White port and tonic (a P&T) has been talked about a lot this summer. While it seems that the drink has just popped up from nowhere, it has actually been around for ages. Many of us have only sampled port a handful at times, and that was probably the sweet red variety. However white port is simply made from white grapes and it is extremely easy to find! It is our beloved gin that is usually served with tonic (we are a nation of ever growing G&T lovers), but you can be assured that this combo does not disappoint.

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White port contains a similar sweetness to certain gins, and also has that freshness that works perfectly with the bitterness of tonic water. Served with a simple citrus or herb garnish and you have a summer winner! Red port is definitely sweeter and richer that the white variety, but it is wonderful as a long, refreshing aperitif. If you fancy an alternative to gin, not only does it have a lower alcohol content, it will also save you a few more pennies. Although similarly to gin, you really require a decent tonic, like Fever Tree, to make sure you are not ruining the flavour of the port. Here are 4 White Port’s and garnishes that you need to try:

 

1. Quinta de la Rosa Extra Dry White Port

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3. Martins de Sa' White Port

Taste: Sweet honey and white fruit that resemble pear or apple jam. Serve: Lots of ice, tonic, 1-2 slices of fresh root ginger and a sprig of rosemary.
Buy: Soon to be available online, keep an eye on martinsdesaport.com

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Taste: Very fruity. Tropical fruits especially pineapple
Serve: Lots of ice, tonic and a slice of lemon
Buy: £11.20 from Portugal Vineyards

 

2. Portal Fine White Port

Taste: Lemons, apricots honey and nuts
Serve: Lots of ice, tonic and a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint
Buy: £15.99 from Bin21

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4. Graham’s Fine White Port

Taste: Grapefruit and delicate almond
Serve: Lots of ice, tonic, slice of lemon and a sprig of mint
Buy: £13 on Amazon

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Dressing Smart Casual | The Men's Style Edit

When an invite suggests dressing 'Smart Casual' it's always met with question marks around whether to veer more towards smart or casual? For me smart-casual means a pair of trousers or smart jeans, a shirt, blazer and shoes...no ties, no trainers and certainly no shorts unless you are in Italy in the fashionable Tuscany district, then it's passable. I think many men struggle with dressing smart casual because there are decisions to be made! So in this Style Edit, I've put together an outfit that I would class as smart-casual (*with a little toe more in the smart side).

I've styled a navy suit, as it's always good to turn up to your meeting or event dressed on the smarter side, then you can always lose the blazer for a slightly casual look. Alternatively you could wear a blazer with a pair of smart jeans (no rips) or trousers in contrasting colours. If your trousers are slim or tapered fit then you have the ability to wear a pair of loafers without any socks. On to the shirt, of course a tie is not required so a button-down or even a granddad shirt is the perfect collar type for smart-causal attire. If you want to marten up a little bit, add a touch of class with a pocjet square or silk scarf as I have demonstrated in this look.

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer