How Much of Attraction is Based on Looks?

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I want to know how much do women rate looks when it comes to attraction. The majority of women I talk to will tell you that the first thing they notice about a man walking towards them is the height. How does he carry himself? Then it's a case of working from south to north. What is he wearing on his feet? Followed by what is he overall style. Do his clothes fit? Is he slovenly or does he take pride in his appearance.

The looks are probably the last to come in to play.

So what are women looking at when it comes to a man and how can you fine tune these areas of your game?

 

Can I naturally increase my height?

There is some things that you're just going to have live with. Height being one of them. However, if you're hung up on height then you can always try some of these tricks.

Pile the hair. Assuming you have some, creating a top knot or some kind of buffoon really does gives a taller impression, again creating a more vertical line. Look for shampoo that will enhance the volume and accentuate appropriately without donning the Jedward.

Avoid horizontal lines. Yes, shame, you probably love that Breton striped tee and that leather belt that belonged to your Granddad, but they've got to go. The horizontal line that is created by the belt visually cuts the body in half.

Elongate the Neck. A long neck has the verisimilitude of length. If you're short with long hair, you'll be covering the neck and doing your height an injustice. V-necks are a decent way of exposing some extra neck but then you'll be wading into appropriate chest hair territory. 

Platform Shoes. Awhile back I highlighted the new collection from Parisian shoe maker Clergerie. They have some quite out-there designs but with a very exaggerated heel. Contradictory to that I'm going to tell you that you should pair the shoe colour with your pants, as Mia Du Plessis writes on Quora.

You need a shoe that does not contrast too heavily with trousers. Keeping your pants the same colour as your shoes will make it more difficult for the eye to distinguish where the leg ends and the foot begins. 

 

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Do women prefer muscular men?

This might sound like a no-brainer but there are some women that will scoff at the site of a muscular man. Remember Woody Allen has sex with countless women and do you think that guy ever benched more than his typewriter from one room to the other?

I've thumbed through a couple of studies that women’s past short-term sex partners would be more muscular than their other (longer term) sex partners. 

The findings show that women find muscular men sexually attractive but believe they are less likely to be committed, and further studies suggest women prefer less muscularity in a long-term partner. 

 

So should I bulk up? 

Women prefer muscles, no doubt about it. But judging by those studies, the women that go for muscles are not going to hang around for long. 

I'd recommend simply getting in between walking around weight and fighting weight. If you're currently in holiday weight mode, then you're going to have work twice as hard to get attention. 

 

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Finally, what about hair? Do women fancy bald guys at all? 

Jason Statham crushes more ass than you could possibly dream of. He's even called 'Handsome Rob' in the Italian Job remake and the dude is now 50 without a hair on his head. 

In truth some do. Some don’t. Older women are more likely to be okay with bald men than younger ones, but that's me being generalist, not based on fact. 

However, a blanket statement that does apply is that bald men are definitely more attractive than balding men.

If you shave your head it subliminally tells people you're transparent, have nothing to hide, women prefer those qualities. 

Alopecia can get you down. Luckily it's not something I have to deal with but it's one of many mens health issues that a lot of guys struggle with. 

A little side note that a lot of web forums will site Jason Statham, Vin Diesel and Yul Brynner as the sexiest bald men of all time. Only two of these gentlemen were bald. Yul Brynner shaved his head, he was bald by choice. 

That's it from me, I hope you've taken away something from this article. Ladies if you have anything to contribute then please leave a comment in the box below. 

 

From Tailors With Love – The New Podcast Dedicated to the Style of James Bond

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Recently launched, From Tailors With Love is a new podcast available on iTunes that's dedicated to the style of James Bond, hosted by my good mate Pete Brooker from Human Research and editor of The Suits of James Bond, Matt Spaiser. 

Not only do they talk about the suits from the James Bond films, but they also do news bulletins from all the brands associated with the James Bond franchise and educate the listeners on the fabrics, the weaves, the patterns and the cuts of the suits worn by the cast. 

In the latest episode Matt and Pete talk about the Brioni suits that both Tom Cruise and Dwayne Johnson wore to their respected premieres. Mission Impossible Fallout and Skyscraper. Brioni provided the suits for the Bond franchise from Goldeneye up until and including Casino Royale

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Dwayne Johnson is wearing a silk and linen blend bespoke suit estimated to be worth $10,000 whilst Tom Cruise opted for a 3-piece midnight blue single breasted Brioni suit. Interesting features are the 6 button waist coat, not often seen or encouraged on short men. However, Tom looks the absolute business here. 

About the podcast Pete Brooker told me:

"It's a lot of fun to do. It combines two of my favourite things, fashion and James Bond films. Matt is really the authority and I'm just happy to play second wheel, chiming in with the odd crass reference about Bond boning Moneypenny. 

It also gives me the excuse to talk to people within the Bond universe. For example we spoke to Adam Brown, founder and creative director of Orlebar Brown, about the new 007 Swim short collection. He gave us the exclusive on a new Bond-based collection he is releasing next Spring so that's all coming up in the next episode out mid-August". - Peter Brooker

From Tailors With Love is a fortnightly show, 30 minutes long and available every other Wednesday from iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud. 

 

Introducing Hermano Menswear | Men's Style Edit

A few weeks ago I was introduced to the new casual menswear brand Hermano by Pete Wicks, who is best known for being on The Only Way is Essex. There have been some successful transitions from being a reality star to a business person and there have been some car crashes. And without doubt the Hermano men's collection is by far my favourite of them all. It ticks all the boxes for men wanting casual attire or loungewear. It's a collection for the everyday man who loves a beer down the pub, a cocktail at the bar or a night in with the missus.

I loved the collection so much that I brought a handful of their pieces and are now some of my wardrobe staples. In true Hermano style, I've worn the pieces with a monochrome look, accessorised with men's jewellery and rolled my sleeves to show off the tats!

You can shop the HERMANO collection direct on their own site or via JD Sports with a price range of around £20-65 per piece.

 

SHOP THE EDIT

Photography by Charlie Sawyer

The Panasonic ER-GB86 Review | Game Changer for Long Beards?

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Finding the right beard trimmer for you is no easy feat. Sometimes I feel like beard trimmers could be listed on tinder. So many to choose from, so many false starts, empty promises, inevitable disappointments, fleeting moments of delight, good on the surface, nothing underneath, great legs, jutting breasts. Only kidding, just making sure you're paying attention. 

Out of the diaspora of beard trimmers I was introduced to the Panasonic ER-GB86 -K, designed to cut smoothly through longer beards without the snagging or pulling. 

 

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I have a long beard, how will this work for me? 

The Panasonic ER-GB86 -K comes equipped with a high-torque motor ensuring there is no power lost or hair missed while cutting, enabling a smooth trimming of even hard, dense beards. 

By no means do I have the biggest beard on the block, but I do like to keep a longer than average length which can be problematic for normal trimmers not designed to cope with my dense whiskers. This trimmer however safely negotiates my tough voluminous beard, I use the 30mm attachment which delivers a uniform length, allowing me to shape it accordingly. 

 

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Can I use it in the shower? 

Yes, you can, the trimmer is suitable for both wet and dry use and can also work with shaving gel or foam. It's 100% waterproof, allowing you to have excellent and easy hygienic maintenance as you can simply rinse the trimmer under running water.  

 

Pros

Love this. It feels tailor made for my beard as there was zero pulling and it gave my beard a great shape. I have experimented with the settings, there are 58 cutting lengths from 0.5mm to 30mm (in 0.5mm steps). And depending on my mood will vary the length between 25-30mm. 

 

Cons

It's an investment. The price point warrants that but I believe it to be justified. People that take pride in their beard won't baulk at the price, but casual beard growers might. 

 

Related articles

If this review of the Panasonic ER-GB86 –K was of use to you then check out these previous articles I’ve posted in the grooming section of the website.

·      Top 5 Best Beard Oils for Men

·      Is curly hair the new beard?

·      Are we getting out of the beard business altogether?

 

Buy the Panasonic ER-GB86 Wet&Dry Ultimate Beard Trimmer from Boots £99.99

*The sponsored post has been created in collaboration with Panasonic.

Your Bitesize Guide to Cambodia

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The Golden Temple Residence in Cambodia is one of the most enchanting hotels you could wish to visit. Located in the heart of Siem Reap, this modern hotel offers free airport shuttle services, and is only 4 miles away from the famous Angkor Wat – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Angkor Night Market is 100 yards away and whilst the hawker food market is an enjoyable experience, I'd steer clear of eating any of the street food. (Safe to say it did my constitution a disservice). 

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The hotel has this free architecture design, where nature and architecture are combined. This is achieved by an open restaurant that overlooks the pool and performance stage where daily Apsara entertainment shows can also be enjoyed. 

Remarkably the food is very cheap but it's the quality of the service that really distinguishes this hotel from its contemporaries. Getting a lift back to the airport in the owner’s vintage Cadillac was a real treat. 

 

Where to eat in Siem Reap? 

Well thanks to getting knocked out for a day or two by some dodgy street food, I was unable to dip into the local cuisine. By the time my stomach had climatised I just made do with the hotel food.

Although to say 'made do' is something of an understatement. There is a delectable spread of authentic Khmer-style meals and popular Western delights can be enjoyed at the on-site restaurant.

On the last night I summoned the strength to eat out and we ventured down Pub Street. Yep, that's a real name and a real place. It's like a gentrified version of Ha Noi, decent enough to kill a couple of hours.

 

Things to do in Siem Riep

I would say you'll only need one day in Angkor Wat. You'll need to get there as early as possible to avoid the mania. That said, it's still out of control with Chinese tourists. Everyone will head to the Ta Prohm Temple featured in Tomb Raider, which is understandable as it is spectacular. 

The foot massages are fun and relaxing. You'll get endlessly heckled into having one so you may as well. Take a book to read or something because you won't be stimulated with conversation. 

Food tour. Ok I am going to recommend this because it was utterly bananas. I watched our guide eat a whole manner of creepy crawlies. It was like something out of Temple of Doom. However, I will caveat that by saying I felt demonstrably ill the next day. It could have been the scorpions, the ants, the tarantulas (yes they eat them out there) who knows. 

For this tour we used Urban Adventures and a gentleman called Kim showed us round. He had a great sense of humour and I enjoyed his company immensely. 

There is the Reclining Buddha in at the top of Phnom Kulen. However, this was on the day where I was becoming dependent on nearby facilities so I let the group go on without me. 

I got 'ok-ish' reviews from the group on their return, but we had seen a lot of Buddha’s already in Bangkok by this point. 

The waterfall in Phnom Kulen was the only highlight of the tour for me that day, most of it was spent in the van convalescing. 

 

Last crucial tip about traveling to Cambodia

We got stiffed at the airport for not having any US dollars. We had to pay some odd VISA fine that really took the jam out of my doughnut. The airport is a zoo, not Cuba-zoo standards (that really is where travel bloggers go to die) but a soul destroying experience. 

 

It’s a TRAPP! Brandnew IO Walks Away From Owing Influencers and Staff Thousands

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Today I'm going to introduce you to a man that has robbed me and many other influencers of a tidy sum of money. Luckily I've got enough going on where I can notch losing a grand to experience, the lights will remain on in the Carl Thompson house. Charlie will still get his treats, Christmas won't be cancelled and I am still able to afford Waitrose's double velvet toilet paper. (I know, the ultimate barometer for one’s wealth). 

A couple of months ago I was approached by an influencer marketing company called Brandnew IO. Their CEO Francis Trapp (I know right? Don't even..) founded the company in 2013 and claim to be the leading Content Creator Platform for brands and agencies.

 

 

According to their LinkedIn profile: Our (Brandnew IO) platform enables marketers to efficiently discover Creators, manage relationships, collaborate on high engaging content and measure campaign results.

After the payment failed to come through for a campaign I did on their behalf, I contacted the brand who assured me they had paid their end. I was CC'd into a few emails and eventually the trail ran cold as they say in the Secret Service. 

 

So who else has been duped? 

I checked out Brandnew IO's social pages and found over influencers and content creators had also been chagrined, for want of a better word. Wait I have a better word; ripped-off! (Ok I had to hyphenate). 

A fellow influencer, Audrey Leighton Rogers, really blew the lid open on these guys in her Instagram stories and after asking around the influencer community she was not the only one.

"Often we use agents/platforms who act as a middleman to connect brands with influencers. So our contract is with these people.

But often these businesses are new and seem to come and go take Brandnew IO for example.

They have been getting influencers work and the brands have paid them yet they have kept the money and not paid their influencers for the content they have created and the money they are rightfully owed.

Often we are waiting on 90 days for payment, so what happens to that money during that time? It is used to run the business. Staff, office etc. And these apps/platforms cost huge amounts in development so simply is (if) the brands dry up and stop using the platform the cash flow soon fails.

I’m not saying this has happened at Brandnew IO but they filed for insolvency on the 1st August 2018 leaving 100s of influencers unpaid for content they have created."

 

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So why has Brandnew IO disappeared? 

This is the strangest thing. I understand that setting up a company like this requires a large investment of capital upfront. Developing the software to integrate influencers with brands costs money. IT developers don't come cheap so you might see a lot of these influencer agencies come and go in the night. 

However, Brandnew IO was founded in 2013 according to their LinkedIn page. Surely they've managed to recoup the initial startup costs and reached parity by now? 

I took a closer look at their funding and whilst these reports are speculative, it appears that the company came to prominence from small capital investors. I’m guessing family backed with initial funding then persuaded some private investment from Zurich.

Although the last round of funding was over 4 years ago, the company have been riding that wave and developing their platform but without making a sufficient return, failed to generate enough profit to keep the lights on. Perhaps they managed to pay their investors back, but failed to leave enough in the kitty for their staff and consequently, us. 

So where's the money gone? The money gets sloshed around, invoices get delayed, chased, delayed, emails miraculously get sent to junk mail or never received.

I can only imagine Trapp has reinvested the money into the ailing business and thrown good money after bad. Or has simply bought himself a nice couple of bespoke suits, a few Rolex watches. God I'm sounding like Sam Rothstein questioning Ginger in Casino.

"I bet he had a good time on my money. How did he get fitted for suits that fast? He's not going to wear 1,000 dollar suits. But let’s say he did which he won't, how are you going to get fitted for 25 suits in 3 days? How can you get fitted that fast? I can't get fitted that fast and I pay twice as much." 

I've tried reach out to Francis Trapp for a quote as the company has neglected to update any of its social media platforms which have served more of a petition page for out of pocket influencers demanding payment. 

Trapp has refused to reply. Consistent to everyone else’s experiences. Including content creator Gemma Talbot who has this to say:

“To say I’m angry is an understatement. Weeks of chasing payments that are months late with no response. The most frustrating part is that I’d been paid for one collaboration I completed through the Brandnew IO platform but not the other two.

Why not? I’ve completed the work and whilst I appreciate the brand in question may not be to blame they’ve still gained the exposure yet I'm at a loss of both money and time taken to create the content in the first place. 

It’s hard to just accept you’ll never see money for content you’ve created because the company have filed for insolvency.

It just doesn’t seem fair or right. Money that I’d counted on to pay rent and bills. After all, living in London is pricey. Not only do I feel sorry for the other influencers affected (some are owed several thousands of pounds) but also for the employees of Brandnew IO some who have contacted me directly on Instagram via DM to tell me the company owe them up to £8000 in wages!

Quite frankly it’s disgusting. Whilst it appears all my emails have gone unanswered, when I publicly called Brandnew IO out on my Instagram stories by tagging the brand directly someone managing their social media had seen it immediately.

I received no email update, no apology and had been completely left in the dark. I’m trying to perhaps understand from their point of view but quite frankly there is no feasible explanation. It’s simply disgusting and wholly unprofessional on their part.”

 

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Wake up Call

It's a wakeup call for brands also, finding the right influencer for your product is hardly a feat of acrobatics. The blame cannot be placed on the brands for a 3rd party company they have also trusted going bankrupt. However in many cases the brands have appointed influencers for their campaigns themselves and redirected said influencers to signup to Brandnew IO as a platform for the campaign. Now in this case does the brand have to take some responsibility? Legally, no. If they want to do the right thing, then yes. 

In my particular case, I was approached by a major Media Agency to do some work for a brand. After lots of email back and forth we agreed on deliverables and payment. At this point, I was told to signup to the Brandnew IO platform to continue the campaign. Fast forward months, I completed the campaign, submitted the content and requested payment from the platform. The Media Agency and the brand were happy with the content, although a month ago I got an email from the Media Agency it said:

"I just wanted to reach out regarding the delay campaign payment.

Huge apologies for the major delay in payment for this campaign. I completely understand that this is very frustrating and we have been investigating this as much as we can.

Going forward, I have cc’d my Brandnew support contact, who will be able to keep you updated from their side and get in touch with you directly. Just to clarify, Brandnew is a separate company from us and act as an influencer identification platform for us that processes campaign payments to bloggers. Therefore, your Brandnew contact will be handling this financial delay with you going forward. Please do feel free to keep me CC’d within emails."

That's great but it also felt like one of those 'we know what's going on here with Brandnew IO and trying to cover ourselves' kind of emails. Since that email I have sent at least another 6 emails asking for payment updates which were ignored. I then contacted the Media Agency and again ignored. I guess I have to chalk this one down to experience and think about how to alleviate this from happening in the future. It maybe in the form of tighter contracts, shorter payment terms, better due diligence and risk assessments.

If they need to cast a wider net with a certain campaign a lot of influencers (like myself, like Dapper Chapper, like Human Research etc) will spearhead a campaign on their behalf and advise them on which of their contemporaries will be a good fit for their brand. 

As for Brandnew IO and Francis Trapp, I welcome them to make a statement in reply to this blog.

I'm happy to pick up the phone and demystify why they've neglected to pay their staff and hundreds of other influencers. I don't sling mud that often, but Francis, you've forced my throwing arm. 

 

 

How Close Are we to Gender Neutral Clothing?

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In 1998 Sharon Stone rocked up to the Oscars wearing a silk Vera Wang long fishtail skirt with a white Gap shirt. For a red blooded male in the 90's, bursting through the chrysalis of his adolescence, Sharon Stone was simply, it. Sure there was Jennifer Aniston, there was Angelina Jolie, but Sharon Stone got her kit off. 

Whilst the internet was still being cobbled together, Sharon Stone was the only commercial boobs a man had access to in the 90's without suffering the ignominy of surfing the top shelfs at his local newsagents. My point is, when Sharon Stone walked into the room you sat up straight. What Sharon Stone said would be carved into concrete slabs by paid scribes. What she did would be imitated relentlessly, and what she wore would be immortalised for decades to come. 

This was 20 years ago. How far have we come with Gender neutral clothing since are fashion stores merely shades away from homogenising the men’s and women’s section? 

One British store that has dispensed with these gender barriers are Gender Free World clothing. Based in Hove and founded in 2015, GFW design shirts in 4 block sizes, providing the antidote for issues of bust gap, wide hips and long bodies. 

It's no longer boutique designers like GFW, or Radimo, Official Rebrand or Rebirth Garments becoming the bastions of gender fluidity. Fast-fashion retailers, such as Zara and ASOS, have launched their own gender-neutral clothing lines as well.

Activist and Trans model Munroe Bergdoff still thinks that the fashion industry is playing catch up. In an interview with Fash-ON Fash-OFF, the new podcast from I.D Magazine she says:

"I think the body image we're seeing a binary aesthetic. There’s no trans men in fashion for starters. Which is weird. But there are people that have that capacity Laith Ashley who is beautiful and eloquent. But there is an obsession with trans women. It's still rooted in the idea it being a weird concept that a man would want to relinquish his masculinity. We need to process the idea, a trans woman can be a woman and be masculine."

From a tailoring perspective it would be very difficult to design clothes that can adequately accommodate both men and women. It's also a very different art tailoring a lady for a suit than it is a man. Narrow waists, bust measurements, side boob, under boob, etc. 

This polarising subject, and whilst one could look disparagingly on gender neutral clothing as an irreverent fad, you ignore the movements of youth at your peril. Look what happened to Levi's sticking to a denim model and not moving with the athleisure movement. Lost over 2 Billion in revenue in 2015 and have been playing catch up to Nike, Under Armour and Lululemon ever since. 

You may think you're not into gender neutral clothing, chances are you're already wearing some. Those baggy joggers or jeans are possibly perfectly cut and engineered for either men or women. How do you think GAP went from parochial boutique to marquee name? They specifically targeted a mass market that were happy to wear shapeless oversized tee's and jeans to cater for the unisex demographic. 

Do you own a man bag? It's considered the norm these days but that’s a far cry from the briefcase synonymous with city bankers of the 50's. 

And what about when your girlfriend goes out to the shops and you raid her wardrobe and try on all her Alexander McQueen fur coats? Ok so not many, but you get my point. I hope. 

 

Is it Time for Lightweight Knits | Men's Style Edit

I hate to bring up the thought of knitwear after the summer we've had in London but the UK weather is like the Greek stock market, pretty unpredictable. Take today for example, sunny for a touch, mainly rainy and now that it's early evening (around 6pm), I'm starting to feel a little chilly. Maybe we're all now so used to 36 degrees with 90% humidity...who knows.

Lightweight knitwear really is the answer on days like this because it is light, breathable and warm. How to style: you can layer over a t-shirt if you would like another option to control your body temperature or just wear the knit alone if the materials are comfortable enough on your skin. There is nothing worse and it's like torture if you wear an itchy 100% woollen jumper direct onto your skin. 

I love the cut of these thin knitted jumpers and you can get them everywhere, my favourites are from ASOS, Uniquo or NINES Collection and you can get them in a variety of different colours. Great colour choices for AW18 are navy, burnt orange, grey and really dark greens. 

I've styled the knitwear simply with a pair of black jeans, men's jewellery and a white pair of custom designed Superga mid-top trainers.

 

SHOP THE EDIT

Photography by Charlie Sawyer

The Best Books to Up Your Dating Game

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Gentleman, it's been over 13 years since many of us picked up The Game by Neil Strauss, chucked on the most bilious of shirts and peacocked up and down the streets of Soho like the horrible wretches we were. Has there been any other decent books about dating since then that will help us up our game? Here's a list I've put together for you. 

 

Confessions of a Tinderella 

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It's not all about learning chat up lines and body language. This book from Rosy Edwards talks about what Tinder can be like from the other side of the fence. Are women just as frivolous when it comes to swiping as guys? Are they any less materialistic? Rosy talks about where guys are going wrong on Tinder in a candid and hilarious way. 

 

High Fidelity - Nick Hornby

Yes it's fiction, but High Fidelity is a real page turner. The film is also a great watch and it really encompasses a spiritual journey that all men would like to embark on; hounding out our ex-girlfriends and finding out why they dumped us. 

 

You Just Don't Understand - Deborah Tannen

How often do we get to hear that? Tannen makes the important point that if two people communicate in different ways, continuing with the same approach - only trying even harder - won't solve problems when they are at cross purposes.

Not currently in print but well worth digging out if you find it pop up on eBay or in vantage market stalls. 

 

Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps - Allan Pease

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This book demonstrates the fundamental differences between men and women's brain circuitry. There is some clever use of humour and some nice anecdotes, which enhance the pleasure of reading this book.

It is well written and uses scientific fact very well to explain human behaviour. Slightly sexist and dated at times, so anyone that's a fan of the early James Bond films will love this. 

 

On Love and Loneliness - Krishnamurti

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Sometimes we need to pull back the onion layers on a relationship and ask what we are really in it for? Is it a quick bang? Are we filling a Dad shaped hole? (That's for the women reading, otherwise that sounds weird).

On Love and Loneliness is a compelling investigation of our intimate relationships with ourselves, others and society. 

 

Why Men are the Way They are - Warren Farrell

I once read that any man that hasn't read this book, is walking around with a blindfold on.

It's a book that sympathises with both sexes although centres on Farrell's assumption that men prioritise women's looks in their partner selection, while women have multiple criteria. 

 

How To Flirt With Women & Get What You Want: A Guide To Flirting, Dating & Seduction - Ryan Harris

This book doesn’t only tell you how to up your game, it teaches you the benefits of a positive mindset, and really engaging with mindfulness, to bring your successes to other arenas of your life.

This book focuses on creating quality connections with women, recognising and utilising your own strong points and building the confidence to use them to their fullest.

 

JOIN ME AT THE DATING SHOW LIVE 2018 - BIRMINGHAM NEC

Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th November | Day tickets £22 Weekend £45

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Hawkins & Shepherd Turns 5 Years Old | The Mistakes I Made

The critical mass will tell you it takes 3 years before you generate any profit from your online store. With Hawkins & Shepherd we sold on our first day of trading and I'm pleased to say have enjoyed a healthy trajectory. However, it could take another 10-20 years before it reaches a level that I would be happy with.

Today Hawkins & Shepherd celebrates its 5th year in business and in this article I will tell you all about the mistakes I've made and what you need to be mindful of should you be looking to start an e-commerce store. 

 

SINGLE POINT FAILURE

AW17-SS18 has been the most challenging year for me. I've suffered great losses through supply issues.

With Hawkins & Shepherd the shirts are all handmade so it is extremely hard to find a factory that has skilled workers who will deal with the relatively small orders that I'm placing.

We have always used the same supplier for 5 years and there lies a problem. Looking back to my IT Networking days, that would be classed as a 'single point of failure' which needs to be avoided at all costs.

 

HOT-STANDBY

The same applies with fashion/clothing, by having one factory making your goods is bad business. You always need a 2nd option which will take over if one factory experiences issues. In the world of IT we call this a hot-standby. (I know it sounds like a rolodex of page 3 girls' phone numbers that Charlie Sheen would have on his night stand). 

Alternatively, you could place your orders between two factories known as Load Balance. 

 

£10,000 DOWN THE TUBE? 

For around 9 months I had ZERO shirts being made and I thought my investment of around £10,000 in cotton fabric was going to be lost.

I run out of my most popular shirts around the AW17 season which is my biggest profit turner and also SS18 which is wedding season.

It hurt, it hurt bad. Not just on the business but on my confidence in people and my ability to continue to run Hawkins & Shepherd.

Over the last month, I've got all of the shirts made and I've also found a second supplier who are currently making samples for me and are in the state of approval to move forward with either taking over production or sharing it with my current supplier.

 

TURNED THE CORNER

Looking back this lesson has been hard but it has taught me valuable lessons and in the long run made the business more robust. At the same time, we've been working on a complete website redesign to showcase our products and services better.

We've been developing new shirts and searching the world for the best fabric to use in a new premium shirt range...we'll be using Alumo fabrics, renowned throughout Savile Row and the world for being the best (*expensive though!).

We've gone live with our first outdoor advertising campaign in the form of two black taxis fully wrapped and branded with Hawkins & Shepherd promoting our Shirt Subscription Service 'The Collar Club'.

For anyone thinking of getting into clothing and an e-commerce business there are so many challenges and things to overcome but taking advice from someone that has been there done is is crucial.

 

KNOW YOUR MARGINS

In fact, the other week I was discussing this with a friend who wishes to start something up. In short, he was going to make a product for say £25 and sell for £50. This just doesn't work; your margins are way too low.

For someone starting a business who has no experience may think that is good, you are making 100% on everything. Incorrect!

If you cost in every single penny, your profit will actually be a lot lower. For example what about the costs for, start-up, designs, pattern-cutting, warehousing, packaging and depreciation of stock value over time (the latter being the most important). Don't even get me started on wholesale! 

 

BUSINESS 101

I'm starting a new Business series on YouTube which will take you on my journey of creating Hawkins & Shepherd, how I got into blogging and crammed with my tips to be successful. So subscribe below to make sure you don't miss it.

 

The Perfume with Cannabis Notes | 212 VIP Men Party Fever by Carolina Herrera

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News of a fragrance launch from Carolina Herrera is something that makes you sit up straight in your chair. Although the Venezuelan Fashion designer has handed over the creative reigns to Wes Gordon, the name still resembles and exudes Herrera's exceptional personal style. 

Perhaps better known throughout her career for dressing a bevy first ladies stretching as far back as Jacqueline Onassis, to current day Melania Trump.  

Although Spanish fragrance company Puig licensed the Carolina Herrera name to develop and market a line of perfumes in the late 1980s, a launch is rarified air. Not a single new liquid between 2002-2016. Now we have the launch of two new fragrances presented in chromed iridescent bottles; 212 VIP Party Fever and 212 VIP Men Party Fever

These perfumes are looking to align themselves with life behind the velvet rope.  They're looking to encapsulate the feeling of a VIP party. Behind the scenes Carolina Hererra 212 VIP has assembled a group of young talents from different walks of life, diverse in their personalities, cultures and nationalities, to be its nightlife crew.

They're young dumb and full of, no wait sorry that's Keanu Reeves in Point Blank. The 212 VIP team are young, authentic and enthusiastic about bringing their unique style to this universe, their spontaneity makes each see life differently.

 

Carl what is so different about this 212 VIP Men Party Fever

It has cannabis in. Yes, amongst its note of red berries, jasmine and ginger, comes a prominent yet not over powering trail of burning cannabis. 

You can definitely smell it, yet it doesn't quite have that pungent drive you'd expect to find in Bob Marley's shed, or an art students bedsit. 

It has a very distinguished and 'devil may care' insouciance about it. The sort of elegance you might associate with the mid-sixties Rat Pack just before the split. It has the infused duality of freshness and nostalgia. It projects well. Has decent enough silage. (I got about 5-6 hours). 

I'd say the bottle is neither here nor there for me. Looks like a battery for Robocop. Too rounded for an edgy perfume of this nature.

212 VIP MEN PARTY FEVER 100ML £59.00

House of Fraser | The Story More Watchable Than Any Reality TV Show

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Philip Day, the owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, has been named as one of the potential investors in talks about a rescue deal with House of Fraser according to an article by Drapers. The latest from Sky News reported that Day, whose retail empire includes Peacocks and Jane Norman, is one of a few potential investors referred to by HoF in a statement on Wednesday disclosing it was in talks with unnamed backers.

It was a bitter blow for HoF when Chinese backers, C Banner's withdrew from their investment. The deal was said to be in the execution phase when C Banner pulled the rug out, partly due to their own shares plummeting in recent months. 

A spokeswoman for HoF said: “In light of C Banner’s announcement (and as per House of Fraser’s previous statement to the Luxembourg Exchange) House of Fraser is in discussions with alternative investors and is exploring options to obtain the required investment on the same timetable.

HoF were already in talks to shut down 31 of their 59 stores and this withdrawal looked to be the final straw. However, HoF aren't done yet. 

 

What are House of Fraser's hopes of survival? 

Day is thought to be among other potential investors including turnaround specialist Alteri Investors and Mike Ashley of Sports Direct. 

Ashley already has a slice of the HoF pie and could possibly look to amalgamate HoF with his other sinking ship Debenhams. He will inevitably take a hit with the dilution of two stores, but it could be the last hope for the two of them to salvage anything. 

According to an article in The Guardian, the closures will result in about 6,000 job losses from the 17,000-strong workforce and the company has warned the only alternative is to go into administration.

“Whilst closing stores is a very difficult decision, especially given the length of relationship House of Fraser has with all its locations, there should be no doubt that it is absolutely necessary if we are to continue to trade and be competitive,” said chairman Frank Slevin. 

I've personally been a massive fan of House of Fraser and their own brands including Howick and Linea for such a long time and would be devastated if this giant of the UK high street goes. If you've been out of touch on their men's clothing, click on the below image for a couple of outfits I've styled with items exclusively from House of Fraser.

Watching Every Beat With the Braun ActivScan 9 | Blood Pressure Monitor

Here's a matter close to my heart, pun intended. I've recently road tested the ActivScan 9 which is one of two new blood pressure monitors recently launched by Braun. The ActivScan™ 9 is a comfortable and intuitive blood pressure monitor. It measures and stores your blood pressure, which you can access through the dynamic user interface.

The monitor is fully compatible with smartphone devices via the Braun Healthy Heart app, which lets you access your data anytime, anywhere and enter lifestyle data to create a complete picture of your health and lifestyle.

 

 

Why do I need an ActivScan 9?

It's time to start paying attention to what your body is telling you. High Blood Pressure is one of the major contributing factors to heart failure and research conducted by Braun tells us that almost two thirds of adults don’t consider themselves to have a healthy lifestyle.

Ask yourself what is more important, following the progress of your own blood pressure, or following the progress of some stranger and their cats on Instagram?

With ActivScan 9 you can synchronise this data with your calendar, include some lifestyle features like sleep, exercise diet etc. You can then see how all these variables impact your blood pressure. This information will be a great source of reference for your doctor when it comes to prescribing illnesses and monitoring your health.

Braun, whose new generation blood pressure monitors provide smart, intuitive readings that are easy to understand, is working with experts to help raise awareness of the benefits of regular monitoring and the positive lifestyle changes.

Their four leading experts specialise in Sleep (Elite Sport Sleep Coach), Mood (CEO of the Happiness Research Institute), Diet & Nutrition (@FitnessOnToast) and Hypertension (Medical).

 

 

My personal story

Around 5 years ago now I had a heart operation to correct a congenital heart defect, which remained undetected since birth. The condition was a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) which is common in premature babies although rare that it would have been undetected through 30 or so years of my life. The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that connects the two major arteries (Aorta & Pulmonary) whilst the baby is in the womb and is an essential part of blood circulation. This connection allows blood to be pumped from the right side of the heart straight to the aorta, without stopping at the lungs for oxygen. While a baby is in the womb, only a small amount of his or her blood needs to go to the lungs. This is because the baby gets oxygen from the mother's bloodstream. When the baby is born, the ductus arteriosus closes, allowing normal blood flow to your own lungs to get oxygen. Mine simply didn’t close and remained open or Patent.

In short having a PDA for 30+ years caused increased strain on my heart and therefore the heart was working harder to pump blood around my body, leading to my heart (left ventricle) becoming enlarged to counteract that increased workload. I always think about my heart now and how to care for it and monitoring blood pressure is an essential part of that.

It is hard to say what long-term strain or damage has been done to my heart if any, but what I do know is that this heart defect could have been fatal. I guess I was lucky that a) the PDA diameter wasn’t large (b) I have always led a healthy active lifestyle.

Detection of my heart defect was simple; the PDA causes a continuous heart murmur, always present, always detectable. The Braun ActivScan 9 can help detect high or low blood pressure and irregular heart beats, so if I had this device years ago, who knows I may have detected it much sooner.

 

How easy is it to use the ActivScan 9?

I know, it's another mouth to feed right? Another piece of technology we have to get to grips with. Luckily the ActivScan 9 is swift and easy to use. (Even I didn't need to read the instructions).

Once it has read your blood pressure it colour-codes your results, from green to red so you can interpret your heart’s health at a single glance.

The dynamic user interface is simple and intuitive to use and the full colour display is controlled by an easy navigation wheel and soft touch buttons.

Their custom-made, pinch-to-open cuff fits easily around your upper arm and uses soft inflate technology. This provides gentle measurement, enabling you to discover your blood pressure comfortably.

 

Where can I get my hands on one?

Braun blood pressure monitors are available to purchase from Boots. For more information visit the Braun website at www.braunbloodpressuremonitors.co.uk

 

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with Braun Blood Pressure Monitors.

Small Details, Big Differences | Men's Shoes

 Shoes After a good shoe shine.

Shoes After a good shoe shine.

No matter how well your suit fits or how many folds there are in your hand-made Neapolitan tie, it will all be in vain if your shoes are dirty. Well-cared for and polished footwear is the simplest way to improve your appearance. Handmade shoes are expensive but their value will be eroded if they are not properly cared for. On the other hand, a well-polished pair of shoes from the High Street will look significantly more expensive. If you value your appearance, you must take care of your shoes.

You need time, patience and the right kit.

Good quality polish is vital and I strongly recommend the products by Saphir. These are significantly more expensive than the usual supermarket brands but you are buying the absolute best and, compared to new shoes, they are a worthy investment. Also, these polishes will last a long time. Even when they appear to dry-out and there is little left, you will still be able to use and get many more shines from it. Never use “hi-shine” sponges….these contain silicon and will ultimately dry your shoes out. You will also need shoe cream, again Saphir produce some good ones but I also like the ones by Meltonian. To apply the polishes, I like an old poly-cotton t-shirt…the older the better. You also need brushes. I do not see the value in expensive brushes and use entry-level versions although some swear by horsehair.

 Shoes Before they have been polished.

Shoes Before they have been polished.

To polish your shoes, make sure they are clean and dry. Remove the laces and either put in shoe trees or stuff with old newspaper. Brush vigorously and then apply shoe cream with your rag. Creams come in various colours but you could get by using black and neutral. Once the cream is applied, allow to dry before polishing with your wax polish. It is important that both products are used. You should think of shoe cream as moisturiser and wax polish as make-up.

By applying small amounts of polish with a slightly dampened piece of cloth, you can obtain a mirror shine. Keep applying small amounts of the polish in small anti-clockwise movements and see the shine develop. To “finish” off, you could buff with a selvyt cloth. Selvyt is a specialist polishing textile and is not cheap but will last years. It can also be used to revive the shine between polishing. Do not neglect the heel or welt (where the upper is attached to the sole) and specialist welt brushes are available…but an old toothbrush works just as well. For cleaning heel the and side of the sole, you can buy “edge cream”…or you can use a black marker pen.

If your shoes are scuffed or scratched, they can be repaired by using “mirror gloss” by Saphir (I am not sponsored!). Mirror gloss is a harder wax that when mixed with water creates a hard finish, ideal for filling in small flaws. It can also be used, as the name suggests, to create military-grade shines. Once you get into the habit of polishing shoes, you will start to quite enjoy the process as it can be quite therapeutic and you will also enjoy the admiring glances your shined shoes will attract. But you might want to take it to the next level. You can experiment with brown shoes by using different coloured polishes…I would always suggest using a little black on your brown or burgundy shoes to give them an “antiqued” finish. But to really make an impression with your footwear, you need to seek the services of a “patina artist”. Not to be confused with the bootblacks you sometimes see (although they also offer a valuable service), the patina artist can re-colour your shoes and add all sorts of depth to the leather.

The Jaunty Flaneur on London’s Savile Row is one such service. For a small fee they can give your shoes a military shine or a full re-colour. To try the service, I gave them a pair of old Edward Green brogues I purchased back in 1992. I paid £95 for them back then but to replace them with a similar quality would cost me nearer £950 today! The result was impressive and I have gained a few more years wear out of them. I would highly recommend the service. Tom and PJ are both passionate about shoe-polishing and will happily pass on their knowledge and expertise.  They also stock the right kit to maintain at home. This isn’t a quick service, so be prepared to wait a few days but the results are worth the wait. They will often strip-off old layers of polish, this can be achieved at home but something I would prefer to leave to the professionals.

If you have a special occasion such as a wedding, an artisan-level shine will take your outfit to the next level.

Who is Making the Most Money on Love Island?

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Love it or hate it, you can't escape it. Love Island has built on its phenomenal success of last season and it's not just a ratings success, but a huge commercial success for the broadcasters ITV who managed to rake in over 2.3million viewers on ITV2 on Friday, more than the BBC and the ITV. 

 

Who is making money out of Love Island? 

The winner will get £50k, but it’s said they'll get hundreds of thousands from endorsements, live appearances etc. The show is sponsored by an entire myriad of commercial collaborations.

Love Island viewers can vote via the show's official app, which has previously been used to allow viewers to pick who leaves, who returns and who goes on dates with who.

The app also features a style page with links to buy clothes seen on the islanders and fans can listen to the official Love Island: The Morning After podcast there too.

 

Brand integration

The commercial success of Love Island is not just down to the alchemy of the contestants, their chiseled pecs or porcelain skins, but the integration of the brands used within the show.

One example being the clothes on the show being supplied by the shows partner Missguided. The daters were given daily outfits to last them through their time in the villa as a form of product placement, handing over bits from Missguided casual, summer, festival, and out-out product lines.

It targets that 16-34-year-old audience which until now has been a difficult lock to pick due to the younger generation watching the majority of their TV through other online platforms rather than the live experience. 

 

How much are these brands paying to be on Love Island? 

According to Steven Ballinger, MD for Investment at Ad agency Carat, the biggest sponsor is most likely Superdrug that will be paying in the regions of £4 million to be involved with the shows integration. 

Other brands integrated such as Kellogg’s and Thorpe Park that has a theme park ride dedicated to the show, will likely to be paying in the regions of £1 million for show integration. 

For a spot during the commercial breaks the estimated fees are likely to be between 30-50 thousand pounds. Which is a handsome sum, but compared to the £150k price tags that is demanded for a spot in the X-Factor, still relatively small. 

 

So is brand integration the future for broadcast networks? 

It seems likely. This show has changed the goalposts for product placements. ITV have also adopted the vertical integration by providing its own merchandise from the show. Nothing is more popular than the Love Island personalised water bottles that you might have already started seeing in the drinks holsters of the treadmills in your gym. 

The direct to consumer model eliminates many middle men, circumvents a lot of unnecessary supply chains and keeps the products accessibly priced for the younger markets. 

 

 

Help for Single People | The Dating Show Live

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Single men of the world stand fast! I have the conch and this is a call to arms for all my single brothers. Converge! I have some big and exciting news that could transform your single status. The world’s biggest dating show, The Dating Show Live will be making its debut at the NEC in Birmingham on 24th and 25th November, a once a year two-day event.

First Dates, the nation’s favourite TV dating show is coming “live” to run a Café right in the middle of the Show for all visitors.

 

I'm single but quite shy, can I take a friend?

Yes, absolutely! Group tickets start at £22 if you want to bring up to 4 friends and make it a social thing. If you think that being an introvert is holding you back then Nick Davies, Hypnotherapist/Psychotherapist will be helping folk to bolster their confidence. 

He's also on hand to help anyone get a toxic relationship out of their head so they can move on and on the Sunday, will be hypnotising a guy to make him the most attractive guy in the room.

 

Carl I'm doing ok with Tinder; do I really need to go? 

Well good for you dude! But you're not doing that well on Tinder if you're still on Tinder right? Unless your end game is to stay on Tinder for as long as possible. 

If you'd like some advice on how to use Tinder to its full potential, then Mr Tinder (the man most swiped right on Tinder) will be offering advice to men on his couch in “The Sitting Room”. 

But the very question of why you'd want to remain single is a good one, lets address that for a second. 

 

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Can you be happy and single? 

Sure, it's completely doable. But it's not until you find a great partner to share your woes and celebrate your wins that you realise how vacuous your single life was. 

There's also the landmark days like Valentine’s Day. The commercialism is terribly tacky, but the underlying feeling that you're missing out on something is palpable, no matter how much you remonstrate. 

Single wedding invites. Urgghh, to be capped with a celebration of other people hopelessly in love. Being the single dude at the wedding is almost like being wheeled out in a freak show as the man with 2 heads. 

The incessant set ups from mutual friends. I get it, no one wants to see Carl lonely but I consider myself more De Niro in Heat lonely than I do Richard Richard from Bottom lonely. Thanks for the reminder of the single stigmatism thought folks. 

 

What else is on at the Live Dating Event? 

If you're still not convinced whether this is worth your time and money, then perhaps ask yourself these questions. Are you any good at Speed Dating? How's the wardrobe looking, do people ever compliment you on your style? Are you up-to-date with all the latest grooming products and advice? 

These are just some of the topics that will be covered by specialists and brands at the event. John Scott, the TVs much-loved Stylist has teamed up with Cici, Style Icon from First Dates to run live fashion makeovers.

And if all that is too much for you then there is always the safe haven of the Beer Tent.

www.thedatingshowlive.com

 

Top 10 Film Locations You Can Visit in London

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One of the great things about living in London is the infinite amount of things you can see or do. I'm going to jump straight into this one and give you a tour of the top ten film locations you can visit in London.

 

Robin Hood and the Prince of Thieves St Barts Church

It posed for the Cathedral of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as well having featured in many films, Transformers, The Avengers, Four Weddings and a Funeral (final wedding) and Sherlock Holmes. 

It's five pound entrance fee and open week days, though best check their website for times as they are closed through during the week through the winter months. 

 

Skyfall

Ok this isn't an exotic location but it's right on the doorstep of St Barts Church and you can't miss it. As Tanner takes Bond to their 'new digs' he escorted down a winding road that leads down into leads the Smithfield Car Park in West Smithfield alongside the famous Smithfield Meat Market.

There are a couple of pubs dotted around the winding road you should have no problem finding one that will serve food. 

 

Batman's Police Station

Just up the road is The Farmiloe building that provided the interiors for Gotham City's Police Station in all the Christopher Nolan's Batman films. It's become a vacant event space, almost typecast as the abandoned warehouse where sh*t goes down. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Inception to name but a few. It's also provided the exteriors for Eastern Promises.

You can try calling the buildings representatives to see if they'll let you in for a nose round. The guy’s name is Matthew Mycock. What? I'm not laughing. Why are you laughing? 

 

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Harry Potter

From the Barbican head up two stops Kings Cross from the underground on either the Hammersmith & City, The Circle or the Metropolitan line.

The queues for this can be dreadful. That said, it's well organised. The Trolley is embedded into the wall by the Harry Potter shop. (They had to move in within the station as the real platform was getting over run with tourists). 

It's free to take pictures with your own phone or you can get a professional to take one that you can pay for in the shop. 

If you're looking to eat then Kimchee is just a two minute walk from the station. I recommend the Bibimbap, a mixed bowl of rice and sautéed vegetables topped with a fried egg and hot, stir-fried rice cakes, Bulgogi Ddukbokki. It gets busy so might need to book. 

 

James Bonds Flat!

You may as well right? Go see where James Bond lived in the Movie Spectre. That's where he orders Moneypenny to drop off the remnants of M's office. Which is ludicrous because she is walking with him, package in hand, and he tells her to drop it off at his place in the evening? 

If I were Moneypenny I would say 'Look Bond, I'm right here, with the box, why don't you take this from me now, save me schlepping across London to deliver it. We're not going to shag if that's what you're after. We haven't shagged in the 23 movies previous, we're not going to start now.' 

From Kings Cross jump on the Circle or the Hammersmith & City line. About 30 mins on the tube and you get off at Ladbroke Grove Station. From there it's a short walk to 1 Stanley Gardens, Notting Hill, W11. 

 

Whilst you're in Notting Hill

Yes, I think you've guessed it haven't you. Go to the Notting Hill Travel Book shop that was run by Hugh Grant in the movie Notting Hill. The only snag is there isn't a book shop there, the real book shop on which it was based closed down due to rising real estate, ironically boosted by the popularity of the film. According to the Movie Location blog

There is no ‘Travel Book Company’ on Portobello Road, the down-at-heel shop owned by William Thacker. The store was Nicholls Antique Arcade, then furniture store Gong, it’s now a gift shop/souvenir store, sensibly called – yes – Notting Hill142 Portobello Road (and rather cheekily replicating the film’s typeface). Somewhat misleadingly, the shop-owners have added an additional sign reading 'The Travel Book Shop'.

Next week we'll head over to West London. 

 

Jimmy Choo Man Blue | Fragrance Review

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A bottle of The Jimmy Choo Man Blue fragrance arrived on my doorstep the other day and I wanted to give you my first impressions.

Who is the Jimmy Choo Man Blue for?

Jimmy Choo are looking to target the hip urban gent. The kind of man that skates to work in his suit and espadrilles. He's probably called Will, has great hair, your girlfriend can't shut up about how funny he is at work. We universally hate Will. 

Yet that's because Will is the man we all yearn to be. Now Jimmy Choo has introduced Jimmy Choo Man Blue fragrance that will help you channel your inner Will. 

 

The Bottle and Packaging

If you're thinking this bottle is reminiscent of a hip flask, you'd be right. It's curved at the back and, oozes sophistication and has graduated lacquering. Although it looks elegant, the dip-dye blue fade makes it hard to photograph. (Did my best). But that's hardly a disparaging remark on the design, more a pointless whine from a photographer’s standpoint. 

Another of the brand's signatures, crocodile, is worked as a textured effect on the soft rubber cap. 

It has strong bold shoulders making this an uncompromising and masculine looking bottle. 

 

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Carl what does Jimmy Choo Man Blue Fragrance smell like? 

It doesn't have that aquatic fresh opening that you might expect. It has a very peppery front, and then the woody, earthy notes settle in. 

I'm guessing I was after something more summary, casual, afternoon-date or a brunch meeting in Lululemon. But in fact it's more serious. It has a leathery base and I try to discern the wood notes. I'm never to crash hot on distinguishing the sandalwood from the cedar wood. 

I'll revert to the quote from the master perfumer from Jimmy Choo, Nathalie Lorson

"I composed this set of textures around three impacting elements: the aromatic velvety texture of sage leaves, the grained and raw texture of leather and the smooth texture of sandalwood (that settles that one) to create a masculine and modern addiction." 

 

Would I buy Jimmy Choo Man Blue Fragrance? 

Jimmy Choo Man Blue retails at £32, £46 and £66 for 30ml, 50ml and 100ml respectively. 

I would definitely have this fragrance on my shelf. It projects well, is undeniably masculine, has decent silage (I got 7-8 hours) and the spicy notes compliment my style. I'm not entirely sure it does what it says on the tin. I can't imagine myself getting on a skateboard with my white sneakers anytime soon. Leave that to the youngsters. 

Can Men’s Clothes Get Any Cheaper?

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Have you noticed that your email junk folder is brimming lately with 'Summer Haul' and 'Price Slashes’? A lot of men’s e-commerce stores are having some real fire sales right now and I echo the sentiment of Sasha Wilkins who spoke about men’s fashion reaching 'peak stuff' on the Wake up to Money podcast. 

In the interview Sasha (the former editor for the Wall Street Journal) mentions that we simply can't cram anything more in our wardrobes. Of course I'm paraphrasing, but it hasn't gone unnoticed that e-commerce stores are reacting to what's happening on the high street. 

 

So is men's fast fashion here to stay? 

God I hope not. It's at times like these I remember the quote from Stacey Wood from King and Tuckfield when she spoke about her new collaboration with Richard Biedul

"Nowadays we buy a top for £15 and forget about it. People from our parents and our grandfather’s generations would wear their clothes and cherish them, even hand them down. We need to get that back." 

The bottom line is that men are becoming more fashion conscious with the rise of social media and digital influence. However, the majority have been paying rock bottom prices for clothes for so long that it's very difficult to persuade them otherwise. 

The trouble is the more affordable clothes from the likes of H&M and Zara are good value for money and thanks to Zara, seasonal drops are becoming a thing of the past. E-Commerce stores and retailers have to introduce new collections a lot quicker. 

That all said, whilst disposable fashion is stagnating price rises, these clothes will not last. They simply won't. 

 

Wait, have we completely done away with seasonal collections? 

My thoughts are, yes. At least we don't need 4 seasons. The climates in this country is like the showers Eddie Izzard describes in stand up, 'fantastically hot, or effing freezing'.

Travel has become wildly accessible so it doesn't make much sense to stick to this draconian format of four collections a year. 

 

Final thoughts

We will see more closures on the high streets. It will get worse before it can better.

You'll see more e-commerce stores introduce charges for click and collect because free deliveries won't be sustainable with the margins getting infinitely more squashed. 

In fact I'm already feeling the squeeze on my own e-commerce store Hawkins & Shepherd and can no longer offer free deliveries even to UK customers. Couriers are raising prices higher than inflation and quicker than ever before, meaning that it's really hard on our margins and even harder to pass on these price hikes to customers. At Hawkins & shepherd, we're now subsidising delivery costs for our customers, meaning that as a brand we swallow part of the costs and the customer continues to see a consistent delivery price over the years.

You'll see more luxury brands offering finance deals or pay-later options such as Klarna to make luxury goods more affordable. But what is Klarna

 

Paul Smith Hello You! Fragrance Review

The new fragrance from Paul Smith fell on to my lap the other day. It's a unisex fragrance, the bottle isn't gender bias and has a universal appeal. The striped Paul Smith logo is evident both on the box and on the side of the bottle. We know Paul Smith is an avid book collector and this logo placement is a deliberate, yet subtle nod to his love affair with books.

The bottle is square, transparent and the liquid is also clear with a hint of pale green. Possibly to pair the inside pastel green coloured box.

Look out for the pin up girl on the inside of the bottle. Paul Smith is a huge fan of the pin up girls that the pilots would paint on their aircraft in World War 2. This vintage-retro throwback has a universal appeal; I know the pin-up portrait tattoos are ubiquitous right now.

 

Carl enough about the bottle, what does Paul Smith Hello You fragrance smell like? 

It's very crisp, has a lovely opening. Immediately I was confronted with a freshness, a citrus delivery and some lavender notes.

On the dry down I reached some more green notes, which would have been the apple cores. I can't say I identified the bergamot or mandarin, but there is an overall citrus texture that projects well.

 

Would I buy this Paul Smith Hello You fragrance? 

This is a very everyday fragrance. Nothing heavy or overwhelming. It's worth noting that Paul Smith is the biggest British fashion brand and for a heavyweight in the industry, the price point is remarkably modest.

50ml £35, 100ml £45.

 

The silage was also impressive for a summer fragrance, I got 6 hours and change which was quite surprising. The base notes of patchouli and vetiver penetrated through, perhaps not as masculine as the website description might have you believe but it's certainly present.

The Paul Smith Hello You fragrance is available through their website, it would also make a decent gift because of its universal appeal.