My TK Maxx Winter Haul | Luxury Leathers & Stylish Knits

Fuelled by my rabid impetuosity to find some of the best menswear bargains on the high street, I took a jaunt down to TK Maxx this week. TK Maxx offers up to 60% less than the RRP on all its products and I know they're renowned for having some of the super big brands at amazing prices. 

My casual game is generally quite measured but it needed an injection of fun and I wanted to create an updated look for the Christmas parties and the inevitable photos that come with. Inside TK Maxx I felt somewhat unshackled. The fun of shopping had been renewed, probably because of the inexhaustible amount of clothes on offer.

Frugal shoppers looking to bring out their personal style and boost their inner confidence, will baulk less at the prices of the unique clothing in TK Maxx than in any other store. 


Come on Carl, tell us what you bought from TK Maxx? 

Ok keep your pantyhose on. As we move into AW18 you'll see a lot more winter hues, greys, blacks, tans as well as a couple of much needed accessories.  

You're not going to believe that I picked out this Grey Roll Neck Knit for £49.99 reduced from £175. The best thing about getting compliments on this piece is telling people how much I bought it for. 

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At a scoop, I managed to nab this Tan Knit jumper for £24.99 reduced from £95. It works perfectly offering a distinguished contrast under both my Navy Cashmere Overcoat and my grey windowpane check blazer. The sleeves on the jacket are a little shorter than I'd normally go for, but it works perfect to highlight the contrast and strikes a great visual balance. 

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Perhaps the biggest bargain of the day, was finding this black leather bag reduced to £69.99 from £375. A stylish accoutrement, especially when you have as many out of office meetings as I do. The quality is incontestable and it's not only men’s bags that TK Maxx offer in the accessory department. 

I couldn't refuse these black leather gloves, reduced from £45 to £19.99. The cold snap is already here and trust me, you can craft many more snowballs if you have your hands covered. Great product doesn’t hang around, so head in store or online now to get everything you need for the power season, because once it’s gone – it’s really gone!

LASTLY THE TK MAXX NEVERENDING STOCKING

You need to keep your eyes peeled when visiting TK Maxx as there are 80+ never-ending stockings up and down the country, hiding in a TK Maxx near you. If you manage to find Stocko you'll be one of the lucky winner's entitled to a year's supply of presents! Check out the latest campaign online and follow the hashtag #FindStocko to join in the fun. 

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with TK Maxx.

Clothes for the Grey Moods | Men's Style Edit

I received such blandishments on a recent Instagram post that I felt it would be remiss of me not to write a line or two about it. 

A good friend of mine Darren Branch recently and astutely recognised that my Instagram page has been ladled with a palpable greyness. That's partly because it's turned so bitterly cold and bleak out there. 

This outfit though I'm particularly pleased with as it engenders and reflects a certain melancholy that comes with the change of season. 

The Peacoat is a perfect coat for winter by French Connection, and I've written extensively about the Deluxe Pile Coat on my blog.  It's double breasted but because it's a peacoat and not a trench or overcoat, you can wear it open and it doesn't lose its shape. 

I've teamed that with a simple medium-weight cotton button down shirt underneath; quite figure hugging, as is the black stretch denim jeans from Topman that I've double-cuffed at the bottom. 

The lace up brogue boot from Goodwin Smith is the real show pony of the ensemble. This Sherwood Men's Leather Brogue Boot is more formal than the brown pair I own. I paired those with the cashmere overcoat you can find in a previous style edit

Finish off the look with some on-trend Serge Denimes jewellery. 

These shots were taken by the wonderful Sophie Milner, who is just a delight to work with and not only manages to capture my outfit, but captures my mood also. 

SHOP THE STYLE EDIT

Karl Lagerfeld & "That" Varsity Jacket | Men's Style Edit

Today I want to introduce you to the Sebastien Varsity jacket from Karl Lagerfeld. Made from Blue and white leather, cashmere and virgin wool (my favourite kind of wool) featuring a ribbed collar, a front button fastening, long sleeves, side pockets and a ribbed hem and cuffs.

I have fetishised over owning a Varsity Jacket for some time. I get oddly gooey and nostalgic for no good reason when I see Varsity Jackets. Perhaps it’s a sign of a misspent youth growing up watching brat-pack films like Breakfast Club, The Faculty, Teenwolf, the collegiate look, when done right, holds much reverie in the 16 year old Carl Thompson.  

But Carl, why am I paying over £700 for a Varsity Jacket? 

Great question and here's your answer. Karl Lagerfeld is one of the biggest marquee named designers in the western world, naturally you're paying for the name. The brand strikes an effortless balance between timeless classics and contemporary, cutting-edge cool. As the man himself says, “Fashion is a game that has to be played seriously.”

With the name comes the quality assurance. The materials are genuine premium fabrics. More entry level brands will offer synthetic equivalents on their Varsity Jackets (polyester, viscose and elastane) and the sleeves will be almost certainly made of faux leather. Which is fine, but just remember you get what you pay for. 

Notes on Care

Don't wear out on a stag-do. Don't lend to any of your friends named Monkey or Dangerous Dave. Dry Clean only. It has cashmere in it so don't let the missus or mum anywhere near it. 

How to style 

The jacket is casual, but I'd refrain from pairing it with anything stone wash. Match the dark blue with black jeans, distressed or not is up to you. There's an increasing trend for inner layers to be pulled out and beyond the outer layers these days. 

Notice the model has an oversized jumper in comparison to the length of the jacket. The jacket is cuffed at the bottom so don't fight it. Wear it open with a graphic jumper or sweater that mirrors the quality of the jacket. 

SHOP THE STYLE EDIT

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

Clergerie launch new AW18 collection for MEN

Clergerie has launched a brand new AW18 Collection for men and in this article I'm going to be giving you a sneak preview and some styling guides. The first men’s collection designed by Creative Director David Tourniaire-Beauciel represents a fresh start for Clergerie. 

 

Who are Clergerie? 

Clergerie is a French show brand founded in 1981 with ateliers dating back to 1895 blending a continuous research in design with outstanding manufacturing techniques and feminine shapes with masculine details. (Sounds like Caitlyn Jenner's Tinder profile). 

Men’s shoes are a natural expansion of the brand, which was founded on the dialogue between masculine and feminine and made in its ateliers once dedicated to men’s shoes in Romans-sur-Isère, in Southern France.

The brand DNA was therefore the starting point for Tourniaire-Beauciel for designing the collection, which includes some cross-over styles with the women’s line.

The highlight of the season is the signature articulated sole, available in stacked leather and an extra light version in micro, on brogues, moccasins and boots, available in calfskin or metallic leather.

 

THE SILVER SHOE

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I've highlighted the ARY Specchio Calfskin Silver Oxford with brogue detailing around the toe cap. I'm loafed to see any Oxford styled with joggers, although I respect my contemporaries for doing so it's not a style choice for me. 

The Oxford is still a formal shoe and should be treated as such. However, the colour, the brogue detailing, lends itself to a more casual look so you can afford to go sockless and style with a cuffed hem. Try and deliver some contrast to the silver with a black jean or chino. These are currently available for £525. 

 

THE PLATFORM

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The Handwoven Raffia is a basket weave derby with an exaggerated elevation. Perfect look for the short guy. 

The platform or elevated heel is a tricky one to pull off as most shoes will try and conceal the fact that it has a prominent heel. Here Clergerie is encouraging you to own your height by drawing attention to these ostentatious shoes. These are currently available for £445. 

 

THE BIKER BOOT

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The Callum Camel vegetable-tanned/black calfskin Biker boot has been produced in the classic style. With supple leather uppers and no gimmicky side zips to break the silhouette. 

It's Goodyear welted with a round toe and if worn will sit perfect with any other leathers or paired with a classic denim look. These are currently available for £645. 

 

The Clergerie’s FW18 men’s collection will be sold worldwide online and through selected retailers.

An insiders look | Pitti Uomo Autumn/Winter 2018

Video Credit: Aaron Christian

Every six months, the menswear community travel to Florence to attend the best and most elegant menswear show: Pitti Uomo. It was the 93rd edition and a record 36,000 visitors mingled with over 1200 brands for the four day event.

My first trip to the show was in the summer of 2003 when I was the tailoring buyer for Ede & Ravenscroft. It was an incredible experience to see so many great brands. I particularly liked how the larger companies such as Hugo Boss and Canali could share a platform with smaller, artisan brands. The show is held in a medieval fort (The Fortezza de Bassa) but the spirit of the show captures the whole of the City. The streets and bars are alive with visitors from around the globe. No other trade show that I know of has such an effect. Of course, Florence is a beautiful place and no matter how many times I have visited, I am still impressed by the beauty of The Duomo that was the inspiration for Christopher Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral.

Of course, one of the great pleasures of visiting Pitti, is the people-watching and social media has had a seismic effect on this practise. There were always a few photographers capturing street style but they were few in number and non-disruptive. They would approach you politely and ask your permission before taking your image. But then Scott Schuman and The Sartorialist changed everything! His street photography was so popular that some would spend a few days trying to be photographed…and the outfits became more and more extreme.

Pitti gives us menswear folk the opportunity to wear clothes that in the real world would gain attention…two-tone shoes, wide legged trousers, exaggerated lapels and ultra-short jackets are often the norm. So we have seen the birth of the “Pitti Peacocks”…men who visit the show with the main objective of being captured by one of the many street photographers, who no longer ask permission (who would decline?) and dress in the most extreme fashions. Bright coloured suits, pocket squares, hats, fancy shoes. I am not sure who these men are and what role they have in the industry but they are a constant fixture, fuelled by Instagram (The ‘peacocks social media of choice).

Pitti 93 seems to be a vintage year. My favourite stand was Corneliani who had an impressive display of wrap DB coats, chunky knits, relaxed trousers accessorised with luxury luggage and vintage sports cars. It was good to see a big brand put on a big show. Many pulled out in favour of private “invitation-only” affairs in Milan or Paris and I hope more return. Knitwear worn with tailoring was so ubiquitous, it feels wrong to call it a trend. The fashion for over-shirts is continuing, and Marol 1959 had some beautiful versions in lightweight worsted wools. A good overshirt can be worn over a polo shirt, fine gauge knitwear, or even another shirt and are great for travelling. Expect to see more of them in the High street this year. Tailoring was a little looser and easier with the over-tailored, ultra-skinny fit looking very dated along with the overly narrow lapels.

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It is an irony that I have to travel to see the best British shoe brands in one place, but there is no UK show where Edward Green, Loake, Cheaney, Sanders etc all exhibit together. The UK shoe industry is in good health with interest and buyers from all over the world. English shoes are the best in the world and they avoid seasonal trends but I have noticed more offerings of chunkier soles combined with elegant styles, and the colour palettes are beyond the traditional black and browns. Dark navy is a particular favourite shade but I also saw smart offerings in grey and green.

Colours that would have offended my traditional tastes not that long ago!

I hope I am not turning into a peacock!

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Photo Credits to: collective AKAstudio