Hawkins & Shepherd Celebrates its 6th Year | A look into their future plans

Today I mark the 6th year anniversary of Hawkins & Shepherd. I want to thank many of my new and existing customers who not only support the brand, but reach out to me personally to thank me for the quality of service. 

The luxury shirtmaking industry is a fiercely competitive one. London has a great pedigree of manufacturing made to measure shirts, I'm humbled and proud to align myself (dare I say) with some of the marquee names such as Emma Willis, New & Lingwood, Turnbull & Asser etc. 

Whilst I might not have quite the history of some of these notorious ateliers, I've been inspired by their commitment to quality. As Hawkins & Shepherd continues to grow I want to give you some tiny insights into what lies in store for Hawkins & Shepherd. 

Sustainability. I'm currently looking into different fabrics that can provide a more eco-friendly alternative to cotton. The eco-textile market is an ever shape-shifting landscape and it's very much early days, but I can tell you I'm currently keeping an eye on reports out of Finland on a fabric called Ioncell that's derived from birch trees. 

The website will be getting an overhaul to enable a more slick user experience. I'm currently in talks with 3 developers that will help bring my vision to reality.  

I'm also looking to offer more style advice on what to wear for formal occasions. As you may have seen in recent weeks I've had the pleasure and privilege to be invited to some of the most prestigious events in the country such as Ascot, Goodwood and Henley

I don't want anyone to be floundered at what to wear to these events. DM me or comment below for any advice, more than happy to help. 

I've also teamed up with some other mens fashion influencers to offer unique discount codes on some of my shirts. I don't want to give too much away at this point but stay tuned James Bond fans! 

All these ideas I'm implementing to help strengthen my position in the luxury shirt market. As well as constantly releasing new seasons collections such as the New Cashmerello range, I'm also in the throes of recording 'versus' YouTube videos, pitching my shirts against other high street brands. 

If you're interested in knowing what makes a luxury shirt and the differences you should be looking out for, please check a previous post on The Perfect Shirt

The Perfect Shirt | Top 5 Ways to Know if You’re Buying a Luxury Shirt

Today I’m going to give you 5 things that make the difference on a luxury dress shirt. I’ve been running Hawkins & Shepherd for around 6 years now and have acquired a lot of knowledge and experience in the shirt making industry. Here are some things that I look out for immediately when determining the quality of a shirt.


The collar on a man’s dress shirt needs to be high quality. The first thing I look for is edge stitching. What is edge stitching? This is a term given when the stitching runs to the edge of the seam It’s harder to do as a tailor because there is less room for error so therefore it takes longer. It’s a technique that takes greater skill.

Most shirts will have quarter edge stitching.

Another thing to look out for on the collar is whether the collar is non-fused. There will be a lining in a collar that is sometimes fused to the fabric on one if not both sides. It’s a cheaper and quicker way to manufacture shirts. Sadly that adhesive used to fuse the collar can perish and react with the fabric over time and washes. You may have recognised a bubbling effect on your collars if you’re buying entry level shirts. To test whether you are buying a quality dress shirt you should be able to pull the fabric away from the lining on both sides. 

Lastly don’t forget about the removable collar stays. Entry level shirts will have them fused in which can be problematic when ironing. Plus ironing over plastic is not desirable and over time will leave nasty indentations on the collar.


Let’s talking about stitching on a dress shirt. Stitching is the most expensive part when it comes to manufacturing. Especially if the shirt is composed using single needle side seam stitching. (Try saying that after one too many Heinekens). A cheaper method of manufacturing is to use the double needle. But single needle leaves a beautiful finish.  


The all-important split yoke. I’m talking about the block of fabric situated on the back of the shirt that sits over the shoulders. A split yolk means that 2 pieces of fabric lay over the shoulders. It fits better on the shoulders and there is more flow if you have a split yolk. If there is a pattern shirt then it’s more of a design aspect as to whether you chose to have a split yoke.

Personally I like a non-split yoke when its striped or checked. Watch for a split yoke on a lower quality shirt, quite often the patterns will not match up. 


I love it clean no stitching. These might come down to personal preferences but there are certain features that will distinguish a luxury dress shirt.

The front placket should without question have mother of pearl buttons mother of pearl buttons, tightly sewn to the placket.

 Every buttonhole should be sewn vertically, apart from the bottom one. This needs to be sewn horizontally which will allow freedom of movement. The bottom button hole will often be the one that sees the most action and needs to flex with the body.  

Talking of movement, look at the gusset of the shirt. A well-constructed shirt will have the triangle area to allow for more movement. It also cleans the hem to a nice finish.

 Some shirts are over engineered with different fabric on the front. I personally don’t see this as a luxury choice. Just extra fuss and a distraction.

The fabric entry level for a luxury shirt will be a  cotton twin 100's. The higher you go up in the yarn count the finer is going to be and more often the softer. Lower yarn count like 40’s, 60’s will be a thicker fabric and not conducive for a dress shirt.


It’s crucial that the shoulders line up pattern wise with the arms. Again there should be no fused linings in the cuff. I also look for a smaller button on the sleeve placket. I love double button cuff personally, but that it not deemed a feature of luxury, more tradition. If I have a sharp cut in the collar I would also look the same in the cuff, rounded cuffs and collar. 

It's Time to Talk About Carl

Carl Thompson Blogger.jpg

I was made aware of the defamatory article anonymously and callously published on the medium.com website, which has named my e-commerce business Hawkins & Shepherd and myself personally amongst other businesses and influencers.

I'd like to take this opportunity to clear a few things that have circulated some social commentary since the article was published. It's been a very traumatic week for me personally having to be on the receiving end on what I consider to be a pernicious article, published on an open platform without approval or checks for authenticity.

It's been very tough keeping emotion out of this. Some of the scathing consistent attacks I would even categorise as cyber-bullying. I'll do a follow up article to this about that in due course.

Now I'm a 38 year old man. I've developed a thick skin and can rely on a certain muscle memory to get me through this kind of onslaught. I don't suffer from depression but I feel anxiety pangs like anyone else. 

When my phone pings, my heart races. I don't even want to look at my phone right now.

But some of the bloggers I've spoken to that are implicated in this article have only just turned 20. I've had private conversations with them who are on the verge of having a break down. 

Now I don't want to advocate for one second the flagrant use of ‘Insta fraud’ as it’s been labelled. I think the industry is on the mend. I think it's right to highlight where the regulations need to serve the industry better. I can speak about this because I have reformed. I used to follow and unfollow around two years ago but that's not my scene anymore. 

However, I think this article is more a personal attack, laden with spite, resentment, with a pernicious undercurrent and I want people to realise that we're still dealing with human beings.

People that share and retweet thinking they're throwing a spotlight on the issue of Instafraud, are actually sharing an article that was removed, with unfounded accusations from an anonymous source. It's cut deep into the people that are implicated, and is still having a profound effect. 


I've not risen to any of the comment threads on social media that are continuing a very aggressive media attack on my name and brand.

Instead I've been spending my time talking to the brands and management companies of whom I've had the pleasure of working for and alongside as an ambassador for many years, reassuring them of the inaccuracies in the article, of which I'll get into soon.

I have a very open and honest relationship with these brands (there names I will refrain from disclosing for now) I've been honoured to work for and I've been overwhelmed with the support I've received in return. You can see some of the messages of support I've received below. 

From one brand:

"A member of our team did see the article, but I’m aware that we’ve already spoken to you about your historical follower pattern. We were satisfied with the conversation we had with you and are happy to continue working with you on projects that we feel you are suited." 

From an agency: 

"Hey Carl. We were made aware of the article last week and having read it we agree it comes from a place of spite. The “facts” presented are heavily laden with opinion, conjecture and are overall slanderous to everybody mentioned.

We also realised it was quickly removed. I think your statement on the article is strong and unemotional which is more than can be said for the original author of the article itself. It’s a shame that you’ve been put in a position whereby you need to address it.

On a personal level it doesn’t change how we view you nor alter how we’d like to work with you moving forward.

If you need anything from us to help support you then just let us know."


Some of this might sound like lawyer talk, because I wanted to detach my emotions and just deal with the facts.


“Allegedly another one of the biggest cheats in the Men’s fashion space, Carl Thompson is one of the biggest frauds out there in terms of inorganically growing his account. His cheating goes as far back as records go, which is January 2016. From January 2016 until July 2017 he aggressively followed and unfollowed hundreds of people per day, cheating his Instagram and cheating his way to over 54,000 from practically nothing.”

Back in 2016 it wasn’t unusual to follow a lot of accounts. I personally followed thousands of people - every blogger, friend, fashion enthusiast etc, who I knew as part of the Instagram community and who helped to shape my own style.

From around April 2016 to April 2017, I used to follow some accounts and have engaged with them, later unfollowing.

I want to note here that despite what the article says, by that point, I have already amassed around 20-25,000 followers from my consistent men’s fashion Instagram posts, presenting and TV appearances.

Instagram at that time was mainly to promote my business Hawkins & Shepherd, where I invested over £100,000 of my own money, and for the love of the industry and the fashion.

During that time I did not know where the Influencer marketing would go and if I would be a part of it. It was a very new industry with no guidance.

In summary, with all due respect to the anonymous authors, I’m a massive part of this very much nascent industry and I have earned the respect from multiple fashion designers, business owners, journalists, PR’s and other Influencers.

“After the scandal of July 2017, he then appeared to have stopped, and his account has been in decline since, which is no coincidence. His Instagram name comes from the brand he owns (which also has manipulated Google reviews), but he uses this to promote himself as a blogger, and has a blog in his own name, carlthompson.co.uk.”

I have stopped following and unfollowing in April 2017 when I realised that this form of marketing had a serious influence on consumers and that it was something that I wanted to be a part of for the long-term.

In addition, I have been building trusted relationships with brands and wanted to offer a great ROI. My Instagram account did slowly decline for a while, however, I actually have perceived that trend as a good thing because real followers who may have just followed me because I followed them, decided to unfollow.

As the rate of decline was very slow and gradual, I have still been gaining followers and have been retaining ones that truly wanted to engage with my posts. What the article fails to mention is that my Instagram account is growing again and has never been more engaged. I would like to comment here that I have never bought fake followers.

Screenshot 2019-02-11 at 15.19.42.png

I would like to point out that the comment regarding my e-commerce business Hawkins & Shepherd being a “complete slander” is based on no evidence whatsoever, which again just highlights  the fact that this article is a personal attack.

Hawkins & Shepherd has 400 reviews, all 100% verified customers that have to be legally registered on the Yotpo review platform that I use. Below is a screenshot of this:

Screenshot 2019-02-11 at 15.12.09.png

The Google Reviews that the article has suggested were also manipulated in fact are genuine reviews, most are customers and some are from friends/family that I’ve gifted product to and they have kindly written a review.

“He is one of the most disingenuous and fake Influencers out there. The perfect example is working with several shaving brands, pretending to use their razors and products, then his beard magically stays on his face in the next photo, despite claiming that the razor is good and he’s apparently shaved it off.”

I regard the opening statement  as defamatory with the purported “supporting evidence” taken out of context.

My captions and images have been consistently well received, I have invested  a considerable amount of time and effort in creating these images and in ensuring that the content is exactly what the brands expect and is of an exceptional quality.

“This was comically seen when he posted about Harry’s and more recently Gillette and their razor blades, foaming up his face with razor in hand, and in the very next photo, his facial hair magically re-appeared a day later. Either the razor is not very good, he grows hair like a werewolf or he’s lying. We’ll let you be the judge.”

Whilst I applaud the anonymous author on his/her diligence in finding the one inconsistency from over 1,800 posts on my Instagram channel, posts on my Instagram grid rarely correlate to a physical date/time timeline.

When working with brands many posts have to be vetted and authenticated weeks, sometimes months in advance. The consistency of my beard between posts is arbitrary.

“He holds almost no authority, no influence and is disliked by many of the other men’s fashion bloggers and influencers, for cheating with his Instagram and being incredibly fake. His Instagram engagement is currently at 2.06%, and has been manipulated.”

I have no comment regarding this other than I have evidence to the contrary available to brands on request.


The Hard Rock Hotel invited me as an unpaid guest to create content on their behalf. After seeing the results of the engagement and the quality of the content provided, I was invited to promote their newly opened Hard Rock Hotel in London.

“He has now set up a new ego website, to showcase his arrogance and for people to believe that he’s kind of a big deal. “Who Is Carl Thompson .co.uk” is a website telling you who he actually is.”

The website https://www.whoiscarlthompson.co.uk/ serves as an online visual Media Pack/CV. It serves no other purpose other than to provide detailed information on my portfolio.

“According to it, he’s a TV presenter, model, influencer, photographer, YouTuber, business owner, blogger.”

Each of these are correct and accurate. I’m happy to forward on examples of each on request.

“It seems he craves the fame, being on First Dates along with Dinner Date.”

I make no apologies for appearing on these shows that are watched and adored by millions of viewers.

“According to his Instagram, he’s currently an ambassador for Haigclub, Jo Malone and Kobox. He has worked with Debenhams, House Of Fraser, Panasonic, ECCO Shoes, 360 Coffee, tk Maxx, Lab Series, Kronaby, Starbucks, Philips, Reiss, Burton, Mazda, and many more.”

That is correct and I’m extremely proud to have worked with each of these brands.




TOP 10 UK MEN’S LIFESTYLE BLOG 2017, 2018, 2019.


These are all based around official Google blog statistics, domain-authority, quality of writing and imagery. Voted by industry professionals.


Earlier this year, I have published my Blog Statistics with screenshots of Google analytic data (I note the extremely low 1.03% bounce rate for the year of 2018).




My channel has around 8,800 Subscribers with a very engaged following and has almost 1million views on the videos published.




Carl Thompson: All the Stats from my Blog Revealed

I was recently asked in an interview where will I be in 5 years. Currently I'm writing this on a retreat in Bali, with no return ticket, with no plans or agenda. The blog is a great platform for me to empty all my thoughts on men’s lifestyle. 

It's sometimes cathartic, sometimes a chore. But it's become an extension of me and I was thrilled to get nominated last year in the Top 6 UK Men’s Lifestyle Blogs by Vuelio. Today I want to share a couple of facts, stats and behind the scenes trivia. 


I normally get up at the crack and meditate on a particular subject or campaign whilst out walking Charlie across Clapham Common. By the time I return to the desk I hammer out 300 words, just empty my head and then leave it. That takes about 15 minutes. When you do this for as long as I have you realise that writers block is a myth. No one is going to read every blog, or every word in that blog. (I'm amazed you're still with me right now). 

I'll then come back to the article later in the day, mid-afternoon or dinner. Do a quick edit, fact check, tweak and post. All told I make sure that a blog never goes past the hour mark. 


I'm very pleased to have such a wide demographic of people that are tuning in to the blog. Naturally my audience is hugely UK and London centric. With over 73k users finding their way to my site I'm pleased to have developed a large contingent in the US, India and Canada. 


This is a very interesting one, and not uncommon in the male blogging industry. Women are tuning into my blog as well as men. I'm very pleased that women are reading my posts, finding style and gifting ideas for themselves or their partners. 

I read plenty of women blogs and tune into discussion lead podcasts myself.

The age range is very much my own, written by me for me I guess. But an undeniable peak of the 25-34 range. 


That's right, I've been burying the lead. The bounce rate on my blog is the statistic that I'm most proud of. What is a Bounce Rate? 

From Google 'It is the percentage of visits in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further. Google analytics calculates and report the bounce rate of a web page and bounce rate of a website.' 

In other words, people are coming to the site and having a mooch around. They haven't come there by mistake. They've not been put off by my mug and ran to the hills. 

According to an article by Go Rocket Fuel the most common bounce rate for blogs is between 35% - 40%. Anything above 70% is disappointing. 


So a genuine quick thanks for everyone that reads and visits my blog. (Still reading this? Oh you are a saint, you know that you've just notched up my retention stats so thank you).

DISCLAIMER: All statistics are genuine screenshots from Google Analytics for the date range 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2018. My blog carlthompson.co.uk talks about everything men’s lifestyle.

UK Shirt Subscription Service | Hawkins & Shepherd

I've been asked on a variety of occasions to explain the minutia of the shirt subscription service on Hawkins & Shepherd, so I'd like to walk you through it. 

Why do I need a shirt subscription service? 

Reason One

Shirts are the most used item of clothing a man could own. Unlike our American counterparts, us Brits rarely wear a vest beneath the shirts so the garment is in constant contact with our skin. Meaning it should be washed or dry cleaned more regularly. 

We also wear out our shirts quick. The elbows start to perish as they meet every day demands of being rubbed on our desks. The collars start to deteriorate and discolour. It's important for someone who wears shirts daily not only to equip oneself with a decent supply of shirts, but to have them on rotation. 

Reason Two 

You also don't want to be the guy in the office that is Mr Predictable. You don't want your co-workers to think 'he's wearing his Monday shirt' or 'he's wearing that shirt still with the toothpaste stain on the chest'. 

You're redoubtable presence in the office will not go unnoticed if you appear fresh and well-groomed for the workplace every day. 

Reason Three

Save time, save money. You don't need to shop around and look for discounts, waste weekends fruitlessly maundering the high street in search of your correct size. With the Hawkins & Shepherd subscription service we take out all the heavy lifting and ship direct to your door. 

How does the shirt subscription service work? 

We have broken the subscription service down into 3 tiers, dependent on budget and how demanding your lifestyle can be. 

Enthusiast - One Shirt per Month 

If you are a business traveller or maybe you just love the feel a crisp new shirt gives you, then this is the package for you. You can either opt for a 6 month or 12 month subscription package. UK Customers Only. You'll be asked for a few details such as collar size, colour and fit and once selected we'll be sending a shirt out to you every month at 40% off the price of an average shirt. 

Executive - One shirt every 2 months

If you wear shirts every day for work, they can become stiff, discoloured and worn. Keep up your sartorial game with this package. 

With a 12 month subscription package you'll be able to get 6 shirts a year at 30% off. 

Essential - One shirt every quarter

Everyone should to be able to wear a Hawkins & Shepherd luxury shirt. Split the cost of one shirt over the period of 3 months with this package. This is a great deal for those that are on a limited spend, but still want to have the option of getting a fresh look with an investment piece. With the Essential package you'll be getting 4 shirts a year with a 20% discount. 

If you have any questions regarding this service then please do not hesitate to ask. We aim to answer all questions within 24 hours. 


Goodwin Smith Shoes Spring/Summer 2017 Collection Collaboration


I'm incredibly proud to be a part of this collaboration to showcase the Spring/Summer 2017 shoe collection by Goodwin Smith. Their new SS17 collection includes some classic formal shoes, suede Chelsea boots, beautiful brogues and some on-trend trainers. When I first looked at the Goodwin Smith collection that I would be styling with my very own wardrobe I noticed how diverse it was, from formal office shoes to casual trainers and everything in-between. This is why I tried to style my clothing to be very formal then gradually transitioning into smart-causal then casual looks, whilst attempting to showcase the shoes with some bold socks.










Goodwin Smith Shoes



Photography by Charlie Sawyer

The Evolution of my Instagram Feed @HawkinsAndShepherd

I started Instagram and blogging about 2 years ago this month (no I'm not going to buy a big number 2 balloon and make a big deal of it!). The journey and growth has been better than I can ever had imagined but most importantly I've enjoyed every minute of it. Actually thats a lie, sometimes when you are doing a photoshoot hungover in the rain with passers by laughing at you, isn't ideal! So why did I start Instagram and why the name HawkinsAndShepherd?

Instagram was a way to get free promotion for my own business called Hawkins & Shepherd hence the name. Hawkins & Shepherd is my own brand where I sell men's formalwear such as shirts, suits, coats and ties online through our store. After a good few months of wearing my own shirts and suits and posting on Instagram, I realised that this would soon dry up and content would become pretty one-sided, boring and stagnant. That was when I decided to start buying and wearing other menswear brands and use my knowledge of the fashion industry and styling to help men dress better. My style is incredibly varied mixing smart formal attire and casual everyday wear, I like to appeal to a large variety of guys whether they are dressing for an interview, first date or just going to the shops. As you can see from a few of my early posts on Instagram, it was very much about the Hawkins & Shepherd shirts, some of my celebrity friends wearing them and of course Charlie, my French Bulldog.



Looking back at the middle era of my blog, I didn't really have anything different about me, my style and imagery and felt like it wasn't really going anywhere. If I'm honest with myself, I didn't care enough, I just brought cheap clothing for the sake of photographing something and just posted it regardless. Now I'm much more picking with what brands I wear and who I promote - it has to be in my style and I truly have to love what I'm wearing. Back to this grey period of my Instagram evolution, I didn't care much about the locations in which I shot my outfits, even a dirty brown brick wall would do. This showed in my feed, I was also totally over editing my photos, especially with contrast which I look back now - what was I thinking!


Late in 2015 was when I started to realise the potential of what could be achieved with Instagram.  By both promoting my own clothing through Hawkins & Shepherd and also creating a new influencing business promoting other brands for a fee. I started to find my style and was much more confident with everything from working with PR companies, directly with brands and was even starting to feel pretty comfortable behind the camera and a videocamera. 


Early in 2016 was a time where I sat down and said to myself 'I need to up my game' and from that moment on, I never looked back. I spent time critiquing my work and tried to work out how I could be different and why would brands want to work with me, what can I offer to show real value? My basic conclusion was to just be myself and don't try to emulate someone else who is deemed to be successful in the Instragam world - whats the point in doing Instagram if you are just copying style, astetics and ideas from others. 


It still took me a while to find exactly what my uniqueness was, it was a major period of trial and error. The biggest game-changer was working with some incredible photographers BeckyElla and Kylie and speaking to them to find my perfect balance of style and showcasing London's hidden corners. I've started to use my dog Charlie in more photos, as he is an absolutely gorgeous dog but the main difference is that both myself and the photographers I use spend hours trying to find the best locations around London - fashion meets London archeteture is what I like to be known for. I've worked out a unique editing to my photos which took a very long time to perfect, using a mixture of Photoshop and Instagram's own editing options. It's kind of like a recipe...a splash of contract, a cup of shadow and a teaspoon on saturation!

I just want to finish off this post by saying thank you all for your support and advice during this incredible 2 years of mine. What's in store for the next 2 years? Maybe a bit more travel but certainly a lot more fashion, style and interiors...oh and of course Charlie!

Thanks for reading, Carl xx


You're Invited to the Party | 5 Party Season Styles by Burton Menswear

Finally I can share this incredible campaign with you that I worked on with Burton Menswear and we're inviting you to the party. We are helping you to up your sartorial game with a fresh few looks for this party season. Our outfits are styled completely from the Burton Menswear party season collection and are unique from each other, so you'll always find a style that is right for you. Let me know whose style you prefer most.





















Autumn Menswear Trends | Layering with Next

Autumn is a month to start layering your t-shirts with new autumn/winter knitwear or a jacket. It really is as simple as it sounds, so I went shopping at Next to find my perfect autumnal layers. What I look at when shopping for autumn knitwear is different to winter knitwear as I prefer a lighter wool and something that isn't too chunky. I've found that Next have really focused on these transitional pieces of clothing which is why I've chosen them for this menswear autumn trend article.

This post is all about layering, so I picked up my off-white longline t-shirt and decided to style my outfit around that in neural or achromatic colours. This is a casual look that I would wear going down the pub, maybe a bit of shopping - I mean it's a classic style that you can pretty much wear anywhere actually. With that in mind, I stuck to a grey theme and immediately found this grey wool blend flight jacket with white collar. Straight after I found a pair of white trainers with a touch of grey on the heel - perfect...someones winning today! To complete the look this Next grey roll neck knitted jumper and dark navy skinny jeans compliment the rest of the outfit perfectly and within a quick 15 minute shop I've found everything I needed - now time for a coffee.



Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Where I shop for specific items of men's clothing

Everyone has their favourite shops that you head directly to, without passing GO or grabbing a coffee, when arriving at Bluewater, London Westfield or on Oxford Street. Well I'm no different. Depending on what I'm looking for I'll head straight to the brands that I know, fit well, are within budget and that I have brought from before and loved. With this outfit I did just that and here is where I brought each item from and why.

Firstly lets discuss the specs. I have had my eyes lasered for about 8 years when both eyes were short sighted at around -4.75. For those of you who wear glasses will understand that -4.75 is blind to the extent of you can barely read size 68 font when it is right in front on you. My eyes have since deteriorated slightly and I now have to wear glasses again, but lucky for me the styles have changed from gold rimmed, thick lenses with transformers (girl's had My Little Pony) on the sides to the designs that Kite are producing now. I found Kite through Instagram and have loved their optical designs ever since. They have a store in Westfield Stratford where you can get your eyes tested and customise your own frames for a flat fee and they have some incredible modern frames to choose from.

Next up is the shirt. Now there really is only one place to get your formal shirts from and that is Hawkins & Shepherd. A Hawkins & Shepherd shirt is always handmade and are crafted in a small family run tailors who take care in their work - unlike so many other shirt makers who factory run their work with no care and attention. Hawkins & Shepherd are only available online but have recently launched their AW16 collection of new pin collar shirts, button down shirts, suits and made-in-Britain cashmere overcoats.

Reiss is my destination for mid-range priced classic coats. Every season without fail they deliver, I mean their designs don't change too much but that fabric hues they use are always on style. This coat is their GABRIEL and priced at £295 and is sure to a sell-out piece.

My jeans are from Superdry. It isn't my normal destination for jeans, although I have felt that the standards and workmanship that go into jeans recently has declined due to so many affordable pairs entering the market. I recall a time when I used to spend a minimum of £125 on a pair of Diesel jeans, although for the last 5 years my shopping habits for denim has changed to affordable and I have brought most of my pairs from Topman or ASOS. Well I was on the search for a pair of jeans what were great quality but will not break the bank and I found them at Superdry of all places for £65.

My shoes are made by John White from Northamptonshire so the quality of craftsmanship that goes into them is great and you can really feel the comfort when you wear a pair. These brogue shoes with a grain exterior in a tan colour are available through Hawkins & Shepherd.

I've accessorised with a pair of quilted dark brown gloves from Barbour and a 100% silk navy polka-dot scarf from Hawkins & Shepherd.



Photography by Rebecca Spencer

My Outfit of the Week | Men's Style & Fashion

I'm so glad the weather is getting colder...yes I have turned the heating on already and outdoor fitness is becoming quite bitter in the evenings. However what trumps all of these negatives, is that I can bring out my favourite AW15 (last years collection) dogtooth overcoat by Zara. Every time I wear it, it totally transforms an outfit, even the simplest of styles such as black jeans and a white t-shirt like what I'm wearing in this weeks outfit of the week.  

I recall last season Zara had some incredible knits and outerwear such as coats and jackets and after a quick browse just now it seems they have created an amazing AW16 collection also. 

Moving on from coats. In this weeks outfit I have stuck to monochrome tones with black jeans and ercu tee both from ASOS, whilst I have kept things comfortable with black suede slippers from Donhall & Bell. Completing my look, this grey watch from Kartel works well with the greys in my coat.



Photography by Ella H

The Style Off - Realm & Empire - Episode 3

We are back, for the 3rd episode of THE STYLE OFF, a YouTube collaboration with Oli from The Tailor Fitted where we both take a single item of clothing and style it to our own personal style. We have taken two of our favourite pieces from Realm & Empire's AW16 collection and completed the look in our own style. Watch both videos above, let us know what you think and of course, who styled it better with #Carl or #Oli. This months style off was sponsored by the brand Realm & Empire whose AW16 collection is centred around military history. The items we have chosen from the Realm & Empire range is their US Marine Workwear Shirt in Stone and a pair of loose fitting Diver Utility Trousers in Olive. Watch both videos and let us know who styled it better.

Commando Frogmen, the Special Boat Service and battleships designed to dazzle: for Autumn Winter 16 the Realm & Empire narrative goes deep below the ocean's surface, drawing inspiration from the divers, marines and the clandestine demolitions teams of the Second World War.





With influences pulled from a US Marines original, keep a lookout for the marvellous three-button pocket detail on our cotton twill workwear shirt - an original feature found in the archive and which conceals two extra-large, additional chest pockets! With displaced forward shoulders, traditional military cross-over yoke design, front patch pocket and self-colour buttons, this shirt is also garment washed for true, vintage appearance and comfort.





These loose-fitting R&E diver trousers are inspired by the silhouette and functionality of the uniforms worn by Britain’s Commando Frogmen during the Second World War. Constructed from a soft waxed cotton, we’ve added extra reinforcement on the knees, and a mix of hidden zip and large patch pockets, making them perfect for heavy duty casualwear. Drawstring detailing on the waist and ankles gives you the choice to wear straight-leg or tapered for a more military, fatigue-style. 

Special thanks to Realm & Empire for sponsoring this months Style Off.


How to wear a double-breasted blazer | Sizing Guide

The double-breasted suit or blazer is a timeless classic, although over the years has only really been worn by fashion forward individuals. Although I'm starting to see more gents opting for double-breasted styles and therefore a greater number of the high-street stores stocking a larger range. Great news for double-breasted fans like myself. I've been experimenting with this style of blazer for a long time and I think you'll find that the double-breasted jacket is far more versatile than you might expect.  

As I have mentioned, the high-street are bringing out a larger collection of this style (see below 'my picks') and not just in suits and also as a more affordable blazer only option. Style a double-breasted blazer with a pair of dark smart jeans or chino trousers for maximum sartorial effect. 

Some of us shy away from wearing double-breasted because they don't know how they should fit or because it is too hard to find the perfect fit. Tailoring a perfectly fitted DB blazer is more difficult than single-breasted as you have much more fabric around the chest, abdominals and waist areas and therefore small adjustments can make major differences in the fit. Picking a brand that understands this concept is critical.

As with any blazer getting your size right is the most important decision, although sizing on double breasted blazers can be much less forgiving than in their single-breasted cousins. Buy a size too big and the fabric will engulf your body and look terrible. Buy a size too small and the large lapels will bow outwards and the whole suit will not fit flush to your body as it should. Generally a double-breasted suit should be tailored slightly shorter than single-breasted blazers, something to note when trying them on. When wearing, you should do up the first useable button hole and leave the bottom button undone. Double-breasted blazers always look better done up and layer in winter months with a smart traditional overcoat.



Photography by Rebecca Spencer

David Vs Goliath | Hawkins & Shepherd take on London's Jermyn Street shirt makers

It really is a David vs Goliath battle. I launched Hawkins & Shepherd 3 years ago last month focusing on extremely high quality shirts with the best cotton and handmade tailoring. I did a lot of research when launching and tested the shirt quality of what is on London's Jermyn Street and found that on many occasions the quality wasn't as great as the street name suggests and seemed like profits took over from quality. A Hawkins & Shepherd shirt will always be handmade, which means the tailoring will always be the best it can be.  

Launching with a very limited budget the brand continues to be a one man band and at times it's extremely hard juggling my time from bringing out new designs, marketing, general admin and being the office tea boy! However year on year we have strong growth which is on target to continue into year 4. In a very saturated market, one of the toughest times for the retail sector in 20 years, a weak pound and retailers squeezing margins it's hard to believe how we are still in business but we are and people are starting to take note. Working on a shoe string budget, I'm competing with some well known shirt makers with £1m marketing budgets so it is down to you guys that Hawkins & Shepherd is able to continue to grow. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart all the support you give me and my company - it really means so much.

Hawkins & Shepherd signature Pin Collar Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd signature Pin Collar Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd still have the largest range of luxury Pin Collar Shirts globally, which is our signature range and growing. However we do not stop there. We have big ambitions to expand our range and 2016 has seen major investment for our Autumn Winter collection.

For example we have collaborated with luxury womenswear tailor Calder London to produce a range of designer suits using Savile Row British fabrics. Furthermore our biggest investment has come in producing a single and double-breasted 100% British cashmere overcoats. Available in both navy and camel as worn by Britain's supermodel and fashion ambassador David Gandy.

David Gandy wears Hawkins & Shepherd and loves the brand so much that he wore our cashmere overcoat in a recent advert for Wellman Vitabiotics. Check out the behind the scenes footage below:

Hawkins & Shepherd have just launched their Shirt Subscription Service. This was setup because I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to wear a Hawkins & Shepherd shirt because I believe that when you have tried our shirts you will not go back to buying cheap 5 shirts for £100 deals that are out there currently. By signing up to the subscription service you can spread the cost of one shirt over 2 or even 3 months and still get a discount on the retail price. The 'Enthusiast' subscription package is meant for the business traveller who churns through shirts and can receive a fresh crisp shirt every month with free delivery. Not only can you choose a payment plan that suits your needs, you can also specify the shirt colour and shirt collar types that you prefer and Hawkins & Shepherd will do their best to fulfil this request.

For more information, click on the image below.



My London Flat Renovation | Including Home Tour

Finally it is finished, my London flat is at last fully renovated to my own individual taste and style. For 6 years I have lived in this 2 bedroom flat in Clapham South without doing a single thing to it and it looked tired, dated and in dire need of an interior design make-over. Working on a budget, I couldn't change everything - so I had to pick and choose what changes would make the biggest impact and what I could get away with keeping. The last few rooms to get some love were my open-planned front room, dining room and kitchen and as you can see from the below it was a 'tad' cluttered, dark and the walls looked tired.

Unfortunately I didn't get many photos of the actual work however as you can see, I repainted throughout in white and with a teal feature wall replacing the dated brown hues. The floor stayed and I tidied up all the electric speaker wiring that was all over the place before. Once all of the major work was complete, I pretty much replaced all of the furniture other than my dinner table and my office desk. 

I replaced the dark brown blind with a typical white plantation shutter which gives the room a much lighter appearance and the large slats allow so much more light in than the previous blind did. The hideous radiators have been covered up with some made-to-measure white radiator covers, taking up a tiny bit more space than just having radiators but allowing you to decorate the room better by putting 'stuff' on top. I was going to buy a new coffee table, however decided against it in favour of keeping the room as open and uncluttered as possible. So instead I brought a vintage side table. 

I'm pleased with all of my buys but especially this light grey sofa from Loaf...I opted to change my old L-shape one with a single 3-seater, again opening up the room much more. With Charlie dog banished from the the entire back of the house due to new carpet going down - I wanted to keep 'his' space open! I then got a single reading chair from Swoon Editions for the corner of the room then a new media unit for all my audio visual equipment. 

The final touches to the living room were a antiqued brass mirror from John Lewis, a copper Etch ceiling light and floor lamp by Tom Dixon adding some amazing mood lighting at night when I'm just chilling out watching another box-set.

Only a few changes were done in the kitchen, mainly because I ran out of money! Other than the radiator cover, I've changed the tap to a French style brushed copper design which works well with the other copper touches around the flat. I then changed all of the crappy broken bar stools with these epic antique looking adjustable stools. I was not going to do any more changes but I then got given a new kettle and toaster from Morphy Richards and I couldn't be happier as the unique design is perfect for what I want and fits in with the rest of the kitchen.




When you get invited to the Television BAFTAS the first thing you do is say YES, before someone else nabs your spot. Then you think about what to wear. Now I can appreciate that being a guy, getting dressed for a black tie event isn't exactly complicated, I mean the dress code gives it away a little...for girls it can be a tad more difficult. However saying that, us gents still have a few things to consider when dressing for the BAFTA awards. Dinner jacket or suit, buy or hire, which tailor should I wear, a white shirt but what collar type, is a pocket square too much, what about socks, black or coloured and then we have many bow-tie choices.

As House of Fraser were the main sponsors of the event this year and my invite came from them, I decided to head out for a shopping trip to their Oxford Street branch to search for my favourite dinner jacket from a designer that House of Fraser already stock. That designer was Chester Barrie, for me their suits had character, the tailored lines & curves had personality and the lapel shape had definition and assertiveness. For me their designs really stood out from the many other suit choices House of Fraser offer.

So I headed over to meet with Christopher Modoo, Chester Barrie's Master Tailor to try and persuade them to loan me one of their dinner suit jackets for the event, which they did - its good business because after wearing it for this one event, I'm going to buy it off of them, it was that good! I've even got my Christmas Party 2016 season dinner suit jacket sorted, as they have this amazing navy version coming out for AW16 around September time.



On the hottest day of the year in London, when everyone else was out on various London parks and commons drinking cider, prosecco and warm beer I was making my very own The Hoftail exclusive BAFTA inspired cocktail - I mean its not every Sunday you get to go to the BAFTAS! I only had time for one though, then I was on my way to the Mondrian Hotel, where I was meeting all the other bloggers who have been asked to attend & cover the event. It was amazing to meet them all but a shame that I didn't get to talk to everyone at length however join me and follow all the #BAFTATV team by clicking on the images below.

This was my first red carpet experience, so I had no clue what to expect, although for a good few minutes I thought I was actually famous! I mean I know that the press, media and interviewers were not all going to be calling out my name...Carl, Carl, Carl...over here please amongst a sea of flashing camera lights. And interviewers desperate to know who and what I'm wearing. Instead there were people on the side saying "Mummy, who are they? Are we supposed to know them?" - for me I just wanted to enjoy the experience and take it all in before being ushered along. 

Here are my Top 5 Best Dressed Men at the Television BAFTA 2016:

After my short whirlwind of fame on the red carpet, it was back to normality standing in line for the bar to grab a few bottles of prosecco before finding our seats as the main event started. From Eastenders to The Great British Bake Off, from Poldark to This is England '90 - this night was about celebrating British TV in all its diversity.

For me what was apparent was the immense talent that the British TV industry has. We really are world leaders in many TV genres such as comedy and factual documentaries. I've noted down many new programmes that I have to watch such as 'My Son The Jihadi' and 'The Truth About Ebola' - the short clips of both captivated me. Throughout the night Graham Norton mocked the reality tv sector, a little joke here and there was mostly aimed at the reality stars, although it was this category that got the most comments and laughs when replying the clips of the nominees. First Dates picked up the award in the Best Reality & Constructed Factual sector and well deserved I might add. Its a programme that should be proud of what they have done, they work hard on actually matching their dates on interests to try and make real love connections rather than just great tv. Strictly come Dancing won their first BAFTA. Peter Kay won two gongs for his part in Car Share, a scripted programme of two people in a car, yep that's right...two people in a car! Whereas the two main awards for leading actress and actor went to Suranne Jones, Doctor Foster and Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall - whilst Lenny Henry picked up the last gong of the night with his special award. You can view a complete list of the winners via the BBC here.

I would finally like to thank the amazing Beth and Martha from Mediaworks who looked after us throughout the whole event x


Welcome to my outfit of the day. Like so many of us, I'm a little peeved off that I haven't been able to switch off my heating yet and I'm having to dig out all my warm clothing again. Well today, I have decided to creep into Spring and a warmer climate without actually jumping on a plane and fucking off to warmer places. I have attempted this by combining my Khaki winter wear with a new ASOS pink cardigan but in reality I was freezing my nuts off and maybe a little too soon to be attempting such foolery! 

Later on that day I added a layer with me Navy Pea coat, and the double jacket actually worked really well, so watch out for that styled outfit of the day soon.

This look is highstreet-casual, wearing all clothing from either Topman or ASOS, affordable and versatile...shop below.



Photography Sophie Milner


Sophie Milner aka Fashion Slave

Meet Sophie. Sophie is a fashion blogger, writer and journalist who studied Journalism at Cardiff university before furthering her resume by taking a MA in Fashion Journalism at Central Saint Martins. She is also my girlfriend, best-friend, my inspiration and everything in between. I still remember the first day she let me loose with her camera, taking photos of her latest outfit, little did I know at the time, she was just sizing me up for a promotion into being her full-time #instagramhusband later down the line. She looks normal, right? Pretty, smiley, cute, butter wouldn't melt...(insert a vinyl scratch sound here)...wrong. To get that one shot, takes a hell of a lot of blood, sweet and tears and probably the odd "I'm not doing this anymore" tantrum!! Saying that I actually wouldn't change her for anyone, but it is hard dating a fashion blogger and here are my tips for guys out there who are in a similar relationship.

It's a freezing cold, misty, rainy winter Sunday morning at 7am, not proper rain but that fine rain that a girls hate, especially ones like Sophie who have long flowing, perfectly curled hair that she has been up since 6am perfecting. I'm hungover and Sophie and I have a photoshoot planned somewhere in Chelsea. We are leaving at 7am, so I get to hers for then because the night before she has all the outfits that she wants to photograph planned. Then in the morning all she has to do is get ready and go. A less seasoned #instagramhusband might actually believe her, not me, nope, never...yet I'm also savvy enough to know that I must be on time (regardless if she is running late), I don't want anything to 'ruin her vibe' and plus I have my morning boyfriend chores to do. A typical photo shoot morning will go something like this:

First is the 'approval of her outfits' stage and probably the simplest to get right, as deep down she knows she looks great and is just after reassurance. So when the questions come in, like "Does this go with this"? Just agree and never deviate from a solid "Yes babe, you look amazing" answer.

My next 'job' is to choose between a nude or red lipstick for each outfit. Why? God knows. What do I know...again she already knows the correct answer so be aware of these loaded questions! Here you need to have a few pre-configured answers and boy have I got this shit on lock-down. So here goes "Go for the red babe as it brings out the earthy autumnal tones in your skirt" 1-0 me. Do not give a choice, don't say "they both look great" or "I'm not sure you decide" as both of these comments will lead to further delays and a mood killing atmosphere, which has to be avoided at all costs.

Feed her, as she bites when not fed and get a coffee down her neck because it will speed shit up!

Now for the checklist.

  1. Camera?
  2. Memory Cards? 
  3. Enough space on the memory cards?
  4. Camera batteries charged?
  5. Spare camera battery?
  6. Correct lens on camera fitted?
  7. Accessories for all outfits?
  8. Lipsticks?
  9. Umbrella?
  10. Money for coffee? (check your own pockets for this!).
  11. Your magic wand? (because you may have to use it to magic up the perfect lighting and weather scenario)

You are now ready to leave. Be prepared to head back to hers at least once for forgotten items, don't stress, this is normal.

When travelling to the spot where we are taking the photos, what I find best is to keep chat as upbeat and minimal as possible and avoid discussing traffic, weather and especially not that amazing other fashion blogger that always posts fantastic, fun photos.

We arrive at Chelsea embankment and it's cold, wet and cloudy...basically a fashion bloggers nightmare. Finding a calming response to this situation is where I struggle slightly and I'm still playing around with what works best in this scenario because "well it isn't my fault the English weather sucks" or "lets just get on with it and get home" doesn't get a great reaction. *Note to self, next time use the magic wand. 

You also NEED to know your girlfriends facial expressions so you can avoid an Alicia Silverstone in Clueless sized strop. If you see the below, its okay, she is just disappointed as we haven't got the perfect photo yet, keep shooting and this will pass.

Level 2 Pissed...nothing of concern!

Level 2 Pissed...nothing of concern!

When taking the photos, be observant. No street lights sprouting from her head, parked cars are the devil unless vintage and pastel coloured and railings are a must! Get the angles wrong and you might find yourself on the receiving end of one of these looks below. This look is deceiving, its seems harmless enough but thats the issue...its the look where she is on the way to a level 10 strop but is holding it back (for the sake of the photos!).  

Err What is this awful red car doing in the shot? Level 5 Pissed...this can go either way!

Err What is this awful red car doing in the shot? Level 5 Pissed...this can go either way!

Taking the photos is actually the least stressful part of the mornings roller coaster ride. However it's when Sophie comes over to assess my work that things can go horribly wrong, if there was a digital red pen, she would be all over it. Just take the criticism in your stride, bite your tongue, put your hand in your pocket and squeeze your balls....whatever works for you! Just don't bite back and argue (like I normally do, I just cant help myself!), but if you do you'll be on a one way ticket to a level 10 stare (see image below).

Let me share a little translation for you, as it took me quite a while to figure it out as google translate doesn't have BLOGGER > ENGLISH in its list unfortunately. 

When Sophie says "Hey babe, I don't really like any of the photos you just took. Yeah the angle is all wrong, the background isn't blurred enough, the ISO needs changing and what is that piece of chewing gum doing on the floor. It's not your fault though hun, its totally mine".


Sophie actually means "You fucking moron how can you not take 5 good photos of me out of all the ones you just took? Get your arse the the nearest photography course and learn, don't come back until you know what you are doing. It's completely your fault and I hate you right now."

Level 10 Pissed...get the hell out of there!

Level 10 Pissed...get the hell out of there!

When back home in the warmth, things may have calmed down a bit. I normally get Sophie up around the level 2-6 of pissed off ness' which is manageable. At this point it might be best to leave her and give her some 'me time' for a few hours whilst she can go through the photos we just took. After critiquing our work, most of the time I'll get a text saying "Thanks babe, there are some really good ones from today, you are the best. Some are blurred though and remember angles angles angles. Next time we (she means you) should be more imaginative. x".

She likes to keep me on my toes and for Sophie perfection is everything. I just hope she likes this article and finds the funny side to it, otherwise I might be out of a job #ExInstagramHusband.


- Holidays are no longer allowed to be called holidays because frankly they are not. They now have to be referred to 'Blogging Trips Abroad'.

- I'm fully responsible for the number of likes her photos get on Instagram because I took it. 

- When in a restaurant, food can not be eaten until all the food, plates, cutlery etc have been placed neatly on the table and a birds-eye photo taken.

- Speaking of restaurants, this is what happens when you are at a restaurant during Instagram posting hours.

Watch our first trip away to Thailand over New Year...check out this VLOG below:

Thanks for reading, please share.


I have always been in to fashion, looking good and making time to think about what I’m wearing but looking back, was I really? No, not really. I mean I tried to look good but nothing compared to the level that I go to now! I’ve experimented more this year with my style than in all other years of my life put together. It truly has paid off. This year has been a fashion journey through Savile Row to Brick Lane whilst scrambling through the internet and being spat out at say Notting Hill….yes all over the gaff.

 However I’m concerned it has now become an obsession. Why is that? And when did I change into being a fashion obsessed blogger? Over Christmas I had a bit of time to go through my old blogs posts and it is interesting to see how my style has changed.

I was much more of a dapper dresser earlier on in the year, focusing on formal wear with more traditional styles – I guess it helps owning a London shirt makers! Then during the summer months, I went totally casual and looking back wore some outfits that weren’t really ‘me’….I was just wearing stuff for camera and dressed too young.

Whereas later on in the year towards autumn/winter, I have really found my style which I feel is unique in the fashion menswear blogging world. I went back to what I was good at, formal, sartorial, dapper…but, yes a bit cliché, with a little twist. Classic tailoring, dressing my age and finding that balance between smart and casual. Accepting that not everything from Topman or ASOS will look as good on me as it does on a 20 something year old tattooed model.

I think the most important stylist tip for myself that I have learnt this year is just to be yourself, dress in what you feel most comfortable in…I say it all the time but obviously haven’t been listening. I guess when you are going out with a fashion blogger and therefore an #instagramhusband, you have to look good at most times. Seriously, have you seen Sophie’s ‘what is that shit you are wearing’ eye rolling face? Its demoralising…so best off getting it right first off!

2016 is going to be my year to engage more with my audience, more lifestyle posts that actually mean something rather than just outfit posts. I’m going to continue to redefine my style with small tweaks here and there. You’ll also find me adventuring more into men’s grooming and travel blogging so please continue to join me on this journey throughout 2016.


Welcome to my channel, where I'll be offering men's style advice and general goings on around London. Please Watch and SUBSCRIBE youtube.com/user/Carl23B

Wind back 3 months and having my own youtube channel or vlog isn't something I would have entertained, as I hate the sound of my own voice, I mumble (a lot), I'm getting on a bit - 34 years old and HD cameras don't mix well and I have a group of friends that will pick up on every bad joke or stupid comment and repeat it for like forever. 

Just check out the below video which was taken by one of my good friends 'Beano' whilst watching my Celebrity Dinner Date episode with Amy Childs, which has now had 4500 views on Facebook and counting!

Although things change quickly. In those three months, I have been asked to be on a new YouTube channel called London Trending, my customers have been requesting style tutorials and I can see how video content will replace written and pictorial content on social media - so it really is a case of get on-board or be left behind.

My channel will be primarily focused on what I know best - which as Men's Style and my home city of London. I aim to post once a week offering style advice. This will be mainly formal smart attire as that is more my style, as I'm not very 'trendy'!

These are exciting times, so please support me in this new venture - trust me I'll need it!