AW18 Arrivals – The Ecco Crepetray Hybrid Chelsea Boot

Not so long ago I rhapsodised (rather eloquently I might add) about the Ecco ST1's. I called the founder Karl Toosbuy the Patron Saint of shoes after introducing me to footwear that didn't need breaking in at all!  

The life of a fashion blogger is demanding on your time and your feet and when you merge the two you’ll need a pair of comfortable shoes to get you through day. A typical week  would see you traipsing around the streets of London from meetings to press days then photo shoots. In fact yesterday (true story, promise), I was doing a photo shoot with another blogger who was tiptoeing around because her new shoes were rubbing. Of course wearing Ecco shoes, I knew that they were designed to negate the ‘wearing in’ process, so I gave her my socks and I went bare-back for the rest of the day. It sped up the day and gave my ears a rest from the complaining about how much her feet were hurting therefore a massive thank you to the Ecco Crepetray Hybrid Chelsea Boot from both of us!

My feet feel incredibly secure and protected in this Ecco Crepetray. I love its simplicity, it's refinement; its definitely going to get utilised more and more come the colder months. 

Inspired by workwear of the past, this classic Chelsea boot can transition from the office to evening drinks with minimum effort. It's understated with elastic sidings, the high-shine leather uppers and delicate stitching are supple and it moulds to my foot without compromise. 

ECCO Shoes Blog 2.jpg

Carl tell us what is a Crepetray? 

I know it sounds like something I'd set up for Charlie if he started losing the use of his faculties.

In fact the Crepetray outsole is a revolutionary update on traditional crepe soles that benefits from being a lighter and responding to the shape of the foot, offering a more natural feel. It also doesn’t have any of the complications traditionally associated with the material, such as stickiness in the heat and stiffness in the cold.

I'm lucky in that I'm quite a block size, though I have some friends that fall between stalls. Ecco manage to negate most of those 'betweeners' by including removable insoles that also delivers optimal in-shoe comfort. 

My Ecco ST1's are still going strong so I'm happy to champion the quality of this brand. Initially I thought the price point might be a little high for essentially, a non-marquee brand. Ostensibly, of course, these Ecco Chelsea boots are an investment piece. One that delivers in style, comfort and versatility. 

Expect to see plenty more of this boot in my Instagram feed. 


How I Get Ready For a Date | Men's Grooming & Fashion Advice

You're getting ready for the biggest date of your life, or week, depending how much of a woodsman you are.

I've just uploaded a new tutorial to my YouTube channel, giving you run down on how I get myself in the groove. In this article I'll give you the highlights reel on the MUST DO's to get you ready for that big first date

I've also teamed up with Base London to give my readers a chance to win a Base London £100 Gift Card and a Carl Thompson first date grooming kit.

I've included all the details at the bottom of the article but first, guys let's get you prepped. 

Get in the mood with ..  

I want to get in the mood, put a little Marvin Gaye on Let’s Get it On. Only joking. Normally I go for a bit of Jacko, I want to Rock with you or something equally as cheesy, don't ask me to sing it. Or how about a bit of Bobby Womack, Across 110th Street? Yessss now we're talking.

Make sure you're bopping around to a song that empowers you and gets you relaxed.  

carl date blog_2.jpg

What's in my grooming kit? 

OK give the cash register a nice facial scrub. I currently using one from Lab Series, they're riding the crest of a wave at the moment these guys and I can see why. Makes my face feel really fresh, wakes me up! 

carl date blog.jpg

Not all the girls like a man with a beard, so I make sure mine doesn't look to scabrous. I tame the beast with a bit of American Crew Beard serum

Moving onto the skin, I use the Clinique Maximum Hydrator moisturiser.

They say the eyes are the windows to your soul right? So got to have a little window dressing. Eye contact on dates, so important. I have been using Perricone MD for as long as I can remember. 

carl date blog_6.jpg

What about my hair? 

You need something that is going to do your hair a solid service for the date, especially if you're going straight from work to the date. 

I use David Beckham's House 99 Pomade; it can give a decent enough hold for 8-9 hours before it starts to lose its lustre. 

carl date blog_4.jpg

And the best Aftershave for a First Date? 

Keep that aftershave light and fresh, you don't want to overpower the poor girl or else she'll want to dine on one of those tables from that Bruce Wayne used to entertain Vicky Vale.

(That is a timely reference from 1989 and if you get that gag, then let’s go out for a beer). 

The best first date aftershave out there right now is Tom Ford Noir de Noir. It's pushy, but not assertive. 

Why I dress casual on a first date

Suits are too stiff for a first date, that's why I dress light

What’s the most important rule for light dressing? Go easy on the white wine vinegar but plenty of turmeric. Oh you mean clothes? Gotcha, (I have better jokes, haha) light dressing.

You should wear something that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Dates can be quite nerve racking; you don't want to feel rigid in an outfit you hardly wear.

I have my go-to outfit. 

Before you leave the house remember? 

If you've met her online give her profile one last eyeball before heading out. Look for some veiled clues, like if she's been traveling we can talk about places she's been that I might have been also.

Some people call that semi-stalkery, I call it good old fashioned research.



As I promised you, here is your chance to win a Base London £100 Gift Card and a Carl Thompson first date grooming kit. Competition closes 31st May, UK Entrants Only. Enter by clicking this link

T&Cs blurb for competition:

Gift card can only be used at and cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative. Competition only open to UK entrants. Prize will be for one £100 Gift Card and a selection of men’s skin care and grooming products which will be delivered to the winner’s UK address. 

This competition is in no way sponsored, administered or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Lab Series, American Crew, Clinique for Men, Perricone MD, or David Beckham’s House 99. By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram, Facebook & Youtube of responsibility and agree to Instagram’s, Facebook’s and Youtube's terms of use. .....phew! 😓 Good Luck!


Autumnal earthy clothing by Next Menswear AW17 | Style Edit

I'm never disappointed when shopping at Next Menswear, in fact it is totally the opposite as I'm always absolutely delighted by the design and quality. I've known for a few years now how good Next is but the message is still taking a while to reach the majority of men. For example when wearing this outfit I had a couple of people ask where I got the coat from and how much it was. When I told them Next and £120 they were shocked and both said that they couldn't believe that Next was that good.

All menswear fashion bloggers love autumn winter or layering season and you can really showcase your style. That can come with problems storing all of these new clothes especially the coats and knitwear! I've got to the stage now where I've hit a limit on the amount of space I have for all of my clothing. So I have a rule, which is 'one in one out'. Basically if I get gifted or buy something new it has to be better than something already in my wardrobe otherwise it's got to go. By the way, I give all of my second-hand clothing to the FARA charity shop in Balham if you ever want to pick up a bargain as I usually gift them at least 1 bin bag sack full of clothes every month.  

I really am brutal with the 'one in one out' rule but every single piece of this style edit from Next made the cut and pushed out some of my older pieces to the charity bag. Not only that but the coat and in particular the Chelsea boots have become two of my all-time favourite pieces this AW17 season. The Chelsea boots will be in my collection for years to come, I love them so much.

If you love this style edit or the Next Menswear collection in general you can shop everything by clicking on the images below.



Choosing the Perfect Winter Boot | Chukka vs Chelsea

Perfect Winter Boots.JPG

Autumn has arrived, the crisp leaves crunching under our feet, getting out the winter coats and warming yourself up with a mug of hot chocolate or spiced latte. The winter nights are drawing in quickly and with the temperatures dropping what better way of keeping your feet warm than styling a perfect pair of boots, but will it be Chukka or Chelsea? Shoes always finish an outfit off, they are the statement piece to a man’s outfit, so it’s not surprising that so many men choose to style a pair of Chukka or Chelsea boots every autumn/winter season. But what is all the fuss about? Where did they come from? What are the differences between chukka and Chelsea boots and how do you style them right?

Experts in gentlemen’s fashion and retailers of high-quality leather boots, Frank Wright is here to provide us with an insight into the differences between the boots and how to pair them with AW 17/18 trends.

The Chukka Boot.JPG

The lace up Chukka

It is thought that the name for this style derived from polo, where a ‘chukka’ is a seven-minute period of the game – although it is uncertain whether the shoes were worn throughout the game or by the players afterwards.

Following World War II, where a variation of the Chukka boot was used for soldiers marching through desert terrain, the boot was introduced into every man’s wardrobe. They went on to become a major fashion piece in England during the 1950s. Ever since, they’ve remained at the forefront of men’s fashion – wearable for casual or smart occasions.

Also known as desert boots or turf boots, a Chukka boot is recognisable by an ankle length cut and pairs of eyelets for laces. They generally have a classic, plain toe design and an open lacing system. This style of shoe is usually crafted from calfskin or suede but leather can be used too – making the shoe more durable in the colder months.

The Chelsea Boot.JPG

The traditional Chelsea

Similar to the name ‘chukka’ there is also some history behind the name ‘Chelsea Boot’. The Chelsea boot dates to the Victorian era where it is believed they were designed by the Queen’s personal shoemaker – J. Sparkes-Hall. Their popularity rose in the 1960s in Great Britain as they became linked with the mod scene. They were also associated with King’s Road, a street in Chelsea, and it is thought that this is where their name derived from. Celebrities such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones helped boost their popularity.

The Chelsea style of shoe is ankle length and generally made of suede or leather. It is characterised by its iconic elasticated panels that allow the shoe to slip on and off, and often there is a tab of fabric on the back of the boot. The fit of the shoe should be a close fit, and any flexibility in the shoe should be in the side panels – not in the instep.

Frank Wright Shoes.JPG

How should you style for AW17/18?

Both the Chelsea and the Chukka boot are versatile styles that are suitable for many occasions. But how should you style the boots to keep up to date with the AW 17/18 collections?


The Chukka boot is an ideal alternative to more formal leather lace-up brogues if you’re opting for a casual look.

Frank Wright Chukka BootJPG

When matching the shoe to the occasion, look closely at the finer details of the boot. Synthetic fabrics and some suedes are more suited to a casual event whereas leather and smarter suedes can be worn more formally. Also examine the sole - the thinner the sole, the finer the shoe. More casual Chukka books can be recognised by a thicker sole and rougher stitching, giving a quirkier appearance.

It is likely that the Chukka boot will be suitable for your style, although they do sit better with narrow legged trousers. Some men prefer a shorter hem; pair with patterned socks for a stylish, casual outfit. Designs on the catwalk for this season included oversized jackets and knitwear. Wear with an extra-long, smart jacket with dark jeans and brown chukka boots to keep practical and on trend.

For a smarter look, match a rounded toe, brown Chukka boot with a navy or mid-grey suit. Or, couple the same boots with moss green trousers - a prominent colour on the AW 17/18 catwalk.


Chelsea Boots.JPG

Like the Chukka boot, the Chelsea boot is versatile and compatible with many items in your wardrobe. Although suede is often the material of choice for this style, to protect from the colder weather and rain, opt for a leather boot to get you through the autumn and winter.

A big trend for this autumn is roll necks. Pair a dark roll neck jumper with skinny jeans and a Chelsea boot for casual evening attire. Or for a smarter look, a grey suit with brown leather Chelsea boots and a matching briefcase.

This year, many designers went against the grain and created tailoring that wasn’t traditionally black or navy. Extend the colours in your wardrobe with an autumnal coloured suit such as burgundy or blue and pair with Chelsea boots – make sure that the trousers sit just over the top of the boot to show off the shoe but remain smart.



Retailers must be screwing over the mild winter weather, especially those whose main profits come from outerwear, knits, jackets and coats. I have spoken to a few brands and retailers myself during various networking events of menswear business owners like myself. Most still have autumn/winter stock left over from AW14 due to 2014 being a mild winter and now 2015 making it back-to-back poor seasons. So will the menswear trade shows coming up for AW16 be boom or bust?

Retailers are great at liquidating stock during December and January with various sales of which they use clever marketing to sell old stock whilst still making large profits. However these are normally the larger stores, who have the luxury of 100s or 1000s of staff, they also have various retail stores throughout the whole of the UK. So if a particular style is not selling in say Manchester, well they will just try another store where historically that particular style has sold well.

I feel for the smaller boutique retailers who often sell on smaller margins, operate month by month financially and do not have the ability to 'suck up' a bad season. With stock piling up and the designs from past seasons, it is a cycle that can become irreversible.  

Sometimes I feel I'm propping up AW15 brands single handedly as all I seem to be talking about and buying is knitwear and this outfit of the day is no different - if you like my style, shop the look below and help out retailers and brands this AW15 season.


Photo Credit Sophie Milner