My Favourite High-street Tailoring Brands | Men's Style Edit

Recently I have been reading up on the history of Savile Row tailors and I think Nick Hart said it best 'Savile Row is a reminder of qualities and values that outlast and transcend depressions, recessions, fads and here-today-gone-tomorrow fashion'. However much I adore Savile Row tailors, their craftsmanship and skill I also realise that their prices are also out of reach for many Londoners.

That said my go to brand for a decent suit, on the high-street is REISS who have a large selection for suits for the masses priced at around £450-650. Another alternative is my very own Hawkins & Shepherd suits which are currently on-sale from £650 down to around £250 - a massive saving on a suit made from 100% British Wool fabric.

 

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What to Wear for a Regatta, Horse Racing or Summer Event | Men's Style Edit

This morning whilst walking down the Kings Road in Chelsea on my way to today's KOBOX class, I passed a couple who looked like they were dressed for the races. Being in men's fashion, I tend to look into what people are wearing more than anyone else and my opinion was that he could have styled things a lot better, so here are my top tips.

I'm a massive fan of double-breasted suits, you'll stand out from everyone else who plays it safe with single-breasted blazers. Remember that a double-breasted blazer is normally tailored slightly shorter than its single-breasted cousin. Always only do up the middle of the 6 buttons and leave the bottom button undone. Navy is a great choice for the colour of your suit, it's easier to accessorise with different colour palettes and less common than a light-grey suit, which I personally think can look a little cheap.

A crisp white shirt is a must. Usually these type of events are summer based, so make sure you pick a shirt with a breathable weave such as a poplin, in a fine yarn count such as a twin-100 cotton. The higher the yarn count, the finer the cotton so therefore a twin-100 shirt is a high quality shirt. Go down to twin-60s and the shirt may seem too heavy or go higher to twin-160s and you'll end up paying a fortune. A great statement shirt would be a pin collar shirt or tab collar shirt, available from London shirt makers Hawkins & Shepherd.

Simplify your accessorises. Basically don't over do the colours, I've seen so many people wear different colour socks, tie and pocket square and it just screams you are trying too hard and in all honesty, it looks cheap and tacky. If you are wearing a multi-coloured tie, keep the socks & pocket square plain and simple. Alternatively draw attention to your pocket square my styling a simple tie. Always wear a watch and shine those shoes.

 

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Great Suits and Shirt Pairings | Men's Style Advice

It's not always the simplest of tasks to pair the right suit with the right shirt. Depending also on what side of the fashion spectrum you sit on, some shirts that could be construed bilious, have little chance of being tempered by a suit, no matter the quality. Here are some simple style pairings that might help you.

Pin or Tab Collar Shirts = Double Breasted Suits

The 20's were considered the high water mark of men’s tailoring. The pin collar shirt was introduced as a mode of rebellion. The young fashionistas of the day didn't connect with the formality of the stiffened starched collars and migrated over to the soft pin collar shirts. A problem arose however when the relaxed silky fabrics were too delicate to support a tie without looking unkempt. Hence the introduction of connecting the collar to a pin, allowing the wearer a more defined shape.

During the 30's the Double-Breasted jackets were becoming more prevalent, popularised by the Duke of Kent, hence why the four-button construction that buttons at the lower button is eponymously referred to as the "Kent". A suitable marriage for the pin collar shirt would be a double breasted jacket. With the double breasted jacket comes the broad peaked lapels which offers the verisimilitude of a large chest, a look that would certainly augment ones masculinity. A look that has survived in the UK thanks to modern renaissances of London Speakeasy's and Gangster series such as Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders. 

Grandad Collars and Waistcoats

Grandad Collars are considered less formal because of their unconventional look. With a few different interpretations to the origins, from foundry workers to New York wives cutting off their husbands' collars to clean, it has a colourful narrative. Most bloggers will tell you that a simple neutrally-hued blazer will do the trick, however I gravitate towards a waistcoat only, or if the climate is conducive, simple accoutrements such as braces will suffice. 

Mix and Match

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The one unsubtractable rule to mix and matching the suit jacket and trousers is to keep the shirt simple. Anything too ambitious in the pattern or motif department and the entire look will unbalanced. A tieless button down shirt will maintain a clean look. 

Ivory Tuxedo - English Spread

Whilst black and midnight blue dinner jackets have silk facings to primarily differentiate them from ordinary lounge jackets, the Ivory Dinner Jacket does not need such a distinctive mark. Not only should the IDJ be a statement in its own right, silk facings invariably pair and precipitously clash with black silk bow ties. A classic pleated-front shirt with soft turndown collar is traditionally paired, although if you're looking for something more contemporary, David Gandy's interpretation using the blue cotton English Spread collar is a suitable act to follow. 

 

Shop These Suit & Shirt Combinations by Hawkins & Shepherd

The right Questions to Ask Your Tailor

The relationship between a tailor and consumer should be harmonious and built on implicit trust. A good tailor should make you feel nourished and equally, the tailor should also feel appreciated that he has brought value to an individual’s life. But what if this is your first time buying a suit? You don't know the lingo and think fabric is a nightclub in Farringdon. First off having a mild sketch in your head of the look you're after will be a great way to get the ball rolling. Maybe you've seen a suit on an actor, in a magazine, a particular pattern etc. Be realistic, but try and envision what your dream suit looks like. 

Here below for your careful consideration, are the right questions to ask your tailor. 

What have you got? 

Ask to see some look books; a recent portfolio. If he points to the cardboard cutout by the cash register you know you're in trouble. Any tailor worth his salt will also have an online store so be sure to check that out and any recent feedback on their social channels. Facebook is still a good barometer for ratings. 

The tailor will bring along sample fabrics for you to try, masticate the swatches a little (I said masticate, unless you REALLY like the fabric) and then ask.. 

What fabric is best for.. ?

[fill in the blank]. It's important that your tailor fully understands your needs. You might be getting married in the tropics and require a certain breathable fabric. It could be your work suit, but what kind of work? Is there a long commute involved and will your job demand any physical exertion? Ask your tailor to elaborate on why the fabric or cloth recommended would be suited to the occasion, and if there are any other options available to you.

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Free next Friday? 

Your tailor is a busy man, with many other customers, interviews to write and cocktail parties to attend. Make sure you schedule set dates and times with your tailor for fittings and additional alterations. Not having to chase each other for appointments over email will optimise both your time. 

Show me your papers. 

This is what separates the men from the marines in the tailoring universe. If you specifically want bespoke products, ensure that your tailor will create an individual paper pattern for you. Ask to see it and have it pictured with an edition of the local paper. OK so that might be overkill, but this is a reasonable question and will let the tailor know you're not here to have your pants taken down. Semi-pun intended. 

The best way to describe a 'pattern' in clothing is to compare it to a 'blueprint' of a building. An architect will build a house based on the blueprint and the tailor with piece together a suit based on the pattern.

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Will it be fully canvassed?

Canvas cements the lining and outer fabric of the suit, thus enabling its shape over time. You might be asking for an unstructured fit, in which case the lining might be absent from the body. Although ensure it's in the arms, all jacket arms should be lined for ease of access. Not all suits are fully canvassed, but the vast majority of made-to-measure suits will at least be partially canvassed. 

You don't want a yes-man tailor. It's important that your tailor presents positivity and optionality for you, but isn't just a yes man. In an interview for GQ Franklin Saltos, owner of N.Y.C.’s Tailoring Room, mentioned, 'The best tailor is an honest one. If yours routinely overpromises, jump ship'. 

I hate it man! 

I'm going a bit sensational with the questions today, but it's important to highlight early on what changes can be made during the process if you're unhappy with the design. It could be anything from the length of the trouser, to the style of the pockets. Having good communication with your tailor is key, even if you're unsure of the terminology, understanding at what point of the process you can make alterations is key. 

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The photos used in this blog post and from a past European-wide campaign I did with Brooks Brothers.

How to Accessorise Your Dinner Jacket/Tuxedo this Party Season

Party season is a couple of months during Winter where the majority of us have our staff Christmas parties and a fair proportion of these parties normally operate a 'black tie' dress code. Hence why brands bring out entire ranges suitable for 'Party Season' so you know how to look your best at your works staff party. I've already discussed what suits you should where for party season by styling a black tuxedo and navy tuxedo, which you can re-read here.

This post is all about how to accessorise your dinner jacket or tuxedo from socks, shoes, pocket squares, shirts, ties and scarfs. These are the small differences, that will make you transform from looking like every other person in the room into youself, your own personality and your own style.

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The Shirt

Starting from the top down so therefore lets discuss the shirt first. The only two colours you can use when wearing a dinner jacket is either white or black and personally I would always opt for a brand new crisp white shirt, straight out of it's packaging. Choosing a collar type is a little more tricky as there are more choices. When I was 18 or early 20's I thought that you had to wear 'wing-tip' collar shirts with a dinner jacket and how wrong was I. For me the wing tip collar is my least favourite, it doesn't particularly look great and just reminds my of poorly designed shirts from hire shops. 

Instead opt for a more refined elegance in your shirt collar. A simple classic spread collar or even a collar with a narrower opening will look great underneath a bow-tie. Check your dress-code but if you are after something different and from a 1920's era of exceptional dress sense then try the pin collar or the tab collar shirts which although are not designed for bow-ties, work incredible with a black silk tie and offer a different option for those who do not like wearing bow-ties.

There is only one place I would recommend getting your party season shirts from and that is of course Hawkins & Shepherd, the London shirt makers who are famed for bringing back the pin collar shirt styles. You can shop their extensive party season collection online here and below are some of my top picks.

The Tie

Naturally choosing a tie should come next, you have two options which is simply to wear a bow-tie or a tie. That decision totally depends on 1. The dress code .2. Your own personal style taste and .3. Which shirt you have chosen to wear. 

The next choice is colour and if you choose a bow-tie, what style do you choose such as a standard bow-tie or butterfly bow-tie for example. When choosing a colour of the bow-tie I would go for dark deep colours, nothing too colourful and certainly no colourful patterns unless they are subtle (such as polka-dot), you don't want to look like a clown and always think 'what would Tom Ford wear'! Here are my top picks:

The Pocket Square

Who would have thought that a square piece of silk, cotton or linen would be such a sartorial success. Personally I wouldn't match the exact colour of your tie with your pocket square, as that is just lazy and shows no creativity at all, plus it reminds me of weddings. Party season style is not wedding style, it's more refined, classic, classy and elegant. Here are my top picks:

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The Scarf

The scarf I'm wearing is from new luxury brand Fisher & Woordes who are one of my menswear finds of the year. They currently have a collection of 3 scarfs which are warm, classic and beautiful and perfect to style with your dinner jacket suit. The brand also crafts belts as in the ones below.

The Socks

Socks are often the most underrated statement of fashion similar to underpants for men as most of the time, they are not seen...so why bother right? Well that may be true depending on the length of the cut of your trousers. If you are looking to suave up your sock game then here are some good choices.

The Shoes

My personal preference for choosing the right shoes when wearing a tuxedo is to opt for a pair of patent shoes. Patent leather is a type of coated leather that has a very glossy shine to the finish. Although there are always other options and here are my top picks in the footwear department.

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Outfit of the Week | Wearing Jaeger AW17 Collection

I absolutely love a good suit, so much so that half of my wardrobe is taken up with suits of different cuts, colours and styles. My latest addition was from the Jaeger AW17 collection, my first from this brand so was keen to get my hands on one. What initially drew me to this particular one was the subtle fine check pattern print of the navy suit. I wanted a suit the stepped away from classic plain palette designs and a bit more unique and therefore this one was the stand out piece from Jaeger's AW17 suit collection.

As we dip our toes into the autumn/winter 2017 season, I've moved away from traditional suit styling of a shirt and tie. Instead I went for warmth and style with a smart navy roll-neck jumper, which is a menswear trend right now. When wearing navy on navy, it can look a little boring and unimaginative, so I've added a plain white pocket square to give the suit a little more punch and the wow factor. My shoes are a dark tan colour, but black would also work equally well.

In this outfit of the week style edit, the suit is from Jaeger at £399 as is the navy wool roll neck jumper at £104.  The white pocket square is by Drake's via MR PORTER and part of their Kingsman edit at £55. The shoes are by Goodwin Smith and available for £125 and finally the watch is by Rotary at £155.

 

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Photography by Charlie Sawyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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My Outfit of the Week | Wearing Reiss, Hawkins & Shepherd

I love doing photo shoots in London because you'll turn a corner or enter a building that looks like utter shit outside, yet you'll find some great architecture to shoot up against rather than a brick wall or white house. I mean there is nothing wrong with that, although I personally prefer mixing fashion, architecture and interiors. This shoot was a perfect example of that. I mean, I have to give credit to Kylie as she did a little bit of Instagram stalking and found this location. Little did we know but it was actually a council block of flats, secured with a resident only keypad type door. Although after sneakily following a resident into the flat, social engineering style, we were in, ready to shoot. Although the staircase has recently been painted red of all colours, it still offers an edgy, repetitive backdrop.

On to what I'm wearing in this smart, casual attire which is a mixture of Reiss and Hawkins & Shepherd menswear. The Reiss items are a grey roll-neck jumper, navy trousers and a camel scarf. The Hawkins & Shepherd offerings on this outfit are the black shoes and cashmere blend double-breasted overcoat in navy.

If you like it, shop it.

 

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Photography by Kylie Eyra

ONE JACKET STYLED TWO WAYS - SMART FORMAL

Fashion is fast and expensive, so I'm forever trying to find ways to decrease the size of my wardrobe and buy pieces of clothing that can be styled in both a formal and causal way. The classic overcoat is one of those staple items of clothing that is so versatile and stylish that you could probably even wear it with shorts and it would look good! As you can see, this is the first way to style the jacket in smart formal attire. Pop back shortly for the casual style.

This light grey hue is an on-trend colour for this season and a perfect transition piece between seasons so if you purchase now, this jacket will survive through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter...and on into 2017, thats if you don't leave it in a bar (which I'm always doing)! 

This photoshoot was taken by Rebecca Spencer and after traipsing around the V&A museum we finally found the perfect place for this shoot, the surroundings were epic as you can see.

For this shoot, I purchased the light grey overcoat from AllSaints and styled it with items that I already had. The white button-down shirt, grey window-pane double breasted suit jacket and the brown double monk strap shoes are all from Hawkins & Shepherd. My watch is from Paul Smith, but you would have seen that before because I wear it all the time! Finally the dark wash jeans are from ASOS.

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

SAVILE ROW LOOKBOOK

As the home a great tailoring, Savile Row has long been a major inspiration for me. I love the history that engulfs it, the buzz that you get when walking down the 'Row' and watching the steady hands of the tailors cutting fabric in the basements. If I'm in need of some influences when designing the perfect shirt for Hawkins & Shepherd, picking the finest fabrics or just personal styling, I find it right there on Savile Row.

I would love to be in a position to have a lookbook full of Savile Row tailored pieces, however as I'm a poor blogger still trying to make it big, I have put together all my favourite formal looks from recent posts. These looks are all available for a reasonable price online or via the highstreet. A perfect compilation of looks for you to to use for interviews, weddings or office attire.

So what is Savile Row? Firstly it is a street in Mayfair, London, England synonymous worldwide for great bespoke tailoring. British tailors have been settling here since the 17th century and now is a street that is protected to keep only the highest level of tailoring companies trading on it.

You would think that Savile Row has had it easy, but they haven't. Competition is high and it has been a constant battle trying to reinvent themselves for different marketplaces like younger professionals, classic gents or international clients. Some tailors have kept to their heritage whereas others such as Oswald Boateng and Richard James have reinvented themselves as what I would call, new Savile Row - focusing on the modern market and breaking the so called 'mould'.

Take yourself down there, be inspired, be different, be confident and be stylish.

COLOUR MATCHING - ORANGE & NAVY - SMART FORMAL

Following on from my Casual styling of the orange and blue colour matching (read that blog), here I have showed how orange and blues can also be used in a smart formal attire.

In this outfit I have used my bold statement jumper to give a greater understanding of how orange can work so well with Navy. Although it also works with small touches of orange. So remove the jumper and you have the small details in the polka of the pocket square, the orange socks and small orange detailings on my Omega watch bezel.

The shade of blue used here in my Suit Supply suit is French Navy which works the best with orange because of its darker tone.

 

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Suit Supply French Navy Suit  | Hawkins & Shepherd Shirt | Reiss Orange Jumper | Reiss Socks | Dolce & Gabbana Shoes | Hawkins & Shepherd Pocket Square

Photo Credit: Caroline Nicholson Location: Chatham Historic Dockyard