The Marc Darcy Look: Level up without breaking the bank

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Today I'm going to wax lyrical about the brand Marc Darcy. I've actually had an interesting relationship with Marc Darcy. We shared some floorspace at Moda Gent a few years back. (A trade show in Birmingham). 

The show was a great experience for me, showcasing my Hawkins & Shepherd shirts. I no longer do the show but I was invited back as a guest speaker to talk with the head of design at Marc Darcy. 

Cut/smash to a few years later and I'm still enjoying a great working relationship with Marc Darcy, modelling one of their ready-to-wear pin stripe suits as you'll see in these photos. 

This is the LEWIS Navy Blue Pinstripe Suit features a double button fastening to the front, single vent on the seat with two flap pockets on each hip with additional mini welt pocket to the right.

I'm wearing two different waistcoats. One is noticeably double breasted with two flap pockets to each hip. The other my personal favourite, a brown five button waistcoat. Yes I've done up all the buttons, they don't call me the Carl 'five button' Thompson for nothing you know. 

Marc Darcy is a fantastic, accessible brand for those that are interested in levelling up their wardrobe, but are a few financial steps away from Savile Row. 

For off the peg suits, I find the cut very flattering. I'm not your standard block size when it comes to trousers. Normally ready to wear trousers always need hemming no matter what. For some reason these come up perfect on me. I'm 31-32" waist, 5'9 and a bit. 

With every suit order you get a complimentary handkerchief coordinating to the inside lining and lapel pin badge to complete the look.

I'd say if you're getting married, or going to a wedding but can't afford Tom Ford prices. This is a perfect place to look for a wedding suit.

There's also an abundance of styles and patterns to choose from. Windowpane, over check, POW etc. Whether you're the guest or groom you'll have a lot of fun getting lost around the website. 

If you've shopped with Marc Darcy I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts in the box below.

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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THE NAVY SUIT | Ties and Pocket Squares Combos

In the post 90's Neil Strauss world of Peacocking, men's tailoring has found its dimmer switch. Between the garishly elaborate 'statement pieces' and the monochrome mundanities of men’s tailoring, lies a convenient halfway house that is accoutrements. In particular ties and pocket squares. Today I want to zero in on the Navy suit and what ties and pocket squares make a good pairing.

Whilst doing some research for the post I took to the net in true Arnie with a mini-gun mode, bouncing between blogs, Insta and Pinterest posts with equal and efficient precision. A lot of people will talk about colour wheels and triadic colour schemes, which is all great and if you'd like to take a deep-dive on that then I'll need to credit the guys over at Deep Knot for their Tie and Pocket Square Combinations Editorial. But I'm going to offer you more of a broad view of combinations that catch my eye, and maybe worm a little science along the way. For more fashion inspiration, you can check out my look book article on How to wear Your Navy Suit 5 Ways

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The Future is Orange

The aforementioned colour wheel will highlight orange as the colour diametrically opposed to Navy Blue. Known as the complementary colour scheme. There is no starker contrast on the planet than a Navy/Orange combo. Credit goes to the Silver London for demonstrating how to subtly peacock with this Reiss navy suit and orange accoutrements. If you're looking to flirt a little with the pocket square then you might want to dull the orange slightly, allowing room for manoeuvre in other departments such as a polka dot pattern and a pin stripe shirt.

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Micro Check Shirt/Gingham Shirt

Look I've made it into this collage, how did that happen haha? I think this is one of the most underused combos in men’s tailoring right now, the gingham shirt and Navy suit combo. I've paired my own Hawkins & Shepherd Gingham Shirt with a Navy Knitted tie. However, whereas mine and the others featured are micro-check, Ewan to the right of me went for a bolder separated gingham keeping close to a monochromatic colour palette (a scheme that involves pairing darker and lighter variants of the same colour). 

Kudos also goes to Lookastic.Com for showing us how it's done with the Navy Vertical Striped Blazer, adorned but not distracted by the Charcoal Pocket Square and Brown Plaid Wool Tie. 

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Paisley Crazy

When it comes to pairing paisley patterns imagine being a movie director trying to reign in a Jim Carrey in his prime. His exuberance is off the chart and destroying the picture, it's your job to mollify him but not brow beat him into thinking he can't go off-piste now and again. So Paisley is all about showing restraint. It doesn't need a partner in crime, it just needs others to do their job. You'll find patterns and textures the most exciting part of pairing because you'll get to exercise your creative muscle. I've highlighted some less bilious pairings, but as Bukowski once said 'Some people never go Paisley. What truly horrible lives they must lead.' Or something like that. 

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Hammond & Co. by Patrick Grant | The Style Edit

What has your day looked like so far? Today, rather than just talking about fashion and products in this Style Edit, I'm going to run through what I've done so far today. My day actually started at 00:00, I mean yes everyone's day starts then but what I mean is I was still up. In fact I was working all night and finally put my pen down at 00:45, finally getting asleep at around 01:15. At 05:30 I was up to walk my dog Charlie for 45 minutes before getting ready for a planned photoshoot at 07:30 just as the sun is breaking through. The shoot, which was situated on the streets around the Oxford Street area was the above look wearing my favourite Hammond & Co. outfit purchased from Debenhams online.

My photographer friend and fellow blogger was late as per usual so I headed into the nearest coffee shop, set my live location tracker on Whatsapp and waited. With the rain starting to fall we headed to St Christopher's Place where I did my street-style photoshoot. Then with her hair starting to de-curl (apparently thats a major issue) we headed to Selfridges where I shot her street-style outfit. Back on the tube at 08:30 and heading back to Clapham to spend the rest of the day working-from-home. Home by 09:00 and I've already walked my dog, had a photoshoot, helped out another blogger with their photos and I'm feeling productive.

As you may know, I also run a shirt makers which I sell online and being Cyber Weekend, I had a few parcels to send to the Post Office, done. Coffee, tick. Emails done. I then had a brunch meeting followed by a Skype meeting. I've then edited these photos and started writing this post. In-between all of these tasks, I've caught up on I'm a Celebrity, done the washing-up, been to the shops for lunch, played with Charlie dog, done 50 swipes on Bumble and even changed a light bulb. 

Not only am I winning at today but I'm also winning in the style stakes. This outfit of the week is from the autumn/winter 2017 collection from Hammond & Co. by Patrick Grant. This incredible range specialises in formalwear or smart-casual attire, perfect for the work place, party season or even weekend wear. A stylish range of suits, coats, shoes, trousers, knitwear etc, so if you are shopping for yourself or for a Christmas gift you'll find something for every man in your life. 

My look is centred around one colour, a mustardy yellow cardigan. With this colour in mind, I've styled it with a dark grey blazer which has a similar colour subtly woven into its window-pane, prince of Wales check pattern. The navy pocket square has a mustard coloured polka and hem. The look is simply finished off with a pair of grey trousers, a tan strap watch and a pair of tan Chelsea boots.

I love it, do you?

 

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Plain Shirts Vs Pattern Shirts by Duchamp

Following on from my popular blog post How to wear a floral shirt and still look effortlessly cool I've gone shopping at Duchamp London who are renowned for making exceptional pattern shirts and plain ones too for the record! The purpose of this experiment is to take two shirts, one plain and one floral which have similar colour tones and style them in exactly the same outfit to see how easy it is to a) completely change a look by simply mixing up your shirts and (b) wear a pattern shirt and still look great.

As a shirt maker myself with Hawkins & Shepherd, I can appreciate a great shirt when I see one and Duchamp are incredible, the fabrics are unique, their tailoring is exquisite and their attention to the finer details is spot on.

For this challenge I've chosen a purple palette for the shirts which I've styled with a pair of black trousers, black blazer, grey socks and finally a pair of black brogues. With the plain shirt it appeared much more formal then wearing the patterned shirt and therefore styled better tucked in whereas the pattern shirt, although still smart in appearance gave the look a bit more of a casual feel to it.

WHICH ONE DO YOU PREFER? Plain or Pattern.

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Photography by Sophie Milner

Checking out the AW16 Diamond G collection by GANT

London is incredible...full stop. For some time now if you follow me on Instagram, you would have noticed that I'm trying to incorporate London's weird and wonderful architecture into my photoshoots, mixing in a little bit of fashion. Often if you just walk around, you'll bump into some incredible architecture, often in random places. During this shoot Ella and I headed off on a quiet Sunday evening to the Barbican when the sunlight is softer leading to these incredible images. During this shoot I was wearing an outfit predominantly made up with pieces from the GANT Diamond G collection for AW16.

Diamond G by GANT is inspired by the cosmopolitan lifestyle and the iconic shirt, this collection gives an effortless and understated confidence to the wearer when going straight from desk to dinner. The GANT Diamond G collection is about versatile tailoring, travel-friendly pieces, and elegant off-duty clothing – creating options for every occasion throughout the week.

Starting off with the GANT clothing, I'm wearing their white classic Oxford Shirt which the fit was quite forgiving, I would say somewhere between a really slim fit design and a classic regular fit. I'm then wearing the Diamond G travel suit in navy. As you can imagine, you want a travel suit to crease as little as possible and this suit is 100% wool, sourced from Italy and features a crease-resistant finish that is ideal for travelling. The leather & nylon hold-all bag is durable, lightweight and stylish, perfect for heading off for a long weekend. My final GANT Diamond G piece are the navy suede gloves, super soft wool lining and a perfect alternative to their leather friends. I've then finished off the outfit with a couple of pieces that I have had for a couple of years which are a pair of black brogues and a lightweight navy trench coat.

 

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Photography by Ella H

CHESTER BARRIE AW16 - SAVILE ROW

I pride myself on having a good eye for detail, not only in clothing but in food, cocktails and even spreadsheets. That was until I met Christopher Modoo the senior creative at Savile Rows' Chester Barrie. During my personal tour of their AW16 collection, the passion showed by Chris as he meticulously explained every single design decision, flourished in their collection. 

My 3 stand out pieces of the collection were:

1. Navy pinstripe double-breasted suit. This suit has gone through so many iterations in the pattern design to get it perfect. Chester Barrie wanted to design a double-breasted suit jacket, which fastens up on the lower buttons in a 6 button design (rather than the usual middle button). Double-breasted jackets look great done up, although when open, they can seem like there is too much fabric flapping around. With their new Chester Barrie, closely guarded pattern, they have solved this issue in their design so this DB suit looks just as good undone as it does done up - a first for DB jackets?

2. Herringbone Overcoat. Wow wow wow. Okay so I'm a little obsessed with overcoats, add on some creative peak lapels and a wide herringbone fabric and you are on to a winner.  

3. Navy Dinner Jacket. Impeccable tailoring using a Chester Barrie designed fabric on the large lapels giving this piece of investment clothing the a-list factor. 

Chester Barrie is bringing accessible quality tailoring to Savile Row and their AW16 collection will be available from August 2016. You can also visit their retail store on 19 Savile Row or shop online at http://www.chesterbarrie.co.uk/

3 SPRING/SUMMER FORMAL WORKWEAR LOOKS

After a 12 year career in the City of London, it is safe to say that workwear is well into my comfort zone. Wether it is for an important meeting or to impress your work crush, I know how important it is to look good in the office. Sometimes we can get lazy with our workwear fashion but the chances are we are going to meet 'the one' during a work event or at work, so guys...you should make more of an effort. Plus 5 out of 7 days (for most of us) are spend at work, so you should be buying clothes that have the fabric quality, design and tailoring to last.

In these 3 looks, I have tried to show diversity. Tie, no tie, pocket squares, silk scarves and different spring/summer shirt on-trend colours (White, Pink & Mint). Each look can easily be dressed up or toned down for a #ThirstyThursday or #FriYay (sorry about that last hashtag!). I've used all of these blazers in smart-casual attire for bars at the weekend with skinny jeans, so you are able to justify the investment.

All the looks are available from Hawkins & Shepherd, a small London based brand launched 3 years ago focusing on quality fabrics, design, tailoring and customer care. H&S are traditionally a shirt makers, whose signature shirt is the pin collar and if you have watched Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice you'll be very familiar with this on-trend classic shirt. So if you are after something different to the boring, same old London's shirt-makers (you know who they are!) - shop Hawkins & Shepherd to look unique rather than the same as the guy who you sit next to at work.

 

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Photography by Ella H. Photography

HOW TO DRESS FOR AN INTERVIEW OR IMPORTANT MEETING

Dressing for an interview is not the time to start experimenting.
— Carl Thompson, Founder Hawkins & Shepherd

Interviews and important meetings can be a very stressful time wether it is getting your presentation right, making sure your voice doesn't get that embarrassing shaky tone or what to wear to make the best impression.

Although I'm a dab hand at PowerPoint, I'm probably best qualified to help you out on the styling aspect and leave someone else to deal with the other stuff!

Firstly the most important thing is that you dress in something which you are comfortable in both physically and mentally. So pick a shirt that fits you well, not too small that the buttons are screaming out for extra stitching or the shirt is cutting off your circulation under the arms. What I mean by dressing comfortable mentally is just dress in something that doesn't make you feel anxious. Wear something you have worn before and liked what you felt and looked like. An interview is NOT the place to start experimenting with different colour combinations. Focus on whats important, which is getting that job!

Don't go over the top. Choose a plain Navy/Grey suit or if you are fashion forward maybe opt for a subtle window-pane or Prince of Wales Check suit. You should avoid bold tones, black or brown suits, as these can be seen a depressing colours.

Saying that, you need to stand out. So you can best do this with either the shirt or the accessories. In this look, I have gone for a gingham check red and navy extreme cutaway shirt which is bold however I have kept the tie simple with a knitted navy design and not worn a pocket square.

Do not over accessorise. There are many options when accessorising your formal look. Pocket squares, socks, tie bars, flower lapels, ties etc. Do not over use all of these accessories and do not match the colours as it can be too over powering.

Be yourself and be confident, now get out there and smash it!

 

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Hawkins & Shepherd Shirt | Suit Supply Suit | Gibson London Tie | Hawkins & Shepherd Socks | Dune Shoes | Tie Bar by Stytched

Photo Credit Sophie Milner

THE DECK CHAIR SHIRT!

When choosing fabric and designing the Hawkins & Shepherd Spring Summer 2015 collection, I wanted to go bright and bold to accompany their popular yet safe essentials collection.

Bold stripes and gingham checks are what I decided to focus on and will be THE designs to have throughout SS15 and even AW15. Although they are beautiful shirts, they are also hard to style correctly and therefore often avoided and instead opting for the bog standard whites and blues.

Well today is lesson one in how to style them. It is important to match bold colours in particular stripes with a block colour and in this case I chose navy. Try to keep the small details small and not over used or over powering. In this look I have gone for Hawkins & Shepherd Red wool socks but thats it with the red accessorising. It would be too much to then add a red pocket square..its one or the other.

Other than the coffee, which was awesome by the way; thanks The Chelsea Quarter Cafe on Kings Road - the only other accessory I have worn is a navy tie pin with palm tree details by stytched.co.uk. The worst sin when wearing a tie bar is if the tie bar hangs over the edge of the tie and with this particular bar being 1.75" in length is it perfect for semi-skinny and classed width ties.

Where to position your tie bar? Divide your tie into thirds. The bar should be pinned one third of the way down from your knot.

 

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Suit Supply French Navy Suit  | Hawkins & Shepherd Shirt | Gibson London Tie | Hawkins & Shepherd Socks | Black Brogue Shoes