Introducing the Luxury Shirt Collection by Hawkins & Shepherd

Today I'm very excited to announce the launch of The Luxury Collection by Hawkins & Shepherd. It's been in the pipeline now for a long time. This collection of luxury shirts uses the finest fabrics in the world and the highest level of handmade shirt tailoring.

Within the collection I have two different kinds of luxury shirts; the Cashmerello shirt which is a luxurious blend of 15% Cashmere and 85% two fold 120's Swiss Cotton and the Soyella Duecento shirt which are a Two-ply 2/200 fabric.

Tell me what makes these shirts luxury?

Mens shirts have become something of an obsession for me. I have to have the best quality, the best fabric, the best cut. The finish on these London shirts are just beautiful. Look at the stitching on the collar, it's as close to the edge as you can get which denotes the quality.

Now look at the stitching on the collar of a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt. You can immediately see how safe the stitching is because they've brought the finish in at least 10ml from the collar edge.

Please note this is not an attack on Charles Tyrwhitt shirts. From online reviews they provide adequate shirts at an accessible price. I'm merely attempting to clarify and distinguish what makes my shirts superior and where the extra money is being spent.

The cuffs on both shirts are double buttoned only the Cashmerello shirt comes with curve edges, whilst the Soyella Duecento shirt features cut edges. Both are adorned with mother of pearl buttons.

For what occasions can I wear these luxury shirts? 

These are not dress shirts, the colours are not conducive to black tie events. Unless you buy them in white of course. However, men’s formal shirts are not quite as formal as they once were. With the advent of casual Friday and the up rise of men working from home, men are no longer restricted to wearing white shirts to the office. 

Luxury shirts brands such as Hawes and Curtis, Thomas Pink and Turnbull & Asser have also cottoned on to this (pardon the pun) with their recent capsules introducing dress-down collections. 

I'd recommend these UK shirts for most formal events. If you're looking to make a statement and want to feel confident when walking into a room. 

The Colours of Summer: Hawkins & Shepherd Spring Summer Pastels Collection

I'm taking a quick time out from the travel log and want to bring to your attention some new Spring/Summer Pastels available on the Hawkins & Shepherd site. 

We're emerging into that time of year when you start looking at your shirts and thinking they look a bit tired. They call it a Spring clean for a reason right? There's no better time to rejuvenate your wardrobe with a shirt subscription service through Hawkins & Shepherd

Current Shirt Trends 

For me I'm really trend-led. I do believe in producing quality timeless shirts that have a proven track record of not just fawning to flavour of the month clubs. 

I've intergraded some strong bold stripes and into the H&S Spring/Summer shirt range this year. Pink pastes and fresh colour palettes are also available. 

There is something for everyone not only in the varying types of colours, but the collars also come in curve tab, cutaway, pin collars etc. 

I'm very excited about this collection of ready to wear shirts. The fresh pastel colours for this Spring/Summer season is a reflection of where my head is at right now. Clean lines, positive radiant colours. 

I want these shirts to be worn with confidence. I want you to be bamboozled by the quality of these shirts. I want you to question why some shirt makers get to charge double the price for only half the end result. How some brands get to exist purely on their name. 

The pastel hues of pink, lilac, blue, mint etc, these are all neutral Spring/Summer colours that are interchangeable with staple garments you probably already own. Dark blue jeans, Navy blazer, the tan shoes etc. 

Spring/Summer sees the return of drinks by the river, smart-casual garden parties, the Henley Regatta, Race meetings, first dates in the beer garden and so on. We don't just want you to own one Spring/Summer shirt but have a modest collection on a revolving carousel. Take a look at the shirt subscription package to see how you can save money on upgrading your wardrobe.

You'll keep your friends and your work colleagues on their toes with how new and refreshed you look every time they see you. 

I've worked hard on the designs and it's taken time to bring the concept to market. I'd very much appreciate you leaving a comment on what your favourite Spring/Summer shirt is in the comment box below. 

https://www.hawkinsandshepherd.com/collections/spring-summer-collection

 

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.

Why You Need a Cashmere Coat in Your Lives

Today I want to talk about the emergence of Spring and the Hawkins and Shepherd Cashmere coats. It's one of the perks of owning a pirate ship, I get to call the shots. I get to promote my own brand if I want, so sue me! 

Wait don't. I looked into suing that nimrod(s) that wrote that Medium article the other month. It's a costly business. 

That aside let me give you 3 reasons why you need a Hawkins & Shepherd cashmere coat in your life.

1.     100% Cashmere. Quality guaranteed and the fabric is supplied by the renowned Harrisons of Edinburgh. You'll find an abundance of overcoats on the market currently. However, very few will be made from a fabric with this much quality.

If you're looking for a cheaper price point then expect to cut corners on quality like most things. It will more than likely be a synthetic blend, won't drape as well and won't be as soft to the touch. 

2.     100% customer service. I'm right here guys, very accessible if you have any problems with your product or delivery.

I won't be dropping names here but one of my best customers is an actor in Hollywood who reached out to me after ordering a quote. He was so happy with reaching out to a human being and having that one-on-one service that he has since ordered regularly through the site. 

As much as I'd love for Hawkins & Shepherd to become a monolith of an e-commerce site and make me rich beyond my wildest dreams, knowing my customers have access to me if they have any questions is very rewarding. 

3.     It's not quite summer yet! I know we have all enjoyed an awesome February so far, but don't be fooled. It's not quite bikini weather yet in London. The beauty of a cashmere coat is that it is light and can be worn throughout the Spring months. 

 They are also currently reduced to £800 and we have immediate stock. No time like the present and why not inject a new lease of life into your Spring wardrobe.


SHOP THE CASHMERE COLLECTION

 

It's Time to Talk About Carl

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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. 

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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."

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

ADDRESSING COMMENTS IN THE ARTICLE

“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.

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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:

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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.

“FAKE INFLUENCER PARTY”

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.


FURTHER READING

VOTED TOP 6 MEN’S LIFESTYLE BLOG IN THE UK 2018

https://www.vuelio.com/uk/blog-awards/shortlist/

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

https://www.vuelio.com/uk/social-media-index/mens-lifestyle-blogs-uk-top-10/

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

MY OWN BLOG STATISTICS PUBLISHED

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).

https://www.carlthompson.co.uk/further-reading-blogs/2019/1/18/carl-thompson-all-the-stats-from-my-blog-revealed

YOUTUBE

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7saYubGIW4nDfajCS9Kkqw?view_as=subscriber

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

 

 

 

5 x Best Christmas Box Subscription Gift for Him

Today I'm going to highlight some of the best Subscription Services I've earmarked for Christmas gifts. A subscription service is truly the gift that keeps on giving and every month someone gets reminded what a good egg you truly are. 

DiscoverBrew

You might have seen me Vlog about DiscoverBrew where I talk about the benefits of being a BrewBox subscriber. Each month 6 of the best beers arrive on my doorstep, complete with personalised vids that will describe each beer and what food you can pair it with.

The merits of the brands rest on its fantastic selection of beers. Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about craft beer you get presented with a new one and you fall in love all over again. 

Each beer in the box is hand-picked from hundreds that are tasted by the DiscoverBrew team, and only great beers make it into each box. 

Coffee 

My favourite scene from Pulp Fiction is when Quentin Tarantino gives a thrift monologue schooling Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta and indeed the entire audience on why quality coffee is so important. (Unfortunately the dialogue is far too colourful to transcribe here, but I'm sure you get my point). 

If you have someone in your life that is serious about Coffee then introduce them to Pact Coffee.

Their coffee is bought directly from the best farmers across the world then roasted in small batches at Pact HQ in Bermondsey, to ensure the very optimum quality.

Grooming

A lot of us feel begrudged leaving the house at all these days. Especially in this inclement weather and for something so perfunctory as razor blades. 

Why not save someone else the hassle as well by treating them to a razor blade subscription service by the Bearded Colonel. Made in Germany, the high water mark for quality razors.

Delivered direct to your door and small enough to fit through the letterbox so you needed hang around waiting on the postman. 

Music

A promise I've made to myself in the new year is that I'm going to rekindle my passion for vinyl. Really Carl? You're such the go-getter trend setter. 

I know, it's about 20 years too late, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia and I've already got the beard so I feel like I'm halfway there. 

If you know someone that is an avid music goer or has seen High Fidelity and   on a regular basis why not sign them up to Flying Vinyl.

They're a company that sends its members a monthly box filled with the best new alternative music printed onto beautiful 7” vinyl records. 

Shirts 

Ok well you know I'm no shrinking violet when it comes to self promotion. I like to think I tread that fine line of eagerness and persistence. My Hawkins & Shepherd shirt subscription service is the ultimate gift for that man in your life that is career driven, professional and scrupulous about his personal style. 

Save him the hassle of going out and finding new shirts every other month and keep his wardrobe enlivened with new design led, sophisticated hand crafted shirts every month 

Delicacy

Finally, avoid the hustle and bustle of the farmers markets by signing up to the Neals Yard Dairy cheese subscription service. 

Treat your palette to a wonderful myriad of different British farmhouse cheeses. If anyone is looking to get me a gift for Christmas I'll be pleased as punch to receive this. 

Ideal for people who enjoy entertaining or those who like having a few hearty pieces of cheese to hand for both cheeseboards and cooking.

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with DiscoverBrew

Hawkins & Shepherd Navy Cashmere Coat | Men's Style Edit

We're all starting to feel the bitter chills of the cruel British Winter. This year we saw the beast from the east demonstratively smash its way through the UK, causing a significant slump in consumer spending and causing the British economy £1 million pound a day. 

Not only was this catastrophic for the fragility of the British high street, it was bloody cold! I've stocked up on a few coats this year as you may have already seen with the French Connection Pile Coat and the Green Maroon check overcoat from ASOS. 

If you are the type of guy who invests in statement, timeless pieces of clothing a coat is the perfect choice.

This limited edition double-breasted (also available in single-breasted) 100% British navy cashmere coat, is the unsung hero of the Hawkins and Shepherd collection. Perfect for this winter and what's more, it's currently half price at £800. 

What I love about this coat is how the cashmere offers an impeccable texture to the look. You'll also notice it has a contrast under collar. The grey felt panelling brings a fresh modernity to the piece and just looks ace in photos. 

The cashmere is sourced from Harrisons of Edinburgh, and is a design collaboration between myself and Savile Row trained woman's designer Calder London.

It comes fully equipped with soft silk lining, stylish buttons and is an incredibly versatile signature piece. Perfect for wearing over dark casuals as seen in the pictures, or traditional day to day suits. 

I believe with the ubiquity of the cashmere camel coat (also available through Hawkins & Shepherd) the future trends for autumn/winter will see a pendulum swing towards the Navy look.

SHOP HAWKINS & SHEPHERD CASHMERE COATS

Hawkins & Shepherd Camel Overcoat | Men's Style Edit

If there was one staple piece of autumn/winter wear that's been a flag-bearer for my Menswear E-Commerce store Hawkins & Shepherd, it's the 100% British Cashmere Overcoat. It's a collaboration garment borne of a long working established relationship with myself and Savile Row trained woman's designer Calder London.

Hey Carl, what are the benefits of Cashmere? 

Thanks for asking. Firstly, it's a sustainable fabric, it has various insulating properties - in the winter it will keep you warm and insulated yet it will ensure you stay cool in the summer.

I personally like the textured look of Cashmere and the luxurious feel.

The finest details

The coat is crafted from Harrisons of Edinburgh and finished with a soft silk lining, tortoiseshell buttons and a dark grey felt on the underside of the collar. A keen eye will detect the coat is cut slightly tapered to cater for a modern silhouette.

Style over traditional suits in formal attire or with dark denim if you are going casual.

How do I style a camel cashmere overcoat? 

I often team my beloved overcoat with traditional suits in formal attire or with dark denim if I'm going casual. A lot of people have been commenting on these awesome Goodwin Smith classic leather brogue boot, so I'll do another style edit and talk more about those in a later blog. 

The best bit about this Cashmere coat

Well one of the best bits, is the price. It's currently on sale exclusively through my Hawkins & Shepherd website listed at £800. Don't have to wait for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thongs on a Thursday, this 100% cashmere coat is available in 38" and 40", also in double breasted. 

SHOP HAWKINS & SHEPHERD 100% CASHMERE COATS

How to Dress for a 20’s Theme Party

The word you'll hear most associated with the 1920's is 'roaring'. It really was a period where more than ever in our history, people were conscious of having a style and more importantly, being able to express themselves through their individualism. With the uptick in secret club events evoking the clandestine nature of 20's Speakeasy's, I thought it would be appropriate to put a style guide together. But first a quick bit of information on some of the reasons on how the 20's earned its roaring reputation. 

In 1914, there was the Great War. For the first time in British history women were asked to join the British war effort and around 1917, American forces would come to Britain and with them they brought the wonders of jazz and stimulated a dance culture not seen before. Men would discard their naval and military uniforms and look to impress the ladies with their chalk line suits, spats and braces. With that said, here are a couple of tips that might help you with your 20's styling from top to bottom. 


Hats

A great era for hats; the Homburg, the Boater, the Panama were just some and all very popular at the time. With the success of Peaky Blinders the Newsboy Hat will be a safe bet for your party. If you're going gangster fedora, then make sure it's a wide brim and be sure to accurately do your hair because gentlemen take their hats off indoors. As Jamie Foxx mentions in Django Unchained. 'You don't wear a hat in the house white man. Even I know that'. 


Ties

I'd recommend printed ties with thin stripes. Don't allow them to hang too low, if it should hang below the waistcoat then tuck them into the trousers. You can opt for a bow tie, make sure it's self-tied. 


Suit

It's important to have the suit matching. With that I mean ensure the jacket, trousers and waistcoat are the same fabric. You should plum for baggy pants, known either as Knickers, Plus Fours or Oxford Bags. Ensure they're bagginess looks right and if possibly, brought up to the naval. Be sure to use and held up with braces or suspenders, as belts weren't prevalent in this time period. The jacket should ideally have 3 buttons, wide lapels, without falling fowl of bilious or cartoon-esq. 


Shirts (Pin Collar or Tab Collar)

During this time there was an Oasis/Blur style war breaking out over stiff and soft collars. Both are acceptable, as are detachable rounded collars, as seen in The Great Gatsby. For dress shirts the collar could be pure white like the cuffs, whilst the body would be striped. The popular cuffs could be double cuffs. Fabrics were mostly cottons or linen, silks were becoming a little pricey for the common man by the 20's. For my money I'd go for a Pin Collar, the collar bars hit the scene in the late twenties and I believe will give you the edge at the party. Attention to detail my friends. 

Shoes

Steer clear of anything square capped. Two-toned wing tipped derby’s were everywhere on the dance floor back then and has enjoyed a resurgence since with the likes of Boardwalk Empire, La La Land has carried on the Gatsby mantle. The uppers should be a blend of leather on canvass and I'd mute the colours to tan/beige which will be more versatile with other items in your wardrobe. 

 

How to Wear a Pinstripe Grey Suit 5 ways | Men's Style & Fashion Lookbook

Every man's wardrobe should include a grey suit, versatile tonal greys are easy to style but there are some colours that work well and some not-so-well. The pinstripe gives the suit blazer a touch of class to what otherwise can be quite a traditionally boring colour tone. So if you are heading to the office or want inspiration for what to wear at a wedding or special event then this is the blog for you.

This grey pinstripe suit jacket is from ZARA and comes with matching trousers, although I've mixed and matched the blazer with a plain pair of grey trousers which I already had in my wardrobe. Alternatively a pair of black trousers or even dark blue jeans would also work.

Please find all 5 looks below and links to shop each look.

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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. 

 

Hawkins & Shepherd Turns 5 Years Old | The Mistakes I Made

The critical mass will tell you it takes 3 years before you generate any profit from your online store. With Hawkins & Shepherd we sold on our first day of trading and I'm pleased to say have enjoyed a healthy trajectory. However, it could take another 10-20 years before it reaches a level that I would be happy with.

Today Hawkins & Shepherd celebrates its 5th year in business and in this article I will tell you all about the mistakes I've made and what you need to be mindful of should you be looking to start an e-commerce store. 

 

SINGLE POINT FAILURE

AW17-SS18 has been the most challenging year for me. I've suffered great losses through supply issues.

With Hawkins & Shepherd the shirts are all handmade so it is extremely hard to find a factory that has skilled workers who will deal with the relatively small orders that I'm placing.

We have always used the same supplier for 5 years and there lies a problem. Looking back to my IT Networking days, that would be classed as a 'single point of failure' which needs to be avoided at all costs.

 

HOT-STANDBY

The same applies with fashion/clothing, by having one factory making your goods is bad business. You always need a 2nd option which will take over if one factory experiences issues. In the world of IT we call this a hot-standby. (I know it sounds like a rolodex of page 3 girls' phone numbers that Charlie Sheen would have on his night stand). 

Alternatively, you could place your orders between two factories known as Load Balance. 

 

£10,000 DOWN THE TUBE? 

For around 9 months I had ZERO shirts being made and I thought my investment of around £10,000 in cotton fabric was going to be lost.

I run out of my most popular shirts around the AW17 season which is my biggest profit turner and also SS18 which is wedding season.

It hurt, it hurt bad. Not just on the business but on my confidence in people and my ability to continue to run Hawkins & Shepherd.

Over the last month, I've got all of the shirts made and I've also found a second supplier who are currently making samples for me and are in the state of approval to move forward with either taking over production or sharing it with my current supplier.

 

TURNED THE CORNER

Looking back this lesson has been hard but it has taught me valuable lessons and in the long run made the business more robust. At the same time, we've been working on a complete website redesign to showcase our products and services better.

We've been developing new shirts and searching the world for the best fabric to use in a new premium shirt range...we'll be using Alumo fabrics, renowned throughout Savile Row and the world for being the best (*expensive though!).

We've gone live with our first outdoor advertising campaign in the form of two black taxis fully wrapped and branded with Hawkins & Shepherd promoting our Shirt Subscription Service 'The Collar Club'.

For anyone thinking of getting into clothing and an e-commerce business there are so many challenges and things to overcome but taking advice from someone that has been there done is is crucial.

 

KNOW YOUR MARGINS

In fact, the other week I was discussing this with a friend who wishes to start something up. In short, he was going to make a product for say £25 and sell for £50. This just doesn't work; your margins are way too low.

For someone starting a business who has no experience may think that is good, you are making 100% on everything. Incorrect!

If you cost in every single penny, your profit will actually be a lot lower. For example what about the costs for, start-up, designs, pattern-cutting, warehousing, packaging and depreciation of stock value over time (the latter being the most important). Don't even get me started on wholesale! 

 

BUSINESS 101

I'm starting a new Business series on YouTube which will take you on my journey of creating Hawkins & Shepherd, how I got into blogging and crammed with my tips to be successful. So subscribe below to make sure you don't miss it.

 

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

david-gandy-white-blazer-style.jpg

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

Win a Cashmere Coat & Why I’ve Invested in Outdoor Advertising for Hawkins & Shepherd

It's time to put the great, in the great outdoors. What am I on about? Outdoor advertising! This month I've launched a new advertising campaign, promoting The Collar Club, a shirt subscription service from Hawkins and Shepherd. For the next 12 months I'll need you to keep your eyes peeled when out on the streets in central London as two black taxis will be donning my brand and the face of the campaign, the flame haired viral master and Mr Body Transformation himself Gwilym Pugh.

GIVEAWAY!

As part of this campaign I'm going to be giving away a 100% Cashmere Coat (the one in the image above) which retails at £1,600. To enter the competition draw you'll need to take a photo/selfie of the taxi and tag on social media #HawkinsAndShepherdTaxi which will automatically enter you in the draw. It is that simple.

Why outdoor advertising? 

As part of my business I'm heavily invested into all areas of digital marketing. I've ran many digital campaigns for other brands on my blog, but only have a modicum of experience when it comes to outdoor advertising. With that in mind I wanted to experiment and have a little fun with the campaign, making it more fun for me and the man on the street. 

'There is undeniable and enduring power and purity in a great idea, articulated with a striking image and pithy copy line – a Classic poster. There is, perhaps, a perceived simplicity to this task that makes it a less alluring creative challenge in a world of one-to-one communication. The fact is, simple is hard and we must do more to acknowledge and celebrate this among the creative community.' Glen Wilson - Campaign

 One of my favourite billboard advertisement stories of all time is the story of Tommy Hilfiger who released a teaser billboard in Manhattan’s Times Square cryptically declared, “The 4 Great American Designers for Men Are: R—— L——-, P—— E——, C——- K——, T—— H———-.” I couldn't afford to be as subtle as Tommy at this stage, but there's no doubting how persuasive a good advert can be. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on outdoor advertising, do you have a favourite campaign other than the Eva Herzigova Wonderbra advert of the mid 90’s? Leave your comments and thoughts in the box below.

The Versatile Camel Overcoat | Men's Style Edit

On a spring day that feels more like winter it is imperative that you have a lightweight, smart overcoat for layering over your workwear. A camel coat can be worn both smart, layered on top of a suit or casual with a pair of jeans making it super versatile. There are a lot of wool mix or cashmere-wool mix camel coats on the market for affordable prices, although mixing in wool will give the coat more warmth and therefore better suited to cold weather. If you can stretch your finances, always try to buy 100% cashmere, as it is warm yet breathable and most important, lightweight. 

For this weeks style edit, I'm wearing a 100% British cashmere coat by Hawkins & Shepherd, layered on top of a navy double-breasted suit from Reiss and a blue stripe shirt, also from Hawkins & Shepherd. The shoes in this look are from Goodwin Smith.

 

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Dressing Dandy | Men's Style Edit

Recently I attended the MODA trade show at the NEC in Birmingham as part of a three person panel to discuss the latest Dandy Trend in Menswear. But what is a Dandy or a Dandy Dresser? Well it's someone who takes particular pride in their appearance and a man who embraces fashion as a form of self expression. In tailoring it would be considered as someone who would appreciate the fine little details such as the stitching, the fabric, the pattern cut and the importance of quality.

It was an interesting discussion and on the most part the panel agreed with each other, although for me there was one major disconnect which was the word 'trend'. I don't believe dressing 'dandy' is a trend at all, as that would suggest cyclical elements of ups and downs. Dressing dandy or dapper has always been there, it's somewhat engraved in us Brits. You just need to look back at the history of tailoring in Britain to understand the affinity that we have to this way of life.

All the way from the master tailors of Savile Row to the traditional shirt makers of Jermyn Street, you can find signs of our great heritage for this craftsmanship. Dressing dandy has a history throughout our lives, at every major event we tend to wear a suit...from your first job interview to your wedding. So if there is a trend here, I would say that it is that men are experimenting more. For example, men are becoming more adventurous in choosing suit fabrics as there is a big increase in pin-stripe and window-pane check suits being brought. In shirts buyers are being more expressive with collar types such as the pin collar or tab collar rather than a standard spread collar. Men are also mix-and-matching suit colours and textures as well as adding a waistcoat and accessorising more. 

On Instagram if I post a photo looking dandy, the two main comments will be about the suit, coat or layering. So therefore if I was going to style someone and predict the next 'dandy trend' I would start with a pinstripe double-breasted suit which has a tiny bit more prominent height in the shoulders. I would then choose a pair of single pleated trousers, turned-up of course and tailored slightly shorter than normal. I would wear a pair of plain socks and brogue shoes, keeping the look classic and classy. I would have a range of shirts, an extreme cutaway shirt for business, a pin collar shirt for special occasions and a button-down shirt for smart casual situations. Ties should be kept simple and then a boldly beautiful pocket square maybe in a geometric or paisley pattern to finish off the look. Layer with a camel cashmere overcoat.

One final closing tip. It is important not to get carried away with accessorising, yes be expressive but be careful not to overdress or over accessorise.

 

SHOP MY TOP DANDY PICKS

Why it's so Hard to Run a Successful Wholesale Clothing Business | SME Business Advice

This weekend just gone I was at the MODA event which is a fashion trade show where clothing brands (menswear, womenswear, footwear, accessories) showcase their new AW18 collections to prospective buyers from independent stores and large department stores. I've been visiting MODA for a couple of years as representative/founder of the brand Hawkins & Shepherd, this visit I was doing a panel discussion on the Dandy Dapper Trend (but thats for another post). Last year I decided to concentrate on building a successful online business rather than a wholesale business model which wasn't as successful as I first thought it might have been for a number of reasons.

Wholesaling is basically where brands such as Hawkins & Shepherd design a collection and sell 'bulk' to retailers at a wholesale price. This wholesale price is negotiable between the brand, agent and buyer but a general rule of thumb would be, for example you sell a shirt for £90 direct to customers, you will have to wholesale it at approx £30-35 (a 2.7 or 3.0 ratio). Therefore to make enough margin to run a profitable wholesale business you'll need to design, build, brand and land the shirt for £15. 

For me the buyers were driving down the price that they offered for your goods, for many reasons but mainly due to rent increases on bricks & mortar stores, risk management and also greed. When a clothing brand offers a wholesale price to retailers it is based on a large order promise. So therefore the brand can take these accumulated large orders and pass it on to their factories to get a preferential rate per piece. Furthermore the brands use the leverage of large orders to get bulk discount on textiles which is the justification to be able to offer the high discounts that a brand gives retailers. However on top of the retailers driving down prices they are also taking less volume of stock, which is a double hit for the brands wholesale margins making it really tough to operate as a small business owner in this wholesale space.

Trade shows such as MODA give an opportunity for brands to get in front of powerful buyers who have the ability to potentially make a brand mainstream and to build a brands value, appearance and popularity. Although these trade shows can be expensive, especially for a start-up SME business. For a smallish 12-15 metre squared pitch you are looking at around £3,000 although I've heard brands being charged up to £6,000. Then there are a number of added extras such as extra lighting, power sockets, decorating your stand, transportation, printed marketing material, cost of sample stock, staff etc. So you can see how to show at a trade show for SME's is difficult financially. 

My first two trade shows with Hawkins & Shepherd were great, the orders came in and on-paper it seemed successful. Although that's where my problems started. The retailers that I dealt with refused to pay for stock up-front or even 50% now 50% on delivery. They would ask for small adjustments on the designs, yet in tiny quantities making it impossible to make any money as a brand. They would demand 'replenishment' of stock where they would order 1, 2 or 5 shirts per week/month depending on sales, yet still demanding the same bulk wholesale rate. They always paid late and on 3 occasions not paid at all leaving me around £4,000 being owed for goods that I have already delivered (and that was 2 years ago!) It is ridiculous and quite soul destroying. Yes you could say, well why did you deliver the goods without payment? But at some stage you need to have faith and trust people. The investment has already been made in terms of making the goods, so you just want to get the product into store as quickly as possible. All of my time was taken up managing these accounts, chasing payments, asking for sales reports and trying to manage a system of replenishment. I think it is clear that for a small business owner, wholesaling is difficult. Everyone will have a different experience, positive or negative, but my goal here is to offer my personal experience so that any new fashion brand thinking about wholesaling can streamline their processes or think about the alternatives before commitment.

There is another option which is selling online e-commerce and digital marketing. This is where I've driven Hawkins & Shepherd towards, focusing on building a digital audience through social media and using trackable digital advertisements such as google ads. Focusing on a pure online model means that your brand can take all of the profit without having the large operating costs of owning a store. It opens up a global marketplace that you can target. At Hawkins & Shepherd we have grown our American sales from 3% in 2015 to 29% in 2017 whilst also growing in Europe and other continents. Operating online you can really lean down your outgoings to a point where you are just spending money of Direct Expenses, Payment Gateway Costs, Accounting and Marketing.

Talking about marketing, traditionally the fashion industry has been led by print press publications being the highlight of how a brand is doing. It was always the goal to be in a major editorial for a large targeted magazine. Well now we have a digital footprint, we have bloggers, influencers and many other ways that can offer a greater return on investment for SME businesses and everything is tracked. Its the same with the wholesale model in fashion. Is this something that potentially will be phased out over time? I think not, but I certainly think more brands will try the lean costs for greater profit and therefore consider whether wholesaling is the way to go. So as marketing moves towards a more digital model of accountability and traceability will we see the wholesale model of brands move towards an singular online presence or online drop-ship model - but thats another discussion!

 

SHOP THE STYLED LOOK IN THIS POST

Men's January Winter 2018 Fashion Haul & Outfit of the Month

I'm sure I'm not the only person out there thats had a great start to the year, none of this BLUE January stuff here. I had the most amazing Christmas and New Year, just spending quality time with family, relaxing, eating loads...it was bliss. January came and I've kept up with my fitness goals, combining HIIT training with British Military Fitness, Boxing with KOBOX, the Gym at Virgin Active and some PT strength training sessions with Neal Williams. It may seem overkill but I think it works to keep your exercises fresh, different and therefore fun, yet certainly not monotonous. I've also spruced up my home interiors with some plants which is making working from home much more comfortable and I'm feeling positive for my work situation in 2018, so it's all positive thinking here in the Thompson household!

I am aware however that January can be tough financially, with people over indulging during the festive period and made to pay for it in interest payments over the following months. Most people also get paid earlier in December, which means that our pay packets have to stretch that little bit further - unless you are good at managing your money of course. So we tend to have less money in our pockets for luxuries such as clothing, however this is the perfect time to invest in some new threads. With the brands shifting focus to spring/summer collections, the winter clobber is old news and they're selling it off cheap.

For this style edit, I've combined my recent winter haul with my outfit of the month in a kind of 2in1 deal. My style for this edit is very much smart casual, business attire or commuter wear. It's smart, yet comfortable and practical. My outfit consists of signature Chelsea boots from NEXT, navy chinos from Spoke London, navy roll neck jumper from Jaeger, tan corduroy blazer from ASOS and a cashmere overcoat from Hawkins & Shepherd. As always, if you love it shop it by clicking on the images below.

 

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SHOP MY JANUARY WINTER 2018 HAUL PIECES

That's not all for this post as here is some bonus material with links to all of my favourite pieces of clothing that I have personally brought within the last two weeks.

My Journey into Blogging | A Massive Thanks to my '&FRIENDS' Contributing Authors

It seems a lifetime away from 2013 when I launched my menswear brand Hawkins & Shepherd and starting writing blog posts about shirts, fabrics and what knot to wear with your shirts. In 2014 I launched my eponymous Men's Lifestyle Blog. Back then, to begin with I was looking to drive more traffic to my menswear label, but it soon came apparent that the blog was developing into something separate and deserved its own platform. More and more people were coming to me for advice and I wanted to provide a place for people that wanted to enhance their style. 

It has been a major learning curve moving from my previous career which I was the Global Head of IT Communications & Networking for a major privately owned commodities trading house to starting up my own shirt label and subsequently men's lifestyle blog. Back then when I was building my previous career, I had no clue what a blog was and would have laughed at you if you suggested that I would give up a career that I've spent 15 years perfecting on a gamble for a better lifestyle; but that's exactly what I did. Some friends laughed, some suggested it wouldn't work, some were just worried for me but in most cases they were supportive. All of these reactions are forever indented into my memories which I call upon for inspiration and to make myself even more dedicated to succeed.

One thing I do miss about working for someone else is the holiday pay, the sick pay, actually the consistent pay in general - oh and the odd hangover day when you're on the clock getting paid but not really there mentally! Starting Hawking & Shepherd, not only took a lot of capital but also a hell of a lot of my hours and I think there is a massive misconception about life being greener when self-employed and now I know that to be correct. Since 2013, I've put every single penny that the business makes back into it, to help it grow, improve and to have the best chance of success in the long-term. It's really hard and have so much respect for anyone who has made a successful change in career or launched their own brand.  

Mid-way through 2017 I was thinking of ways to turn my self-titled blog into more of an online magazine, an encyclopedia of everything men's lifestyle. It was then that I decided to seek out other writers and journalists to contribute to carlthompson.co.uk and to help them launch themselves to a possibly difference audience to what they would usually come in contact with. The relationship had to be beneficial to all parties and we have achieved that. I wanted to take this opportunity at the start of 2018 to say a massive thanks to these writers who have contributed to the success of 2017 in which we've seen an increase of unique visitors by 85.8% compared to the previous year.

Unfortuently my budget doesn't stretch to have them all employed full-time. So I'm sure they will not mind if I did a shout out to each of them and say to feel free to contact them if you require unique content, copy-writing, event coverage etc.

Peter Brooker is a Professional Freelancer & Copywriter with SEO experience. Founder & Editor of Human Research. Lifestyle Editor & Podcast host for Menswear Style. Fashion Editor for The Essential Journal. He has interviewed leading ambassadors, athletes, celebrities, actors including David Gandy, Daniel Sturridge, Paul Weller, Evander Holyfield, Sir Steve Redgrave, David Haye, George Foreman, Dita Von Teese, Idris Elba, Jamie Redknapp, Sir Roger Moore and Stephen Hendry. Oh in case anyone is still reading he also writes for Viz and is unbeaten at crazy golf. 

Originally from Cornwall, Holly has two main passions in life: history and gin. With a degree in history and over 7 years of knowledge working in the gin industry, she now writes about both. Holly creates food recipes for artisan spirits companies and is always on the search to try and experiment with new flavours. You can follow her on Twitter @HollyHarwood and on Instagram @HollyHWood.

Patrick McAleenan is a freelance journalist, PR and Personal Trainer, based in London. He is a regular contributor to Telegraph Men, Metro, Attitude magazine and other high profile publications. He was a Stonewall Awards 2014 Journalist of the Year nominee and is currently writing his first work of fiction. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ontheptrain

Suzanne Bernie is the founder and Managing Director of Coathanger. Based in one of the fashion capitals of the World, London; Suzanne is a leading fashion stylist who helps clients develop a better relationship with their wardrobe and how they express themselves with fashion. With over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry and having founded Coathanger in 2002, Suzanne and her team of personal stylist’s aim to help people step out of their comfort zones and develop a whole new outlook on the role fashion plays in our everyday lives.

...and to the newest member signed up for 2018, I'm incredibly excited to introduce to you Christopher Modoo...

Christopher Modoo is the "Urbane Outfitter". With over 25 years experience in men's fashion he is an expert on style and etiquette.Having worked in all aspects of menswear from shop floor to senior creative, Christopher is now a freelance stylist and is working on launching his own label. As well as fashion, Christopher is a keen fan of the cinema and enjoys travel. He is married and lives in Hampton Court.

How to Wear a Tuxedo | Men's Style Advice as Featured in GQ

If you pick up a copy of the GQ China magazine (December 2017) and turn to the Men's Style Advice section, you'll find my face explaining what I wear for party season. Without duplicating content, I'm using my own platform to explain in a little more detail what I'm wearing, why and some style advice I would give to anyone wanting to look incredible in a tuxedo or as us Brits like to call dinner jackets. 

For the GQ China tuxedo style advice section, there was only one tuxedo that I wanted to wear and that was my 3-piece by Savile Row's Chester Barrie. The tailoring put into this tuxedo is the best in the world, it's crafted with the most skilled hands in the business and you can appreciate every stitch and every cut of the pattern as it aligns with your body shape. When looking for a tuxedo to wear for a special occasion, there are a few aspects that for me are a must. Firstly for the dinner jacket, peak bold lapels are an absolute must, they give an element of style, sophistication and screams that you know how to dress and you're not just following high-street trends of modern skinny lapels. The cuffs have to be working cuffs and the buttons should be discrete yet in a design that matches the suits style perfectly. 

Moving on to the waistcoat. Firstly make sure it fits well and is not too tight. If it is too tight it will look terrible when sitting down, it will rumple up the shirt underneath and will ultimately make the outfit as a whole look disheveled. The buttons on the waistcoat must match the buttons on your dinner jacket. The cut of the waistcoat should be low cut, this is to champion the shirt underneath and make the bow-tie prominent. If the waistcoat is cut too high there will be no colour transition between the dark suit fabric and the bow-tie. As with this Chester Barrie tuxedo, I love the contrast between the single-breasted blazer and the double-breasted waistcoat as well as the peak cut lapels of the blazer and the elongated curves of the waistcoat lapels. 

Kind of obvious but the trouser fabric should match that of the dinner jacket blazer and waistcoat. The trousers should be cut slim but not too skinny and certainly not baggy. Turn-up trousers are welcomed so long as they are tailored at the correct length and the trousers are tapered perfectly - if you need any advice on this, either comment below and I'll get back to you or speak to your local tailor. Leave the belt at home and opt for a pair of trousers with side adjusters. 

The shirt is an important part to the perfect tuxedo style. It has to be a crisp white shirt and in my personal opinion have a classic downwards collar. Button-down shirts should not be used, wing-tip shirts can look cheap, like you've just been to a hire shop and give an adolescent appearance. If you want a shirt fabric that is breathable then opt for a lightweight poplin weave in a 2/100s yarn count, if you want more warmth then an Oxford or herringbone weave would be a better option. Many tuxedo shirts are tailored with a fabric called 'Marcella' which has a textured appearance and often used specifically in the bib area of dress shirts. Another option is the wear a pleated shirt. If you are wearing one of these shirts, you'll want to show that in your look and therefore another reason why you should wear a low-cut waistcoat otherwise you'll just cover up the shirt details. For the buttons, I prefer classic, bone coloured mother-of-pearl to leave the chest area clean from too much clutter. A lot of people like to wear black satin covered buttons, although my personal opinion is that they look like a airport landing strip. The cuffs can be either double French cuffs and single cuffs, depending on preference and if you would like to wear cuff-links. My personal preference here is single cuffs, as I think they fit the wrist better and showcase your watch. Sometimes a double French cuff can be tailored too large and therefore covering your watch and unless you spend good money on a decent pair of cuff-links they can look like you've just won them in a Christmas cracker.

Always self tie your bow-tie, no clip-ons and if you don't know how to tie a bow-tie then practice and practice some more because it looks better and you'll get the admiration of your fellow party guests and work colleges. If you would like a YouTube tutorial on how to tie a bow-tie you can watch mine here. After you have mastered it you can play around with the shape of the bow and the knot. Try to make the knot as small as possible and the bow large in a butterfly style. As for the colour to wear, I prefer a classic black bow-tie but feel free to add your own personality here and go for some bold patterns or colours if you wish.  Do not match the bow-tie fabric/colour with your pocket square.

Shoes should be black and preferably patent shoes which is a coated leather that gives a glossy, shiny finish. If you decide to wear a pocket square, avoid matching it with the same colour as your bow-tie as it looks tacky, instead why not wear a plain white pocket square or no pocket square at all. If you have gone for an outrageous bow-tie colour and pattern, I would suggest not wearing a pocket square. 

Accessorise with a black leather strapped watch, scarf, overcoat and if you live in the UK then of course a large, durable umbrella. 

Lastly when starting my blog in 2013 it would have been an absolute dream to have been featured in GQ so this is an incredibly proud moment for me. It's an amazing way to sign off 2017 which has been a successful year but most importantly enjoyable. 

 

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Photo Credit - Andrew Barber - OmniStyle