OUR BEST FIT | Marks & Spencer release their new denim campaign

Today I'm going to showcase the new denim campaign from Marks and Spencer which celebrates their 'best ever fit' across menswear and womenswear. 

The big news is that Marks and Spencer have streamlined their denim collection to four fits. Skinny, Slim, Straight and Regular. It feels like Gordon Ramsey has done a Hell's Kitchen make-over and stripped everything superfluous off the menu, leaving just the signature dishes. 

Outfit 1 - Indigo Skinny Denim Jeans:

So here we go, starting with outfit one. I'm wearing a pair of the Skinny-fit stretch jeans for a remarkable £22.50. It has a little bit of elastane in the cotton so doesn't feel constricting like some skinny fit jeans can. 

The jacket is pure cotton and sits well with earthy tones, like the indigo jeans and brown boots. The notches are high on the lapel which gives it a work-wear vibe. I love the tortoiseshell buttons, a nice accoutrement. Only £65. 

The Oxford Shirt is 100% cotton and is cut narrow through the shoulder and slightly suppressed through the waist. It has a button down collar and is priced at £19.50. 

The Chelsea Boots are probably my favourite piece of the ensemble. Available in brown or chestnut, (I've gone for brown) it really completes the look and smartens everything up. Available for £79. 

TOTAL price: £186 

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Outfit 2 - Light Blue Skinny Denim Jeans:

This second look is an even more casual affair. You won't often see me in light denim but I wanted to shake things up a bit and experiment. 

This is the Light Denim in the same cut. A skinny fit stretch jean in a 32" that will get more mileage in the summer I'm sure. 

They pair really well with these super-sleek white lace up trainers. It's a fresh look, it's upbeat and the price is remarkable at £35. 

You noticed how I paired the white sneakers with the white shirt? That wasn't accident folks. This is a Grandad collar shirt, the fabric is lightweight and the sleeves are long. However, it's more suited for the Spring and I often rolled my sleeves so it works perfect for me. 

I've finished the look with another cotton tailored fitted jacket (although not in this picture). The blue-on-blue, partitioned with the white shirt and white trainers is a very fresh look and brightens up the Instagram feed. Available for £65. 

TOTAL price: £140.25 

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Overall thoughts 

Very accessible price points. A good touch stone for people looking to get into smartening up their wardrobe. Arguably a little safe, but this is M&S not Gucci. For the price and the quality I think Marks & Spencer still offer great value. 

The items are all fairly neutral in tone so can be interchangeable. 

*Includes paid partnership in collaboration with Marks & Spencer.

 

ARE DENIM TRENDS SHIFTING? #THISISDENIM

In my opinion YES and it is about time! For what seems like donkeys years jeans have been getting slimmer, skinnier and spray-on. The skinny jean styles are not going to get phased out over night but its nice to see more roomier jeans on the high-streets and pioneering this new trend is Topman. 

Topman has been THE destination for skinny jeans for some time and as the trend in denim starts to shift so does the Topman offering. After heading into the Topman Oxford Circus store and meeting up with the exceptional, friendly personal shopper guys, I learnt a lot more about the upcoming denim trends. Topman are offering their largest menswear jean range ever, with new washes and styles available including flared denim and a wide leg cropped style (which I wore in my styled looks below).

My regular readers will realise - I wear a lot of skinny jeans! With Topman challenging me to a style a look with their new wide leg jeans, it was the perfect time to attempt something different. So here are the TWO looks that I styled.

LOOK ONE

Double denim with a formal twist. This look is perfect for AW15 and with autumn on our doorstep it incorporates layering with dark denim tones and tan jacket. Wear a t-shirt under the shirt for extra warmth or take the jacket off and roll the sleeves for the warmer autumn days. The Topman 'This is Denim' wide leg crop jeans are an ideal accompaniment with boots, making them a clear a new season must-have. In this look I have chosen to keep the jeans full length and not rolled as it works better with the smart/casual aesthetic.

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LOOK TWO

Comfortable casual attire. One of my go-to colours this season is green - in particular khaki - which is why I chose to style it up for my second look. This outfit is a very comfortable and styled for someone who is particularly a little more fashion-forward. The wide-leg jeans work perfectly with oversize items, so I have chosen this loose-fitting black t-shirt. It can be a bit much if worn by itself, so to tone it down slightly, I have put on a thin wax utility jacket. I've reused the same black brogue boots, this time showcasing them more by rolling up the jeans to a more cropped length.

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Topman via Mode Media. The options expressed herein are those of the author (Carl Thompson) and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Topman.

WEARING DOUBLE DENIM (DO'S & DON'TS)

One thing I have learnt about fashion is that however many so called 'rules' there are, there actually are none. When rules are broken so often, there is no point in calling them rules anymore. Avoid wearing double denim is probably the most commonly known fashion faux pas of all time. When Britney Spears & Justin Timberlake attempted to break the rule all those years ago, you would have probably thought the rule was there for a reason. In come the cavalry of stylists, fashionistas, designers, street stylists and style bloggers to find a way to make double denim work.

2 years ago if I walked out of my house in double denim, I would have been laughed straight back in doors to change. But today is a different day and I'm feeling brave...here are my rules of how to wear double denim:

HOW TO WEAR DOUBLE DENIM

1. Always match different denim colour  shades. This is my first and most important rule that I abide by. I would never wear the same shade of denim jeans as well as shirt or jacket. 

2. Buy yourself a chambray shirt. Chambray is often mistaken for denim but it is a thinner lighter material which works extremely well when paired with denim. A lot of London's shirt makers are bringing out formal chambray shirt designs to be worn in smart attire. Because chambray is a light material it works extremely well in Autumn/Winter when layering for warmth.

3. Make sure the denim is well fitted. I'm sure the fashion forward guys and girls would find a way of making denim oversize garments work, however for me denim works better perfectly worn in a tailored fit.

4. Layers. Take the edge off the double denim by layering with t-shirts, jumpers, scarfs and accessories. This will soften down the look slightly.

In my outfit post photos above, I have chosen to mix ASOS black denim biker jeans with a DKNY dark blue denim jacket that I have had since 1990! Simply styled with a white tee and white/grey camouflage converse high-tops.

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Photo Credit Sophie Milner

HOW TO WEAR GINGHAM CHECKS

When looking at shirt trends this Spring Summer, I immediately think of the gingham check worn in a smart casual look. Here I have chosen to wear a penny cutaway collar shirt but this look would also work well with a casual button-down collar.

This is a great versatile look that can span through Spring & Summer:

Spring: On cool days, add a thin jumper. When the sun peeks out from behind the clouds or for a more casual look just remove your blazer roll the sleeves. 

Summer: Leave the blazer at home, roll the sleeves. The shirt would also work well with shorts over a white t-shirt and unbuttoned.

But what is Gingham check?

First and foremost it is a check fabric, woven so that the difference colours contrast in subtle and bold tones and can be found in different size checks. 

Gingham is a medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarn. It is made of carded, medium or fine yarns, where the colouring is on the warp yarns and always along the grain.

 

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Reiss Grey Blazer  | Hawkins & Shepherd Shirt | ASOS Boots | Hawkins & Shepherd Socks | ASOS Jeans

SPRING LAYERING SMART CASUAL ATTIRE

April is one of those transition months, where wind, rain and sun battle it out for supremacy. Then there is the dilemma between wether to have the heating on or off, the windows open or not. In fact March and now April are two months where I have been struggling between being so hot and sweaty that I can start to smell myself and too cold that my willy has gone into hibernation.

So it is important to dress with layers so you can strip off or layer-up depending on the situation. The key to my look is to choose lightweight fabrics. You'll see more lightweight trench coats making an appearance, as they are warm yet airy and perfect for the changeable British weather. 

When choosing a lightweight shirt, try to opt for a breathable poplin cotton weave. Layer that with a thin merino wool jumper and you have the perfect three upper body layers for Spring 2015.

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Jack & Jones Boots | ASOS Belted Trench Coat | ASOS Merino Crew Cut Jumper | Blue Skinny Jeans | Hawkins & Shepherd White Shirt | Hawkins & Shepherd Black Tie