Tramp Menswear: Keeping it British

Today I wanted to give a little love to an upcoming brand called Tramp Menswear. After meeting the founder and designer Sapphire at a recent London event I got to see some of the collection up close and now I'm road testing one of her designs.

I'm wearing the Tramp Menswear Grey Zip Neck Jumper, with my AG Jeans and Dr Martens. You may have noticed how my socks and jumper match, that is not an accident. 

It's a perfect jumper for a casual event. It's slim fit with a ribbed collar, cuffs and hem. The logo is a something that draws attention. When I'm around people, I catch them trying to subtly identify the logo and that allows me to explain the story of the brand

It's a very British brand, all the products are made to order and manufactured in Norfolk. You can find out more about the manufacturing in a video on Tramp Menswear site. Their tagline is “designed to shape the stray’s and inspire the heroes.” Which I like. The logo which you'll find embroidered on the left breast is an exclusive signature dog that features on every Tramp product.

It's a good time to shop for some new pieces for your wardrobe, there are many items on sale and all items over £20 offer free delivery. This grey zip jumper is currently reduced to £65.80. 

This outfit is perfect for everyday events. I've worn it to coffee meetings, walking Charlie around the Common and out shopping on weekends. The black jeans offer a great contrast to the grey. You may have noticed I don't wear a whole bunch of blue denim generally. 

Other items on the site I would recommend is the Mull long sleeve tee, with contrast rib collar and sleeve hems. You'll also find accessories such as caps and socks as well as subscription boxes. 


A Look Inside Jacket Required 2019

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Jacket Required breezed through Brick Lane again this year and as ever. You can take what you want from events like these. I normally like spending a bit of time with the reps and head of sales for brands to talk about what they're working on. What colour schemes are they bringing out in the new year? 

I try and divert from the arduous small talk about the woes of the high street. It's not a case of ignoring the elephant in the room, it just breathes negativity. Plus some of the brands are finding this to be a time of wanted change. Tom at Edwin told me that they are looking to open an event space in their Bethnal Green store as they need to capitalise on their square footage. 

Edwin are pushing a new selvedge denim release for AW19, deepening the visuals on their leather logo patches. I love the corduroy shirts and trousers they're also incorporating into the look this season. I saw a lot of corduroy on the rails this year, which can only be a good thing.  

I spoke to the Oliver Sweeney guys and they told me that they're pushing their green leather brogues and suede ankle high lace up boots this season. As many of you know the brand was in real dire straits not so long ago after the founder and designer Oliver Sweeney suffered a stroke that left him paralysed down one side of his body.

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He's staging a remarkable comeback however and his designs for next season are already being bought up by enthusiasts of the brands and shoes-alike. Without them even going into production. 

Sperry had a great turn out. Lots of textured boat shoes, their colour palette is balls out this year. They've also continued their patchwork boat shoes, but now with the pattern going throughout the shoe rather being confined to the vamp. 

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Lastly a shout out to a new shoe that's now on my radar. Sebago. There was no one at the stand so I took some pictures and did some quiet digging. Turns out they've been around for years and are renowned for their 'Docksides'. An iconic boat shoe worn by Pharrell Williams, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Kate Middleton. 

Dressing For a Date: Where do mature guys go wrong?

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There is no such thing as over dressing for a date. There is such as thing as dressing too casually. The biggest mistakes grown men make on dates is heeding the advice of girls when they tell you 'just be yourself'.

Sound familiar?

My advice for dressing for a date is don't be yourself, because 'yourself' is single and gives you horrible advice.

You might think fashion isn't important. Even one of the greatest trailblazers of the 60's peacock fashion era, Mr Fish, was quoted as saying, 'people get hung up on fashion, it's really not that important'.

Don't be duped. Your style and what you wear on a date could be the deal breaker. I remember on a lousy date back in the day (before I really took much notice of fashion), I took a girl on a date on a bitterly cold winters night in South Putney. When it came time at the end of the night she rebuffed my advances.

Somewhat crestfallen I asked why? She said bluntly, "Well I've turned up in this," highlighting her gorgeous figure hugging black sequin dress, "and you've turned up in that," pointing at my generic black gilet.

The enormous golf between us immediately evident, and it wasn't just disparate worlds of style, it was that she had gone to the effort of looking nice. So where are mature men going wrong with style? Not putting in the effort.

Women have uncanny knack of knowing whether you've just come from the office, or you're wearing the same outfit you'd wear to your friends BBQ. You need to first and foremost, make the effort.

SHOES

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Women notice these before anything else. Well, they notice a man’s height first, then it’s the shoes. Then it’s the ass, your face is somewhere in the mix but believe me, your shoes usurp most boxes to be ticked.

I was in the room once when a girl gave a friend of mine an excoriating review of a friend's style. I asked the girl in jest, 'You would date Tom wouldn't you?' She fired immediately, NEVER!

Poor Tom, "WHY," he asked broken hearted.

"Tom you wear shoes that looked like they were bought in the 80's and last cleaned in the 90's." The next day Tom text me a picture of a pair of wingtip brogues he had just purchased from John Lobb on Jermyn Street. Tough love is some medicine.


TROUSERS

Where guys go wrong on dates is not so much the style of the trouser, but the fit and the colour. Women tend to hate corduroy. In fact I've never met a woman that likes corduroy on a man so keep those tucked away until you have your feet under the table.

If you're going Chinos, don't gamble on what Steve Coogan refers to as "Those twat colours." Personally I don't mind "twat colours." I wouldn't wear them per say, but people can be overly sniffy about these kind of things. New & Lingwood do a quite exotic collection of multi-coloured chinos and they look fantastic.

My point is, don't gamble on dates. Don't run the gauntlet of trying to looking young, hippy, happy-go-lucky. Mature women don't want chancers, they want virile men. They look for resourceful men. That's why the whole Crocodile Dundee film is flawed.

Sue would never ditch money bags Richard for some penniless chain-smoking Aussie who had zero utility in the city.


SHIRTS

It's the fit gentleman. That's all I want to say on the matter. Where a shirt on a date to prove you made an effort. That this isn't just a stop gap on the way to see your mates at the boozer.

A fitted shirt you can find quite readily at Hawkins & Shepherd. I have an unbelievable amount of shirts, all varying styles and fits for all occasions.

Failing that, get a shirt from a shirtmaker that will be absolutely nailed on to your body shape. You will pay a premium, but see it as an investment for your future. If you want express some individualism why not try Turnbull & Asser and have some fun with the cuffs. Their signature cocktail cuffs are the best.

BLAZERS

Nothing grey! No woman I've ever encountered has told me she finds a grey suit jacket on a man attractive. You might have some misgivings about putting on a jacket for a date. Seems a bit stiff right?

Wrong. Dead wrong fools! You're a grown up now. No denim jackets, no biker jackets, no bomber jackets. You have to prove to the lady in question, that after this date, you can go on to any members club in London. In fact you're dressed so well, it becomes like a scene from Goodfellas where they welcome you with open arms like and give you a table at the front by the band.

Please Note: I’ll be one of the men’s coaches at the Dating Show Live in June if anyone would like some one-to-one advice or support.

Manière De Voir | Style Review

If you follow my instagram, you'll realise that my style can be somewhat different. I absolutely love tailoring, dressing smart but I also love high-street, casual attire such as ripped jeans, long-line tees and bomber jackets. That is London all over and the diversity of men's style in our nation really shone during London Fashion Week Men #LFWM. Some of the guys were effortlessly stylish and cool and it made me want to broaden my own style slightly and try to find new menswear brands out there rather than shopping at my favourite high-street stores all the time.

Well recently I've been shopping online at Manière De Voir, a brand that I have known for a very long time but never actually brought anything, until now. Manière De Voir are an online UK based mid-market fashion company designing both trend focused Menswear and Womenswear. Their website is great and I love the drop-down option to view their entire collection - of course you can then filter based on all sorts of criteria. Click into the products you like and you'll find every angle of the clothing photographed and styled in a classic Manière De Voir way and zoom functionality to view the finer details.

The products themselves are incredible for the price, the suede jacket in particular has a super soft feel and the black check shirt has become an item in my wardrobe that I wear every day! The rest of my head-to-toe Manière De Voir outfit is centred around a black and khaki palette. The 'destroyed' jeans are more ripped than standard knee rips so if that is your preference you'll love them, although they were a little drafty during the -5 temperature we were shooting in! I've layered a CEO monographed black tee with the flannel black plaid shirt and khaki jacket. Finally with all great outfits, you need incredible footwear and these khaki suede sneakers bring the whole outfit together with a little edge.

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Photography by Ella H

Just some stuff I threw on today | Outfit of the Day

The last week men's fashion has taken over my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds with people talking about London Fashion Week Men's and now Pitti Uomo in Florence, it can seem relentless.  So today I've finally had a day where I can just throw on what I would normally wear everyday and it feels great.

I mean I'm not complaining as I had a great few days at LFWM, talking to brands, other bloggers and press. Looking back 4 years ago, when I made a complete career U-turn - I wouldn't have thought I would have been able to make the successes that I have made this quickly. To be established in something that was completely new to me and and industry that I have grown to love, makes me really proud of what's been achieved. 

2017 has started well with my blog being rated at #17 in the Best Men's Fashion Blogs on the Planet based on Google rankings, Google reputation, quality of posts, social following and a panel of experts from Blogspot.   

Moving on to what I'm wearing today. A pair of navy skinny jeans worn with my Superdry leather jacket, a dark green tee from Zara and a pair of dark olive boots by ohw and of course my Beoplay wireless headphones as I'll be spending most of the day on the London underground. So if you like what I'm wearing, go buy it below.

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Antony Morato | The Italian's Answer to Reiss

It's very rare these days that I'm introduced to a menswear brand, especially one as well known as Antony Morato that I've never heard of, yet are so fitting to my personal style. Antony Morato were born and raised in Italy in 2007 and have grown rapidly ever since and are now in 70 countries throughout the world, with many in Italy, Spain and France. So come on guys, head on over the English Channel and settle some physical stores here, it's not too far, some even have swam it! According to their website they are currently not stocked in UK physical stores currently, so for now shop their collection online directly or via ASOS and if you want to compare sizing, I would say there are very much like Reiss or Zara here in the UK.

When the products arrived, I immediately loved the brand, I was shocked by the great quality and design for the price paid. Although to be fair I shouldn't have been, they are Italian's after all and credit where credit is due - they know a lot about style and fabrics.

All three items I brought from Antony Morato have become my latest wardrobe staples, especially the black classic overcoat and derby shoes, which I wear a few times a week! The geometric jacquard print jumper completes my look yet the coat and shoes would work with anything from a plain white t-shirt, black roll-neck and pretty much anything grey.

 

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SHOP MY ANTONY MORATO TOP PICKS

Photography by Ella H

Luxury 100% Cashmere Knitwear by Mr Quintessential

Autumn and Winter are the best months to invest in clothing as the collections have much more substance than other seasons. If you look through my wardrobe, I have about 10 or so true investment pieces that will last a very long time, in terms of the fabric and will span through fashion trends because the designs are classic and timeless. These are the types of pieces that you need to spend real money one because the clothing is not disposable. Then with seasonal trending pieces, I would recommend spending less on because fashion changes so fast - mix the two and you have the perfect combination.

These 100% cashmere jumpers & cardigans by Mr Quintessential are the newest editions to my investment wardrobe and I'm truly so incredibly happy with the soft, luxurious feel to the Mongolian cashmere. Their scarves are blended 70% cashmere with 30% wool, which gives the garment a bit more thickness yet still retaining the extremely soft feel.

This light pale blue v-neck jumper is easy to wear throughout the year in an casual, smart casual or even formal way. If you buy this jumper now, you'll be able to use it in winter layering over the top of a shirt or t-shirt and completing the look with a classic overcoat as I have done above. In this look I have tried to show you how easy it is to wear a jumper on a crisp cool morning walking to work and once you get into the office, just remove the jumper or even roll the sleeves for a more casual look. The pale blue 100% cashmere jumper goes well with greys and the light pink trim in the Mr Quintessential Chepstow 70% cashmere 30% wool scarf.

I love finding brands that you wouldn't have necessary heard off, however they are selling an amazingly high quality, luxurious product which is miles better than some of the everyday brands that everyone knows. Mr Quintessential are a brand built on the highest quality cashmere fabric and attention to detail which is why I love them. What they don't have is a million pound marketing budget but what they do have is a great product and passion for what they do. I really do think as a consumer we need to give more smaller niche menswear brands some love, starting today people!

The Mr Quintessential range consists of v-neck jumpers, crew neck jumpers, hoodies, sweat pants, accessories and of course the cardigan. In the look above I've styled their AW16 mens red cardigan with dark black tones. Leave undone with a black tee underneath showing the subtle flashes of red.

My second cardigan I have from their AW16 range is the navy blue with light blue trim design styled in a casual way - perfect for date night, popping down the pub, going for dinner or a coffee meeting.

They say that men lose interest in fashion in their late 30s, but Mr Quintessential strongly disagree, I, like many men in their 30's 40's and beyond, still want to be stylish and look good.

“Fashion is about identity. Men need clothes that are considered investment pieces, that fit perfectly, and look timeless.” Mr Quintessential.

Mr Quintessential offers a range of beautiful knitwear in luxurious Mongolian cashmere that looks relaxed and indulgent, classic crew necks, v-necks, and shawl-neck cardigans that can breathe new life into any look. Their range of stunning dip dyes are individually handcrafted by the finest master craftsmen, therefore making each piece unique and one of a kind. MrQ. will take you on a journey, an adventure in colour and dress you in knitwear which is that little bit more grown up.

What is cashmere? Cashmere comes from any breed of goat that produces cashmere wool. It is the goats fine, soft, downy, winter undercoat. Soft on your skin, it is the highest standard of softness.

It's this warmth and softness that made me get this MrQ cashmere tracksuit top and joggers perfect for nights in...and I LOVE a night in! It would have been easy for me to style the tracksuit together with me sitting on the sofa with my very instagrammable dog charlie and a tub of ice-cream. However because it is quite expensive, I thought I would show you how you could also style these two pieces just as well separately in a style that you can wear out - making the most of your investment.

So there you have it, my 5 MrQ looks spanning all different styles...remember to check them out at mrquintessential.com

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

My Outfit of the Week | Men's Style & Fashion

I'm so glad the weather is getting colder...yes I have turned the heating on already and outdoor fitness is becoming quite bitter in the evenings. However what trumps all of these negatives, is that I can bring out my favourite AW15 (last years collection) dogtooth overcoat by Zara. Every time I wear it, it totally transforms an outfit, even the simplest of styles such as black jeans and a white t-shirt like what I'm wearing in this weeks outfit of the week.  

I recall last season Zara had some incredible knits and outerwear such as coats and jackets and after a quick browse just now it seems they have created an amazing AW16 collection also. 

Moving on from coats. In this weeks outfit I have stuck to monochrome tones with black jeans and ercu tee both from ASOS, whilst I have kept things comfortable with black suede slippers from Donhall & Bell. Completing my look, this grey watch from Kartel works well with the greys in my coat.

 

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Photography by Ella H

The Style Off - Realm & Empire - Episode 3

We are back, for the 3rd episode of THE STYLE OFF, a YouTube collaboration with Oli from The Tailor Fitted where we both take a single item of clothing and style it to our own personal style. We have taken two of our favourite pieces from Realm & Empire's AW16 collection and completed the look in our own style. Watch both videos above, let us know what you think and of course, who styled it better with #Carl or #Oli. This months style off was sponsored by the brand Realm & Empire whose AW16 collection is centred around military history. The items we have chosen from the Realm & Empire range is their US Marine Workwear Shirt in Stone and a pair of loose fitting Diver Utility Trousers in Olive. Watch both videos and let us know who styled it better.

Commando Frogmen, the Special Boat Service and battleships designed to dazzle: for Autumn Winter 16 the Realm & Empire narrative goes deep below the ocean's surface, drawing inspiration from the divers, marines and the clandestine demolitions teams of the Second World War.

 

THE R&E US MARINE SHIRT - CARL'S LOOK

THE R&E US MARINE SHIRT - OLI'S LOOK

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With influences pulled from a US Marines original, keep a lookout for the marvellous three-button pocket detail on our cotton twill workwear shirt - an original feature found in the archive and which conceals two extra-large, additional chest pockets! With displaced forward shoulders, traditional military cross-over yoke design, front patch pocket and self-colour buttons, this shirt is also garment washed for true, vintage appearance and comfort.

 

THE R&E DIVER UTILITY TROUSERS - CARL'S LOOK

THE R&E DIVER UTILITY TROUSERS - OLI'S LOOK

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These loose-fitting R&E diver trousers are inspired by the silhouette and functionality of the uniforms worn by Britain’s Commando Frogmen during the Second World War. Constructed from a soft waxed cotton, we’ve added extra reinforcement on the knees, and a mix of hidden zip and large patch pockets, making them perfect for heavy duty casualwear. Drawstring detailing on the waist and ankles gives you the choice to wear straight-leg or tapered for a more military, fatigue-style. 

Special thanks to Realm & Empire for sponsoring this months Style Off.

 

What to wear for work in Canary Wharf

Are you new to working in the city of London? Have you just got your first job out of university or college and struggling to know what to wear to the office? I've been there and had to work it all out for myself - so here are my tips on what to wear to work so you don't turn up with a Simpsons novelty tie and therefore ruin any promotion opportunities for the next few years! 

 

SUITS

Invest in a good well tailored suit, it makes a big difference if you invest in something that will last. A cheap suit will wear out quicker and the fabric will not wash as well as a higher quality yarn. 

When choosing a suit colour avoid black, as although it may feel like your first day in the office is like a funeral, it is not. Instead opt for more warming, approachable colours such as a navy or grey. You'll find these colours will also be easy to style with different colour ties, shirts & pocket squares.

Have your suits on rotation. It is always best to have 3 suits, rotate so that you avoid wearing out the fabric and for hygiene reasons. I mean wearing the same suit everyday on the tube is bound to kick up a little bit by the end of the week.

Do not iron your suits, or you'll be left with a shiny look to them and when that happens, it is time to get rid.

SHIRTS

Keep colours simple and if in doubt you cannot go wrong with white and a variety of different shades of blue. Pattern, check and striped shirts are acceptable, although they are harder to match with ties and better worn with the collar undone. A general rule would be that if you are wearing a check, pattern or striped shirt, then match it with a plain tie. 

Join a Shirt Subscription Service, so you are never running low on shirts and keep up to date with new trends and fabrics. Hawkins & Shepherd offer a variety of different Shirt Subscriptions at discounted prices.

Always have a spare shirt and tie in the office. I've lost count of the number of times I've had after work drinks and had to sleep in the office, having a crisp shirt, toothpaste and toothbrush is critical. Or what about that time when you had your yearly appraisal and spilt a whole mug of coffee down your favourite shirt? 

Have a Friday shirt, one that has a foot in formal and a foot in casual, so you can keep things professional in the office then let it all hang out (the shirt) after work.

SHOES

Wear something comfortable as the chances are you'll be doing a lot of walking to and from the office and once you are there walking too and from the coffee machine. In my work photos in this post, I absolutely love these shoes come slippers from Donhall & Bell. My footwear tip would be to have a pair of these in the office to wear around the office and use a more hardier cheaper pair to walk to and from the office. Wearing these powerful, striking shoes you'll stand out for all the right reasons.

If you are wearing leather shoes, it's simple but make sure they are polished regularly or if you are wearing Donhall & Bell suede footwear, invest in a suede brush and give them a brushing every time you have worn them - this will help keep them looking pristine.

ACCESSORISES

Wear a watch. A watch will complete any outfit and they do not need to be expensive. There are many more fashion watch brands out there producing affordable stylish watches. I've recently found this watch brand called Kartel from Scotland and every single one of their watches are modern yet classic but most importantly only around £90.

Do not be afraid to accessorise with socks and pocket squares, although keep things relatively simple and not too over powering. Subtle hints and sartorial touches should be discrete. For example don't wear a bold red tie, red pocket square and red socks - it's too much.

 

 

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Photography by Ella H

How to wear a double-breasted blazer | Sizing Guide

The double-breasted suit or blazer is a timeless classic, although over the years has only really been worn by fashion forward individuals. Although I'm starting to see more gents opting for double-breasted styles and therefore a greater number of the high-street stores stocking a larger range. Great news for double-breasted fans like myself. I've been experimenting with this style of blazer for a long time and I think you'll find that the double-breasted jacket is far more versatile than you might expect.  

As I have mentioned, the high-street are bringing out a larger collection of this style (see below 'my picks') and not just in suits and also as a more affordable blazer only option. Style a double-breasted blazer with a pair of dark smart jeans or chino trousers for maximum sartorial effect. 

Some of us shy away from wearing double-breasted because they don't know how they should fit or because it is too hard to find the perfect fit. Tailoring a perfectly fitted DB blazer is more difficult than single-breasted as you have much more fabric around the chest, abdominals and waist areas and therefore small adjustments can make major differences in the fit. Picking a brand that understands this concept is critical.

As with any blazer getting your size right is the most important decision, although sizing on double breasted blazers can be much less forgiving than in their single-breasted cousins. Buy a size too big and the fabric will engulf your body and look terrible. Buy a size too small and the large lapels will bow outwards and the whole suit will not fit flush to your body as it should. Generally a double-breasted suit should be tailored slightly shorter than single-breasted blazers, something to note when trying them on. When wearing, you should do up the first useable button hole and leave the bottom button undone. Double-breasted blazers always look better done up and layer in winter months with a smart traditional overcoat.

 

SHOP MY DOUBLE-BREASTED BEST PICKS

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

England's Beautiful Beaches - Camber Sands

We all have childhood memories of going to the beach. Growing up in Kent, I was lucky enough to be about an hour to most of England's south east beaches. I remember as a kid going to Whitstable beach eating cockles and ocean pinkies. Hastings was a favourite of mine because of the crazy golf course. Then there was Dymchurch where I recall spending all day in the amusement park. Camber Sands was also always one of my favourites, although there isn't too much to keep you entertained, it does have an incredible beach and sand dunes that you can roll down and play hide-n-seek in...ohhhh I wish I was young again!

With Summer officially ending the chances of getting a hot, cloud free day to head to the beach is going to get harder so on this sunny Monday morning Rebecca and I headed down to do this photoshoot. Camber Sands is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from London, so a little bit of a journey but well worth it. 

Camber Sands has a vast sandy beach and at low tide the water is so far out making the beach seem much larger. Lining the beach are some amazing picturesque sand dunes, a seemingly perfect place for the locals to grab their metal detectors and start searching for lost engagement rings and other lost personal treasures. Im guessing the local job market isn't that great. 

In this Camber Sands, outfit of the day I have kept things pretty simple with a pair of cropped skinny jeans with extreme rips in a light brown colour and white tee both from ASOS. As the jeans are cropped, they are perfect to be worn with a pair of white trainers or even flip-flops. These Adidas trainers in white and gold are from resole.co.uk my first point of call when I'm looking for some sneakers at a good price. To finish off the look I have accessorised with some Ray-Ban sunglasses that I got from the opticians and experts in eyewear David Clulow who have stores all over the UK and only offer the best designer frames. Finally, I'm a massive fan of watches that are slim and not too bulky and recently Rotary have designed their slimmest design ever which I managed to get my hands on. The design is classic with a white background and gold details and when you put it on it just moulds to your wrist. Being ultra slim in design you barely feel like you are wearing a watch.

 

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Mixing smart tailoring with casual touches

Mixing smart tailoring with touches of casual wear is one of the hot trends this summer. Maybe because of business relaxing the business uniform attire, workers are looking for ways to mix the two conflicting styles together. My look is just a snippet of what could be done with this trend, as I opted for the safe plain white tee. It would be great if you could show me your tailored casual styles, just post on instagram and tag me in (@HAWKINSANDSHEPHERD) so I can check out your style!

Sorry to everyone who wants a bit more chat about casual tailoring, what I have been doing with my week or how my dog Charlie is getting on. But it is very early, I have to get this blog written and posted whilst packing my bags for Sziget Festival in Budapest of which I'm leaving for in under an hour! I'll be posting on Instagram Stories anyone who wants to see what Sziget festival is like...by all accounts it's pretty epic.

So. This outfit is ASOS mixed with some Kurt Geiger grey loafers. I love how the dark grey loafers go so great with the blue tone of my ASOS fitted window-pane trousers. Pairing those smart tailored pieces with an off-white ecru tee and beige trench coat, completes my look.

And there you have it....right time to pack!!!! 

 

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Photography by Kylie Eyra

How to wear double or triple denim

"Ooooooo double denim" and a scrunched up face is what I get every time I attempt this supposed fashion faux pax. But in this day and age is it really that much of a no-go style? Simply, the answer is no. I think that UK fashion has come a long way in the last 5 years but not only from the top fashion elite but also the everyday male or females who are in many ways the driving force behind trends that big brands catch on to. Are we becoming a more fashionable society due to a large number of accessible influencers on social media showing us different ways to wear everyday clothing - rather than only the high-end magazines that target the wealthy with their superbrands. I like to think so.

In fact I grew up reading such magazines, although the imagery was aspirational and the brands were always at the high end of luxury and fashion. I could never transition what I was reading from the magazine into something I could purchase affordably and style myself...maybe thats why ASOS was born - although they cottoned on to this a little sooner than I! 

Nowadays, there is so much content out there and I feel that as a blogger you have to push the boundaries of style because if we get it wrong then you will not...thats my excuse anyway!

So on to double or triple (in this case) denim. What are the rules if there are any? Disclaimer to any denim know-it-alls...this is just my opinion! 

DOUBLE DENIM RULES

1. Denim always looks better with tattoos.
2. Try to mix up different coloured denim.
3. If you choose the same colour denim, always match different washes.
4. Denim is normally distressed and therefore it's better to pair denim with your most worn in, slightly ropey footwear. Such as a pair of leather boots that have been over worn and scuffed. Or a pair of white converse that now look more cream coloured, have a small hole in the side yet somehow look better than when new.
5. Rips and slight faults give denim character. The only exception is when the crouch area wears out and you are exposing gouch!
6. Don't be afraid to mix smart attire with denim or chambray.

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

What to wear for the gym, running or general fitness

With summer holidays on the horizon, many of us are putting in the extra hours at the gym, running, yoga, boxercise, PT or group outdoor fitness classes. Whatever fitness regime you are currently into, I've put together my latest men's fitness look to help you look the part as well as feel it. If you are one of those people who still wants to find love the conventional way - bars, gym or work for example, rather than Tinder or Happn, it's time you ditched that hole-ridden, was once white but now light brown t-shirt and smarten up!

I have many reasons why I love to keep fit...if you haven't read about my Heart Operation, you can here. Not only for that reason but I'm getting ollllllllld and am still single, so I have to keep myself in relatively okay shape because finding the one over 30 gets incredibly difficult and every inch of fat is harder to shift. 

The entire fitness outfit above is from Adidas with exception of the socks which I purchased from Topman for about £3...winner. I wanted to stay away from standard white and black colours as I have so much sportswear in these colours already. So I decided to go for something a little more bold and I'm loving this teal/topaz/blue colour as it goes so well with greys and blacks. Most of us have grey and black shorts already, so by pairing them with a bold top can transform your look, simple but hopefully effective. When buying sportswear, always check the fit, fabric and size. The top in my look is a tight fitted, stretch elasticated fabric so you might want to go up a size rather than showcase your belly bulge from the meat-feast pizza you just ate on cheat day!

 

SHOP ADIDAS

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

A Bloggers Retreat | The Serpentine Gallery | Kensington Gardens

The Serpentine Gallery has become a bit of a bloggers dream backdrop. I'm not the first and will certainly not be the last blogger to rock up to this gallery and post the same image as every one else on Instagram! On initial viewing the structure was incredible, although not as white as it comes across on everyones images....good editing people! The early birds to this exhibition would have been able to have stood on the squares unopposed, however since so many people have been climbing the structure (fucking bloggers, spoiling it for everyone!), they've had to hire security to make sure you do not. I mean just imagine if one of the square tubes came away from the rest of the structure and it tumbled down like a Jenga puzzle, awks!

You can visit The Serpentine Gallery 10am - 6pm Tuesday to Sunday and is free to enter and located here (by the pin):

Do what I didn't and make a day of if as there is plenty more to do in Kensington Gardens then just sunbathing. Try visiting the Albert Memorial and if you have children visit the Diana Memorial Playground.

I would like to thank these guys and my photographer Kylie for the inspiration...here are a couple of other Men's Style Bloggers who have done similar shoots at this exhibition (Click on the image to view their Instagram Profiles):

Oh yes, what I'm wearing and why....well I had a few meetings and it was bloody hot, so I decided smart casual was the way forward. In hot weather when you are jumping on and off the tube and you have to wear a shirt, go for the most roomy fit and the most breathable fabric (linen or a poplin cotton weave). Chinos are great in the summer too, a light airy fabric and can transition easily from smart to casual.

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Kylie Eyra

Burton Menswear x Virgin Experience Days | The Shard

It has been a while since I've last treated myself to something other than a Deliveroo on a Sunday night. So I think it was overdue and about time that I took a break from work and got to experience one of London's top tourist attractions. 

London has such amazing history, arts, architecture and events and being a Londoner I have this all on my doorstep. Despite this, as with many other Londoners, it is easy to overlook what our great city has to offer. So with the help of Burton Menswear and Virgin Experience Days, I was able to head up to The View of The Shard, drink champagne and enjoy to view until sunset.

A special occasion warrants a new outfit so when choosing what to wear from Burtons Menswear, I wanted something smart yet summer inspired. When wearing a blazer in summer you should choose lighter colours, finer weaves and light-weight fabrics such as linen or a fine cotton. This light pastel blue single-breasted blazer was perfect for the occasion. I've teamed this blazer with a pair of stone grey chino trousers, although I was toying with the idea of wearing mid-wash jeans...both would work extremely well.

The light blue blazer is currently on sale down from £70 to £40, so I would hurry up because this is a serious bargain and will not be around for long. What I love most is the small fashionable touches that come included with the blazer such as the lapel pin and pocket square.

I wouldn't normally wear a short sleeved shirt underneath a blazer, however on hot days where you are wearing the same outfit day-to-night, sartorial rules some times have to be broken in favour of comfort! The white shirt with micro-print details works well in smart attire as above but I'm also going to wear this shirt every week throughout the next few months - simply with jeans, or un-tucked worn with shorts. 

Ears popping as we headed up to what I think was the 72nd floor of The Shard, greeted by some seriously friendly staff - we grabbed some champagne and walked around the 360 degrees viewing area pointing out some of London's most well known landmarks. 

As a bit of a date-a-holic this Virgin Experience is certainly one for the romantics out there, I would recommended getting there early evening whilst its still light outside to enjoy the sprawling metropolis then have a few drinks. Then stay until after sunset to get some (unless its raining!) epic sunset views and night-time lit up views of our city.

 

SHOP THE LOOK FROM BURTON MENSWEAR

SHOP VIRGIN EXPERIENCE DAYS

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Blogging is NOT all it's cracked up to be

I get people saying to me all the time that my 'job' - meaning blogging and instagramming, looks so much fun and they wish they could do it. Well firstly, it's not exactly a job, I mean, I would say you need to be earning at least minimum wage (don't even get me started on living wage) before you can claim it as your 'employment'. It's taken a couple of hard grafting years of networking to build up a worthwhile, engaging audience on my blog and social networks before PR companies and brands want to do business with you and don't under estimate the time and effort that takes. 

I often get people asking me to produce them a 'quick' blog promoting their products for free, come on it will only take a few minutes they say - errr major LOL. Okay so thats just say that email communication for the sake of this experiment takes 15 minutes. Then I need to spend time planning the outfit that I want to wear, hmmmm I'm pretty quick at this, so again lets say 15 minutes, although if you are online shopping for other pieces then up it to 45 minutes. The photoshoot day comes and you have to plan the outfits, meet the photographer, find a decent place to shoot then finally actually shoot the outfit. So lets say you meet in London, a photoshoot usually takes 2 hours and add another 30 minutes for travel. Once you get the photos, there may be some editing time, lets say 30 minutes. So you are 4 hours committed before even writing the post. Uploading the images, and writing the blog post can take anything from 30 minutes to 4 hours, totally depending on how many glasses of wine I've had but on average I would say it takes me about an hour and a half. Actually I forgot to add the 'Shop The Look' section, this may look easy - but most bloggers gain commission through Wearisma or RewardStyle so for every shop the look item, you need to create an affiliate link...yep time consuming and defo time for another wine. To finish up you need to proof read, make amendments then social out the post. All-in you are looking at a ball-park figure of 5-6 hours per post.

Most of the time and in particular brands expect bloggers to write posts for them in return for product. The amount of times I've had brands say, pick an outfit up to the value of £150 then style it, write a blog post and social it out all in under a week. Well firstly being a clothing retailer myself with Hawkins & Shepherd, £150 retail equals £50 for the brands themselves. So when we are creating these types of blog posts its for fifty pounds worth of clothing yet giving back 5-6 hours of effort and a large social following which has taken years to grow. Not only that but there are also other costs that come with writing a blog post. Firstly buying clothing is expensive (if you have to buy anything else for the post). Travel costs. Photographer costs which can be £50 up to £200. So whenever you are doing blog posts in return for product you are funding it yourselves and making a loss, I mean thats just not good business. For me I think more needs to be done to establish digital influencing rate cards and have some organisation that helps influencers know what to charge, much like press advertisement has. With print press, brands know what they should pay for a 1/2 page, full page etc, for Pay-Per-Click advertising again there are guidelines but for digital influencers this area is grey for brands as well as influencers and I sympathise with both.

If anyone asks me they want to get into blogging, I'm fully supportive. However I do tell them to commit to it, we are not talking one post a month or a post every now and then....I mean serious commitment because that is what it takes to be a success. You wont be gifted many items until you have a good following, so it can also be very expensive shopping every week. You cant under-estimate how much time and money blogging takes. Unless you are lucky enough to a) have a photographer girlfriend (b) a blogger girlfriend or (c) a cool as fuck girlfriend who you can train to take your photos, you'll need to pay for a photographer. Don't underestimate the importance of having ascetically pleasing images and you may think that any one can take a good photo...nope they cant!

When you get to the point of getting paid or gifted items of clothing, grooming bits 'n' bobs, festival tickets and an unlimited number of party invites it can seem quite glamourous. I have to admit, things are much easier for me right now as I have grown a great working relationship with brands, PRs and other bloggers - although it is almost more important to work harder and produce better content because now brands are paying for it...it's that never ending cycle of trying to improve, trying to be the best. 

Yes this blogger shit can be seen as narcissistic and for sure it is, however it is also a way of venting our thoughts and feelings about everyday life - its about showing our own style and giving our readers an independent view on what to wear or what we like to wear.

Being a #fblogger (Fashion Blogger) #tblogger (Travel Blogger) #lblogger (Lifestyle Blogger) or whatever other hashtag crap we all seem to use - you have to be quite thick skinned and try to not give a damn about what other people are thinking about you. Take this photoshoot for example, Rebecca and I headed over to St Pauls in London bang on the lunchtime rush. Although we managed to find a couple of quiet 'ish' spots to shoot in, there were 100's of office workers walking past mocking me and trying to photobomb you at every opportunity. I mean fair enough I guess these city workers have probably been in the pub since 11:00 sinking pint after pint reminiscing about the good old days before BREXIT...and I'd do the same with a few pints in me. However this is work for us bloggers and it's like me rocking up to some city banking firm, jumping the security gates, bowling up to the nearest forex trader, putting a BUY trade on GBP against pretty much any other currency in the world, give the trader a wet willie & noogie and walk out as if nothing has just happened. 

So during this shoot I had 3 outfits to photograph, which means 2 changes...time is money so rather than heading to the nearest coffee shop to get changed most bloggers just strip off and change in the street - the nearest bush, telephone box or stinky piss alley are well known blogger changing rooms. On this shoot for my first change I headed into some bushes, the type of bushes that you don't want to spend much time in. Hopping on one leg trying to pull off your skinny jeans is hard, it is important to be wearing tight pants or boxer shorts...not loose cotton ones as you don't want passers by getting an eyeful of your bits. Lucky for me, I have a photographer that sees the funny side of all of this and films the whole thing and posts on snapchat...cheers Becca!

So people who throw oranges out of windows (yes this did happen to an ex girlfriend!) or shout abuse; remember us poor bloggers are just trying to make a bit of pocket money, please think twice as we put a lot of effort in doing what we do and we love what we do. For those of you wanting to get into blogging, do it and do it well but don't expect success overnight. For brands...I love you, send me more work *insert wink face emoji! 

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

St Tropez, Cannes, Dubai, Monaco - Men's Style

Well I haven't been on holiday to one of these swanky, fashionable destinations for quite some time but I know some of you are much luckier than I and maybe heading away sometime soon. So I headed out in my whitest of white outfit to the pristine white houses of Notting Hill for this shoot. Grab your girlfriend and whisk her away on a weekend away to Monaco, St Tropez or Cannes and have an evening stroll along the harbour, looking a million dollars as you pass the yachts, chatting about which one you'll buy if you won 10million on the lottery (my favourite conversation!).

Seeing how the photos have come out, this is actually my new favourite formal outfit this Summer and might just book one of these holidays, so I can wear it again...as I'm not sure it's really London style.

This shoot with Rebecca Spencer didn't exactly start off great, after meeting in Pret, my tripod swung around and tapped this woman on the head. Little did I know she was the local fruitcake, who turned around snarled at us with her single tooth and then actually full on punched Rebecca in the back. I mean looking back it was a massive lol, I mean who gets punched in Pret by a 70 year old woman?!

Now I wish this house was actually mine, but it isn't...and in true blogger style, we just waltzed into someones gated house, sat on their steps and started shooting. It is what it is really....yep fucking awkward!

Anyway, on to the outfit. Firstly the grey tassel loafer shoes are from Kurt Geiger but wait, I've just checked and they are currently discounted down from £185.00 to £99.00. The pristine white trousers are from ASOS. The white herringbone shirt is of course from London's finest shirt makers Hawkins & Shepherd. I have to thank Reiss for this amazing double-breasted blazer which is off-white/light grey in colour. I've accessorised with a Paul Smith watch and finally a single bold blue pattern pocket square by Furious Goose to make the outfit much more eye catching.

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Superdry Is More Than Just Big Bold Branding

Forgive me Superdry but I haven't brought any of your men's clothing since about 8 years ago (give or take a couple of years - but the point is a LONG time ago). It was when everyone seemed to be taking about Superdry and loving the big bold branded shirts, hoodies and multiple zipped jacket - which had about 12 bloody zips on it! Actually I still have my yellow Superdry hoodie and grey/orange checked Superdry shirt. It was about a month ago now when I was invited to preview their new men's collection that I realised it is time to buy back into Superdry.

So I did a poll with my 30-something year old friends and asked them "What do you think of about the brand Superdry?" A preconception many people, including myself had was that Superdry only sells bold check shirts, bright coloured hoodies and the same in T-Shirt form. Maybe its because these products are their bread 'n' butter and are displayed as eye-catching pieces in the entrance to the stores attracting the customers, but not the older ones it seems, well if my small friendship group is anything to go by.

So this weekend when we all got together again, I wore the outfit above which is Superdry throughout and asked them what they thought of it. Everyone loved the smart yet casual look - every piece you can style with almost anything. The main comment was "No way is that Superdry!" - well it is and although there are still small branded touches it is ever so discrete now. Much more classic, classy and I think opened up a whole new market with my friends!

The quality is unbelievable (in a good way!), the jumper is so soft you can wear it without anything underneath. The jacket is so well made from the fabric, buttons, inner lining and zip and the design is very classic. As for the jeans, you can tell that the denim is hard wearing, none of this thin crappy denim and seems to be everywhere these days. 

The Jumper and Jacket are both from the IDRIS ELBA Collection which is their premium collection - you can shop the range here.

Did you know that Superdry also does Sports wear? You can read my review of Superdry Sports here

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Holly Harwood