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. 


My TK Maxx Winter Haul | Luxury Leathers & Stylish Knits

Fuelled by my rabid impetuosity to find some of the best menswear bargains on the high street, I took a jaunt down to TK Maxx this week. TK Maxx offers up to 60% less than the RRP on all its products and I know they're renowned for having some of the super big brands at amazing prices. 

My casual game is generally quite measured but it needed an injection of fun and I wanted to create an updated look for the Christmas parties and the inevitable photos that come with. Inside TK Maxx I felt somewhat unshackled. The fun of shopping had been renewed, probably because of the inexhaustible amount of clothes on offer.

Frugal shoppers looking to bring out their personal style and boost their inner confidence, will baulk less at the prices of the unique clothing in TK Maxx than in any other store. 


Come on Carl, tell us what you bought from TK Maxx? 

Ok keep your pantyhose on. As we move into AW18 you'll see a lot more winter hues, greys, blacks, tans as well as a couple of much needed accessories.  

You're not going to believe that I picked out this Grey Roll Neck Knit for £49.99 reduced from £175. The best thing about getting compliments on this piece is telling people how much I bought it for. 

TK Maxx Knitwear x Carl Thompson.jpg

At a scoop, I managed to nab this Tan Knit jumper for £24.99 reduced from £95. It works perfectly offering a distinguished contrast under both my Navy Cashmere Overcoat and my grey windowpane check blazer. The sleeves on the jacket are a little shorter than I'd normally go for, but it works perfect to highlight the contrast and strikes a great visual balance. 

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Perhaps the biggest bargain of the day, was finding this black leather bag reduced to £69.99 from £375. A stylish accoutrement, especially when you have as many out of office meetings as I do. The quality is incontestable and it's not only men’s bags that TK Maxx offer in the accessory department. 

I couldn't refuse these black leather gloves, reduced from £45 to £19.99. The cold snap is already here and trust me, you can craft many more snowballs if you have your hands covered. Great product doesn’t hang around, so head in store or online now to get everything you need for the power season, because once it’s gone – it’s really gone!

LASTLY THE TK MAXX NEVERENDING STOCKING

You need to keep your eyes peeled when visiting TK Maxx as there are 80+ never-ending stockings up and down the country, hiding in a TK Maxx near you. If you manage to find Stocko you'll be one of the lucky winner's entitled to a year's supply of presents! Check out the latest campaign online and follow the hashtag #FindStocko to join in the fun. 

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with TK Maxx.

Introducing Hermano Menswear | Men's Style Edit

A few weeks ago I was introduced to the new casual menswear brand Hermano by Pete Wicks, who is best known for being on The Only Way is Essex. There have been some successful transitions from being a reality star to a business person and there have been some car crashes. And without doubt the Hermano men's collection is by far my favourite of them all. It ticks all the boxes for men wanting casual attire or loungewear. It's a collection for the everyday man who loves a beer down the pub, a cocktail at the bar or a night in with the missus.

I loved the collection so much that I brought a handful of their pieces and are now some of my wardrobe staples. In true Hermano style, I've worn the pieces with a monochrome look, accessorised with men's jewellery and rolled my sleeves to show off the tats!

You can shop the HERMANO collection direct on their own site or via JD Sports with a price range of around £20-65 per piece.

 

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Photography by Charlie Sawyer

Men's Cream Bomber Jacket | Men's Style Edit

This week I've taken my own advice and spring cleaned my life, winter coats have been either packed away or taken to the charity shop. This cleanse was immediately followed by a heightened need to fill those newly free coat hangers. Winter coats are perfectly replaced by lightweight bomber jackets in every colour for the spring/summer season. 

Since I've already got a navy, grey, black and green bomber jacket the next logical choice was something a little lighter such as this cream one from ASOS. I've styled this men's style edit look casually with a pair of dark navy jeans, black trainers and a plain white t-shirt, all brought online via ASOS.

 

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ASOS Spring Menswear Outfit | Men's Style Edit

This last week we've been blessed in the UK with a mini heatwave which has delighted the whole population minus those who were running the London Marathon in record heat at the weekend. During this freak weather you'll probably want to wear as little as possible however as we know all too well these good times are always almost immediately followed by a reality check. 

This outfit is a typical spring look, simple layering and a lightweight jacket in a casual style for evenings or weekends. I personally wore this look to the gym where I would change into my gym gear and back into this outfit for date night.

The whole outfit is head-to-toe ASOS menswear, and I've made it simple to shop the look below.

 

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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!

 

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Why It's Time for a Life & Body Detox

My life 'Online' is great. Just head over to my Instagram account and you'll see that for yourself, but is it really that great in 'real life'? If you peel back those Instagram filters and Photoshop layers you'll uncover the truth. Just a normal guy who experiences the same highs and lows as everyone else, battling through life. Trying to be successful in work, experiencing different cultures through travel, searching for 'the one', trying to find time for friends and family whilst forever thinking what the fuck am I doing with my life?

This weekend started on a Thursday for me, as I was an usher at one of my friends wedding which was taking place on Friday. Being freelance taking time off work is always quite stressful as you have no holiday pay, no sick pay and no pay in general if you don't put in the effort and hours. Right now I'm working so hard creating content and have a variety of different collaborations of which are focused on creating advertorial and editorial content for the brands. Interesting but time-consuming. Having a few days off work made me think about the blogging industry in general, is it really worth all the work for the reward and why I continue to do it? 

5 years ago I left a very successful career in IT working for a privately owned commodities trading house where I was the global head of networks, network security and voice communications. A role that took me around the globe, from DR Congo in Central Africa to the bright lights of Singapore in Asia and everywhere in-between. If only I knew what a travel blogger was back then! I left this career to pursue a better work/life balance, something that, looking back over the last 5 years I've yet to achieve and although blogging isn't the most challenging in terms of intellect it is extremely challenging creatively and mentally. I now work from home 7 days a week from 7.30am to about 10pm most days, if not later. 

The blogging industry is an odd one, it's relatively new in terms of a career and most of the time it is very individual, a bunch of very ambitious, competitive people all contesting in a saturated market place. I've been creating content on my blog since 2014 and built it from a handful of page views to one that now competes with some of the biggest men's lifestyle publications in the UK. I'm really proud of where I've got in this new workspace, but I'm also immensely proud for each and every single men's or women's blogger out there. The very early adopters of the blogging life deserve so much credit, they were the visionaries of what created the industry that many of us work in today. Then you have the remarkable creative bloggers who have refined blogging with their professionalism and exceptional content. This selection of people are the ones who have elevated blogging into editorial content creation, a segment of this industry that is arguably the most cost effective and desirable for brands. Finally you have the late-adopters trying to make it, who are incredible; their desire and ambition keeps us all on our toes. The way we consume data has changed year on year and is going to continue to evolve over time, so who knows where we'll all be in 5 or 10 years time. Each and every blogger deserves credit as you've seen a gap in the market and capitalised on it.

This year I've been working really long hours creating content for men's lifestyle brands as I feel things have really taken off with not only my blogging but my business too and I need to capitalise on the good times. My business is London shirt makers Hawkins & Shepherd and I'm currently in the final stages of creating a new collection of 'Country Shirts' perfect to wear with a tweed jacket and in the early stages of designing a new premium Made-in-Britain range of shirts. It is all taking it's toll on my work life balance as right now there is very little 'life' going on as it is all 'work'. Even events which seem great on Instagram Stories are actually considered as 'work'. 

At 37 and what seems like a great life, I've been successful in my career, I've started a year-on-year growing business and have capitalised on a new industry in blogging. I've met some incredible people, some intelligent people, some people that make me belly laugh for hours and some amazingly beautiful people. All that said I'm still single and spending the weekend at a wedding with incredible couples and families really hit home. Is work effecting my ability to find a girlfriend? Am I concentrating on work too much, that my life and what I desire in my future are being affected? Is work stopping me from seeing my friends and family? Why does work take up every spare hour of every day I have? And is this the reason why I can't seem to give even what 'on paper' is the perfect girl for me a chance? Am I going to be eternally single and 'Uncle Carl' to all of my friends kids? Work has taken over, fact. Which is why I've decided to take a life detox, that doesn't mean that I'm going to stop working - hell no! It just means that my priority's need to change slightly and I'm going to look at delegating more so that I can focus on life again. 

If I look back at my relationship history in the last 7 years, it's been pretty shocking on all accounts. Other than one relationship that we brought out the worst in each other I've only really had a few two months flings (I don't really know what the call them) as they had potential but went nowhere. But it's not only my love life that has taken a backseat due to work commitments but it is also my fitness. Today I felt normal again after a couple of days of insane drinking, so decided to do a boot camp class on Clapham Common with British Military Fitness. How have I got so unfit?! So it's also time for a body detox which I'm going to record my progress as of tomorrow for a couple of months and see how far I can transform in a relatively short timescale of 8 weeks.

 

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Photography by Sophie Milner

What to Wear for The Races 2017: Men

Dressing for the races can be a stressful time, firstly there could be different dress codes for different tickets, plus everyone tends to make a big sartorial effort, so you have up your game. So here are a few tips of mine and a couple of example outfit choices for you to up your sartorial game whilst dressing for any horse racing event in 2017. 

Firstly, always make an effort but not a token effort...go big and try wearing something that you might not normally wear - an option here would be to ditch the single breasted blazer for a double-breasted one. Not only will it become a talking point but you'll also look a hell of a lot better than anyone at the event whose chosen to wear a standard single breasted suit or blazer. 

The style of blazer is a personal choice. For horse racing I tend to go for more tweed, earth tone colours just because I think it suits the event better. So this blazer I have chosen for this particular look is from Steel & Jelly, double-breasted and in a camel, brown colour. In my second look you'll see how I have styled a more tonal grey blazer.

Horse racing is a classy event, so think classic tailoring and focus on an understated colour palette, what would David Beckham, Tom Ford or David Clooney wear, I can imagine sublime fabrics and clean lines? Don't wear bold horrendous pocket squares, ties and in particular multi-coloured, over engineered shirts that are cheap Turkish imports - you know the shirts, different coloured front placket with multi-coloured thread everywhere, buttons all over the place...no no no. Think Italian or City of London style, plain whites, blues and elegant in look.

Accessorising is important, as mentioned pick a classic colour tie which matches your shirt and blazer. Excellent choices would be navy or even a medium or dark grey colour. Wool ties look great for horse racing as they can seem more outdoorsy than silk ties which I would attribute more to office wear. If you are going to add a little touch of personality or boldness to your outfit, I would do it in the socks and wear a pair of trousers that you can roll up or down depending on the feel of the event when you are there. I love wearing brogues, just becasue they are a hardy pair of shoes and always look great in smart or smart-casual attire, plus if you have worn them a few times before - they look great without any socks.

 

HOW TO DRESS FOR THE RACES: MEN OUTFIT 1

Adding another option if you are a little unsure about wearing an outdoorsy tan/brown blazer and would prefer to invest in a piece of clothing that you could also wear out afterwards, to work the next day or even in bars or clubs.

Everyone looks great in grey but you have to style it slightly different to the first outfit. With greys, it is best to stick to a monochrome or tonal colour scheme....so think, grey, white, black. 

I've paired the grey double-breasted blazer again from Steel & Jelly with a plain white button-down shirt from Hawkins & Shepherd. Alternatively if you wanted to go a bit smarter, this outfit would work great with a white pin collar shirt and grey wool tie or even a black tie come to think of it. 

I've finalised this look with a pair of skinny black jeans and black brogues with no socks as I'm expecting it to be warm at the races and of course horse number 2 to make me some money so I can pay for this new outfit!

 

HOW TO DRESS FOR THE RACES: MEN OUTFIT 2

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

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How to Style a Grandad Collar Shirt

Grandad shirts have been making a come back for a couple of seasons now in menswear and especially for your favourite menswear brands collections for Spring/Summer 2017. But what is a Grandad shirt and how to wear one? Firstly styling a Grandad shirt is pretty simple. As shirt collars go, this one can be worn both formally, casually and as I have down, formal yet casual, so how on earth can you get this wrong?

Most fashion aficionados would say that the Grandad shirt should always be buttoned-up to the top, as it has it's history back in the 1920's formal attire - so who are we to restyle such a classic. Well times have changed and our dress sense is moving more casual than formal.

The Grandad shirt's origin is just over the Atlantic Ocean at New York in 1927. When a lady named Hannah Montague cut the collar off her husband’s shirt to wash it separately and so was born the detachable collar. As I mentioned previously, the Grandad shirt is historically very formal. Lots of different detachable collar styles were available including the 1920's classics of the Pin Collar or the Tab collar, no pioneered by the menswear brand Hawkins & Shepherd. Without the detachable collar buttoned in, the shirt has a plain banded type of collar, which gave birth to the grandad collar you'll find today. 

I do feel that the best look for a grandad shirt is buttoned up to the top, either underneath a suit, simply with a pair of trousers or unbuttoned with jeans. Although the shirt is formal, you'll have to double-check your companies dress-for-work policy to see if they are allowed, as you can clearly not wear a tie with this shirt. 

In this look, I have brought a navy grandad shirt from Reiss and paired it with another classic tailoring piece...the navy pinstripe suit. Two very formal pieces of tailoring, but with a couple of buttons undone on the grandad shirt, whilst roaming London between meetings gives this look a distinct laid-back feel to it. 

If you like it, shop it.

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Double-Breasted Suits & Pin Stripes | Style Edit | 2017 Menswear Trends

Okay so unfortuently I haven't taken these photos outside my own mews in London W1, I'm not that flash...but I've made up for it with what I'm wearing, luxury mews meets luxury tailoring. When dressing up or suiting up in 2017, look no further than double-breasted and pinstripe suits and if you are confident enough, why not try and combine the two. 

2017 is sending us First Class some Italian style and I really hope this menswear trend finally gets adopted by the stylish British men. Double-breasted and pinstripe suits are nothing new, in fact they are a sartorial classic. However this style rarely gets the attention it deserves on our shores as we tend to veer towards single breasted blazers and it is time to mix it up a little.

I went shopping along Oxford Street and found a perfect navy double-breasted, pinstripe suit from Reiss. The sizing was pretty much bang on for the blazer however the trousers needed a slight tailoring adjustment, but no biggy. I've combined the suit with a 100% cotton, extreme cutaway, fine blue striped shirt from Hawkins & Shepherd. Keeping with the luxury feel to this tailoring, the cashmere, peak lapel overcoat is also from London's Hawkins & Shepherd. To complete this look, I'm wearing some suede slippers by Donhall & Bell, grey wool tie by Reiss, tortoiseshell glasses by KITE, a leather briefcase by Launer and finally an incredible limited edition Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Night & Day Q380848L watch exclusively available at The Watch Gallery. 

 

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Photography by Ella H

Stradivarius Launches Menswear Collection Worldwide & In-store on Oxford Street, London

As of the 1st February 2017, Stradivarius launched their menswear collection worldwide and lucky for us Londoners in-store on Oxford Street. Stradivarius are no newbies in the fashion industry as they have been around since 1994 creating fashionable on-trend clothing. Stradivarius are constantly hunting down the latest trends and after browsing their collection online and in-store I can vouch that they have absolutely nailed it.

Last week, a day after they launched, I went into their store on Oxford street which is situated a two minute walk from Oxford Circus tube station. During this visit, I tried on some of their exceptional clothing and managed to put together a couple of outfits to show you for some men’s style inspiration.

For my first outfit I wanted to style the bomber jacket which has been an on-trend piece of clothing for a few seasons now, it’s an all-season jacket, which makes it a perfect wardrobe staple when transitioning from winter to spring and into summer. I’ve styled this black tech bomber jacket simply sticking to a monochrome theme with touches of khaki - a classic casual palette.

On colder days, you could layer the bomber jacket with a t-shirt and some knitwear, however on days where you are rushing around London I’ve opted for a simple tee and bomber jacket combination. The outfit is head-to-toe Stradivarius and of course I had to style this outfit with a pair of slim cut black jeans and trainers. The trainers are very much merging comfortable sports style with casual fashion details. Overall I love this outfit, a perfect look for day-to-night for your weekends away from the office.

 

SHOP MY STRADIVARIUS OUTFIT 1


My second outfit is touching on the smart-casual, diverse aspect of London life, an outfit that you can head into the office, go for a coffee meeting then out in the evening for dinner and drinks. Once again dressing head-to-toe in Stradivarius I’ve styled this outfit around a navy blazer. Because my first outfit was very dark, I wanted to show a contrast of colours in this second one. So I’ve combined the navy blazer with a crisp white shirt and grey turn-up trousers. To add a little bit of personality to the outfit, I’m wearing a super soft grey scarf and camel, desert coloured boots. Alternatively this outfit would work very will with a pair of white trainers, black or brown shoes.

As always, I love to see how you would style Stradivarius menswear as you are the inspiration to much of what I style myself, so it would be great if you could check out the Stradivarius collection and share your style with me and the brand alike. You can follow the Stradivarius social channels here:

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram #StradivariusMan

 

SHOP MY STRADIVARIUS OUTFIT 2

Photography by Charlie Sawyer

Comfort & Style

Most days I strive to wear stylish, comfortable clothing and with more and more flexible, teleworkers, home workers and companies moving towards an open dress policy at work, this is a major growth sector in the menswear industry. When I look for clothing in this sector, I prefer to ignore the super cheap clothing and focus on something a little more mid-range as I feel that the price and quality of the materials, fabric and design are at the perfect balance.

Manière de Voir are a brand that is in this sweet spot of the casual, trend led, clothing market. Their products are not going to break the bank and what you'll get are clothes that look great and built using a good level of materials. Sometimes you can buy an expensive piece of clothing yet the quality is just not there and you feel a little bit hard done by. That is why, when choosing what to buy, I ignore all brand names so it is a level playing field...I don't care what the label says, I will just try to find the best fitting, the best design, the best fabrics and the best customer care for the money that I wish to spend. That opens up your eyes to good clothing and not just high-street brand names. 

Another brand, Donhall & Bell that sells at a higher price bracket, I would say they are more of a high-end price but also offers good value for money. Their products are well made and pair perfectly with my Manière de Voir outfit for today. 

 

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Photography by Ella H

Transitioning into Spring | My Outfit of the Week

With the last couple of weeks being utterly freezing temperatures, it is easy to hibernate indoors with your chunkiest knitwear. However I'm now looking at what to wear when transitioning from Winter to Spring which includes layering, lightweight knitwear and smaller jackets. Check out my outfit of the week.

I've put together this outfit merging a number of different brands including Maniere de Voir, ASOS, Circulr Watches and Donhall & Bell. The black skinny ripper jeans are from Maniere de Voir and I've worn a pair of Donhall & Bell black sneakers which work really well together. I've layered a t-shirt underneath a thin merino wool roll-neck jumper from ASOS. To finish this look I'm wearing a beige suede jacket again from Maniere de Voir and a navy, rose-gold watch by Circulr.

 

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Photography by Ella H

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

Hawkins & Shepherd x Reiss | Outfit of the Day

Reiss are great, year after year, season after season they create incredible menswear, always on-trend, tailored well and their staff in stores always look dapper. Owning my own menswear business called Hawkins & Shepherd, Reiss as a brand and a business are the pinnacle and I look up to them in awe. So I have decided to merge my favourite Reiss items with a few Hawkins & Shepherd ones in this outfit of the day.

If you watched my episode of First Dates you may remember my infamous line "I love double-breasted right now!" when speaking to the sartorial First Dates Fred. So true to form, I've worn this grey check double-breasted blazer from Reiss and paired it with a mint striped extreme cutaway shirt from Hawkins & Shepherd. Botton half I'm wearing navy jeans from Topman and John White, made-in-Britain shoes, available from HawkinsAndShepherd.com. My pocket square and tie accessories are both from Reiss, although they are last season's so you'll have to match similar styles in their AW16 range if you want to recreate this look.

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Stylish Monochrome | Outfit of the Day

What do you wear on days where you haven't got much time to get ready but you want to still look good? Mine is black and white, simple to style and packs a punch and thats what I went for when I styled this look when visiting ME London last week. When styling a simple outfit, it is a good idea to accessorise which I have done quite nicely might I add, with a pair of spectacles, leather backpack and Seiko watch.

Out of the whole outfit the only piece that I havent already used in a blog post is this new KNOMO leather backpack bag which I got a couple of weeks ago and is the first time I've taken it out for a shoot. Now it is part of my wardrobe staples which I wear day after day.

The KNOMO leather backpack is spacious for your everyday workday necessities. The backpack is functional and stylish. It's the perfect size for a macbook or laptop, some books, binders, cameras and even clothes. It has many compartments for smaller items such as your wallet, phone charger or keys. All in a stylish, clean, casual and luxury leather design, padded straps and a hard-wearing padded back. Yet there is more, this bag also merges tech with fashion by featuring an anti-RFID pocked lining to prevent digital information theft.

As you know I always go through my outfit, so as well as the KNOMO bag, I'm also wearing my urban footwear favourite brand ohw? shoes. White tee from pretty much anywhere and a pair of ripped black skinny jeans. I love my Antony Morato black overcoat, so decided to wear it again! Then I've finished the look off with some incredible Persol glasses from David Clulow and my new Seiko Watch.  

 

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Photography by Kylie Eyra

A Fresh Approach to Men’s Footwear | ohw? Shoes

This blog post comes with a warning! You will love ohw? shoes and you will want more than one pair...saying that I have a 10% off discount code at the end of this article to help your bank balance! Personally, I couldn't help myself and got 3 pairs and that was being conservative as I love pretty much their entire collection, especially the new AW16 designs. 

But who are ohw? Well firstly ohw? is pronounced 'who' and is the brainchild of two footwear professionals who have many years of experience in this industry. Their trainers are predominantly trend led as they work closely with many footwear designers although being functional is their main priority.

I totally love their urban, streetwear designs as they have unique touches in the details and of course are super comfortable. As a fashion blogger you get the review so many trainers and I find that a lot are design very similar just with a different brand label. With ohw? the soles are bold and spongy giving every pair a comfortable feel under foot. However my biggest 'yesssssssss' moment is the colour pairing that they have expertly put together for particular pairs, I mean just check out the below few pairs:

In this outfit that I put together when shooting at ME London I have styled this pair of HAWKING dark olive boots, of course from ohw? with a very olive, green, black urban look. To create this, the black pieces in the outfit are a pair of skinny ripped jeans and black round neck jumper. I then wanted to match the olive in the boots with a few touches of green, so used a longline camouflage tee with a white trim, just to give a slight transition between the greens and black colours. Finally completing the street style look, of course, what else other than a bomber jacket.

 

Use discount code CARL10 for 10% off at ohwshoes.com which will be available until the 13th December at midnight.

 

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Photography by Kylie Eyra

Introducing the F&F Clothing SS17 Menswear Collection

Currently as I'm typing this, the F&F Clothing #FFSS17 Press Day is still alive and kicking with press getting stuck in to their new Spring/Summer collection. Having worked with F&F before and was (at the time) surprised at the quality they are producing, I had to head down to see if they have moved the collection on from a good AW16. Well they have, it is certainly an improvement as you would expect and the SS17 collection has character and a personality along with a clear focus on athleisure and casual wear.

Supporting the collection launch was TOWIE favourites Tommy Mallet, Georgia Kousoulou and Kate Wright...all looking great as you would expect. Here are their favourite pieces:

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F&F are in a unique position, as they are targeting men of all ages, which can be seen as an almost impossible task but by focusing on classic tailoring such as bombers jackets, granddad collar shirts with an exception colour palette they have pulled together a collection that bridges the age gap and spans all ages.

When speaking to F&F menswear, it was interesting to hear that their customer is a man who isn't particularly confident when choosing clothes for himself and may need a little help. I used to be exactly that person and know how difficult it is to look as good as you want to and sometimes all you need is a little bit of help. So if you are struggling to style an outfit from the F&F collection, ping me over an email and I'll help you put together an outfit, whether it is for a first date, a going out outfit or even a chilling lounging look - I can help you, or at least I'll try! So next time you are in-store you can simply pick the pieces from the shelves, try it on and buy.

Athleisure is presented throughout the collection, a classic palette of grey, black and cobalt blue ensures there is something for every sartorial gentleman. A statement true to form and with bomber jackets having a strong presence throughout the collection gives it a unique twist on classic athleisure attire.

F&F have presented a light, clean pastel collection for SS17 with subtle greys, greens and pinks with a touch of white and navy - perfect for next years holiday.

Their formal tailoring collection has been scaled back slightly to offering only a couple of blazer options, although they have pushed shirting and more smart-casual print styles. Their fabric is as you would expect, light for Spring/Summer using linen or linen/cotton mixes.

Finally I would just like to thank F&F for having me to their press day, here are my favourite pieces from their #FFSS17 collection, share yours to!

Bomber Jackets That are Warm Enough for Winter | Black Jamm

A puppy is not just for Christmas and bomber jackets are not just for summer, in fact they are the perfect all-year-around jacket. I can understand why a lot of us wear bomber jackets more in summer especially when the mornings are as cold as the last couple of days in the UK. A lot of this style jackets on the market are made with cheap materials and in turn have little of no insulation, padding or comfort. With Black Jamm you'll get SO much more.

Their bomber jackets are tailored with a padded inner lining, enough to make it comfortable and most importantly warm but not too much that the bomber looks too padded and out of shape on your body. The elastane material used under the arm area to make this bomber jacket is slightly elastic, which will mould perfectly to your body shape. In winter layering is extremely important, so I tested out this jacket with a thin plain white tee (as in the photos on this post) but also with a chunky knitted jumper. Whilst wearing both (the T-shirt & Jumper) the jacket felt comfortable and didn't lose shape or look too small over a big knit...in fact it actually looked great with a grey roll neck knitted jumper. It really is the perfect bomber jacket for winter.

As a fashion blogger, I have to try to critique everything and it is really hard with Black Jamm because they clearly use high quality materials throughout the whole tailoring process of their jackets - I actually think they are perfect. Take the zip for example, sometimes amazing jackets have a thin flimsy zip attached, which ruins the whole jacket - with Black Jamm, they realise the importance of this and the zip they use is heavy duty in silver, easy to do up even with gloves on. The fabric used is British waxed cotton, which makes the jacket hard wearing and finally amazingly all their bomber jackets are manufactured here in London.

Black Jamm have launched their AW16 collection recently, so check them out.

 

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Photography by Ella H