How to Dress for a 20’s Theme Party

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

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


Hats

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


Ties

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


Suit

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


Shirts (Pin Collar or Tab Collar)

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

Shoes

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

 

How to Accessorise Your Dinner Jacket/Tuxedo this Party Season

Party season is a couple of months during Winter where the majority of us have our staff Christmas parties and a fair proportion of these parties normally operate a 'black tie' dress code. Hence why brands bring out entire ranges suitable for 'Party Season' so you know how to look your best at your works staff party. I've already discussed what suits you should where for party season by styling a black tuxedo and navy tuxedo, which you can re-read here.

This post is all about how to accessorise your dinner jacket or tuxedo from socks, shoes, pocket squares, shirts, ties and scarfs. These are the small differences, that will make you transform from looking like every other person in the room into youself, your own personality and your own style.

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The Shirt

Starting from the top down so therefore lets discuss the shirt first. The only two colours you can use when wearing a dinner jacket is either white or black and personally I would always opt for a brand new crisp white shirt, straight out of it's packaging. Choosing a collar type is a little more tricky as there are more choices. When I was 18 or early 20's I thought that you had to wear 'wing-tip' collar shirts with a dinner jacket and how wrong was I. For me the wing tip collar is my least favourite, it doesn't particularly look great and just reminds my of poorly designed shirts from hire shops. 

Instead opt for a more refined elegance in your shirt collar. A simple classic spread collar or even a collar with a narrower opening will look great underneath a bow-tie. Check your dress-code but if you are after something different and from a 1920's era of exceptional dress sense then try the pin collar or the tab collar shirts which although are not designed for bow-ties, work incredible with a black silk tie and offer a different option for those who do not like wearing bow-ties.

There is only one place I would recommend getting your party season shirts from and that is of course Hawkins & Shepherd, the London shirt makers who are famed for bringing back the pin collar shirt styles. You can shop their extensive party season collection online here and below are some of my top picks.

The Tie

Naturally choosing a tie should come next, you have two options which is simply to wear a bow-tie or a tie. That decision totally depends on 1. The dress code .2. Your own personal style taste and .3. Which shirt you have chosen to wear. 

The next choice is colour and if you choose a bow-tie, what style do you choose such as a standard bow-tie or butterfly bow-tie for example. When choosing a colour of the bow-tie I would go for dark deep colours, nothing too colourful and certainly no colourful patterns unless they are subtle (such as polka-dot), you don't want to look like a clown and always think 'what would Tom Ford wear'! Here are my top picks:

The Pocket Square

Who would have thought that a square piece of silk, cotton or linen would be such a sartorial success. Personally I wouldn't match the exact colour of your tie with your pocket square, as that is just lazy and shows no creativity at all, plus it reminds me of weddings. Party season style is not wedding style, it's more refined, classic, classy and elegant. Here are my top picks:

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The Scarf

The scarf I'm wearing is from new luxury brand Fisher & Woordes who are one of my menswear finds of the year. They currently have a collection of 3 scarfs which are warm, classic and beautiful and perfect to style with your dinner jacket suit. The brand also crafts belts as in the ones below.

The Socks

Socks are often the most underrated statement of fashion similar to underpants for men as most of the time, they are not seen...so why bother right? Well that may be true depending on the length of the cut of your trousers. If you are looking to suave up your sock game then here are some good choices.

The Shoes

My personal preference for choosing the right shoes when wearing a tuxedo is to opt for a pair of patent shoes. Patent leather is a type of coated leather that has a very glossy shine to the finish. Although there are always other options and here are my top picks in the footwear department.

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David Vs Goliath | Hawkins & Shepherd take on London's Jermyn Street shirt makers

It really is a David vs Goliath battle. I launched Hawkins & Shepherd 3 years ago last month focusing on extremely high quality shirts with the best cotton and handmade tailoring. I did a lot of research when launching and tested the shirt quality of what is on London's Jermyn Street and found that on many occasions the quality wasn't as great as the street name suggests and seemed like profits took over from quality. A Hawkins & Shepherd shirt will always be handmade, which means the tailoring will always be the best it can be.  

Launching with a very limited budget the brand continues to be a one man band and at times it's extremely hard juggling my time from bringing out new designs, marketing, general admin and being the office tea boy! However year on year we have strong growth which is on target to continue into year 4. In a very saturated market, one of the toughest times for the retail sector in 20 years, a weak pound and retailers squeezing margins it's hard to believe how we are still in business but we are and people are starting to take note. Working on a shoe string budget, I'm competing with some well known shirt makers with £1m marketing budgets so it is down to you guys that Hawkins & Shepherd is able to continue to grow. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart all the support you give me and my company - it really means so much.

Hawkins & Shepherd signature Pin Collar Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd signature Pin Collar Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd still have the largest range of luxury Pin Collar Shirts globally, which is our signature range and growing. However we do not stop there. We have big ambitions to expand our range and 2016 has seen major investment for our Autumn Winter collection.

For example we have collaborated with luxury womenswear tailor Calder London to produce a range of designer suits using Savile Row British fabrics. Furthermore our biggest investment has come in producing a single and double-breasted 100% British cashmere overcoats. Available in both navy and camel as worn by Britain's supermodel and fashion ambassador David Gandy.

David Gandy wears Hawkins & Shepherd and loves the brand so much that he wore our cashmere overcoat in a recent advert for Wellman Vitabiotics. Check out the behind the scenes footage below:

Hawkins & Shepherd have just launched their Shirt Subscription Service. This was setup because I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to wear a Hawkins & Shepherd shirt because I believe that when you have tried our shirts you will not go back to buying cheap 5 shirts for £100 deals that are out there currently. By signing up to the subscription service you can spread the cost of one shirt over 2 or even 3 months and still get a discount on the retail price. The 'Enthusiast' subscription package is meant for the business traveller who churns through shirts and can receive a fresh crisp shirt every month with free delivery. Not only can you choose a payment plan that suits your needs, you can also specify the shirt colour and shirt collar types that you prefer and Hawkins & Shepherd will do their best to fulfil this request.

For more information, click on the image below.

 

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ALL ABOUT MICRO PRINTS THIS SEASON AT HAWKINS & SHEPHERD

As the bell rang for the start of the Moda Exhibition trade show this morning at 9:30am, it's was a perfect time to give you the low down on my brand Hawkins & Shepherd of which I have spent the last 3 years refining. Mainly we're an online brand, but this year is my assault on the high streets of the U.K. so hopefully you guys will finally have the chance to feel and try on our quality products. You shouldn't have to settle for second best and you won't ever have to with Hawkins & Shepherd. So wish us luck for this show.

Hawkins & Shepherd started its life selling traditional 1920's style pin collar shirts, we had and still have the largest pin collar range found anywhere worldwide and this range is ever increasing as it's still our signature product. This year as part of a large scale restyling across the brand and in keeping with market trends, I have designed our first button-down smart casual shirt, available in plain pinpoint weave fabrics as well as print textiles milled in Portugal. 

Prints have been trending among the fashion elite since 2012, with the designs moving away from (now tacky) large animal prints, to smaller floral and now smaller again we are in the era of the micro-print and it's only now that these prints are suitable for shirt design. There is a reason why plain shirts sell best and it's because we like to accessorise with pattern ties and pocket squares. Too much print is a big no no, print on print is a struggle to get right and often ends up too garish. However with the micro print being subtle and discrete, it opens up new possibilities in shirt design and styling of which Hawkins & Shepherd has now dipped its toes into.

Further to our new shirt offerings, we have entered into a partnership collaboration with woman's wear tailor 'to the celebs' Calder London on our very first suit and overcoat range, using British fabrics from Holland & Sherry which are the finest in the world. We have designed a limited edition 100% cashmere overcoat in classic camel and navy which will be retailing at £1,600. If this is not for you, we also have a cashmere blend (20% cashmere, 80% wool) overcoat available in dark grey (burgundy on the underside of collar) and navy (orange on the underside of collar) which will retail at £985. Our suits, which are again British Holland & Sherry fabrics and 100% wool. Hawkins & Shepherd will offer a windowpane/prince of Wales check and small hounds-tooth designs in both single and double breasted cuts. These are retailing at £775. All available to trade this weekend at Moda and will be available online at www.hawkinsandshepherd.com from the 1st March.

I guess looking in, it all sounds great as I'm brilliant at sugar coating things but it has been a hard slog, if I'm honest. All of this has not come easy and I'm still in so many respects struggling to take the brand to another level. It has been 2.5 years of hard graft, with many successes and failures, although it's the failures that I learn most from. I'm not sure if you know but Hawkins & Shepherd is totally a one man band, it's me, the designer, accountant, tea-boy the lot...and I have SO much passion for my brand...so its hard when I don't have immediate success overnight!! I've given up so much to build Hawkins & Shepherd, from giving up a rewarding career, an early night is something of a rarity these days, my front room is now a storage room for shirts, I now work harder than I ever have and the salary, well what salary!!! Saying that I love every minute of it, I love sharing with my readers stories of my brand and other brands that I work with. I also now have a greater knowledge of what makes menswear products great which I can pass on to you. 

So finishing with a shameless plea, please please please help SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BLOGGER (me!) AND BRAND (Hawkins & Shepherd)!!! It would mean the world to me...just call it a donation, to help me build the brand xx

 

SHOP THE LOOK

SHOP MICRO-PRINT SHIRTS

Photo Credit Sophie Milner

HAWKINS & SHEPHERD SHIRTS FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2016

Luxury men's shirt makers Hawkins and Shepherd have returned stronger than ever this Spring/Summer season with their new-look collection as part of a wider evolution across the styling of the brand. The introduction of their new button-down and pattern shirts are in keeping with market trends. As always, Hawkins & Shepherd shirts use the finest cotton fabrics and classic, handmade tailoring. Don't expect them to be in stores for some time, so get online and shop today, as this collection is limited edition and while stocks last. 

Hawkins & Shepherd White Button-Down Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd White Button-Down Shirt

It feels odd writing a piece on my own shirts  but who best to do that than myself as I have put so much sweat and tears into getting Hawkins & Shepherd where it is today and I'm so proud of the brand.

Our button-down shirts have small details that stand out subtly whilst sticking to minimalistic, classic shirt tailoring. For example we stitch the top button hole and the last button hole in a different colour that compliments the shirt fabric perfectly. 

Our pattern printed shirt fabric has come from Portugal and is a limited edition, when they are gone their gone. The pattern collection centres around micro prints...paisley, geometric and polka dots are my designers favourites.

What to expect from Hawkins & Shepherd in the future? We have designed our first Hawkins & Shepherd Suit and Overcoat range in collaboration with Savile Row trained tailor Laura from Calder London using Britain's finest fabrics from Holland & Sherry. The suits will consist of single and double-breasted options and will be made to order. Our overcoat range will consist of two 100% Cashmere limited edition camel and navy jackets.

This is a major step forward for Hawkins & Shepherd but one that has been at the request of the label’s loyal customer feedback. We are small enough to react quickly to our customers’ wishes and in many ways they shape what we do as a company.

Hawkins & Shepherd Blue Micro Geometric Print Button-Down Shirt

Hawkins & Shepherd Blue Micro Geometric Print Button-Down Shirt

SHOP HAWKINS & SHEPHERD SS16 SHIRT COLLECTION HERE

Photo Credit Kylie Eyra

SMART CASUAL WORKWEAR FOR AUTUMN

Many more companies these days are allowing employees to dress in smart-casual attire which has its ups and downs. The up-side is that you can invest in your everyday wardrobe and utilise clothes that you wear inside and outside of work together. The down-side is that you now have to think about what to wear, rather than just wearing the same navy suit and 5 shirts that you ironed on Sunday evening whilst watching the X-Factor.

What does smart causal actually mean? Are Jeans, T-Shirt and trainers allowed? For me I would always side on the smart side of smart-casual. In the look above, you could always remove the tie & blazer to make the look more casual if needs be.

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Photo Credit Sophie Milner

THE PIN COLLAR

Autumn/Winter equals Party Season - drinking, eating and most importantly it brings out the dapper in us.  London in particular is a hive of dinner jackets and crisp white shirts, a time to celebrate and party hard. The Pin Collar is a trend that is making a major come-back and is my shirt for this season, offering something different. If you are wanting to look sartorial and on trend at your Christmas Party, ditch the wing tipped shirt and crappy clip on bow-tie for the pin collar. Style a crisp white Pin Collar Shirt with semi-skinny black tie, dinner jacket suit and white pocket square.

I have shopped around to find my favourites - click below to shop.

If you are also interested in my Pin Collar alternative for your Christmas Party, shop below:

SMART CITY WORKWEAR LOOK

It's that time of year when we all feel a little bit depressed - our summer holidays have been and gone, its raining more, colder and getting darker earlier. This is the perfect time to give yourself a confidence boost at work with a completely new look this autumn. Putting on a crisp shirt and pressed suit should give you confidence for the day ahead.

In this classic yet contemporary smart city office look, I have kept things simple with a navy 3-piece suit from ASOS and added some finer details with a navy check pin collar shirt and copper/coffee pin bar from Hawkins & Shepherd shirtmakers. 

Match the ASOS grey skinny tie with some grey socks. When choosing footwear, both black or brown shoes work equally as well. Keep the pocket square simple with whites or navy however if you are comfortable adding some bold colours you cant go wrong with oranges or yellows.

 

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Photos by Sophie Milner

ALL BLACKS - AW15 MENS STYLE

With the anticipation of the Rugby World Cup in the air, I thought I would put together an ALL BLACK autumn/winter 2015 look. The kiwis aka 'The All-Blacks' are the current holders of the Rugby World Cup and probably the most feared team. For those of you who are interested the Rugby kicks off on the 18th September hosted by our rugby crazy nation. 

Back to Men's Style! With Autumn of the way it is usually a good time to start wearing blacks, greys and anything earthy. Although I still think we'll be wearing shorts in September due to an Indian Summer (maybe I'm too optimistic!).

Combining a formal pin collar shirt and tie combo with biker jeans isn't your conventional combination but rolled up sleeves and tattoos make this look a little edgier than it should normally be.

The black slim fit shirt with pin bar is from Hawkins & Shepherd as is the 100% silk paisley tie. The biker jeans are from ASOS and the black brogues are from DUNE London.

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Photo Credit Sophie Milner

LIVE A DOUBLE LIFE

Girlfriends, boyfriends get off my back - a double life as in 'Double Breasted'...okay now I have you back on side I'll start this blog post! I have been a fan of the double-breasted jacket for some time now and it's time to share why  and what to look out for when buying double-breasted suits. 

Single breasted suits and blazers still dominate the worlds suit market but in the UK more and more designers and high-street stores are upping their double breasted offerings which gives us a great opportunity to choose a style, material and colour that suits you best.

What is the difference between a single and double breasted jacket? The first thing you will notice is that the double breasted suit jacket has extra fabric that folds one lapel over the front of the other lapel, creating an overlapped style. With a single breasted jacket you will have a number of buttons vertically along the front of the suit (the total number of buttons will depends on the style of the suit). With the double breasted style, you'll have two columns of buttons, usually either 4 or 6 in total.

How should you wear a double breasted suit jacket? The most important thing to remember when choosing this type of suit jacket is that it should be tailored slightly shorter than the single breasted cousins. You should not button all of the buttons up, usually it will  be the middle row in a 6-buttoned scenario.

One of the main reasons why many people avoid this style is they can be quite hard to 'pull off' and considered not very versatile. Which is why in this style post, I have used a double breasted suit jacket and styled it without the matching trousers and opted for a light grey slate coloured chino.

Wearing double breasted will invite comments, applause and a hell of a lot of jealousy...but get it right! In my style for this post, I have worn a classic pin collar shirt from London's best shirtmakers Hawkins & Shepherd as they work extremly well with this classic style.

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Photo Credit Sophie Milner

WEDDING STYLE ADVICE FOR GROOMS

We all know that as a groom, your involvement in wedding planning and in particular - decision making is limited to none! So this post is to help the bride and groom (together!) decide on the groom and grooms party wedding day attire. One extremely important part of the wedding is dressing yourself, so take action and look as dapper as possible.

One thing I have noticed recently with wedding styling is that more and more men are opting against tradition and moving towards a more modern tailored look. 

Still, a healthy number of grooms opt for long-tail suits with large cravat ties however a large proportion of the country are moving away from this trend. What I'm seeing more  of are themed weddings, such as vintage (think french lace wedding dresses) or 1920's charleston to name a couple, which are pushing the men to follow suit in terms of styling.

Moreover looking into the grooms party specifically, there seems to be a lot styling based on hierarchy and age. And it goes something like this:

Groom > Best men > Ushers & Family Members

You can mix up the looks based on the Shirt, Pocket Square, Tie or Socks. you should keep the suits and colour of shoes constant. During a recent wedding I helped style for, we mixed up the shirt styles as below. From left to right:

Groom - Pin Collar  Best men - Tab Collar  Ushers - Tab Collar Curve  Family - Formal Classic

At luxury shirt brand Hawkins & Shepherd they offer FREE Wedding style advice for men. You can contact them here with your questions.

If you are struggling with colour matching your wedding, here are some menswear colour styling for inspiration: