Style Icons Who Have Nailed it in Their 40's

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Yes I'm coming for you 40's. Though I'll forever have one foot in my 20's. I'm in the embers of my youth as Frank would say, but have never felt better. I'm in better shape now than I've ever been and currently writing this under a palm tree in Whitsundays, killing an hour before I head out chase down the sunset on my paddle board. Life is good. 

Before I do I wanted to highlight the style icons in their 40's that I admire. I'll do a series of these overtime as the generation thing, how people dress as they go through the gears of life fascinates me. 

DAVID BECKHAM 

David Beckham is the gift that keeps on giving for influencers and bloggers. Annotating his different outfits can certainly kill a slow news day in fashion. He's a wonderful ambassador cum-co-owner for Kent & Curwen, a British heritage brand with now a flagship store in Covent Garden. 

He traverses the line of style and statement effortlessly. Wearing some beautifully pared down pieces that will get anyone noticed without screaming 'look at me'. Exactly the line a man in his 40's needs to know. 

CHRISTIAN BALE 

Readers of my blog might have guessed that one was coming. I love Christians red carpet game more than his casual out-of-office style. Which is about as non-descript as it gets but hey-ho. Lots of cargo pants and non-logo denim shirts from what I've seen in the press.

He is obviously on good terms with Brioni however because Christian's always immaculately turned out at black tie events. His Brioni tuxedos are styled with black silk shirts and matching black ties to emphasise his mysterious quality. 

He is after all Bruce Wayne still in my eyes. He is an enigma of an actor taking on crazy roles for independent movies like The Machinist. That film was bananas. 

JUDE LAW

The thing I love about Jude Law is that he has a natural eye for a decent casual game. He has a very English style, loves his braces and his Donegal tweed. Well before he took on the role of Watson in Sherlock Holmes. 

He is a big proponent of wide brim hats are Brooklyn-esque beanies. I've read online that his style varies from Topman to Hackett London. As a resident Londoner it's no surprise that he's an indigenous shopper. 

DERMOT O'LEARY 

He has an awesome line of aftershave does Dermot, be sure to check out my blog reviewing his fragrances exclusive to M&S. He's regularly touted as being one of the UK's best dressed style icons in their 40's 

He has had some turbulence in the fashion industry. Investing and apparently losing £70k in former Savile Row tailor Spencer Hart. 

Dermot has a very unfussy style, fan of roll necks and a modern look. His lapels often suitably narrow, nipped in at the waist with a slight flair in the skirt. Very Doug Hayward of the late 70's. 

SADIQ KHAN 

If it's ever been possible to completely dislocate ones feelings of a person; their political agenda from their personal style, Sadiq Khan is that man. 

Seemingly out-of-office during the Climate protests. Knife crime at a record high. Cross Rail not delivered and the infrastructure for transportation has been somewhat wanting in London of late. All of which I can't hold Sadiq personally accountable for, but I just don't know what the man is doing other than looking swathe in his blue suits. 

He makes off the peg Zara (reportedly his go-to) look like tailor made costumiers. Sadiq dresses perfectly for a man in his late forties. His height is also a factor. He has a diminutive body (carriage) so low rise trousers work well.

High rise with inverted pleats would distort his frame. His shirts fit snug but not sprayed on. Never a tie so I think he wants to relate to the man on the street. He looks like he's about to roll his sleeves up and get stuck in. If only he would.  

 

 

Best Dressed Men in Their 30's

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What can you expect in your thirties that never happened in your twenties? You appreciate fully the unbridled sensation of dressing in a crisp white shirt. You realise you knew nothing in your twenties. The importance of being grateful. That sleep is precious and a decent mattress is essential. That sugar is less forgiving. Etc.

I'm sure I could do an entire blog. But one thing that I've paid attention to more in my thirties is not only how I dress, but the people around me dress. It really is something you never turn off. I even watch films and am taken out of the movie entirely if I can't hack if the lead male is wearing an ill-fitting suit.

Anyway, I'm going to be highlighting some gentlemen around me within my age bracket whose style speaks to me. I'll be starting by looking at men in their 30's.

RICHARD BIEDUL 

Richard has an impeccable style. Has modelled for Canali, New & Lingwood, Hemingsworth La Perla and Chester Barrie so far. He's also done two collaboration with Stacey Wood over at King & Tuckfield.

A very rakish, classic look. Reminds me of Vincent Cassel and although his style is regal, he has a rebellious streak with his smoking and tattoo's. He's done great things for British Fashion and is incredibly approachable, sweet and unassuming.

DAVID GANDY

If you stare long and deep enough into David Gandy's eyes, you'll be transported to a magical world where you ... wait sorry .. another story, another time.

David has little need for an introduction. He is regarded as the first male supermodel. Perhaps gaining an international recognition when he modelled for Paul Smith in the London Olympics 2012. His face and frame somehow tower majestically on every billboard overlooking the A40 on my way into Marylebone. 

Yet what I love about David most is his lack of fashion elitism. He never comments on trends he doesn't like. I don't think he even judges people on their fashion tastes. Just cracks on with his own wonderful style and manner. God love him. 

LEWIS HAMILTON 

He's one cool cat out of the cockpit is Lewis. His legendary fashion 'tastemaker selective' often gets him into the arbitrary GQ and Esquire best dressed men listicles. He's forged great relationships with both Versace and Dolce & Gabanna over the years. However, his first collaboration of note has been under the Tommy Hilfiger label. The collection of athleisure is typical flamboyant Lewis. Vibrant and unabashed. Youthful and slim to skinny fit distressed denim. 

RICHARD MADDEN 

Madly tipped to be the next Omega brand ambassador, Richard has had a meteoric rise to fame since his appearance in The Bodyguard. His frame is not dissimilar to mine and compliments the modern tailored look. Slim lapels, nipped in at the waist. He reminds me of Orlando Bloom but with more promise. He looks too young to be in a suit night and day. As with men in their thirties you can tell when they'd rather be in a tee shirt jeans. A leather biker jacket is more becoming Richard than a Sexton lapel-esque Tuxedo. 

EDDIE REDMAYNE 

I've always thought Eddie had a great unfussy style. One of these cats that’s got effortless style. I remember hearing an interview with Chad McQueen when quizzed about his father’s style. He said 'I never found his Dad look twice in the mirror.' Meaning he'd throw something on and walk out the door. I have a feeling Eddie has a similar vibe. He's done some work for Burberry in the past. But he's due a decent movie. Nothing I'd go watch in the past 5 years. 

 

Mens Fashion & Style Icons From the 1920’s – 1930’s

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Between hitting the pads, swinging idly in the hammocks on Whitsunday Island, I've had plenty of time to catch up on some fashion history. As many of you already know my style inspiration for Hawkins & Shepherd shirts is heavily themed around the pin collar shirts that were massively in vogue in the 1920's to 30's.

I've made a tonne of research notes and stumbled across some devilishly handsome gentlemen that were really stood out from that era. I wanted to share some of those notes with you today.

Robert Montgomery

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Robert Montgomery was an American film and television actor, director, and producer. I've included an MGM still and to quote sartorial writer James Sherwood; I 'Love a man who can wear white flannel and a cravat with conviction.'

According to IMDB, in 1935, he became President of the Screen Actors Guild. His stay with MGM lasted 16 years, and was only interrupted by WWII when he joined the navy. He saw action in both Europe and the Pacific.

You'll notice if you Google Robert Montgomery that he wore a lot of suits, with heavy cloth as was typical of the time. But immaculate fit, incredibly suave. He was clearly a man who dressed with the plenty of intent.

Marlene Dietrich 

They're not all going to be dudes in this article. It would be utterly remiss of me not to point out the fine splendour of Marlene Dietrich, regarded as the original Flapper. I've taken notes from the wonderful book by Christopher Laverty called Fashion in Film, a derivative from his excellent blog Clothes on Film.

He talks about the costumier Travis Banton who made the suit for Marlene Dietrich's first Hollywood film entitled, Morocco. 

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'Banton eschewed the era's (1920's - 30's) more obvious glamour to craft a controversial indelible image in the history of cinema. Dietrich plays a nightclub singer Amy Jolly, seen for only the second time wearing white-tie formal attire for men: black tailcoat, black trousers, white wing-collar shirt, white dress waistcoat  with white bow tie, white silk pocket square and black top hat.'

I strongly recommend you to all look as closely at the trends in women’s styles as well as men. When I write articles themed around menswear trends, I've always got half an eye on what the women are up to. Especially in this rejuvenated, androgynous-shapeless, gender fluid fashion era, it's a mistake to think that one does not reflect nor inspire the other.

FURTHER NOTES

Whilst trawling through the glorious 'A History of Fashion' by J.Anderson Black and Madge Garland I thought this was worthy of note.

'The most important item of the new style was the width of the grey flannel trousers, or 'Oxford bags' as these large garments were called since they had been launched by some under graduates of Oxford University'.

Clark Gable

Clark Gable was very much the George Clooney of his day. Just look at the supreme collar fit on his shirt, perfectly angular for his dimpled chin.

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According to an excellent article by Vintage Dancer 'Most collars were 3 or 3.25 inches long but could extend down 5 inches. Clark Gable wore the 4.5 to 5 inch California collar in a few of his movies.'

His most recognised films are Mutiny on the Bounty, It Happened one Night and of course Gone with the Wind.

Before the Second World War would eliminate an entire clientele of Savile Row customers, the three main houses Anderson & Shepherd, Huntsman and Kilgour, French & Stanbury would have more than likely provided the suits for Gable, much like they did for Valentino, Astaire, Chaplin and Grant.

Fred Astaire

King of the White Tie and just an incredible dancer. I love the quote that Gene Kelly gave about Fred Astaire as being "the only one of today's dancers who will be remembered."

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According to linear notes in Savile Row, by James Sherwood, the earliest record of Astaire on the Row is in Anderson & Sheppard's 1923 ledger. His style has been immortalised in modern day trail blazers such as the late Tommy Nutter and his former partner Edward Sexton. 

For further reading you can catch the wonderful article by Gentleman's Gazette on the life, times and style of Fred Astaire. They go into fantastic detail about his tailcoats and reference his style ambivalences in his autobiography Astaire, Steps in Time: “At the risk of disillusionment, I must admit that I don’t like top hats, white ties and tails.”

Gary Cooper

Remarkably the long read of Gary Cooper on Wikipedia mentions very little of his personal style. By all accounts he wasn't much of a conversationalist. But his style spoke volumes. Like many of his leading men contemporaries of the time, Cooper got his suits tailored at Anderson & Sheppard. 

Post war Cooper would change allegiance to fellow Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons. His films of not would be the aforementioned Morocco, A Farewell to Arms, (he was good friends with Hemingway) and The Wedding Night.

I've found a wonderful quote on the Gary Cooper website that characterises my thoughts on the man. 'No matter what costume he put on, he looked like he owned it. The camera loved him, and so did the box office.'

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Celebs Bring Their A-Game to the Avengers Endgame Purple Carpet

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When you have ten hours at an airport to kill you can't help but fall down a few rabbit holes on the internet. With the Avengers And Game premiering in LA this week I got to see the whole thing unravel on Twitter, Instagram etc. I've developed a rather obscure fascination with celebrity style and red carpets these days. I've made some notes and might require some of your help to identify the tailors and brands. 

Anthony Mackie - Falcon

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Falcon! Anthony did his research alright. Look how cool he looks on the purple carpet with his purple knitted tie and purple check shirt. His 3 piece suit looks to have a dusting of purple in it, although the light and the carpet could be playing tricks on me. 

This is could be a Calvin Klein suit. He has been known to endorse Calvin Klein before for a shoot for Sharp Magazine. Although if I was a gambling man I'd guess this is a Brooks Brother suit. Similar to the BrooksCloud fit, deconstructed. 5 button waistcoat, bruschetta pocket and peak lapels. The fit is so good around the shoulders. Brooks Brothers also did the wardrobe for The Adjustment Bureau in which Anthony starred. 

Chris Evans - Captain America

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Cap is a big lover of Salvatore Ferragamo. He wore Ferragamo to the Oscars and arrived in China as part of the press tour for Avengers Endgame wearing an all red Ferragamo suit. 

For the premiere in Los Angeles Chris arrived dressed in a custom royal blue two-button notch suit with a slim-fit mint shirt and tie by Ferragamo. 

Chris Hemsworth 

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A real ballsy number this and not afraid to show off some silver jewellery also. Hemsworth wore a full paisley suit by Etro. The shirt is also just-off navy and his silk tie is a heavy midnight blue with still a touch of paisley print to it. 

This look required no pocket square as it would interrupt the flow of the pattern. Instead Chris has accessorised with some silver rings, a black bead bracelet and gold bezel watch. Probably by TAG Heuer as he is an ambassador. Thanks to GQ magazine for highlighting the brand. 

Robert Downey Jr - Iron Man 

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Jesus Christ talk about rabbit holes. Trying to find out who does Robert Downey Jr's suits is like swimming through custard. I gave up in the end so if anyone can help me out with that I'd love you for it. 

Robert wore a black and silver embellished 1 in 4 double breasted suit that screamed Gucci. I'm tempted to say Savile Row tailor Richard Anderson could have been the mind behind this as he's known for odd quirks in detail. Check out the jetted pocket on the right skirt, unmatched to the flap pocket on the right. 

The peak grosgrain lapels are wide enough for Sexton to raise an eyebrow, and the gold collar matches evenly with his signature eyewear. For my money he is trying too hard to stay hip with his suede ankle top biker boots. But what do I know. Bradley Cooper (right) shows him how it should be done. 

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Bring the Style to the Party with Haig Club

One of the greatest things I look forward to around the festive period is proudly and immodestly showing off my mixology skills to friends and family. It coincides with my theory that every family should have someone that is capable of making their own cranberry sauce for the Christmas Dinner.

I have elected myself as the man with the elixir, arriving at parties with a bottle Haig Club Clubman providing the ultimate stylish ingredient for the cocktail recipe.

I did promise myself that this year I'd create a special menu, have it laminated and issue them out via an email circular. On reflection that would take a lot of work, be borderline narcissistic and remove the element of surprise.

My favourite part of playing host or barman, is introducing people to Haig Club. It's an incredibly accessible expression for those that don't typically drink whisky. Conversely, and perhaps one could say surprisingly for a single grain, has been widely lauded by aficionados.

The Haig Club bottle is designed in such a way as to not disappear amongst the plethora of 'bring a bottle' gift. For that reason it works perfectly as a gift for that special stylish someone in your life.

The best cocktail to impress my friends

It's not just the job of a barman to serve drinks. It's to tell the story of the brand and why they coincide with your style and life choices.

When preparing my party special the Principal Lowball, a light Clubman serve with coconut water and sherry, I'll be characterising the blend by eulogising it's perfect proportions.

This cocktail has a wonderful myriad of tasting notes that will stimulate your palate.

As an aside, I've been dabbling in a bit of self-development of late, preparing for my meditative retreat to Bali in January. For that reason I've been noticing the importance of things like balance, harmony and symmetry. 

These subliminal references are a perfect description of Haig Club and encapsulate my thoughts on this expression. As someone that likes to bring a stylish differential to any occasion, being able to express my individualism through the prism of Haig Club is an added bonus.

Treat your friends, educate your patrons, surprise yourself.


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INGREDIENTS

40ml Haig Club Clubman
25ml Medium Amontillado sherry
80ml coconut water
5ml single malt whisky
A pinch of salt
A strip of barley to garnish (optional)

METHOD

Step 1 – Combine all ingredients and refrigerate

Step 2 – Pour into a chilled rocks glass with no ice

Step 3 – Garnish with a strip of barley

*This Sponsored post was created in collaboration with Haig Club.

Clothes for the Grey Moods | Men's Style Edit

I received such blandishments on a recent Instagram post that I felt it would be remiss of me not to write a line or two about it. 

A good friend of mine Darren Branch recently and astutely recognised that my Instagram page has been ladled with a palpable greyness. That's partly because it's turned so bitterly cold and bleak out there. 

This outfit though I'm particularly pleased with as it engenders and reflects a certain melancholy that comes with the change of season. 

The Peacoat is a perfect coat for winter by French Connection, and I've written extensively about the Deluxe Pile Coat on my blog.  It's double breasted but because it's a peacoat and not a trench or overcoat, you can wear it open and it doesn't lose its shape. 

I've teamed that with a simple medium-weight cotton button down shirt underneath; quite figure hugging, as is the black stretch denim jeans from Topman that I've double-cuffed at the bottom. 

The lace up brogue boot from Goodwin Smith is the real show pony of the ensemble. This Sherwood Men's Leather Brogue Boot is more formal than the brown pair I own. I paired those with the cashmere overcoat you can find in a previous style edit

Finish off the look with some on-trend Serge Denimes jewellery. 

These shots were taken by the wonderful Sophie Milner, who is just a delight to work with and not only manages to capture my outfit, but captures my mood also. 

SHOP THE STYLE EDIT

Small Details Big Differences | How to Wear a Suit | Men's Style Advice

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Some people look better in a suit than others. It could be the amount they spend or it could be that the suit is made for them. A proper bespoke handmade suit on Savile Row will cost around £5k. But no matter what you spend, there is a way of wearing a suit that will improve your appearance that costs nothing (or maybe a little…certainly nowhere near £5k). So if you value your appearance and would like to look your very best in tailoring; read on. This will significantly improve the appearance of any high street suit.

  1. Polish your shoes. You can read more about this in my last post.

  2. On a new suit make sure all the visible white stitching is removed. This can be on the shoulders, vents and cuffs.

  3. Please remove any brand labels that are on the jacket cuff.

  4. Your jacket side pockets may be stitched closed. Keep them this was as long as you can…more on pockets later.

  5. On a single-breasted jacket, only do up the top button on a 2 button style and the middle-button on a three button style.

  6. On a double-breasted style where you can button up more than one outside button, pick the one that is most comfortable. Always do up the inside button.

  7. Keep your trouser hip pocket buttons done up.

  8. Distribute your kit around your various pockets. Suits have plenty of pockets so never overfill them. Your wallet should be slim and have neither Velcro or a coin purse attachment. Consider using a card wallet rather than a billfold.

  9. Keep minimal a amount of stuff in your trouser side pockets. Perhaps a couple of coins, some banknotes and a clean hanky. Do not keep your phone in your trouser pocket.

  10. The outside chest pocket of your suit looks its best when it has a pocket handkerchief in it. Forget any crap about matching and co-ordinating and acquire a white linen or fine cotton, a navy silk spot and a dark red paisley. This will complement all your ties. If you are not a hanky guy, your chest pocket is useful for spectacles, sunshades or mobile phones.

  11. Don’t fret about folding your hankie and don’t keep touching it.

  12. Your lapels should have a buttonhole in them. If it is not open, it can be cut open with a sharp knife. This is where you wear your poppy or flower at a wedding. If you ever need to wear a badge on your suit to show unity to a cause you feel passionate about, this is where it should be placed. I cry a little whenever I see wedding flowers in the chest pocket of a suit.

  13. Do not overload lapels with brooches and trinkets. But you can wear a flower and a pocket hankie at the same time.

  14. In modern business, the suit/no tie look has becoming the norm and is not a flattering look on most men. When I worked on Savile Row in the 1990s, wearing a suit without a tie was considered edgy. Now it is the uniform of provincial mid-management. Wear a tie. A few simple textured solids is all you need.

  15. If you are carrying a little weight around your waist, avoid white shirts and bold patterns. It draws attention to your belly.

  16. Never wear a rucksack. It kills your suit and your dignity. Imagine going mountain trekking carrying a leather briefcase. That is how stupid a rucksack looks, not to mention inconsiderate to fellow passengers on public transport. If you absolutely must have a rucksack, at least carry a smart leather version.

  17. If you are a tie-wearer and like a tie-bar, please position it below your chest and not underneath your chin.  Unless you are appearing on The Apprentice and it is 2012.

  18. Pay more attention to how well your tie is knotted than how long the blade is. Practise tying a few different tie knots to see what you prefer. When you have discovered that the “schoolboy” or four-in-hand is best, you should practise achieving the perfect dimple.

  19. Keep pens in your inside pocket and ration how many you need to carry.

  20. Braces will make your trousers hang better. I would suggest getting a tailor to add buttons so that you can wear the traditional kind. Clip-ons are quite fashionable at the moment but they can damage the waistband.

  21. If you have a long journey or commute and need to wear headphones, please keep them discreet.

  22. If you are not a regular suit wearer, try to avoid posturing when you receive compliments. Shooting cuffs and adjusting your tie looks contrived and corny. Try to maintain a relaxed elegance.

  23. If you want to dress down your suit or want to wear it at the weekend but not look corporate, consider a simple long-sleeve crew neck in cotton jersey or fine merino wool. Seriously, a navy crew neck with a dark suit is an easy yet sophisticated change of pace.

  24. When not wearing your suit, empty the pockets and store on a proper hanger with good shoulder support. Plastic is fine. Keep the trousers from the cuff and allow them to hang unfolded. You can buy specialist hangers for this or you can borrow them from hotels.

  25. Brush regularly and give a light steam.

How Close Are we to Gender Neutral Clothing?

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In 1998 Sharon Stone rocked up to the Oscars wearing a silk Vera Wang long fishtail skirt with a white Gap shirt. For a red blooded male in the 90's, bursting through the chrysalis of his adolescence, Sharon Stone was simply, it. Sure there was Jennifer Aniston, there was Angelina Jolie, but Sharon Stone got her kit off. 

Whilst the internet was still being cobbled together, Sharon Stone was the only commercial boobs a man had access to in the 90's without suffering the ignominy of surfing the top shelfs at his local newsagents. My point is, when Sharon Stone walked into the room you sat up straight. What Sharon Stone said would be carved into concrete slabs by paid scribes. What she did would be imitated relentlessly, and what she wore would be immortalised for decades to come. 

This was 20 years ago. How far have we come with Gender neutral clothing since are fashion stores merely shades away from homogenising the men’s and women’s section? 

One British store that has dispensed with these gender barriers are Gender Free World clothing. Based in Hove and founded in 2015, GFW design shirts in 4 block sizes, providing the antidote for issues of bust gap, wide hips and long bodies. 

It's no longer boutique designers like GFW, or Radimo, Official Rebrand or Rebirth Garments becoming the bastions of gender fluidity. Fast-fashion retailers, such as Zara and ASOS, have launched their own gender-neutral clothing lines as well.

Activist and Trans model Munroe Bergdoff still thinks that the fashion industry is playing catch up. In an interview with Fash-ON Fash-OFF, the new podcast from I.D Magazine she says:

"I think the body image we're seeing a binary aesthetic. There’s no trans men in fashion for starters. Which is weird. But there are people that have that capacity Laith Ashley who is beautiful and eloquent. But there is an obsession with trans women. It's still rooted in the idea it being a weird concept that a man would want to relinquish his masculinity. We need to process the idea, a trans woman can be a woman and be masculine."

From a tailoring perspective it would be very difficult to design clothes that can adequately accommodate both men and women. It's also a very different art tailoring a lady for a suit than it is a man. Narrow waists, bust measurements, side boob, under boob, etc. 

This polarising subject, and whilst one could look disparagingly on gender neutral clothing as an irreverent fad, you ignore the movements of youth at your peril. Look what happened to Levi's sticking to a denim model and not moving with the athleisure movement. Lost over 2 Billion in revenue in 2015 and have been playing catch up to Nike, Under Armour and Lululemon ever since. 

You may think you're not into gender neutral clothing, chances are you're already wearing some. Those baggy joggers or jeans are possibly perfectly cut and engineered for either men or women. How do you think GAP went from parochial boutique to marquee name? They specifically targeted a mass market that were happy to wear shapeless oversized tee's and jeans to cater for the unisex demographic. 

Do you own a man bag? It's considered the norm these days but that’s a far cry from the briefcase synonymous with city bankers of the 50's. 

And what about when your girlfriend goes out to the shops and you raid her wardrobe and try on all her Alexander McQueen fur coats? Ok so not many, but you get my point. I hope. 

 

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.

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Introducing Author Christopher Modoo the Urbane Outfitter

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Please allow me to introduce myself…

I am delighted to be contributing to Carl Thompson’s blog. I have known Carl for many years, since we met at a Chester Barrie press day down in Savile Row. I was the senior creative for the brand and Carl was a keen supporter of my work and would always visit the presentations at London Collections: Men (as London Fashion Week was once known).

I have worked in the fashion industry for over twenty-five years. I have no formal training and started my career as a junior salesman in the shirt & tie department of Selfridges. I have always loved clothing and can’t remember an age where I wasn’t aware of what I was wearing. But I never considered that I could make a career from it. At 18, I very lazily applied for a job in a bank after a brief discussion with the school’s career advisor where my options were summarised as “bank or civil service”. So I started as a junior in a suburban High Street bank. I only lasted eighteen months before the lure of the West End called me to Oxford Street.

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My first break was when Thomas Pink opened a concession in Selfridges, I was a fan of their shirts so I wrangled the manager’s job by the age of 22. My love of cloths blossomed as I became aware of all these great classic brands and a large portion of my salary was spent on custom made cloths and good shoes. From Pink’s I moved to Savile Row where I was a salesman/fitter. This is where I became obsessed with textiles. Our shop full of cloth books called “bunches” and I would go through all of them learning about different weights, textures and qualities. There is a lot of knowledge on Savile Row and some very generous characters who are willing to  share it…usually over a pint. I then moved to Ede & Ravenscroft to head up their made-to-measure department. Ede & Ravenscroft are London’s oldest tailors with a heritage and stretches back to 1689. It was fun bringing it into the 20th century and convincing staff that we should fax orders rather than relying on the post! It was here that I really started to understand the rules of classic menswear and when and how to break them. I was very lucky to be promoted to buyer when the position became vacant despite having no buying experience. The retail director mentored me and translated my knowledge of tailoring into a commercial skill. I had the most wonderful decade with Ede & Ravenscroft; I travelled all over Europe, met the Queen and was even introduced to my future wife. But at the age of 39 I was eager to move onto bigger and better things.

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I joined Chester Barrie with the responsibility to oversee every product from morning dress to casual outerwear. We took the brand to trade shows in Florence, New York and Hong Kong, as well as becoming a major fixture on the LCM calendar. This also coincided with the growth in social media. I love the way that it can connect people with a similar interest and how it can champion smaller brands and artisans. I loved sharing new ideas and receiving immediate feedback…usually good. I am no longer with Chester Barrie and have what is known as a “portfolio career” where I split my time between writing online content for magazines and brands, styling, lecturing at a college and starting my own label. I look forward to writing more for Carl and connecting with his followers. I will be writing about classic mens fashion as well as the fashion industry and sharing my experiences from both.

Photo Credit Anna Michell

Men's Double Denim Style Edit

If I did a pool on fashion faux pas, I'm pretty sure the top few would be wearing socks with sandals, bumbags and of course double denim. But NO why oh why is double denim considered such a sin in the everyday world? The fashion industry has adopted this trend for years and with exceptionally creative individuals like John JarrettGalih Richardson & Esham Kali pioneering double-denim I'm hoping that it will become more of a statement rather than a question. Oh and PS, you need to follow these guys and their collective We Are Outlanders.

When you're a novice at styling an outfit full of denim, it is best to stick to two different tones for the top half and the bottom half, such as the way I have styled myself in this look. The easiest is to use blue and black denim, a perfect and simple combination in my eyes. The great thing about buying the denim jacket that I have used in this post is that it has a autumnal tan contrast collar, taking the edge off the fact that you are wearing double-denim whilst drawing the eye on the small detailed touches. It is currently on sale at ASOS for only £50 and all sizes are still in-stock.

Once you have mastered the basics, then it is time to start experimenting with different denim clothing and washes. For inspiration, look no further than Instagram and here are my favourites from the aforementioned trio of denim genious's.

 

SHOP MY DOUBLE DENIM LOOK

Photography by Charlie Sawyer

Urban Style Edit for Autumn/Winter 2017

You know me, I love suiting up, looking smart and presentable. Although day-to-day I'm usually wearing dark clothing, mainly ripped jeans and khaki - exactly like the outfit in this urban style edit. This outfit is great especially the khaki longline parka by Religion from ASOS, which I've worn pretty much every day this week when working from home or walking my dog. At home, I like to feel comfortable, a lot of the time I just throw on a pair of shorts and wear a hooded top. To be honest if I didn't have to visit the post office every few hours, the coffee shop or have the postman drop off some parcels - I would probably just sit in my pants all day!

This outfit has been put together whilst shopping at ASOS paired with my new favourite headphones from Bowers & Wilkins, completes my look. In fact I'm wearing it right now at home whilst writing this quick post on a Wednesday night watching The Only Way is Essex and snacking on giant chocolate buttons, living the life! 

Tomorrow I'm heading out of London to Dover in Kent for a wedding, so thinking about it this is actually a really good travel outfit too. Noise cancelling headphones are a must for long train journeys and I'll be suited and booted for the wedding, so yeah I might actually wear it again tomorrow!! I hope you love it as much as I do and if you do - shop it below.

 

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Photography by Charlie Sawyer

Simple styling, just get up and go

As per the title of this blog post, sometimes don't you just want to get up and go, no faffing around, no worrying about what to wear. Today was one of those days in which I didn't have much time in the morning, yet I still had to face the world and the general public. So I could just throw on a pair of jogging bottoms and t-shirt, which I would normally do if I was staying at home. I had to at least look semi respectable! 

On days like this I go for simple styling. I pick up my favourite, versatile black skinny jeans and casual white shirt which doesn't have to be pristinely ironed, just roll the sleeves and let the other creases drop out. I'll grab a pair of white trainers, a watch and rucksack and away I go. A white t-shirt would also work perfect for this outfit...the key is to keep it simple and use that extra 20 minutes that you saved in the morning doing something worthwhile.

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

How to Wear a Denim Jacket 5 Ways

Denim jackets can be quite hard to style correctly but looks great when done right. Surprisingly the denim jacket is quite versatile, you'll be wrong to think otherwise. When styling a denim jacket with jeans (double denim), I would recommend wearing a different shade of denim for your jeans so there is a contrast in colour to your denim jacket. Mainly a casual urban look but in look5 I have styled the denim jacket in a formal way to experiment slightly to show you how good it can also looks with a shirt and trousers. Let me know what your favourite look is?

LOOK 1

LOOK 2

LOOK 3

LOOK 4

LOOK 5

So there you go, my 5 ways to style a men's denim jacket - let me know which one you prefer and here is a recap:

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

What to Buy Him for Valentines Day

I posted earlier today on what to buy HER for valentines day and now here is a post to help  the girls with what to buy us guys. If you are struggling with inspiration for what to buy the guy in your life for valentines day luckily for you, I have done all of the hard work for you. If your boyfriend likes to be wearing the latest fashion trends, is a gym or sports fanatic or is a gent who looks after himself through grooming products and scents, I have it all and nicely categorised for you below. 

 

STYLE

GROOMING

AFTERSHAVES

WATCHES

TECH

SPORTS/GYM

What to Buy Her for Valentines Day

Valentines day is nearly with us and this weekend is the perfect time to start thinking about what to buy her (or yourself if you are single!). Luckily, I have done all of the hard work for you. If your girlfriend likes traditional, fashion, beauty, sexy, funny, homeware gifts or even if you want to go away for the weekend, I have it all and nicely categorised for you below. 

Guys, don't be fooled by your girlfriend saying 'it's okay babe, I'm not too fussed about valentines day, it's too commercial' lies! I'm yet to find a girlfriend who doesn't like a present and especially on valentines day!! So why not treat her, the key is to know what she likes and don't just buy the normal 12 red roses (unless thats what she truly loves!). Get to really know her over the next week...find out something new and then surprise her with a well thought out present rather than throwing money at it.

 

SEXY STUFF

FASHION

BEAUTY

PERFUME

SAY IT WITH FLOWERS

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

My Outfit of the Day Featuring Donhall & Bell and Van Loon Sport

London Fashion Week Mens or #LFWM for those of you following the hashtag throughout the 4 day event, starts tomorrow until Monday and London will be full of the most stylish men in the country. I'm likely to mix my LFWM outfits with everyday style, which is casual ripped jeans, leather jackets and monochrome attire (such as in this post) and smart, formal wear. This outfit styled around the trainers and the top is what I normally wear day in day out.

The leather jacket and jeans probably need no explaining as like I said, I wear them all the time...but to remind you the jacket is by Superdry and the jeans by ASOS. The two items of clothing that are new to my wardrobe are the Donhall & Bell sneakers and the Van Loon Sport top.

Donhall & Bell are a brand that I have reviewed before and are renowned for designing luxury slipper footwear. They have recently launched an epic sneaker or trainer (as we say in the UK) collection, which are available online now. Their collection is branded 'The Redchurch Collection' and available in 3 other colours as well as the black that I'm wearing, in dark green, navy and burgundy. Imagine one of the styled images below and change the colour of the trainers to the ones on offer and every single one would transform the look.

The second brand that I would like to mention in this post is a ski sports brand called Van Loon Sport. Their collection of ski under garments (base layer, second layer) for men and women is the first brand of its kind that can also quite easily step foot into the casual everyday fashion market. The quality of their warm, technical fabrics means that you can simply wear one of their tops and jacket even in the coldest of winter days in the capital, yet keep cool during a tube ride because the fabric is also breathable. It's time for me to browse through the rest of their collection because I'm off skiing (well snowboarding) in the next couple of months and I'm not going without a suitcase full of their products!

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Men's Style & Fashion

For me, 2016 has been a year of major growth and recognition for a couple of years of hard graft on my blog. I started my blog just under two years ago in January 2015 with the idea of promoting my own formalwear brand Hawkins & Shepherd. That was until I realised that I didn't have enough shirts, suits and ties in my collection to sustain a mens style & fashion blog, plus I wanted to diversify. 2 years on and my blog has a voice, an audience and a personality that I would never have imagined possible when I first started.

This year has been incredible and my content has gone from good to great (in my opinion!) and that has shown in the readership stats growth on my blog and engagement on my Instagram feed. It has been so much better than I would ever expect and I want to thank you all for the support. 

FOLLOW MY INSTAGRAM FEED

What to expect in 2017? I'm going to expand on this in a blog post in the new year but basically I want to create more collaborations with other mens fashion bloggers and especially other women's fashion bloggers, as our audiences are very different and it will be great way to reach out to a new readership. Finally I'll continue to produce fashion, style and grooming content whilst adding a lot more travel, fitness, tech and lifestyle content. Bring it on...it's going to be epic!

In true style, it's time to explain what I'm wearing. The outfit in general is very neutral wearing an oatmeal overcoat from Reiss, an allsaints light blue shirt, grey ripped jeans from asos, a plain white tee again from asos then finally a light-blue scarf and white trainers complete my look.

 

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Photography by Ella H