On this entry I’ll leave you with a few pics of the embroidered tunic I mentioned earlier. When I asked my brother to keep an eye out for them, I must say I had envisioned something different: a basic tunic in solid colors whose hemline would sit at the thighs, allowing for interesting plays with length. The thing about creating expectations and visual images in our minds, is that the element of surprise may backfire when the time comes.
Thankfully this wasn’t the case: besides knowing me well, my brother also has great taste. He got me an olive green cotton tunic with orange embroidered detailing on the front: definitely a bold piece. However, it poses the perfect opportunity to add visual interest to a look, by mixing vibrant colors and unusual design.
The minute I laid my eyes on it, I immediately pictured it paired with a shirt, blazer or even a tie. What I love about these pieces is that they’re usually a great way to make you think outside the box, challenging you to develop your creative side and come up with ways to make them work. Here, I used it as an overshirt, trying to oppose its relaxed nature with a more put together look: it’s amazing how a classic combo of khaki pants, white shirt and loafers is given a whole new life.
Olive green Moroccan tunic, white slim fit dress shirt by Paul Smith (S), khaki cotton trousers by Osklen (tailored - 40), brown distressed penny loafers by Lottusse (8.5), vintage braided belt, watch by Gucci.
I’m a strong supporter of investing in timeless, classic pieces, which will last you a lifetime and are easily paired to form outstanding outfits. However, sometimes, adding a fresh twist to your look feels invigorating and just…right. An interesting, out of the ordinary way to raise the bar for a look, is by throwing ethnical items into the mix.
The thing about them is that they immediately catch your eye: I love gazing into these additions as they definitely set an outfit apart, breaking down that “off the rack” impression. How can I put it… they add background to your attire, it’s almost as if they have a story behind them, one that people will want to know; for me, they relate to vintage pieces in this way. I’m a sucker for the concept of collecting said items during my travels and wearing them proudly, reminiscing past journeys, places and people.
The trick when incorporating ethnic pieces is balance. If you go overboard it might look awkward and like you’re trying too much…on the other hand, the right piece might bring that special something into the picture. Perhaps the best way to get familiar with the concept is by starting with accessories: take a look at Joshua Kissi’s and Travis Gumb’s incredible collection of wrist jewelry, comprised of colorful beaded bracelets and engraved rings. Due to their scale, these pieces are hard to mess up, and even if you do, they won’t scream it to everybody else. Get it right though, and they can make a huge difference.
When you come to terms with smaller items, you might want to try something bolder, the likes of knitwear, tunics or jackets. I recently got two Moroccan pieces my brother brought back from a week long trip to the country: an ancient “berbere” belt and an embroidered tunic. Although I love them both, the belt blew me away; as for the tunic, it’s a welcome challenge to incorporate it on my daily ensemble. More on that on future posts.
A while back my good friend Miguel was going on and on about how fashion was for the wealthy and the myth of an affordable version of it. Designer clothes are indeed expensive: be it due to the materials used, craftsmanship involved, branding or simply the exclusive status they provide to those who wear them.
However, with all the available offerings out there, be them low cost garments, local brands/artisans or the vintage universe, all you need to pull off an original and appealing look “on the cheap”, is creativity.
Miguel challenged me to put up a complete look for under 200€, since he had been struggling with it. It might not be the easiest task if you try to stay away from a head to toe “low cost retailer” ensemble…
This whole look revolves around the vintage Lacoste Harrington Jacket. It was an amazing find at one of my favourite London’s vintage shops: Rokit. I’ve really been into pale colors lately, and this yellow shade is just perfect for Spring; the tartan lining is a great plus. Although I’m a strong supporter that guys should push the boundaries and try new things, sometimes it just feels right to stick to the classics: a basic crewneck tee, chino-like cotton trousers and timeless canvas sneakers.
Pale Yellow Vintage Harrington Jacket by Lacoste - (approx.) 50€ @ Rokit
The coming of Spring is a call for color… As brighter, sunnier days become more often, so does our urge to lighten up the mood by throwing on bolder pieces in lively shades. For me, one of the items that just screams Spring is a pair of colorful bottoms, be them chinos or slim fitting denim.
Although at first they might seem a bit too much, calling upon a “Go to Hell” attitude, these make for a perfect addition to any wardrobe, providing that much sought diversity and uniqueness to your look. The thing about color is that most men are reluctant to experience with it as it’s much safer (and easier) to stick with the basic palette of blues and black.
I say go for it, have some fun with your outfits: if you feel that trousers are too big a step to take, begin with small accessory pieces such as scarves or pocket squares and slowly move on to more expressive items. Doing so will let the concept sink in, allowing you to build your confidence and color matching skills.
I’ve been on the lookout for some bright alternatives and I came across these slim fitting jeans by Zara. Besides presenting a wide variety of shades, the fit is great as is the price tag…at €25,95 you couldn’t ask for more, especially since you might not want to splurge on a pair of jeans you won’t be using everyday. I can already picture them rolled up, paired with loafers “sans” socks, or simply cropped high above the ankle…
Tuscan brand Buttero’s SS collection has been earning some much deserved praise on the web. Aimed at delivering high-end quality footwear, this season’s focus is on their trademark vegetable tanned leathers, original recycled rubber soles and refreshing leather detailing and embellishments. From low and mid top sneakers, to boat shoes and chukkas, there’s something for everyone.
I got a chance to get hands on with some of their models over at Por Vocação and I’ve got to say these guys never cease to amaze me…
Although Spring is officially upon us, we’re still a few months aways from continuous sunny days. Even with the temperatures rising, Spring showers are well reported phenomena which call for specific garments.
Apart from the ever reliable umbrella, this time of the year is perfect for lightweight parkas or cotton trenches, whose purpose is more focused on keeping you dry rather than warm. One of the best things about these items is how easily they adapt to your outfit: as the final layers, you can effortlessly pair them with just a shirt and tie, a full suit, a blazer or a heavy knit cardigan. Given how light and thin they tend to be, they make for a great layering alternative to top your usual attire. Just bear in mind at the time of purchase, that the size and fit should reflect your needs, that is, if you’re planning to wear a blazer underneath, you might want to size up.
When it comes to this type of outerwear, I tend to favour pieces on the longer side, sitting at the hips, due to the slim silhouette and extra rain protection (for added emphasis on the silhouette, look for belted options). On this note, this waxed olive cotton parka makes for the ultimate rain attire for those pesky rainy days…Love how the shades of tan on the drawstrings, scarf and boots perfectly complement each other.
PS: I’ve been wanting to include my dog in a post for some time now, and the chance presented when she gladly entered the picture as we were shooting.
Olive waxed cotton parka by Our Legacy (M), brown v-neck cashmere/silk sweater by Massimo Dutti (M), checked shirt by Boglioli (hidden-40), jeans by Levi’s 511 slim (32 tailored), waxed leather Portuguese boots (44), vintage braided belt, camel scarf by Burberry and glasses by Prada.
Today’s post has been written by my good friend Laura Hunter-Thomas from the amazing Obsessive Coolness. I’ve been in touch with Laura for a while, as I love her deep, insightful posts, and we decided to guest post on each other’s blog. Head over to her website to check my post.
It is a well-known fact that fashion does not always cater to the less fair sex. While women worship at the (fashionably adorned, of course) alter of harem pants, jumpsuits, feathers and fur, and madcap prints, men desperately offer sacrifices to the God-please-don’t-let-my-girlfriend-ever-wear-that. There’s even a hilarious and popular blog, The Man Repeller, dedicated to the “fashion do’s and fornication don’ts” that haunt men’s nightmares.
But while we are all, in varying degrees of distress, aware of the practice of warding off hetero men with women’s one true love – fashion – what about the revenge of the men: woman repelling? Of course there are the wannabe gangster faux pas (chains – “You are not a gangster, your necklace comes from Topman, and why are you wearing women’s accessories?” – and low-hanging trousers, namely), but what about the sartorial sexual setbacks of the chic and fashionable?
In the Libido Litigation Act version 1.0, it boils down to three items often sported among the male fash pack: bow ties, v-necks and skinny jeans. Yes, a guy can look incredibly chic in all of these items, but they will, quite frankly, do nothing for your powers of attraction (probably because each gives the impression that you bat for the other side). A bow tie worn outside of a situation warranting a tuxedo screams ‘not on your team’, while v-necks and skinny jeans (both often sported by Hayden Christensen wannabes going for the rocker-chic look) both leave you in competition with your paramour (I mean really, a guy shouldn’t have skinnier legs than his love interest, or more cleavage on show).
But here’s the thing – should you care? Well, only if you’re dressing for fornication rather than fashion. If your end-of-the-night goal is to be scoring photo ops with Mr. Lagerfeld rather than sharing your bed, well then, a bow tie is practically a required uniform! If you’re reading this, you most likely are, after all, a fashionista. Embrace your calling. Go on, be a (wo)man repeller.
On a recent trip to Morocco my brother was able to bring back some amazing findings. Besides a few traditional garments (more on that on a future post), he scored a couple of outstanding hand dyed embroidered rugs, in bright red and indigo blue. The craftsmanship and detailing on these is simply amazing…
As you might’ve noticed, when it comes to shopping I’m a fan of small independent boutiques. Given the choice, they’re my go to place should the need arise to purchase a specific item.
Nowadays, however, we can’t deny that some of items available at massive franchises such as H&M or Uniqlo, are worth checking out. It’s a fact that many of the times the quality of saids items is somewhat doubtful, but if you browse them thoroughly your patience will be rewarded…as will your bank account. Let’s face it, unless you’re fortunate enough to have a privileged financial status, or you’re an outstanding shopper who carefully picks his acquisitions, building a wardrobe solely on high end clothing will pose a daunting task.
The thing is, in my opinion, women are better off in this field: the overall design and quality of womenswear at those retailers is better, making it easier for them to pull of a million dollar look with only 50€ or so. When it comes to menswear though, I find it more of a challenge to put up a great look only with such pieces, as the outcome will most likely appear a bit off, be it due to cut, fabric, shape or design. So…what about us?
Well, I believe there are a few tips to successfully score great items at these stores. First, carefully scout the place and analyze the pieces that caught your eye, don’t be afraid to touch them to get a feel of the fabric, take a look at the labels, scan the seams and stitching, and of course, try them on. Face it as a challenge, finding a needle in a haystack…Secondly, stay away from strong image statement pieces: noticed the bold striped sweater on the window? So did the other 5000 guys that entered the shop; by avoiding these pieces you drastically reduce the chances of bumping into a handful of guys wearing the same as you. Furthermore, people won’t immediately know where you shop, which as I see it, is a plus. Last, but not the least, keep an open mind and try to envision the potential of each garment; some of them will look like a whole different story after being adjusted at your tailor.
That being said, some of your best bets at these stores are accessories and understated or basic pieces which will remain anonymous, such as jeans, tees, cardigans, hoodies or shirts without striking features. Here are a few options:
I’ve praised American brand Pierrepont Hicks' neckwear before… Their passion for quality ties and bowties is visible in each and every piece, whose craftsmen gather more than 70 years of experience. Taking an innovative approach to a market saturated with offerings of all sorts, they produce some of the most detailed and refreshing pieces out there.
This season, they combine their trademark contrasting blade ties and reversible bows, with fresh summery fabrics such as linen, silk and lightweight cotton. The color palette revolves mostly around pastels, but for those of you with a love for bolder items, there’s still something in the mix to suit your liking. Also, did I mention that at 3”, their ties are the perfect width?
One of the most important aspects when it comes to knitwear, besides fabric and cut, is the shape of the collar. Among all the available options, the v-neck sweater is probably the most elegant and versatile of the bunch, being easily dressed up or down as you pair it with a tee or a shirt and tie. Make no mistake, not all V-necks are created equal, and within the spectrum you’re offered several variations: higher, lower, wider…
A higher stance V is the most common type, but I’d like to express my love for the low V-neck sweater. In colder months when layering is a necessity, and walking out the door with nothing but a shirt under your jacket will most likely turn you into a popsicle, this is one of my favourite pieces. Its lower and wider stance allows you to portray the shirt+jacket ensemble (while keeping warm) as it’s easily concealed by your outerwear. Plus, if you’re a fan of neckwear, few other pieces allow you to show just the right amount of shirt and tie, while keeping them perfectly framed.
When looking for this type of sweater I believe it’s best to go with thicker fabrics, with some shape to them, as very lightweight, thin fabrics may end up looking loose and baggy, depriving them of the elegance and framing assets. Scottish brand Lyle & Scott offers some great options in outstanding quality wools which are definitely worth checking. Here, I paired mine with a navy peacoat and a shirt+tie combination, stressing the aforementioned framing effect and drawing attention towards the tie. Also, this is the kind of Winter day when you should throw on your white jeans: sunny and freezing cold.
Navy melange peacoat by Paul Smith, greyish blue low v-neck sweater by Lyle & Scott, striped dress shirt by Carolina Herrera, white slim fitting jeans by Massimo Dutti, brown brogues by Henry James Shoes, sunglasses by Ray Ban (aviators), vintage tie, argyle socks by Calzedonia.
I have a thing for watches…without wanting to underrate the role other objects play in a man’s attire, I find the watch to be the ultimate men’s accessory.
Throughout history, and to this day, they’ve been spotted on the wrists of powerful and stylish individuals, emphasizing they’re image of confident, self assured, decided men. Not to say these traits cannot be portrayed by bare wristed men, but there’s something about a watch that just seems to accentuate them. In fact, as it’s usually the only accessory for many men, a timepiece can say much about its wearer…
For the second entry of the “Faithful Companions” series, I’ve decided to go with what is probably my favourite watch among those I own: the Rolex GMT Master II. The thing I love the most about it, is that it’s been passed on to me by my father, so on top of being an outstanding horological piece it holds a deep sentimental value. Furthermore, its aesthetic makes it an all rounder, being definitely one of the heaviest rotated pieces in my collection.
I definitely hope to carry on the tradition by passing it on to my son someday…
A while back, Wrong Weather hosted an event to commemorate the arrival of their new footwear brand: Armando Cabral. Although I was unable to attend the inauguration, I had a chance to drop by later on and get a glimpse of the newly arrived models.
Making its international debut this season (SS11), the shoe brand comes as an extension of the renowned top model’s successful career, who ignited runways for brands such as Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Dries Van Noten and Dior Homme (among others).
Aimed at delivering luxury footwear for men, the focus is on high end materials, quality craftsmanship (made in Italy) and fresh, invigorating color palette and design, courtesy of Rucky Zambrano. On this first collection the range of models includes boat shoes, desert boots, loafers and a personal favourite, the woven sandal.
Ever since I can remember, Italy has been a synonym of high end fashion and impeccably dressed men and women. Hearing about Milan (e.g.) immediately takes us to fashion shows, couture, and all the associated visual imagery of outstandingly dressed figurines, the likes of those featured daily on renowned fashion websites and blogs. It comes as no surprise that the label “Made in Italy” became an assurance of quality worldwide, with many designers taking their productions to the country to reap the advantages of not only the label, but also the talent and craftsmanship of experienced professionals. However, this kind of recognition comes at a (usually steep) price…
In the quest for lower production costs, China has become a force to reckon with when it comes to the textile industry, assuming a leading role in manufacturing for several renowned brands…Once known for its extremely affordable (and somewhat inexperienced) workforce, this reality is slowly changing as a result of its major growing economy, which has forced designers to look for the best quality/cost compromise.
Thus, Portugal joins the picture, paving a strong return to the international fashion scene. With strong roots in the textile and shoe industries, Portuguese manufacturers deliver high end quality and “know how” at affordable prices, becoming the choice for brands such as Paul Smith, Neil Barrett, Our Legacy, etc. I’ve been witnessing this evolution not only by observing international brands’ positions, but also by talking to local manufacturers who have seen their exportation numbers go up the roof. More and more “Made in Portugal” is a stamp of approval for consumers, ensuring they’re purchasing outstanding items carrying an entire history of tradition and manufacturing excellence. I’m both excited and proud to see an international bet in the Portuguese market, and I can only hope that this momentum encourages the appearance of new national brands.
Next time you’re out shopping check the label, you might be surprised….
i am looking for a new bag and i wonder if you could help me with some sites where i can order online and of course you trust or think it worth to buy from. thanks
Hi! Well, when it comes to shopping I’m a bit old school…nothing beats going to a shop, seeing and getting a feel of whatever piece you’re into. That being said, there are a few websites whose offerings might be to your liking:
As I mentioned earlier, a week ago was my birthday and to commemorate it I took a day off to enjoy a little getaway…On one of the days I got a chance to visit Pontevedra, a beautiful Spanish city with rich historical heritage. The only downside was that by the time we got there they were enjoying the “siesta”, which ranges from 13:30h to 16:30h, and during which all the stores are closed. Well, I got a chance to appreciate the (other) great things in life…
For all of you with Barbour jackets or any other waxed piece of outerwear, here’s a lesson on how to bring them back to their former waterproofed glory. My waxed parka has taking a serious beating this Winter, so I’ve been on the lookout for a tutorial such as this for a while now. To top it off, they’ve thrown a bulldog in the picture, love that dog…
Wow…I’m a Links à la Mode editor…can you believe it?! So thrilled to have the opportunity to discover new blogs and compelling posts to share with all of you. That said, give me two minutes in the pulpit, and my “better blog” sermon starts welling up, totally involuntarily. So allow me a moment to share what I am looking for when I review submissions. It’s pretty simple: Be creative and original, tie your post into beauty or fashion, use proper grammar and punctuation (spellcheck and proofread before publishing), and credit your photo sources. Always.
And on to the list…bloggers were in deep thought this week, pondering ethical fashion and feminism, male gaze and Marthettes. But in case you need to escape the heavy stuff, there is: denim! Happy reading, and as you peruse and comment on this week’s posts, why stop there? For every comment you leave, why not check out the blog of the person who commented above you and comment there too? It’s a great way to expand your mind—and your readership.
As I’ve stressed several times before, one of the most interesting aspects of a look resides in the small details. Carefully mixing and blending them is a recipe for a perfect outfit, one that easily stands out in a crowd.
A great way to tweak an already great piece is adding elbow patches. Coming in a variety of colors, patterns and materials, they’re an easy and affordable way to add sophistication and visual interest to your attire. Although the blazer is probably the most common garment when it comes to this add on, you should broaden your horizons as to the full potential of these patches: sweaters, long sleeves, topcoats or cardigans all account for great alternatives.
Also, don’t be afraid to lively things up a bit by adding bold colors and textures, that’s what will add the extra flare you’re looking for. Going for different fabrics such as tweed or leather instead of being limited to the usual suede patches, is something to consider. Just bear in mind that if you opt for leather patches your items will only be washable through dry cleaning. The though part about the process is finding the right patches, applying them will be an easy and inexpensive task for your tailor or seamstress. If you want to take the easy route, just look for items which originally come with them. With their recent burst in popularity, you should have no problem finding a few suitable options.
One of the pieces I purchased a while ago is this heather grey v-neck wool/cashmere sweater by Annapurna 5+1. Besides the outstanding blended fabric, with a soft touch and slim fit, what really drew me to it were the houndstooth elbow patches. This look combines several interesting aspects: besides the layering, I love the contrast of the lighter tones of the shirt, sweater and plimsoles with the black jeans, and how the shades of green in the houndstooth perfectly complement the ones in the vest.
Charcoal heavy wool blazer by Rice, Green Eskdale vest by Barbour, heather grey v-neck cashmere/wool sweater by Annapurna 5+1, white dress shirt by Paul Smith, black slim fit jeans by H&M, white plimsoles (Musa trainer) by Paul Smith, glasses by Prada, camel scarf by Burberry and watch by Rolex.
I’m really excited to share that last week I made it on a “Top Ten Menswear Tumblrs List”, posted at Lookatme.ru. It’s definitely an honor to be up there along with all those outstanding blogs, some of which are personal favourites (Street Etiquette and How to Talk to Girls at Parties) whereas others are great newly found reads. Despite being fully written in Russian, we can always rely on good old Google Translate to catch a glimpse of the article. I’d like to thank all of you for your support!
Here are a few pics, the full piece can be found here.
PS: I would be most appreciated if someone could properly translate what is said about Beyond Fabric, as Google isn’t the most reliable tool.
Last week, while I was at Gentleman getting my herringbone overcoat measured for tailoring (expect a post once I pick it up), they were kind enough to let me go through the new SS11 Zegna Cloth Catalogue.
Zegna fabrics are known for their quality and elegance, assuming a leading role as the choice of excellence for tailors worldwide, when it comes to made to measure or bespoke garments. Their array of options is suited to cater to your every need, presenting fabrics for every occasion, all of which bear the brand’s renowned quality.
Whenever I get the chance to see and feel these types of fabrics, I get overwhelmed with ideas and enthusiasm…the turning of each page is accompanied by a constant brainstorming of potential garments in the making. I easily get sucked into that sartorial universe, becoming completely immersed in the variety of shades, patterns and textures, only to be brought back to reality when the answer to my inevitable question is given: - “a blazer will cost you around 1000€, suits start at 1500€”…
I’ve been wanting to write about my daily carry around kit for a while now, and the heads up by xgavenxwas the perfect excuse to do so…
I’ve been going on and on about how bags are a great accessory and the need men have of them, but, what exactly do we “have” to carry around on a daily basis? While the items which comprise an essential daily kit are bound to differ from one person to the next, there are a few basics everyone should have access to at any given moment.
Luckily, providing an inside scoop of my holdall is an easy task, since, as a man, I have no restrains when it comes to sharing the contents of my bag (ladies don’t hold a grudge). Bear in mind that this is what I’m carrying at the moment, and it may be adjusted according to the time of year or specific needs.
Camera (Canon G11) - since I started the blog a few months ago, it has become my most important item. I take it with me all the time as I never know what I might bump into;
Notebook - I wrote this very post on it…usually I tend to jot down ideas for posts or their draft versions, as it allows me to take some time off the screen and work at enjoyable places such as the beach, parks, etc;
Sunglasses (Rayban Aviators) - it’s interesting how dependent we get on these…can’t do without them even in Winter;
Moisturizer/lip balm - Dry hands and cracked lips are not an option;
Leather Gloves - Hate the feeling of numbness that comes with freezing hands. I take a brown or black pair according to what I’m wearing that day;
Cap/Hat - another inconvenience of lacking in the hair department, besides the immutable aesthetic and a hurt ego (at times), is that your head is exposed to cold. These will keep you warm with a stylish feel;
Business Cards - you never know who you might come across;
Pen Drive - a portable backup of my daily work;
MP3 Player - mine was a relic which just crashed last week. I’ll get an Ipod this time around;
Mini umbrella - don’t want to be caught off guard in the rain;
Supplies - bottle of water, fruit, powerbar: a light snack.
Red Wing Shoe Company has been proudly delivering reliable work footwear for more than a century now. Crafted according to the highest standards and meant to withstand the harshest on-site conditions, you’re likely to find them on the feet of workers from all sorts of industries.
It was only a matter of time until the “workwear revival movement” we have been experiencing, began showing their love for the well established brand. The truth is, whether you’re into workwear or not, Red Wing Shoes provides some of best looking boots out there which know no specific style: they’re as easily spotted on dapper Italian men as on trendy New Yorkers.
Western shirts are definitely having a moment…their rough and laid back feel is perfect for pairing with jeans or chinos, contributing to an original ensemble. Despite being essentially a denim shirt, this variety sets itself apart through its own characteristic detailing: pearl buttons, pointed yokes and double flap chest pockets. As with all denim shirts, the trick here is keeping it slim and avoiding the so called “denim tuxedo”, meaning, if you pair it with jeans go for a different wash or color (a head to toe monochromatic denim attire just looks weird).
A while back I came across this vintage Levi’s western denim shirt on Spot’s Flea Market. At the bargain price of 10€ and after getting it tailored for another 5€, I ended up with a great affordable addition to my wardrobe. Here, I paired it with black slim fitting jeans (the contrast works great) and my 2 button herringbone blazer. This blazer has become one of my favourite “Winter” pieces as its warm enough to use as outerwear, while portraying a put together look and adding texture and pattern. Black jeans are a great way to add variety to your looks, as they’re easily paired with other items and are a refreshing change from your usual blue denim. In fact, colored jeans are a great alternative to invest in, just start with the 3 basics tones: white, black and grey. Also, don’t be afraid to oppose the shirt’s relaxed nature by tucking it in and putting on a tie, or buttoning it all the way up sans tie.
Herringbone blazer by Gentleman Tailors, vintage Levi’s western shirt, black slim fit jeans by H&M, Ibsen leather sneakers by Paul Smith, braided leather belt by ACNE, sunglasses by Ray-Ban, pocket square by Tie Rack and military inspired watch by Swiss Army.
Once the trademark of a gentleman, used mainly as a reusable handkerchief, and occasionally as an elaborated gift to sweep ladies off their feet as a sign of courtesy and politeness, the pocket square has once again found its way into the wardrobe of men.
Although for different purposes, men of all ages have been sporting them proudly in the chest pockets of their blazers, suit jackets and even shirts. A rakish accessory without a doubt, it’s a perfect complement to an outfit by adding a pinch of color and pattern, while evoking the lost aura of gentlemanliness: that perfectly folded, pointy or puffing out piece of fabric lets people know you mean business.
It’s that extra bit of attention to detail that elevates your ensemble to a new level, retaining other people’s looks on yourself and leaving an impression. I often stress the importance of accessorizing as a way to take it up a notch, and the pocket square is a prime example, allowing you to diversify your look based on the type of fabric, color and pattern. By mixing these three elements, you’ll be able to attribute a more classic, dandyish, playful or dapperly connotation to your outfit. The traditional silk pocket square may sometimes appear too formal for your everyday wear due to its sheen, besides not being the most affordable option. Similarly to what happens with the bow tie, you might want to look for alternative fabrics, namely cotton or chambray, which will enable you to pull off the look with a more casual and relaxed feel.
On this note, a great option is to take handkerchiefs or bandanas and use them as pocket squares. Usually made of cotton and coming in an array of colors and patterns, they’ll keep you looking your best without depleting your bank account (check out Tie Rack’s packs of 3, great value).
This is my collection at the moment…need to invest in a few more options in red and pink tones.
Left to right: 1 - purple silk pocket square by Gentleman 2 - vintage white pocket square 3 - light blue cotton pocket square by Gentleman 4 - silk pocket square by Épice 5-10 - cotton pocket squares by Tie Rack.
Great news! My post on getting a new ride has just been selected for this week’s Links à La Mode from the IFB website! It’s really an honor to be featured on this list along with all the other great blogs. Thank you all so much for your support!
During the midst of New York Fashion Week, fashion took another direction. Beyond the beauty of an artist’s creation, fashion bloggers take their inspirations to raise questions, reflect, challenge the status quo, create and fashion pieces of their own, and analyze the trends in digital and social media- nevertheless, fashion inspired. With this inspiration comes an eclectic look into this week’s Links a la mode.
Links à la Mode: February 17th, 2011
Alterations Needed: Getting a dress altered - before, after, and the thought process in between.
Fashion Writes: Let’s Get Digital. Digital. Women are small in numbers in the always-enhancing and ever-evolving tech side of the fashion industry, but we as fashion bloggers are going to begin skewing the curves.
We often see the term “classic” widely used when describing an array of garments. Usually, it seems to translate an idea of timeless pieces, staples of menswear, who have been and will be around for ages. Several items come to mind, but few bear this stamp in such a deserving way as any suit related garment.
Although the suit is king when it comes to classics, grey slacks follow closely. This is the go to piece when men want to look put together without sporting a full suit, or just want to try out different ensembles with their suit jackets. What makes them so amazing, is the fact they perfectly combine elegance and versatility: you can dress them up or down and its neutral color makes them easy to pair with all sort of tones: navy, black, brown, pink, green, grey…
The first picture that comes to most people’s minds when talking about grey slacks is probably of loose pleated flannel pants. In fact, if you take a look at vintage pics or pay close attention to older men on the street, you might find that image is not far from the truth. However, the ever evolving nature of fashion has redefined this item: nowadays you’ll find several slim fitting alternatives, with flat front instead of pleats, giving them an updated feel.
No matter where you get yours from, be sure to have them tailored to ensure little to no break, as it will make you look taller and draw attention on your shoes (just be sure to have them perfectly buffed). I’ve got a couple myself, which I had made at Gentleman according to my liking:
- 100% wool
- Slim leg
- 19 cm ankle opening
- 3,5 cm cuff
- little to no break
I had mine cuffed as I prefer the way they drape along the leg and the overall aesthetic.
This is something I wore the other day, really like how all the different shades and textures of grey come together to create a polished look. The cap was more of a necessity as it was freezing, but it added a nice relaxed and urban feel to the look.
Grey herringbone 2 button blazer by Gentleman Tailors, grey wool v-neck pullover by Paul Smith, blue micro plaid shirt by Gap, charcoal wool slacks by Gentleman Tailors, brown tasseled loafers by Lottusse, cap by H&M, vintage bowtie, paisley pocket square by Tie Rack, socks by Ralph Lauren and watch by Rolex.
One of the items I had been wanting to invest in for a while was a perfect pair of leather boots. I considered several options and while some of them caught my eye, I always thought to myself they weren’t good enough to dish out the + 350€ a nice pair usually sells for (not considering Cucinelli and the likes here).
However, a few months ago, the coming of Winter combined with the finding of an outstanding pair and a few extra euros on my bank account, laid the way for me to take the plunge and get hold of these brown Buttero ankle boots. As you might’ve noticed I’m biased when it comes to Buttero goods: simply put, I believe it’s one of the best shoe brands out there, which in time, will grow to set in stone its status as a renowned shoe manufacturer.
Although simple in design, with no straps, textures or embellishments, these boots are inherently appealing due to their sleek, classic lines, featuring fine leather uppers, waxed shoelaces, leather inner lining and handstitched leather soles. Their robustness is perfectly balanced with comfort, courtesy of Buttero’s craftsmen. A side note: you just have to experience the scent of their leather, from the moment you open the box its inebriating odor will make sure you know what quality smells like.
More and more I strengthen my belief that accessories are crucial to a men’s attire. What was once limited to a watch a few years back, has now evolved into a passion to the point where I feel “naked” without any on. Nowadays, my wardrobe is packed with a paraphernalia of ties, bowties, pocket squares, tie pins, cufflinks, the works.
However, if I were to name (only) one I could not live without, the choice would have to be my holdall. Definitely, a bag is one of the most useful and indispensable accessories of my everyday life, allowing me to carry around the daily essentials (more on that on a future post). The truth is that these days men have as many, if not more, items to take with them on their daily tasks, than women. Up until now, my canvas holdall has served me well, but recently I’ve been meaning to upgrade it, by means of a leather alternative. This was when I came across Lotuff & Clegg…
I had heard about them before while cruising the blogsphere, but it wasn’t up until now that I carefully went through their amazing selection of leather goods. The company results from the merging of the Lotuff family, rooted in the textile industry, and Frank Clegg, a master craftsman committed to pursuing and delivering exquisite quality, character and value in each of his pieces. This goal implies a thorough crafting process, with no speeding up, during which Frank proudly passes on his knowledge to his sons, future master tanners in the making.
This is what Lotuff and Clegg is all about: love for the products, tradition, heritage and quality, known to withstand the test of time for more than 30 years: to ensure it, their production is limited. Their selection of goods includes leather totes, briefcases, messengers, travel luggage, portfolios and other accessories, all of which can be ordered through their e-shop.
For delivering some of the best bags out there, many of which made my wish list, Lotuff & Clegg receives Beyond Fabric’s Stamp of Approval.
Japanese brand ts(s) has been causing quite a stir both online and at stores, becoming a favourite for all who come to know their goods. Still a niche label due to the scarceness of retailers who carry their items, along with the steep price tag, it has been making its way into the Western fashion scene. The man behind it all, Takuji Suzuki, lends his name to the brand, and aims to provide a contemporary feel to a unique traditional style, by mixing several influences and establishing dichotomies among them (sports, military or workwear). The foundations for each of his pieces are outstanding fabrics and craftsmanship, which are then perfectly complemented by original cuts, patterns and details.
For me, ts(s) is all about statement pieces. They do offer a few basics, such as great oxford shirts and tees but don’t expect to build a wardrobe around them. Where they really shine is with unexpected items, bearing bold patterns, textures and lengths which definitely add a new life to any look, setting it apart from whatever “by the book” label you might want to place it in. By successfully doing so while providing exquisite quality, they are slowly building a reputation as one of the most promising high end brands around. Here are a few looks and pieces from their SS 2011 collection.
Hey dude, where can I find a decent priced, good quality shawl collar cardigan?
Hi! The shawl collar cardigan is definitely not one of easiest finds out there…you may find them relatively cheap at major retailers, lacking quality, or come across high end ones with a +500€ price tag. Finding a great compromise between quality and price is not always easy, but here are a few options:
- Asos Merino Wool (26€ on sale). Check their website: www.asos.com as they have several options.
One of the most discussed topics of the past years has been global warming and the contribution of C02 emissions to that effect. This concern has led to worldwide innovations in several fields, aiming to deliver more environmentally friendly products, preferably described as sustainable for added projection in the market.
The transportation industry as a major player when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions’ rankings, was greatly affected. On this note there’s much each of us can do to change the paradigm, be it opting for public transportation, starting a car pool or embracing hybrids. Despite all the recent additions and innovations to the vehicle stock (Segway comes to mind), I’d like to focus on one of the oldest, and still to this day, most beloved of all: the bicycle.
The number one choice for millions of people worldwide, it has become a part of the urban landscape for cities such as London, Milan, Tokyo or Paris. Granted, it’s not for everyone, especially if you live in a place with uneven topography, but other than that you should consider the option. It’s a win-win deal: cheaper, greener, healthier and, let’s face it, more stylish (depending on your ride of course). Remember Scott Schuman’s and Tommy Ton’s pictures of dapper Italian men perfectly suited up, riding their bikes in such rakish ways?
I’ll leave you with my brother’s ride, along with some of those pictures to get you inspired…
My brother’s fixed wheel bike from back when he lived in London.
My post Faithful Companions has just been selected for the Links à La Mode of the Independent Fashion Bloggers Website! It’s great to make it to the list once again, among such talented bloggers and articles alike. Thank you all!
Here we are, face to face, a couple of silver spoons. My run as an editor for this venerable list is coming to a close, and as it does I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what makes the internet such an awesome place. Ahem. It’s you. Yes, you! I don’t get to read as much online as I once did, and this list kept me in touch with the, dare I say it, zeitgeist of style writing. I was often amazed at the diversity of topics you writers were willing to tackle. Keep those keyboards clacking, stay strong, and be good to the incoming editors. We are only human.
In a time where communication is vital and easily processed throughout several media channels (tv, radio, phone, internet, etc..), I find it all the more appealing to express the important things in writing. Mailing a hand written old fashioned letter to someone shows your character, by imbuing your message with a personal stamp and uniqueness.
It’s so much more special to receive a handwritten document specifically endorsed to you, feel its texture and scent, get lost between the lines while observing the writer’s calligraphy…than opening another email which may have been forwarded to a dozen other people; it shows you put your thought and added effort into it. Obviously, I’m not suggesting you should write down all of your everyday messages, there’s a time and place for everything, but those which are truly important should be sent by letter. I’m talking meaningful people’s birthdays, marriages or on sadder occasions, funerals; important decisions to business associates or a heart felt message to that special someone.
This is why I was so excited to find out about this Letterpress kit at Neiman Marcus. A possession worthy of a true gentleman, it comes encased in a hardwood box containing cards and envelopes for 12 different occasions, a copy of ” A Forgetful Gentleman’s Guide to Articulate Writing" and 4 envelopes with postage included.
Next time you have something important to say, go the extra mile and put it in writing, people will appreciate it for sure.
Lately we’ve been experiencing some harsh weather, pairing both rain and temperatures of about 5ºC. The art of layering is crucial to withstanding the worst winter days, but even more so when rain joins the picture, as most waterproof garments such as trenches or macs are not the best when it comes to keeping you warm.
Layering consists of wearing several garments on top of each other, in order to increase your body’s thermal insulation. In some of the world’s coldest regions this is vital to your survival…in others, it’s just an amazingly stylish way to stay comfortable. By combining different pieces on distinct “levels” of your outfit, you are able to add visual appeal as well as functionality and versatility, by letting you adjust the number of layers to any given situation.
However, pulling it off may prove to be a harder task than it may seem at first. As a rule of thumb, the thickness of the layers should increase towards the exterior, keeping the thinner pieces closer to your body, as in: tee - shirt - pullover - cardigan - blazer - topcoat (you don’t need to wear them all at once, obviously). Mind you, every rule has exceptions and you can leave it to the Italians to find them…puffed vests over blazers anyone? Other than that, it all comes down to personal taste and experimenting with your pieces to see what works well together.
This is something I wore to work on a cold rainy day. Although this trench has a warm inner lining, it is still not enough, so I paired it with a chunky heavy knit cardigan, a brushed cotton vest, shirt, tie and a reversible scarf. One of my favourite things about this look, besides the color palette, is how the tie remains perfectly framed among all the layers. Also, notice the versatility I mentioned above, as it adapts to more casual (chunky knit), or formal occasions (shirt and vest alone).
Beige trench coat by Paul Smith, navy chunky heavy knit cardigan by Massimo Dutti, vintage brown cotton vest, slim fit pink dress shirt by Hugo Boss, dark blue jeans by Levi’s (511 slim), distressed brown loafers by Lottusse, reversible scarf by Fred Perry, polka dot pink tie by Vicri, brown braided leather belt by ACNE and watch by Gucci.
When it comes to sports jackets and blazers, it doesn’t get much better than Boglioli. This Italian brand produces some of the world’s finest unstructured dyed jackets, with supreme materials and fit, setting the standard for luxury brands worldwide.
For their upcoming Spring/Summer collection, the merging of outstanding craftsmanship with lighter, more breathable fabrics, such as cotton and linen, comes to life in an array of lighter shades and patterns. Despite the exquisite suits displayed, I must say that the pieces that constantly win me over are the signature unstructured cotton blazers: although at first you might find them a bit relaxed and casual, it isn’t until you try them on that you truly appreciate the tailoring tradition and begin to see them as works of art. An interesting aspect is that despite the fact that Boglioli’s signature is the 3 button blazer, which to some might feel dated, the perfect construction allows for the rolling of the lapel, thus portraying a 2 button semblance.
A word of advice: once you’ve tried one of these on, chances are that you won’t be able to go back to the others hanging in your wardrobe. Try them at your own risk!
2010 was undoubtedly a pattern filled year…plaids were everywhere to be found and quickly became one of the “must haves” of the season. Coming in all types of scales, shapes and colors, there was one particular pattern that stood above all else, thus reenforcing its place as one of the most sought, beautiful and timeless of the bunch: Blackwatch.
Originating from one of Scotland’s most famous regiments, this tricolored tartan bearing the shades of blue, black and green, is thought to have been primarily used for hunting purposes due to its subdued nature. Its timeless character and overall allure have made it into one of fashion’s most beloved plaids. Exuding a unique sense of class and elegance, it’s an amazing addition to any wardrobe, adding color in an understated way and being easily paired with other pieces. The only downside is deciding which item to get, given the amount of offerings out there…
As a part of the “Learn to Cook” series, and before venturing into the kitchen by yourself, I thought it would be best to go over some basic and most useful tips.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, cooking should be taken on not as a chore, but as a relaxing activity and a time to expand your creativity. However, sometimes even creativity is somewhat restrained by a few underlying concepts: in this case you are working with two other variables - food and utensils. Despite the million possible ways to combine both, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Ingredients: no matter what kind of dish you’re preparing, be it a sandwich or the most exquisite recipe in the book, the outstanding quality and freshness of the ingredients you use is crucial. This doesn’t mean you should be getting all your goods from Gourmet shops, but do some research about your food, you’ll be surprised by what you learn. Furthermore, you’ll know what to look for when you’re out shopping… This applies to all ingredients, but is especially true when it comes to vegetables - try to get your groceries from local markets or farmers and stay away from canned food.
Utensils: As all things in life, you need the right tools for the job. Kitchen wise you may easily become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of available utensils, all aimed at different and specific tasks. Without wanting to go much further into it, these are the main items you need to get things going:
- non-stick frying pans - a great set of knives - kitchen apron
Temperature: It plays a most important role in the outcome of your dishes. Food reacts to heat in different ways and each ingredient has a specific cooking time (which can be tweaked to your liking - raw, medium, well done). Keeping control of the heat in your oven or cooktop is a very important part of cooking: sometimes you’ll need to use full heat whereas others, you’ll want your ingredients to simmer for a few hours. Along with heat, carefully selecting the order in which you throw your ingredients in, will make all the difference.
Seasoning: taste varies from person to person: some are more sensitive to spices than others. Even if you fall in the latter category and have an urge to over season your dishes, refrain from doing so. Each ingredient has its own taste, which becomes masked once subject to loads of spices - you’ll end up hiding all the amazing flavours. This is another very important step in any recipe and one should always keep in mind that a mere hint of a certain spice goes a long way, without depriving food of its true taste.
The human being never ceases to amaze me with its intricate personality and peculiar ways and traits. We have the unique ability to develop bonds with not only other humans, but material objects as well.
When it comes to fashion and garments, those bonds are intrinsically linked with your passion for those subjects: whereas some people absolutely love and treasure their pieces as works of art, others have a more rational approach and view them as nothing more than means to an end. I, for one, without falling into the furthest end of the spectrum, am leaning towards the first group…
Like me, I’m certain all of you have items you cherish above all others, pieces you’ve been wearing for years and with which you share a special link - be it because they are imbued with sentimental value, take you back to a particular time or place or are simply outstanding in design and fit. Interestingly enough, no matter how big your wardrobe may get, more likely than not you’ll have just a few select meaningful pieces whose closet space is set in stone.
In the Faithful Companions series I’ll share my own selection of garments, accessories and objects with you. For the first entry I chose my Goti silver string. Crafted by renowned Tuscan jeweler Riccardo Goti, it has been my only piece of jewelry (apart from watches which I place in a different category) for the last five or so years. This is probably one of my most meaningful accessories as I rarely take it off and “we’ve” been through a lot…come to think of it, it’s the closest thing I have to a good luck charm.