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.
The western shirt
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.
Layering it up
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.
Back to black
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…
Checked Peacoat by Paul Smith
Dark blue plaid blazer and reversible plaid vest by Aquarama @ Porvocação
Tartan hoodie by Fred Perry @ Bonobos
Clarks Originals Desert Boots @ Asos
Pendleton four pocket tote bag @ Asos.
Blackwatch Plaid Wool Scarf @ Rugby
On the street…
This post is aimed at everyone, especially the women - girlfriends, wives or moms - who are desperately trying to draw last minute inspiration about what to give to the special men in their lives. I hope these are useful!
Bear in mind that the brands shown are mere examples and the items are listed in no particular order.
Trenchcoat - Burberry Prorsum
Peacoat - Schott NY Slim fit
Waxed jacket - Barbour Ursula Jacket
We all love gadjets - Apple’s Ipad
State of the art kitchen utensils - Le Creuset
A reliable cook book - Jamie Oliver
Soaps and Shaving kits - Barbearia do Bairro
Holidays scented candles - Dyptique
Notebook - Archie Grand
An exquisite pen - Faber Castle
A document folder - Cornelian Taurus
Worthy hats - Borsalino
Men jewellery - Goti
Original cufflinks - Paul Smith
Amazingly crafted ties - Pierrepont Hicks
A playful bow tie - Coisas d’Homem
Leather tote and duffle bag - Lottuf & Clegg
Something to read and be inspired by - Amazon
The perfect soundtrack for the season - Sufjan Stevens
Beyond Fabric suggests…
This time around, I decided to pair two of my favourite pieces of the year: the chambray shirt and white jeans. Chambray is just one of those fabrics that can’t go unnoticed; love it or hate it, its unique texture sets it apart from the rest and adds a fresh and relaxed feel to any look. This updated take on the traditional chambray shirt, by Sir Paul Smith, features 2 front pockets, contrasting white stitching and cream buttons. Top it off with this navy lambswool shawl collar cardigan by Fred Perry, for added warmth and a play on the different hues of blue. The wooden-like buttons and padded elbows make it all the more interesting. On the bottom, a pair of white jeans: one of the most terrifying pieces for most men (more on that on a future post). White is neutral, so as long as you keep your jeans fitted and simple, you can mix them with pretty much everything. This pair by Nudie Jeans Co. are slim fitting and will treat you good. In what regards footwear, D.S.Dundee’s chestnut oxford brogues in contrasting leather (grain/soft) take it to the next level. Accessory wise, a soft cashmere Stewart tartan scarf by Ralph Lauren will keep you warm while introducing a new color to the look, adding flare and an invigorating twist. Finally, this seamed buffalo leather shopper by Zara is perfect for carrying around your belongings and is a perfect match for those outstanding brogues.
Bear in mind that these looks are mere suggestions to get you inspired.
Fred Perry Lambswool Shawl Collar Cardigan - 137€ @ Asos.
Paul Smith Washed Chambray Shirt - 136€ @ Paul Smith.
Nudie Jeans Thin Finn Extreme Bleach Jeans - 129€ @ Nudie Jeans.
D.S.Dundee Chestnut Oxford Brogues - (approx.) 385€ @ D.S.Dundee.
Ralph Lauren Stewart Tartan Cashmere Scarf - (approx.) 200€ @ Ralph Lauren.
Zara Buffalo Leather Seamed Shopper - 99€ @ Zara.
Sock it up
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this year has seen a growing acceptance of the no socks-no break look.
Everywhere you look, people have been wearing rolled up jeans/chinos or cuffed suit pants well above the ankle line, showing off their bare skin and military shined footwear. Until a while back, when temperatures were high, it seemed like the perfect look to pull off…However, as the cold winter days are upon us, one will certainly feel the need to protect his exposed ankles from the freezing wind and rain (I for one, do).
So, if like me, you’re struggling to conciliate both ensemble and comfort, you know there’s no way around it: your socks will be out there for the world to see. As such, you might consider investing in a fine collection of assorted socks.
When doing so, you should keep in mind that depending on color, texture, fabric and pattern, socks may bear different levels of formality and suitability to outfits. Even in a time when the matching rules of old no longer apply, this is something than can make or break a look.
If you’re going for a more formal attire, stick to thin cotton socks in classic solid colors such as charcoal, navy, black, etc. Other than that, why not have some fun? Consider them a part of your overall look, one you can tweak and incorporate accordingly, either by pairing with other items or making it pop out.
Navy heavy knit cardigan by Massimo Dutti, hunter green oxford button down by Ralph Lauren, jeans by Levi’s (511 Slim), brown tasseled loafers by Lottusse, tartan scarf by Ralph Lauren, argyle socks by H&M and watch by Rolex.
Interesting alternatives are not always easy to find, but here are a few to get you going:
Ralph Lauren (Photos from Asos)
Beyond Fabric suggests…
For these early days of Fall, when the sun still shines and the temperature doesn’t make your teeth chatter, here’s a cool laid back look for those out of the office moments. The black watch Paul Smith jacket gives a timeless pattern an updated look through the fit and attention to detail we’ve come to expect from Sir Paul. Its versatility allows you to wear it as jacket or as an overshirt and the woven wool fabric is enough to keep you warm. Underneath and since the jacket has such an expressive pattern, keep it simple with a white oxford button down like this one from Gitman Bros. The shirt is a perfect match for the renowned A.P.C.’s New Standard Jeans, a slim fitting model featured here in a dark wash. Footwear wise, Clarks’ Desert Boots will keep the casual feel while making you look more put together; they’re available in all sorts of colors but I suggest these in tan leather as you’ll be able to wear them with most things in your closet and they work great with dark denim (and the green tones of the jacket).
Paul Smith Check Jacket - (approx.) 320€ @ Por Vocação
Gitman Bros. White Button Down Oxford - 130€ @ Trés Bien Shop
A.P.C. New Standard Jeans - 89,5€ (50% off) @ Wrong Weather (Photo from Context Clothing)
Clarks Desert Boots - (approx.) 85€ @ Clarks (Photo from Prepidemic)