Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Keep cool in the cold

So we all know that it s freezing cold and because of this we have to layer up to keep warm and our noses from running but this doesn't mean we can all use this as an excuse to hide behind the big coat and boots and blame our sartorial deficiencies on old Jack Frost.
This outfit was put together as I was sick of just wearing the usual boring drab colours of the season so I livened it up a bit with the good old yellow cords (love them or hate them you WILL have an opinion on them). These bad boys are from Ralph last season but they have done them again this year which is great news. I can have a pair for best and a pair for mooching around in (my Mum will be proud using a pair for best. Best is going to Grandmas house, Christmas day or lunch with someone she would like to impress)

The blazer is a single button jacket from an old three piece suit of mine which I wore to death so I asked an old chum of mine to change the buttons over. I have never had a navy blazer with brass buttons before and I have to say they are very versatile and a key piece of any mans wardrobe.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Wax Sealed......

At the weekend I went to see if I could trade up a few notches and join the gentry by taking part in some clay pigeon shooting. I know I have enough in the tweed section of my wardrobe to see this challenge off like a minor royal but l feel like I needed something to finish mine off. So I took off to my local Alladin's cave which is Camden stables market to see if I could find anything that would fit the bill.

 I am not exactly the best vintage shopper. I like my things to be new and only ever bought with me in mind so I knew it was going to take something special to get me excited.  
In my head I had thought of a wax jacket but I wanted to keep away from all the waxed stuff going on in the east end these days but the Easties wear their’s with skinny jeans, no socks and tassle loafers so mine was always going to look old money instead of trust fund bought me my warehouse apartment in Dalston look. I already had most of my outfit nailed down. A dignified look of gingham check shirt, burgundy cashmere tie, green cashmere jumper and mink cords. My green hunter wellies with some newly acquired hunter wellie fleece socks (which I am very glad I bought as it was freezing stood in a field for 2 hours on Saturday afternoon) were to be my footwear of choice.

For those of you that haven’t been before the Stables market is a funny old place and with its many rave shops, ethnic goods stands and fine eateries(!) it is the heart beat of Camden town. I started my search at a vintage store that had a lot of wood but no trees. I knew I was going to have to dig a little bit deeper so I delved into the market (which I alway’s get lost in by the way) and stumbled upon a little alcove store that had loads of wax jackets. I stuck a few on and the lovely lassie who was on the stall told me everyone of them looked perfect (I kept trying on more just to hear her say it) then I found it. I wouldn't usually go for a Gillet but as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one. I slapped it on over my shawl collar cardi and it felt snug but not tight, looked good and smelt amazing (yep thats right). I had to barter the young girl down some as my size is more expensive apparently (I am small so the size is rare to find) and it was a real Barbour but she threw a scarf in for free. Here I am stood on the right here with two fine fellow friends of mine.

A flat cap my Mrs gave me and the outfit was complete. The beard of course helped the whole look as well. 

It turns out I am awful at shooting so I wont be doing that again anytime soon but don't rule out bumping into me walking round Regents park in the outfit above. I have taken to dressing like country folk like a clay Duck to water.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

How to dress like you had an education.

 I guess its something to do with the fact that I dropped out of two Universities (not bad eh?) but I am developing a slight obsession with University dress codes especially Ivy league.
Ivy league are eight American uni's (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Pennsylvania, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown and Cornell) all situated in the north east corner of the States and over the years developed their own "look". The book above is a really amazing insight to life on campus. Originally published in 1965 Japan to quench the thirst for the trendy Ginza shopping district of Tokyo this book is a fantastic view of something that is now such a worldwide look its quite cute to see how it all started and that the chaps who made the look probably had no idea what they were starting.

This fellow's bottle green jumper indicates his Graduation year. How may times have we seen this copied over the years? I remember a Duffer jumper I had that was navy blue and in red had 1969 on it I loved it and knowing what I know now I was wearing Ivy before I even knew it existed.
So at least I dress like I have had an education. If only that was the only thing employers looked at when you went for a job and not your C.V.

Friday, 19 November 2010

All in the detail....

 I was wandering around Mayfair yesterday the weather took a turn for the worst (started lashing down) so me and my good lady dashed into the nearest place to take shelter. It turns out the nearest place to hide from natures wrath was the Alfred Dunhill store on Davies Street. Yeah you guessed it the very little money I had began to burn a hole straight through my brand new Acne jeans. 
As soon as we walked in I felt like I had arrived at the shop that all over shops need to aspire to. The staff were very well turned out, polite and down to earth. Now me being a rough old Northerner with an accent in between Yorkshire and Newcastle (yeah its a good one alright) I can sometimes walk into high end stores and get a bit of treatment to put it mildly but no such occurrence here. Me and the future Mrs had a glide around ohhing and ahhing at all the amazing pieces to be had in there. The pick of the bunch had to be a navy blue cashmere overcoat with detachable Mink and Beaver fur collar coming in at a cool £7,000. I decided I needed to aim just a little lower and started to rack my brain about what I actually needed.
You know the list you have in your head but you never get round to finishing off? It reads like this:
1. Get fit and buff
2. Eat more fruit and veg
3. Learn Italian
4. Buy a tie clip
5. Own a pair of bespoke shoes
6. Make Mum and Dad proud (an ongoing one I think)
7. Do a parachute jump

I ran through the list and the only one on there which good old Alfred Dunhill could help me with (not jumping out of a plane of course although that would be ultra suave wouldn't it,  The Dunhill death jump) was the tie clip/slide I have been after for years. My jewellery colour of choice is gold to match my family crest pinkie ring, my favourite watch and my bespoke cufflinks. So a gold tie clip was a must have. Now I would like to say I looked and searched for hours trying to find the right on but no as soon as I set eyes upon the "one" I knew it was meant to be.

Here it is. Nice and simple like me and the detail is lovely. So happy with my choice and I look forward to my next visit to Davies Street to see the staff and all the gorgeous clobber in the beautiful shop. If you haven't been make sure you pop in the next time the weather goes wrong or even if the weather is fine for that matter.
Now does anyone know a Gym that you can learn Italian in?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Bespoken for.

I know what you are about to say? Good tie and shirt combo. I got that tie about 3 months ago and I have not had it off yet. Cashmere don't you know and the shirt is from a previous post.
Anyway the point of this post is to say that I am getting a blazer made as you can see. A very good friend of mine is working at Gieves and Hawkes  the Savile Row power house (its his hands you can see here in this shot). I am not going to bore you like other blogs do about what cloth I have gone for. Its a blazer so its blue with brass buttons end of. What I want to talk to you about is the items on the rail just over my right shoulder me in this shot. These are papers patterns something that the Cutter will cut the cloth around to make a suit. When I popped in for this fitting (the final one thank the lord) the guys were picking out the most influential customers patterns. Note the most influential not famous. Some amazing folk have had there kit made at Number one Savile Row but I wont tell you them. Go along and see for yourself.

Here is a shot as you walk into the new bespoke fitting room (note how they didn't fit me in here but in the basement. Cheers for that lads.) It is amazing! Straight ahead on this picture we can see some of the patterns already hung on the wall. All the furniture is late 1960s and early 70's and inspired by David Nightingale Hicks. His interiors were a mixture of very new design with old features strong colours and strange patterns. They have kept the old feel about it very well and they even have a picture of the Queen in the fitting room so she can over see your fitting naturally.

I love it and I hope to have my next fittings in here, if they let me.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Prince or Pauper?

Alright? Good. Well here it is the suit that launched a thousand suits. I would love to know how many tailors and men's outfitters have had orders placed because of the suit above. It is of course Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair and the cloth is a grey Prince of Wales (P.O.W) check. I myself went straight out and ordered the above suit. I was even lucky enough for my grandfather to give me his pocket watch which was coming to me any by way of inheritance but as soon as he saw the suit he knew it needed the finishing touch regardless whether he had popped his clogs or not (he did pop his clogs by the way about 4 months later. He is where I get all my dandyisms from).
So my suit arrived and of course it became my favourite straight away. I wore it for work, nights out and pretty much everything else and subsequently cut the life of the suit massively. 

Now five years on, and that particular suit "retired", I have a double breasted flannel P.O.W suit (which I am sat in now posting from a coffee shop off Carnaby Street) and a single breasted P.O.W suit (above picture). The check is so easy to put things together with it. Here I have a green cashmere tie, pink check white collar and cuff shirt and pink paisley pocket square. The suit is a mens wardrobe staple and folks should not be afraid of it at all. Its way more interesting than a black (I hate black by the way) suit which a lot of chaps think is a staple. I made the mistake of having my first ever made to measure suit a black one as  thought "All men need a black suit, don't they?" No they don't but thats another post altogether.
Anyway I have just ordered a three piece Fox flannel P.O.W suit so grandad Shepherd's watch can get back in action. I hope he is glad i am putting it to proper Dandy use.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Its been a while

Sorry folks for not posting for a wee while. I have been moving abode and its been very enjoyable which is a first for me. These things are usually a stressful affair but not in this case it was maybe so because I had such good company to move with (you know who you are). We now just need a glass fronted wardrobe to hang our lovely clothes in.
The past week I have been known as The White Van Dandy dressing in a shirt, jeans and shawl collar Ralph cardigan with loafers. A flat cap and silk scarf to tart it up a little pictures to follow and then I am sure some comments. We also had our lovely little friend Bertha the Beagle (a pedigree Beagle to boot so it looked like we had robbed her in our flat caps, faux fur and big white van) to accompany us on our trip to our Northern roots as a favour to a family member who is expecting a little Ted to arrive any day now!
Right back to the important things in life now: clothes and style. The week has been a limited style event due to the boxes, bags and suit carriers rammed with kit which have been inaccessible but it does give you time to think of things that you think "Where the hell did that disappear to?" I found an old pair of Gieves (Gieves and Hawkes younger, snappier line that has now been discontinued) trousers and I have to say I was as happy as a Middlesbrough fan who had just been told Gordon Strachan had left the club to see them again. Such a great colour, cloth and cut. The attention to detail is fantastic (not like my footy team mind you) and I feel its such a shame the label is no more as it took all the classic parts of mens tailoring and tansfered it to a younger cut and easier to wear pieces for  gents like myself. Granted not all 27 year olds like to dress in cords, tweed and a tie but some do and a line like Gieves made it easy to buy into it and not look like an old man in doing so. Oh well R.I.P Gieves

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Get shirty

Here are the latest members of my already fit to burst shirt wardrobe. Starting from left to right we have a micro gingham sky blue and white cut away collar and cuff shirt, the same but in pink in the middle and on the right a sky blue dogtooth shirt . All of these were made to measure from Gieves and Hawkes who reside at Number 1 Savile Row. Having a shirt made is an amazing way to get that just right feeling. So many times I have paid upwards of £140 for an off the peg shirt and had to have the sleeves shortened or it taken in on the waist to get it to fit right. These were £155 each but well worth it. The fit is superb and the sleeve length is perfect with all my suits, jackets and blazers.
I had my initials sew on the cuff (don't worry I had them done in a matching colour to the cuffs so very subtle) and the white collar and cuff shirts I went for in a cut away collar as these look best with a tie and I will only wear these shirts with a tie. The other I went for a classic collar which can look great with a half windsor knitted tie or open neck with a jacket or jumper over the top. I had the shirt collar stand in the same fabric as the shirt as I feel this looks classier than an all white collar but that is the beauty of made to measure you decide what you want and go for it no one else can dictate to you, unless you are dressed by your other half but I doubt that very much as you are reading this and therefore you can think for yourself.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Catching your crumbs.

This is a shot of me off to a black tie event and the eagled eyed of you can see I am sporting a cummberbund (note spelt bund and not band). 
Whenever anyone gent is off to a glizty event the discussion of the cummerbund comes up: to wear one or not? I myself love the cummerbund it gives a touch a glamour to the mans outfit for black tie and makes the shirt neatly tucked in which looks a lot smarter. The black tie outfit is one that needs more attention than most as it so plain the little things matter more. I have a shawl/peak lapel jacket (it starts as a shawl and carries on to a peak you can see the start of the lapel in the photo above) I always wear a bow tie and my shoes of choice are patent opera pumps with a grosgrain bow on the front. Black tie is not meant to be everyday wear so a notch lapel is not really fitting for such an event and patent shoes are again to distance it from office attire.
The pleats are meant to face up or to remember it how I was told off Savile Row royalty "To catch your crumbs, old fruit."

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Welcome and please come on in.....

Here is my blog where I will be writing about my take on men's style, my likes and dislikes and (hopefully) sharing comment with you many few.