Monday, 30 June 2008

Sale Shopping - Finally taking advantage

I must confess that I've never really enjoyed shopping at sale times and I used to look on in envy as people unearthed some great bargains. When the masses periodically descend on my favourite stores and mess up the racks and neat piles of clothes it makes me stay away. Of course the clothes are cheaper but the sales experience devalued the clothes in more ways than just the price slash. I've got over that now and I can even enjoy shopping in central London during sale time at the weekend! When I used to get a rash just thinking about Selfridges on the first Saturday of sales I thought that I would never be able to take advantage of the massive reductions on offer. Thankfully, I can and indeed have. I started early and took it easy. Avoiding the crowds I took advantage of the impressive online sale at A.P.C and picked up a bargain of a slate blue fitted jacket.

After getting the taste of sale shopping I had enough confidence to hit the High Street and was fortunate enough to find two steals. Firstly, off I went to Harvey Nichols for the first time in...well I don't know when...and with the sole purchase of buying molecule 01... but as the gf went to look at shoes and with my newly found confidence I decided to visit the menswear floor and I'm glad I did. It surpassed all expectations.

I loved this shirt when I saw it in an editorial and couldn't resist it at half price! Here I teamed it with the Commes Des Garcons jacket which was a steal from the DSM Market!

Finally I braved Selfridges which was was somewhat dissapointing and of course ridiculously busy but I still managed to find an Alistair Mckimm for Fred Perry polo at half price.

Please excuse the funny face!

Have you been successful at the sales? Let us know how you get on.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Happy birthday to us

Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? It's slightly over a year since we started out and we decided it was time for a bit of an update. We had originally planned to do this in time for the anniversary, but who says you can't celebrate 1 year and 9 days instead?

To celebrate the 1 year and 9 days, we have trawled through the 210 posts and picked out some of our favourites:

- EJ still think that this guy looks good and Steve is still unsure but doesn't want to open up the treggings debate

- Surreal moment of the year (and 9 days) has to be when we interviewed one of Foals

- ...and slightly less surreal but still good fun was when we interviewed Daniel Jenkins

- We enjoyed being a style adviser for the day

- Exploring the tailoring options out there

- Steve enjoyed the challenge of wardrobe salvaging and needs to do it again soon.

We hope you've enjoyed the year as much as we have!

The science bit

I am sure that like me you both laugh and cringe at how the grooming industry creates a fascade of science to entice you into spending money on their producs and not on one of their many, many competitiors. However, dodgy shampoo commercials aside...maybe there really is something to it. After watching the film Perfume (I always meant to read the Patrick Süskind's 1895 novel but just haven't created the time to do so) I became more interested in the effect of different chords on a person. Of course I wanted to go out and capture the essence of virginity and douse myself in it but alas that always seemed like a troublesome and somewhat gruesome prospect. I recently smelt and fell in love with Prada Amber Pour Homme (which was first fragrance for men released by the fashion house) so I have been wearing it ever since.

For the past couple of months I have more and more frequently sniffed the incense Catholicism of the CdG scents and have been somewhat intrigued but ultimately over powered by them, besides I went to a CofE school so I could never quite understand. However, when I heard about molecule 01 which unlike most fragrances which combine 100 different components, has only just one. I was intrigued enough to go to one of the few stockists and try it it was sales season I decided to go to Harvey Nichols (more on that later). The escentric website describes the scent as "It is as though the fragrance has no heart, but an enormous amount of soul" which is bizarrely, extremely accurate. As mentioned the fragrance consists of only one ingredient, known as 'Iso E Super' which on it's own is less of an aroma and more of an effect. There is a subtle velvety wood note to it, which fades and then resurfaces throughout the day but it is the fragrances effect on everyone other than the wearer which is interests the fragrance is proclaimed to have pheronomic like effects. I only bought the fragrance yesterday so I will update you later and let you know how the 'testing' phase goes.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Lucas Ossendrivjer - Hangover cure

Hangover or not I still can't wait for this chaps collection

I have a sticking hangover and have been complaining to EJ about it all day...and I have to say she has been far from sympathetic. During this state to seek a level of comfort I have been perusing over the show shots over at and the musings over at The Fashion Spot but whatever you think of the shows that have already been all eyes are waiting for the Lanvin show on Sunday. In this seemingly slightly dull interim period (although I have to say the Kilgour show was just beautiful and I am sure I will return to this at a later date) which of course is made worse by the little drummer boy in my brain and the general jelly like feeling of my limbs, we can take some excitement from Dazed Digital's interview with Lucas Ossendrijver - click here to read - not only has he created some of the best menswear (including accessories - do you know anyone who wouldn't sell their Nan for the hi tops?) in recent years but to make me even better, he seems like a very nice chap - to be honest with you I fell in love with him when he was featured roaming the streets of Paris n Fantastic Man a few issues back.

Here's a taster for you...

DD: Is there an ideal Lanvin man/muse?

LO: When I start a collection, I never really think of one type of Lanvin man. We still have our old customers who have been coming to Lanvin for decades to buy their wardrobe. I'm very happy that they still come to buy Lanvin's classic line. When I'm at the shop, I sometimes see these clients who come in and they might not buy the more "fashion" items but they might buy a pair of trainers or a sweater or a cardigan. Then there's the younger guys who come in and buy trainers, T-shirts and shirts. We're very democratic in that sense and it's meant for everyone. It's not for one specific body type or age.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

White hot

So, Turkey are out and Germany are through to the final. And yet my mind is not on the Euros at all, but back in 2006 World Cup, admiring the sharply folded cuffs on the forearms of a certain man...

Oh Jürgen, you fought so hard. The black trousers, extraordinarily crisp white shirt look seemed to be your uniform for that campaign, and you wore it so well. Men! Learn this lesson: if you're going to fold up your sleeves (and by all means do so, it looks fantastic), make it super neat. Oh, and Joachim Löw, don't think I haven't noticed you ripping this look off wholesale. Bravo!

A Bit of a Boost

As a taller than normal woman (I'm just under 5ft 10, the average man is 5 ft 8) I have a possibly greater interest than most in men's height. I don't care whether someone's shorter than me but it has proven to be an issue with some men. But if you are unhappy with your height, how far would you go to do something about it?
This must be a perspective thing, right?
This ramble is sparked off by several things: these articles in the Times and the Daily Mail about lift shoes and a male friend of mine who wears boots with about an inch heel. I suppose this is one of those cases of 'if it makes someone happy, well let them be happy' but honestly, I think it's making a fuss over nothing. When I discovered the slightly falsely named Tall Men Shoes I was intrigued. I read the 'How it works' page with interest, these are some very carefully designed shoes... then I got to this bit:


  • Be taller, be more handsome.

  • Tall people even earn more! (according to the Wall Street Journal)

  • Well proven, thousands of customers worldwide. "

Overlooking the fact that the last bullet point doesn't address the question at all, do people really, truly believe that taller men are somehow magically more handsome? If you do believe this, I've got something to tell you: it's nonsense! And if you don't believe me, then you should believe 5 ft 6 inch of hotty, Gael Garcia Bernal who views being short as a blessing and not a curse

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

I'm youth, I'm joy

I'm smitten with shoes again! These ones are so lovely that I had to post two pictures. Just the right side of Peter Pan, just the right amount of Hermes (the winged messenger god, not the brand), they are edgy without being too far removed from a classic shoe. I think that they'd also look fantastic, as here, worn with those rolled up trouser legs that everyone seems to be sporting after seeing it on the catwalks (I suppose it's a very cheap way to update a look!). Not to mention that the leather looks so ridiculously soft and lovely. I'm not, as I've said before, the biggest fan of hi-tops, but I think these 'mid booties' are brill. Now if only I had $220 lying around... (available here from Oak)

EDIT: I felt I might as well put the meme Thomas tagged us for here.

For it I had to:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences. (I'm skipping step 5... I don't know 5 people)

So you lucky people get something from Philip Larkin's Collected Poetry as it's sat by my computer for some reason. I'm doing lines rather than sentences too, because I'm rebellious like that.

"In foaming gulps until it smothers

Everything else up to the edge,

I lift the glass in private pledge"

I'm not sure this works as well with poetry. I suppose it is a bit of a cliffhanger though.

Monday, 23 June 2008

All men need crumpled classics

My favourite look of the shows thus far and it looks so effortless. I need those trousers.

Ordinarily I like to leave the critiques of the shows to and the quick as a flash musings on thefashionspot (their speed and insight never fails to astound me, unfortunately I am stuck at work and am always too late to involve myself) but yesterday's Burberry Prosum show has forced me to feature it. The 'Crumpled Classics' collection beautifully demonstrated how men should layer throughout the seasons. Jumpers over printed shirts, with scarves and light macs in a number of soft, light and thin fabrics were so inspiring.

I have been wanting to experiment layering cardigans ever since I saw it within a label tip off from Nylon Guys a year ago...this makes me want to do it even more!

The colour palette was sullen and somewhat muted and melancholic (something Christopher Bailey has often shown) but the use of prints, textures and cuts added so much visual interest. The show was certainly one of the best styled shows I've seen for a long time. Far from being revolutionary though the show for me demonstrates how men can build and compliment their wardrobe with certain key pieces.

All of the accessories were great but the shoes were breathtakingly awesome...

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Limited Justice

It is a collaboration which has been well documented in blog land but now the results are finally available (even online). Parisian label Surface 2 Air and Justice first got together when Surface 2 Air directed the video 'We are your friends' but now Justice have returned the favour designing a small capsule collection. The result is a a limited edition series of 3 jackets (150 pieces), and 2 jeans, conceived and designed by Parisian duo for Surface 2 Air.

My favourite piece is the Xavier Leather jacket above as I just love the contrasting much so that the zip detail is worth a closer look.

I have to admit though...I wanted to prefer Xavier's solely because I was hoping that I wore it it might empower me to grow a moustache as cool as his. I agree with The Sunday Best that the jeans are better value but there is a certain something which makes all men want to own a kick ass leather jacket (which currently I don't have) and it might just hark all the way back to Brando in 'The Wild One'.

The next collaboration which I'm looking forward to is Topman's Black Trouser Project...moving on from the White Shirt Project a new set of designers are tasked with tackling the menswear staple which is the black trouser... most notably Aitor Throup.

Did you know?

My boyfriend is currently reading a book on the Superga Air Disaster called The Day that Italian Football Died. This book is slowly but increasingly irritating the crap out of me. I'm told it's extremely good, but it has also led to repeated use of the phrase "did you know" followed by yet another fact about early to mid twentieth century Italian football. For example:

- Did you know that Serie A kept going despite the outbreak of World War Two? The players were exempt from military service.

- Did you know that the then-captain of Il Grande Torino, Valentino Mazzola, could punch the ball from the goal line over the half way line? Quite the feat with the old style balls.

- Did you know that in 1947 in a match against Hungary 10 out of the 11 members of the Italian national team played for Torino? Which, in Rob's words, is ridiculous.

All interesting facts... but not necessary when you get up, when you eat dinner, when you go to bed... CONSTANTLY. However, there is an upside to this book and my boyfriend knows me well. He kindly showed me their kit and their utterly brilliant hairstyles.

Remember what I was saying about daringly open shirts?

Slicked back hair, boys: it's the way forward. Or should that be backwards?

It should be backwards. No question. I agree that these certainly were good old days. My personal favourite is in the top right hand corner of the third image. It is definitely time for men to put down their Bed Head wax and replace it with some Dax Short and Neat! These are great images and hopefully Rob lets me look through it while I'm up in Manchester this weekend!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Art attack - Old clothes reborn with paint

The latest issue of fashion156 went up yesterday and it has made me want to roll back the years and get some paint on my clothes. As a toddler we all went home after playschool full of milk and cookies... we would have made a new best friend or acquired a new girlfriend perhaps but more often than not we would dismay our parents by adding paint to our clothes as a result of an over zealous finger painting experience (or maybe that was just me?)... but why not grab the paint again? For thrifty or experimental girls this is nothing new so why let the likes of style bubble have all the fun? For some inspiration check out my favourites from the fashion156 shoot...

Hand-painted shirt and windmill attachment by Deryck Walker

Top hat by CA4LA
Hand-painted silk scarf by Peckham Rye

Like Elliot James Sainsbury we all have a pile of either forgotten, worn out or plain outright bad clothes in a plethora of pale shades so why not breathe some life into them and have fun in the process by playing with some paint. To me no man should wear white jeans... if you have a pair and feel like I do then why not salvage them with a few paint splashes? I particularly want to get my hands dirty and inject some colour into dull accessories. We saw Pilatti use paint to great effect during his s/s 08 collection, I particularly liked his painted brogues...but if that is a little too much why not try turning a pale scarf into a scarf which packs a colourful punch just like the Peckham Rye offering above.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Style Shrink for the day

Long before I became a mass consumer of magazines...even before those heady days of poring over The exposure to men's publications was limited. During my teens I used to read my Sister's boyfriend's GQ whenever I could though. Whilst my peers were consuming and ogling over magazines like FHM and Loaded (which to me were filled with on the most part unfunny jokes, boring/bad style and disturbing images...the only redeeming element were the sheer number of breasts on show) I was always more interested in the editorials and adverts (at times confused by the blurring lines between the two) within GQ... and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on them whenever the boyfriend left them lying around the house (which was pretty much every month). One of my favourite features within the magazine was the Style Shrink. I loved reading men's questions, ranging from enquiries into the right tie knot for a particular occasion to the correct way to wear a pocket square. Of course none of his really mattered to me, as I was just a youth quite happily wearing my favourite red Ralph Lauren Polo shirt, straight leg Levi jeans and Nike Cortez trainers. The worlds which these men were describing and asking about were so alien to me yet they captured my imagination in a way which is difficult to describe. Recently I have become aware (slightly addicted at times) to the online world of style advice with the likes of askandyaboutclothes and styleforum leading the way. I love reading about how men think about clothes and it is clear that at times they think about rules far too obsessively, we always suggest wearing what feels comfortable and what is right for the individual. Ultimately some rules are made to be broken..or at least tampered with.

So, you can imagine how pleased we were after receiving the following email...

If you can't read the above it is...

"Hey guys!

Just wanted to say hi and compliment you on putting together such an inspiring, hilarious, trendy and casual blog. I just found you guys this morning and been reading you the whole afternoon - cant stop laughing. At the same time, I've found soooo many things I've been looking for (on the streets) but was unable to find, talk about the deck shoes from Journal Standard. Keep up the good work because you just won another lousy reader from Milan lol.

BTW yesterday I got a foulard (little longer, brown silk very classy - as show above) and I have no idea 1. how to tie it 2. with what to wear it. Stefano Pilatti much? Some ideas would be deeply appreciated!



ps - the entry about Modern Gentlemen. LOOOL. i'll start typing comments soon."

This was our first email which made us both blush and beam with pride simultaneously. We started the blog to open up a dialogue focused on menswear but we didn't really expect to receive emails like this where readers were keen to ask us questions and participate in the conversation so willingly (we only expected t continue chatting to each other with no one else even reading!)

The email sits in nicely with our 'Save the tie' campaign. The word foulard comes from the French world for silk handkerchief and to be honest with you I didn't know that much else about them other than Fred Astaire used to buy 50 a time from Brooks Brothers. if you want to learn more about them, I found this information courtesy of wisegeek. When men are wearing ties these days most like me are drawn to the skinny tie but why not opt for some traditional style?

I wish I looked like this after a hard day at the office.

Julian mentions within his email one of the best examples of a modern day foulard wearer: Stefano Pilati. When it comes to fashion, Stefano Pilati (see his feature on is certainly not afraid to lead by example. He embodies the louche elegance of YSL and of course the foulard is a key accessory for doing so. Pilati identifies with the forgotten glamour of tuxedos and scarves, a era where the foulard can complete an why not revisit it today? It is all about style with a natural and relaxed elegance and looking back further than Pilati we of course have the wonderful Fred Astaire - "Astaire had the talent to construct a new model for men based on the democratic ideal of the classless aristocrat. He was a hero whose weapon was style, and that style was a distinctive casualness" (Quote from thesartorialist)

Here is Julian modelling the foulard extremely well - does he even need our advice?

Of course there is a danger of looking over dressed with any neck wear. I recently came across this informative article on asuitablewardrobe which offers some great advice. We suggest wearing the foulard with relaxed finishes - the folded cuff, the unbuttoned collar, Of course there is always the Fred Astaire way... teaming it up with a casual tweed jacket and wearing the foulard as a belt - again, effortless style. We suggest a great deal of experimentation. The above image demonstrates that Julian knows how to wear the foulard well already - he's just showing of to us all. I have tried searching for 'how to tie' instructions but to no avail. If Julian lived in the UK, he probably wouldn't be wearing shorts, instead I would suggest relaxed suit trousers. Jeans should be avoided but that's only my opinion. I recently found Lucas Ossendrijver's 10 rules of style and true style is all about making the clothes your own and ultimately dressing should be fun! Our main suggestion to Julian is build your confidence with the foulard by wearing it with a white shirt, as you become more comfortable you can be more adventurous...and of course you can always wear it as a belt!

Can you help Julian out better than we can? Are you an expert when it comes to everything foulard? Let us and Julian know your suggestions.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Monday bloody Monday

I don't know about you, but last week was one HELL of a week for me. Still, changes are afoot here at Style Salvage and now that both Steve and I are fully laptopped we are storming ahead. After the mammoth post that was the Daniel Jenkins interview I'm sure you'll forgive me a quick and dirty links post.

- If there would ever be a celebrity endorsment that's going to encourage me to buy your clothes, telling me that freaking Batman wears them will definitely do the trick. (To give you an idea of how excited I am about this film, this year my birthday is known simply as 'Batman day' as it's the release date)

- Why is it that as soon as it gets towards summer I start longing to wear my winter clothes again? This post by Kempt has reminded me of the loveliness of trench coats, scarves and extraordinarily handsome models.

- Important question time: do I actually like this jacket? I can't tell if it's too much, or just enough.

- I definitely like the chap above courtesy of - who else? - the Sartorialist

Oh, and happy belated birthday Thomas. That's one fine moustache you're growing there.

Oh EJ...I definitely had that Monday morning feeling which continued to stalk me the rest of the day, curses! As EJ and I tinker with the site I keep asking myself why can't I do this more, and work less? I wish. Anyway, back to reality. I have to say that I like Chris Martin's jacket, he certainly has a lot going on but it all worked and it's nice to see him in a bit of colour! The rest of the band (can anyone name another member of Coldplay...anyone?) weren't as fortunate in the styling stakes though.

It might be the Great British weather but I am quite bored of summer right now. All thoughts are on Autumn winter so the getkempt post was most welcome. Last week I was however tempted by a pair of shorts in bstore but realised that I will never get the chance to wear them unless I leave this island!

Congratulations to The Sunday Best's moustache...I wish I could grow one and not look absolutely ridiculous...maybe one day.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

A magpie's loot - Silver Hi Tops

I've been on the lookout for another pair of (relatively affordable - I can't quite get away with Raf Simons and Lanvin right now) hi tops for some time now. I have far too many pairs of shoes - I have become a collector without even realising it. I seem to find it impossible to walk past shoe displays and racks of white shirts whenever I go shopping; I think I need therapy. I saw these silver hit tops on the bstore site for some time but it wasn't until I saw them up close that I really wanted (needed) them not to mention that they were a steal at £89. EJ posted about silver trainers in her Spring time post and I think there is an inner magpie in us both, how about you? I recently read Lucas Ossendrijver's style tips on (as pointed out by Brandish) and like most have fallen in love with the look of Lanvin. A pair of hi tops can look great either worn with jeans or with suit trousers...I am looking for nonchalent style.

The hi tops from bstore worn with APC jeans, striped t shirt from American Apparel and People's Market DJ.

My inner shoe collector is already on to the next pair of hi tops... these Lanvin's are breathtaking... I might just have to raid the piggy bank. You can't have too many pairs of shoes... can you?

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Style Salvage Speaks to... Daniel Jenkins

Meet the boutique owner who is quoted as saying “We’re going to bitch slap Oki-Ni into the next century” in a recent issue of Arena...

You may have seen the feature over at Stylebubble but we were fortunate enough to get an interview with the man himself. Daniel Jenkins is a thoroughly nice bloke. A nice bloke with a HELL of a lot to say about men's fashion. Which is a good thing really since he owns his own store in a small town in Wales, stocking labels which are hard to find (including and i, Satyenkumar, Chronicles of Never, Unconditional... the list is impressive and long...)

When we arranged to do an interview with him he had so much to say that it almost doesn't seem like an interview any more (in the best way possible of course) it is more of an exploration of menswear today with a shop owner who is going his own way. We asked him a number of questions and rather than restrict himself to the confines of a few sentences here and there he combined a number of them to create something alot more coherant and insightful than a standard interview. What follows are his thoughts on men's designers, regional dressing, Wales, the influence a recession has on the way we dress and his advice for would-be shop keepers (Steve). We hope you enjoy.


Whilst reading history at Liverpool University I worked at a number of stores including, for the longest time, ‘Cricket’. I was heavily involved in the Club scene in the North West and the a+r of the music industry. So many of the people I saw dressed as if they had a mirror reflecting only one part of their body at a time. I was sure that the resultant disjuncture was unintentional. After all, no man would willingly allow himself to be insulted by his tailor. The Street maybe cluttered by rude boy nonsense but it is inherently honest. Catwalk fashion for men lacks energy and far from being innovative is merely desperate to appear so. There are honourable exceptions. Designers who maintained a style and quality of manufacture, who employed interesting material interestingly. Satyenkumar being superb.

Men throughout the U.K., not just Wales, are rejecting the shoddy, generic tat that the High Street has pumped out for years. They have grown weary of the “like it or lump it” attitude whereby the chain stores patronise them. They do not want “in your face clothes” as an alternative. They want comfort that comes from fit and the careful manufacture of good materials into a recognisable style which is personal and reflective of the whole image of themselves they wish to put out there. When they want to be emphatic they still do not want to be theatrical. Clothes not costumes.

There is no national dress. There is no regional dress. Yes, ratcatchers tie their corduroys below the knee and scallys wear track suits. A vocational or tribal homogeneity exists both horizontally and vertically in a stratified society. Any retailer who focuses so narrowly soon finds his constituency has become a pressure group. Thinking globally, acting locally, in the internet age is not a geographic conceit. The locality is the interface between designer and customer, me. Your vision should make itself manifest after sufficient contemplation. Mine did and can be read by any competent interpreter of dress in the clothes I have chosen to sell.

You should never be pleased with yourself. That is why I am constantly adding to and subtracting from. Next season will see the addition of Siv Stovald, Saviour and Fred Perry by Raf Simons.

Monmouth may not be ready for this. It is an edgy introspective place which has seen people come and go. It does not give its heart easily. Achingly beautiful, aloof and with the self sufficiency of Kenneth Graham’s badger. I love it.

(The rest of the interview followed the more obvious interview format)

Wales certainly isn't known for its menswear... or shopping in general for that matter, so what made you choose Monmouth (with a population of 8407); was it to begin a sartorial revolution or did you just fall in love with the Grade II listed building?

Where else would a clothes obsessed Welsh historian of limited means open? The shop is Grade II listed and small enough for me not to need staff. I live above it. Although our website increases its sales month by month, I have no doubt the shop reassures people I exist. I am there. The Internet will expand only as long as customers trust it.

Have you got any plans up your sleeve for expansion? Would you love to see branches of your shop on every high street or do you prefer the one-off boutique way of doing things?

Will I ever leave Monmouth? I will always want a base here. I do not want a chain of shops but I shall open a small store in Paris, Rome and New York where I will sell British manufactured menswear by the designers who share my vision. They will be staffed by cheerful people who know what they are talking about and who do not want to score points off their customers. It will not happen next week. I come back to it. It is always about the clothes.

Who are your style icons?

Icon perhaps isn’t the right word. There are certainly people I look up to and admire. These change regularly ranging from Stefano Pilati, Paul Smith – I think I was probably the only 10 year old with a working knowledge of his work, my father – little did I know it but his ability to mix bespoke with wearing early stone island with other cutting edge labels (they were at the time!) influenced me greatly. Others include Iain Richardson in House of Cards, the stiffness of the suit. James Dean in Rebel without a cause, Steve McQueen in Thomas Crown Affair, Mad Men’s Roger Sterling. I expect you catch my drift.

Have you noticed any major trends this year?

Trends are usually a waste of time. Most men don’t pick up on them until a couple of years down the line. We are still all slavishly sticking to the ‘rock star/faux indie look’ whilst apparently we are supposed to have moved on. I am seeing a slight move towards being a bit more preppy. Men are slowly losing the overly baggy shorts and wearing things that are slightly more tapered with clean lines. This is also linked in with current economic crisis. Men are buying more big ticket items but not touching more disposable fare. We always dress better during recession. Especially given that the High Street for men has so far to go to be a palatable option. Cleaner lines are easier to wear now and in a years time and several classic pieces are great to come back to as long as the quality is there. It’s paramount to our buying that everything we stock is made well and in good materials. Otherwise it’s just disposable art.

What items of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men wore?

I’d love to see men throw off the shackles and be a little bit more experimental. I find that the majority of guys want to but don’t know how to. We are very poorly served in this country – well once you leave the clutches of the M25 behind. Stores believe that men all want to wear the same label. This is seriously at odds with out sartorial history. Pretty much every shift in how men dress has come from the UK. If we all wear Lyle and Scott and Gstar it’ll never happen. The problem with this is we consume a lot of fairly high priced clothes but sacrifice the individuality. It’s criminal to my mind that Satyenkumar and and-i - according to the press, two of Britain's brightest talents - are impossible to get hold of. Satyen makes items for us in such small numbers if would be silly to put series number on them. And-i have a thriving label outside of the UK. All the major world stores carry it. UK non-existent.

Do you believe that the way men and women shop really is fundamentally different- i.e. men are 'hunter-gatherers' and more focussed on what they want while women accumulate and adapt?

As you know, I have very recently started to stock womenswear. You probably have the London Fashion Week “Newsflash” to hand. Open it and count the photographs: 85 womenswear and 6 menswear. Women are no better served by the chains than men. They are not convinced that a surfeit necessarily increases choice. It just hides that needle in a bigger haystack. They like a wander round the shops. Well, so do I. But women are more optimistic. A man knows he will be bored rigid and will not find anything he wants in his size. So he browses the net. It is as focussing mechanism. Do women just assimilate and adapt? Do they buy an item only to work on it later? Hardly. Both images are stereotypes which a wise man passes on tip toe.

Finally, Steve has dreams of opening his own menswear store one day: what advice would you give anyone aspiring to do what you have done?

You want your own store? Stay sober and keep the batteries of your bullshit detector charged.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Save the tie campaign

The slow demise of the tie is something that I've noticed during my time working in the big smoke, not just within the offices where I have worked (not that surprising really because the media industry were one of the first to embrace the open neck look) but also more alarmingly during the commute in where I am pressed up against numerous peoples indistinguishable body parts I can see very few ties. Getkempt recently ran the Wall Street Journal article and I've seen enough. A number of articles in recent years have highlighted the decline of the tie and some have tried to explain the reasons why. Kathryn Hughes writing a few back for the Guardian suggested that the tie should be abandoned as ever since the 1880's when the jaunty rowers of Oxford's Exeter College removed the ribbon bands from their hats and tied them around their necks the tie has come to represent class and social divisions. This argument is utter rubbish today. The tie is for everyone and should again adorn neck's one and all. The tie has broken free of the shackles of work/formal wear, no longer confined to being teamed up with bland, ill fitting office suits.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Cherishable goods

The Sunday Best and Carlo Brandelli got me thinking about my theoretical children...

Ever since The Sunday Best wrote about his desire for a legacy bag, the question of what I have to pass on to my theoretical children has troubled me. On the train back up from Kent I happened to find someone's discarded Lux, which is a supplement from The Times (and I thought I was the only one from my hometown who literate... it must have been left by an outsider) and there was a wonderful spread describing a number of interesting and well known peoples inheritances. Far from the dull pound sterling, these gifts were worth far more. One of my current heroes, Carlo Brandelli (if you don't know who he is, he is the Creative Director of Kilgour) was featured and he inherited an entire library from his Uncle in northern Italy. Most of the library is where his uncle left it but Brandelli brought a few favourites back to London with him, including Orlando Furioso and Divine Comedy, both illustrated by Gustave Dore.

What made me fall in love with this story even more was the fact that all of he books are bound in a way which is so distinctive and personal to his uncle, they are covered in the same coloured ale fabric of his summer suits. Brandelli then goes on to describe his most vivid memories of his uncle, how in summer he would wear crisp linen with a silver cane and silk handkerchiefs within his 400 year old Townhouse which was littered was heavy furniture... but there his uncle would be in finely pressed suits. Not only did these words inspire me to ensure that I pass on something as equally special but it also made me want that Kilgour suit even more - as even theoretical children are lightyears away I guess I should concentrate on accumulating the funds to invent in one of Brandelli's masterpeices.

Other people featured included Pierre-Louis Vuitton who- unsurprisingly- inherited a bag... not just any bag though, it was the first Keepall which was designed by his great-grandfather. People forget that during the 30s people travelled with trunks and hard suitcase; there wasn't really a suitable fabric until this soft Keepall, which was personalised with the Gaston V logo and the interlaced blue, white and red design Gaston Vuitton used on all of his designs (a far cry from the Murakami monogramouflage Keepalls. He certainly inherited a legacy bag... I think this has set the bar for The Sunday Best.

I certainly will never inherit anything as stylish as the valued possessions described above but there is hope for my theoretical offspring... although I might just want to take it with me- or maybe I will just live forever...

I love the idea of Steve being buried, Pharoah-like, with all of his worldly belongings when he goes. I also love the idea of clothing inheritance; being clothed in the same material which once covered a loved one is such an appealing idea to me. Vintage luggage is always classier than those little bags on wheels that inevitably break and jam (or do if you buy them cheap, Steve!).

Just out of curiosity...

Is any who reads this planning on going to Fred Astaire: the Conference? I won't be but, as Steve will be visiting that weekend, we may have to have our own meeting to discuss Mr Astaire. We already have quite exciting plans for around then, so watch this space!

The style of an English Gigolo

I frequently discuss my love of reading the papers during the weekend. I like nothing more than buying a number of newspaper titles, taking them in to the local greasy spoon (which in fact has well polished cutlery) and flicking through them whilst devouring a plate of artery clogging goodness... then retreating back to my flat to lie on the settee with a cafetiere of coffee and the broadsheets scattered across the floorboards. Ah, domestic bliss.
During one of these sessionsI came across a quite unusual headline and I proceeded to read the article, which you can find online (God bless the Internet). Gigolos have been around for ever, from the Italian puttano to the Japanese hosuto... they were most famously portrayed by that slightly annoying actor Rob Schnedier in Deuce Bigalow which had the tag line: He's not very good looking. But when the lights go out...he's still not very good looking. The chap featured in the article is a little different to Schneider's character, in appearance anyway...

Here is an extract from the book which discusses his style:

Every modern dandy has to choose a style, a look that summarises the sex he’s selling. Mine is part smart sophistication, part dissolute rock star. At the moment I’m favouring a vintage leather fitted jacket worn with a shirt. A gigolo’s choice of shoes is, of course, essential. Experience has taught me that a bad pair of shoes has approximately the same effect on the female libido as an inexpert tongue. Now everyone from office girls to A-listers are giving two well manicured fingers to badly dressed men with beer guts and opting for a good-time gigolo who can look great on their arm and give them a great time – at a price.

It all makes sense to me really. If you are going to pay for one they might as well be dressed well. The shoe and tongue comment did make me chuckle though. I guess this shows that I'm easily amused over the weekend.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Happy Birthday Kanye

Happy birthday to Kanye West who is 31 today... Long may you keep up your interest in fashion. Mostly this is just an excuse to post a picture of this hair cut though (better but less smiley view of it below).

Friday, 6 June 2008

David James, Superman

Doing the daily internet rounds (daily? Who am I kidding here? At least hourly) I was very pleased to see Brandish reporting about the lovely David James promoting Debenham's Everyman promotion. Between now and 15 June (that's fathers' day folks! Don't forget like I inevitably will) Debenhams will donate 10p towards men's cancer charity Everyman for every item sold in men’s clothing, accessories and fragrance, having pledged to raise at least £100,000. Ok, so 10p does sound like much, but every amount counts.

All this was a bit psychically spooky, however, as just the day before I had been pondering David James and, in particular, his hair.

David James

Even more specifically, I was thinking of the hair style above. Described by press at the time as being akin to Superman's, I just think it's great that a sportsman smartened himself up so much with a classic 30s 'do for a match. This photo may be fairly ancient, but top marks Mr James!

Home again cross the sea

My local beach

I have packed my bag and am off home to Kent for the weekend (although I consider London my home, the mostly depressing and sometimes lovely coastal town in Kent still has a special place in my heart). Going home to me means the sea. I am fortunate to live within a stones throw of the sea. Unfortunately though I'm not really into water sports but I do enjoy sitting on the shore and watching the waves. Being a landlubber by the sea I've grown to like certain aspects of the sea...most recently Boat/Deck shoes. On previous years I used to look at deck shoes with mild disdain, I have no idea why...possibly because they were frequently worn by overweight middle aged men and teamed with some truly awful attire. Away from these men I have grown to love this form of Shoe. Boat shoes/deck shoes you either love them or you hate them (even the name of the them can cause debate)...or so I seems I'm beginning to get the taste of them.

We are the Market via Getkempt turned me on to this line of deck shoes from Journal Standard - you have got to love the colours!

Getkempt recently ran a piece on this somewhat underrated footwear featuring designs from Journal Standard. These shoes offer a perfect example of a good summer shoe. Best worn sock less, they are the ideal summer shoe, so much better than the sandal (which is think are just plain wrong!). I am on the search for the perfect pair, I posted about the BBC Ice creams in March but they weren't quite right for me...I saw an awesome pair of hi top deck shoes but forgot to take note of the make (possibly Visvim) and have even forgot the shop in which I saw them in (damn my memory and shopping too much...if only I had been carrying a bag like this housing my notepad and pen!). Anyhow, I never thought I would be putting deck shoes onto my shopping list but my pencil is my hand ready...

As I'm away for the weekend I will leave you with a bizaare link for wuchess - the first online community which mixes hip hop with the game of chess brought to you by members of Wu Tang.

UPDATE - After further exploration, the hi top deck shoes were by Maharishi and the store where they can be found in store at dpmhi or even better, they are on sale online at maharishi

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Picture postcard: Laid way back

Dear Steve,

While you are off at your trendy party, some of us are watching the launch of series 15,000 of Big Brother (2 of the boys had silver shoes, hmm) and slouching about the house in ridiculously oversized and out of date 'Stop the War' hoodies. Some of us being me. Slobbing about with vague thoughts of summer whirling around my head is probably what drew me to this picture of someone called Karl on Stockholm Street Style. Those darn Swedes! So trendy!

While I'm sure that quite a few people won't like this pic, I do. It reminds me of a scene from An American in Paris where Gene Kelly is dancing around and annoying his piano-playing friend by singing about his new found love for the extremely toothy Leslie Caron... all loose and laid back trousers with a tight fitting vest. While I desperately want to reach into this picture and either roll his trousers up properly or unroll them fully and while I'm not so enamoured of his hair, I love his belt, watch and sunglasses so much that I'll forgive him. Oh, and I really love how his trainers and trousers match and I don't know why!

Anyhows, hope you don't have a bad head in the morning.


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here

For the first time in well over week the sun has finally peeped through the seemingly all covering mass of grey. To celebrate this marvellous development and continue the sunglasses theme (as per EJ's scrapbook excerpt below) here are the Raf Simons and Linda Farrow shades. Yes we featured them way back in January...but as the model here is EJ's cousin we had to feature them all over again. This shoot was featured recently on London Kicks (EJ sent me the link; it was my first time on the site and I was pretty impressed) and includes a video of the shades and an undressed Harry looking very bored - see below.

Ok, back to work where I will continue to hum my favourite George Harrison's contribution to songwriting and drive the rest of the people in my office mad.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Fresh love for forgotten magazines

Image courtesy of La Coquette as I forgot to take a shot of my own pile - plus it wasn't as neat as this.

I found myself with nothing to do last Sunday night (without the internet) and rather than twiddle my thumbs I decided to go through the mountain of magazines that sit in a pile on one corner of my room and cast a shadow over the rest. I wanted to begin a scrapbook and clear some space in my room at the same time (oh my Nan would be proud of me).

The pile consisted of copies of Fantastic Man, Monocle, GQ, Esquire, Nylon Guys, Dazed&Confused, Vogue Hommes International, 10 Man and a few copies of music magazines for good measure including Artrocker and Dummy. I decided that there were some magazines that should be left intact, including 08 Monocle's (I thought I'd start a proper collection). Using my trusty Craft Knife (I am totally inept at tearing out pages neatly with my just my bare hands) I analysed page after page of adverts, editorials and articles and carefully selected the pages to spare - putting them in two neat piles - reference articles and pretty pictures.

I have to admit, I absolutely loved thumbing these pages again. When I get a new magazine I turn the pages far too quickly, accelerating even as I go (pretending that I'm Rainman but alas I lack the brain capacity). I'm a product of the modern age, used to dealing with a wealth of information but not really appreciating it. Therefore it was nice to take some time and look through a magazine with a different mindset. Now, I was looking for inspiration and pretty artwork and I found a fair bit. I will visit Paperchase during the week and start my Scrapbook which I will share with you. In the meantime I suggest you pick up those old magazines (if you keep them like I do) and look through them once again with a different eye and be inspired.

I should warn you in advance that you might be seeing a few old articles from your favourites magazines reborn over the pages of the blog.

Like many of his better ideas, Steve has ripped this one shamelessly off of me. Aside from helping to fill my spare time and get some good use out of my Pritt Stick I've all this cutting and sticking rather useful for working out what I do and don't like about magazines, editorials and clothes. A real life Polyvore! Behold my rather lacklustre first attempt (and apols for the poor quality of the photo)... Still, the only way is up, eh?

Monday, 2 June 2008

Legend passes

One of the industries most talented designers sadly passed away this morning, aged 71. I was well and truly sucked into his world and designs after recently reading 'The Beautiful Fall' (which I highly recommend reading if you have not done so already...if you have re-read it!). He was one of the true masters and despite his passing his vision and influence will most certainly live on and on. He changed the face of the fashion industry when he became chief designer of the House of Dior at the age of 21 and his shows continued to amaze and push fashion forward throughout his career.

On a menswear note I loved his personal style..those glasses, the way he combined textures and patterns but unfortunately there just aren't enough images of him. I will continue my search and will do a follow up post.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Turning up (in) the heat

There was a time when I would only contemplate wearing boot cut jeans...thankfully those adolescent 90s days are well and truly behind me. That said I've only recently started experimenting with trouser length, possibly inspired by the shrunken suits of Thom Browne. As the days are getting warmer (but alas currently no sunshine in London at least) I decided to break that old Victorian taboo of showing off my ankles. (as a Google search addict I naturally googled 'Victorian ankles' and I came across this site - man the Internet is a wonderfully weird place)

My experimentation was not merely in the laboratory (my girlfriend's room) but I also took it to the streets of London town. I teamed up my sexy ankles with battered Swear shoes, Unconditional Bibbed T shirt under a Made in England sheer short sleeve shirt completed with Prada glasses and American Apparel black vinyl duffel bag. Please see exhibit A below

When the weather cools down I might even take this further and appease any remaining Taboo holders by wearing colourful socks, in a similar way to this chap featured some time ago on the Sartorialist and the thrifty Elliot Sainsbury featured on the fashion156 blog.


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