Monday, 30 July 2007

Picture Postcard - Prince

Hey Eliza,

Well as Prince is in town (Laaaaandan town that is) I just couldn't resist talking about him and his style. These are just a few words that the little man himself had to say about style 'Style is not a lie, style is a man that cries, style is the glow in a pregnant women's eye...' (The rest of the words can be found here if you are interested, he even says that 'style is puppy breath.') Whatever you think about Prince he certainly does things his own way. Ever since 1977 when, at the age of 19, he signed a three-album deal and blew the budget for all three albums on the first one (which is very similar to how I spend my wages), and this after insisting that he play all the instruments himself, record all the vocals himself and produce it himself. I'm not convinced about his style though and would like to know your thoughts. He's not a style icon of mine but he does give all short men hope of being seen a sexy (despite the fact that he is extremely short he does wear well fitted clothes which helps his stature) and he certainly uses colour (to varying degrees of success). What can we salvage from the below images?

I like the colour combination but wouldn't wear such a block of colour personally

I like the cut of his suit and again his use of colour

But what do make of all this you this?

Good evening stranger!

You're lucky to hear from me this evening- had the house to myself for a while and was almost sucked in by bust a move on the wii. Still, I have freed myself for long enough to take a look at Mr Squiggle. I LOVE Prince. Don't think much to his new album, but love his weirdness. Who could ever resist those cheekbones?

I really like these pics, even if I don't love these clothes. Sunglasses indoors? No! Is he even wearing a shirt under the first suit? And yet... Look how well the colour of the first suit, well, suits him. You so often hear women's mags talking about dressing in flattering colours, but I can't remember the last men's mag I read saying the same thing. And that guitar... talk about customisation. It might seem naff with another rock/pop star, but he does it with such conviction that it just works.

I love the line and fit of the second suit. I'm not sure what it is that makes him look taller than he is (not standing near anyone perhaps?), but I think it might be the single, high up button. I really want to know if he's wearing matching pale blue shoes. I think, if it was me in that suit, I'd have a different, patterned pocket square and some white crocodile skin type shoes. I think I may just be having a Vegas day.

Did I mention the hair? It slays me. I wish he had more facial hair going on. Ok, I'm definitely having a Vegas day.

Rock on


Brand watch

YMC: Having returned from Manchester not too long ago I noticed this label in a number of shops. This type of look seems quite popular with the locals and this has kicked me into action to talk about them (I have appreciated them from afar for some time now). The following blurb comes straight from their site and I have quite blatantly stolen parts from it, but this brand knows all about stealing...the name comes from a soundbite from Raymond Loewy (pioneer of American Industrial Design) who reasoned that "you must create your own design style." What I like about this brand is that they attempt to provide the solution for intelligent clothing that is both wearable and distinctive. This is a brand that helps to satisfy the demand for stylish, functional, modern clothing which of course is important and is all the better when it gives a nod to the past in the process.

Their recent S/S collection as shown above and here takes inspiration from the spirit of '69 British youth culture when the hard mods became 'suedeheads'. It was a movement of anti fashion at its best embracing the anti racist movement and the music culture of ska and reggae. I love their mix of modern and traditional materials and at times superb detailing.

Raf Simons: His shows are a mix of fashion, youth culture, music and performance."I don't want to show clothes,I want to show my attitude, my past, present and future. I use memories and future visions and try to place them in today's world." He has often criticised the rigid and dictatorial stance of the mainstream fashion system (a view that I at times support). The message from Raf is 'pride in individuality'. In 2005 he created his second line , Ray by Raf and this line has found its own feet. In a recent interview with Dazed he talks about his second line and how he doesn't "want to be ruined, like other people have been, by their second line" and on recent evidence he certainly won't be! What I like most about him was this sentence in the aforementioned interview "In the beginning, my dream was to bring tailoring to a young audience" which is one of my where did I put that course application...

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Made for each other

While I'm aware that it's about time I did proper post for this place, I'm afraid that birthday fever has taken over and my tiny attention span is even shorter than normal. I thought that I'd just post quickly about a couple of articles that have caught my eye lately: this one about bespoke shirts and this one about bespoke shoes.

I love the idea of having all my clothes made just for me, but have reconciled myself to the fact that this is not possible just yet. I think what is interesting about the first article particularly is what he discovers about how clothes are meant to fit (as well as learning the terminology). It is shocking how many men you see walking around wearing clothes that are completely the wrong size. A friend of ours thought that- despite being extremely skinny- he was a size large or extra large simply because he was slightly taller than average. The fact that the shoulders of his t shirts hung close to his elbows and that his body was just swamped with excess fabric (and not in a trendy, deliberate way) did not trigger off any thoughts in his head that maybe- just maybe- these clothes were 3 sizes too big. So many people, myself included, will also sacrifice decent fit because they like something so much they're desperate to MAKE it fit. With me this just means I wear the item a couple of times, feel incredibly uncomfortable because it doesn't look or hang right, then shove it in the bottom of a drawer with a vague sense of guilt until the next charity shop clear out. Well no more! I say.

Don't worry, I'm not about to say we should all sacrifice our social lives and food budgets for half the year to afford four bespoke shirts (£700 seems indecent, but then I'm not wealthy) but it's time we stopped compromising on fit. Do it today! Go to that wardrobe and drag out anything that doesn't fit quite right. Trousers particularly are easy to fix- I would hope that the waist is right or, really, what were you thinking? If they're too loose, make sure you have a good belt that suits them, if they're too tight, chuck them, they look crap anyway. Look at the length: if they're too long, seriously consider getting them shortened. By and large trousers should break once on the shoe, not pool around your ankles- I'm sure you all know that by now, so why are we putting up with anything but perfection when it is so easy (and relatively cheap) to get them altered? Be ruthless too with your tops. I am aware that it's not so easy to get these altered and I know that a man's bond with his favourite shirt or his favourite t shirt is sacred but call me sacrilegious, looking really good is more important than a material posession if said material posession just isn't working. If you love the fabric of a shirt too much to get rid of it entirely, try using it in a different way, perhaps tearing it up to make hankies (sorry, pocket squares), patches or if you're really handy with a needle and thread, to line the inside of another shirt's collar and cuffs.

Hmm, I seem to have gone off topic a little here. I did warn you about birthday fever though.

The glory that is my 21st birthday cake- check out the long hair!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Picture Postcard - Guilty Secret

Picture from Manchester Looks

Dear Steve
By now you should be back in London hopefully... hope the journey wasn't too bad. Just a quick message today as, frankly, I've run out of things to say to you, and also because I don't think i need to say too much.
Confession time: I'm starting to warm to cardigans on men. Not the flimsy, thin ones though, ones like the one above: chunkier, thicker knit ones that can be worn as jackets. Absolutely love the colour of this guy's cardie and the pattern formed by the wool- someday I will have to learn to knit something like this for myself. By the way, have you noticed his shoes? I think I'm slightly in love.
Okay, time for a cup of tea. See you soon!

Dear Eliza,
I just knew you would come round! Normally it is I who has to make a small style u-turn so this is a nice change! To be honest though I believe there is a place for all types of cardigans as the flimsy kind offer great opportunity to layer. I am working on the idea of incorporating your present (polka dot scarf) into a look involving a cardigan. I will experiment and post some pictures (if i feel brave enough). The thick cardigan works well and the collar detail is awesome, but the overal look makes him seem a little heavy set but that might be the picture. As Autumn approaches thicker cardigans as shown here will be the perfect solution for mild days. I need a close up on those shoes damn it! That is your mission if you choose to accept it. Is that a blue belt I can see or am is my descent into madness continuing? I really want a blue belt. Not too sure why except for that fact it will match my shoes.
I am at work now but I really want to be elsewhere! Still, it is your birthday soon so I have Birthday activities to look forward to! Ok, back to work...

Monday, 16 July 2007

Pocket Squares - more than just hankies

First things first, yes I am calling them pocket squares...this is an Americanism but this isn't because I love all things stars and stripes, this is because they mean more than your average old hanky. On many occasions a look that involves a jacket or even a shirt can be greatly enhanced by a pocket square. When I talk about pocket squares it isn't in the strict sense of folded cloth, one can be as imaginative and interesting with filling a breast pocket as possible in my opinion. That said any dark jacket with shirt underneath looks so much better with a complimenting fold of material.

This accessory is associated most with evening wear and, yes, without one the evening look isn't quite right but it has far more use than just complimenting evening attire. There are amazing styling perks with a pocket squares which most men do not realise; any mediocre or worn out jacket can be instantly livened up with an inexpensive, casually folded pocket handkerchief.

On one of my frequent explorations of the sartorialist I came across this interesting quiz question. The common opinion would be that it is a bit over-the-top to put a pocket square in your overcoat but if you actually saw this on the street you would barely notice it and therefore this is a perfectly subtle sartorial detail. Style is all about details and this is where the pocket square can shine.
There is so much more than the basic fold, there are a number of ways to fold your chosen material! The grace with which Milan men manipulate the silk or linen is represent their character more than any other element in their outfit. Remember to make the accessory your own, experiment, re-invent something you have seen and try something completely new.

Now here are some images demonstrating just some of the ways you can wear this versatile accessory.

Gary Cooper

Fred Astaire

Bandanna as pocket square courtesy of the thesartorialist

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Picture Postcard - Summer in Italy

Ankle Bracelet
Hey Eliza

This for me is how I would love to dress this summer (if we had an actual summer!) and is courtesy of The Sartorialist. Yes, the ankle bracelet is controversial (demonstrated by The Coherent) and not everyone could pull it off but I think the guy in the picture does (but I have seen other less attractive attempts). All of the components of his outfit work so well together. The muted colours are great for the overall relaxed feel of the outfit. I love interesting accessories when subtly used. His ankle bracelet compliments his shoes perfectly and his trousers with no socks combo is great for this time of year. Oh I just wish Summer was actually here. The guy's style isn't perfect though, I'm not too keen on the tan or the shaved legs but as a whole for me this is great seasonal dressing. The outfit would be complete with a neutral coloured hat. My search continues...hopefully next weekend the sun is out and it will motivate me to purchase one.

Much Love


Hey hey!

Sorry to be so dreadfully slow at replying but family visits and getting all my hair cut off took it out of me this weekend. This is one of those things you can't put your finger on... it probably shouldn't work, and on someone else it wouldn't but I think he gets away with it. I think maybe if he was younger the ankle bracelet would look too affected. The shaved legs thing is a little weird, but really hairy legs would be worse. I think this requires fair haired, tanned and not too hairy legs. I absolutely adore those shoes they really make it for me. I love men in white shoes at the moment, as long as they're not too shiny (the shoes that is, not the men!). I really will stop writing about hats in every post but I saw a couple of nice ones in a shop on Oldham Street- remind me to take you there this weekend.

By the way, the sun is out here this evening- lovely, lovely.

Speak soon,


Monday, 9 July 2007

Launching the first campaign: Hats

I think it’s about time the everyday hat made a comeback. It completes an outfit, rounds it off so nicely. What better time is there to start a hat habit than summer? A hat in summer can protect your scalp from burning, keep the sun from your eyes (squinting and the crows lines you get from squinting are not a good look) and cover your hair in summer showers.

I am talking not of the cap, trucker, baseball or otherwise. I feel no campaign is needed for these. Nor am I talking of bowler or top hats, which I feel are resigned to history, fancy dress or weddings. I am talking more of the trilby, fedora or similar. Something a little dressy, a little structured but not too much so.

Just look at the street scenes in almost any film made the 50s or earlier to see how commonly the hat used to be worn and how much better it makes almost everyone look. Something to point out, however, is that this is not something that should be worn with jeans… somehow it jars too much for me to see someone wearing a trilby with such a casual and usually scruffy piece of clothing underneath. I am sure people will disagree with me here, so feel free to send me pictures to change my mind. For me, a hat should be worn preferably with a comfortable looking day suit, some casual trousers or maybe, since we are starting in summer, some nice shorts.

This is just a beginning: a theme we will pick up again as I know Steve is intending to begin this (yet another!) clothing habit and therefore this discourse will continue anew. In the meantime, here are a few pictures:



Jimmy Stewart

James Stewart looking a little shifty


Bogart- cigarette optional but love that coat

Friday, 6 July 2007

Picture postcards

Dear Steve,

Check this one out! I don’t think we could ask for a better picture to cheer us up after this week of unrelenting rain. I absolutely love the expression on their faces and the fact that it looks like they’re about to high five. Love that crisp white shirt on Fred and the shiny shiny shoes. The sleeves rolled up to that length just above the elbow always adds a nice casual air I think. Is it bad that those super high waist bands are starting to grow on me? I think I may have been watching too many musicals lately. In Brigadoon Gene has the highest waistband I think I’ve seen him wear in any film yet still looks so dapper. How does he do it? King of dares you to try it out.

How has your search for a hat been going? We shall have to continue it when you come to visit.

Morning Eliza,
This has to be one of my favourite photographs of all time, just look at Gene's face! I like to think that we are mere moments from THE best high five ever performed and it seems by his smile Gene knows it. You just don't see men dress like this anymore. I particularly like Fred Astaire's look, Gene Kelly looks a bit like he's on safari. Plus this is a great shot of Astaire's trademark mixed accessorising, see the tie/neckerchief as a belt. Awesome! I am still on the look out for the perfect hat but as yet have not found it. The weather has made this search a little less important as in my head the hat I want is a summer hat. The same goes for the shorts I wanted to is getting to the point where I might as well just think about autumn/winter clothes.
Don’t get me started on white shirts as I adore them and are their biggest champion. I do have four now and find myself drawn to them whenever I shop. This will be the subject of the next blog and my not so secret love for them will be clear to all.
During a recent window shopping trip (I did end up buying things, so technically it wasn't just window shopping but that was my intention) I was very tempted by similar shiny shoes. They were black patent shoes but I was unsure if I could get away with them at work. I think I could though. What do you think?
Now, the super high waist bands are interesting. As I was telling you the other night, ‘Edi’ is no more at Dior and the new chap, Kris Van Assche, has created a very different silhouette to the skinny clothes of Edi with tailored tops and loose, high waisted trousers - I quite like it but I am not sure why and doubt i would feel comfortble wearing them. Maybe because it’s a nice change from the tight jeans.
I am now off to enjoy the weekend


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