Thursday 29 November 2007

Picture postcard: something to think about

Oi Polloi ad Image courtesy of me. Ha!
I return! Internetted and new flatted and eating peanuts. No outfit to drool over today, but a poster from the lovely folks at Oi Polloi (for some reason posted literally round the corner from their shop) for you to mull over. So what do you think? Do you dress up for rock? It's certainly true that a hell of a lot of people do- just look at the lollipop boys that are so prevelant now (skinny in tight jeans, round head of backcombed hair) to go with the trend for 'indie' music... or the Stroke wannabes that went before.

While you ponder that, I'll be pondering whether QOTSA will actually play on Sunday. Do 'severe chest infections' last more than 3 days? Sigh...

Bonjour EJ
I am sitting in an internet cafe opposite the Pompidou trying to get to grips zith the subtle differences between English and French keyboards. Those folks at Oi Polloi must think you are a strange girl indeed...always lurking around the shop front! There is no doubt that music influences fashion and vice versa. One only hqs to examine the work of Heid Slimane who has tqken ,uch inspiration from emerging artisits, for example These New Puritans. This excerpt from following the Dior fall 07 show highlights the point well: “His band du jour, These New Puritans, provided a sound track that left one wanting more, their drummer George Barnett made for a much more appealing muse than Pete Doherty, and their home, the British town of Southend, provided a rich seam of inspiration for a collection that roamed confidently across the terrain of English youth cults.” Music has an influence on fashion but there is little doubt that fashion can also have an influence on music, well atleast in swaying press and ultimately public opinion.
I have to mention the work of Christian Joy and her costume design for Karen O and I was fortunate to see some key pieces at a recent V&A exhibition. As shown on stylebubble, Joy has now worked with the Klaxons. I agree with stylebubble that this is a welcome wardrobe change from the band that has helped get the designs of Cassette Playa greater attention (refer to ny previous rant if you have forgotten my opinion on this label!
I am sure that music and fashion will continue to influence each other and there is nothing wrong with that in my book!
I am now off to enjoy Paris!


Movember - Sponsor Me

I can't believe that I didn't know about this until now! Moustache lovers, if you remember it next year, make sure you sign up to do this. Movember involves lovely generous chaps growing their taches throughout November and getting sponsorship to do so, raising money for Prostate cancer. I know this isn't directly related to style, but it's a cause close to my heart (plus, any excuse to encourage tach growing!). If you fancy donating, details are here

Thursday 22 November 2007

Picture Postcard - Chequers and Polka

To cheer myself up before I go outside I thought I would post a picture. EJ first showed me this image to pass the time at work last week but it is an image that I've not forgotten about and I thought I'd share (plus it will give her a chance to talk about it because I know she wants to!). This image is courtesy of fak! which we have blogged about before but why not again eh?

Fak The combination of accessories is very good indeed, far better than most of the shots that one sees on facehunter (I have been looking over his recent shots of London though and I do approve). For me this outfit would be perfect if it he was wearing jeans as opposed to leggings/treggings. I just can't accept them and I don't like looking at them. I can however gaze at the combination of the chess board top and yellow polka dot neckerchief for quite some time. With this I leave you and this warm room behind but I will be back later.
Oh, I love him so! Mine is one of those mad crushes... my brain says:
'no, this is wrong! Look at him, who does he think he is? Some kind of harlequin ballet dancer? You don't like yellow, it's not your friend... and is he carrying a SPEAKER? Who carries a speaker?'
while my heart says:
'Look at him... he's like a harlequin ballet dancer! The boy's some kind of mad genius... a Doc Brown of colour and simple pattern'.

What do you wear when you be illin?

Oh woe is me!

I'm currently lying on the gf's bed wearing my tartan pj bottoms and COS cardigan. My head and throat are sore and the rest of my body aches. This could be some kind of deviation from the dreaded Man flu but I'm not sure. However, I need to go out into the real world once I feel I can brave the cold and healthy folk which creates the problem of what to wear. Obviously I need to take my health into consideration so I will ensure that I layer extensively and guarantee that my neck isn't exposed. I have the words of my Nan imprinted deep within my brain - "Make sure you wear a scarf..or at least do up your coat properly." Other than my physical well being I have a mental consideration of wanting to look good. I have always wanted to look better than I feel. To me this is more important than how I actually feel and in turn this makes me feel better (does that even make sense?). I can illustrate this on a smaller scale: If I am hungover I like to make an extra effort in the morning/afternoon in how I look, always picking my most flattering and favourite pieces and teaming them up well. Once I am wearing my chosen outfit my sore and woolly head seems less significant and I can at least fool people (who don't notice my blood shot eyes) that I am fine and dandy. Am I alone in this?

In terms of today I feel my immediate choices are limited because of where I am. I don't have the full choice that my house brings. After a quick rummage of my weekend bag I believe I will plump in the following outfit. Starting from the buddhahood black leather/velvet shoes and thick socks of course (it's damn cold out there), my COS black skinny jeans (they fit so well and are extremely comfortable), a clean, crisp Reiss white shirt (the brightness of the shirt will improve my well being, plus all men look great in a white shirt), my favourite black cardigan, finished off with my mac, arm warmers and scarf.

But first back to bed...
Oh poor poorly Steve... expect little to no sympathy here as some of us are suffering as well and somehow still at work (what am I doing?? Why isn't it hometime?). A good sickday outfit is essential though and for me would involve switching the white shirt for a nice plain T in soothing autumnal colours at the moment (though that's probably just me... I love those autumnal colours), a nice hoody (hood up, to hell with worrying about looking like a scal), a decent scarf, some wide-legged trousers or jeans and cashmere socks. Always with the cashmere socks.
Oh, and next time you visit, leave the germs at home!

Monday 19 November 2007

A.P.C. oh when will you open a store in the UK?

Paris label APC has dedicated fans the world over..I am becoming one of them (it wouldn't be accurate of me to describe myself as a dedicated fan yet because I've only flirted with buying a number of items) but it seems to have found its natural home in Japan, where shoppers lap up the brand's sharply functional style. Along with Katayama (the Tokyo store designer) APC have revamped their store in Daikanyama (which has been open since 1992) creating a much fresher homme store. Reading this news has made me question whether or not APC are ever going to open up such a store in London...they even have a store in the Philippines but not in the UK! Oh well at least they are stocked here and Paris is even closer with the new Kings Cross link! I do find the prices a little steep (the reason that I've not bought anything as yet) but I am getting over this the more I see the clothes up close. Before I was fooled by the seemingly similarity between the offerings of H&M which is always extremely reasonable (cheap) in the price stakes and those of APC which cost so much more but (on the whole) deservedly so.

This post also gives me the excuse to show images from the recent Winter catalogue featuring the effortless chic of stylists Camille Bidault Waddington and Christopher Niquet.

I adore this shot of Bidault and Niquet!
I really like the autumnal colour tones here.

Current APC favourite are the Plaid bag (as shown on The Staple), cotton checked shirts, their denim of course and the blazer shown in last Sunday's observer magazine (which I lost so cannot show you, please accept my sincerest apologies!) I will leave you with images of their famous jeans and that bag.

Witty style advice from yesteryear

I stumbled across this book reading the latest issue of Monocle on the train ride home (after the great knitting mistake - see below post for details.) It was first published in 1964 and is a great present idea for any man you know. For all men—and indeed all women who are interested in men’s clothes—here is an alphabetical guide to men’s fashion written with wit and expert knowledge. From the etiquette of dressing for all occasions to the meaning of technical terms, Hardy Amies’s skillful eye guides you safely through style decisions on everything from blazers and brogues to skiing and sandals. No man can afford to be without this classic style bible. To demonstrate this point one only has to read a few of the many highlights within these pages:

On bowler hats Amies remarks "The only truly smart headgear." I think it is a shame that this hat is only worn by actors portraying bankers in TV series or in jest.

On tailoring - ”There’s no such thing as a designer of menswear-—it’s only history. The suit around the world is based on the English suit, which began in about 1670. Any man, whether he’s American, Japanese, French or whatever, who wants to be seriously well dressed, looks to the Englishman’s suit for how to achieve it.” I think times have moved on somewhat from this stance but you have to admire his national pride in English Sartorialism but thank goodness we can proclaim today that there are a number of great designers of menswear!

Sir Hardy Amies died in 2003, but his legacy and style continues under his protégé Ian Garlant at Hardy Amies Plc. He opened his fashion house in 1945 and became Dressmaker by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen. Famous for menswear and his keen eye for classic style, Amies had a regular fashion column in Esquire magazine. I will leave you with some wise words penned by Sir Hardy Amies. Seemingly effortless style is the most favoured form of style:

“A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.”

Result of 'you can't buy style but you can make it'

OK I admit it...I didn't create the above (Sandra Backlund did) but after visiting EJ in her beautiful new flat I have learned a new skill not nearly as accomplished or as beatiful as this piece but I had to start somewhere. The whole experience of knitting began for me in one of Manchester's haberdasheries where I acquired some extremely cheap thick wool (about £10 for 10 balls of wool, enough to knit one of the longest scarves imaginable!). The needles chosen were 15mm. Nice and big so that any knitting performed would look much more impresive than it actually was. After casting on for me and running through the basic knit stitch, the garter stitch (knit stitch all the way). After a few mistakes, most of these were me creating extra stitches or dropping stitches (sometimes both at the same time). All in all I was most impressed with myself and got the hang of it much sooner than I thought I would and I knitted stitch after stitch wherever I could. However, any knitting ego was eventually deflated on the long train back into London after I lost my knitting way and made an unrepairable mistake and the scarf in the making that was being knit by my newly trained hands became a scarf no more. I lost my concentration after a number of stitches because the person in front of me was watching anime and I became cocky thinking I could both watch and knit at the same time (well my nan can watch Coronation Street whilst knitting the most intricate and detailed of woolen garments!). However, I am not going to let this mistake put me off knitting. The weekends experience has only spurred me on to create something spectacular (along the lines of Sandra Backlund)...or at least complete.

Please see the pics below of my effort:

The thick wool makes it appear my more work than it actually was!

A nice close up, I have no idea what went wrong. I just lost my way. Oh well.

It is time to pick up those knitting needles and resume the learning curve.
EJ - It's looking good, Steve. A lot less... holey. Keep it up!

Tuesday 13 November 2007

You can't buy style but you can make it

This was the title of a recent entry on the sartorialist and upon reading this it made me feel guilty that I do not make/personalise enough of my clothes or accessories. I have a long list of accessory and garment ideas that i have penned into my trusty notebook but these ideas have never been realised and that is a little shameful. I thought about trying to hide behind the excuse that maybe it is because of my gender (it is true in the sense that I know countless girls who are thrifty and make their own clothes and no guys) but I had sewing classes back at primary school. I am just lazy. But I want to change! Is there anyone out there who regularly makes items of clothing? Are there any keen male knitters out there? I am going to see EJ this weekend and part of that weekend will be spent in her teaching me the difference between the knit and the purl. Photos will follow....

Sunday 11 November 2007

A flirtatious glimspe at Spring

I have to admit that during this lazy weekend I have been thinking about next seasons aesthetic, which will completely confuse me (I'll end up wearing a light blue jacket over a white t shirt, paired with thin grey trousers and polar blue shoes tomorrow and freeze to death walking up to the tube station!) but I just wanted to re-examine some of the s/s 08 shows and to seek inspiration for the future. As discussed on Male Mode, winter is upon us and I (as he does) need to buy a winter coat, or atleast supplement my current wardrobe with clothes that can offer me more warmth but I've gone one foot in s/s/ 08 already. The early bird catches..and all that. One of my favourite shows was Jil Sander. It was Simons' fourth presentation for the label. Simons himself referred to it as “phosphor,” where color was pared away until all that remained was a hint of eau de nil or gray or blue to shade his spare three-button suits.

The collections underlying theme was light. It gave both a sense of weightless-ness and a glow akin to that of the arctic. Simons achieved it by layering translucent nylon jackets over shirts, or using leather so fine it might have been paper for T-shirts, shorts, and suits.

A high street store with a similarly clean and light look is COS, who I have to blog about soon so won't go into too much detail. Of course the tailoring and detail will not be up to Simons standards but I have been impressed by this store. It offers a real challenge to the other high street stores out there and that can only be a good thing in my opinion.

I've also been thinking about Christmas presents, for myself, no one else (HA!) and have stumbled across Raf Simons Redux. Santa if you are reading this I would like this book please because I know an actual piece of Raf Simons' work would be too much to ask from you. Thank you.

Weekend Therapy Part 2

Today has been the lazy day that I desired it to be and in all honesty it is how i desire all Sundays to be, but especially when it is windy and cold outside. The furthest I've strayed from the girlfriends flat today is the three minutes walk to the local Spar to buy Sanguinello Tropicana and the Sunday Times. All of this has meant that I've had time to explore my staple blogs to both amuse and inspire me. I've not been able to look into the Facehunter's world for some time and it seems that absence has made the heart grow fonder. I concede that I have been a little bored/disillusioned with it previously (saturated by people sporting similarly outlandish ensembles) but after about two weeks of not looking it and him being back in Paris the deisre for that aestheitic has returned.

Here are some of my favourites

I love the simplicity of this outfit, it leaves everything to the illustration which I like very much.

Can this chap be any more of a chic Parisian? Again it is an example of simple dressing but dressing well. The fur detailing on the collar is very nice indeed.

This chap looks a little like Jason Schwartzman and his use of colour is great. I'm a big fan of strong coloured deep v neck sweaters. Ok, i admit it I like this mostly because he reminds me of Jason Schwartzman and that man makes me chuckle!

I had to end it with Jarvis. I was slightly taken aback when I saw his face on facehunter.

Weekend Therapy Part 1

It has been a lazy weekend for me but a fulfilling one. After cooking EJ steak and chips (oven baked as opposed to deep fried, which is a first but they were lovely) on Friday night I went to Dover Street Market on Saturday. I was meant to be going to the V&A to see The Golden Age of Couture Exhibition but it is still too popular and the tickets were sold out. In a way this was a good thing because it allowed me more time to peruse and marvel at the various floors inside arguably the best retail experience in the UK. Dover Street market won the ‘best shop’ award appointed by the British Fashion Council in 2006, Next time you are in London it is definitely worth a visit. In the meantime you can get a taster on their online site.

“I want to create a kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos; the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision”
Rei Kawakubo

Aside from having the greatest selection of Comme Des Garçons and of Kawakubo’s protégé Junya Watanabe, the store also features designer collections from Lanvin, Margiella, Raf Simons...the list goes on. All in all this multilevel store houses most of the designers that i love. It allows me to examine the exquisite pieces, for example the Raf Simons tailoring and use of unusual fabrics in hit suits and the perfectly stitched leather of Pierre Hardy shoes.

The biggest hit for me was the third floor which contains the Alber Elbaz designed Lanvin space and some quite beautiful Pierre Hardy shoes. I've already mentioned about my love for Pierre hardy footwear so I won't go into too much details again but I did some quite breathtaking black zip up boots. I just wish i had my camera to show you my favourite pieces. Oh well, you are just going to have to go for yourself. Now it is time for me to resume my lazy weekend. The Sunday Times is calling me which I will read whilst munching on a cinnamon and raisin bagel topped with peanut butter and gulping down some lady grey tea. Oh the good life.

Dover Street Market is located at 17-18 Dover Street London W1S 4LT, for further information and to purchase selected products, visit

Tuesday 6 November 2007

Prolonged life despite the seasons

It has to be agreed that the seasons play a major role in determining what a person can wear but at times an individuals desire to wear a certain item can take precedence over the practicalities of actually wearing it. For some people this is not an issue but I can be found guilty of milking the teats dry when it comes to wearing my favourite pieces. In this instance I am referring to wearing my mac which i bought in Stockholm in May and I've been reluctant to take off since (thankfully the summer wasn't that great and it has been pretty mild up to now). Yes, I've got many other options available to me but my minds made up and when I'm like this I just have to wear something until it splits at the seams and literally falls off my body. I have been devising ways to wear my coat during the winter months by teaming it up with some fingerless gloves that were picked up in Topman (the accessories section has improved significantly for this season, yes there are many terrible scarves but there are some hidden gems, especially within the belts area). The gloves/armwarmers have got me through until now but something has to be added to the outfit or my teeth with chatter and just annoy everyone around me. So, this weekend a chunky knit is top of my need list. As has been the case throughout this season I am taking inspiration from the fall 07 Burberry Prorsum Collection.

Monday 5 November 2007

What belt would you wear with these?

It is a common held belief that your belt should match your shoes and I try to follow this as best I can. However, the great shoe dresser that is Pierre hardy has just devised this hi top which makes belt matching a touch tricky. I would suggest wearing a nice grey belt with these. I am in love with hi tops at the moment. I'm not entirely sure why, it is extremely unlikely that you are going to see me within 100 yards of a basketball court. I just think they are the trainer of choice right now. As for Pierre Hardy at times I wish i was female so I could wear his designs. Hardy's work has been influencing accessories and fashion design for decade and he has made his name creating masterpieces for Dior and Balenciaga. I will buy myself a pair of his creations for myself at Christmas.

Warsaw gets a Guerrila Store...

I'm a big fan of Commes des Garcons and the people of Warsaw now have their very own guerrila store. Their GUERRILA STORE concept involves the opening of a store for a period of 1 year with a minimal renovation budget. The location for this latest endeavor was a former fruit store in a Stalinist era building, other labels should take note of CdG's redevelopment work in such areas. As always the store appears unobtrusive, set up in a dusty old building far from established commercial areas, with a bare minimum of expense and virtually no outside trace of it actually being there.


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