Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Monday, 29 October 2012
Sunday, 28 October 2012
Dan - Pros: can't think of any. Even his bow tie is crooked. - Cons: Everything. bow tie not on straight, and probably meant too, collar of shirt is huge and actually overlapping the jacket lapel, jacket is too short, but that is not helped by the childish and supposed fashion of wearing trousers under the arse cheeks. Looks so dumb, like you cannot dress yourself. 4/10
Mickey - Pros: not bad fitting. - Cons: Not a dinner jacket, is a 3 piece, jacket short, trousers dong dumb arse thing too. 5/10
Saturday, 27 October 2012
Chris - Pros: The colour really suits him and his personality. - Cons: It's BLUE. Like something different for occasions but so many better options. Midnight blue might have worked but still stood out. There are times to break the rules and other times when a bend is more appropriate. Doubt he will care though.
Marvin - Pros: great shoes. Love to know where they are from. Look velvet to me from the picture. - Cons: everything else. Skinny tie makes his head look huuuge! Skinny lapel does the same atrociousness as the tie. Put him in a 3" shawl or notch satin lapel and a velvet bow tie and the look would transform. 5/10
Aston - Pros: The velvet jacket is delicious. Notch lapel works and even works with the shirt and tie, though I think the shirt collar could be a little less narrow. Shoes fine. - Cons: but what is going on with the trousers? Skinny trouser bottoms with an extra 3" of fabric seem bizarre at best. Best of the lot. 7/10
Ortise - Pros: looks the best fitting and is very classic. Shirt collar suits the look. Skinny tie is alright with the 3 piece. Cons: but the 3 piece does not work for the occasion. Looks office suitish rather than formal evening. Also trainers just look dumb rather than quirky as those glasses manage to achieve where the trainers don't.
JB - Pros: less said the better. - Cons: shoes, terrible (what the hell? The next in line to the throne is here. Have some class). Leather shawl lapel???? Good lord.
Below is the start of the action. And I'm going to point out some highs and some very lows, but will have to spread over a few days as there is really so much here as to dos and donts regarding what you wear when if you want to stand out for the right reasons.
First up is Bear Grylls. Bear, you may be able to survive the icy glaciers of the north, or the sun blanched deserts along the equator with nothing more than your resolve and a sharp stick but my word how you died before you even turned up on the red carpet at the Albert Hall on tuesday 23rd (this being the 23rd film in the Bond series).
Bear, if you had wanted to look good then hire someone to advise on future events.
Friday, 12 October 2012
Thursday, 11 October 2012
Friday, 23 March 2012
Wanted to share with you a more summery look as the weather has taken a turn for the better.
Seen this great jacket surfing the web and thought would share with you a really stylish way to stay relaxed and cool but with a twist. Cottons and linens have been worn for generations as a versatile and fabric that breaths well. But with a couple of touches here and there you can add your own individual twist.
The cream mother of pearl buttons really work for me on this. Horn buttons will work fine but be very boring. But go to a local haberdasher and find some great buttons that hint at your personality and put those on instead.
The edges are stitched which break up simple style of the jacket.
The patch pockets here make it more casual, but you can do piped for a more trendy look, or add flaps to make more formal.
A white silk pocket square (always contrast if possible to the fabric in the garment as it creates opposing textures which stand out more) and a flower lapel pin/button adds that extra quip of character.
Enjoy The season in style.
Thursday, 15 March 2012
My good friend Charles looking smart in a grey herringbone two piece with peak edge stitched lapels and horn buttons. The shirt is also a herringbone in blue with cuttaway spread collar and married with a black knit wool tie.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
I'm not making any huge waves with tis outfit I know but thought would show what I am wearing this morning. Not easily seen is a contrast collar as the the shirt is a very faint blue pencil stripe. Grey sharkskin three piece, ox blood Alfred Sergent shoes and a cotton pocket handkerchief.
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Saw this well dressed chap just outside my building and couldn't resist asking him to stop as he was dressed rather well. My camera on my iPad does not do him justice and am still finding my feet with asking people to pose so please offer advice for this sort of thing.
He has a Loro Piana fabric subtle chalk stripe suit on, with a contrasting shirt/collar mix and a elegant tie.
I'm not suggesting this is an option for myself or even you but there are a lot of guys starting out in business that can not afford £300 - £500 ($500+) for suits and ties and all the rest of it. And for me buying a decent jacket that can be worn out on a weekend may be worth a cheaper £10 flutter on a good make and fabric then spending £100 on a cheap dead in 6 months high street shop.
But I am the layman here in so many ways and know a few readers are on the same forums as I am and discuss this. But only in the States.
So please let me know what you think. Good idea, bad idea? Good finds? Where are good shops?
A big one is: What to look for? There are a lot of good quality items that are being donated by a caring owner and may be perfect for you but what brands, makes are good to look out for.
I know our American cousins have a much bigger time of the Thrift store experience so value your input too guys.
Let us know what you think guys. Comment below.
Sunday, 11 March 2012
Just before setting out to see three fantastic fabric facilities in Huddersfield. Clissolds the textile mill which mill and design men's suits, etc..., Pennine Weavers the textile weavers and W. T. Johnson & Sons the textile finishers. Fantastic day and wore a brown jacket (got married in its that old), wide spread shirt, brown wool tie, four point cotton handkerchief, dark jeans, and brown suede shoes (although you can't see last two items).
Let me know what you think and comment below.
Friday, 9 March 2012
A drying process at the textile finishers W. T. Johnson & Sons
After the scouring the fabric needs to be dried to go on to the cropping part of the process.
This is where the the fabric is removed of surface fibres depending on the requirements of the client.
Let me know what you think and comment below.
We got to see the four stages of finishing that cloth merchants fabrics such as Holland & Sherry, Dormieul, Scabal, H. Lesser & Sons, etc..
The four stages are scouring, cropping, setting and pressing.
The scouring can be done to suit the type and quality of the textile. A simple British wool rug may just get a rope scouting and a drying and that will be enough.
But for a linen or a cashmere fabric then a much softer jet scouring will be used.
Let me know what you think and comment below.
Thursday, 8 March 2012
So some simple choices now. Fountain, ball point or roller?
Fountain is a style of pen that has been around for many years and can date its basic design and practice from the quill. Early examples may originate in the 10th century but not until the late 19th century did the modern day fountain pen start to blossom.
You have to love fountain pens to use them exclusively. Like marmite. Today's fountain pens are nowhere near as messy and annoying to refill but are still a trifle finickety as opposed to a regular ball point. I would advise to get one if your heart desires and spend only £50 max to see if the simple weekly/monthly upkeep is for you. If not then go for something else.
Ballpoint. This simple device revolutionised the pen industry like never before. All of a sudden here was a pen that worked so efficently and could be made so cheaply that throwing it away after the ink had run out was not a problem. All pen makers will make their style of design in pens in at least fountain and ball point.
Rollerball. The difference between the ballpoint and the rollerball is the ink. Ballpoint ink is an oil based liquid that can, in cheaper products, skip or blob when writing. Rare in a reasonable pen. The rollerball ink is water based so writes more smoothly but must have a lid on when not in use as can evaporate if left off. Some rollerballs are refillable.
Let me know what you think and comment below.
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Check charcoal jacket, today, with a white stripe shirt buttoned up, a black v-neck sweater and my favourite flat cap. Showing a client a casual look as we were picking out a great tweed fabric from Porter & Harding.
Let me know what you think and comment below.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Choosing A Fountain Pen
by Peter Twydle
Many years ago, in the days when we owned a chain of specialist pen shops, our policy was to let the customer try as many different styles of pen and nib sizes they needed, in order to find just the right pen for them. A fountain pen is, after all, a very personal thing, being an extension of our own personality. In those days we could send our staff on a course run by The Parker Pen Company to teach them the correct way of selling a pen (a Parker - naturally). But times have changed. These courses no longer run, and with the exception of the few specialist pen shops still in existence, staff no longer have detailed knowledge of pens, nibs, and how they should be matched to individual writing styles. The situation is even more difficult now that pens are being sold on the internet and by mail order, as you can no longer even get to see, let alone handle the pen before buying.
If you are looking for a fountain pen to use, either occasionally or on a regular basis, then the purpose of this article is to point out the criteria you should consider in order to make a more informed choice.
First - price. You can buy a fountain pen anywhere from a few pounds up to thousands. The mentality that claims they may as well use a cheap throw-away ball pen because the end result is the same (and if you are reading this, then this obviously isn't you), may think twice before driving a thousand miles in an old banger rather than a Daimler. Both will get them there (probably) but one will do it with comfort and style.
With a fountain pen, the main difference in price is a reflection of the quality of the nib. Up to about £50 (I'll stick with GBP for the purposes of this article) nibs will be made of steel, which is harder, less flexible than gold and not as durable, since gold does not corrode. A gold-plated nib will take longer to corrode but will not be any more flexible. Once you get towards £100 you are looking at 14ct or 18ct gold nibs - the best there are. Above that, a £1000 pen will write no better than a £300 pen. The difference then will be in either the casing, being made of precious metals like gold and silver, or in the rarity value of the pen, such as a Special or Limited Edition. This is not a criteria when considering a pen for use on a daily basis when price is an issue. So, at today's prices you could buy a Parker Sonnet, for example, at around £150, which is the same size, same ink capacity and has the same nib as one at £90, the difference being in the finish of the body, in this example silver as opposed to lacquer.
So, as a general rule of thumb - up to £50 for a steel-nib pen. £100 - £300 for a gold-nib pen, and anything upwards from there for precious metals, Special and Limited Editions, and other rarity value, as in vintage pens.
Second - size. The next consideration is the actual size of the pen which, with the exception of Pelikan and Montblanc, does not equate to ink capacity. A £200 Parker will hold the same amount of ink as a £50.
I suppose it is a subjective matter as to how large you want your pen to be. Theoretically, it should be related to the size of your hand - big hand, big pen, small hand (ladies particularly) small pen. This is the best yardstick to go by unless you have the opportunity to handle many different sizes. In my own case I use a Pelikan M800 for signing letters or if I want to impress, but I find it too tiring for the long haul and use a standard 1950's Parker Duofold for writing articles such as this.
An average sized pen will measure about 5" with the cap on and about 5.5" with the cap posted as when writing. (People who prefer to put the cap to one side when writing are probably using a pen which is too heavy or too large for their hand). There are, of course, many variations on this, such as the old Pelikan 100, which is normal size when posted but whose cap comes almost halfway down the barrel when capped - ideal for clipping into a short pocket.
Some of the lesser known makes are made in unusual shapes and designs. This can often be a case of aesthetic appeal over function - they look good but don't feel too comfortable in the hand. There are exceptions of course, and once again it can be a subjective matter.
Third - ink capacity. If you do a lot of writing this can be important, not so important if you only sign the occasional letter. The big hitters in the capacity stakes are the plunger fillers, such as Pelikan and Montblanc, which can hold more than twice the volume of ink of the more common convertible filler/cartridge type, as could the old Parker Vacumatics. Sheaffer pens, particularly the old snorkel models, have always been notorious for low ink capacity. Even the large PFM only held an average amount.
Fourth - and probably the most important - the nib.
Nibs nowadays are not made as flexible as they used to be. This is mainly because of the way we write these days. The beautiful, flowing scripts of yesteryear have been replaced by the more curvaceous (and characterless) lettering taught in schools. Also, the ball point has a lot to answer for. I would not describe any modern pen as having a flexible nib in the way of the old Swans and Watermans. Semi-flexible is the most I would admit to.
Rigid nibs really came to the fore with the advent of the Parker 51 and are particularly good for the heavy handed, who tend to splay an open nib by exerting too much pressure. If you have a lighter touch then the more traditional type of nib may add more character to your writing.
Most important of all is the nib point. This is one area in which today's pens have definitely improved. Modern nibs are far smoother than their vintage counterparts, but the range of nib widths is not as great as in days gone by, being limited to only fine and medium in some of the cheaper models. At the top end of the ranges you can still find obliques, stubs, italics and extra broads, although these are often only supplied to special order. It should also be noted that manufacturers often have different ideas about point sizes. A Sheaffer stub, for example, would be equivalent to a Parker italic, whose stub would be more like a Pelikan double broad and so on. It is sometimes just not possible to get the nib you want from the manufacturer you prefer.
The finest fountain pen nib is called 'needlepoint'. This is usually intended for small figure work and would be too scratchy or not put enough ink to the paper for normal writing. The finest nib for writing is 'extra fine' but even then only if you do not write too quickly. After that come the two most popular points 'fine' and 'medium' followed by 'broad'. Some manufacturers continue with 'extra' or 'double broad' - even 'triple broad', but again, only at the top end of the market and mainly German makes.
Oblique nibs in 'fine', 'medium' and 'broad' are intended for wrtiters who habitually tilt their pen at an angle, as they are cut away to the left.
The subject of oblique nibs is one that causes a lot of misunderstanding when choosing a nib. The problem arises because many writers on the subject have insisted on calling them 'left-handed' nibs. The truth of the matter is, it is not the hand you write with that is important, but the angle at which you hold the nib to the paper. When writing with a nib pen it is important that both points of the nib are flat to the paper. If the nib is tilted so that only one point touches, then the nib will skip when writing. Tilting the nib to left will therefore require a left-hand oblique. Tilting it to the right (less common) will warrant a right-oblique, but these are rarely found these days.
Writers who look to obliques to give thick and thin strokes may be disappointed by Pelikan nibs, which are more rounded, and would be better served by Sheaffer.
The table below should give you some idea of the comparative nib widths, but keep in mind that individual widths can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Better quality nibs are usually finished off by hand, so even two medium nibs of the same make may not be identical.
To decide which pen to have as your aid in daily business and personal life has long been discussed. Whether to have a pen that is so vastly expensive you would not lend it to a loved one or colleague may seem over the top but please believe that as a status symbol only the wrist watch can compare in history, cost and design extravaganze.
So, is the pen that important? As a practical application, yes of course. Having a good sturdy pen that can stand the test time and all of your life's events can be of immense value. But if you happen to be of a forgetful frame of mind then splashing out £500 ($800) each time would be absurd.
So if you are of the persuasion that the pen is a must have when it comes to style, quality and function then read on. If not then buy a biro and live happy.
So there are two areas that should be of importance to deciding.
- Is the pen you want a luxury or a practical item?
- What do you use it for and how often?
If it is a luxury item then splash out and expect to pay anything from £400 to £40,000 if you so desired. But if just practical then spending anywhere from £50 to £200 is still gong to get good quality.
What do you use it for and how often? Put it this way, if you use it for signing autographs on the red carpet then you may want to say a certain something. But think again about the private victory. Is it for showing off? Or is it for that day when you sign he contract that means security for life. You may want something really special when you dance that nib over the paper in agreement. If it's for writing your partner love letters you may wish something more romantic and fantastical.
To say there is a vast need for a pen as an image enhancer is probably not true anymore. Many times we gain fine things and baubles just to impress people we don't really like. But there is a private status that I think is important. And that is what I have heard termed a 'private victory'. In Stephen Covey's book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he states that Private Victory must come before Public Victory. In short, if the success you have in life can not be an accolade you can be happy to keep to yourself then it will never be enough in public. In the film 'Cool Runnings' the coach, Irv, describes this private victory better then I.
"Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you're not enough without one, you'll never be enough with one."
So, as to the choices. For me the most important thing with accessories is to match or show your personality. Not essential, but If you have a quiet character then an over the top and brash pen won't suit.
Now I thought I'd add this in from Aurora. It is very OTT but my word is it fun.
"Piston fountain pen, 14 K gold nib with rhodium-plated inlay, barrel and cap made of black precious resin inlaid with Montblanc Diamond in cap-top (~0.06 ct.), platinum-plated clip and rings"
I'm going to do a post quickly after this with a article from a man called Peter Twydle. He wrote a beautiful piece on choosing a fountain pen that I can just not do justice to and will bow down to his superior knowledge. Please read the next post or click the link for Peter Twydle's choosing a fountain pen.
This is a colleague of mine who always dresses impeccably so thought I'd share what he was wearing today. A tan two piece with peak lapel, light blue shirt with white contrasting wide spread collar and brown square end knitted tie. Also has a great pair of Gucci tasselled shoes on.
Let me know what you think and comment below.
Had to stop this chap in the street and ask permission to snap him. He was very kind to stop as was rushing for a meeting but took my card so hope to get in touch and ask about him. Not quite my classic taste but looks fantastic on him. Love that charcoal over large lapelled topcoat. Then great colour combination with navy cardigan, striped nautical shirt underneath and a contrasting skinny trouser. Love it and looked very sharp.
Monday, 5 March 2012
Sunday, 4 March 2012
Just wanted to post a quick mention of these guys. English made bespoke gloves. Have heard good reports from some clients and forums but have yet to take the plunge. I have been emailed asking about this so thought it time to address what my plans are so you can view and decide from what occurs.
What I will do is a stage by stage post and let you know the result when I do. This will be in the late Summer ready for the Autumn as there is no need at present due to warmer weather but if there is an overwhelming need from the blog audience then will do sooner for you.
They specialise in high quality ready made, by request and full bespoke gloves and seem very reasonable in pricing compared to what can be charged for normal department store ranges these days (in my London stores for good brands are at least £25 ($40). CJ gloves seem to range from £10 - £90 approx dependent on range reductions and quality and style.
So, to explain the ranges as I ahev stated above and pricing a bit more? From my research there are three ranges to know of.
- Ready made: these are the lower priced garments which will have less choice, or none, about size, lining, colour and so on. Very few of these though. Mostly specialist gloves and even then most still have colour choice.
- By request: these are ranges normally priced from £30 - £90 and have a very wide array of choices on each glove from colour, lining, size (SM, M, L, XL), and type of leather. Looks very good and the range of glove designs should please even the most picky of people.
- Bespoke: CJ charge a one off £20 ($33) amount to create your pattern which they will then keep for all future orders with no charge added each time. This is what I wish to go for at the end of the summer and get a good dress glove in delicious leather and lining so I can test drive them and report back.
Be in mind that CJ do charge a £5 ($9) worldwide delivery fee so take this into account when budgeting.
Please get in touch with your experiences and will happily post on blog to inform everyone of your story. Many thanks in advance for this but otherwise I will look forward to trying them out soon.
High, low or medium button on a waistcoat?
How you you determine which is wear on you?
Button position is generally fashion driven. So staying classic could be better in the long run but is up to you. I prefer the classic height or a slighty higher button position, or front opening (be careful at these are slighty different with the front opening obviously a 1/2" maybe higher then the top button position) because I am more traditional in dress and always prefer the styles and nuances towards the late 19th and early 20th century.
So where to judge on position of waistcoat button?
For me the general rule is to find the bottom of your sternum (this can be done by using your finger to feel where the bottom/end of your breastbone is) and use this as your lowest top button position, unless wanted to be trendy then could be further down if the trend is that way inclined. For medium top button position find the general medium spot (this is about 1 1/2" from the bottom of sternum if you are of average height 5' 8" to 6' so please expect more/less if taller/shorter than this). For a high top button position find a postion roughly 1" above that medium point.
For an easier although still quite general rule to determine top button position on your waistcoat refer to the picture below. Have drawn lines and suggested lines of sight to gage it against. Is still very general and can't be certain for every body type and height.
So here are the three looks that are not over trendy.