Archive for April, 2009

Hip to be square

Apologies for the lack of posts recently – I’ve just got back from a trip to sunny Munich. Of which I feel I must mention: the German male’s reputation for poor dress sense is, in a large number of cases, completely unwarranted.

I was particularly impressed with the proliferation of smart casual wear  (jeans paired with polos/shirts, accessorised with well-cut jackets and good shoes), which is perhaps indicative of the fact that Bavarians see themselves as more akin to Italians than the Germans as a whole. The confidence to dress up, albeit in quite a simple, unfussy way, gave the men of Munich an elegance that I very rarely see on the streets of London – but as this article in today’s Guardian shows, perhaps there is some latent desire amongst the English to revive their traditions of formality.

pocket square

Photo: Richard

I have to confess a love of pocket squares – not overly flamboyant ones, especially with a work suit – and I reckon they’re yet another way to add some style to an outfit with very little effort or outlay. Silk squares are often thought to be the norm, but you can get equally good results with a patterned cotton handkerchief – so don’t feel the need to keep that stalwart of gentlemen’s accessories buried out of sight.

April 18, 2009 at 8:48 pm 1 comment

Green shoots of recovery

Good to see the Observer addressing an issue that has been troubling me for a long time – that you only ever seem to hear about women’s clothes receiving the ethical treatment.

I’m glad that the article has highlighted the stirling work of a couple of retailers I have tried to champion – namely Adili and Howies – but in my view there’s still an elephant in the room that nobody likes to talk about, and that’s money.

Now, I appreciate that buying ethically-produced clothes has to, and indeed should, have us reaching a little deeper in our pockets to fund living wages and reduce the environmental impact of the fabrics used in our garments. But ethical clothes for both men and women often strike me as being overly expensive – as if some producers have realise the recent pricking of our collective conscience has simply signalled an opportunity to make a fast buck.

I, for one, would love to see some ethical clothes in the shops that showed true value for money – I reckon it’s only when this happens that we’ll see people buying into ethical clothes in any meaningful or sustained way.

April 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm 3 comments

A look that suits

I haven’t talked much about formal clothes on here before, but the fact that so many ‘suits’ have been gathering here in London these last couple of days (for the G20 summit) has prompted me to look at this sometimes forgotten side of a man’s wardrobe.

obama

Photo: jmtimages

Almost inevitably, the majority of sartorial attention has been lavished on Mr and Mrs Obama – with good reason, I think. While it goes without saying that I fully endorse Michelle’s decision to accessorise high street as well as designer clothing, I’m most impressed by Barack’s ability to work a standard two-piece suit, particularly the way he has hit on the right fit for his shape.

Now, women often say that any man looks good in a suit, but I think that really depends on the suit. By this, I mean how well the pieces (particularly the jacket) are cut to the man’s body shape – because that is really where you win or lose with a suit.

And you don’t need to shell out for bespoke tailoring to get it right – simply buy the most appropriate off-the-peg number and have it taken in/let out where it’s needed. This shouldn’t set you back too much more, and the result will be obvious every time you put the suit on.

brownobama

Photo: Downing Street

Should you require any further persuasion, just look at the image above. If there was one person you might pick out as being limited in the style department, it would be Gordon Brown. But the silhouette he has managed to create with a few alterations here and there shows that even he is able to cut it with the big boys when it comes to formal occasions.

April 2, 2009 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment


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