7 April 2015

A few things I would like to see less of

There are many annoying things in life and I'm going to use this blog post to whinge about a few things which have been irritating me for a long time. I can't claim that these are terribly important issues to be worked up about, but for the sartorially inclined it's definitely worth addressing.

All weather jackets
The, so called, all weather jackets are still very popular many places. Why, is beyond me as it serves no other purpose than making the wearer look like someone with no interest in their own appearance. I'm not sure when the all weather jackets came onto the market but I suspect it was one of the many "brilliant" sartorial inventions of the 1980s. No matter where they come from it's time to put them away. Every time I see people wearing these jackets, the indifference saddens and annoys me. There is no such thing as a jacket which is appropriate for all seasons and still looks half decent. If you have one of these jackets, please, leave it in the closet, it's not gonna do you any favours wearing it. 

Sportswear
Why can't sportswear be reserved for actual sporting activities? People wear sports gear to just about any occasion these days. It doesn't seem to matter if you're young or old, male or female, people are parading around in their track suits and trainers no matter what they're doing. A significant number of these people look like they've got no interest in sporting activities, with the exception of possibly watching it on the telly, which makes it even worse. If you're not doing sports, don't wear sports gear. It just makes you look like someone with no ambitions in life and that's not particularly attractive.  

Sneakers and suits
I often see people wearing a suit, they may even have put on a tie and it seems like they've made an effort to look good. This is until my gaze is wondering downwards and a pair of sneakers are glaring at me. The shoes are possibly the most important part of an outfit and you will never look proper if you don't pay attention to what you put on your feet. You may think a "nice" pair of sneakers could look good with a suit, forget it, it doesn't work. 

Shoes and no socks
The last thing I'm going to complain about today has more to do with the fashion industry than people in general. In the last few years I've been seeing advertisements and fashion photography depicting men wearing the nicest clothes and most wonderful shoes, but without socks. I've been waiting for this trend to pass but, for some reason, it seems to stick. I can't possibly understand the problem with wearing socks and it looks so much better than going sockless. Unless you're wearing sandals, please wear socks. 
 
That's it for now but I've got a feeling there might be more posts like this in the future. There are plenty of things I may not like and sometimes it's good to whinge a bit. 

16 March 2015

It's quality, it's craftsmanship, it's luxury. IT'S PICKETT!

Any gentleman with a reasonable knowledge of London will be familiar with the Mayfair area and its many shops selling products of the top most quality, and companies offering all the bespoke services any gentleman could possibly need. Appropriately enough, this is also where you'll find Pickett specialising in leather goods, located in the Burlington Gardens. For 25 years Pickett has been of service to people looking for quality, handmade, leather goods. All produced by highly skilled craftsmen and women around the UK. 
 
Pickett is all about not making compromises and not taking short cuts. Values like quality and craftsmanship is at the heart of the brand and every item is personal and carries it's own story as it will have been handmade by small UK family businesses. If you want something unique that has the quality to last and the design to never go out of fashion, Pickett seems like a reasonable place to start.
 
Just by the way the Pickett brand operates, all their items are special and individualised, but if you want to take the personalisation one step further, Pickett also offer a bespoke service. All items can be made to your requirements and even if what you have in mind is not on the current Pickett repertoire, they will do what they can to make you wishes come true. As they say: "don't hesitate to get in touch however unusual your request, we love a challenge and are confident we can help with any of your bespoke enquires."     
 
Personally, I would love to have a pair of bespoke leather gloves. Having perfect fitting gloves is for me a luxury I would love to indulge in. Pickett has silk or cashmere lined gentleman's gloves which I both think would be perfect for me. They also have driving gloves that are absolutely gorgeous (top photo below). I know what I will have to do next time I visit London, I must visit Pickett in the Burlington Gardens. The thought of bespoke gloves is something I will have to pursue.
 
Below you'll find photos of a small selection of the many items available. These are some of my favourites and well worth having a look at. To get a more complete picture of what they have to offer, I suggest you start by visiting the Pickett website.
 
You've got to love these driving gloves. I just wish I had a car
to do them justice.
Photo: Taken from the Pickett website

Buying a good quality belt is an investment worth making as it
will last for decades. Pickett has just what you need.
 Photo: Taken from the Pickett website


Travel in style with this very stylish canvas garment bag with leather detailing.
Photo: Taken from the Pickett website

This ostrich leather folio is gorgeous. A statement piece like
this will definitely separate you from the crowd.
Photo: Taken from the Pickett website


A classic like this frame case will never go out of fashion.
Photo: Taken from the Pickett website


A cufflink box is something every gentleman should have.
Photo: Taken from the Pickett website




7 January 2015

How to spend wisely and get value for your money

Most people have a limited amount of money available, and when the bills and the food have been paid for, there may not be that much left to invest in improving the sartorial aspects of your presence. How much money one has to spend on clothes, shoes and accessories will vary greatly from one person to the other, but just about all have limits to work within. What most people have in common is that they want to get their money to stretch as far as possible and to get maximum value out of them. I am definitely also in the same situation, so I always have to give it some good thought before I buy something or start a new bespoke project. Because of this, I have learnt a lot about how to get the most out of the money I've got and that's what I would like to share with you in this article.

Buy out of season
This can be a big money saver. If you're not concerned with always having the latest fashion items, buying for the season that just passed is an excellent way of getting good value for your money. Giving up fashion is not a problem at all and should rather be seen as an advantage. Fashion does little good for your personal style, so it's best avoided.
By the end of summer or early autumn, there are so many things that won't be in season for at least six months and companies are desperate to get rid off it to make room for the coming season's new arrivals.
Come spring, linen and seersucker suits are not likely to be on sale, but if you manage to think ahead there will very good offers available come end of the summer and early autumn. Buy your summer clothes in the autumn and your winter clothes in spring, and you may be able to get your hands on items you otherwise couldn't afford. The last thing I bought this way was a summer suit which I bought in the beginning of October. I had long wanted a seersucker suit but I had never found the money to actually buy one. So, when I found a Tommy Hilfiger one at a very reduced price I couldn't resist. Now, I just hope for some decent weather in the summer so I'll actually get an opportunity to wear it.
Bought out of season you can get summer clothes
at very reasonable prices. Like this seersucker suit
I bought in the beginning of October.
Photo: AGL
Buy second hand
Buying second hand can be quite time consuming as you will probably have look at a lot of things before you actually find something that you actually like and, at the same time, is available in your size. On the rare occasion, I may find a second hand jacket or a coat which I think might be worth buying, but generally I find it quite difficult to buy second hand clothes. Accessories, on the other hand, are perfect for second hand shopping. Ties, cravats, scarves, cufflinks, tie pins etc. are all excellent items to look for in second hand stores or on eBay (or other sites selling used items). I especially like to buy ties on eBay. You will need some time as you will probably need to look through hundreds of ties before you find anything really nice, but the gems are in there and I've bought several items on eBay that I'm very pleased with, at very affordable prices.

These are the ties during my last raid on eBay.
Photo: AGL
Pure wool jacket bought in a second hand shop for
40 Euros. For me that's excellent value for money.
Photo: AGL
Be opportunistic
Strike when you come across bargains that are too good to miss. Sometimes, quite unexpectedly, you come across items that are put down so much that they suddenly have dropped into your price range. One example of such luck is from two years ago in a little town in northern Italy called San Candido. I had been to this town some years earlier and I hadn't been terribly impressed with the selection of menswear available. When I visited again two years ago, I had no hopes of finding anything of interest, except for, perhaps, coffee and cakes. I still went into a few shops and in one of them were a couple of clothes racks with a big 70% off sign. Normally I never find anything that's nice or fits me on these racks with marked down clothes. This time, however, was very different. As it happened I found a cashmere jacket and a raincoat with only one left of each, and both in my size. Both items were Armani, a brand I had never bought anything from before (or after for that matter) because it's too expensive. With the 70% discount the items were still quite pricey but they had dropped into my price range and I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by. So, with a massive discount, I ended up with a cashmere jacket, soft as a kitten, worth €1030 and a very nice raincoat worth €500. This is nothing that happens very often, so when you come across bargains like these, you have to act.

The Armani cashmere jacket which with a 70% discount
became affordable.
Photo: AGL
Don't save on everything
Following the above advice will get you some really good stuff for your hard earned money, but sometimes one should treat oneself to something special. Something you'll have to save up for. There is nothing quite like having a garment made especially for you. So, if you manage to save some money and want to give yourself a real treat, visit a tailor. At least that's what I would do.
Also, don't try to save money on shoes. With regard to shoes, it is very difficult to do really good deals. Really good shoes are rarely significantly discounted, so here you will probably have to spend a bit. There are plenty of cheap shoes available, but cheap shoes don't last and are not worth the little money they cost. Invest in some good quality shoes and they will last for a long time, and significantly improve the way you look. 

Some good advice
Now, I've talked about how to get good things for a price you can afford, but just as important is what not to do. Don't buy things just because it's cheap or highly reduced in price. The most important thing is that you actually like what you're buying. If you don't really like, it doesn't matter if it was cheap. I have a rule I try to follow to avoid buying things of poor quality or things I only like a bit. If I don't think I will wear it after two years, I don't buy it. Try that next time you're going shopping and maybe you will shop more wisely.
 

2 January 2015

Happy New Year! A look back on 2014

Another year has passed and it's time to have a look at what's been happening on the blog during the last year. I will use this post to present some of my favourites from last year. With this look back on some highlights from a year passed, I would to wish you all the best for the year to come, may it be the best one yet!

My best discoveries 2014
Having had a quick look through the blog post for this year, there is little doubt what's been my favourite discoveries. The first is the nightshirt and nightcap which I wrote about in February. I don't know why I hadn't discovered these wonderful garments before, but I'm glad I did. I urge everybody to try to sleep in a nightshirt and nightcap, and although the nightshirt (and definitely not the nightcap) hasn't been in fashion for a good many decades, I wish it all the best for the future.
The other discovery I am particularly pleased with is also something I hauled back from the past. You can read all about my switch to the safety razor and more traditional shaving here.
As comfortable as one gets with nightshirt and
nightcap from Peter Christian.
Photo: AGL
Reverting to more traditional ways of shaving has been a delight this year.
Photo: AGL
Best new product 2014
I did try some new products this year but there's only one I feel is worthy of an extra mention here. In the summer I was offered to try the shaving products from the newly established company Cornerstone. Everyone who's read my review of the Cornerstone products will know that I was very pleased with what they had to offer. I can honestly say that the Cornerstone shaving solution is one of the best I've tried and should be recommended.
Cornerstone has done an excellent job with their new shaving products.
Photo: AGL
Sartorial highlights of 2014
Clotheswise, it's been a rather good year. I've had two orders with Cad & the Dandy with which I've been very pleased. The first one was this checkered three piece suit I wrote about over four blog posts. The final post came in February. The second Cad & the Dandy creation was a new boating jacket I got last summer. Both the suit and the jacket are statement pieces made from quite bold patterned fabrics and have become some of my wardrobe favourites. In both cases, the cloth is British made by Huddersfield Cloth.


The third item I had made this year was this magnificent overcoat Di Pecora made for me, with great British tweed from Hunters of Brora. You can read more about it here.
 

The last thing I want to mention is that I got my first ever day cravat this year. I think this was a step in the right direction for me and I hope to see more people wear this lovely adornment for the neck in the years to come. Read about the day cravats here.

My first day cravat. A lovely piece from Cravat Club.
Photo: AGL
It's been a rather good year and I hope it will continue in 2015. I will, at least, continue to write for the blog in the hope that it will be of inspiration to someone. As a wish for the new year I hope more people will embrace the gentlemanly way of life. If everybody would try to behave a little better and be more tolerant of other people, the world would instantly become better place.
Happy new year!