November 10, 2016

Luxury Socks For The Modern Gentleman 

We are very pleased to announce the launch of our new sock collections, The Burleigh Collection in Merino wool, The Langham Collection of cotton dress socks, and The Darsham Collection a cotton sock with Herringbone pattern. You can view the full range on the following link: Rampley & Co Sock Collections

These easily overlooked items are a wardrobe essential worn by every president, king, actor and singer, put on one at a time no matter what their wearer may go on to achieve that day. It would therefore be unjust if our range of accessories failed to include such understated servants, made to the same high standard we value so strongly in our products.

Luxury Socks

Manufactured In Leicester 

Our socks are hand finished in a Leicestershire Mill in what was once the beating heart of the British cotton industry. The mill has been family owned since 1937, having been a paper factory built in 1924. In the 1960s when business was booming, the factory needed to be upgraded for increased demands of production and was moved to a larger complex on the very same street in Leicester.

Leicester Mill

Professional hosiers divide the construction between the knitting of the fabric, the closure of the toes as well as the finishes and treatments necessary to craft these world class pieces. The skill of these experts takes years to perfect. The staff members are treated with the same regard for quality as the wool that is bought in Italy each year at the forefront of world wool trade and innovations.

Sourcing Quality Fibres

As with most items of menswear, the breathing and comfort of natural fibres is difficult to beat. The cotton we provide has been grown in the Nile Delta and treated for maximum softness, comfort and longevity. However, pure wool or cotton socks will deteriorate very quickly when confronted by the rigours of daily life as a largely functional covering of the feet. Therefore we have included a percentage of nylon which stretches their durability and lifetime considerably. This also means they will not shrink with correct laundry practise, and have more spring and so are less likely to sag around ankles.

The Merino wool of our socks is also perfect for all seasons and the varied temperatures faced in modern daily life. Merino wool is derived from sheep that originated in Spain, but are now found mainly in Australasia, who therefore must adapt to hot sun and cold nights within a single fleece.

Selecting The Weight

In tailoring, thin socks tend to be favoured as they are generally more comfortable and lighter to wear rather than confining the foot in a fitted shoe with thicker insulating varieties. Our socks are manufactured on a cylinder knitting machine holding 200 very thin knitting needles. This means that there will be 200 finely crafted stitches around the leg of every sock to produce a very lightweight and strong everyday dress sock. 

Matching Socks To Your Outfit

Outside formalities of black tie and morning dress there are no rules beyond the aesthetic. This can be the key to turning a conformist suit into the skin of a dashing rebel. Consider fiery reds, oranges and pinks to contrast a grey outfit. Ultimately with trousers of the right length socks should not be seen except for in glances when walking or when crossing your legs, which is a position of panache even without daring socks. Therefore sock choice is one of the few areas in men's fashion where the rules are very relaxed.

For more formal situations a more conservative look is to match your socks to your trousers. However, we feel that unless absolutely necessary, consider a pair of socks as your accent colour and look to match the colour with a colour in your tie or pocket square. 

To view our full range, click on the following link: Rampley & Co Sock Collections
September 05, 2016

Black Suit Combinations

Though not as easily pulled off as ubiquitous – mostly thanks to their versatility – grey or navy men’s suits, a well-styled black two-piece is a thing of undeniable sartorial gravitas. 

Unsure of how to style yours? From colour combinations to finding the perfect coordinating accessories, we’re here to show you exactly why black is the new, well, black.

In this post we will cover:

  • What shirt colours work best with a black suit
  • What shoes to wear with a black suit
  • The difference accessories to enhance your look

Spoiled by too-often seen over-long trousers, ill-fitting jackets and mismatched colour combinations, the impact a sleek black suit can create has often been overlooked. Not only does it never date, the black suit can be styled and mixed and matched to suit almost any occasion. Black-tie dress code? Slip a white shirt and bow tie on with a smart three-piece. Monday-morning meeting? A black jacket and light-blue shirt looks polished and professional. Though it may require a little more thought, a beautifully cut, perfectly tailored men’s black suit that fits like a glove should be a staple in every refined gent’s wardrobe.

Black suit combinations image

Complexion
After cut, an important thing to consider when piecing together your black suit is how it works alongside your colouring and complexion. As a general rule, those with pale skin and fair hair would do well to opt for a shirt that eases the contrast between light and dark – grey, light blue or warmer pastel shades work nicely. Those with darker skin tones have much more flexibility and can play around with myriad colour combinations, from muted to bold.

Colour combinations

When building your outfit, nailing the colour combination of shirts and ties for black suits is key; anything overly saturated, garish or bright in colour just won’t work. That’s not to say colour can’t work at all, in fact, some of the most well put-together men’s suits involve unique colour combinations or pops of complementary hues. Take heed of our advice to showcase your sartorial nous:

The Black Suit and Blue Shirt
The age-old adage states that navy and black should never be worn together, but we’re here to attest that this could in fact be one of the sleekest tonal combinations around. Hinting at dressiness without the formality of, say, a white shirt, this ensemble makes light work of smartening up in a contemporary way.

Black suit black shirt

Alternatively, the black-suit-light-blue-shirt combination remains one not to be sniffed at. Perfect for the office, it looks entirely appropriate for meeting clients, and works for after-work drinks too.

Black shirt light blue shirt
Image Source: Raymondnext.com

The Black Suit and Grey or Silver Shirt
A beautiful colour combination that works for any skintone, a black suit and silver or grey shirt is a sartorial go-to. Not quite as stark a contrast as white and black, it’s smart without being harsh; a tonal tie and silver accessories will pull the look together effortlessly.

Black suit silver shirt

The Black Suit and Pink Shirt
Softening against black, a pink shirt is surprisingly flattering and easier to pull off than you think. In the same ballpark as a light-blue Oxford button down, the look is smart but not stuffy, making it a safe bet for work or with jeans for smart-casual dress codes. Alternatively, a light or pastel-pink shirt makes a dapper alternative to white when your RSVP calls for something a little smarter.

Black suit pink shirt

The Black Suit and White Shirt
John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, Will Smith in Men in Black, James Bond… some of the most iconic scenes in modern film have featured a black suit and crisp white shirt – a testament to the ensemble’s enduring impact. The ultimate way to smarten up for a formal affair, this combination gives off a certain air of masculinity that can’t be achieved with any other combination; it’s suave, sharp and slick.

Black suit white shirt
Image Source: Dailymail.co.uk

Step it up even further with the tuxedo. The main difference between a tux and a run-of-the-mill black suit and white shirt is the presence of satin on the lapels and trims, and the bow tie or cummerbund/vest worn with it. The very last word in debonair sophistication, the tux is the reserve of the elite of social engagements and we’d argue that a gent looks at his very best in a beautifully crafted tuxedo.

Black tuxedo

The Black Suit and Printed Shirt
Now here’s where things get interesting. Inject a little personality into your look with a print or motif that complements your black suit. Take your pick from geos, florals or polka dots, but to avoid a style catastrophe keep the print small and tonal, keeping the colours of the shirt and suit complementary – they should work together rather than battling for the limelight.

Black suit printed shirt

The Black Suit and Non-formal Shirt
A contemporary update for the gent who likes to stand out from the crowd, swapping a shirt for a high-quality cotton tee or knitwear can really highlight your standing as a man of impeccable taste and sartorial know how. Perfect for low-key occasions and winter layering, try a grey cashmere roll neck or a printed t-shirt. Just remember the golden rule: keep the neckline high and the cut form fitting.

Black suit with turtle neck top
Image Source: Thefashionisto.com

The Finer Details

Finally, we move onto the accessories which can make or break your look. Below we run through those small touches that will add the final touch of finesse to your black suit.


Ties
The most obvious choice is the black suit and black tie combination. Really, you can’t go wrong with it for a special occasion; effortlessly suave and polished with minimal effort, it’s a sartorial no-brainer.

For a pop of colour, red can really finish off a black suit to perfection and is a smart choice for a wedding. To avoid looking dated, forego shiny fabrics in favour of matt tones and subtle texture. Just make sure the tie is in proportion to the lapels and fit of your suit.

Black suit red tie

Pocket Square and Socks                             
Accent a dapper print or colour with your pocket square or socks. Giving a hint of your style leanings, these accoutrements allow you a little more creative freedom than your tie or shirt. But whatever you do, remember your look should work together as a whole, and the golden rule is to keep in mind is that your tie should never directly match your pocket square.

The colours in your tie should be sympathetic to those on your pocket square. So either you can take a secondary colour from your tie and have that in your pocket square such as in the image below where the yellow stripes in the blue tie work well with the yellow primary colours of our Lion Hunt pocket square which can be seen here: Lion Hunt Pocket Square

Black suit pocket square

Shoes
The easiest rule of them all: a black suit should always be paired with a pair of polished black shoes. For a slightly less formal look go for a pair of Derby black shoes, but for formal events go for a pair of whole cut Oxfords.

Black Oxford shoes
Image Source: Soletopia.com

Watch, Cufflinks and Tie Bar
Whichever watch, cufflink and tie bar you opt for, remember to keep the metal on each the same. Nothing ruins an outfit quicker than mismatched metal. And if you’re wearing a belt, ensure the buckle follows suit. The devil is in the detail after all.

Conclusion

In summary, the black suit is a classic article of clothing that can be worn a number of ways to either dress it up or down depending on the occation. Below is a recap of the main points we've covered.

  • The fairer your complexion the warmer your shirt’s colour should be.
  • A black suit and white shirt is a great choice for a very formal affair.
  • Looking for an office-appropriate men’s suit? Opt for black with a blue shirt.
  • If you really want to show off your satorial skill, reach for a printed shirt or a cashmere roll neck.
  • Match your metals, coordinate your accessories and always pair your black suit with black shoes. No exceptions.

 

 

August 22, 2016

Men's Suit Fabrics - Our Complete Guide

When it comes to suit fabrics the vast majority of tailoring aficionados would sooner invest in cut and style in tailored suits than micro-weaves and ‘smart’ materials in designer suits. As many people find the very basics of regular men’s suit fabrics confusing, we felt it worth creating a guide that explains some of the fundamentals around suit fabrics.  

In this post we'll cover: 

  • The Most Common Patterns 
  • Types Of Suit Fabrics
  • When To Wear The Fabrics

Just as a gentleman has a suit or outfit for every occasion, so is there a fabric for every requirement. Fabric, in tailoring terms, varies based on the fineness of the thread and hence the weight per yard of fabric. Yarn numbers, originating from the industrial quantities of thread spun from a pound of wool, hover around 80 for standard wool up to over 100 for luxuriously smooth wool. It's, therefore, a number closer to 100 that that fine tailors treasure. That actual number can be left to the expertise of the tailor to decide, and an off-the-peg suit may not even mention the yarn number so the easiest starting point is with the fibre itself for understanding men’s suit fabrics.

The most important categories to bear in mind are synthetic and natural fibres. These fibres can form fabric into a variety of different weaves that provide the patterns of men’s suiting. It is how these fibres are treated and woven that produces different suit fabrics, while the array of patterns available is also the product of different weaves.

Common Patterns

Herringbone is so called since it resembles a fish skeleton. This can make a plain coloured fabric nicely textured. 

Herringbone Fabric Suit

Windowpane check is an elegant pattern that breaks up the cloth into a grid. This creates a smooth wrapping effect showing the curvature around the back and boasts the tailor’s skill in matching multiple lines in different panels.

Window Pane Check Fabric

Prince-of-Wales or Glen check is a classic formal pattern of greys favoured by Edward VIII before his accession and subsequent abdication from the throne. It is a regal favourite for its gentle texture that is distinguished but not too overwhelming.

Prince Of Wales Check Fabric

Pinstripe and chalkstripes speak for themselves as edgy icons with an air of Wall Street stockbrokers or gangsters. Feint narrow stripes are the high street staple whilst wider inch-separated chalk stripes resemble more tailored suits, due to the skill in matching the ends of the lines when joining pieces of fabric as can be seen below. This example emphasises the power of stripes when cut in a classic shape with peak lapels and double-breasted fastening for a sharp, angular effect.

Pin Stripe Suit Fabric

These patterns make little difference to the physical characteristics of the fabric. These are decided by the fibres spun to create the threads the fabric is woven from.

Fabric Types 

Polyester
Let's start with the most basic fabric and work our way up. The most popular man-made synthetic fabric is polyester which for all its sceptics holds a wealth of benefits as a lightweight, durable fabric that will not be consumed by moths. 

On the other hand, the downsides include a shininess that together with the light fabric feels somewhat artificial. It is perfectly serviceable, but does not breath particularly well and therefore can become hot. While the clear favourite among budget suit lines, most high-street men’s fashion suits are also made from a combination of synthetics. In the latter case branding and restricting tight trousers make the bulk of the price tag. Suits made from Polyester are an option for infrequent wear, but for wear within hot offices and during sunny afternoons more natural fibres provide a much more comfortable fabric.

Polyester Suit

Wool
The universal natural fibre is wool that, although associated with heavy tweeds actually breathes well, is water resistant to an extent and will not burn when brushed by a stray cigarette. Forgive a degree of eulogising, but this incredible fibre has been the fabric of choice for millennia. Wool can also be successfully combined with polyester to host the benefits of both fabrics as a moth-proof, breathable and economical fabric available in a variety of weights.

Light Weight 100% Wool Suit

Tweed
Recent men’s fashion has catapulted the wool-based tweed upon a glorious silver pedestal to the very height of taste. Once synonymous with the elderly and country parishes, the legislation-protected cloth now adorns young and old, hipster and traditionalist and never had need to be sidelined in the first place. 

The cottage industries of weavers of UK suiting fabric on the Scottish island of Harris have been saved as Regent Street is awash from Liberty’s to Cordings with the distinctive orb badge upon handbags, wallets and jackets. Perhaps its challenge is the sheer volume of choice. We much admire some of the more luxurious weaves of colourful checks seen in the windows of Savile Row, plain browns carrying a feint sliver of purple or blue. These are very much modern suits, made to a weight suitable for sauntering around town in all seasons as well as the heat of the Central line.

The annual London Tweed Run takes place in May every year where over a thousand cyclists tour the city centre fully clad in the cloth.

London Tweed Run
Image Source: Hobidas.com


The waistcoat has enjoyed its revival at the same time as tweed, and with this fabric layering is the best option both for elegance and practicalities of temperature. Seek as classic a cut as possible. Tailored is certainly recommended since with good care this is a suit that can last many years. It was this durability that inspired the tradition of replacing the most worn areas of elbows and cuffs with leather patches, but in the modern age I shall leave such matters of preservation to the wearer. For a more casual look, cotton corduroy trousers covered later can be substituted in the colour of your choice.

Seek as classic a cut as possible. Tailored is certainly recommended since with good care this is a suit that can last many years. It was this durability that inspired the tradition of replacing the most worn areas of elbows and cuffs with leather patches, but in the modern age I shall leave such matters of preservation to the wearer. For a more casual look, cotton corduroy trousers covered later can be substituted in the colour of your choice.

Tweed Suit

While the woollen cloth of most blazers makes a lighter summer alternative, a full suit remains perhaps too warm. While the blazer deserves an article in it's own right, the subject of fabrics to wear with one can be touched upon. Preferable is white, tan or grey flannel trousers, also wool, in the case of the classic navy blue jacket with gold buttons. 

However, these can be difficult to get hold of while linen and cotton trousers are easy. In cooler temperatures contrasting corduroy works beautifully. The most important advice is not to attempt to match the blazer to the trousers, since it is not meant to be like a suit.

Blue Blazer Flannel Trousers

 

Cotton and Linen
As for travels abroad and the height of summer, many gentlemen fear the suit wholly inappropriate. For holiday makers this is quite understandable, but there remain in the mind images of Daniel Craig stepping off a jet in the Bahamas or for the more traditionally-minded, beige Bright Young Things in Venice in Brideshead Revisited. Cotton and linen here form the saviour of men’s tailoring.

Linen Suit

Both of these fibres grown from the earth hang beautifully in stony colours. Linen in particular offers options of blends of cotton or even silk introduced to the fabric. We need not elaborate upon the mere thought of such luxury. However, we would hasten to add that the summer is and should be a time of activity.

In times of picnics, beer gardens and country walks a man’s clothing is at its most vulnerable. A good breathable fabric in a good cut need not cost the earth and will lose nothing from regular trips to the dry cleaners.

Corduroy
Corduroy is a form of cotton woven in such a way as to produce ‘tunnels’ that are then cut so the fibres spring outwards. This is an everyday staple, ideal in winter, though more common as separate trousers given the heavy weight.

Corduroy Suit
Image Source: Thesatorialist.com

Velvet is a similar cotton with a ‘pile’ of upward-facing fibres that will wear quicker if brushed against this grain. For this reason, velvet suits are rare given their vulnerability and should be made with the trousers’ pile upward so when the wearer is sitting the sliding direction goes with the grain. Dinner suits and smoking jackets are beautiful uses of this fabric.

Velvet Jacket

Final Thoughts

As a final note, matching these fabrics can seem a daunting prospect. Although the joy of the suit is that the top and bottom are pre-ordained for you, much of men’s fashion focuses on accessories such as scarves, pocket squares and ties. Each has their own benefits a formula cannot encapsulate.

For instance, a silk scarf goes with anything. However, a general rule to keep in mind is that to match fabrics you should match the weight. Heavy wools go with heavy wools like tweed but would look out of place with linen. 

August 10, 2016

What Makes A Luxury Pocket Square?

At Rampley & Co we pride ourselves on producing the best possible quality products through innovative design, the best available fabrics and quality craftsmanship. In terms of creating beautiful pocket squares, there are four key elements that make up the design process; material, design, finish and size. Below we have lain out exactly what we feel makes a luxury pocket square and why we feel we make the finest silk pocket squares for men in the world!

Luxury Pocket Squares

Material

The material chosen for both your ties and pocket squares (or handkerchiefs as they’re sometimes referred) is incredibly important and there are a variety of options available that work for both, namely silk, linen, cotton and wool-silk blends. The majority of our collection are silk pocket squares and we spent a long time ensuring that the silk we sourced was of the top quality but also that it was the correct type when trying to print a lot of the intricate patterns we often use. 

One aspect that a lot of consumers don’t tend to consider is the ‘bleed’ of the pocket square. This is affected by both the weight of the material that you are using but also by the style of printing. When hand printing you tend to find you get much better penetration of the ink through the fabric but you are unable to get the level of detail and colour blend required if trying to print a piece of fine art onto silk.

As we need to digitally print our paintings we needed to find the right weight of silk that would allow us to get the penetration of ink onto the reverse of the square (essentially when showing out of your pocket) while also having the right structural integrity to allow a rigid fold and avoid slippage in the pocket. For this reason, we decided upon a 15OZ weight of 100% silk which we feel is the perfect blend. 

If you’re trying to introduce a bit of texture then a fine linen pocket square or a wool-silk blend can be an excellent choice and we find can be a very high-end choice when looking for a more casual look and feel but while retaining the feel of luxury. 

Design

As a company, we’re always trying to work with some of the most prestigious and well-known institutions, museums, galleries, artists and designers to provide our customers with truly unique designs. It is our aim to provide pieces of art in your pocket while continuing to innovate and find new ways of presenting this timeless classic as well as paying a premium to ensure we have the best quality product available.

When identifying a partner to work with we always take great care to ensure that they are in line with our brand values as well as making sure that the partnership is in keeping with the style of product we’re looking to create and that the imagery we’re using is the right fit. With The National Gallery for example, we worked closely with their team to choose a selection of paintings from their substantial collection of some of the finest artworks in the world.

The paintings had to first and foremost suit the medium on which they were to be presented and so we slowly identified those we wanted based on colour blends and the ability to work within a square crop. We then designed unique borders for each square, each inspired by the painting it was chosen to go with and utilising individual details seen in the work such as the detailing on an arch or the colouring of a piece of clothing.

Below is the Crivelli painting The Annunciation, With Saint Emidus as seen in the National Gallery which we have used as a design on one of our pocket squares.

Crivelli

Once designs were finalised we worked with their expert colourist to ensure that the sampling process gave us the closest possible match to the original painting before producing our finished product. This is a difficult task when printing complicated images with multiple colour blends onto silk but fully worth it when presented at the end with a stunning hand rolled silk pocket square featuring an absolutely stunning piece of art. 

Finish

To really ensure you have a truly luxury pocket square you really need to look carefully at the way the edges of the pocket square are finished. We would always recommend that you have a hand rolled hem as this is the only way to give you the best possible look when folding the pocket square for your sports jacket, blazer or suit. The process of hand rolling ensures that you have a nice plump finish all along the edge of your square and this will act as a way of providing structural integrity to your square when folded. When machine finished you will find that you end up with a very flat edge as it has been slightly pressed down by the machine. This can cause the corners of your square to droop when sticking from your pocket but also flattens the square in general when folded and so you may also find you get slippage within the pocket, especially if moving around at pace, and so you’ll have to keep having to fish your pocket square out and readjust!

Pocket Square Size

We spent a long time deciding what size our pocket squares should be but found that it is often dependent on the material that you’re using. Effectively, you want the right balance between a large enough square to provide some structural integrity when in the pocket (thus again avoiding slippage as with the hand rolled hems) while avoiding the puffing effect that this can have on some jacket pockets. What you tend to find with some retailers of lower quality squares is that they will be 30x30cm or 32x32cm when finished and this is often down to the fact that they can produce more per length of silk/linen and therefore increase margins. In terms of silk pocket squares, we felt that the only way to have a truly luxury product was to produce the size that would best suit the needs of the customer and so we finish ours at 42x42cm.

Click here to view our full range of Hand Rolled Pocket Squares.

August 03, 2016

Grey Suit Combinations

In our guide to grey suit combinations below, we will provide you with some general rules that will elevate and enhance your style. From bold to laid back, the grey suit is often the one to stand out in amongst the tide of black and navy options. In this post we'll cover:

  • Colour combinations
  • How to wear your suit for different occasions
  • Choosing the right accessories

Colour Combinations

In our minds, there is nothing more dashing and sharp as a suit when worn well. To bring out the best in your grey suit, it's important to get the right suit colour. Firstly, the basic shirt colours every man must have in his wardrobe are white and sky blue. These are both safe options that will allow you to create an array of classic options.

Grey suit with blue shirt

In general, a grey suit will always look good with a crisp white shirt and a black tie. However, we feel that this look has become such a staple that it actually comes across as bland. This is particularly true in a corporate environment where you might be faced with a small army of clones wearing the same combination. The best way to liven it up? Add an injection of colour. For example pairing it with a pink or green shirt. This is a bold look, but when worn with confidence will separate you as a man with true style.

Grey suit with pink shirt

Your usual sartorial sense would tell you that wearing a sky blue shirt would work, but this does depend on the shade of grey. If you are wearing a light grey suit, a sky blue shirt will appear so washed out you will completely lose the effect of the contrast. However, if you are wearing a dark grey suit, a crisp sky blue shirt can make the grey really shine, and that is a simple way of adding a subtle pop of colour. If you do want to introduce a sky blue shirt with a pale grey suit, go for a blue and white striped or checked number. This is a simple, yet effective way of making a statement without being too overt, while you will also get the effect of the contrasting shades. 

Grey shirt with striped shirt

Tie Options

Let's now look at some tie options. A grey suit on it's own does offer quite a blank canvas when it comes to choosing a tie. So if you keep it neutral by going with a white shirt you can comfortably go bold with your tie. You could choose to go for more vibrant solid colours or choose a pattern that will become the focal point of your look.

Grey suit and patterned tie
Imagine Source: Lookastic.com

To add a touch of warmth, a burgundy tie is a great option. The burgundy tie is a classic tie that every gentleman should own. More commonly seen in combination with a navy suit, it pairs perfectly with a grey suit.

Grey suit burgundy tie
Image Source: Hespokestyle.com

As a further note, it's definitely worth investing in classic silk ties, 6cm to 8cm wide, in either solid colours or lightly patterned that will stay in style year after year. Cheap ties will tend to crease after a short period to of time if you don't really look after them.  

For a grey suit, the shirt and tie combinations are just as versatile as a navy suit, and therefore adaptable for all seasons. However, as a general rule we would recommend sticking to the paler shades of grey during the warm months and the darker shades or charcoal in a woollen mix for the cooler months.

How To Wear A Grey Suit

A grey suit is most definitely a versatile colour, and can be dressed up or down with some thought given to your accessories. Below we've covered off some different occasions with a bit of guidance to always look your best.

A Wedding
A simple way to look well turned out at a wedding is by wearing a classic double cuffed shirt, and then pair it with an elegant set of cufflinks. Ideally you should look to match other accessories of your look, for example silver cufflinks with a silver watch and silver buckles on a nice pair of monk strap shoes. This is such an effortless way of adding something to draw the eye. Although this is so simple, it is an easy way of showing off your sartorial knowledge. If you're looking to keep it simple lean towards plain rather than patterned shirts and use your accessories to lift the outfit.

If it's a summer wedding and you're going for a pale grey suit, a solid combination would be a crisp white shirt and blue tie and then you can use the pocket square as your flare accessory and go for something bold such as purple. Alternatively, you could keep the pocket square safe and go for a plain white square with a flat fold, and then go for a green or patterned tie as your flare piece. Simple combinations like this will give you that attention grabbing and effortless look that is perfect for a wedding.

Grey suit with blue tie

In The Office
In the office it is very easy to slip into the common grey suit, white shirt and black tie combo. Below we set out a few things to keep in mind so you can stand out from the crowd, while keeping the hint of formality that many job roles require.

Firstly, there is the shade. Broadly speaking light greys are more casual, with the darker greys and charcoal more formal. Therefore if you are mainly planning to wear your suit in the office, go for a darker shade.

In terms of what you wear with it, a stylish choice is to choose a flat coloured shirt and then wear a tie that is at least one or two shades darker. For the office, if you go for a patterned tie, don't choose a pattern that is too overpowering.  

Grey suit with blue shirt and tie
Image Source: Stylisheve.com

Finally, a very simple, but often overlooked accessory for a modern man is an elegant dress watch. A white faced watch with a brown leather strap will always look good in the office during the day and is also an easy complement for brown leather shoes. 

A Casual Event
For a casual event or day out this is where you can definitely be more flamboyant with your look and introduce bolder patterns, more eye-catching accessories or loose your socks and go for a pair of loafers. The main thing to keep in mind is not to go too overboard with your accessories. Choose 1 or 2 more flamboyant options and then keep everything else relatively muted. This ensures that you look like a man of style.

Grey suit with loafers
Image Source: Guesswatches.com

Conclusion

In conclusion, the grey suit is a very versatile suit colour. In general, the lighter the suit colour the more casual it tends to be. However, the shirt colour and accessories can definitely dress up or down the suit. 

For more formal occasions keep your shirt options safe and then you can be much more flamboyant with your accessories. For more casual events or in summer, look to lose your socks and tie and go for a pair of loafers for a stylish relaxed look.

Click here to view our full range of Fine Men's Accessories.

July 26, 2016

Men's Silk Scarves - Our Guide For The Gentleman

In our minds, there is nothing quite so elegantly rakish and raffish as a men’s silk scarf worn in a beautifully blasé manner. Whatever the milieu you move in – or that you are trying to infiltrate – a silk scarf is one of the few accessories that is capable of making a bold yet laid back statement at the same time.

Casual silk scarf
Image Source: Lookastic.com

The Origin Of The Scarf

Silk scarves for men originated in the modern day as an accessory for pilots to protect their necks from irritation as they flew in cockpits open to the elements. Whether it be the stories of heroic war deeds, or images from Hollywood of the brave fighter pilot, a silk scarf has always given a man a sense of standing apart, supremely confident in his own skin. 

Cary Grant Silk Scarf

Nowadays it is one of the few articles of clothing in a man's wardrobe that is wholly romantic – a quality that we hold in high regard and that we think is not at all irrelevant to maintaining an optimistic lucidity in today’s world. A men's silk dress scarf will pronounce that you have occasionally taken a step back from the game in order to contemplate and luxuriate, while also remaining in it.  

A Few Rules To Keep In Mind

Be careful never to mistake a scarf for a necktie. While contemporaries in style and dignity, they are polar opposites when it comes to attitude. Don't tie a scarf tightly around your neck, for that you would want to invest in a cravat. In our opinion a scarf is meant to be worn loose and easy; to be tossed on as a finishing touch to an outfit rather than seem as if the look is expressly planned around it, as with a necktie. This is expressly their charm. Our preference is to wear it as a classic drape, however there are a few more options set out below.

Silk Scarf and Suit
Image Source: Thebestfashionblog.com

Matching Options

In terms of matching options, you can apply the same basic thoughts about colour and pattern to your scarf-and-shirt combination as to your tie-and-shirt combinations, at least at the beginning. Don't match your scarf pattern to your shirt, or choose to wear a bold pattern on both garments. We particularly like a silk scarf in paisley as a wardrobe staple and paired with a plain coloured shirt. 

A scarf is a very versatile accessory allowing your to dress up a cardigan or casual jacket. You can simply drape a long scarf around your neck and let the ends hang free inside or outside the garment, depending on whichever feels most natural for you. They are also a great addition under a winter coat. As most of your clothing is covered during the cold winter months, a scarf is a good way to add a touch of colour to your winter look.

Winter jacket and scarf

The Wrap Around Knot

If you're looking for something a bit more bold than simply draping your scarf, an alternative knot is the wrap around. Similar to draping, it does give off a casual feel, but clearly makes more of a statement of style intent, and puts your colour combinations right into the eye line of anyone you should be passing by.

Wrap around silk scarf

The Parisian Knot

If you do however wish to make your scarf the focal point of your outfit, you can opt for the Parisian or loop knot. Just make a coil of the silk scarf, put around your neck, and pass both ends of the scarf through. The Parisian knot, when wearing it over the top of the jacket gives the scarf volume and takes it from subtle accessory to an overt fashion statement so you need to wear this knot with poise and certainty. We suggest trying out this look with a blazer on days that are lower key.

Parisian Knot
Image Source: Artofstyle.com

The Formal Look

Scarves are especially wonderful when worn with a tuxedo.  For a classic, old-school look that never dates, go for dark or light coloured plain silk scarf. Black tie events have relatively strict rules for the gentleman's attire, so a scarf most definitely adds a flamboyant touch to your tuxedo. For a more conservative look, tuck the scarf behind the lapels of your suit. You can wear it with or without a bow tie depending on the occasion, although pairing with a bow tie is definitely the more formal, entirely gentlemanly option.

Tuxedo and silk tie

 

Click here to view our full range of Fine Men's Accessories.

July 20, 2016

Bow Tie and Pocket Square Matching Guide

One of our favourite things about pocket squares is the way they suggest palettes of shade and design which are superb jumping-off points for socks, ties, bow ties, even belts. Today we are looking at how you can effectively pair your bow tie and pocket square to always look at your dapper best. 

Bow Tie and Pocket Square Set

Firstly, bow tie and pocket square sets are something that you most certainly want to avoid. As with matching your pocket square directly with your tie, this is a definite no no. Another way to look at it is, men have so few opportunities to express themselves through clothing, why curtail any one of these?  

Starting With Your Shirt and Jacket

You should start your thought process by looking at the colours of your suit jacket and shirt and then use these to match your first accessory, either the bow tie or pocket square; the second accessory should then be considered alongside the first in the same way.

The easiest starting point is to match the primary colour of one accessory with that of your shirt or jacket. In the example below, the bow tie is taking it's cue from the both the shirt and jacket. The pocket square is then matched to the bow tie through the blue edging on square. This a simple look to put together by taking the blue through all the different articles, however the white pattern adds a bit of interest and texture.   

Bow tie and pocket square

The next step on from this is taking classic neutral shades and adding another colour accent to give your look a bit of a flare. In the below the bow tie is quite understated with the blue and greys of the rest of the outfit but the pocket square provides a hint of flamboyance that is also reflected in the red laces.

Blue bow tie and red pocket square

Matching Colours

If you start with classic colours for your shirt and jacket then that opens up a world of options to show some flare with your accessories. The complementary colour chart below sets out how colours complement each other such as a blue bow tie and orange pocket square would provide a balanced colour combination. 

Complementary Colour Chart

Matching colours    

The image below is a good example of taking primary and secondary colours from the different articles of clothing and then matching a complementary accessory. The bold yellow vest is the focal point of the outfit which then matches the secondary colour in the houndstooth patterned bow tie. The pocket square is a purple / crimson colour which complements the yellow primary colour.

Yellow bow tie purple pocket square

Matching Patterns

If wearing two patterns together, the only tenet set in stone is not to have both patterns be the same size even if the design is replicated, polka dots or stripes being the most obvious but perhaps not the ones we would champion the most fervently. Other than that, the nature of the bow tie means you can really experiment with it and have fun.

Striped bow tie and polka dot pocket square

Another thing you should consider is the fabric of your bow tie and the fabric of your pocket square; they should be comfortable companions.  Cotton and linen make good bedfellows, for instance.

Final Thoughts

As a general rule, we tend not to wear a solid coloured pocket square with a solid coloured bow tie in the daytime – it’s an unimaginative look, especially when patterns provide so many invigorating possibilities, and the bow tie by it's nature is quite a fun accessory. Keep the solid coloured pocket square and bow tie combinations for more formal evening events. We would also say that a plain white shirt with an accompanying white pocket square and a patterned bow tie can be a very refined look when you want to elevate a casual look or work outfit. 

Click here to view our full range of Fine Pocket Squares.

July 13, 2016

Gentleman Gifts - Some Of Our Favourite Recommendations

You would think that in the sea of consumer goods, perfect gift ideas for men would abound, but we have found ourselves stuck more than once.  Whether it is a gift for a best man, your father, or leaving presents for colleagues, we have set out our dream virtual stall for you – at least partially.

Le Mans Lamborghini Cigar Cutter

Nothing will make you feel more like a gentleman than possessing a cigar cutter for the first time – the gateway to regular scotch-and-cigar interludes in your busy days.  We are partial to the Le Mans Lamborghini carbon cigar cutter, which fittingly makes us think of a classic car from the 70’s. 

Available from Humidor Station for €95

Le Man Lamborghini Cigar Cutter

First Edition Book

For the cultured man, a carefully considered first edition is an exceptional offering – other than a piece of original art, it is probably one of the most unique gifts for men one can bestow.  The Society Club has a wonderful selection across a range of different topics. 

Available from the Society Club starting at £25

1st Editions Books

Smythson Panama Notebook

A gilt-edged Smythson Panama notebook in navy blue is the perfect place to jot down ideas, favourites, lists, inspirations, and more.  At £45 it is a relatively inexpensive gift that will be turned to repeatedly. 

Available from Smythson for £45

Smythson Panama Notebook

Chinese Scholar's Rock

Along these lines, a Chinese scholar’s rock or seal is a thoughtful, unique gift for him. These stones were valued throughout Chinese history for their ability to inspire deep contemplation and reflection, and can be reminiscent of Henry Moore sculptures.  The most precious are worth thousands of pounds, but you can find some pleasing alternatives that are much more reasonably priced sold through second hand sites.  A gift for a respected mentor or colleague, possibly?

Available on eBay starting from £50

CHINESE SCHOLAR'S ROCK

Rampley & Co Pocket Square

We have to admit to a slight nepotism here, but we do feel that no list of gentleman gifts for men would be rounded out without some of our silk pocket squares.  

Click here to view our pocket square collections 

Rampley And Co Pocket Square

Collectors Edition - The Killers

We can’t contemplate books and cocktails without bringing Ernest Hemingway into our minds – certainly a man of style for all times.  This collector’s set from Criterion of two illustrious directors’ cinematic takes on the same Hemingway short story has performances from Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner to boot!  

Available from Criterion for USD $32 

The Killers Series

Purdey's Leather Hip Flask

Engraved hip flasks are pretty failsafe and pretty dashing.  Whether the recipient is a City man or a biker, extracting an elegant silver phial filled with ambrosial liquid when it is needed is a timeless and ageless gesture.  If you have a couple of hours to kill, an antique flask from Grey’s Antique Market or Portobello Market is a touch with character, but if time is pressing, we recommend Purdey’s pewter or leather flasks.

Available from Purdey's from £100

PURDEY'S LEATHER HIP FLASK

Fulton Huntsman Walking Umbrella

An inexpensive but no less stylish gift for dapper gentlemen, a classic wood-handled umbrella will always come in handy.  We particularly like this one from Fulton.

Available at Selfridges for £20

Fulton Huntsman Walking Umbrella

Lizard Print Guest Book

For an unusual thank you gift for hosts with a sense of humour, a personalised “Complaints” guest book will draw witty remarks and be the perfect conversation piece during country weekends.  These guest books have a classic and masculine design.

Available from Aspinal Of London for £115 

Guest Book

Frederique Constant Slim Line Automatic Watch

A classic watch is the hallmark of any gentleman, and a white faced watch with a black strap is a must for any formal and semi-formal occasions. This beautiful watch from Frederique Constant will stand the test of time and never go out of style.  

Available from Harrods for £1,510 

Frederick Constant Slim Line Watch

Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle

And for a near-ultimate gift (at least in our book) turn to a Triumph Bonneville motorcycle – certainly a gift for a truly English gentleman. Weekend sojourns down velvety green country lanes await the recipient. Of course, the perfect set of leathers should then be considered. 

Available from Triumph for £9,990

Bonneville T120

For a unique gift for the gentleman, click here to view our full range of Fine Men's Accessories.

July 10, 2016

Hat Etiquette

Is there anything that displays a man with a true style more than a dress hat? It has however, been a long time since hats were an essential part of every man’s wardrobe. For those that are willing to showcase their true gentlemanly style, we've set out some general hat etiquette rules for the modern man.

Firstly, we'll cover the 3 main dress hats that we feel go best with a suit. 

Classic Gentleman's Hats

The Top Hat
A top hat is the most formal hat and is generally worn with tails. Top hats tend to be reserved for more formal black or white tie events.

Top hat and tails

The Fedora
A Fedora is a broad term that is often over used to describe a certain style of hat. But for the purists, a Fedora is a felt hat that has pinched sides which create a wedge at the front of the hat and a crease down the middle of the crown. This is a stylish look and will definitely give you the look of a man with purpose and pose. 

Fedora and suit
Image Source: Menfashionhub.com

The Homburg
Closely related to the Fedora, the Homburg is considered it's dresser version. The main difference being that that sides of the crown at not pinched at the front.

Homburg Hat

Other hats that are also worn with a suit are the Trilby and the Bowler hat, however we feel that the Fedora in particular is a smart option for the modern gentleman.

General Hat Etiquette

In principle, the etiquette of wearing any hat indoors should be straightforward. Emily Post says gentlemen do not wear hats indoors at any occasion, and we are inclined to agree, therefore you should always remove your hat when you enter a building. However, the exception to this is any indoor areas that are considered public places, such as airports, lobbies, shopping malls, public transport and so on.

When Dining

When dining, you clearly would have removed your hat when you entered the restaurant, however if you are partaking in alfresco dining your hat should also be removed. Once seated, never place your hat on the table. It is acceptable to place it on another chair or your lap, but the preference is to have it stored in the cloakroom if available. 

Wedding Etiquette

Wear your hat with pride to a wedding and mingle freely, but once you enter the church, be sure to take it off. Hats should be worn to formal church weddings, but today there can be all sorts of gray areas as to whether a wedding is formal or not, so if you are unsure in any way and do not feel entirely comfortable with the idea of possibly being in a minority of one, check into whether hats are required.

Attending Events

Should you be attending a national or sporting event, your hat should be removed during the playing of the national anthem of any country. Also in many countries, when a parade passes carrying the national flag your hat should be removed. If in doubt, better to be safe than sorry.

The Small Touches

Firstly, you should always remove your hat when being introduced to someone. As you remove your hat and are holding it, always ensure that only the outside of the hat is visible to others and that the inside lining stays hidden. 

A gentleman should also remove his hat when a lady enters a lift, even though a lift is considered a public space. We feel this is a lovely touch and will be generally be noticed and acknowledged. As with all other matters of style we advise donning a nonchalant, natural air. 

Traditionally, if you remove your hat, the further you hold it from your head the greater respect you are showing the person you are greeting. So a tip of the hat can be seen as a friendly greeting, while holding your hat at your waist is a gesture to someone in authority or perhaps someone you wish to impress.  

Following the rules above, you will always display the small touches of class of that of a true gentleman. 

Click here to view our full range of Fine Men's Accessories.

July 06, 2016

How To Wear A Bow Tie

Bow ties have enjoyed a real mainstream renaissance in the last few years. What was once the domain of the quirky, is now a men’s accessory staple. Bow ties can be wonderfully charismatic, but it can take a while to work out how a bow tie can cohere with your wardrobe and persona.

In the post below, we’ve set out some general rules for wearing a bow tie and the different looks you can employ to ensure that you always look at your dapper best.

Wearing A Bow Tie With A Tuxedo

Wearing a bow tie with a tux is probably a good way to gently ease into how to wear a bow tie, so we’ll start with that.  We do lean strongly towards wearing this ensemble for formal occasions, regardless of the contemporary fashion for wearing ties in these situations – a bow tie will set these outfits and evenings firmly apart.  

First rule of thumb: never go for pre-tied bow ties or, even worse, a clip on.  They lack that essential individuality and imperfection that is part of the charm of the bow tie. If you're looking to make an impression, a clip on is a dead giveaway of someone not appreciating the finer points of the bow tie. Tying one is no harder than tying a tie, and you wouldn’t dream of a clip-on tie...  

Bow Tie & Tuxedo
Image Source: Express.co.uk

The other obvious point is if using anything other than a self-tied bow tie, you miss out on the opportunity to have the very satisfying and aesthetically appealing option of untying your bow tie and wearing it loose around your open collar at the end of a memorable evening.

Wearing A Bow Tie With A Winged Collar

We have a particular weakness for a bow tie worn with a winged collar to black-tie or white-tie events.  When doing so, a tuxedo rather than a cutaway suit should be chosen; a cravat is the more appropriate companion to the former.  Taking inspiration from the Gladstone collar, named for the past prime minister, the winged collar is marvellously distinctive. One final point is to be sure to tuck in the wing tips behind the bow tie!

how to wear a bow tie with a winged collar

For evening-wear, a black or white self-tie in the same silk as your lapels is classic, although contrasting silk, patterned or textured bow ties can work for more flamboyant looks if the event is not too archetypal.

Adding Further Accessories

Take care with your pocket square if wearing a bow tie with your dinner suit; the combination can definitely work beautifully, but these articles should not compete sartorially. White is the prescribed choice for the pocket square; pattern is possible, but keep it subtle.  If you crave variation without too much risk, a pin on your lapel is a modern, elegant option.

Bow tie, pocket square and lapel pin

How To Wear A Bow Tie With A Suit

Now for pairing a bow tie with a suit. First, the practicalities: choose the type of bow tie according to your size – the larger in size you are, the bigger your bow tie should be.  This then will dictate the size of your collar, which needs to be in proportion to your bow tie. Your button-down and classic collars should be reserved for wear with a tie or on their own when incorporated into a suit. With a bow tie and a suit, you want to go for a small or narrow collar corresponding to the size of your bow tie.  A rounded club collar has character; a slim or normal bow tie is best with this collar.  

Bow tie with suit

Wearing A Bow Tie Casually

Casual day-to-day wear is where you can really let loose and experiment with colour and all collar types.  The same basic rules for matching pattern, texture, and colour to your shirt and the rest of the outfit apply to bow ties as to ties.  As bow ties are more lively than ties, be aware that the effect of mixing pattern and texture will be heightened – advantageously or disadvantageously. A multi coloured bow tie on a light coloured shirt will always look striking, while pairing different fabrics and hues will add further interest.

How To Wear A Bow Tie Casually
Image Source: Lookastic.com

A red bow tie or blue bow tie is a safe choice for your first venture into wearing these distinguished accessories casually.  For a refined look, choose muted, rich tones and play against similar hues – we love the way the maroon works with the different shades and textures of gray in the image below for instance, making for a nuanced outfit where the bow tie works in a relaxed, effortless way.  

How To Wear A Bow Tie And Shirt
Image Source: MrPorter.com

Once you feel at ease with wearing bow ties as part of these relatively simple looks, you will be well on the way to choosing more daring combinations that are true to your personal aesthetic. 

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