We sent men’s style blogger Lee Osborne, AKA Sartorialee, to Pitti Uomo in Florence to capture the élan and flair of the show’s attendees, styling some of the most stylish gents on the planet in Rampley & Co pocket squares.
With its terracotta rooftops, concealed courtyards and streets reverberating with artistic energy, Florence, birthplace of The Renaissance, is the perfect backdrop for Pitti Uomo to play out on. With its ornamented streets bathed in shafts of golden light and shade in equal measure during the day, and dimly lit streets in the evening, it lends an ethereal quality to whatever the camera brings into view. With arguably the most stylish inhabitants of any city, it is seriously close to perfection.
Pitti Uomo is credited with liberating men's style globally and is one of the world’s leading platforms for men’s clothing and accessories. Now in its 45th year, having launched in 1972, it masquerades as a trade show, but in all honesty is where the most dapper men on planet earth descend biannually to parade in front of the awaiting street style paparazzi.
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Unlike other men’s fashion shows, it’s not all about the catwalks. The appeal of the photography the show generates is that it’s shot on the street, in natural light and is very easy to emulate. Guys tap into their Instagram feeds and immediately feel inspired to pull off similar looks.
There’s no doubt that men nowadays are more comfortable about being dandy. Most guys I speak to are of the same opinion as me - it’s as though dandyism skipped a generation. I always remember my grandfather being a very smart gentleman even in a casual scenario, and that definitely rubbed off on me.
But what is the archetypal Pitti man? Generally speaking he can be divided in to two distinct groups. The former, ‘the peacock’, usually wears a tight-fitting jacket or suit, in a pristine, straight out of the packet kind of way, in a standout colour or design. There’s nearly always a waistcoat beneath, his wrists awash with bracelets, fingers festooned with rings . He will spend hours on end glued to the Pitti wall, preening his feathers, desperately courting the lens.
The latter are the ‘groundhogs’ - effortlessly cool guys that go under the radar, the ones that don’t try too hard yet still accomplish the sartorial zenith. Their outfits seem careless and artfully put together at the same time. The term sprezzatura (coined by Italian Renaissance author Baldassare Castiglione in the 17th century, to describe the appearance of his courtiers) was invented for them. Their aim is to maintain interest without being attention-seeking.
Armed with a bag full of Rampley & Co pocket squares for the duration of the show, my task was to hand pick some of the above-mentioned men (and women) and style pocket squares to compliment their outfits.
Pitti 92 will go down as one of the hottest yet. Even the locals struggled to keep composure in 36 degrees heat - Neapolitan playboy Luca Rubinacci was even rumoured to have left after only one day citing the over-zealous heat.
Whilst this did not deter some of the peacocks from fanning their feathers, the wiser, more learned ones retired to whichever shaded area of the Fortezza da Basso they could find. ‘The groundhogs’ kept cool by jettisoning their jackets for bespoke polo shirts, linen trousers and espadrilles.
Blazing sun aside, summer editions of Pitti are always a riot of colour. Primary colours were dominant this year - from red, worn in all its raw vividness by the Peacocks, or in more subdued hues like @cingizis.
To show-stopping cyan, as exemplified by @officina38_byhugoc and several eye-popping head-to-toe yellows.
Linen and seersucker (such as @gui_bo’s grey and white masterpiece) reigned supreme in the oven of the Fortezza.
Several white or cream coloured blazers were in evidence - a look not always as easy to pull off as one might expect. It helps to have olive-coloured skin, failing that it’s a case of accessorising to perfection with contrasting colours. None were more beautifully orchestrated than Giorgio Gianlulio’s DB version that he teamed with damson chinos on day 2.
The show’s theme this time around was ‘Boom, Pitti Blooms’: some had clearly got the memo and dressed to botanically flourish. Evidenced in various forms from all out Liberty-style print shirting, pocket squares, ties or even floral-inspired button holes. On the whole, trousers were mankle-inducingly cropped, with no break in the fabric, cut wide enough at the top to allow even the merest (in this case) amount of air to pass through.
Accessories showcase that it is, Pitti wouldn’t be Pitti without the presence of mirrored sunglasses - although there was a predominance of the more rounded frame over traditional wayfarer’s and aviator’s. Same applies to the panama, but with a marked rise in the beribboned Gondalier-inspired straw boater.
The array of Rampley & Co pocket squares drew much praise from the biggest players in the sartorial world. From French Canadian Guillaume Bo of Men Need More Style who I paired Black-throated Blue Warbler with his double-breasted seersucker suit.
American tailor Angel Ramos of Angel Bespoke with Battle of Trafalgar
Middle-Eastern tailor Samir from Bureza with The Basin of San Marco on Ascension Day 1740
To model and influencer Kish Style from Toronto with Saint George and the Dragon, all waxed lyrical about the design and quality.
Representing the ladies of Pitti, I styled Erica Ström in The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius 1486
Brit Sonya Glenn in Merian’s Drawings of Surinam Insects & Birds
Finally Polish blogger and tailor Monika Kaminska in The Death of Major Peirson
Below are a few more of my favourite images from Pitti Uomo in Rampley & Co pocket squares.
To see all of the pocket squares featured in this article visit our store here: Pocket Square Collection
Lee Osborne is the founder of men’s style blog ‘Sartorialee: dressing the globe-trotting man’ and is a former creative director of Condé Nast. Instagram: @sartorialee
Anyone can look good in a suit. Quite often, anyone will look good in a suit. But not just anyone can look amazing in a suit. This generally comes down to a good eye for the individual accessories that truly ‘create’ an outfit.
In this guide, we cover how to choose the accessories where you can exhibit an effortless polish and take your suiting up a sartorial notch by looking at the below accessories:
The Importance Of Your Accessories
Accessories adorn your look almost like a Christmas tree- drawing the eye to key aspects. Think of a broad chest emphasised by a pocket square or the antique grandeur of a watch chain. There is a difference between just putting on clothes and actually dressing. We all want to be the latter. The only problem is it takes a bit of effort. However, with practise, minimal effort becomes effortless splendour.
Why do we need watches in the age of the smartphone? Actually, the smartphone emphasises the importance of a watch when it comes to style. Since it is no longer functional, it has become purely a statement piece.
In practical concerns, a watch is now limited to providing the time when your phone runs out, or in some cases a rudimentary compass. In the modern life, these feature pretty low in terms of real practicality. This leaves the real benefit of owing a timepiece a the possession of true, weighty craftsmanship.
Ten years ago many of us were happy with a reasonable design that didn’t break the bank, now we don’t need one in the practical sense, it makes more sense to invest in quality. You don't necessarily need to invest in a Patek Phillipe, the key is to find a high-quality design you like and wear it.
A watch is a reflection of the owner's personality and there are no hard and fast rules, however, our advice when wearing with a suit are below.
Choose classic minimal faces with a white faced watch with a brown leather strap to wear during the day and a black faced watch with a black leather strap for the evening or black tie events. The below examples are about as complex as you'd really want to go.
Image Source: Jomashop.com
Avoid Bulky Watches
Don't go over the top with big bulky faces. Unless you have especially thick wrists avoid 44mm diameter faces with a deep case. A suit is about clean lines and this type of watch most definitely breaks the clean lines. Also, leave classic sports watches with metal straps for more casual events.
Match Your Watch To Your Personality
Taken the above into account, your watch is a profound statement of who you are, and wearing it says something about your personal style. If you are a classic work of leather go for any antique style watch, if you like a touch of flair then go for a watch that has a punchy accent with the hands.
The Pocket Watch
For the more eccentric there is the pocket watch. As to how to wear a pocket watch, it should be in the waistcoat pocket if you have one. The dangling fob should be, like a lady’s charm bracelet, a chance to express some personality. Although antique fobs remain best.
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The single albert is this traditional style of chain while a second length from the T-bar to another fob in the opposite waistcoat pocket forms a resplendent double Albert. If you do not wear a waistcoat, fasten the T-bar to your lapel and place the watch in your breast pocket. Again though, it should provide an accent to the suit not dominate the entire outfit.
Image source: Gq.com
Cuff links are both an opportunity and a curse. They can be a pain to put on in the morning, but their effect in a double cuff is profound. The faux pas to truly avoid is the comedy cufflinks your best man or sister gave you, keep these for casual events.
Symbols close to your heart are acceptable, but keep them small and understated. Stick with simple gold and silver with basic settings like stones or mother of pearl. Art Deco cufflinks are never unfashionable and provide a nice touch.
As for the age-old debate or trigger or chain, chains are generally deemed more formal- most likely due to what a nightmare they can be to put on. Triggers may seem modern convenience but are a joy to put on.
Firstly, and most importantly, do not directly match your pocket square to your tie. The key is to take a primary colour from your jacket, shirt or tie and have that as a secondary colour in your pocket square.
The pocket square is a superbly versatile suit accessory for a suit in that if you are at a more formal occasion you can keep it quite conservative and go for a flat fold which provides an accent to the jacket.
As an example see how our Kinglet Calyptura Pocket Square has been used here to accent the green in the tie but is only an inch above the pocket so provides interest without being overtly flamboyant.
For the more casual occasion then a more flamboyant fold can definitely draw attention and lift the suit to another level. This time the fold is much more flamboyant, in this example using our Kingfisher Square, matching the blue stripes in the shirt with blue accents in the pocket square.
In this example, the pocket square is the focal point of the suit, using our Venice: The Basin of San Marco Pocket Square with different shades of blue reflected in the shirt, tie, jacket and pocket square. This kind of attention to detail will really make your suit stand out.
Ties allow one to express his individuality without contradicting the conservative dress codes that exist in some work environments or social occasions. They main things to consider when choosing your tie are the colour and pattern matching to your shirt, jacket and any other accessories such as a pocket square, and thinking about the textures.
Bold Patterned Ties
If you have a solid coloured shirt (particularly white or sky blue) and a classic suit colour such as navy, then you are free to experiment with bolder colours and patterns with your tie, and you can provide strong contrast should you wish.
When matching your tie to your suit colour, the best looks tend to come when your combinations are balanced. From the colour wheel below you want to match your suit colours on the opposite side, so blues and navy's work well with oranges and reds.
There is one main rule with patterns, and that is don't directly match your tie to your suit pattern in terms of the pattern itself, but more importantly the size of the pattern. For example if you have a houndstooth suit, choose a tie that has a smaller pattern such as polka dots, or a larger pattern.
Image Source: Hespokestyle.com
Feel free to adorn straight ties with all manner of the tie bars and tie pins, but a word of advice on tie bars. Aim for your tie bar to be around 3/4 of your tie width. Although it is not a complete faux pas for it to be the width of your tie, we feel that if you have a tie bar the full width of your you are effectively cutting your tie in half and it ruins the vertical aesthetic of the tie.
A tie bar should also be placed between the 3rd and 4th button of your shirt.
Image Source: Thescotteffect.com
Braces are a sadly forgotten essential. Today, the biggest effort we see is the narcissistic throwing off a jacket to reveal the clip-ons underneath. What these aspiring dandies don’t understand is the clips on these stand up to very little, flying off at the slightest tension like slipping a hand into your pocket.
The original braces use traditional buttoning with leather ends and thick cloth that doesn’t stretch such as our hand-made braces below.
Quality braces make a statement. One of luxury craftsmanship rather than mass produced synthetics. These braces work. Trousers should be hung and braces achieve this beautifully, unlike a belt that simply latches the waistband to the hips. The braces actually hold the crease so that it drapes correctly.
Suit trousers should not actually be worn with a belt, if not braces then side adjusters are the other method of keeping them in place. The reason for this being that a suit is meant to form a singular, vertical aesthetic, whereas a belt provides a horizontal break in the middle of the suit.
The ‘dressed’ feeling of braces is hard to beat, reminding one that the suit is the modern day armour. Braces have the effect of almost pulling you together, your trousers higher and shirt held in. Another benefit of our wool box-cloth material is the comfort of not being stretched across you.
For something rather more functional in the modern age, try an umbrella. The Fox frame is the patented and best model that won’t let you down like a small-packing version. Although not directly a suit accessory, a well suited man in the cooler months with a quality umbrella is making a satorial statement all of his own.
Our personal favourite is to go for a two tone colour, ideally with a classic houndstooth or herringbone pattern such as the below.
A well-tailored suit will always look sharp, but what really takes it up a level is how you choose your accessories so you look like you are styled from the pages of GQ. The main things to keep in mind are complementing primary and secondary colours through your suit and accessories rather than directly matching.
Also, keep an eye on texture matching. In our opinion, a highly textured suit jacket, such as a heavy wool does not work with a shiny silk tie or pocket square. You don't have to match textures directly, but keep them within a few levels of each other.
Our online store, featuring luxury pocket squares, ties and braces for the modern gentleman can be found here: Rampley & Co Shop.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Image Source: Thefashionisto.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Undated: 18 July, 2017
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:
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.
Herringbone is so called since it resembles a fish skeleton. This can make a plain coloured fabric nicely textured.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Image Source: Guesswatches.com
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.
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.
Image Source: Lookastic.com
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.
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.
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.
Image Source: Thebestfashionblog.com
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.
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.
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.
Image Source: Artofstyle.com
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.
Click here to view our full range of Fine Men's Accessories.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
For a unique gift for the gentleman, click here to view our full range of Fine Men's Accessories.