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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

July 03, 2016

Business & Travel Bags - A Guide For The Gentleman

When it comes to bags, one just isn't enough. Every occasion calls for a different style, and in an effort to avoid those humiliating, document-dropping, butter fingers moments, we've selected three essential styles that will lend themselves to whatever your day or weekend may have in store. For each style we've gone for a classic, higher end product, and a more affordable option.

Briefcases

Long gone are the days of James Bond's attaché hardshell, yet the briefcase stands firm in its place as an absolute mens staple. Modern life requires multi-purpose: can it carry a laptop and a pile of documents and perhaps some cologne for that post-work tipple? 

In this case, always go for a long lasting leather option; hardier and smarter than polyamide alternatives, with the added bonus of that charming 'lived in' leather characteristic as time passes. 

Enter Ted Baker's Jagala leather satchel, this briefcase has ample space for a laptop, plus inner and outer zip pockets. Its solid structure allows for a heavy load without compromising the shape of the bag, whilst its detachable shoulder strap is a handy add-on for multiple-site businessmen or the long commute.

Available from Ted Baker for £265

Ted Baker's Jagala leather satchel

For those that want to spend a little more, Berluti's 'Un Jour' leather briefcase is the pinnacle of understated luxury. At over £2,000, it's an investment piece, but one which will surpass any short term trends. Made in Italy using hand selected Venezia calf leather, Berluti's subtle embossed logo and attention to detail are what makes this stand the test of time. Available in a range of different finishes, we would recommend going for the classic polished leather in black. Just don't leave it in the back of a black cab...

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Available from Mr Porter's US site for $3,300

Berluti's 'Un Jour' leather briefcase

Messenger Bags

For those who have a little more to carry, or can't bring themselves to downsize, Paul Smith's cross-body 'City Webbing' bag features minimal gold details, thus setting itself apart from the plain black messenger bags that seem to be on the shoulder of every other colleague. Its rich, pebbled leather adds luxury without the tacky, and a multitude of pockets prove that it’s ultimately a smart, yet functional business bag.

Available from Paul Smith for £395

Men's Black Leather 'City Webbing' Cross-Body Bag


If minimalism is what appeals, Bally’s ‘Coppet’ is the way forward. Sumptuous grained leather is what defines this muted messenger bag, which, available in a variety of colours, is an accessible and sleek accessory to pack your things into at the end of the day.

Available from Bally for £795

COPPET MEN´S LEATHER MESSENGER BAG IN INK

Leather Holdall Bags

Overnight getaways necessitate a much more sizeable style of bag, with ample room for essentials whilst maintaining sophistication. Balenciaga’s ‘24h’ travel bag ticks all the boxes for a mens overnight bag; its flawless black calfskin leather is ideal cabin baggage for those jetting off on short business trips. A simple perforated “Balenciaga” logo is the height of contemporary style, owing itself to the sportswear-luxe trends that have ruled recent fashion seasons.

Available from Balenciaga for £621

Balenciaga Leather 24H

 

More refined elegance comes in the form of Mulberry’s ‘Large Multitasker Holdall’, which really does what it says on the tin. Almost architectural in its design, this holdall’s main handle is designed not to be seen when not in use; a unique design detail in contrast to simpler, less versatile options. 

Available from Mulberry for £1,350

Large Multitasker Holdall

There are no steadfast rules on accessorising with bags, whether functional, fashionable or both, but material is something which should not be compromised on. Our preference are for blacks and dark navy's when it comes to a business bag, but for a casual travel bag, a tan holdall always looks great and oozes character.

A strong, treated leather bag will keep your laptop, papers, and essentials dry, retaining shape, surviving dashes to meetings, and everything in between. 

May 22, 2016

5 Shoes Every Man Must Own

In the 5th and final video in our Gentleman's Shoe Series, Tom Beecroft from The Jaunty Flaneur, a boutique shoe shining service in Mayfair; London, speaks about the 5 essential shoes every man must own.


Formal Shoes
Starting with the most formal, I'd really recommend having a good pair of black Oxford's such at the below from Gaziano & Girling. Most gentleman already have black shoes so finding something that stands out is really worth spending some time on. My personal preference is for whole cuts which has this very clean shape. Because of the ribbon laces you also have the option to wear them for black tie events. These shoes retail for £770, but similar styled shoes can be purchased a much lower expense.

Gaziano & Girling Black Oxford Shoes

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Smart Brown Shoe
Next we have our smart brown shoe. Again this is to be worth with a suit because of it's very simple plain toe cap, which shines up very very well indeed. This can be worn for smart day events, christenings, formal meetings, that sort of thing. I really like the Vass - Made To Order Toecap Oxford which retails for just under £500, and can either be all one colour or have a contrasting colour on the toe.

Vass Made To Order Brown Shoe

Brogue
One level down in terms of formality, is a brogue, which has a medallion pattern and these design elements on the shoe. This can also be worn with a suit but also as far down as jeans, so it's a very versatile shoe that can be dressed up or down and therefore makes it a great as a smart weekend shoe. The shoe below is a J Fitzpatrick Windermere Brogue Oxford which retails for around £325.

J Fitzpatrick Windermere Brogue Oxford

Chelsea Boot
If you're spending all day on your feet, there is nothing better than a Suede Chelsea boot, in particular the below from Oliver Sweeney. Because of it's Bologna construction it is incredibly comfortable to wear all day long.

Oliver Sweeney Chelsea Boot

Winter Boot
Finally, we've got a strong winter boot from Cheaney. Because of the grained leather it's going to hide a lot of marks and imperfections, but also because of the rubber sole and the very strong Goodyear construction you're going to be able to wear these through snow, sleet, rain, etc.

Cheany Derby Boot

So with these 5 shoes you should be set for every eventually. See our Gentleman's Shoe Series for more videos on how to care for your shoes. 

May 15, 2016

Shoe Care

In Part 4 of our Gentleman's Shoe Series, Tom Beecroft from The Jaunty Flaneur in Mayfair, London offers his shoe care tips, and the key things that you need to do to keep your shoes in excellent condition and ensure a long lifetime. 


Leather Shoe Care

It's important when caring for your leather shoes to get into a routine which will ensure your shoes stay in tip top condition. The first thing to do when you get home from work is to open up the facings quite wide so there's no extra stress when you're taking your feet in and out of the shoes. Give them a couple of minutes for the air circulate before putting in your shoe trees and then brush down with a horse hair brush which will get rid of any dust or dirt that has accumulated during the day.

Storage 
Once you've done that, put them away in their shoe bags, and if you've got the original shoe box then so much the better as it will protect them in your wardrobe. If you've invested a lot of money in your shoes it's worth spending an extra couple of pounds on getting the right shoe care to look after them which we've set out below.

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Shoe Care Products
The range of products that we highly recommend is from Safhir in France, which has a large amount of natural ingredients, things like mink oil, bees wax and carnauba wax and which won't dry out the leather in the same way that cheaper brands that use a lot of chemicals might do. Although they are a little more expensive, we would definitely say they are worth the investment.

Safhir Shoe Care Products

Other tips to increase the longevity of your shoes is to use a shoe horn every time you put your shoes on. This is going to protect the backs of your shoes. Also if you have quite a long stride, having indented mental toe taps cut into your shoes will greatly increase the amount of time between resoling. Following these basic rules and habits will ensure that you add years to the life of your shoes.

May 08, 2016

Shoe Shine Kit

In the video and article below, Tom Beecroft from The Jaunty Flaneur, a shoe shining company in Mayfair, London explains the key elements you need in a good shoe shine kit.

Shoe Shine Kit Key Products

Horse Hair Brush
You need to start with a horse hair brush. There's not much to choose between different brushes, but opt for a larger one as there's more surface contact per stroke. A good horse hair brush will retail from around £9. 

Horse Hair Brush

Welt Brush
The only other brush you need is a welt brush. This is the skinny brush that fits between the upper and the sole of the shoe. Welt brushes start from £4.

Welt Brush

Selvyt Cloth
All other creams and waxes can be applied with a cloth. The best cloth I've found is Selvyt, but you can at a push use an old T-shirt as well. A Selvyt cloth retails for around £6.

Selvet Cloth

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Creams And Waxes
In terms of creams and waxes, one factory really does stand alone, it's called Arvel in France. They have two major brand names, Saphir Medialle D'Or and La Cordonnerie Anglaise. This moisturiser cream, is by far and away the best I've found. It's not too oily and it does a really good job of nourishing the leather and cleaning it up. Saphir Medialle D'Or cream retails for £10.

Saphir Medaille Dor Shoe Cream

You also need to use a coloured shoe cream. There's a very strong colour pigment to these, which rejuvenates the shoe but there's also a lot of bees wax in there so it will start to build a bit of a shine from just using this and then buffing it off. Saphir Medaille d'Or Renovateur cream retails for £12.

 Saphir Medaille d'Or Renovateur Cream

Finally of course for that high shine you'll need waxes, and again Saphir is the place to go for that. Very strong natural ingredients which means it won't dry out the leather in the same way that a cheaper brand would. Saphir Medaille d'Or 1925 Beeswax Polish retails for £11.

Saphir Medaille d'Or 1925 Beeswax Polish

 

To get the most out of the shine, you need to use ladies tights. We use 60 Denier, but of course the smoother the shoe the smoother the tights can be. With broguing you might even want to go thicker. 

Finally, just on a day to day basis, you need to use shoe trees at the end of the day and then pop them in their shoe bags and then every morning as well don't forget to use a shoe horn to protect your socks and the backs of your shoes. Shoe Trees come in a range of finishes a prices starting from £10.

Shoe Trees

 Watch all the videos in the series here: Gentleman's Shoe Series

May 01, 2016

Spit Shine

In the video below, Tom Beecroft from The Jaunty Flaneur explains the process of a Spit Shine for leather shoes. 


Spit Shine Definition

A Spit Shine is the process of applying thin layers of polish to leather shoes or boots, while also adding a lubricant such as water, which if carefully layered will create a high shine effect. The name historically has it's roots with the military, where soldiers would use their saliva as the lubricant and combining it with the shoe polish to create a mirror like finish on their military boots. 

How To Spit Shine Shoes - Video Transcript 

I'm Tom Beecroft from The Jaunty Flaneur. To make your shoes look even better, there's an extra finish you can add to give your shoes a glass like appearance. You can really only do this on parts of the shoe that do not bend when you are walking, so here at the front and here at the back, but never across the vamp as this can lead to the finish cracking.

It is important that you have a few layers of wax down at this point, so you need to do a normal polish first as shown in our video here: How To Polish Shoes. You can't skip straight to a glaçage as the water can damage the leather.

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Using a cloth or a cotton ball, add a little wax, just a touch of water and then work them in tiny circles. Then add a little more wax and water and carry on that same process. This takes time and can't be rushed. Adding too much wax, or too much water or trying to take short cuts can ruin the effect, so you really do have to take your time. After a few layers though you should end up with a mirror finish that looks great and is excellent protection against the elements.

Once you've got the glaçage in the shoe it's relatively easy to keep it there for the future. Just remember to brush down well at the end of every day and add a couple of thin layers of wax now and then.

April 24, 2016

How To Polish Shoes

In the first video in our Gentleman's Shoes Series, Tom Beecroft from The Jaunty Flaneur based in Mayfair outlines the key steps they follow to get a high quality shoe shine.

 

The 4 Key Steps To Polish Shoes Properly

Step 1 is to prepare the shoe for polishing by dusting it down with a horse hair brush, making sure to also get into the welt areas and also the waist of the shoe. Then apply a little renovateur cream across the whole of the upper. This will nourish and moisturise the leather. Leave that to sink in for at least half an hour, although the longer the better before you buff it off.

Add Shoe Cream To Nourish The Leather

Step 2 is to massage in shoe cream to restore colour and further nourish the upper. Again you want to leave that for at least half an hour. Because the shoe cream has some bees wax in it, when you buff it of, you'll start to see a shine develop.

Add High Quality Wax

Step 3 is to start adding thin layers of high quality wax. Start by using a welt brush to get into the area between the sole and the upper and this is largely to protect the stitching. Then use a cloth to apply wax all over the shoe. After leaving the wax to dry for a moment, buff off and then add another layer. After a few layers it is best to use a pair of thick tights to quickly go over the surface and bring out the most from the shine.

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Polish Your Shoes To A Mirror Shine

Step 4 is really what separates a standard shoe shine from a well polished shoe. By adding in a drop of water when massaging in some layers of wax we can build a mirror like finish on certain parts of the shoe. This should only really be saved for parts of the shoe that do not flex when you are walking such as the toe and the rear quarter. 

The high quality shoe products can be found on The Jaunty Flaneur's website here: http://www.thejauntyflaneur.com/buy-shoe-care-products/ 

To see all video's on our How To Polish Shoes YouTube series click here: http://www.rampleyandco.com/pages/videos 

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

April 04, 2016

10 Products Worth 10X The Price - Real Men Real Style Video Featuring Rampley & Co.

We were honoured to be featured as one of the top 10 luxury products recommended by renowned men's fashion blogger Antonio Centeno, the founder of Real Men Real Style. Antonio has grown a large following with over 34 million views on his YouTube channel that cover all aspects of men's fashion and accessory advice. You can see his video on the 10 Products Worth 10X The Price below.

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March 25, 2016

Tie Knots

Whilst there are many different tie knots, certain knots are better suited to the style of the tie, the fabric or the occasion that you are attending. In the post below we’ll take you through the best tie knot combinations for wool, silk ties etc.

A few starting basics. Firstly, when deciding on the tie you are going to wear, always match it to the lapels of the jacket you are wearing. The wider the lapels, the wider your tie should be. Similarly, the tie knot should also be in proportion to the collar of your shirt, so a larger collar would need a larger knot.

Tie Knot Styles

For knitted wool ties, the best knot to use is the ‘four in hand’ aka. the basic tie knot, due to the thickness of the tie. The four in hand can be tied as either a single or double knot, as shown below. The casual look of the tie pairs better with an asymmetrical knot for a relaxed fit. Similarly for woven wool ties, due to their raised texture, they are chunkier and heavier and therefore look great with the Nicky knot.

Four In Hand Knot
Image Source: Dresslikea.com

Silk ties look great with a slightly bulkier knot such as the Windsor knot or the Grantchester knot. The Windsor knot likely originated from George V, who liked the look of a wide knot and had ties made of thicker material. The Windsor knot was then invented to emulate this wide look using ties made from a thiner material such as silk. The soft drape of the silk, combined with its subtle sheen and suppleness look smart with these knots as they balance the width of the tie well.

Silk Tie Windsor Knot
Image Source: Samhober.com

As a note, be careful when untying silk ties as threads can catch and ties can misshape easily. Gently reverse the steps you would take to tie the tie.

Cotton and linen fabric ties for summer look great with a half Windsor knot. The symmetrical appearance and fuller knot look best with lightweight materials paired with a similar lightweight material for the suit.

 

Linen Tie
Image Source: Onetowed.com

A quick search for tie knots on wiki reveals that there are 85 mathematical ways to tie a necktie. The different tie knot styles have been condensed to 13, narrowed down through aesthetic and symmetry. 

Looking at what tie knots to wear for a different occasion can be baffling but a general rule to follow is to stick to symmetrical knots for formal, business occasions. You can be more flexible and adventurous for more dressed down events. 

For more insights into dressing well, we have a free eBook that can be downloaded on the following link: 13 Essentials To Dressing Like A Gentleman

Tie Knots For Different Occasions

The most popular formal tie knot is the Windsor, both smart and practical as it is self releasing and aesthetically symmetrical. Depending on the variety of necktie types you have in your collection there will be a larger variety of knots to try. For example, the Balthus knot is one of the largest styles amongst many tie knot lists and you need a long tie to successfully achieve this knot due to the large amounts of fabric consumed.

Tie Knots For Skinny Ties
The skinny tie has gained popularity amongst younger men as a more contemporary take on the standard tie. The most important thing to remember is as the tie is skinny the knot must remain in proportion with the tie. The best tie knots for skinny ties are the ‘four in hand’ and the ‘oriental’. 

Skinny Tie Knot 
Image Source: Kolonelmustard.com

One Of Our Favourites
If you’re looking for a tie knot that is surely to make you stand out from the rest, look no further than the Trinity. This Celtic inspired knot is utterly striking yet smart and looks best with a silk tie. Using less material than the Balthus it is easy to achieve with an average length tie. 

 

Trinity Tie Knot
Image Source: Blacklapel.com

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