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
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

We also post daily images of some of our favourite suit and jacket shots on Instagram, which you can use for inspiration here: www.instagram.com/rampleyandco.

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.

When it comes to the jacket, even more visual than the pattern is the cut. We've created a free eBook on the essentials to dressing well, which can be downloaded here: Dressing Like A Gentleman.

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. 

 

Our Pocket Square Collections

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.

 

Our Pocket Square Collections

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

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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

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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.

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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. 

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.

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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.