How versatile is your shirt game?

I’m guessing you’re thinking “not very versatile” right? After all…a shirts a shirts a shirt right? Well, kinda. But if you’re smart about it, you can change your look just by wearing your favourite shirt in a different way.

We tend to split up the shirts in our closet “these are my formal shirts…and these are my casual shirts and never shall they traverse”. Sound familiar? If so, stop it, stop it right this moment. It’s time to hybridize that shirt collection, if you were gonna wear it to a braai (BBQ) then its time to take it to the boardroom…and possibly even the other way round. The shirt…not the braai, its never a good idea to take a braai into a boardroom.

So, I’ve taken a little journey with 4 shirts from Old khaki and tried to reinvent how we wear them so that you can shirt up with a difference. We’re gonna take it from casual to formal, but you already knew that didn’t you? Of course you did it’s in the subject line.

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Firstly the mandarin collar. This shirt is maybe the most casual of them all, something you might wear on a Sunday to the beach right? Probably.

So we’re gonna start off slow, adding just a few details allowing you to shirt up to the next level. The easiest way to get the most out of this shirt is to make sure you do up that top button (boom!!! – amazing) just make sure it fit’s you properly around the neck and doesn’t hang loose. Pair this with a blazer and some denim joggers and you’re ready for a summers night out…anywhere really.

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The short sleeved pattern printed shirt. Let’s be honest, you’ve never worn a short sleeve button up without shorts have you? You’re missing a trick you know. Pairing your short sleeve shirt with a lightweight cotton blazer lets you dress up for summer without getting hot and sweaty.

Perfect for lunch at , um, wherever is currently cool to go for lunch – I cant keep track. Pair this with your favourite pair of jeans an old pair of brogues and a popping pocket square to keep everyone from deciding if you came for a good time or a long time!

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The linen shirt. Firstly, you wanna be care full with this guy, make sure your shirt has a decent mix of cotton and linen or it will crease just by looking at it. Linen shirts are synonymous with adventure travelers and, well, rich italians on tropical island getaways – you know the type. So i’ve decided to take this one in a whole new direction.

See almost every piece of menswear has its origins in the military, so let those khaki colours work for you and take a walk (or march as it were) on the formal side of life! Pair this shirt with a leather biker jacket, slim fit chinos and a textured tie for the perfect 2nd date outfit. (never wear a tie to your first date) Throw on a pair of sneakers for a contemporary edge and bonus points for a matching tie clip!

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The plaid shirt. For those of you who don’t know what the heck plaid is read this. We generally refer to these as ‘check’ shirts – though we shouldn’t…because they aren’t (seriously, read the plaid article linked above) – and we all have a couple in our closet. They tend to be restricted to use with jeans for those Saturday nights or chinos for Sunday lunch with her folks.

Wearing a plaid shirt can really bring that contemporary edge to your formal game. But you gotta get it right. The pattern is busy enough so try and keep the rest of the outfit neutral while taking care to pick up on the colors in the plaid. I like to mix and match the blazer and trousers, borrowing different colors from the pattern to bring it all together. Picking out different colors  helps to incorporate the pattern and make it feel considered. If you can find a way to incorporate the smallest details with the shirt pattern – tie clip and pocket square – you will have a winner on your hand.

And that’s it really. Now start wearing your shirts and stop letting them wear you!

Okay. Stay fancy.

 

 

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Last Saturday saw the  inaugural Sun Met celebrated with Mumm come to life with its decades of glamour theme in all its glory.

It was a perfect day for a little horse racing, a lot of champagne and some very fancy people. For those of you who caught my Decade Of Glamour inspiration post a couple of weeks ago you’ll know that this year was all about celebrating the best fashion from the last 8 decades. I decided I would go back to the 30’s, an era of gangsters, jazz and speakeasies dressed in the unofficial uniform of  prohibition, the pin stripe suit. I completed the look with a contrast waistcoat, pin collar shirt and paisley tie.

(Unfortunately this look was pieced together with some old pieces in my wardrobe so I have no links to share with you. The Sunglasses are by Ray Ban, the suit was by Stephen Cole at Stuttafords, the shirt by TM Lewin, the tie and pocket square by Paul Smith and the shoes by Zara)

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Now no gangster is complete without his Moll (look it up) and there was no broad more beautiful than mine on the day. Elzaan’s dress by Casper Bosman was absolutely incredible, she really stole the show!

Of course, the Sun Met has always been as much about fashion as it has been about horses, so everyone really looked great on the day. The gents from I see a different you definitely put there awesome twist on some classic suiting while model /blogger Anesu Chogugudza and his girlfriend Abongwe deservedly picked up’Best Dressed Couple’ – I only say deservedly because Elzaan and I never entered : ) I was however incredibly flattered to find out his outfit had been inspired by 1920’s Decades of Glamour post.

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The rest of the day was literally spent rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of South African fashion culture over a glass or 10 of Mumm Champagne. There is literally nothing that beats a ice cold glass of bubbly on a hot summers day. No wait, drinking it dressed as a  1930’s gangster…that…that beats it!

We managed to catch a few races trackside but were always to slow to place a bet, good thing too I was all in for Captain America taking the Sun Met when it got snatched up by Whiskey Baron. What was I thinking right? Given my outfit Whiskey Baron would have been the obvious choice!

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In the end, the day was TOTE’s amazing (see what I did there) and we just wanted to thank Sun International for being such incredible hosts, we look forward to next year.

Okay. Stay fancy!

 

 

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Those who know me,  know I have a cocktail repertoire of pretty much 2 drinks, the Negroni and the Old Fashioned. Now, Negronis are often reserved for summer, while Old Fashioneds are reserved for Friday nights at The House of Machines, or any long night at home.

Something tells me that’s all about to change, not much, but it’s gonna change.

Lets say hello to the Boulevardier. The Boulevardier can only be described as the love child of these 2 classic cocktails, taking the sweet bitterness from the Negroni and giving it the kick of the Old Fashioned. This drink is the brainchild of Harry Mcelhone, the founder and proprietor of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. In his book ‘Barflies and Cocktails’, Harry credits the Boulevardier Cocktail to Erskine Gwynne, a wealthy American who ran off to Paris and started The Boulevardier literary magazine, hence the name of the cocktail.

The ingredients and recipe, like most classic cocktails is very simple. Traditionally, the recipe calls for equal parts Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Rye Whiskey. I’m a big fan of bourbon so it’s an obvious substitute for the rye, but I’ve also substituted the Campari for Aperol – I’ve noticed that most people are scared off by the bitterness of Campari, so the Aperol just brings a sweeter side to the drink and it’s become a staple in my bar trolley.

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You’re gonna want to serve this drink in a coupe cocktail glass, it’s a nice tip of the hat to it’s 1920’s origin. Chill the glass with a little ice (no one likes a warm cocktail) before you start prepping the rests of your ingredients.

I like to start mine off with a dash or two of bitters over ice in a pouring glass, the bitters just helps give the drink a little depth of flavouro. Next add the Aperol (or Campari if you prefer) and stir well, then stir in the sweet vermouth.

Stirring cocktails as opposed to shaking them helps maintain the clarity of the liquor while cooling it down and diluting it. Apparently, the secret to a good Boulevardier is a little extra Bourbon, so break the equal parts ration with 1,5 ratio of Bourbon and stir it in. I mean, can there be too much bourbon in your drink?

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Remember, the longer you take to construct and stir your drink the more you dilute it, so be quick. Now take your chilled coupe glass, throw out the ice and simply pour that deliciously dark drink through a cocktail strainer. Yeah, it’s that simple.

Garnish with a twist (if you don’t know what a twist is read this), I like lemon as it helps to balance the sweetness of the Aperol. Drop it in and serve. You can thank me when you’re done.

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I find my guests have trouble with their first Negronis and even more so with an old fashioned. Truth be told, my guests can be a bit soft, so this really does make for the perfect segway. Be warned though, like most prohibition cocktails this is just liquor on liquor and that sweet delicious Boulevardier will have you speaking french faster than you can say ‘tre magnifique’

Okay. Stay Fancy.

Look, I don’t need much of a reason to dress up, but a day at the Met is definitely one of the better reasons to suit up. The Met is one of Cape Towns most prestigious horse racing events and with this year marking its 155th running, its also one of its oldest. For those of you who don’t yet know, this year the Met has taken on new sponsors and will be officially known as the Sun Met celebrated with Mumm.

The day is really only about 2 things, horses and fashion. Well, three things if you add champagne. I don’t know many people who know much about horses, so our day is usually focused around Fashion, Champagne and picking the horse with the best name. This years fashion theme is ‘Decades of Glamour’ with a retrospective look at the last 80 years that defined todays fashion. For those of you who may need a little help, I’ve put together 3 looks from 3 of my favorite decades to give you some inspiration and get you going. I’ve partnered up with Markham and Fabiani in order to give  you looks to suit different budgets as well as items that are available right now.

Now, keep in mind, I’m not an historian, especially not one that specializes in the history of fashion. What I do have is Google and a ton of research, but even so, this is meant to be inspirational and not cold hard facts.

1920’s

Men in the 1920’s were arguably the best dressed men of all time, in fact most of the ‘rules’ regarding menswear can be traced back to the 1920’s. When we think 20’s, we all think Gatsby and Leonardo Di Caprio smashing a creme suit with a brown waistcoat and yellow tie. Truth be told, that wasn’t very far off. The colors were all very neutral allowing the details to pop and in a decade where details were everything you made sure you never had a stitch out of place. Men would rarely leave the house without a hat and you would be hard pressed to find someone not sporting a pair of wingtips on their feet.

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I decided I would go for something very neutral with bold patterns and accessories. The double breasted jacket with wide lapels is bang on 1920’s, paired with some simple light chinos and a popping pocket square. If you think the 1920’s is for you and like the look above, you can get it here:

Hat from Markham • Shirt from Fabiani • Bow tie from Markham • Pocket square from Fabiani• Blazer from Markham • Lapel flower from Markham • Trousers from Fabiani

 1940’s

The 1940’s were pretty much ruled by World War 2 and the great depression. This decade didn’t see much change in the mens fashion established in the 20’s and with all the war rationing going on suits became slimmer and military inspired. Pin striped suits really mark the decade as did suspenders (due to leather rations on belts) and your outfit was once again not complete without a hat, pair of two toned brogues and a sizable pants cuff. As the war came to an end everything became wider; pants, ties and especially choice!

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I decided I would crossover war and post war with this military inspired double breasted suit and simple muted accessories. If you want to give the 1940’s a go you can get the following items here:

Hat by Markhams  Suit by Fabiani Tie by Fabiani Pocket Square by Fabiani

1960’s

When you think of the 60’s it’s generally filled with flower power, peace signs and bell bottoms right? Wrong! Well, not wrong actually, I mean bohemia was definitely a look back then but this was a decade where individual style really flourished.  Sub cultures started to adopt there own style and men started hanging up that ‘uniform’ they had been dragging around for 4 decades. Generally things got tighter and louder with patterns and colors everywhere. My personal favorite look from this decade was that of the “mods”, in fact most of what you find in stores today is mod inspired fashion. Clean lines, well tailored suits and a pair of Chelsea boots will get you a long way at achieving this look.

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I’ve definitely taken more of a Mod Persuasion to this look with a simple tailored one button suit but added my 60’s fun in the bright colors and polka dot shirt. If you wanna go 60’s you can get this outfit right here:

Suit by Markham • Shirt by Fabiani • Tie by Markham • Lapel pin by Markham • Pocket square by Fabiani

That’s it folks! If you’re on your way to this years Sun Met then I really hope this post has helped you. Remember, there is a difference between dressing to a theme and dressing up – your outfit should be inspired by the decade but be modern and glamorous. Your outfit should not mimic the decade and be true to every detail as if you’re going to a dress up party.

If you don’t yet have tickets then I hope this post has inspired you to get some, I hope to see you there!

Okay. Stay Fancy.

final-review-book-camissaIt’s not every day you get invited for lunch at one of Cape Town’s landmark hotels. So when the Table Bay hotel told me they had a couple of bottles of GH Mumm on ice, for me and a couple of friends, I didn’t really give it a second thought. Truth be told, I barely gave it a first thought – they kinda had me at GH Mumm  🙂

The Table Bay hotel itself is nothing short of spectacular, having what is arguably the best address in Cape Town – slap bang on the V&A Harbour – this 5 star landmark often feels as though it’s reserved for those climbing off the super yachts anchored just outside. Today however, there was a table waiting for Elzaan and I together with 4 of our closest friends at the hotels official restaurant the Camissa Brasserie. This would be the perfect start to the year and great practice for the upcoming Sun Met of course.

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It was one of those perfect Cape Town summer days, and although we had an opportunity to dine outside it would have meant giving up the lavish leather and marble interior – besides, it was a hot day and we didn’t want our Champagne getting warm  😉

We were in no rush (luckily neither was the restaurant) so we took our time catching up over the home made bread basket, reading through the menu and of course raising a toast to anything we could think of. Sometimes, you don’t have a reason to celebrate so it’s best to make some up along the way.

We eventually settled on our starters and mains and headed straight back to our conversation, champagne and of course some more toasts. Neither of us are food critics so I wont even begin to tell you about mouth feel or crunch factor (is that a thing? It should be if it isn’t) all I know is that my west coast mussel starter was delicious as was my east rock lobster tagliatelle. Elzaan kept showing me how her lamb shank just slipped off the bone and basically all the plates went back empty which is always a great sign.

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When it came to dessert, no one could really decide, so we ended up settling on a classic ‘speed dessert’ to avoid any order envy. For those of you who don’t know, speed dessert involves ordering a dessert for everyone at the table, then having a spoon full and passing left till all the plates were empty. The chocolate fondant went pretty quickly, followed closely by the rainbow cheesecake (or Unicorn cake as we called it), the only thing to suffer was our chessboard, we were simply to full to get through it all.

Our biggest disappointment was turning our last bottle of GH Mumm over to join it’s empty friends in the ice bucket that had given us such a fun afternoon. There was of course one last toast…to the ice bucket of course.

If you’re looking for a special day or night out, I definitely suggest giving the Camissa Brasserie a try for a classic fine dining experience. If you do, don’t rush it, just sit back and take in the beauty its location has to offer, you wont regret a minute. They’re open for lunch (11:00 – 15:30) and dinner (18:00 – 22:30) Sunday to Saturday and you can get hold of them on +27 21 406 5988.

Okay. Stay Fancy.

 

 

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Men really got the short end of the stick when it came to fashion.

Our options are really limited, you can just tell that by the size of the menswear section in any given department store – Yeah, I’m bitter about it. So, we just need to start doing more with what we got right?

We generally take a stab at getting our colour mix right, or the braver few take a chance at mixing patterns in order to create individuality within our outfits. But what if you’ve just not that loud bold colour pattern guy? Well, thats when texture become your greatest accessory. The right mix of textures can really elevate your look and give your outfit that understated boldness you usually rely on patterns for. It also gets you that “rich” look as my girlfriend calls it : )

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A simple textured suit and a bold textured tie helps create contrast and achieves that understated boldness I spoke of earlier. But one small step in the right direction can add a little flair to all that understated boldness. All you need is to bring a little texture to your shoe game.

I’m bringing a little cross hatched texture with these Arthur Jack Darrell derbies from Tread and Miller, they have some great brogueing detail on the toe cap which adds a little contrast by adding scale. A full brogue could do a great job of adding a lot of texture in a subtle way, or you could go all out and get a chunky weave and leave all the understated boldness behind!

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Never underestimate the power of your shoes to transform your outfit.

Okay. Stay Fancy.

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For those of us on the southern hemisphere summer has been coming in hot and fast, mostly hot though. We all love summer, sure, longer  days, shorter night the smell of sun tan lotion, drinks with tiny little umbrellas, its great. That is until you need to get your fancy on and break out into a sweat just thinking how you’ll break out into a sweat the moment you put your jacket on.

So I thought I would share a few tips and tricks in how to stay fancy this summer, whatever the occasion calls for. Lucky for us, summer is a little more relaxed (both in and out the boardroom) but that shouldn’t stop you from looking the part. Talking about looks, i’m about to give you the perfect summer look, and to add to that I’m gonna give you 2 ways to wear it. Kinda like a 1 look two ways thing – well, exactly like that to be honest.

When staying cool is the priority there really is only one big trick to keep in mind, all natural fabrics. Yep, breathability is everything and if you wanna look and stay cool all day, you’re gonna want to invest in some linen. Linen textiles are some of the oldest in the world—people have been wearing it for centuries, and for good reason. The natural fiber and light weave allow for maximum breathability. Mix that in with a little cotton and you’re good to go all day son all day! When it comes to colours, you’re either bright and bold or muted and toned down. Personally I like to keep the bright colours for my swim shorts, and keep my formal wear toned down with lots of white (White also helps hide those unstoppable sweat stains). Muted tones are also just easier to mix, a dusty pink will match well with a pale blue, where as it’s brighter counterparts will clash heavily. Well, that is unless you’re over 70 and playing golf in the tropics of course.

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Lets start with something formal, for those important meetings in summer. A simple off white linen blazer paired with some pale blue linen pants works perfectly. Bring those together with a bright white shirt and you have the perfect base for any look. In this case a pale grey tie with some darker polka dot detail is accentuated with a reverse polka dot pocket square and the outfit is finished off with a tan belt and leather brogues. Tan is a great Summer colour, it goes with that relaxed summer feeling I mentioned earlier as it never quite feels as formal as black or brown.

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Now we all know summer is a lot less about the boardroom and a lot more about the boardwalk (see what I did there). But how can you leave the office and head straight out to a sunset cocktail party without an entire outfit overhaul? Well, not much has to change to be honest, loose the tie, undo that top button and trade the pants in for some pale blue shorts. Boom. You’re ready for that beach party…or pool party, or any party close to a large body of water to be honest. If the occasion is more formal, like a daytime wedding, keep the brogues and the pocket square, if it’s more on the casual side, simply trade the brogues in for some white canvas sneakers. What’s the bag for I hear you ask? Well, where do you think I’m gonna put my pants and shoes guys? 🙂

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Both these outfits were put together head to toe from Trenery. If you like either look, you can shop them right here.
Okay. Stay fancy…and cool.