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Watches, you can never have too many right?

That’s why I keep giving them away! I realise that much like everything else you put on that day, your watch needs to feel like the perfect accessory to your outfit. It needs to convey the same mood and attitude you have put into the rest of your look. Nothing looks worse than a gentleman dressed to the nine’s sporting a…well, sports watch.

So, the kind folks at James McCabe have not offered 1 watch up for grabs, but rather your choice of £600 (about $800 or €700) in watches off their site. This way, you can make sure you cover the full extent of watches you may require for every look. If you win, I suggest getting at least one of these new Heritage Automatic pieces – As you can see on the pics below, the detailing and quality is exceptional!

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The heritage of these watches dates back to Ireland in the late 1700’s with a long lineage of watchmakers producing over 50 000 watches, one of those a pocket watch purchased by George washington himself in 1973. True Story.

You luckily don’t need to be a dead president in order to get your hands on a James McCabe watch. You need only follow a few easy steps to stand in line to win a whole bunch of these guys. So here goes:

  1. If you aren’t already following @mccabewatches on Instagram, go do that first! It’s a pretty bad ass account.
  2. Simply tag a friend in my Win £600 in McCabe Watches post and you’re good to go.

Yeah. It really is that simple.

The competition will run from 02/08/16 to 07/08/16 and the winner will be chosen via random.org and announced on the week of 08/08/16 via Instagram.

Good luck and Stay Fancy.

 

Full-LengthSartorial Sundays are all about staying fancy while staying casual. You know, a kind of Sunday best meets casual and comfy.

A couple of years ago I wrote a Sartorial Sunday post all about suits and sneakers at the time I thought it was a fad and never really got into it. I think the problem was I just couldn’t find the right sneakers. Well, until now that is.

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These are no normal Nike sneakers. In fact, you’ll never find these in any Nike store anywhere in the world really. Quite simply, I designed these myself. Kinda like a WMBW X Nike collaboration, just without all the ensuing royalties.

That’s right people, with the launch of Nike.co.za comes our access to Nike ID and with that the loss of multiple hours creating your dream shoes! The moment I told everyone at the office about this, BOOM! the office became a nike design studio. You can design pretty much any shoe, changing virtually every element from the sole to the swoosh and everything in between.

In a world where every store seems to carry the same stuff it’s become pretty tricky to maintain our individuality. We all wanna wear that one unique piece that carries our signature style, or in this case, anything and everything you!

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I decided on the Nike Internationalists because of the retro silhouette and low profile but the Air Pegasus were a close second. The trick for me was keeping it neutral, it gives you the versatility to dress it up and down with pretty much anything you want, at some point I was even tempted to go all grey…or all white, or grey and white…I designed about 10 pairs before settling on these guys!

The trick to dressing it up is…as with everything else in fashion, in the details. A little pattern goes a long way in making your look more casual, in this case a lot of pattern went even further. Sneakers generally have a higher rise on your foot than formal shoes, so go for a cropped trouser, and a turn up if you can, you want to create that distinctive separation to show those kicks off! In this case a simple shirt worked best, there was enough pattern going on in the jacket and trousers. Finishing details to give it that dapper edge was a simple linen pocket square and blue lapel flower to tie in with  the trousers.

That’s it folks. If you’re looking for something a little unique I definitely suggest giving Nike ID a try and customising some sneakers. I’ve been back to Nike.co.za few times, got my eyes on customising a pair of Lunar Flyknits for the gym. What? No one said you cant stay fancy and fit at the same time.

If you’re liking the rest of the outfit, here’s where you can find it.

Pocket square by Bows N Ties

Blazer by River Island

Shirt by TM Lewin

Pants by River Island

Okay. Stay fancy.

Of---TitleThe old Fashioned is hands down, my favourite drink.

It wasn’t always, in fact it used to be beer.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know that it was introduced to me by Nic Koumbarakis on my first visit to The House Of Machines. My first sip literally changed my approach to drinking and gave me a new appreciation for a well made cocktail. Up until then, my idea of a cocktail was something sugary sweet topped with a cherry, maybe a piece of pineapple and definitely a tiny little umbrella.

Now, admittedly, I do have a penchant for classic cocktails. The kind that are made by mixing booze on booze and giving you a proper kick up the pants. This, is perhaps the most classic of classic cocktails, so classic in fact that it dates back to 1806, so classic in fact that the glass it was served in became known as an old fashioned glass. I mean I don’t know how many other drinks can claim that! Except for whiskey I suppose….and champagne. Wine too I guess. Ok fine, but still classic!

As legend has it (yes legend) this was a breakfast drink – those really were the good ol’ days uh?  Bourbon whiskey mixed with water, sugar and a couple dashes of bitters was apparently the most important meal of the day. During prohibition, the drink saw many variations and additives (mostly because the liquor back then tasted so terrible resulting in most of todays classic cocktails) until 1881 where the first ‘Old Fashioned’ as we know it was created at a gentleman club in Louisville, Kentucky. The rest is history i guess. Well, this part was also history, but this isnt a history blog, so let’s leave it there.

The drink is traditionally still made exactly the same way, sugar, bitters and whiskey all stirred over ice and topped with a citrus twist. Simple, and delicious. For the most part the old fashioned I’m about to show you is traditional except for a little change in the sweetening agent. Instead of sugar I’m gonna use maple syrup, not only because it really brings out the flavour of the bourbon but because that’s how Nic made it and it pretty much tastes like liquid gold.

Below is what you’re gonna need. Some good quality bourbon (I’m a big fan of Woodford Reserve), maple syrup, bitters (i’m using my homemade orange bitters – but that’s a whole other blogpost) and some orange peel. You’re also gonna need some time and a bit of bad assery, that’s what the hourglass and skull are for. As far as the rest of the equipment goes, a mixing glass, stirring spoon and strainer will do the trick, if you’re not sure what these are check out this essentials post.

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So, that’s pretty much how you start.

You want to get your old fashioned glass chilling right from the get go. The only thing worse than a warm glass is the resulting warm drink. Then grab your stirring glass and drop in a couple sturdy blocks of ice. On top of the ice, throw in a dash or 2 of bitters – this helps balance the drink and give it a depth of flavour. On top of that, a teaspoon or 2 of maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like your drink. The final drink will take 2 shots of bourbon, but you want to stir them in one at a time to ensure even mixing. Stirring the drink not only chills it, but also dilutes it, this is where the quality of your ice is important, cheap ice will give you a very watery drink so be careful to not stir too long as your drink will dilute further in the glass.

Now grab your old fashioned glass and strain out any excess water left behind by the ice. Slowly strain your old fashioned into the glass allowing it to keep chilling along the way. The final step is perhaps my favourite and can even call for a little theatre. Cut yourself a piece of orange peel avoiding the white bitter part under the skin. Give the peel a nice twist over the drink allowing all those fragrant oils to settle on top of the drinks surface. Rub the skin around the rim of the glass and drop it in. Boom! If it worked for Ryan Gosling, it might do the same for you.

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As with all thing, you’ll tweak your recipe to suit your tastes, but these are the basics. Be warned, these drinks are no joke, their strength is cleverly disguised by their deliciousness.

Okay. Stay fancy

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Elzaan and I have just come back from another little trip in the east, it seems to be our destination de jour lately. After 3 non stop days in Hong Kong we were ready for a little R&R in Phuket.

We wanted to stay away from the drunken crowds and total commercialism that is Patong beach and Kata. If you’ve ever been to any of those you’ll know the only R&R you’re gonna get is rum and redbull! Boom! We decided to stay on the souther most tip of Phuket island on a quite little beach called Nai Harn at a hotel called…wait for it…The Nai Harn. The reviews seemed excellent and it had a bunch of little local eateries within in walking distance so we could get a taste of the local flavour. Pun intended.

Now,most of our Thailand trip was rained out (ARGH….yes yes I know…monsoon season…shuddup!!) but luckily our first few days at The Nai Harn gave us a little sun and plenty of pool time. The hotel is built on a cliff giving you endless views over the Andaman sea from pretty much everywhere, it’s pretty sweet.

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Yeah, I know right! WOW! We thought the exact same thing when we arrived!

After a little confusion with our booking  we finally ended up at our ‘Grand Ocean View Room’ – now, all the hotels in Thailand give themselves fancy room names, you can easily find yourself in the Superior Deluxe room wondering where that smell comes from or when they last changed the bedding, lucky for us, this was not the case.

We specifically chose this room because of the massive balcony and day bed. We had visions of lying outside sipping G&T’s, chatting and reading our books, in the end…we never read our books! The rooms are massive and honestly have everything you need, the bathrooms open on to the room via sliding walls and the shower is an entire room the size of my apartment. It’s pretty fancy. I didn’t take many pics of the room, cause I figure you can see all that on the website right?

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The hotel has recently been renovated and in fact some things we’re still being finished off during our stay – It didn’t ever bother us and I’m pretty sure it’s done now. They’ve managed to capture this super contemporary beachy villa feel throughout the whole place, I’m a sucker for aesthetics and nothing felt out of place here. Well done guys!

Our stay included a buffet breakfast and if all the trip advisor and hotel.com reviews were anything to go by, it was meant to be epic. It was. It wasn’t only the best buffet breakfast we had in Thailand, I’m sure it’s one of the best Ive had anywhere in the world. They bake their own bread, get cheese from a frenchman somewhere up in the hills (I overheard) and serve what is arguably the worlds best bacon. Look I know I’m really making a meal of this breakfast (Heyyyooooo) but it was truly the highlight of our day!

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Overall we were super happy with our stay here and really it was the benchmark to which we measured every other hotel we stayed in for the rest of our trip. There were however just a handful of negatives.

Our biggest gripe is that the hotel restaurant is incredibly expensive, so much so that we didn’t even bother trying it but instead stuck to the local eateries down the road (mama seafood being our favourite) this is of course all budget dependant and your budget will more than likely be bigger than ours. The bar – of which there are 2 – is also on the pricier side does offer a happier hour where the 2 for 1 deal makes the drinks go down a lot easier.

The pool area is also a little small, well, small for the size of the hotel. We were there in the off  season so really it had zero impact on us and we had no problem getting a lounger or enjoying the pool This is just a warning for those of you planning a visit during peak season. The beach however is literally a stone throw away and although we didn’t get to use it (monsoon season!!!!) it really looked beautiful and may be the perfect option when the pool get’s busy!

Lastly, the Nai Harn is pretty remote. Beside the handful of local stores and restaurants nothing else is really in walking distance. The hotel does have 2 bicycles you can book and use to explore the near bye towns, but they do work on a first come basis and it’s literally 2 bikes for the entire resort. Lame guys.

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That’s it folks. If you’re looking at visiting Thailand anytime soon and want to stay away from the crowds I highly recommend The Nai Harn. We generally book all our hotels on hotels.com mostly because they have the best deals going far in advance so maybe start there if you’re keen.

Okay. Stay fancy.

Hey…I just realised “stay fancy” now has a double meaning…like “stay somewhere fancy” GENIUS!!!

 

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The friendly folks at Brathwait think that you guys deserve a watch. See, friendly right?

Now, I don’t think the guys at Brathwait are friendly just because they want to give you a watch, but I think they’re friendly because of their philosophy. Simply put, they’re all about transparency, and i’m not talking the saphire glass covering the watch face, I’m talking about pricing transparency. When you visit their site, they literally break down the cost of every piece of the watch, from the quartz movement inside to the leather strap outside. It’s quite novel, and really nice to know exactly what you’re paying for – or in this case, possibly winning.

So what do I love about this classic slim wrist watch? Well, because it really feels like quality. The leather strap is substantial and well tanned giving it just the right amount of variation in colour. The sapphire glass is slightly curved giving it a luxury feel. My favourite thing though, is the butterfly clasp on the back, I’m not even sure why, but it’s a great detail that adds to the luxury feel.

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Right. So you wanna win the watch? Of course you do.

As usual I try to make it as easy as I can. This is extra easy, I’m talking 2 step easy.

  1. Go and give Brathwait a follow on Instagarm, you know, to say thank you.
  2. Tag 2 people who you think would like this watch on the competition post uploaded on my Instagram.

Like I said, easy. Just watch out for the T&C’s below.

• Competition will run from 16/06/16 for a week till 23/06/16.

• Winner will be drawn using random.org and announced by 27/06/16

• Both step 1 and 2 above need to be completed to qualify 

• Competition open to anyone in the world and your prize will be shipped to you.

That’s it.

Good luck and stay fancy.

 

 

Full-length-(looking-back)Summer sucks.

Okay, that seems a bit harsh, but it’s next to impossible to appear dapper in summer, I sometimes think you can achieve smart casual at best. You wanna know why that is? Layering. Yep, layering can really help push your outfit to another level, but you can really only get away with it in winter.

As with all things, the art to layering is in the details. There is of course a wrong and right way to do it. So, with the help of this outfit I picked up at Trenery I’m gonna try help you get it right as we start heading into the middle of winter here in the Southern Hemisphere.

I speak about ‘the art of contrast’ in pattern maxing a fair amount with my Fancy Friday posts, and layering falls under the same rule – as do most rules in mens fashion. For your layers to work, they need to stand apart from each other, and this is where the contrast comes in. Make sure that if you’re layering in solid colours (like I am in this outfit) that you keep within the same tonal range to avoid looking like a christmas tree. A misplaced pop of colour when layering can draw all the attention to one item and make the layering appear less like layering and more like you just couldn’t work out what to wear so you just wore everything you had.

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Layering is not just about looking good though (or great in some cases) but it’s also the most practical way to dress for our climate. It’s cold outside, then it’s warm in the car but then cold in the parking lot and warm in the office again and it goes on like that all day for a couple of months. Cape town can be even trickier with a freezing cold morning and a summers afternoon in one day. Layering helps you adjust to the climate without having to dress down completely. The simplest and most practical thing for this is knitwear, not only does it add warmth, but if you choose smartly, it can add texture and colour to your outfit too.

As always, you want to avoid synthetic fabrics, they will literally give you no breathing room between the hot and cold spots so where you can stick to wool during winter. The outfit above features both a Brushed Merino wool Trenery blazer and a Merino Wool Trenery V-Neck, not only did they add great texture, but they had me feeling like I was walking around in my duvet the whole day – yeah, it’s that cosy.

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If you like the look above and want to recreate any or all of it, everything is available at Trenery both online and in store.

Modern Brushed Texured Blazer

Merino Wool V-Neck Knit

Classic Custom Twill Shirt

Modern Washed Chino

Terrier Pocket Square

Martin tie

Tyler Leather Brogue

Okay. Stay Fancy.

An Asutralian walks into a bar and asks “what beer do you have”?

No, this is not the start of a lame joke, though it is funny, in an awkward way. A friend of mine walked into an old New York bar – the name escapes me – it was some fancy place in an even fancier hotel. The bar had been around since forever and it was the kind of place men went to be men, you know, sip whiskey, smoke cigars, talk stocks, that kind of thing. Anyway, he walked up to the barmen and asked what beer they had, the bar man replied with “when you know what you would like Sir, I’de be happy to pour it for you”. Ok, sure I’m paraphrasing, but I think you get the gist of it. No gentleman should walk up to a bar without knowing what it is he wants, more importantly though, when he does he should know how to order it.

I overhear too many guys ordering drinks at the bar incorrectly so I think it’s time we stop confusing (or rather annoying) our barmen with this little bit of drinkucation! Yes it’s a made up word.

Neat

For the purpose of this exercise, Ive used a bottle of Gentleman Jack, not only because it’s one of my favourite whiskeys, but it works across all 3 examples.

Ordering a drink “Neat” will get you your poison of choice in a glass un-chilled, with no ice and no mixer. This kind of request is best kept for a good whiskey, bourbon or brandy, something that is aged and is best enjoyed at room temperature. Of course, if you’re out on a bender and looking for results, you could order anything you want neat – just maybe sit on the corner of the bar close to the toilets.

On-The-Rocks

This one we all know right? “Gimme a Jack on the rocks!” It simply refers to liquor poured neat over ice, allowing the liquor to chill and dilute as you sip it. In this case, your ice grade is very important. Yes, their are different ice grades and a good bar should be able to offer you gourmet ice (yea, it’s a real thing) also known as Top Hat or Octagon ice. You’ll recognise this ice from its clarity, that’s because it’s produced in such a way that it is free from  contamination, free from impurities, and contains no minerals allowing a clear cube (not like my foggy home made ones up above).

The benefit of gourmet ice, is that it melts slower and doesnt alter the flavour of your drink with all the minerals and impurities found in tap water. If you want to be a complete whiskey snob, your ice cubes should be made with the same water they use to make the whiskey. But that’s pretty next level stuff.

Straight-Up

Here’s the drink that brings in all the confusion. The term ‘straight up’ means that the drink has been chilled over ice either via shaking or stirring, strained and served in a glass (usually a stemmed glass) with no ice. This is best for when you are looking to chill your drink without too much dilution. A Martini is a great example of a drink usually served straight up.

Unfortunately, the term ‘straight up’ has now also become used to describe a drink served ‘neat’ – as in “straight up with no bullshit!”. Ordering a drink ‘up’ should get you a chilled drink served in the traditional ‘straight up’ way.

The drink above was chilled in a stirring glass and pored with a twist of lime. What’s a twist now? Ordering a drink with a twist refers to garnishing the drink with a thin strip of citrus peel – not a wedge. In most cases, lemon is the default unless otherwise specified.

So that’s it really. Pretty simple in the end.

Now excuse me while I go enjoy these drinks I just poured.

Okay. Stay fancy.

 

 

 

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