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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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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.

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I’m carrying 3 wallets on me.

Yeah, tricky to tell I know. But that’s kinda the point. No one should ever be able to see your wallet. Ever. Nothing ruins a great look like a giant bulge in your jacket…or your pants for that matter. Wait, that came out wrong.

I personally have 2 wallets, an everyday piece with a coin pouch and every single card I own and then a slim little card wallet for those nights out on the town – when I wanna avoid the awkward bulge. The truth is, I don’t even need the big guy, I barely even use it, I’ve had it for about 10 years now and it’s probably time for it to find a home in my bottom drawer. Sorry, I was just thinking out loud there for a bit.

Anyway, lets get back to the 3 wallets story shall we. The guys at Distil Union asked me to take a look at their collection of Wally Wallets. The philosophy behind the design was slimming down the wallet without loosing functionality. So I decided to put them to a little slim test.

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3 wallets no bulges. Boom.

Okay, I really shouldn’t have stuck one in my back pocket because you couldn’t see it anyway but you get the point right? The trick with keeping these guys slim is the pull tab technology that lets you store your cards tightly and neatly while still giving you easy access to them. What that essentially does is remove the extra layers of leather used for card slots and makes your wallet slimmer. The guys at distill union are pretty serious about making wallets slimmer, they even offer  a ‘Fat Wallet Fix‘ tutorial to help you slim down to your essentials.

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Clever packaging and quirky quotes aside these  wallets are really well made, the leather is super soft and you can just feel how well it will age. The Pull-Tab tech works smoothly and Distil Union has also introduced a FlexLock™ mechanism – a spring-steel pocket that keeps your contents secured even as the leather stretches.

I wouldn’t mind finding one of these guys under the Christmas tree this year, even if it is labeled ‘from Sergio to Sergio’. Maybe you’ll do the same, if so use product code WMBW15 and get 15% off  your Distil Union order till January 1st 2017.

Okay. Stay fancy.

 

 

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In the world of mens accessories, it’s very rare that something new and interesting comes up. Trust me, I get daily e-mails asking for support of some or other Kickstarter campaign, it’s usually a pair of socks, or sometimes a wooden tie, strangely enough never a wooden pair of socks, but that would definitely intrigue me.

When the guys at Vanacci asked me to review their bracelet, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I have loads of mens bracelets lying around, they all look great, sometimes I pair them with my watch, sometimes with my tie, their primary function though is to look good. So why the immediate interest in these Vanacci beaded bracelets? Well, they’ve added function to something that was until now purely decorative.

“What the hell are you on about?” I hear you ask.

What makes these bracelets different is lockstone technology!….Boom! Yeah, I didn’t know what it was either, so let me tell you. A selection of beads on the Vanacci bracelet are made of a material that captures your fragrance and then slowly releases it all day. The specific science is called capillary action – where water molecules are drawn deep into the material, to migrate slowly back up to the surface through osmosis. It is then that the water evaporates, releasing the fragrance: slow, sustained scent release. 

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Truth be told, I don’t really understand the science, but I don’t really think you’re supposed to, or even that you need to. It definitely makes for a strong conversation starter. According to Vanacci, a few sprays of your favourite fragrance will keep it lasting 7 times longer than just applying it to your skin.

The million dollar question is of course “Did it work?” You bet your sweet smelling ass it worked. I was really impressed, so was Elzaan who kept commenting on the fragrance all day – I had just bought something new that she was crazy about. The next day the fragrance was still there, very slight but definitely still lingering. That got me thinking, what if you want to use a different fragrance? Luckily, by day 2, it seemed to be completely neutral and was ready to capture a new scent. They do have 5 different styles, so maybe you can get one for each of your favourite fragrances and just keep the scent fresh.

If you’re looking for a Kickstarter to support, this is definitely something unique enough that you wont find it at your local department store. If you want to find out more about Vanacci and their lockstone products why not go visit them on their Kickstarter page. With Christmas on the way this might just be the perfect stocking stuffer for that special stinky someone.

Okay, stay fancy.

full-lengthI was lucky enough to be invited by H&M South Africa to preview the new Modern Essentials Collection (selected by David Beckham) before it hit stores on the 29 September. This collection is hand picked by fashion Icon David Beckham in an attempt to offer gentlemen around the world wardrobe staples that should last them for seasons to come.

Personally, I love this approach to fashion, it’s been my approach for many years now, picking items that will sit in my wardrobe and look good with anything else, anytime. My wardrobe is pretty much a pantone book of greys and blues in every shade and tone and if you flip through my Instagram you’ll see that navy and grey are pretty much my uniform…weirdly enough, navy and grey are a lot of peoples actual uniforms. What I’m trying to get to is you cant go wrong with navy and grey, it’s the perfect base to any good outfit.

So it goes without saying that I was more than pleased to find that this entire collection is a neutral palette of blue and grey with some autumn tones of green and burgundy thrown in for a little colour pop. It also covers my other personal essential, texture. It’s amazing what a little texture can bring to a monotone outfit, it helps set items apart and maintain there individuality even when they’re the same colour.

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I decided I would put together two looks, my usual formal look as well as something a little more casual. The formal was easy, I mean, do I need to go on more about the benefits of grey and navy? Nah, I think you get it. I picked out a tie and pocket square from the regular collection and everything came together perfectly, as it should, the modern essentials is meant to be the perfect base for your outfit right?

The 2 button charcoal blazer is heavily textured, while the shirt had a brushed cotton feel, so I went for a textured tie and pocket square that picked up on the blue of the shirt, the grey blue of the tie and the burgundy in the shoes. A small pop of colour goes a long way in giving your outfit a bit of stand out. Oh, one last thing, the pants were perfectly cropped and turned up to be the perfect height, straight off the rack, a rare find.

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The casual look, was again very monochromatic, but something a little different for me. The heavy cotton pants were cropped really high, something I saw a lot of in a recent trip to Japan, but something that even I (with my ‘show some ankle’ look) wasn’t totally used to. I decided to embrace it and show off an old pair of brogue boots in all their glory, but I’m really looking forward to using them in the peak of summer with a pair of simple white sneakers and white tee.

The rest was another experiment in texture, a heavily textured black polo neck with a lightly textured dark green bomber jacket worked incredibly well with the heavy cotton trousers. The bomber jacket also had some nylon side pockets, which gave a nice contrast without colour and helped bridge the texture gap between the top and the trousers. I really liked this look, it felt pretty bad ass!

mid-shotfl-bwclose-upIn the meantime, go check out the ad campaign where David Beckham and Kevin Hart reunite to take a road trip from LA to Vegas to take ‘I Beckham – The musical’ on the road. As an ad man myself, I love this kind of stuff, Beckham is a major fashion icon, so bringing someone like Kevin Hart on board really makes it all feel accessible to the everyday man. Very clever guys!

If you’re looking for some wardrobe basics, this collection is a great place to start, and I suggest you do it quickly cause everyone wants a piece of the modern essentials collection. No matter what you pick up, the colour palette makes sure everything goes with everything else, so pick up some pants, a shirt a blazer and blend it like Beckham.

Been waiting this whole blogpost to drop that line!

Okay. Stay fancy.

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I’m a sucker for a woollen tie.

I just love the texture and non-shinyness of woollen ties, so when the gents at Aristocrats Bows n Ties asked me to review their woollen ties my biggest problem became picking just one. The range is pretty extensive and extensively awesome, if you prefer your ties a little slimmer you’ll be spoilt for choice.

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I didn’t just stop at the tie though, the mark of a good haberdashery (even an online one) is that the range is cleverly selected, it needs to allow everything to go with something else on the site. I had no problem matching accessories (something I usually struggle with online), in fact my only problem was again having to pick just one item.

In the end, this Ivy League Maroon Tie was the winner (I’ve had a thing for maroon lately – seems to be the perfect autumn/ winter colour) and tried to pick the accessories around the rest of the tie colours. The Grey Felt Lapel Flower picked up nicely on the tie, but didn’t have to POP on the jacket. In this case I wanted the pocket square to do the popping, so I also went for a Navy Blue Skinny Tie Bar so that it all worked harmoniously.

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Here’s a little pocket square tip though, pick a pocket square (wow, try saying that 3 times fast) with a different colour border, it gives you versatility in how you can use it and what you can wear it with. This Maroon flowers Pocket Square worked perfectly with the tie, but you could turn it around and let those points shoot to the sky for a completely different look.

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So, if you find yourself needing to upgrade the warmth of your tie collection, I’m gonna strongly suggest you go woollen! Maybe start with the guys at Aristocrats Bows n Ties.

Okay. 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.