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.

final-review-book-hoghouseWe love us a bit of BBQ, so when the opportunity came up to attend the relaunch of the Hoghouse at Spier, Elzaan and I grabbed it with both sticky fingered hands!

We haven’t been to Spier since the terrible experience we had about a year ago, but Hoghouse isn’t just another tourist trap on a wine farm, this place would be my next ‘local’, if I was a local. It isn’t all about barbeque though, it covers the three major food groups, beer, bread AND barbeque so really, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go. They bake their own bread, brew there own beer and of course…smoke their own meat.

dscf9689dscf9654dscf9703dscf9692bwdscf9664When you arrive, you come face to face with “the hog” a massive smoker cooking up Texan-style BBQ all day son…ALL DAY!! And when I say ‘all day’ its not just a cool thing to say, I literally mean the meat is slow cooked all day. It’s a process they call ‘low and slow’ where the meat is smoked without sauce, allowing the natural flavours of the meat to blend with the smoke from the Rooikrans wood. This is a far cry from the way us South Africans like to BBQ (or braai) which is generally all about sauced up meat cooked over open flames, but hey, we were excited to try it!

This place is massive, but I mean ‘get lost’ massive. It’s smart though, split up into loads of tiny rooms, so you never short on atmosphere. It has a giant outside terrace on both sides and the attention to detail in the decor is amazing. I’m gonna call it farmhouse chic, cause it kinda feels like you’re at a friends house – but it’s a friend who used to be a graphic designer and decided to give it all up to live on a farm. I really hope that makes sense to someone.

dscf9734dscf9762dscf9741dscf9804dscf9756We were there for the inaugural Beats and BBQ dinner, which pretty much involved us, beer, bread and barbeque and a band we had never heard of. All the makings of a great night really.

As I mentioned earlier, these guys brew their own beer so I decided to give the Hogtale APA a try, I’ve never been a big fan of IPA’s but maybe this African Pale Ale would do the trick. It did, it was good, a lot less hoppy than an IPA and the perfect way to start. Naturally my next step was trying ALL THE beers, but of course, just tasters. Besides, the starters were arriving and I needed something to wash it down with.

Luckily, the night was all about trying, they laid out a table with pretty much everything on the menu, and well, we dug into it all. Sometimes I had to try something once or twice, just to make sure it was as good as I remembered it the first time. It was. My biggest culinary surprise was the pigs tail, yeah, you read me right, pigs tail, deep fried and delicious! It could possibly be the worlds best bar snack, crispy, salty, crunch and too rich to eat a whole bowl of them in one swoop! You could literally have made a meal of the starters, and they were all good, weirdly enough (for a BBQ joint), the arincini balls seamed to be everyone favourite!

dscf9858dscf9930dscf9951dscf9882dscf9889dscf9901dscf9934dscf9903dscf9990The stone jets ended up being incredible, the perfect mix of original tracks and cover songs played with their own unique twist! At some point the entire restaurant was standing up dancing and wouldn’t let the band leave! Ahhh…beer & wine, what good dancers you are!

The food kept coming and by the time the main dishes arrived we were all just full enough to give everything a try. The dry barbecue is something i’m gonna have to get used to, I mean the qulaity and flavour of the meat was outstanding, but I’m used to licking sauce off my elbows when I get stuck into a set of ribs. The buttermilk fried chicken on the other hand, was an absolute winner, especially when eaten between bites of Mac and Cheese! I’ve never been down south in the States, but I’m pretty sure this is where my stomach is most at home.

dscf9972dscf9960dscf9963dscf9966Conclusion, if you’re a local, this place is a no brainer. When you leave the office on Friday, just go straight there. Every Friday from 17:00 they whip out one free keg of beer to get things started, so I suggest get there early and get yourself a bowl of pigs tails! (follow #FreeKegFriday to see what’s up!)

If you’re from out of town, or town town (for Capetonians) it’s definitely the perfect spot after a couple of wine tasting in the area. The hoghouse at Spier is open Wednesday to Monday (closed Tuesday) for breakfast (9-11:30) and lunch (12:00 – 15:00). The BBQ kitchen is open for dinner from 18:00 to 21:00 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and you can call them on +27 (21) 881 3174 or mail them at howdy@hhbc.co.za

 

Oh, one last thing. If you have a hankering for beer and meat the guys at hoghouse are hosting there very own “hogtoberfest’ on Saturday 8 October, in the grand tradition of Oktoberfests worldwide. It all starts at 11:00 and there will be a line up of three bands, including a traditional oompah-band and the Stone Jets (you definitely wanna catch these guys) for those worried about missing the big game, New Zealand and South Africa will be screened at 17:00. Tickets are R150 and include a glass and free beer tasting of Hoghouse beer and five other local breweries – Each brewery is producing a special festival beer.

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.

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I havent forgotten about you guys. Promise.

Life has just been a little chaotic later and I’m struggling to find a moment to sit down and share some gentlemanly thoughts with you. Dont give up on us, there’s lots in the pipeline and things are about to get super duper dapper!

In the meantime, here’s some dapper dexterity.

Okay. Stay fancy!

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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