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Top 5 men’s footwear for the summer

Before the summer ends, I thought I should put together a quick list of footwear every gentleman should be wearing right now. If you are here and are thinking you are going to see trainers/sneakers and the likes then I suggest you close your browser and walk away now. Simply put, you are in the wrong place. 5, 4, 3, 2……..1. By the way that was me counting. Are you still here? Phew, thank goodness you stayed. I appreciate that. Right let’s get straight into it.

One thing men sometimes find challenging when it comes to putting a look together is finding the right pair of footwear to go with the rest of the outfit especially during the summer months. I mean I have seen guys pulling all the stops from the right type of blazer to the right length of chinos only to look further down to discover a disappointing pair of footwear. Let’s be honest guys, we have it much easier than the ladies. For the most part, we don’t even have to worry about squished up toes or the prospect of walking on six inch heels. Do you agree? Please say yes otherwise I seriously worry about the kind of shoes you have been wearing. Errmmmm anyway as I was saying, we have it easy so really and truly there are two main things we need to consider when shopping for footwear for the season. Practicality and functionality in relation to the weather, in this case hot weather, and looks in relation to the rest of what you wear it with. With this in mind, here are my top 5 picks for this season.

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  1. Penny Loafers

The fact that its summer does not mean you cannot or shouldn’t dress smart. These Penny Loafers from Tommy Hilfiger are perfect for the office and evening out afterwards. They are versatile enough to be worn sockless and classy enough for a night out requiring a tie.

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2. Boat Shoes

Boat shoes are a man’s best friend when it comes to pairing with chinos. No other footwear goes better with chinos. You can get these from Tommy Hilfiger.

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3. Slip on

Some may refer to these as monkfish shoes but I’d rather just call them slip ons. These are very light weight and comfortable which means you shouldn’t miss your trainers/sneakers at all. I bought these last year from Russell and Bromley.

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4. Tasselled loafers

These black tasselled loafers made by Bass have served me very well. I get a complement every time I wear these and are one of my favourites.

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5. Suede Loafers

Suede shoes in general commands a sense of maturity from the wearer as they require extra care and attention for their upkeep. I went for a more casual option with these blue Northern cobblers. They are colourful enough for the season.

There you have it, my top 5 pick for the season. Leave a comment below if you disagree or want to add to the above.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in handcrafted shoes that will last you for a long time and get people talking for all the right reasons, then head over to gracill and get yourself a pair of these bad boys. Gracill is a growing shoe brand which means you satisfying their customers is very important. This company is headed by a friend of mine which means I can personally vouch for them. Check them out and see what you think.

Shorts: the Long and short of it

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You know what, I think my short wearing game is getting better (even if I have to say so myself) with every passing summer since forever. And I am not talking about wearing shorts just to pop round to the corner shop neither and I will explain if you give me a minute.

To some, the idea of wearing shorts automatically conjures scenes of strolling along the seaside on a hot holiday with a beer in hand. If I am honest, I know people who do not even contemplate the notion of wear shorts at all beyond their front door. Some may even see shorts as a less worthy investment due to their seasonal nature or their alleged lack of versatility. It’s like saying it’s a pair of shorts and that’s that. To many, the thought of looking like a schoolboy is a massive turn off and to be honest, you will look like a school boy if you do not know how to dress shorts, which is kind of why I have put together this article.

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So before you go all snobbish over a pair of shorts for fear of making you look like a schoolboy, hear me out whiles I remind you that shorts have been and are still part of an array of official uniforms for different professions such as the military and police for practical and functional purposes. And we all know that police and army are as professional as it gets when it comes to uniforms. Police officers in many British colonies (especially those in hot regions) in the 50s wore Khaki shorts as part of their uniforms and two such examples were Hong Kong and Sierra Leone. Even now, there are parts of the world where shorts are worn by police officers on beach and bike patrol.

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In fashion, apart from Pharrel Williams who wore shorts with a bow tie to the Oscars in 2014, other notable men who dress up and make short wearing effortlessly cool are Sam Lambert (half of art comes first), and Nick Wooster.

What I am trying to explain above is that shorts can be used outside of sports and recreational purposes for grown men. Did I hit a cord with you? Is that a yes or a nah?

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Anyway now that we have established that shorts are not just for school boys and strolling along the beach, let’s see how we can put this look together.

I have used shorts in various capacities but for best results here is what you need to do to push the envelope and stand out.

Pair your shorts with a nice dress shirt, dress belt, pair of loafers (preferable penny loafers), and depending on the occasion and weather, a blazer. As you can see in some of the images, I have used a tie and a bow tie for some added integrity.

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Just before you go out and splurge on all kinds of short, here are a few things to consider:

Stick with chinos or Khakis
Avoid baggy
Avoid patterns and stick with solid colours
Runaway from cargo shorts and stick with classic cut

Not only is this a cool look which will set you apart from the crowd, it is the most practical way of dressing for hot weather whiles still maintaining looking dapper. Did I hear you say this look is what casual Fridays at work are made for right? Errmmm I will let you go through the painstaking task of reading you HR manual.

Oh and when you decide to don you spanking new pair of shorts trying to look all fly, please do yourself a favour and moisturise your legs.

 

Summer essential: The ethical t-shirt by Run and Fell

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T-shirts! What’s there to say about t-shirts that has not already been said? It’s a t-shirt, it’s a t-shirt, and a t-shirt! Those were my exact thoughts when I got the invitation to the launch of Run and Fell a t-shirt brand opening a pop-up store in Chelsea, London.

I was convinced there was nothing new for me to learn and write about when it comes to t-shirts. In fact the Style and fashion aspect to my blog is focused on the dapper and dandy look which has no place for t-shirts. Well at least that was what I thought before I read the entire invitation which went on to state the uniqueness of this brand. Simply put, I was wrong.

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The unique concept behind the pop-up store involves directly connecting the customer with the manufacturing process. Customers are becoming increasingly aware and discerning when it comes to the ethics of the Fashion industry. The “big idea” for the RUN&FELL pop-up is to promote ethical garment production, and to enable customers to engage with and explore elements of the production process first hand” said Naomi Jackson (designer and owner of Run and Fell) in her email to me. I don’t know about you but this got my attention. Run and Fell seem to have stepped away from the usual manic consumerism everyone is used to where items of clothing are churn out with little or no regard for the process or the material used to create them. I mean we have all heard of the chaotic and sometimes dangerous conditions (branded sweatshop) in which many items of clothing were made from around the world. Run and Fell’s ethos couldn’t have been further away from this. Phew, what a breath of fresh air. I mean don’t get me wrong, I am sure you would have heard of other brands promoting the ethical side of their business but for a brand to actually be so keen as to draw their customers into the intricate process of how the garment is produced is commendable. To me, this demonstrates care and pride in the product.

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Another aspect of Run and Fell that really spoke to me is the fact that the brand is proudly and unapologetically British. Many brands have in the past spent millions on repackaging their products as foreign before going back to the country of origin to give them a luxurious or exotic feel. Run and Fell does not only fly the British flag, it also proudly incorporate the local spirit and history of Manchester  “our roots are threaded deep into the creative heart of the cotton city, “Cottonopolis” itself” as stated in their story.

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Speaking to Naomi during the evening of the Launch, it was obvious that Run and Fell is not just another brand aiming to make a few quid from the sale of a few t-shirt but was committed to creating a piece of garment she truly believed in. The passion and standards she spoke with was in line with the physical product I had in my hand. The texture was one of quality whiles the designs channelled originality and creativity.

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Run and Fell is a great example of a sustainable ethical garment brand with an attitude of substance and integrity over everything else.

Listen, its summer and everyone needs a t-shirt so head over to Run and Fell’s online store and make yourself a purchase you will be happy with.

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Traditional wedding – The Yoruba way

 

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As summer ushers in the peak wedding season for UK residents, its fitting for me to share some images of an amazing wedding I attended a few months ago between friends of mine Abi and Sam. This was not just any other wedding but a traditional Nigerian wedding.

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Anyone who has ever been to a Nigerian wedding will tell you that they are colourful, lengthy, entertaining, vibrant and big. I mean there is no dull moment in a Nigerian wedding and Abi and Sam’s wedding was no exception. Armed with the knowledge that food and Afrobeat music was going to be in plentiful supply, I was determined to have an amazing time. After all, this would be my first experience of a traditional Nigerian or more appropriately, a Yoruba wedding.

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Traditional African weddings are as old as humanity itself. In fact they are only referred to as such to differentiate them from western style weddings more commonly known as “white weddings”. The term white wedding has its roots from the Victorian era when Queen Victoria wore a white lace to marry Prince Albert in 1840. I don’t know why Queen Victoria thought it necessary to break the norm of wearing coloured garments but this has somehow become the de facto dress code for brides, with the entire ceremony now referred to as white wedding. I guess she has earned herself the title of trendsetter when it comes to wedding dresses.

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Fast-forward to current day, a lot of couples choose to do both white and Traditional African weddings to cater for the Christian religious aspect and to bring in line their traditional identity as is customary in most tribes in Africa. Even though some might argue that traditional weddings are only an engagement ceremony and a prelude to white wedding, I happen to think that they have all the pedigree to make them full weddings depending on how the ceremony is carried out. Anyway, I am not a wedding expert so I will leave that for you to decide.

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What Abi and Sam wore was absolutely beautiful. Not only are the colours vibrant and beautiful, the style encapsulate the tradition of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Their garments are both made from a special cloth called Asa oke fabric hand loomed in western Nigeria. Asa oke means top cloth in English.

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What they wore

Abi:

Iro – a red with gold floral wrap skirt
Buba – a gold blouse
Gele – a red with gold floral head tie
Earring – Red and gold earring with matching necklace.
Shoes – Christian Louboutin

Sam

Agbada – Red and gold outer wear
Trouser – Cream linen
Shirt – Cream linen
Hat – Red and gold made from Aso oke
Shoes – Jimmy Choo

I am sure you will agree with me that this wonderful couple knows how to mix traditional attire with high end fashion to create a beautiful whole.

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This was truly an amazing ceremony I was honoured to be a part of and if you are not familiar with the Yoruba tradition and custom of marriage, I hope you have learnt something new. If you are Yoruba or familiar to the tradition, feel free to leave a comment below if there is anything you would like to add. Enjoy the rest of the photos.

Congratulations Abi and Sam!

Stylist – Digital Curator – Blogger