Tag Archives: dapper

A fresh look at the denim shirt

phot 2

Today’s look is all about the denim. I know the red tie on this particular look is the one but forget about it for a minute and focus on the denim shirt. All eyes on denim!

Now that I have your undivided attention, let me start by saying that I am assuming every man reading this post has a denim shirt in their wardrobe. Is that a resounding yeah, or a nah? If you already have one then I guess you are winning, but if you do not have one, then I strongly suggest you go out and get one now.

Denim is a garment that automatically conjures the preceding word “casual” in fashion. The denim shirt itself has re-emerged over the past few years as a strong essential in men’s wardrobe. An essential that has done very well for itself when speaking casual. Because denim is so synonymous to casual wear, people rarely look at ways and means to spruce it up for that extra flair.

Don’t get me wrong, a denim shirt by itself (without blazer) with a pair of contrasting jeans or chinos looks good. When worn correctly, it is the stuff casual wear is made of.

_DSC9141

What you may not be aware of is that you can actually build up this strong essential to give you an amazing and relaxed smart casual look. A look that wouldn’t break the bank but still harness the versatility and style required to break the rules on pairing garments. The thing about breaking rules in fashion is that when you get it right, people automatically know that you know what you are doing. You have an edge over others which is what any man with interest in their looks should aim for.

As mentioned, the denim shirt works well as a standalone garment but I personally prefer the idea of using it as a layering garment as I strongly believe that’s when you get the most out of it. You can pair it in many ways appropriate to the season and the occasion.

I have put together a look that showcase my idea of dressing up a denim shirt!

_DSC9147

The look:

Blue jeans
Beige blazer
Washed blue denim shirt
Blue jeans
A pair of beige slip-on shoes to match the blazer
Stripped red tie
Red pocket square

If your aim is to have a more quirky and different looks then I suggest you replace the tie with a bow tie. As I have said in previous posts, the bow tie always delivers a look no other garment does.

And if you are wondering just where or what occasion to rock this look to then I strongly suggest you start with your casual Fridays at work. Because it is casual Friday does not mean you have to turn up at work with an AC/DC worn out t-shirt with converse. I mean all that has its place in your dress code cycle but please leave that for the concerts and gigs. Rock this look on a casual Friday and you are guaranteed to still turn heads when you head to the bar after work.

 

Dressing up a rainstorm – Brit style

Ok not exactly a rainstorm but I’m sure you know what I mean.

They say the surest way of striking a successful conversation with a Brit is to start with the weather, preferably over a cup of tea. To certain extent, we are a bit obsessed with talking about the weather. Outsiders think we moan when it’s wet, when it’s hot, when it snows or even when the leaves fall. I mean it is true to a certain extent but for the most part, we just like talking about something that everyone can relate to and the weather fits perfectly.

Did you know 2012 was the second wettest year for Britain since records began? 2012 had an average rainfall of 1,330.7mm and only 6.6mm short of the record set in 2000. There you go, bet you did not know that did you? Thought you would appreciate a completely unrelated trivia. You are welcome! #Sideeye.

Anyway back to the issue at hand. Whiles the weather is completely out of our control, what we wear through the seasons is and that is where this post comes in.

Just because the heavenly precipitations aka rain has not yet completely relented does not mean you have to go through your wardrobe to dig out your raincoat or other heavy garment. It is true that the unpredictable weather can be cruel at times when you least expect it but let’s not panic just yet. I recon you can still look the part without wrapping yourself with too many layers.

I have put together a few photos of two looks that I think are versatile and practical for the season. A friend and brother Oliver Kumawu was kind enough to model with me to demonstrate these looks.

Oliver opted for a smart-casual look whiles I went for a more business friendly look.

There are three key ingredients to explore in both looks, which are as follows:

Blazer

You have to have the blazer. The appropriate use of a blazer can easily transform a casual look into smart-casual, and smart-casual into smart. Every man should have at least three blazers in their wardrobes bearing in mind colours that are versatile.

Oliver opted for a velvet blazer which he pulls off very well. Velvet itself is a statement fabric that speaks volumes of the owner. Get it wrong and you would be sorry you ever considered it an option at all. But get it right and you‘re the man, literally. Wear one of these on a wet and cold day and you won’t need additional layers as the weave of the fabric is very close together restricting air flow which in turn keeps you warm.

I on the other hand wore the first half of a midnight blue wool blend suit. Because the jacket is contemporary and close cut at the shoulders and waist area, I am able to mix and play around with it with different combinations with relative ease.

Trouser

Oliver wore a burgundy/redish pair of classic chinos whiles I went for a grey with a hint of brown lightly stripped pair of dress trouser.

Shoes

I wore a pair of brown tasselled loafers whiles Oliver went for a pair of blue suede wingtip oxford lace up brogues which complement the colour of his shirt. The fact that his shoes are suede perfectly suits the texture of his velvet blazer.

Oh and the pocket squares gave both looks an extra dimension of suaveness.

So there you have it. Whiles we wait for summer to make a grand entry for 2015, we can still look the part for the remaining few days of the wet and slightly chilled weather.

Photography by Cano

The look

Black velvet blazer – M&S
Coloured Chino – John Lewis
blue suede oxford lace up brogues – M&S

Midnight blue jacket – FCUK
Stripe dress trouser – Zara
Brown Tasselled loafers – Paul Smith

Bow tie for no reason

Before delving into the details about this piece of accessory, let’s have a crash course on the history, just to put things into perspective.

Origins

It is believed what we know today as the bow tie can be traced back to the 17th century, worn by the Croatian army in what was known as the thirty years’ war between 1618 and1648. The purpose of this neckwear was functional which was meant to keep the collars of their shirts together. At the end of the war, the French army turned this otherwise functional piece of neckwear into a fashionable accessory and called it a cravat. At the time, the cravat was only worn by the upper class and was seen as a sign of opulence and grandeur.  With time, wearers of the bow tie diversified with university professors, lawyers, architects, and sometimes politicians all wearing it and making it a staple piece of accessory.

My favourite bow tie with a biker jacket!

The bow tie has never really been out of fashion but has seen a huge increase in use in recent years as the fashion world has infused its use into the everyday look. It is now more popular than ever which means you do not have to be heading to a formal dinner party or indeed a specific occasion to wear one. Traditional or stereotypical use has been dwarfed by an ever-increasing trendy demand.

Well know men who have been seen consistently wearing a bow tie includes Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire.

If you intend to wear one, here is what you need to know to help you not only have fun with it but also appear stylish.

Types

I have classified types of bow ties into three categories:

Clip-on – The clip-on is my least favourite even though it can be used with minimum effort. It is literally a pre-made bow attached to a clip, which is in turn attached to the front of your shirt. Unless you intend to wear one for novelty purposes, do not bother.

Pre-tie – A pre-tie bow tie has already been structured and made with specific measurements and style. This is similar to the clip-on but the bow is usually attached to an adjustable neck strap for ease and comfort. This type is the most popular as it is much easier to put on than the self-tie and not as cheap looking as the clip-on. You can literally have it on in less than a minute.

thumb_IMG_4936_1024
Pre-tie bow tie

Self-tie – This is also known as the freestyle bow tie and is much more organic than the two above. As the name implies, wearers need to knot this type of bow tie, which in itself is a show of commitment to this piece of accessory. This is by far my favourite. The self-tie looks slightly different every time you knot it and may also look asymmetrical which gives it character and a bit of quirkiness.

thumb_IMG_4930_1024
self-tie bow ties

Shapes

Since its popularisation, it has seen changes in function and looks diversifying its shapes accordingly. The butterfly, the big butterfly, the batwing, the diamond point and the rounded club are all shapes the bow tie come in these days.

Look

The diehard everyday devotees aim for the eccentricity it brings to their look, which can be seen as an extension of their personalities. The question is; what’s your look?

So break the mould, present a contrarian point of view in fashion this season and don a bow tie for no reason.

Thank me later!