Tag Archives: Fashion

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

Family is the word – Stepping out in style

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Family is a word that evokes so much feelings and emotions that cannot be summed up in words but rather shown through actions.

The oxford dictionary defines family as “a group consisting of two parents and their children living together” or more aptly “a group of people related by blood or marriage”.  The term blood by itself (in the second definition) is enough to conjure a feeling of belonging and one of real connection. A connection even nature itself cannot undo.

Family is the most basic but yet most important unit of any society.

I personally think that family is God’s way of teaching us how to relate to him through service, accountability, challenging each other in love. Love which when nurtured properly within the family can be extended to people outside of it.

A happy celebrant!

 

As it happens, I was blessed with amazing sisters, one of whom was graduating after completing a degree in Criminology and Criminal justice.

I know right, you can imagine the excitement laced with feelings of accomplishment after all those sleepless nights burning the midnight oil.

Seeing my sister graduate was a moment of pride, joy and absolute pleasure for the entire family and celebrations were in order as we thank God for his mercies.

My Dad, Ed senior and my other sister Jennifer were both in attendance too. Knowing Jennifer, she might try to outshine everyone else in the ceremony including the celebrant. #sideeye

Jennifer trying to outshine her sister #Sideeye

Not that I was competing with them but I wasn’t going to look like a tramp in their midst. So for this reason, I was going to turn up in style.

 

As you would know by now, I love my suits and always look forward to wearing them at any given opportunity.

I personally think a suit adds an extra dimension to a man’s look no other garment does. A business suit or lounge suit is the most common of suits. Although this kind of suit is common, it doesn’t mean it has to be monotonous and boring.

So in this occasion my style idea was ‘simple with a twist’ or a ‘cool classic’.

I only wanted two colours, well strictly speaking, white does not count as a colour as it is not found on the colour wheel so midnight blue was my colour of choice for the occasion.

Midnight blue is one of those colours that go with almost everything. I say ‘almost’ loosely as from the top of my head I cannot think of any other colour that does not go with it. I think it’s so versatile that you can wear it all year round, day and night, summer or winter.

I recon it’s a good investment so if you do not have a blue suit (especially darker hues), I suggest you go out and get one now. You won’t regret it, ever!

Ok back to the look. As I said above, I was aiming for the ‘simple with a twist’ ‘cool classic’ look, which means one colour only.

With my white shirt providing layering for the suit, there was only going to be two accessories with this look, white pocket square and a watch. No necktie, bow tie, lapel pin or even collar tips.

Ok, in hindsight maybe I could have added a collar tip to give my collars a bit of character but that’s it, nothing else. With my shirt buttoned up and pocket square squared up my idea of simplicity is complete.

Now to add a little twist to the mix, I opted for a pair of white high top leather all-star converse. I could have gone for a pair of brown or black shoes with matching belts but that would make me look just like everyone else. With two folds on my trouser, I made sure the converse was in full view. The reason I chose converse over any other pair of white trainer is that converse in general carries that classic look and they are streamlined and fitted instead of being bulky. This I think goes well with my look. The converse on this occasion is the statement piece.

So next time you put one a suit, think of inventive ways of wearing it. Push fashion boundaries to make a statement.

The look:

Suit – FCUK

Shirt – TM lewin

Pocket Square – M & S

Trainers – Office by Converse

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Mind the details: pocket Square

A few of my pocket squares: Paul Smith, Reiss, TM Lewin, Tie Rack and Marks and Spencer

I’m starting a series on men’s accessories called ‘Mind The Details.’ ‘Mind The Details’ will explore men’s accessories and how they add value to your look. The purpose is to identify certain pieces that will take your dress game to the next level with little effort. To kick this off, lets start with my favourite piece of accessory, the pocket square.

If you have being reading my blog then you would know that whenever I talk about a fashion piece, I like to give a brief background or history to get things into perspective. I would’ve loved to do the same for the pocket square but I am not even going to try.

Simple reason being the origin of this piece of accessory is so unclear that different writers attribute it to different “inventors” from varying civilization. Because I like to talk in absolutes and facts except when I am expressing my views and opinions (which I usually make clear), I will leave the origins of this beautiful piece to the historians.

Packet square with a double breasted blazer

I have no intentions of digging up the remains of King Richard 11 of England (1367 – 1400) to ask him whether he had a hand in creating the pocket square. And just in case you are indeed interested in finding out the origins, please come back and share with us. Word of caution though, history favors the views of the writer regardless of facts.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s have a quick look at how the pocket square was used hundreds of years ago and try to relate it to present day use.

Before it became a fashion accessory, the pocket square was primarily used for health and hygiene purposes such as wiping hands and face, blowing nose or covering it to block out bad odors. It was also used by ancient Greeks to cover their heads. As time moved on, it became necessary to distinguish this small piece of cloth based on it uses, known at the time only as Kerchief. For the piece used primarily by the hand, word hand was added to kerchief (hence handkerchief) to differentiate it from the one used to cover the head.

Like the necktie, this was used by the upper class in different societies. Due to the stench from the streets and the odor of the working class men, nobles and upper class people would add perfume to the hanky to hold it close to their noses to disguise the smell.

Even though this piece of cloth is still referred to as the handkerchief by many, it is more commonly known as the pocket square in fashion circles. The difference lies in its function. The pocket square is strictly for fashion purposes and belongs in your suit or blazer or outer top garment’s pocket, whiles the handkerchief is for blowing the nose and wiping sweat and this belongs in your trouser pocket or the inside of your top garment.

Now that we have a bit of background to the original functions and how the name has evolved, let us now focus on the fashion and modern day use of this cloth known as the pocket square.

Some writers and commentators say that matching your pocket square to your tie is a fashion faux pas. All I can say to that is, its subjective.  I have matched my pocket square exactly to my tie and I personally think it’s a great look. Whether you want to match your pocket square to your tie or not, there are a few things you must consider. Does your entire look already have a lot going on? If so, then it may be wise to play safe and not try to introduce a completely different pattern or colour to the mix.

I personally think that the right pocket square can transform an everyday look into a more sophisticated one. The pocket square, just like the necktie, allows the user to instantly switch between levels of presentation. In a society where wearing a suit and tie is not only common but expected, the pocket square is the deal breaker to separate the men from the boys.

Pocket square with a denim jacket

Oh and do not for one minute think you can only wear a pocket square if you have a suit on. I have personally won a pocket square over a denim jacket to give the look a bit of a twist. So go ahead and experiment with your packet square.

I will be doing a blog post on the different kinds of folds you can use for a pocket square

I’ll be continuing with the theme of pocket squares. Next time i’ll be looking at the different folds such as the one point, two points, three points etc.

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Make a statement with colour

Colours! What is it about coloured garments (suits to be precise) that make most men panic? Is it the fact that we are never too sure how to pair colours when we choose to mix them, or is it the prospect of standing out in the crowd? Ok before I go any further, let me just qualify the word colour just in case some of you are wondering what I’m on about. My use of the term colour refers to anything outside of the neutral range such as black, white, grey, and sometimes brown and beige. These colours are neutral as they do not show or appear on the colour wheel. In essence they are “safe” hues. Fully saturated bold hues such as red or burgundy, green, aqua, pink, royal purple and more to the point, yellow are my idea of colours.

These colours are far less likely to be worn by men in comparison to the wardrobe staples such as navy, black, and grey. I mean don’t get me wrong these are appropriately named wardrobe staples for a good reason but you are not going to get very far if you truly want to make a statement where colour is concerned. Black, white, grey do a great job at pairing either with each other or anything on the colour wheel, but that’s about it.

Ok let me take a step back a little bit. The truth is wearing a full suit in any of the bold colours mentioned above is tricky and I get it. Imagine wrapping yourself in a badly cut coloured suit like royal purple on any given day. That will get you attention alright but for all the wrong reasons. Get it right and I guarantee you will turn heads, literally. I mean you only have to look back to Autumn/winter 2014 run way were many models donned the elegant burgundy. Burgundy was like an instant hit that continued it reign to date. Nothing better than a well-tailored burgundy suit for spring/summer 2015 season and I think Ozwald Boateng epitomizes this look perfectly. This have statement piece written all over it.

However, I understand that wearing a bold coloured suit is a bit too much for some especially those who are not used to colours. May be you want to break into this sphere of fashion and style gradually? Well I have good news for you. Your statement piece does not always have to be a full suit. I recon a well cut blazer can equally do the job with half the risk. To demonstrate this, I used my statement piece for spring/summer 2015 which is a yellow/mustard coloured blazer from suitsupply. I fell for this piece the minute I walked into the store. In fact, I went in for something completely different but left with a big smile on my face knowing that I have made a good purchase.

I do not need to wear matching yellow trouser with this piece as I recon I risk looking like a clown or worst a walking banana. The idea was to pair my yellow blazer (which is a warm colour) with a navy trouser (cool colour) to get perfectly balanced mix.

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I had the option of wearing either a blue or white shirt but went with the neutral option which is white. I added a pair of brown tasselled loafers from Paul smith, and brown belt from banana republic to match the brown buttons on the blazer. To top it all off, I also added a light blue pocket square (cool colour) to break the yellow a little bit. I made sure that nothing competed with the yellow blazer in the form of patterns or other warm colours. It was all about the blazer.

Pairing can be a daunting task for some, but I recon learning a thing or two about colours will go a long way to help. What better way to learn about colour pairing than the colour wheel eh. So yeah, get acquainted with the colour wheel and see how you get on. Understanding the position of each colour (all twelve) is important and will determine the difficulty or ease of pairing, or whether they can be paired at all.

Paddington, London

Here are three things to consider when looking at the colour wheel:

  1. Similar colours – these are next to each other and are generally easy to coordinate
  2. Complementary colours – Complementary colours are opposite each other on the wheel and are quite difficult to pair in comparison to similar colours. Try not to wear them in their full strength together as they may be too much for the eyes.
  3. Contrasting colours – these have three colours between them on the wheel and can be troublesome for the eyes if used with their full strength. A good way to pair them is to use a darker tone with one of them just so they do not compete with each other.

So brighten up your wardrobe by investing in a bold statement blazer. Come back and share how you intend to pair it up. Feel free to add your comments and tips below as I am sure other readers would appreciate it.