Friday is one day in the week which seems to bring a sigh of relief to many especially those who work Mondays to Fridays. Its means the weekend is finally here and we can afford to do the things we enjoy doing (with people we love) and when we want to do them. We can even put our feet up and do nothing at all if we so choose. Amazing isn’t it?
Friday is that one day we can actually walk into the office with a pair of chinos without raising eyebrows. But wait, there is a name for it and it’s “Casual Fridays”.
In the spirit of casual Friday, let me share a few looks on men I came across in London over the past three weeks or so. These looks fit perfectly into the work environment depending on what you do.
– The first look is by Sez, a look I’ve being channelling all summer. Blazer over shorts!
Blazer – Burberry
T Shirt – Ralph Lauren
Shorts – top man
Loafers – Alexander McQueen
Pocket square – Ted Baker
– Second is by David and here is what he wore.
Blazer – Asos
Shirt – Reiss
Jeans – Top Man
Shoes – Aldo
– The third shows a couple of mates sitting in a park enjoy lunch. The honest truth is that I actually forgot to ask what they wore so you will have to forgive on the details and just enjoy the vibrance of the summer colours in the pictures.
Tell me what else would work well for “Casual Fridays” in the comment section below.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
Africa Fashion Week London or AFWL has come a long way since its inception in 2011. This year’s event was held at the Olympia London on the 7th and 8th of August. It is another great example of how the African culture and lifestyle is influencing and taking roots in London as mentioned in my post August in Africa summer festival 15. AFWL is by a wide margin the largest catwalk event in Europe celebrating African styles and designs and has caught the attention of many even beyond Africa and Europe. The show has attracted over 300 hundred designers and more than 40, 000 visitors. I personally have little reservations about a few designers’ commitment to pushing the art from being a dream to truly becoming an avant-garde were by the framework for future African fashion is laid. Up to the point of typing this post, my research laid bare, for the lack of web presence on some of the designers and exhibitors. Living in a world where everything points towards digital, its surprising this minority have not tapped into this area to make themselves known.
Notwithstanding, collectively the runway shows for 2015 have been spectacular with many designers pushing the boundaries to widen the horizon of what is expected from an “African” themed fashion show. It is no longer the case where Ankara and Kente dominates the catwalk to represent the entire continent. For many years, designers have used these two fabric types to create what they saw as the embodiment of African fashion. To my delight, this is no longer the case and even for those who use Ankara and Kente have done so in such clever ways as to show a different dimension to the art of designing.
A good example is Mary Martin London. Mary Martin showcased some beautiful pieces to include a Cecil the Lion inspired dress. “When I saw the lion on TV I was deeply shocked” said Martin as she was interviewed by the BBC world service. Martin spent many nights working on the dress in time for the show. Other designers who showcased beautiful pieces on the catwalk for the 6:30 show on Saturday were:
Amanda May Needle point Soraya da Piedade Vanelse Sarah Arthman Kilumba Steve Mandy Nsoromma by Tribal Piece The organisers did a fantastic job to put this show together and i think it is going to get bigger and better in the coming years. I am already looking forward to AFWL16. As a men’s fashion and lifestyle blogger, i wish there were more men’s fashion designers out there. May be this is an area up and coming fashion enthusiasts need to look into. Browse through the photos and let me know what you think by leaving a comment
African art, craft, food, music and culture are fast taking roots in London and beyond. You only have to pop into any event with a slight connotation of African culture during the warmer months of the year to see the different style and designs of Ankara and Kente garments donned by men and women alike. Not that these two fabric types are the only African cloth but these are more easily recognisable due to their vibrancy and the amount of people who wear them. In fact there are so many other African textiles well worth exploring such as Akwete cloth, Ukara (both from the Igbo people of Nigeria), Aso Oke Fabric, Adire (from the Yoruba people of Nigeria), Mudcloth from the Bambara people of parts of Mali, Guinea, Burkino Faso and Senegal, Kitenge and Shweshwe from Kenya and South Africa respectively. Did you know that the earliest surviving African textile discovered dates back to the first Century CE? This was discovered at the Archaeological site of Kissi in Burkino Faso.
African food itself is becoming a staple for many as new restaurants serving different African cuisines continue to pop up in the city. That is all nothing compared to the way Afrobeat (a highbred of Jazz, highlife and funk) with West African origins, have taken hold of England. There’s no way you can go to any night club in central London without at least a handful of Afrobeat songs being played to an appreciative audience.
So it came as no surprise when I walked into the Covent Garden piazza area on Saturday the 1st of August to hundreds and hundreds of people happily floating in and out of the area. Covent Garden was truly alive with vibrant coloured garments, delicious smelling food and upbeat sound of music that is unmistakably Afrobeat. The atmosphere was electrifying to say the least.
Because I did not have the opportunity to dive into a massive plate of Jollof rice and Plantains, I was particularly looking forward to being entertained by the lyrical specialist and poet that is Alim Kamara. This young man has a way of playing with words like no other. I have been fortunate to see him perform live on several occasions and he always delivers. In fact he was the only act of the day I could vouch for based on experience. To my disappointment, I was too late and I missed his performance. Imagine my dismay. However, Fuse ODE who performed just after I got there made up for this disappointment. Fuse ODG has become a household name in the UK with big collaborations with Wyclef and Sean Paul in “Antenna” and “Dangerous love” respectively. One of the things that made Fuse ODG a standout act to me is his thirst to show Africa as a thriving continent with much more to offer than the stereotypical and outright wrong image of the continent. His music or should I say movement does not only have good beat but carries a political message and a message of hope for a new Africa.
The event came to a fitting end with the fantastic and soulful performance of the Nigerian French singer and songwriter, ASA. I mean I could write a whole blog post about this woman’s performance and it wouldn’t be enough. Listening to her serenade the crowd with songs such as “Fire on the mountain”, “Eyo” and many more beautiful ones highlights an influence of great artists such as Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. Her performance left the very diverse crowd from different background wanting more and a great example of how African cultures have impacted this great city of London.
The festival itself was organised by the Africa centre that has a 50 year history with the aim of promoting Africa’s cultural diversity outside the continent. It literally provides a hub for creativity, innovation and business in all matters pertaining to Africa.
In case you are one of the unlucky ones who did not get to see this wonderful event, make sure to check out the pictures below. Leave a comment and question! And if you were there, then feel free to add to the conversation by posting a comment below. Ta