Monday, 27 June 2016

London Collections:Men SS17 - a Grey Fox overview

This summer's London Collections:Men was the opportunity to celebrate unparalleled British and London creativity as menswear brands showed their collections for spring/summer 2017. A few brands took a break this season but no doubt they'll be back. There's a trend towards presentations, rather than catwalk shows. The advantage of this is not only that bloggers, buyers and journalists can see and touch the clothes at leisure, but they generally get a glass of bubbly and a bite to eat as well. The disadvantage is that you can't marvel at the catwalk show front row characters as they compete to see and be seen.

At LC:M: seersucker suit Hardy Amies, shoes Oliver Sweeney, bag Tusting, shirt Milton Green

Menswear continues its drift towards the comfortable and smart/casual. The days of too-short jackets and skinny fits are happily receding. Looser-cut trousers are more common. One trend that's not to my taste is mid-thigh shorts (I can't bring myself to show you any images). I thought these has died out for ever in the seventies, but sadly not.

Turnbull & Asser showed their usual exciting and colourful tailoring for SS17

Turnbull & Asser SS17

In tailored menswear, it's good to see more jackets longer in the body: a return to classic shapes. Shorter coats look disproportionate and accentuate the size of a man's backside, so are not ideal. 

Richard James SS17

Richard James SS17

Colours are on the whole muted. There are exceptions, of course, but men wanting to show a colourful side to their personalities can always introduce colour and pattern in accessories: ties, socks, pocket squares, scarves, bags etc. 

Universal Works SS17

Universal Works SS17

We're still not seeing enough grey hairs at the shows and presentations and, with some exceptions (in particular Thomas Pink, see below), models are very young and often don't even fit the clothes they're wearing. I can only repeat my amazement at this shortsightedness. Even Oliver Spencer, usually reliable when it comes to grey hairs, had only one grey model.

Oliver Spencer SS17

Oliver Spencer SS17

My time was limited this time and there are a number of collections I'd like to have seen, but wasn't able to. Richard James, Turnbull & Asser and Chester Barrie always have classics with a twist and I sorry not to see them. I also usually get to the Oliver Spencer show, but didn't this time. Images from some of these brands are shown here. As usual, I enjoyed the E Tautz show (below). While not all the clothes were for me (he was one of the guilty parties when it came to very short shorts), I admire Patrick Grant's creativity and determination to support British manufacture

Chester Barrie SS17

Chester Barrie detail SS17 - colour & texture

I've not looked at very young brands simply because their styles are not to my taste. This blog is all about my search for style as an older man and I'm looking for wearable clothes; classics with something extra.

Thomas Pink SS17 included many grey hairs - well done Thomas Pink

Brands like Dunhill and Margaret Howell also offer great possibilities for the stylish older man, but I need the time and to be on their radars to be able to bring you news of their offerings - so this report is by no means comprehensive. 

E Tautz SS17

E Tautz SS17

Looking back over this post I see that I go heavily for tailored stuff, jackets and trousers, and there is little casual wear. I suppose that's the style I'm drawn to. For fuller coverage see London Collections:Men Highlights which gives detailed coverage of the shows.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Best of Britannia, London: Grey Fox to curate a menswear selection

Best of Britannia is a well established showcase for Britain's leading manufacturers. The events, taking place all over the country, give both commercial buyers and the public the chance to see and buy the best of British products, from fashion to food, jewellery, accessories, bikes, gifts and interiors.

I'm delighted and proud to have been invited to curate a selection of menswear brands for BOB London's September event. My admiration for products made in the UK is a major theme of this blog and I'm really enjoying curating my selection, details of which will be announced in due course.

Meanwhile, here are some of the brands that you will see at BOB in September. All make at least some of their products here in the UK and all are British to the core, celebrating this country's heritage of quality and design. I'll introduce more over the coming weeks:

Top left clockwise: Croots, Harry Stedman, Walker Slater, London Tradition, Cheaney, Reynolds, Mercian, Gymphlex

Croots

Makers of country sports bags and accessories, Croots also have a city range. The brand supplies HM The Queen, but doesn't spurn collaborating with Nigel Cabourn whose high quality heritage pieces are stylish and fashionable. Croots emphasis is on timeless style, heritage and quality.

Harry Stedman

This company needs no introduction to readers of this blog as I collaborated with them on a photoshoot recently (see the image above). They take their inspiration from Harry Stedman, a Liverpool man whose life and adventures inspire a collection of menswear which finds its roots in British, US and Japanese heritage and quality. Harry Stedman.

Walker Slater

Tweed jacket, suit and tailoring specialists Slater Walker are based in Edinburgh, London and online. Offering made to measure, off the peg and stylish accessories, they provide country and city tailored style to both men and women.

London Tradition 

Makers of British outerwear, London Tradition make duffels, peacoats for men and women - bespoke and off-the-peg. Founded in East London in 2001, the company continues a long heritage of coat manufacture in this country. It was awarded the Queen's Award for International Trade on 2014.

Gymphlex

Manufacturers of sportswear for over 100 years, many schoolchildren will have worn their products on the playing fields of the UK. Now a fashion and leisurewear brand as well, Gymphlex manufacture both in and outside the UK.

Mercian Cycles

Founded in Derby in 1946, Mercian Cycles build bespoke lightweight steel bicycle frames by hand, using traditional frame-building methods with one craftsman building each frame from start to finish. They also renovate and repair bikes and are known for their collaborations with cycling enthusiast, Sir Paul Smith.

Reynolds England

R.E.W. Reynolds was established in 1921 in Northampton, England as a cycle manufacturer. They started to make cycling shoes, using the skills all around them in England's shoemaking county. They still make cycling shoes, both classic and modern in style.

Cheaney

Joseph Cheaney & Sons make hand-made shoes in Northamptonshire, and have done so since 1886. Each shoe takes 8 weeks and over 200 hand-tooled operations to complete. Their city, country and casual styles offer something for everyone. They sell online and at outlets around the country.

BOB London, which will take place in Victoria House, Southampton Row in September. I'm still curating my selection of British menswear brands, so do get in touch if you'd like to be considered for inclusion.

NOTE: I am not being compensated by any of the brands featured here but I will receive some payment from Best of Britannia for curating my selection. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Hardy Amies: Grey Fox reviews their made to measure service

Hardy Amies is a name that echoes through the menswear world and has done so since the middle of the last century. From number 14 Savile Row Amies himself declared, "A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them." A comment that perfectly describes the art of dressing with style. Nowadays the Hardy Amies name is in new ownership, but the determination to allow men to dress with style is as strong as ever. 

I was recently invited to try Hardy Amies made to measure service (link below) and went through the very pleasurable process of being measured and fitted for a new suit. 

Discussing the detail while being measured for the suit

The made-to-measure suit is based on their Brinsley block; a regular suit pattern less slim than their Heddon block. However, this doesn't mean that you're restricted to a narrow range of choices in putting together your made to measure suit. You have over 200 British and Italian fine fabrics to select from, can choose double or single-breasted and have a say in other details such as collar shape, buttons, fullness of cut and so on. The guidance I received from Hardy Amies staff throughout the process was excellent; informed and helpful with knowledgable styling advice if required.

The first fitting - looking good

I selected a Dugdale (made in Yorkshire) dark blue pinstripe cloth, single-breasted with a longer coat, peak lapels (to be a little different), slightly fuller trousers with side adjusters, buttons for braces and turn-ups. All these choice are made at the initial measuring session. This is followed by one or two fittings at which the shape and style can be tweaked to arrive at the perfect fit. 

The first fitting: turn-ups or not? How long should the trousers be?

Made to measure suits cost from £995. For that I've ended up with a superb suit that feels stylish and comfortable to wear. This is a suit to put on and forget about; Hardy Amies himself would have approved. The service guarantees a beautifully made suit with a renowned pedigree at a fair price. See Hardy Amies Made to Measure for more information.

I was paid nothing for this post. This suit was made for me free of charge by Hardy Amies. All views expressed are my own.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Stow First Class Tech Case: a traveller's vade mecum

A recent trip to Venice allowed me to test the Stow First Class Tech Case. Anyone on the move, whether for business or pleasure, likes to keep in touch through phone, tablet or laptop. These devices need connecting and charging and Stow's beautifully made leather case contains all that's needed to keep in touch.



The case looks like a traditional leather writing case, but contains all you need to keep your devices charged and data stored wherever you are in the world. You can tuck travel documents, passport and tickets into one side and keep the case to hand in your cabin luggage. The case was invaluable on my trip to Italy and it will accompany me on all future travels.


A luxury item for every sophisticated traveller who needs to keep in touch. £300 from Stow in a variety of colours; see the Stow website for more information and to try.

I was not compensated for this post, although I was given this product for review. All views expressed are my own.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

My tips for finding style at The London Sock Co.

The London Sock Co kindly asked me to give some tips for finding style. Many of you will know that I have no background in fashion and five years ago, before starting the blog, I had little interest in style. The blog describes my search for style and I distill some of what I've learned on their blog here.



Friday, 17 June 2016

Gentleman's Journal includes Grey Fox in 'The Most Stylish on Instagram'

Many thanks to Gentleman's Journal for including me in their recent 'The Most Stylish Men on Instagram You Should be Following.' I can't quite believe I'm in such stylish and august company and it's a wonderful acknowledgment.

Of course, without the support of readers and followers it would never have happened, so thank you all. Please follow Grey Fox Blog on Instagram here.

See Gentleman's Journal - image on left by Bart Pajak photographer

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Sunglasses: essential for summer cool - David Clulow opticians

Like quality shoes, good sunglasses are essential to sartorial excellence. I've recently had the run of David Clulow's wide selection to try out over the summer months. I have my favourite brand, as do most sunglasses wearers, but being able to try a wider range helps a man to find the shapes best suited to his face shape. 

Ray-Ban Clubround from David Clulow. Suit Hardy Amies. Shirt Milton Green. Image Bart Pajak

If you're not sure what shape, colour and style of frame and lenses suits you best, a good supplier, like opticians David Clulow, will help by providing advice on style and fit and by showing a large range to try. You may also want to take a friend to help your selection.

Wearing Persol from David Clulow for their latest online campaign

Sunglasses, like clothes, give a man the chance to show his mood and personality. A collection of different styles, shapes and colours enables him to change as his mood alters from day to day, or according to the impression he's wanting to give. 

Part of the wide range from David Clulow. Top left clockwise: Oakley, Armani, Olivers Peoples, Prada

Is he wanting to look wise, playful, professional, mature, relaxed, cool, severe or simply to protect his eyes while playing sport? There's something for everyone and every purpose and mood. See David Clulow or call in to one of their stores to see their range of sun and optical glasses.

This is a sponsored post.
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