Friday, 29 April 2016

Dockers 30th Anniversary: explorer khaki for spring & summer

Dockers is part of Levi Strauss, producing khakis since its launch in 1986. I was drawn to their 30th Anniversary Collection when I visited the new Harvey Nichols menswear department recently. It's probably trite to call it 'explorer chic', but that's the description that has stuck with me. I like the look; casual, comfortable and ideal for summer travel. 

Khaki has a strong military/travel/exploration heritage that gives a strong foundation to a menswear look for summer. Here are some of my favourite pieces for the collection. Despite the youth of the model pictured above (what's new?) I've no doubt this collection would suit the grizzled older explorer/traveller. If I get a chance to try it, I'll report back.

Available exclusively from Harvey Nicols Menswear. To see other products from Dockers, click here.

This post is unsponsored.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Glenbrae: technical and stylish knitwear made in England

I am constantly surprised at the technical advances our clothing manufacturers make in the UK. Part of the reason for that surprise is that we British are often too modest about our achievements and don't shout about them too loudly. When I was offered a jumper to review by Huddersfield-based Glenbrae Knitwear I expected something nice, but not a jumper that is very special not only in the way it fits but in the fact that it can be machine-washed and tumble dried. 

Wearing lambswool crew neck by Glenbrae, Huddersfield

I still remember the angst that my mother and grandmother went through when knitwear was washed. It had to be done in soap, not wrung dry and carefully reshaped when drying. Often it was stretched and shapeless unless great care was made. But technology has changed this. Now it appears that, while detergents specially formulated for knitwear are preferred, we can sling our Glenbrae jumper in the tumble dryer - in fact we are told that this "actually helps reinvigorate the garment'.

The Glenbrae mill in Huddersfield

Image Glenbrae

A selection of the wide range of colours available from Glenbrae

The lambswool jumper I tried fits beautifully, avoiding the rather baggy and shapeless feel that lesser knitwear can have. Sleeve length is generous and there is a selection of colours for most tastes. The properties of the garments lie in the nature of the wool yarn (Spirol), created by Glenbrae at their Huddersfield mill, which allows them to retain their natural softness for longer, resist pilling, rarely crease and be machine washable. They are knitted using a 3D knitting process which helps fit and durability; all of which I can confirm from using the jumper. Jumper prices from £70.

For more information and to buy, go to the Glenbrae website.

The jumper was provided by Glenbrae for review, otherwise this is an unsponsored post.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Featherweight spring/summer cashmere sweater from Johnstons of Elgin

These featherweight cashmere sweaters, knitted in Johnston of Elgin's factory in Hawick, Scotland, are made of extremely fine cashmere, making them cool and comfortable on warm or slightly cooler days. They come in a few colours, but this sandy one is my favourite for summer. 

I know from the Johnstons of Elgin cashmere jumpers that I own that their quality is the highest. If you generally buy cheap high street cashmere you'll be astounded at how different the best is. A stylish and unusual jumper priced at £249. Available for men and women here.

This feature is unsponsored.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Lanieri: suits from Italy

Lanieri sells online suits made to measure in Italy. They invited me to try the process which involves selecting from a wide range of Italian fabrics and then entering your measurements online. There's a helpful video that sees you through each stage and your data is checked and any queries raised with you about any details or measurements which lie outside the expected range.

This was all very easy and it's fun choosing all the details of your suit, from cut of lapels, single or double breasted, colours of linings, type of buttons, and so on.

Wearing my Lanieri suit

Lanieri say that the suits are made entirely in Italy. Postage is free and you have a variety of options to have the suit remade, or altered to fit you. Lanieri will reimburse the costs of a tailor if such alterations are needed. 

I selected a Traveller Grey Houndstooth check cloth by Fratelli Tallia di Delfino. A lightweight wool for warmer weather, it has proved to be comfortable, crush and water resistant and soft to touch: Lanieri certainly don't stint on the quality of the cloths. I chose real horn buttons to give the suit a quality look. 

The suit arrived after a few weeks and fitted reasonably well. The legs were too long, but this was easily altered by my tailor. Otherwise the trousers fitted well around waist and seat. I selected a mid-range fit for the trousers: this would be still slim for some and I suggest you go for the widest option unless you want trousers that fit fairly closely around the calves. The jacket was very slightly too long in the sleeves, but it was marginal. Otherwise it was a fair fit over chest and shoulders. Ideally, I'd have had a few further tweaks made, but given the price (from £590 for the cloth chosen) the final result is a very nice suit that has been much admired.

If I were to have another suit made by Lanieri, I would look for something suitable for summer such as the lovely cream hopsack suit pictured above. Now is the time to order that Italian-made summer suit. See Lanieri for more information and to order your suit.

The suit in this feature was provided for review by Lanieri.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Summer Shoes for beach, boat and bar: Sarah Gilfillan's selection

Sarah Gilfillan is such a successful personal stylist, helping men around the world with their sartorial choices through her website SartoriaLab, that I feel very lucky to have her contributing from time to time here on Grey Fox Blog. Here she selects summer footwear:

[Sarah writes] Many men aren't comfortable with wearing sandals and are faced with a dilemma about what to wear on their feet in the summer months that will be light and cool, plus comfortable enough to wear without socks. So what are the options? Here are my top five choices for keeping your feet fresh and fashionable this summer:

Shorts Reiss, boat loafers Swims

Club Monaco slim-fit chinos Mr Porter, Castañer espadrilles Mr Porter

Gant chinos, Oliver Sweeney denim slip-on

Indigo shorts Paul Smith, suede espadrilles Manebi

Chino J Crew, boat shoe Kurt Geiger

For information about Sarah's personal styling services for men, see SartoriaLab.

This post is unsponsored.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Swift & Co: footwear made in Burnley - comfort meets style

Swift & Co make shoes in Burnley, Lancashire and combine traditional styling with modern technology to make footwear that is incredibly comfortable. 

Some years ago a bus turned, without indicating, in front of my bicycle, running over my right foot leaving it severely crushed. To this day I have to wear orthotics with all my footwear except, as I've found with a pair sent to me for review, with my Swift & Co boots.

Wearing my Swift Lancaster suede boots

The reason for this is that Richard Swift (who is a third generation shoemaker) worked with academics to design a patent-pending sole and footbed that provide shoes with unparalleled shock protection and support. The uppers, of soft suede, add to the comfort and, although this can occasionally make the boot hard to put on, this is a small price to pay for such extraordinary comfort. For more information on this see this video:

This innovation has earned Richard and his business a number of awards and nominations and it's good to see a British business at the forefront of footwear development. For shoes to offer this level of style and trainer-type comfort is unusual. This is a British menswear business that is well deserving of our support.

There is a good range of footwear available, with more to come (some pictured below). Prices are from around £140. Click on Swift & Co for more information and to buy. Swift kindly offer Grey Fox readers a 10% discount using the code FOX10.

Swift Borwick suede shoe

Swift Borwick leather shoe

Swift Garstang leather chelsea boot

Swift & Co provided a pair of boots for review, but otherwise this is an unsponsored post.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Blancpain: quality watches and their Ocean Commitment

Blancpain is the oldest watchmaking brand in the world. Founded in 1753 in the Swiss Jura, they make a varied range of timepieces for men and women, from the diver's watches to highly ornate and complicated pieces. I was recently invited to their London showroom for an overview of the range. Although I used to collect vintage watches, I knew little about the brand, although I had come across an early example of their Fifty Fathoms diving watch (see image below).

The original Blancpain Fifty Fathoms diving watch

In this feature I wanted to say something about this diving heritage. The Fifty Fathoms, introduced in 1953 (pictured above), is claimed by Blancpain to have been the first modern dive watch. An automatic movement meant that the crown would not have to be used to wind the watch (which runs the risk of allowing water into the case), its dial was easily legible with luminous numerals and the steel case robust with a rotating bezel to allow dive time and air usage to be monitored. 

Naturally such a watch was used by several militaries, French, US, German and Israeli and the famous diver, Jacques-Yves Cousteau wore them for the filming of The Silent World

Blancpain's modern tribute to the military version of the Fifty Fathoms

Of course, the Fifty Fathoms is still made in a much-updated form and is at the heart of Blancpain's support for the ocean environment through its Ocean Commitment. In recognition of the brand's diving heritage it puts much effort and money into raising awareness of environmental issues around the world's oceans and supporting research and expeditions.

At the end of 2014 they launched a new Fifty Fathoms model, the Bathyscape Chronographe Flyback, as a limited edition of 250 pieces, from which they donate 1,000 Euros of the sale of each watch to raise a total of 250,000 Euros on support of their Ocean Commitment.

Typical of Blancpain's Ocean Commitment is this image of the Gombessa III expedition to Antarctica

Chronograph dive watches are not common, as operating push buttons on a watch under water can compromise water resistance, but Blancpain are confident that theirs can be used for timing dives up to 300 metres in depth. The watch contains Blancpain's latest in-house movement and has an anti-magnetic construction. Each piece is numbered and comes with benefits as owners become members of the Ocean Commitment Circle.

Blancpain Ocean Commitment Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape Chronographe Flyback Limited Edition

If you wish to find out more about the brand, the Ocean Commitment, their dive watches or the Bathyscape Chronographe, go to the Blancpain website here

This feature is not sponsored.
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