Thursday, 23 March 2017

Bespoke watch straps - new style for your wristwatch from Mia Sabel

Any watch enthusiast will know that part of the fun of watch ownership is finding the ideal strap or bracelet for a favourite timepiece. I like to change straps occasionally simply for variety, but, having a small wrist, find that most are simply too large. One solution is to have one made. The strap will then fit perfectly, match any preferred colours and be made from the material of your choice.

Image Mia Sabel

Mia Sabel changed career to undertake a saddlery course and she now makes made-to-measure belts, watch straps and pet collars, creates stationery and accessories and undertakes commissions. She uses mainly English bridle leather and hand stitches and finishes her products to highest saddlery standards.

Images Mia Sabel

She makes straps for both modern and vintage watches and, as can be seen from the images, the character of a watch can be enhanced with a good bespoke strap. Contact Mia Sabel through her website to discuss your requirements.

This is an unsponsored post.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Begg & Co: The Finest Scottish Scarves for All Seasons with 10% Reader Discount

In the five years or more that I've written this blog one of the greatest pleasures has been discovering the highest quality products from British manufacturers. Begg & Co manufacture (and have done so since 1866 when they wove Paisley shawls) scarves, wraps and throws of the most sublime quality in Scotland from cashmere, silk and lambswool angora.

Their website shows attractive designs for men and women in various weights, sizes and materials; something for everyone. I selected three to try for this review, all cashmere (I was able to keep one, which I'll reveal later) and all are beautifully made. The cashmere is the softest of the soft. 

Above: The "Superfine Wispy" cashmere scarf is screen printed with spots and each contains eight kilometres of the finest gossamer cashmere yarn. What can be cooler than having five miles of fine cashmere yarn wound round your neck? It's like having a cloud round the neck. Available in other colours. Very lightweight and soft, this wonderful scarf is ideal for spring and cooler days in summer.

Above: This "Arran" scarf had a beautiful ripple finish and the soft cashmere is more suited to the colder days of winter. It has a subtle vertical half and half design which doesn't show well in my photograph. A real belter of a scarf. Available in other colours.

Above: The "Kishorn" scarf is lightweight, washed and just a little distressed, the ultimate in understated chic. A quite superb scarf to wear with faded denim or to dress down a suit. Ideal as an all the year round scarf. It also happened to contain all my favourite shades of blue and indigo.


Costing between £260 and £285 these aren't cheap scarves... thankfully. You're paying for beautifully designed, Scottish made products of the very highest quality. This is thick and very soft, fine cashmere; not the mean, harsh stuff sold cheaply in piles in some high street stores. They have been woven and hand-finished by skilled workers who receive fair wages and have huge pride in what they produce. You won't regret buying them; just make sure the moths are kept away. See Begg & Co. who have kindly offered a 10% discount for Grey Fox Blog readers - quote BEGG10OFF at checkout.

I loved all these scarves, but my favourite was the spotty Wispy, whose superfine cashmere makes it ideal as the weather turns warmer. I kept that one, but it was a hard choice with the "Kishorn", also a beauty. 

This feature was kindly sponsored by Begg & Co but the content and all views expressed are mine alone.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Access All Areas: Photographs of Rock Legends by Paul Harries at Proud Galleries

I've been lucky enough to have had some photographs taken of me by Paul Harries, best known for his work with rock icons including Nirvana, Slash, Metallica, Slipknot, and Muse. Paul is showing some of his photographs in an exhibition, Access All Areas: Photographs by Paul Harries at Proud Galleries from 9th March to 23rd April (link below).

From a young age Paul Harries was fascinated by the live music and he merged this with his increasing passion for photography, shooting live gigs at the legendary Marquee Club. He was introduced by a friend to Kerrang! Magazine to which he has contributed as a leading lensmen of rock photography since 1989.

Granted unparalleled access to the biggest names in rock history on set, backstage and in studios across the globe, Harries’ work includes images of Nirvana during sell-out performances, candid shots of Slash and Ozzy Osbourne and a series of photo-manipulated images including an iconic photograph of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson in a replica WW1 plane. See Proud Galleries for more information.

This is an unsponsored post

Friday, 17 March 2017

A Summer Suit From Exclusive Tailoring: Made-to-Measure

Exclusive Tailoring was founded by tailor, Richard Thompson and is situated in London's West End, ideal for either the City or central London. Richard's studio is welcoming and comfortable and he has a good choice of cloths to suit all tastes and budgets. I was seeing him for the purpose of making a summer suit. We started the process back in November, when the last thing I needed was a lightweight cloth, but it meant that the suit would be ready for the first warmth of spring. 

At the fitting with Richard Thompson of Exclusive Tailoring

Richard took me through the choice and I went for a lightweight Holland & Sherry worsted in pale tan, ideal for the warmer days of summer. The made-to-measure process involves adapting an existing block, or pattern, and this involves trying on a coat and trousers and adapting the fit. The client then has a very wide range of choices of cloth, cut, shape, lining, buttons and more. The result is very personalised garment. I asked for roped shoulders and these have been carefully and skilfully added, giving the suit a touch of character. 

For the price of many off-the-peg 'designer' suits, which will always be a compromise on fit, Richard provides a suit that fits well and looks good. I will be showing the suit in more detail over the next few months on Instagram, so please follow me there to see how I use and style the suit over the warmer days of spring and summer.

A two-piece made to measure suit from Richard Thompson starts at £850 (the cost of the suit shown here), which is highly competitive. A two-piece fully bespoke suit starts at £2000. Clients can either visit Richard's studio or he will go out to them. Corporate packages are offered which will carry a discount. See Exclusive Tailoring for more information and to contact Richard.

Roped shoulders and excellent fit over shoulder and upper back

The fabric used for my suit was Holland & Sherry from their classic mohair’s bunch, 230gm 7 1/2oz 85% super 100’s worsted 15% kid Mohair. The suit was provided by Exclusive Tailoring who sponsored this post. All views expressed are mine alone.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

New Globe Traveller Bags on Kickstarter: Support a Child's Education

New Globe Traveller bags are made from upcycled leather and rubber inner tubes. On each purchase, the primary school education of an underprivileged child in a developing country is supported for a year in the name of the buyer. A good range of bags of various types is available for Kickstarter pledges starting at £95. 

The excellent Weekend Holdall, which is an aircraft cabin size, has become one of my go-to bags, (image above) and can be obtained for a pledge of only £135 (RRP £180). With each bag the buyer receives details of the child whose education will be supported.

The campaign ends on 21 March, so please make a pledge soon on Kickstarter.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Manly Stuff: Shaving & Grooming Products with 20% Grey Fox Discount

Manly Stuff offer not only manly shaving and grooming products, but watches, collar stiffeners, pocket squares and a few other essentials for those of us with a Y chromosome. I was sent a traditional razor (the best type in my view) for review with grooming oil and a shaving brush.

Here's how I got on with them....

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Pocket Rocket: Pocket Squares Can Be Fun

Pocket squares should be fun and Pocket Rocket, who make and design their squares in the UK, have gone out of their way to make them so. My first thought was that the printed silk squares were a bit loud, but of course once they are folded and placed in a pocket their multiple colours makes them extremely adaptable. They then take on a completely different personality, limited only by your imagination and pocket square folding ability.

And what do they look like in the pocket? They are generously sized at 42cm square and are made of opulent silk with hand-rolled edges. Here I've stuffed them in my blazer with my usual lack of flair and you'll see how they take on a different look depending in how you fold them:

Highly recommended and fun both in and out of the breast pocket. See Pocket Rocket.

This feature was kindly sponsored by Pocket Rocket, but the views in it are entirely mine.
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