Thursday, 18 December 2014

Good Day Sunshine shirts: Made in London for the winter sun

For those lucky enough to be chasing the sunshine this winter, there is an interesting range of luxury cotton shirts available from Good Day Sunshine shirts.

They are designed and made in London, England from 100% American Supima® cotton, which is woven into a cool, lightweight pique fabric in Switzerland. The extra-long yarns of Supima® cotton result in a more luxurious, softer and yet durable fabric. 

They are nicely-cut, with a tailored fit. The long-sleeved version features a two-button cuff; useful for wearers of larger watches. The lightly-lined shirt-style collar looks good under a jacket, without appearing too stiff or formal. The hem is longer at the back and the side vents and slimmer fit help the shirt fit comfortably and neatly. 

Also available with a short sleeve, this is a versatile and very wearable shirt, ideal for the beach, the poolside, or equally fitting around a dinner table. It goes well under a lightweight jacket, suit or blazer and is designed to stay smart even after a long flight or journey. Minimalist in look, it can even be worn with a tie.

I don't think that this is a shirt for warmer climes only. I've been wearing mine very comfortably in the chill of a London winter. The detail of the shirt is remarkable; it's good to come across something into which so much care, thought and skill has gone; giving a true mix of polo and formal shirt. This is a shirt that deserves to be noticed.

If James Bond was after a shirt for his foreign adventures, surely it would be this one. Available in several colours, see Good Day Sunshine for more information or to buy.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Broughton boots - support a new venture and buy bargain English-made boots

It's not every day that a new English boot brand comes along. You can support Broughton Boots on Kickstarter with the opportunity to buy a hand-made and customised pair of boots for around £175, depending on what package you go for (they're understandably going fast, so be quick). They're made in Northampton (where else?) and you can choose from a range of colours and construction options. 

I don't need to say more, really. I'm surprised there are any left, especially as they'll eventually retail for a still sensible £325.

Go to Kickstarter to read the wonderful story, see the video, find out more and order your boots.

Pocket squares: where to find well-made and original designs

Pocket squares make excellent gifts for a man. They add colour and style to an outfit and the greater the choice the better. A man can never have too many pocket hanks. But unless you look carefully the selection can be a little uninspiring and unoriginal. So here is a brief round-up of some of my favourite designs that are just a bit different.

I love the originality of the fresh printed cotton designs from this small, young studio in Norfolk. Making ties and hanks in England, this is just the sort of business that deserves our wholehearted support. Dancys -

One of my favourite stores, Drake's products are so eclectic, mixing traditional English style with Italian verve. These pocket squares are among my favourite designs. Like those from Dancys, the patterns are different enough to make them stand out from more traditional designs. See Drake's -

Age of Reason
I couldn't write about pocket squares that are original in design without mentioning the Age of Reason/Grey Fox limited edition collaboration squares, made and hand-rolled in England. If you haven't got one already, you must do so now from Age of Reason scarves. Available in blue or rust -

Cravat Club
A wide range of Made in England squares can also be found at Cravat Club, about whom I wrote recently here. The designs range from the traditional to more modern, so there is something for all -

The Merchant Fox
A good place to find all sorts of well-designed British-made gifts, The Merchant Fox has a small range of pocket squares which, like that pictured below, combine humour and style. Click here to buy -

Helen Ruth
Helen Ruth's scarves are 32cm square, printed on 100% silk twill in Glasgow and finished by hand with a rolled hem. The designs start off as Helen's hand-drawn illustration and artwork and then developed into digital prints. She also makes silk bow ties and you can get matching sets made to order. See Helen Ruth on Facebook and see about her scarves on her website here -

Marie Antoinette - contact Helen Ruth for more information

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Beaufort & Blake - printed dress shirts and accessories

Beaufort & Blake was founded in 2012 by three university friends who created a patriotic themed dress shirt for a friend attending a ‘Best of British’ May Ball. After moving to London they developed their own range of of printed clothing and accessories. 

I recently attended a ball wearing one of their beautifully-made Liberty print dress shirts (above) with fox-head (of course) studs.These revive the eighties popularity of shirts with colourful printed arms and back, invisible when worn under evening wear, but shown in all their glory once the jacket is removed. This can be traced to the mess rooms of the British Army where traditional black-tie dress is regularly worn and officers. To mark their individuality once formal proceedings were completed, they would remove their jackets to display humorous and colourful shirts. 

Grey Fox dressing for the ball; bow tie needs a tweak. Beaufort Blake shirt and fox studs

Only 120 shirts are made in each colour way, offering traditional shirting heritage and bold, vibrant colours. All products are made with 100% cotton and manufactured to the highest quality. Liberty prints are used in some of the designs.

Other products include boxer shorts and shirt studs. For more information, or to buy, go to Beaufort & Blake.

Ruxx Bags - Made in England

Ruxx Bags is a brand new to me. They hand-make their bags in Oxfordshire, England and their recently-relaunched website includes a man's Alex Document Bag which drew my eye. Both handsome and practical, it serves as a backpack or briefcase.

Ruxx are planning to extend their men's range for next year. For more information and to buy visit their website here

The video below shows the story behind the brand. Watch how the fluffy dog disconcertingly turns into a bag and back into a dog.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Book review: The Mr Porter Paperback - The Volume for a Stylish Life, Volume 3

Published just in time for Christmas, this is the third of Mr Porter's guides for men into the pleasures and intricacies and subtleties of style, ownership and living. I missed out on the first two volumes and have yet to catch up with them, but I see that all three are sold as a complete set (see Mr Porter to buy). 

This is a book to dip into to be entertained. From Stars in their Cars to How to Undress in Front of a Lady, here are light-hearted guides, reviews and interviews into many of the fascinating subjects that exercise the minds of the modern gentleman (and even those who aren't gentlemen) of whatever age. Often informative and well-written, it would make an excellent gift for any red or blue-blooded male.

The price is steep at £20 (this is a paperback after all) but, putting that in perspective, it compares well with the price of a round of drinks down the pub. From all bookshops, online or at Mr Porter

Saturday, 13 December 2014

How to: Marks & Spencer party menswear with Grey Fox and Garcon Jon

I was delighted to work with Jonathan Pryce and Marks & Spencer on a guide to party and occasional menswear. The photographer was Scott Simpson, whose Scott Fraser range of menswear I've talked about before. Visit M&S to see the Guide. Here are some images (all Marks & Spencer) taken during the photo-shoot.

I explained why I'm very happy to be involved in such photo-shoots in Thursday's blog post (see below). We're given little chance to see what menswear products look like on older men, so if I can step into that gap, I'll do so. Many thanks to M&S for appreciating that older men are interested in style.