Tag Archives: mens fashion

My Made to Measure Experience

12 Oct

So I popped the big question to my now wife last January. It was great, lots of excitement and planning and people to tell. One of the first things I did however was tell two close friends of mine who own a mens clothing store who specialise in bespoke suits. They were delighted for me and gave me the customary handshakes but then I said lets get cracking with my suit.

I had a few ideas floating around in my head ultra tailored, Italian cut and possibly electric blue. Our venue for the wedding was in Florence, Italy in the July sunshine, six months after our engagement. So Florence meant I had to have the slickest suit in a city where slick suits is staple attire for men of all ages in any line of work or pleasure.

So the shop which my friends run is called Salingers located in Cork city, Ireland. They are two guys one from Italy and one from Canada so I knew I was in good hands. I bounced some of my ideas off them and went through some images with them and leafed through the fabrics. This was a good starting point but with made to measure you are the person who is going to have to come up with the idea and design because it should showcase your personality and the details you want.

So I set up a Tumblr account, Pinterest and Twitter and just goggled suits non-stop. I was jumping from grey with a pink prince of wales check to electric blue with contrasting lapels which was all the rage at the time of my incessant goggling! I went in to Christopher and showed him some of the images I was toying with and he never said outright that anything was ghastly but phrased it like “a bespoke suit is for life and especially with your first one you really don’t want to look back at it and say what the hell was I thinking with orange lining!”.

Tom-Ford   ER-1

Then I came across a designer from South Africa Zano Sithetho who just launched his new look book from his clothing range Skorzch. All the omens where good, my fiance is from South Africa and there it was a a single buttoned double brested slim fit blue suit. That was it, I wanted that one. Now I had a template to work off I just had to find the fabric.

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I went to the guys and showed them the picture and we went looking for the fabric. It took a while because you can find nearly any colour or pattern combination with Loro Piana fabrics but not all will be within the ordinary man’s budget. I wasn’t worried however because everything else was going smoothly with our wedding plans and this was the fun part for me so I kept faith. Then a new batch of fabrics arrived in the Spring and lo and behold a gorgeous super 120’s light blue wool was available.

I had heard that getting your first bespoke suit was a rite of passage but I didn’t really know what that meant until I was  standing there arms held aloft and a measuring tape going across my shoulder blades. I felt bigger than the measurements being scribbled away into the fitter’s moleskin and much older than my years. Yes I was about to get married and enter a new club but before that I was entering the bespoke club which I didn’t even know existed beforehand.

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The fitting was quite straight forward just some precise measurements taken from everywhere. Then some obligatory questions about how I would like the fit of my suit and the extra details. I’m a slim guy and think a well fitted suit is paramount. The real fun with bespoke happens in the details and that’s what makes it one of a kind. So I wanted the customary working buttons on the cuff, mother of pearl of course. I got the date and location of my wedding embroidered in Italian under my collar along with my name on the inside of my jacket. The options are endless and if you trust your tailor to make the right choices for you then you should feel extremely confident that your suit will turn out perfect.

So I went away extremely satisfied that I was going to get the perfect suit for our big day and personalised to my exact tastes. I was told it was going to take about 7 weeks which was fine because we were flying to Italy in 7 and half weeks!! I still kept that same faith that everything was going to turn out right. The fabric came and so will my suit and there will be no unforeseen delays like volcanic ash clouds no way! So I went away and got on with other wedding stuff that I needed to be done.

So it’s the week before we fly out. I’m nearly finished work and have everything else sorted. My suit is in transit and should be in the store very soon. I start to feel a little stress as the days go by, through osmosis more than anything else. My other half has put a lot of effort and planning in to the wedding and doesn’t want my suit not arriving ruining our big day. Then I get the call “Buongiorno Wayne your suit has arrived and it’s magnificent”.

I swiftly make my way over to the store and try it on. I then step out from the changing room donned in my new shiny suit. It’s fits like a glove! I genuinely had never worn something so perfect for me. This seems obvious because it was the first time I wore something made specifically tailored for me but it just felt so right. The lapels lengthened my body, the nipped waist and slim legs gave me all the right proportions and I just felt a million dollars.

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My Fiance arrived and was ecstatic and couldn’t believe how well it turned out. I thanked Chris and Mike and it really wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Salingers. Then it was next stop Italy. I felt great and got compliments from loads of Italians on my suit which is a testament in itself but you will never look as good as your wife on your wedding day trust me.

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I would whole heartily recommend getting a bespoke suit for your wedding or just jump at any excuse to own a tailored made suit. It really is a rite of passage and you will only understand when you go through the process.

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Androgyny

27 Sep

So over the past few seasons we have seen men’s fashion take a lot of inspiration from woman’s clothing. From knee high boots to jumpsuits,depending on where your from and how adventurous you are. Blurring the lines between gender in fashion doesn’t bemuse or offend me in anyway. Even if I don’t agree with all of it or want to run out and buy myself a pair of “mantyhoses”, I get most of it and see the merit in it. The crossing over between men’s and women’s fashion has happened for a long time particularly the other way around. Woody Allen’s Annie Hall in the 1970’s announced Dianne Keaton to the world as a style icon. She wore waistcoats,ties,bowler hats and slacks. This inspired women to take control of their individuality and femininity by challenging the norm and experimenting with loose fitting suits inspired by trend setters such as Audrey Hepburn.

 

                

This was highlighted in the mainstream fashion world with Yves Saint Lauren’s Le Smoking jacket bringing the pantsuit to modern society. This has filtered through to the high street with Gap’s boyfriend blazer and khakis and Abercromie & Finch clothing range aimed at men and women. This androgynous style looks great with women in three piece suits and their hair slicked back and even Kanye West has performed on stage recently wearing a woman’s blouse from the Celine range. So this look can transcend all barriers to many different people but I personally feel that this explosion of man cleavage is a step to far.

 

     

I usually don’t hate on anybody for their style choices because everybody has their individuality or reasons for being sartorial savvy or not. However and I know that plenty of guys put sweat and long hours in the gym for a great chest but their is no need to have it on display. A t-shirt that is cut down towards your belly button should be a no go area. X-Factor stylists seem to be keen on this fad and the general public have taken to it with aplomb especially with the likes of Jersey Shore lending even more inspiration. So whether you have a great chest or not why not accentuate it in a fitted shirt or a crew neck tee and throw a blazer on,trust me it’s tried and tested and that’s not always a bad thing.

 

     

Fishing lures?

24 Sep

So as the evenings are starting to shorten and the days become colder, we know Autumn has arrived. This is a lovely season as everything starts to wind down and get ready for the winter ahead. Gorgeous amber light basking us on long relaxing strolls through the countryside. This is also when we change our wardrobes from shorts and linen jackets to heavier chinos and tweeds. So whether your investing in a new tweed blazer or dusting down your trusty vintage, why not think about accessorising your tweed this season to give yourself a little bit of an edge this autumn and winter. So why not go beyond the original pocket square and pop a fishing fly on your lapel and watch it catch fashionistas and bewildered fishermen alike. You can get a variety of fishing lures from any tackle shop ranging from spinning lures to fishing flies. They come in multifarious colours and sizes and will make a loud statement on whichever jacket you decide to pop it on. Here’s some examples on autumn/winter accessorising.

                                                   

Ted Baker A/W 2012

Farah Vintage Horatio Coat.

available at Salingers Cork.

9-5

19 Sep

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Shinga Life

12 Sep

 

If you have ever been to Thailand or anywhere in Asia you probably have came across somebody wearing a Shinga beer tank top. Or if your like me enviously leafed through your friends summer pics of paradise on Facebook and seen someone wearing one. Now the iconic beer brand Shinga have brought out a fashion line for men and women since 2008.

It’s called Shinga Life and combines that Asian feel with a contemporary look that wouldn’t look out of place in London, New York or Milan. It’s an amalgamation of a preppy British look with American street style and sticking with colours true to Asia with oranges and greens thrown in whatever the season. The familiar lion logo is used on shirts and sometimes as an allover pattern which I absolutely love. The womens collection has a very androgynous look about it which I think is amazing and puts it more in line with ladies fashion of America and Europe rather than that of the Asian or Japanese markets.

I’ve only recently came across this collection on line so I havn’t found out about the quality of the products or when it will hit the European markets but I will be keeping an eye out for it. I feel Shinga Life it could really take of over here especially since the high street has taken to regurgitating major logos such as Coke-a-Cola, Disney characters etc. on to a wide range of their products. Therefore I feel with the passion that Shinga seem to be putting into their clothes line it could only do well around the globe.

Click here to check out more of their collections, enjoy.

“Fashions fade, style is eternal”-Yves Saint Laurent

11 Sep

Spring two years ago I can distinctly remember I went into town wearing a pair of my new red chinos. This is not a bold of daring move by any means,red suits me and I’ve always loved chinos. However I can remember getting the odd look and murmur walking past groups of, lets say best described as street youths. This didn’t bother me then nor does it now, I’m writing this not for sympathy or an attack on small minded individuals. I’m writing this because since X-Factor and Simon Cowell have gave birth to One Direction the fashion of the high street has been pretty much dictated by their style ever since.

Yes boy bands and music icons of every era have dictated fashion with the people emulating their idols,so whats different here. Well for starters Ireland,where I’m from, has always been very conservative in most respects but men’s fashion especially.A normal Saturday night for most Irish men is a night out on the town, few scoops and try to pull a bird. Key to success apart from that enchanting Irish charm, shirt and shoes. Not your fitted Italian jeans and suede monk-straps now but generally a pair of bootcut jeans with a loafer style shoe with a considerable sole. I’m not attacking Irish men’s style here that’s their own prerogative but I’m trying to highlight the polar shift since last Christmas to the fashion in this country.

So post X-factor 2011 One Direction are in the limelight looking fresh with colour coordinated chinos,slim fit blazers, dickie bows and pocket squares. The high street are loving this with the likes of Topman, H&M and River Island to name a few churning out chinos in every colour and everything else that One Direction seem to sport. Never have I seen the nation on a whole go crazy for trend setting with bars and nightclubs on the weekends all over Ireland giving an injection of much needed colour. It hasn’t faltered either with Spring/Summer colours of red, orange and bright blues moving over for Autumn/Winter colours of burgundy, green and mustard. The fashion world has always had key colours for seasons but never before has the high street taken to following key colours with such aplomb.

I for one think it’s great that Irish men are starting to become a little braver with their attires. It does bemuse me however that it took till 2012 and the catalyst was the manufactured boy band One Direction. It’s possible it has a lot to do with Irish ladies softening their views about men’s fashion and that just because it’s bright it’s camp. Therefore the evolutionary process has forced Irish men to change their wardrobes to find a mate on those magical Saturday nights. One thing I will take away from my observations is the famous words from French designer Yves Saint Laurent “Fashions fade, style is eternal”.

Salinger’s new website

11 Sep

Click the image to check out Salinger’s new website, It’s really cool. Also to follow them on tumblr click here.