Saturday, 28 December 2013

Set Sale to Stuarts

WELL what a year it has been! All sorts of shenanigans around the globe from the currently MIA Skylon. 
I of course have been involved in some of his extra-curricular activities, while firmly ensconced in my Havana bolt hole, and am aware of some further exciting plans coming over the horizon in 2014. 

As far as that is concerned I advise you to seriously watch this space.

So what better way to end the year than with a restock of clothes and doing so taking advantage of the annual Christmas sale at Stuarts London?

With up to 60 per cent off some items and the advantage of not having to battle those mentalists who camp outside certain stores in a bid to get the best bargain toaster or a jacket they do not actually want, but feel compelled to buy after they have been interviewed on TV, what's not to love.

I always find sales are great to not only cash in on the reductions, but to fill in the gaps missing on your wardrobe or double up on those special pieces.
So I have rolled out the DVD box sets On the Buses, Steptoe and Son and Porridge have done for the first days shopping and as you'd expect all the big guns are here.

So as Blakey and Co belt it around West London I took a peak at Armani Jeans, New Balance, Barbour, Penfield and Hardy Amies

While Norman Stanley Flethcer did his bit with Godber and Mr Mackay as I trawled through Paul Smith Jeans, Gloverall and Brady bags to name a few.

Time for a mince pie me thinks before I tuck in to some Ma Strum bargains.

So what are you waiting for get armchair shopping.

Here's wishing everyone a Happy New Year

Friday, 27 December 2013

Get your Crombie, Uniform, Barbour et al coats, you've pulled

MANY A nightclub or bar has echoed with the 'epic' failure chat up line, 'Get your coat you've pulled', but at this time of year choosing the right coat may not seemingly mean you end up in the clutches of some beer goggle attraction clinch, it does ensure a top look.

The full length coat has been the mark of style throughout the years, be it from the London gangster took to the city gent or just man about town. Be it the Duffle to the Over, a good coat is essential kit.

The history of these fabulous pieces is brought to the fore by the Anniversary Check Classic navy Duffle from Gloverall.
It is all here from the leather loops, cuff tabs to the buffalo horn toggles and checked pattern inner.

Staying on a retro tip the Crombie Black Retro Wool coat, complete with velvet collar speaks where words do not have to.
The stand out red lining, horizontal side pockets and knife edge sharp cut make this pure wool English classic, exactly that … classic.

The Lovat Covert wool coat offers similar beauty in a corking beige finish with brown velvet collar. This twill cloth wonder sports three outside pockets and must be considered to be the 'DADDY' of all Crombies, just think James Fox in Performance, arguably the greatest British film ever made and you have the total look.

With its unusual shape, large bellow pockets and high button front and chest pocket the Burroughs black pattern wool coat from Uniforms for the Dedicated is a break form the norm and it is all the better for that.
The regular fit coat has a grey wool lining.

Introducing a bit of a military feel to the proceedings the double breasted Ma Strum Patrol Coat in black is we'll, incredible.
I bloody love this coat. Slanted side pockets, metal military buttons, removable lambs wool top collar and Ma Strum ID epaulette make it a throw back to days of yore. A very smart piece indeed.

Stepping away from neutral one colour coats, Gabicci Vintage's Tweed Darj grey coat sports a blazer style check pattern and is well, just take a look. Velour collar, one chest and two hand pockets, covered button front and a tailored fit complete this perfect piece.

Less can definitely be more and the Barbour Pershore wool navy jacket highlights this perfectly.
Four large buttons adorn this Tattersall lined piece with angled side pockets a jetted chest pocket, back vent, fixed belt and comes as part of the labels hacking range. 

Well winter is upon us so it's time to wrap up warm, but whatever you do, do it in style.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Gloving this time of year: From Penfield to Canada Goose

IT WAS Sandy Shaw, the ‘bare foot princess of pop’, who so famously sang Hand in Glove and how right she was when she sang ‘let the people stare, I really don’t know and I really don’t care’.
Exactly how I feel Madam Shaw, especially when sporting some essential winter kit to keep my Germans' warm.

If you are going to start right, you have to do so with an English company that has been producing quality garments since 1777, Dents.
The range of gloves is something to behold, but I realise Xmas is a time for enjoying yourself so although the entire range is class, I reckon these four are bumper.

Kicking it off with the hand-sewn fur lined leather glove.
Utilising the classic glove design, these have a side vent and three hand-sewn points on the front, coming in 100 per cent leather.

The same fur lined hand-sewn comes in lambskin, which really highlights the sewn detailing. It also has a palm vent along with the three points on the front.
Then you have the deerskins, which are a more workman like glove, with fastened wrist strap with 100 per cent cashmere lining, for an extra treat.
These come in brown or black.

The brown leather, which comes in black as well, is once again a classic design with palm vent and no lining.

Penfield offer some quality entrants with the delicious knitted Glendo gloves with suede palm. This chunky rub knit glove provides amazing warmth.
The sheepskin Pennystone tan glove is a fur lined feast, with beautiful detailed stitching and as with the Glendo gloves, which comes in blue and grey, sport a woven Penfield tab on the hem.

Landing on my desk without too much information, but obviously worth a mention the uber warm looking Canada Goose Lodge black gloves with wrist adjusters, clips to attach to your coat and the CG logo on the right glove, these look amazing. Keep checking the site for their arrival.
These 'puffa' style ribbed finish gloves look warm and are certain to be.

Hasta Victoria la Siempre

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Doctor Who? Scarves all wrapped up

IN THE 50th anniversary of the most famous time travelling doctor on British TV, it seems appropriate that the next item of winter wear to have a look at is the scarf.
I, as I am sure you, are fans of the item de jour in wintertime with tartan patterns being a particular favourite.

Kicking off with the Barbour Cardinal, which is of course tartan, comes in three variants red, green and grey.
The pure Lambswool Scottish wonder is a perfect combination of comfort and style and its size enables multi-folding looks, with tasselled ends.

Joining forces with Norton and Sons has produced a stunner of a pure cashmere scarf in the shape of the Howmore, coming in dark olive for Barbour.

Inspired by a heritage design and part of the Beacon Heritage collection, this contrast spot pattern scarf has a relaxed looked to it with frayed edges, there is also a black and grey contrast version.

There are of course some nice variants on the scarf in the Hugo Boss Orange range and the Neans stands perfectly between the English college and American preppie looks, with a white and red trim against the bulk of grey, with an unfinished hem all in pure virgin wool.

Again out of a rich stock of styles the Armani Jeans Nero black scarf is a wool and acrylic mix in two-tone black and grey.

Sporting the lettering Armani Jeans on the grey side this is a winner and also has the angle of formal and informal styling.
I am sure event Doctor Who would approve of these little beauties.

Haste la Victoria Siempre

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Canada Goose head the hat-parade

CHATTING WITH Jon Kennedy as part of the new Heroes interviews, got us to thinking about the accessory you cannot live without at this time of year.

I asked JK and he said ¾ woollen jacket, but I am thinking about a full look into this area of styling would be well worth it, especially as I fear Skylon and HMS HST may well be drifting off course for somewhere near Scapa Flow, but then again that could change any minute, as we all know.

I feel the perfect place to start would be at the top of the tree with a nice winter titfer (hat).

So with warmth an optimum for most the perfect place to start has to be those conquerors of cold at Canada Goose

These guys are never happier than when they are laughing I the face of the elements and the Merino wool Watch beanie hat is a perfect example of that. Coming in graphite, red or blue he hat, which can worn rolled up or in a more relaxed manner and sports a small disc CG badge on the front flap.

Just for the audacity of it existing the CP Company Goggle beanie is a must. Coming in navy, strawberry ad grey, this ribbed hat is a delight of design sporting the iconic goggles and is of course 100 per cent warming wool.

For more outgoing, myself included, the Barbour fleece Hunter hat is a must. Coming in olive, black or in a tartan green finish. 

The Hunter offers warmth and good weather protection, with park, ear and neck flaps all lined with Shearling fleece and a tartan lining this is a hat to go to war with winter in.

Topping out with a devil may care attitude to all round warmth the Stetson Hatteras Woolrich brown check newsboy cap is a winner, or check out any of the range, with the wool aspect for warmth.

You know what they say, if you want to get ahead get a hat … so what are you waiting for?

A Skylon update … I have lost contact with my pharmaceutically fire pal hours after making the delivery of the ‘tools needed to live through this wretched journey’ as he described it.
The last radio transmission I received from him simply contained one word hollered in what could be construed as a celebratory tone: ‘KONG’ …

I will leave you to pick the bones out of that.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre

Sunday, 24 November 2013

A New Balance for Skylon

SO I have been called upon to deliver ‘the goods’ for Skylon, with a listwhich was very reminiscent of a Fear and Loathing drugs collection, you know;
“We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.
Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”

So with the madman over water, I had understood the HMS HST as the ever changing name of the ship of fools went, was in need of plentiful supplies of booze, sun tan cream and clothes.

I also noted with much humour that Skylon had not asked for food, but why would such a man require sustenance, when he had a fulsome supply of hard liquor and narcotics???!!!

With the knowledge that the HMS HST is being sailed by a man, who is skirting along the edge of insanity, my first choice for inclusion was some of the Swims galoshes which are a superb way of ensuring safety under foot and protecting treasured shoes.

I included the brown, blue and orange. I also extended my on going romance with everything New Balance, including the ‘peppermint’ and ‘classic English breakfast’ 576s, known as the ‘tea pack’ range, both of these have to be seen to be believed, along with the tan nubuck and M1500, which is most performance driven shoe in the range, sporting the smaller N logo and comes in burgundy or green. Well having seen all those trainers go overboard with the former crew, it was all I could do.

I was always unsure, weather wise, what to drop in, but I knew I just had to blitz in some seasonal winter jumpers, would be appreciated, so I included a few Fox & Sons pieces.
Specifically the silver half Donegal, pure wool round neck and green half, along with the very festive Fairisle round neck, which is delicious.

Locating my old chum was not difficult, the sat-phone gave us the rough location and the constant music blaring out, plus His Nibs hanging from all aspects of the boat setting fires, firing guns and a constant volley of flares made him fairly easy to pinpoint.

The tunes of course have become a staple entertainment for the guys at Cohiba HQ, due in no small part to the one-way phone contact we have with Skylon, I am particularly taken with his choices.
The latest tunes de jour are:

Alpine – Hands
Dive – Human
Steve Mason – Fire
The Others  – Truth That Hurts
Future Pilot AKA  – Witchi Tai To 
I Am Kloot – Proof
DJ Greyboy – Guitar String
Real Estate – Beach Comber
Best Coast – Sun Was High
Temples – Colours to Life

Some mighty fine tunage from a rampant mad man lost at sea me thinks …

Haste Siempre Victoria

Friday, 22 November 2013

HEROES: Jon Kennedy talks fashion

IN THE  first of our new series of interviews, with cutting edge artists,  musicians and general men about town, entitled Heroes, we have the pleasure to shoot the breeze with musical, producer,  record label founder and all round top boy Jon Kennedy.
Originating  from Manchester, Kennedy now lives in Central Europe and has been blazing a trail behind the decks, drums and mixing desk for 13 years, producing five albums, the last of which Corporeal is proof the man is reaching a new peak in musical powers.

How important is your wardrobe to you and to your daily life?
JK: Very. I've been through many fashion stages in my life from a late 80's skateboarder and rebelious 'wearing t shirt inside out' and now …  I like to think I've found a refined, dinner jacket and skateboard-lower-body combo.

What do you think of the current styles and trends in menswear?
JK: I'm actually loving the recent fashions, maybe I'm more aware of them than I used to be … I don't know but as I get older I find myself being more interested in the thread side of culture

Clothes wise what looks or styles have you found room in your wardrobe for?
JK: I've managed to get rid of the hooded tops, lumberjack shirts and 't shirts with logo's', a look for me that I used to rock regularly. I'm somewhere between office worker, Alexander McQueen and skateboarder.

The Colonel: Can we suggest these Lacoste Live trainers, the Hellesdon Lem Black leather and the superb Croxton dark purple mid shoe.

What have you found the most exciting look or introduction to menswear this year?
JK:  I've been loving the injection of grey's, blues and shades there of.. It's a very minimalist, Japanese edge and I LOVE that Japanese design, mainly over there it's in the streets, houses and furnishings but to see that in fashion does it for me.

Preference: spring/summer or autumn/winter wardrobes?
JK: Bit of both to be honest, but finding a good pair of ACCEPTIBLE shorts is tricky …
The Colonel: Without hesitation Mister Kennedy  I would chose Orlebar Brown tailored board shorts.

Are there any labels you have discovered this year that you would recommend?
JK: I came across a couple of suit brands, (see below for some of our favourites),  that I love but without sounding too cheap, I ain't gunna mention them. I have also discovered some SUPER GAREISH and pretty … erm … disgusting labels as well.

Heritage labels such a Loakes; Grenson and Crombie etc are now being worn alongside casual clothes, what do think of this combination of styles and are you a fan of the tie ups between bespoke suit makers such as Norton with labels such as Barbour?
JK: I love this idea and as I say I have been rocking this look for a long time now without knowing it was now ‘cool’.
I think it's fabulous to mix the whole culture, art, clothing, fashion of all kinds into one, they make sense together and if the look is what you are hearing then I support it!

London is becoming a Mecca for menswear shops, do you think this is deserved?
JK: I prefer to think you can't beat a bit of Northern charm.

If you could pick one item of winter clothing to complete your look, what would it be?
JK: For me it’s a 3/4 length woolen jacket. 

And what item would you not live without?
JK: Trainers.

Who would you class as a style icon and inspiration?
JK: Alexander McQueen is a DON. FACT.

What projects are you working on at present?
JK: Currently I'm touring the globe with my new LP Corporeal doing shows from China to Palestine, Hungary to Japan …
It's tiring but I wouldn't change it for the world. In fact maybe I can change the world … in some way to bring peace to some of the disrupted areas I have seen recently in the Middle East.

For more information on Jon Kennedy visit:

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

It's all gone Hunter Thompson on the HST

FROM LANDED gentry to captain of a scooner class vessel I may well contact the House of Windsor to ask for what I now deem as my rightful passage to an honour of the old fading Empire, such has my drunken rise become so glorious.

Do not worry ‘oh my droogies’, I have not become an Ahab style obsessive strolling atop the deck of the Pequod, arms folded behind my back. 

But during several lost days drifting in this steal coffin loaded on LSD and booze, while Bingo and Bubbles tan themselves to Icarus levels, I have found certain aspects of this sea bound mentally challenging and disheartening.

My attempts to emulate Brian Jones and Hendrix LSD voyage may not have produced any mind blowing music, but I now stand astride the quarterdeck sporting the iconic Orlebar Brown sky blue beach swims, Mikkel Rude cream check shirt, Woolrich Arctic black cap, Universal Works Hockey navy wool socks, a pair of Adidas Gazelle Indoor bluebirds and of course, Ray Ban Outdoorsman handed to me from my fallen predecessor as he slipped, with a little help from myself, overboard into the waiting waves.

With no real understanding of our route, viewing maps while under the heavy influence of liquid pharmaceuticals, dehydrated and sun burned is never easy, I have stuck to my initial plan of full steam ahead, while firing out countless flares, sounding the ships klaxon continually and firing off Geo satellite phone missives to The Colonel is working, well we are moving ahead if nothing else.

The latter has resulted in a planned alcohol, food and clothing drop, which is of course a life saver, but I have given up listening out for further calls from my old Cuban ensconced chum preferring to blast out countless tunes instead over the ship’s superb Tannoy system, Noriega stylie and share sun tan application duties with the girls.