Thursday, 19 June 2014

It's all kicking off with Fred Perry

THE SIMPLEST things are generally the best, the most iconic and the most memorable. With the world in them middle of its four yearly or quadrennial football frenzy, this time in what is perceived by many to be the spiritual home of the beautiful game, Brasil.

I realise I not telling anyone who does not live under a rock, anything that they do not already know as far as the World Cup is concerned, and as i type this many of you will be beginning to feel the buzz of PMT (Pre-Match Tension) as Woy’s Boys get ready for their fight for survival in the group stages.

So as the average crowd of sheep will be donning their shirts, in a  bid to stand out, and of course they will simply blend in, what better way to show a true understanding of the style of the beautiful game and also to be singularly stylish in a sea of similarity, than with one of the Fred Perry Authentic’s ‘Country Collection’?!

The fact that the shirts’ starting point is as iconic as a 4-4-2, with the legendary two button, twin tipped collar polo, could not be any better. As I said simplicity. While the subtle use of laurel and country name, just tops this shirt off perfectly.

With the England shirt for example, the body is a crisp white, red twin tipped collars, double button placket, of which the branded buttons are framed in red and fronted in white, with contrast red cuffs, red laurel and England embroidered underneath. It is simple, effective and like Geoff Hurst in front of goal in a World Cup final, it works, perfectly.

National colours abound with the French coming in a fabulous blue, white tips and laurel, red cuffs and name on chest.
The Italian shirt comes with green twins, white laurel and name with red cuffs. 

The Japanese shirt is a mixed blue and white, while Portugal has green tips, cuffs and yellow laurel and name, maroon body. 
The German shirt, or Deutschland, has red cuffs, yellow laurel and name and black twin tips.

The first shirt to already be out of the tournament, Spain, is a red and yellow combination, while the hosts’ shirt is the iconic yellow and blue, with name in blue and laurel green and for Holland or Nederland, the iconic orange has contrast blue cuffs with red twin tips and white laurel and name.

The best thing about the shirts are that they will obviously still remain stylish, long after the final whistle of this summer’s biggest sporting event has been blow, so you can always wear your colours with pride, no matter how badly your country does in the sweltering Rio heat. And what better way to don the shirt and show your skills, than by kicking around a replica of the Slazenger ball used in the 1966 4-2 triumph?!!! The ball is a printed with match and final score and is a limited edition.

Flower power is the summer choice

FLORAL IS definitely the style for this summer, but obviously it is wise to avoid any double floral pitfalls, floral shorts and floral shirt are a definite no no, but it is easy to either draw down the brighter shirt with a dark short, or go completely out and drop in a pastel pink or light blue, enhancing the print further.

Anyway on to the shirts and there are plenty to choose between, which is a bonus and the quality of patterns on offer mean many of the shirts can be worn well into the evening and not come over all Tom Selleck, or as if you have filed to change after a day out at the beach.

Kicking off with a light pink or as its called mauve, Hawaiian Levi’s sta-prest short sleeve, which although palm print, not being typically floral, this twill constructed single chest pocket shirt is well worth a look, and of course it doesn’t wrinkle.
Farah offer a light and dark floral alternative with the less garish Gatsby cream short sleeve number, which forms part of their 1920 range. 

Wooden buttons and with one chest pocket, the shirt comes in navy, on which the print stands out with orange and pinks contrasting well against the navy on this more botanical print.

The Edwin Edward navy shirt is a lighter washed colour, with all over black print almost anatomical in its style. Short sleeved, this muted coloured shirt befits jeans rather than shorts in my opinion.
The Brooklyn We Go Hard Tulip blue shirt is a smaller all over print and boasts pointed collars, with a curved hem line and small hanger on the back.

The print design on the long sleeve Minimum Bob navy shirt is very similar, offering a kaleidoscope of colour in a tailored fit, with Chambray textile on the collar and cuffs, button down collars and three button fastening on the cuffs again with rear hanger.
A sparse floral print is featured on the Gunnerside midnight men’s shirt from Farah, with turned up short sleeves and contrast logo on the chest pocket and button down collar. 

Matinique’s Stator B Atlantic shirt, may have the longest name of any shirt ever made, but this button down long sleeve shirt features a more muted print, similar to BWGH, with branded buttons and adjustable cuffs I am liking this shirt dropped against a pair of jeans, whether light or dark denim.

Like with a dog at Christmas, floral prints are for life when it comes to the stunning Liberty of London Darcie and Owen shirts.
Tradition, supreme quality and a reserved pattern make these shirts unmissable, but more dress than casual in approach, shorts, unless well tailored, with these stunners would be a crime, but they are definitely ‘multi-seasonal’.
The Darcie is a subtle blue on deep green print, long sleeve button cuffs, pointed button-down collar, this shirt just smacks of tradition with Stuarts being the exclusive London retailer of it.

The Owen print is all Sixties psychedelic, hinting at Paisley, with its delightful circular floral print offering the same finishes as the Darcie and the same exclusivity at Stuarts.

Although not floral in body print, their style is continued in a nice twist with the Plain pink dress shirt by Liberty as it drops in a floral dash on the inside of the cuffs, leaving cuffs undone just offers a snippet of the print, but it’s subtly enough.

The shirt, which is not button down also comes in burgundy and navy and is a nice twist on the summer’s style, understated, but effective, with the inclusion being maintained around the inside of the collar.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Get Decked Out with Fred Perry

FOR SOME reason using the term ‘Get decked out’ and linking it with Fred Perry always reminds me of the iconic Brighton Bank Holiday ruckuses down on the coast, where the MODs and the Rockers showed what can only be described as ‘bit of a dislike towards each other’.
Well the iconic laurel label has come out with a series of shirts and t-shirts this summer that stir up memories of that era and those scooter led seaside runs.

Coming over all Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene with its classic red, white and blue striped colouring the Tipped Seaside Fire polo is a collaboration with Southsea Deckchairs, utilising the iconic deckchair stripe synonymous with the British seaside and hazy summer days.

I love the nod to the iconic chair that has seated generations of holiday makers, by also using wooden buttons on the two button placket, (continued through the range) this shirt has a touch of the iconic boating blazer about it as well with variable band width stripes running through the garment.

The Kingsfisher version uses variants of navy and a light French blue in the same process and considering the two are so similar in design, they really are not when sat side by side.

The series is furthered with block stripe Holiday Royal shirt, using solid red and white stripes or blue and white, once again the wooden buttons are present, with a matching colour laurel on the chest pocket and button collar. 
Southsea Deckchairs is printed on the hem of the short sleeve shirt, but the most striking piece of this beautiful garment is the finish. 

The slightly distressed finish of all deck chairs in the weave is visible in the coloured stripe on the shirts. 
The fact that this is a lightweight shirt only adds to the effect, I find myself looking at the finish of the fabric constantly, it resonates with memories of holidays of yesteryear. 

You can almost smell the sea air when you look at it and I am not being over the top, at least I don’t think I am.
Finishing off the Southsea collaboration is the Beach Stripe long sleeve shirt, with muted blue crest on the chest pocket, uses a similar distressed desk chair finish to the fabric: chest pocket, wooden button down and front fasten, long sleeve shirt with a thinner stripe pattern and contrast stripe cuffs. 

The blue is classed as carbon blue, while the green shirt, which features the blue laurel on the chest pocket is known as Private, which I believe refers to the changing ‘cabanas’ that would have been used on beaches in years gone bye.

Although not part of the series, the Sharp carbon blue t-shirt has a thin hooped (striped) pattern in blue and white, with a nice deep blue crew neck and contrast maroon laurel on the chest in slim fit, is a nice addition to the seaside season.

Now get your skates on mate, or get your Vespa or Lambretta started, the seaside is calling.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Rain shouldn't stop summer play

As John Lennon sang in The Beatles, psychedelic masterpiece I Am The Walrus‘Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun. If the sun don't come. You get a tan from standing in the English rain.’

And so it is that our best time of the year for sunshine is almost always interrupted by some long periods of precipitation, so instead of running for cover, why not use it as another opportunity to show some style?

It really is the toss of a coin to decide which comes first though, the rain coat or the brolly?!?!?
Colour no longer being an issue with either, long gone are the days when black or blue were the only choices of umbrella colourings and rain coats are now a rainbow of choice.

So why not kick things off with a Norse Projects Elka classic which comes in yellow, grey or black. The technology in this little wonder is aplenty, made in collaboration with Elka Regntoj, a Danish rainwear specialist.
Everything adjustable and sealed, with zip and button front  on the Elka is guaranteed for battling the bad weather and has an amazing rubberised feel to the outer which allows for a flexible jacket that repels with assured ease.

A more standard style rain coast comes in the shape of the Patagonia Torrentshell, which in many ways says it all in the name. This is more of a Pac-a-mac style, which has all technical innovations than your average Caractacus Potts invention.

H2NO performance shell with waterproofing and breathability as standard the main functions here are comfort, warmth, and practicality, with hand warming pockets drawstring hem and ease of storage. It’s all very impressive and comes in some nice colours as well; Forge grey, navy rain and Viking blue.

For colour, value and classic pac-a-mac/windcheater design you can always rely on the K-Way. Born in Paris in the 60s as an alternative to running away from the rain in soaked clothes, the K-Way was invented. The jacket, that comes in all colours of the rainbow is a zip through, ventilated ‘unisex’ and is practical and stylish. 

Now naming something after then job it does always strikes me as good idea and so it is with Rains clothing's jackets, they do exactly what they say on the tin or label.

Similar in looks and style as the aforementioned Norse Projects, button through, drawstring hood, hand pockets and similar vibrant or muted colour ways; yellow and black for the Jacket, with the Breaker with zipped hand pockets coming black and blue and the Long jacket being, well the longer version, in navy or green and of course the incredible Camo. Why complicate a good idea?!!

So you donned your jacket, hooded or not a brolly is still a good idea and especially if they look as good as the London Undercover ones. And just think if the sun does actually shine, you can use one as a parasoll.
Once again the colour choices are a plenty from this quality English handmade label.

The brands’ Lifesaver range, which is inspired by the ‘colours of the British Life Boat Rescue. The City Gent which comes in olive, camouflage, navy or dark grey this one really caught my eye and then grey. Beech wood shaft and Malacca handle and contrast button fastener, keeping dry has never looked so stylish.

The Whangee Cane Crook brolly, which is offered in range in orange or navy or dark grey and folds into a compact size with outer sleeve for convenience with a Whangee bamboo cane handle.
The black on black Houndstooth and Watch Tartan umbrellas are made using recycled materials, with the iconic tartan and check featured on the inside of the brolly, with London Undercover logo etched on the handle.

You could get all Gene Kelly with anyone of this lot and start Singing in the Rain, and it doesn’t come down it is always better to be prepared.