AW13 Look Book: Christmas Party

Christmas parties loom and one must get their outfits in order to sparkle like the proverbial angel atop the Christmas tree.

I’ve got two looks pressed and hung, awaiting their chance to shine, here they are.

A Staunton Mood

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Trousers, TOPMAN
and a present for Secret Santa (no, it’s not a clutch bag!)

Staunton Moods is a new brand to House of Fraser and comprises expertly crafted men’s shirts in that kind of thick starchy white cotton you crave from a shirt, with a little something quirky.

Now, too often when menswear designers attempt to inject a little off-the-cuff to their cuffs and collars, we end up with something only Peter Andre would wear. However, Staunton Moods shirts remain classy whilst being something fun.

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Each shirt includes a spot of colour, on show just enough to make an impact without taking over the whole look. The inner collar, button seam and inner cuffs are lined with a patterned material. I chose the retro Kittens pattern, because I just don’t have enough kitten emblazoned clothing in my wardrobe. Obv.

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The cuffs are rather ingenious too. You can wear them three ways, buttoned, with cuff-links or in a way I’ve never seen before, by buttoning the cuff as if it were fastened with a cuff-link, but using a secret button that’s affixed inside the cuff, it gives a look somewhere between casual and formal.

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I teamed the shirt with two-tone trousers from TOPMAN and suede lounge shoes for a paired-down gentleman’s smoking room feel.

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Watch the rather insightful (note: filled with naked men) video from Staunton Moods here.

A Blue Mood

My other Christmas Party look is a more soba affair, a blue mood worthy of a Matisse cut-out (perhaps).

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Shirt, Reiss, Cheshire Oaks Outlet Store, SALE £40.00
Trousers, TOPMAN, SALE £20.00
Shoes, Underground, Office, SALE £48.00

This shirt is from Reiss and I adore the simplicity of the cut and the added something that the double-breast pockets bring to the table. 

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I’ve teamed the shirt with a pair of silky lounge trousers from TOPMAN that are a really comfortable fit, perfect when gorging at Christmas dinners!

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The shoes are my beloved creepers, they give the outfit a certain style kudos and me an extra inch and a half of height, bonus.

What will you wear this party season?


Tash Diary 3: It gets serious

So. I’ve been doing the Movember thing and do you know what guys, it’s getting pretty serious. Why? Because I’ve shaved the accompanying beard and gone for the full on tash for the first time!

I’ve been accompanying my tash with a little surrounding shrubbery, as a bit of a buffer between twinky and moustachioed and now is the time to strip down to the bear bones of it and rock that mo for the rest of Movember.

This is me pre-shave.

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 photo Screenshot2013-11-21at194657_zps0efc091e.jpgI had let it get a little wild, for shame.

I decided to trim the beard back with electronic clippers and then go for a wet close shave. I used His Heaven skincare shaving foam (£55) for men, a gorgeous shaving cream with a thick almost nougat like consistency and that irresistible smell of spa. Dannii Minogue is also a fan, who knew she had a mo?

This is me during-shave.

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It actually took a little longer than usual, the hair really had gotten a little crazy and manoeuvring around the moustache took skill!

This is me post-shave!

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Here it is, my mo. Three/four weeks old.

 photo Screenshot2013-11-21at194642_zps0914d96e.jpgI used the His Heaven after shave relief spray (£37). Wow, I’ve never used a post-shave spray and it was amazing. Zero irritation and a really nice refreshing feeling, much recommended.

Celebrate Movember anyway you can and raise money for the cause. If you’re in Manchester, pop along to Lock 91 on Deansgate on 29th Movember from 6:30pm to help raise funds, with or without a tash!


A Fashion Break: BRB I’m Snatch Chatting on MSN

I recently joined Snap Chat. Do you know what, it’s not half bad. It’s rather nice for one’s artistic integrity (read: ego) to know for sure that your nearest and dearest will absolutely see the photo of your M&S meal deal sandwich, rather than it getting lost in your Instagram feed.

Still, it took me a while to get on-board because a) whilst I do work in social media, I’m always cautious of a newcomer and b) I thought it was what the kids used to send pictures of their private parts to each other. I ain’t got no time for that.

Youth and technology though, ‘eh? This takes me back to 2001 when social media was barely that, but we (the kids of my generation) were getting all emo on MySpace, happy slapping on Bebo and, most importantly, being well cool on MSN Messenger, the now defunct instant messaging service from Microsoft. MSN was sensational. Remember the nudges, the emojis, the rubber duck profile picture? Most of all remember the uncensored freedom? 

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We all sat in our rooms on MSN Messenger, “talking to friends from school,” whilst our parents were confusedly trying to fit new toner into the fax machine, wondering what ever happened to the pen and paper. Well Ma and Pa, I’ll tell you what happened to the pen and paper, it didn’t let me webcam with those bi-curious boys in Egypt reaching out to (comparatively) cosmopolitan gay boys in the south west of England, (me).
MSN Messenger was a way of life for teenagers in the early Naughties and it become the first incarnation of an altogether new ‘right of passage’, one exclusive to my generation and those subsequent; the right of passage into uncensored, uninhibited, unrestricted and mostly unsavoury digital communication with friends (and strangers) that parents or guardians can’t totally control. Yeah sure, there was always that weird kid whose Mum made him read rather than explore the internet, but generally our parents were clueless. After all, paedophiles were still in playgrounds, the Daily Mail hadn’t cottoned onto the fact that they were grooming kids online too.

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Morgan Saylor plays Dana in Homeland, a young girl in the throng of a passionate romance that is steadily fuelled by provocative picture messaging.

When I think back to the uninhibited freedom and the exposure to possible dangers that MSN, a pretty bog-standard IM service, gave me, I shudder to think what the kids of today are exposed to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude, as a gay boy growing up in the middle of nowhere, the internet was the only hope in hell I had of coming to terms with myself, but I still can’t help but wonder, what is too much freedom at an early age? Does social media pose more risks than it grants privileges, are we too uneducated in the ways and workings of the internet in our teenage years to be trusted not to snap a picture of our naughty bits and send it to that way-totally-hot-boy who asked? Is technology too far advanced for our morals and understanding to catch-up at that point?

I don’t know the answer and I don’t think we will ever know unless, perhaps, we educate our kids about sex, exploitation, danger, sexuality and the internet. Until we can talk frankly to children about what posting nude photos of themselves on Snap Chat can mean for them, the consquences of putting themselves and their bodies in the line of fire from faceless strangers within the digital sphere, we will have generations of teenagers growing into young adults who wished, if only in a small way, that they’d helped their Mum with the damn fax machine rather than replying to that age old pick-up line, “ASL?”.


Tash Diary 2: Progress + Mospiration

So, as y’all know, I’m doing the Movember thing. Growing a tash to change the face of Men’s health, literally!


Now, before I let you in on my progress, I’ve been thinking, who is my mospiration? What’s mospiration I hear you gasp? Like inspiration but moustache related. Keep up.

I know I said Freddie Mercury was a mo-hero at first but, let’s face it, that’s one afro of a stash and I don’t think I can live up to it. Plus, I’m a little less brush-tash and a little more 80s porn idol, a la:

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I have a more pervvy yet curious look about my baby-tash, one that I’m actually rather alright with. So, who could be my maths-teacher-who-helps-out-at-boy-scouts kinda moustache Moses, my holy hairy idol? How about this guy?

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James Franco’s lip service

This is a tash I can get on-board with. It’s one of those kinda delicate tickly moustaches that looks good on twinks. Especially ones with acid wash skinny jeans and tight white t-shirts. 

Jude Law (there’s a thing with Js here) is another moustachioed man that I can aspire to replicate. He’s even got a little residual stubble too, which I’m currently playing with too.

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Jude Law’s law on facial hair

So, we know the direction I’m going in. Without further ado, here I am…

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Me and my mo.



Zara Manchester: A new look for AW13

Zara in Manchester city centre has undergone a bit of a facelift, one that’s taken months and has even resulted in a new floor. The Spanish high street juggernaut opened its doors to waif-like fashionistas and, well, me, to celebrate over drinks and tiny yet delicious canapés, last Thursday night.

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Zara, New Cathedral Street, Manchester

Those accustomed to Zara will agree that it’s the closest to shopping high-end that you can get, without having to pay high-end. There’s an airy, glossy, off-the-cuff European class about it and the stores are not too crowded, or loud, or full of gross people. It’s just like, totally lovely.

Now, what Zara have done in Manchester is make it glossier, airier, more blantently European classy and they’ve gone and stuffed another floor in. I know, OMG WTF.

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Well done, now, what to buy?

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Coat with fur collar, Zara, £159.00

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Soft ankle boot with zip, Zara, £79.99 


P.S. we all got these gorgeous little bracelets with a mini pendent attached that had the word “Manchester” engraved on it. I’m going to think up something totally bloggy to do with them, custom collar tips perhaps? 

P.P.S in my haste to get this published because, y’know, it was Thursday and today’s Monday, I forgot I was a blogger. A blogger with an opinion, a social commentator, Bridget Jones etc. etc. and forgot to say I’m well gutted that after months of revamping, Zara still neglected to introduce Zara Home to Manchester, in what is one of their biggest UK stores. Pretty poor form. Thanks @ghostlytom for reminding me of myself.

Appy Shopping: Mallzee put to the test

Mallzee launched at London Fashion Week in September and claims to be the app to change the way people shop. Hmmm.

It this just another shiny pretty way to get online shoppers to shop through affiliate links, earning clever tech-geeks money for guiding you to the checkout or is this a genuine social enterprise that’s looking to make savvy consumers of us all?

I logged in to try it out.

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 Facebook integration, nice touch.
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Now for a quick-fire tutorial to how the app works. You double tap on Mallzee suggestions you like, so it can save them for you and learn your sense of style.
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Hold down on items to present share options to get your mate’s opinion.
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Pinch items you don’t like the look of.
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Pick from a pretty small selection of brands.
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Tap or pinch a couple of suggestions
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Let Mallzee do it’s calculations…
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Oh, there’s fuck all for me…
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So here’s a random suit you might like!
Nice try Mallzee but I’ll stick to the old fashioned way of online shopping for now.

Try it out yourself on iPhone here.


Happy Movember: Tash Diary entry 1

So, those that follow me over on Twitter will no doubt know that I’ve decided to do movember as it were. I’m going to grow my facial hair out in a bid to ‘change my face’, thus literally changing the face of men’s health issues via the Movember movement.

How lovely. Lots of moustachioed chaps will become walking billboards for the awareness of men’s cancers by becoming a little bit hairier!

I’ve never grown my facial hair much past “designer stubble” and to be completely honest, this is probably the first year I’d have got away with a moustache of any kind if I’d have tried. #puberty!

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Moustache Bro

I got a bit of a head-start, my last shave was around the third week of October so I’ve had about a week’s worth of growth. Let’s see how I’m doing!

Please sponsor my hair-raising efforts (‘eh, ‘eh!) by donating here, I’d be very grateful for even a couple of (hundred) pounds.

What’s more, I’ll post on Vine throughout #movember to give you a taste of my hairy delights (too far).

If you wanna jump on board, there’s still time! Find out more here!