SS16 Look Book: Camel Coloured Coats

Spring has sprung, just about, so I’m out of my dark, heavy, wool coat and into something a little lighter in weight – and hue – for the new season.

I have two new coats, both a shade of camel, which make for perfect transitional pieces when the weather hasn’t quite made its mind up.

Both these coats have that cocky estate boy-made-good vibe going on, like they’ve been bought (or stolen) at a second-hand shop by some scallywag in sheep’s clothing. I love them! 

 

Coat, TOPMAN, £150
Jumper, Pop Boutqiue, £20
Chinos, Zara, £19.99
Boots, ASOS, Sale
Necklace, TOPMAN, £10
 
The first is something a little formal, a coat that easily dresses up any outfit. A gorgeous cut, long-length and nice paired-back design, which makes for a timeless piece I’ll cherish for years to come.
 
 
It’s 100% wool, and has a nice light weight weave meaning even in the height of summer this will be a nice coat for evenings and days when Manchester plays up to its reputation and the sun is hidden from view.
I style this in the guise of an unemployed yoof in the late 1980s, determined to make use of his Dad’s old over coat when headed to an interview at the local bookies. All I need is a gold sovereign ring!

I have a casual option too. In a beautiful shade of Tobacco, this coat from Bellfield is proper retro. (I’m pretty sure my dad had one just like it in the late 80s to be honest.) It’s a cool bomber shape, in soft suede and elasticed cuffs, collar and hem, making it a great throw-on for days out in the springtime sun.

 

Top, American Apparel, £20
 Jeans, Primark, £12
Trainers, Converse, £35
Shades, TOPMAN, £12 

 
I style this in the guise of the other coat’s younger brother, not yet worried about paying his Mam rent, and instead skiving off school to drink Lager and play pool down the local boozer with his mates.

 

 

You can check our Bellfield’s mens clothing here and the bomber is under mens coats and jackets here. Also, if you’re feeling cheeky, treat yourself to something and get 20% off with promo code BLOG20

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This post was written with my disclosure policy in mind here.
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Roma men X fashion

Stumbled across a magazine whilst visiting Salford Museum and Art Gallery on Salford University campus the other day, the cover of which caught my eye. Love v Style was the title, a fashion magazine I thought, so I rolled it up and carried it home.

Later, when I got around to looking through it, I found it wasn’t a fashion magazine as such, but a project as part of Roma Matrix, an EU Fundamental Rights and Citizenship supported programme, working with Salford University and the University of York. The magazine explores Roma identity, including that that of the community’s young men-folk and their approach to fashion and clothing.

Portraits, photographed by Vasile Dumitru, from the Roma Matrix project, of Roma men living in and around Manchester are featured, with a short synopsis outlining how they dress and how it impacts/conflicts with their identity as Roma men. 

It’s really interesting to understand a little of this community’s adoption of western, or as they categorise it, “English,” fashion and how it can often be at odds with the practices and expectations of the older men in their community too.

 
Felix, 20
“I like to look good. I really like bright colours lie yellow, blue and red because they make me feel good. My jeans are from Zara, and my shoes are from Emporio Armani. The belt is Hermes. I like to wear designer things and shiny things. My watch is shiny and stands out. The necklace I’m wearing is real gold – it from my dad, who used to wear it when he was a teenager. He still lives in Romania and gave it to me when he came to visit recently. I’m his oldest son, so this means a lot to me.”

Marius, 19

“Today I’m wearing a pink T-shirt from Hugo Boss, some Nike Huarache trainers and a yellow Stone Island jacket. I love to wear very bright colours because they make me feel comfortable. I try to dress in the English style. My trousers are Polo – they are sports style trousers. I buy all my clothes in the UK, from shops in town.”

 

Nicusor, 22
“I think clothes matter – you have to look nice. My dad and uncles dress a bit differently to me but with time everything is changing. I’m wearing denim shorts today. My trainers are from Firetrap and the bag is from Romania. I have tattoos as well: on my right are are my son’s names, Josef and Yanis.”

Florin, 21

“Clothes are important to me because I care about my looks and style. I get fashion ideas from the TV, from Facebook and from seeing people around. My jacket is from Zara and the bag is Gucci. I don’t wear the earring in front of dad and family as they don’t really like it – I just wear it when I’m out with friends.”

Ion, 18

“The way I dress is not that important to me – I sometimes buy clothes from charity shops. Today I’m wearing a Chinese suit jacket, some jeans, a pair of driving shoes and a gold necklace. My parents don’t mind the way I dress, as long as I look respectful. It’s the personality that counts to them.”

Vasile Dumitru, in self portrait

“I used to dress a bit more traditionally but I have changed my style. If I didn’t then my friends would laugh at me and call me old-fashioned.”

 

Ionel, 18
“My shirt is English style, I think, and the jeans came a bit ripped. My yellow trainers are by Polo, from Ralph Lauren. I think these colours go well together. I change my hair style quiet often. In my opinion you have to care what you look like. It’s important to look smart, to show Roma are respectable.”

 Adiran, 18

“Normally I wear brighter colours than this. I like clothes a lot and feel better if I’m wearing something good. I dress very differently from my dad, who often wears suits when he’s going out. Sometimes my parents ask ‘what are these clothes?’ but the fashion is changing among young Roma guys.”

Find out more about the Roma Matrix project here

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Travel wardrobe, summer jollies

It was the first day of autumn yesterday, and the day we travelled home from our late summer get away to the wonderful coastal town of Sitges, near Barcelona in Spain.

I had planned a post about all my outfit choices for the week-long excursion, but work and frantic pre-holidays errands got in the way. So, here’s a retrospective look at some of my luggage contents!

 Deck shoes, Rockport
Shirt, Criminal Damage
Shorts, Levi
Shades, Ray Ban
I love this outfit, it has a nice retro feel about it. I wore it for dinner and drinks one evening and had my shirt tucked into the shorts, buttoned all the way up and a necklace under my collar.


No break is complete without some literature! I only had time to read two of these in the week though.

I can’t recommend Gray Mountain by Grisham. He seemed to struggled with how to write a convincing female protagonist. I’d sooner recommend The Litigators or The Last Juror by Grisham instead. 
Janet Mock’s memoir, however, was incredible. Documenting her journey to womanhood, the autobiography is a comprehensive introduction to Trans* womanhood and answers so many of the questions you have, in a beautiful and eloquent way.

https://vine.co/v/ePl97pVzIvh/embed/simplehttps://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.jsA snippet of the Santa Telca Festa celebrations on our last night on the beach front.

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Jumper, TOPMAN
Shorts, Levi
Trainers, New Balance

This little outfit never saw the light, because despite the jumper being a loose knit and, basically, see-through – it was way to hot to contemplate knits!

All TOPMAN
A nice smart-ish outfit for cocktails and card games by the shore!

Some tees for our nights out dancing, all paired with denim cut-off shorts, my go-to for city summer chic. These are all from a new little indie in the Northern Quarter, on Hilton Street/Stevenson Square, called Bizarre. The two black tees feat. hand stitched embroidery, sewn in-store by Damien Gray, the boutique’s owner. I adore them, nice simple tees, light fabrics and tight cuts.

Cola tees, Primark
7UP tee, TK Maxx
One needs to stay refreshed when by the pool! These tees were perfect for excursions as complex as sun lounger to bar and vice versa.

https://vine.co/v/ePlEiBjpuVX/embed/simplehttps://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

From skimpiest to modest, Zara, HOM, HOM and French Connection
I basically lived in the Zara budgie smugglers, only succumbing to the French Connection shorts when the sun burn was winning!

All Calvin Klein from Mainline here
Last but not least, new undies! Because there’s nothing like a pair of new knickers to pop on after a day of sun bathing!

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This post was written with my disclosure policy in mind, here

AW15 Look Book: Super Size Me

A colleague of mine got an email the other day that started, “I hope you had a nice summer?”

He nearly cried. I nearly cried. But, then I remembered, I adore Autumn/Winter (I love saying Autumn/Winter instead of just Autumn because it sounds so dicky!) All the perfectly clichéd favourites spring to mind like fallen leaves, crisp mornings, hot chocolate and nights in. And of course, fabulous fashion.

In this transitional period, kinda in-between seasons, one needs a transeasonal wardrobe, and I have found that in my new love affair with ridiculously oversized tees. Tees so long, my friends call them my nighties. They’re bloody brill.

Hat, Criminal Damage
Tee, Blood Brothers

Picked this one up in the Harvey Nichols sale, it’s an oversized style, but I got it in a XL anyway, for that added Hip-Hop flava. I wear it with meggings (read: leggings for men) and trainers.

Meggings, ASOS
Trainers, New Balance

These trainers are an odd pair, they’re made from a spongy material which makes them dead comfy. I love the neon flash too, always makes a statement.
 
  
Shades, Topman
Tee, BOY London

Then there’s this beauty, a BOY London tee with mesh arms, another Harvey Nichols bargain. I love wearing this one with leather look leggings and trainers. Great for a transeasonal look, as it’s airy enough for September humidity, but more covered than a summery vest.

Meggings, ASOS
Trainers, New Balance 
Another pair of neon New Balance trainers, in a bright yellow, a great accent to a dark outfit.


Of course, if I’m truly rocking a 90s Hip-Hop kinda look, I’ll need the wrist candy to go with it. This time, it comes courtesy of Timex and their limited edition Retro UG0118. It’s got that Grandad-hand-me-down feel and it’s just a little bit of fun to add to a daytime outfit. It comes with detachable wrist straps too for a brown and black leather option.

This post was written in line with my disclosure policy here

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Designers with foot in mouth

It has been reported that Mr Giorgio Armani is the latest fashion designer to say something rather #basic and stupid about a marginalised community of people and this something has very little, if anything, to do with making expensive clothing, beauty products and fragrances.

This stupidity comes shortly after Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana criticised same-sex marriages and IVF and let’s not forget John Galliano’s fall from grace, shall we? It seems we’re running out of designers we can still wear with a sound conscience.

Anywho, you’ll have no doubt read elsewhere by now that Mr Armani (as he is exclusively referred by the subordinates who work for him) gave an interview to The Sunday Times Magazine over the weekend, in which he stated: 
when homosexuality is exhibited to the extreme – to say, ‘Ah, you know I’m homosexual,’ – that has nothing to do with me.
Here he alludes that to dress and act in any way other than ‘traditionally masculine’ – what ever the fuck that means – when you’re a cis-gendered male, (and, presumably, when you’re not cis, can’t imagine Mr Armani is up on trans* rights) is inappropriate. He also said, “man should be man.”

Let’s break it down for old Giorgio, shall we? As there are many things wrong with this statement, combined with the fact that I do love a list, I feel a bullet-point list is necessary…

  • The expression, or some might say, performance, of gender (such as femininity and masculinity) is somewhat separate from gender identity and to say “man should be man,” in order to imply that a man acting feminine counteracts his gender identity is quite reductive and demonstrates a very narrow view of gender, which is saddening as Mr Armani is a visionary creative who has had ample opportunity to broaden his horizons and view on the world and has chosen not to. I’d suggest he go read some Judith Butler. Or better yet, hire an educated/gay/educated AND gay PR manager who can say you’re being a dick when you’re being one and this thing will never happen again
  • Aside from this being discriminatory towards men, and gay men in particular, what does it say about women? Does Mr Armani believe “woman should be woman”? Does this more obvious demonstration of sexism fit more comfortably with the Armani brand, or not?
  • The idea that “flaunting” sexuality is a no no, but exhibiting gender conformity is A OK is contradictory, right? Why is it OK for you to flaunt your manliness in my face, and, seemingly, your heterosexuality, when it’s not OK for me to make it clear (through action or in-action) that I’m a big old bender? Cutting straight to basic logistics, how is our everyday homosexual supposed to get some other everyday homosexual to look inside his new Armani boxers if his homosexuality a big old secret?
  • If Armani is so convinced that men should be men, why did your fabulous staff paint me by numbers at the beauty counter when I, a man, reviewed your latest lipstick collection in 2012? Read more here
  • What the fuck has this statement to do with making expensive (albeit) fabulous clothing? I mean, really?
  • Who the fuck do you think is buying your men’s clothing? Queens, that’s who sweetumz
  • Regardless of simple economics, your right to an opinion is somewhat superseded by your duty as an extremely wealthy public figure and employer of many people around the world to not be an arse hole to minority groups. Show a little class, man

I’m a great believer in free speech, as is any other fully functioning and sane person on this earth and lemme just reiterate an oft forgotten aspect of this human right. People have the right to say whatever they want, unless what they say directly contradicts another’s right to be free from harassment and discrimination. 

Mr Armani, I feel let down by you, but aside from personal feeling, I believe your statement to be ill-conceived, ill-founded and ill-judged. You have a right to an opinion and I’d stand by you in defence of your opinion no matter what it was, but you don’t have the right to dictate how I or anyone chooses to live their life, dress their bodies and exhibit their idea of gender and sexuality at all and for that, you’ve lost a friend in me today.

In conclusion, back off bitch, I’m wearing heels…

A photo posted by Jordan McDowell (@jordanjmcdowell) on Jul 4, 2014 at 12:33pm PDT

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Twitter and #Fashion

The good people at Twitter UK sent us a box of goodies t’other day at work, and in it was a book all about British fashion and the micro-blogging network. Naturally it was thrown in my direction as everyone else dived for the stationery. 

It’s forwarded by the lovely Caroline Rush, Cheif Executive of the British Fashion Council and includes insights into top influencers and how the fashion business uses Twitter and its advertising platform to reach their desired markets.

Here are some of my favourite insights:

47% of fashion and beauty followers have bought from a brand as a direct result of following them on Twitter

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Top fashion influencers include individuals, like @SusieBubble, @HilaryAlexander, @Alexa_Chung and @disneyrollrgirl (read more of my live interview with Navaz Batliwalla of Disneyrollergirl here)

56% said that Twitter was the one platform where they could have a conversation with people in the fashion industry they admire versus 19% for the next closest social platform

As many as 74% of Twitter users are interested in London Fashion Week

51% of users said Twitter was more likely to offer backstage access to events like #LFW

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js @AdidasNeoLabel achieved over 1bn impressions for their Twitter-first AW14 campaign which saw Twitter users choose every element of the Neo Label catwalk show via Twitter voting cards

@Missguided saw a £29 ROI for every £1 on its Twitter card website re-targeting and email cross-matching campaign

52% of users said Twitter provides the experts’ view on events like London Fashion Week, more than twice as likely as other social platforms

I’m not surprised by any of the statistics in this book, as someone who has both used Twitter to satisfy my personal interest in fashion as well as to meet my objectives as a marketeer (in fashion and outside fashion) Twitter is the number one platform for sharing the immediacy and right here right now feeling of fashion.

Twitter is a noisy, opinionated, crowded, messy space. It’s the BFC Tent at Somerset House just before a show, only it doesn’t get quiet when the lights go down and the music starts. It’s perfect for fashion!

Statistics from Nielson Twitter UK Deep Diver 2014 (“Fashion & Apparel” and “Beauty”) and #Birdsignals Twitter & Vision Critical 08/2014

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SS15 Look Book: All tied up

As a corporate drone, one must wear a tie. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! I like to look the part when at work, and judging by my previous workwear posts, I hope you’ll agree. Still, what’s dressing if you’re not dressing up?

I had a selection of ties, grouped together from random shopping excursions, presents etc. and after a clear out, I was ready to add to the collection from this season’s selection.

Primark is good for lots of things (it’s also bad for some things,) and ties are one of them. They’re never over £3 and are often in-keeping with key menswear trends and there buyers are increasingly happy to make a real style statement. I’m lucky, living in Manchester with the country’s biggest Primark (it’s massive…) so the selection is always top-notch.


“Florals, for spring, ground breaking.”

Floral ties, all Primark
These ties offer an instant boost to a plain smart shirt and look great with a white shirt under a v-neck jumper.

Metallic texture ties, all Primark
These metallic ties are nice for a subtle statement because their sheen and texture doesn’t let me down in the style stakes. The knitted ties also have a square end, a great modern touch amongst a sea of silk traditional neck ties.
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An evening with Laura Weir and Henry Holland

Designer Henry Holland and British Vogue fashion journalist Laura Weir will appear at Bury Town Hall on 15th March for an evening of conversation. The event is in support of Speakeasy, the charity supporting people with communication difficulties following stroke or head injury, founded by Holland’s mother.



You can get your hands on a ticket for £10 by emailing office@buryspeakeasy.org.uk, for more information, pop along to their Facebook event here

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Blinding style from Peaky Blinders

I may be a little late to the party, but I’ve had my nights occupied with Gotham, Salem, American Horror and The 100 for ages – how could I have known? Anywho, Peaky Blinders has entered my life and my style canon, at long last.


Paul Anderson (Arthur), Joe Cole (John) and Cillian Murphy (Thomas).


The show is a drama series starring Cillian Murphy (my Mum was totally going to call me Cillian!) and it chronicles the life and times of the legendary Birmingham family gambling ring from 1919, nicknamed the Peaky Blinders because they rather cheekily took to sewing razor blades into the peak of their flat-caps to injure, and often actually blind, scaly-wags that got in their way. Naughty boys.

Aside from the gratuitous violence and scenes of a sexual nature, the show comes out top trumps in the style stakes too, with amazing attention to detail all round. The Costumer Designer is Stephanie Collie, who worked on Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and her modernised view of 1919 West Midlands style is a wonder to behold and quite the transferable look for a dabber gent of 2014/15, if I don’t say so myself.

Cillian Murphy in a three piece tweet suit as Thomas Shelby.


The key to the look is a respectable nod to cut and materials of the age, simple cottons, thick tweeds and muted, dusty hues. Whilst, retaining some modern twists here and there, shiny collar pins without a tie, billowing and yet tapered overcoats, you get the gist.

I especially love the shirts used in the show, a round cut-away removable collar style that the boys wear with or without ties and often with collar pins too.

 Cillian Murphy and the collar of champions!

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Inside a Diva’s Wardrobe

The boy and I have recently got ourselves our very own live-in flat mate. They’re most fun, I do recommend you getting one. They’re 1/2 price at Tesco too.

Only, our flatmate is somewhat of a diva. D. I. V. A. Diva with a capital D. (Pain in the arse) and so ingrained are his diva-ish tendencies that he even wears other divas on his clothing, exclusively.

A diva’s wardrobe

In fact, it would seem that inside a diva’s wardrobe, one just finds more divas. Or, at least, their tour t-shirts. Allow me to present a whistle stop tour of the diva species and their contribution to “fashion” via my flatmate’s divalicious t-shirt top-picks.

Céline Dion, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, Kylie Minogue, Tina Turner, Jennifer Hudson and Mariah Carey.


A pot-pourri of pop-star memorabilia tees, as modelled by the #1 diva of them all, Gwynne (…it’s just Gwynne) Because, after all, you’re nobody until Gwynne wears you.

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