Kingsman Wardrobe on a (relative) Budget

After watching the advanced screening of Kingsman, I have been staring longingly at the wardrobe designed by Mr. Porter; nothing from which I can afford. So, here are some cheaper alternatives for those who want the Kingsman wardrobe, without a budget backed by a major spy organization. Here are some alternatives to the items by Mr.Porter.

The Shoes

Keeping with the spirit of the Kingsman, I’m going to try and keep the items either British-made, or British-designed; with that in mind, I’m going with shoes by Charles Tyrwhitt.

Black Cap Toe Oxfords  – $349

Black Heathcoat$350 is a reasonable price for a pair of British made, calf leather Oxfords; and you would expect them to last at least the average persons life-time; of course, as a spy, there are no guarantees on how long you, or your shoes will last. Unfortunately, there are no blades hidden in the toe.

If $350 is a bit too much, I recommend these, for $199; the leather’s not as good, and they are not made in Britain, still, I own a pair, and I like them.

Patent Leather Dress Shoes – $189

Patent Leather At some point in every spy’s life, he finds himself at a black-tie affair. Sure, the budget conscious can just shine up their regular Oxfords, but it’s really better to had a dedicated pair of patent leather Oxfords.

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Brown Oxford Boots – $350

Tan BootsMeermin is a spanish brand that I have literally just found, so I can’t vouch for the quality; I’s really hard to find good boots at a reasonable price. Still, they look good, and seem to be made from good quality leather, with rubber soles.Tan boots are incredibly versatile, something that every spy, and indeed, every gentleman, should be.

The Shirts

White Twill – $99 ($80)

White Twill

A white twill shirt is the most basic, and most versatile shirt a gentleman can own; Turnbull & Asser, as stocked by Mr. Porter, makes some of the best shirts in the world, but they run about $300 each. As regular readers will know, Charles Tyrwhitt is my go-to shirt brand. Because some shirts are likely to be damaged in your spy activities, I recommend buying two of each.

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Sky Blue Twill  – $99 ($80)

Sky Twill

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Pink End-On-End – $59 ($49.75)

Pink

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Marcella Dinner Shirt – $99 ($80)

Marcella

The Suits

Navy Suit – $499(USD)

Navy Suit

Black Lapel is an online made-to-measure tailor, that offers well-tailored garments, at a fraction of what they would cost at a tailor. If you don’t know, made-to-measure(MTM) means that the clothing is made to your measurements by altering a standard pattern, this will give you a greater fit than an off-the-rack suit, but it may not be as good as a fully bespoke suit. In the spirit of the Kingsman, I only wanted to recommend double-breasted suits, but they are pretty hard to come by at a reasonable price.

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Charcoal Suit – $499(USD)

Charcoal Suit

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Midnight Blue Double-Breasted Suit – $499(USD)

Navy Double

In my (somewhat) humble opinion, nothing says british gentleman better than a double-breasted suit. Unfortunately, they are rather hard to come by; fortunately, Black Lapel offers two double-breasted models, a solid midnight navy, and a navy windowpane; both make a wonderful addition to the wardrobe of the gentleman spy.

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Navy Windowpane Double-Breasted Suit – $699(USD)

Navy Windowpane Double

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Midnight Blue Dinner Suit – $529(USD)

Midnight Dinner Suit

There comes a point in every gentleman’s life when he is given the opportunity to attend a black tie event. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the traditional black, peaked lapel jacket, but every gentleman knows how to add a bit of colour and subtle flair to his outfit; a dark blue shawl lapel is the perfect way to do this.

Blazers

Brown Windowpane Blazer – $499(USD)

Windowpane Blazer

Every gentleman knows that there are some situations where a suit wouldn’t be appropriate; that’s where the humble blazer comes in. Pair either of these models with a pair of grey flannel trousers for a stylish, smart casual outfit.

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Navy Windowpane Blazer – $379(USD)

Blue Houndstooth Blazer

Trousers

Grey Flannel – $129

Grey Flannel

Grey flannel trousers are great because the look good, are durable, and match nearly everything; they can, unfortunately, be hard to come by. I recommend buying a couple of pairs.

Outerwear

Navy Chesterfield Coat – $419

Chesterfield Coat

Every gentleman needs a warm coat for the harsh british winter. The Chesterfield coat is perfect for wearing with your suit, and the pea coat is great for your more casual outfits.

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Navy Pea Coat – $369

Pea Coat

Knitwear

Grey Cardigan – $79

Cardigan

A grey cardigan is perfect for those cool days when you don’t need a suit, but still want to be warm. If a cardigan isn’t your style, switch it out for a charcoal v-neck. Better yet, get them both.

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Charcoal V-Neck Jumper – $69

Charcoal Jumper

Accessories

Ties

Green/Teal Plaid – $15

Green Plaid

Sure, you could pay $50 per tie, but the tie bar has a far wider range, at incredibly low prices; I’ve picked out some of the ties that are similar to the ones Mr. Porter has in the Kingsman wardrobe.

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Navy Faux Grenadine – $15

Navy Grenafaux

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Solid Grosgrain Bow – $15

Grosgrain Bow

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Midnight Navy, Light Blue Stripe – $15

Navy Light Stripe

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Speckled Navy – $15

Speckled Navy

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Burgundy Faux Grenadine – $15

Burgandy Faux Grenadine

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Chocolate Faux Grenadine – $15

Chocolate Grenadine

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Speckled Eggplant – $15

Speckled Eggplant

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Pocket Squares

Solid White Twill – $8

White Twill Pocket

The first pocket square every gentleman should own is the solid white twill. A white pocket square works with every outfit, and is the traditional gentlemen’s choice for black tie attire. A burgundy pocket square is a colourful alternative, and is equally acceptable for black tie. In addition to these two, a gentleman should have a range of coloured and patterned squares, for less formal occasions, and to compliment his many ties.

Solid Burgundy Twill – $8

Burgandy Twill Pocket

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Red Floral – $8

Red Floral Pocket

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Burgundy Rose Pattern – $8

Red Rose Pocket

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Cufflinks

Union Jack Cufflinks -$59

Union Jack

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Fleur-De-Lis Cufflinks – $59

Fleur

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Burgundy and Rose Gold Bar Cufflinks – $59

Burgandy Rose Gold

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Mother of Pearl/Onyx Shirt Stud Set – $99

MOP Studs

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Mother of Pearl/Onyx Cufflinks – $99

MOP Links

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Watches

Invicta Pocket Watch – $156.20

Invicta Pocket

Invicta is my favorite brand for reasonably priced, good quality watches. They don’t match the quality of Bremont, and they don’t shoot poison darts, but they are all very good-looking pieces, that should be a part of a gentleman’s wardrobe.

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Invicta Vintage 13060 – $180

Invicta 13060

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Invicta Vintage 12212 – $80

Invicta 12212

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Invicta Vintage SS12223 – $62.72

Invicta 12223

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Sunglasses

Classic Folding Ray-Ban Wayfarer – $260

Rayban

They don’t have a camera, or the ability to show holograms, but they do fold up for easy storage. The classic wayfarer is my go-to frame, and depending on the style (round, square), they fit most face shapes.

Stationary

Moleskine Pocket Journal – $14

Moleskine

Every gentleman needs to be able to jot down notes on the go; whether it’s because of a great idea, or you need to keep track of someone’s activities.

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Cross Classic Century Fountain Pen – $110

Cross Fountain Pen

The gentleman’s pen of choice is the fountain pen, and while it doesn’t contain a remote activated toxin, it still looks good.

Umbrella

Black Walking Umbrella – $65

Walking Umbrella

Every gentleman should carry an umbrella, on the off-chance that it might rain; and while it isn’t bulletproof, or function as a shotgun, it can still be used in self-defence, should the need arise. Just pretend it’s a sword, like I do.

5 Tips For Staying Stylish on a Budget

1. Learn to Sew

Unless you are really, really, ridiculously lucky, most of the clothing that you buy off-the-rack will need alterations; or maybe you will need to replace a button now and then. Sure, you could take it to a tailor or your mother, but think about how much more impressive it is to be self-sufficient, and how the cost of these things adds up; as a general guide, here is how much some alterations usually cost:

Taper jacket waist – $20
Shorten jacket sleeves – $15
Shorten jacket length – $35
Take in pant waist – $20
Hem pant legs – $15
Take in shirt – $20

Since virtually every new suit will need, at the very least, the sleeves and trouser hem altered, knowing how to do it yourself will save $35 each time; not to mention all the other alterations you might need. Because remember, the most important thing is that your clothes fit.

The difference between good and bad fit

The difference between good and bad fit

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Get the best quality you can afford

Quality products last longer; it’s a simple fact. This means that even though you may spent a little more up-front, you will save a great deal in the long run.

3. Thrift Stores and eBay

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Thrift stores are an incredible resource for the gentleman on a budget; I can’t count the number of second-hand shirts that I have bought over the years, all still in excellent condition, at a fraction of the retail price. If you know how to sew, altering your thrift store finds yourself just means that you get even better value for money.

eBay is another excellent resource for second-hand goods, but it also allows you a far wider range of new products to choose from, allowing you to get the best price. I buy all my cufflinks on eBay; and I don’t usually pay more than $5 per pair, at the same quality that I could buy in most stores near me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Don’t Be Trendy

Trend’s come and go; there’s no point buying new clothes every six months in an effort to look fashionable. Instead, buy clothing that suits you personally; trends be damned. Master the basics; a well fitted navy or charcoal suit and a white shirt will always be stylish, as will a good pair of straight cut jeans. Eventually everyone else will realize that skinny jeans look ridiculous, but yours will still look good. Fashions come and go, style is forever.

5. Have a Battle Plan

The best way to shop on a budget is to have a plan; work out exactly what you have, and what you need. Once you have your list, you can do a bit of research, and find the best price; remember, the internet is your friend. Some stores will price match certain products, and even give further discounts, so keep an eye out for that as well. It might also be a good idea to subscribe to receive email notifications from some of your prefered stores, to keep an eye out for sales.

 

A Short Guide to Braces (Suspenders)

Once upon a time (before the 20’s), belts were mostly for decoration or military use; the average gentlemen would hold his trousers up with braces. As men started to wear their trousers lower, the braces were gradually exchanged for belts; but braces have a several advantages over belts which have ensured that they are far from obsolete.

Y-Style Braces with leather tabs

Y-Style Braces with leather tabs

To start with, they are more comfortable; because the braces hang the trousers from your shoulders, they (the trousers) are typically a little wider than trousers cut for a belt, meaning that, not only do they always hand in the right place, they are far more comfortable when sitting. Also, there is no uncomfortable belt, clamped around your stomach.

Not only that, but you never have to worry about your pants falling down. Even with a well-fitting belt, the constant motion of walking, sitting and standing can cause your trousers to slip down; this is never an issue with braces.

Finally (and for some, most importantly), braces make your look better. Let me explain; first, particularly with trousers that don’t fit perfectly, when you wear a belt, you are pinching fabric around your waist, which looks bad. Braces eliminate this problem, and allow your trousers to hang perfectly straight in the process. Secondly, if you have a bit of extra girth in the stomach, there is no belt to draw attention to that area, which should help make the weight less noticeable (in theory). Finally, because you are not wearing a belt, there will be less of a distinction between your legs and your torso (depending on the contrast between your shirt and trousers), which can help you appear taller. This is why in general braces are highly recommended for short, stocky men.

Suspender-Attachment-Set

Suspender Attachments, image from Real Men Real Style/A Tailored Suit

Now, on to actually wearing the braces.

The most common type of attachment mechanism is the clip, but the proper one to use is either the leather button tab, or the fabric button tab (for black and white tie).

The clip type is the easiest to use, simple clip them on to your trousers. The button tabs require your trousers having buttons sewn into your waistband; something that you are unlikely to find in off-the-rack trousers, but are easy enough to add yourself. Some companies will even provide buttons with their braces, like The Tie Bar.

 

 

Clip-On Braces

Clip-On Braces

Button-On Braces

Button-On Braces

While button on braces are preferable, the only absolute rule is that you don’t wear braces with a belt, like a rube (I say rube now).

a rube

Pictured: A Rube

 If you are ready to make the switch from a belt to braces, it’s a simple procedure to remove the belt loops from your trousers and add buttons; this is the very first thing that I do to a new pair of trousers. If you don’t want to do it, then take them to a tailor and have them do it; better yet, have the tailor make you a pair of trousers.

 

 

New Pomade Review

I love my Pete & Pedro Pomade, but the falling Aussie dollar has made it far too expensive ($67 for two tubs, including postage), so I have had to find an alternative. A quick google search lead me to The Pomade Shop. A fairly new business, The Pomade Shop helps to fill the massive void in the mens grooming product industry, and (more importantly), allowed me to finally try some products that previously cost too much to be worth it.

Murray’s Superior Pomade

murray-s-superior-hair-dressing-pomade-3-oz-9.gif

Price: $17

Shine: Medium

Hold: Strong

Murray’s is a thick, petroleum-based pomade that smells mildly of vanilla and vaseline, and has been around for more than 75 years, so they must be doing something right. On the upside, Murray’s gives incredible hold, decent shine, and a little goes a very long way. On the other hand, it takes about a week to wash it out (unless you are willing to use degreaser on your hair), and even getting it off of my hands was a challenge. Styling my hair the day after was as simple as heating it with the hairdryer to soften it, but I’m not sure that it was worth it. Also, being oil based, it’s probably not the best for those prone to outbreaks.

I can see why some people use it, but it’s just not for me; on the plus side, my brother seems to like it, so it probably won’t go to waste.

 

Bona Fide Superior Hold Pomade

ThePomadeShop-44

Price: $18

Shine: Medium-High

Hold: Strong

Bona Fide reminds me strongly of American Crew Pomade; it has a similar list of ingredients, a similar texture, and a similar citrus scent (although this smells more strongly of orange), and at this price, is much better value for money. The best, and worst, part is that it is water soluble, so I have no problem washing it out, but is also sweats out on a hot day. In all, until I find something that is better value, Bona Fide if going to become my new go-to product.

Comparison

At $18 for a 4oz tub, the Bona Fide pomade is the clear winner in terms of value for money, and although Murray’s pomade has the best hold, it is far too difficult to remove and work with. In terms of hold and shine, Pete & Pedro is probably the better product, but the cost and smaller size are severe drawbacks. Bona Fide, with its larger size, lower price, better smell, and better overall usability, is the clear winner.

 

Suit Construction – Vents

No Vent

No VentVentless jackets are somewhat rare these days, and are found mostly on traditional dinner jackets (and are indeed, the only option for purists); they are considered more formal, but are more prone to wrinkling when you sit.

 

 

 

Single Vent

Single VentA single vent is theoretically the most casual (having it’s origins in horseback riding), and can often be found on off the rack suits (particularly in the U.S), because it is uses less fabric than a double vent, and is cheaper to produce. It also has the unfortunate ability to make your rear end look larger.

 

 

Double Vent

Double VentA typically British style, a double vented jacket is the most flattering to a wider range of body types, and are often considered more formal than a single vent.

The $1500 Wardrobe

Depending on your point of view, $1500 is either a lot, or very little; but if I were to suddenly lose all my clothes, and I only had $1500 to replace them, this is what I would buy.

The Shoes

Geoffrey Beene Tribeca Derby  – $99

Geoffrey Beene Tribeca

Leather, available from size 7 to 12

 

 

 

 

Geoffrey Beene Manhattan Monkstrap  – $99

Geoffrey Beene Manhattan

Leather, available from size 7 to 12

 

 

 

 

 

Men’s Tan Derby  -$40

Tan Derby

Synthetic, but perfect for casual attire.

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Geoffrey Beene Williamsburg Sneaker  – $69

Geoffrey Beene Sneakers

Leather sneakers, perfect for pairing with jeans and a t-shirt.

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Total Cost: $307

The Trousers

Limited Editions Navy Chinos  – $40   (2 pair)

navy Chinos

Cotton chinos, perfect for smart casual attire.

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Adamsville Jeans Blue/Black  – $30    (2 Pair) (2 for $40)

Jeans

Dark enough to be dressed up with a jacket, but casual enough for every-day wear.

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Total Cost: $120

The Shirts

Charles Tyrwhitt White Twill  – $59 (4 for $199)

White Twill

Everyone needs at least one white dress shirt; this is my go-to pick.

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Charles Tyrwhitt Sky Blue Twill  – $69 (4 for $199)

Blue

Just like the white shirt, everyone need a light blue dress shirt.

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Charles Tyrwhitt Royal Bengal Stripe  – $39 (4 for $199)

Bengal Stripe

You’ve got to have at least one patterned dress shirt; I prefer stripes, and they really help hid that extra weight.

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Charles Tyrwhitt Pink End-On-End  – $59 (4 for $199)

Pink

It takes a real man to wear pink; it pairs particularly well with your navy suit.

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Green Cotton T-Shirt  -$15 (Buy 2)

Green Tee

Great for a casual afternoon in the park, or for sleeping in, or for a session at the gym.

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Sky Blue Cotton T-Shirt  -$15 (Buy 2)

Sky Tee

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Missoni Navy Polo  -$40 (Buy 2)

Missoni Polo

Pair with chinos or jeans for a all-purpose casual outfit.

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Limited Editions Navy Polo  -$35 (Buy 2)

Limited Editions Navy

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Total Cost: $409

The Suits

Limited Editions Navy Jacket  -$79

Navy Jacket

The first suit that I recommend is either navy or charcoal, so why not buy both? Sure, it’s a polyester/viscose blend, but at this price, it’s perfect for those on a budget.

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Limited Editions Navy Trousers  -$49 ($24.5)(Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price)

Navy Trousers

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Limited Editions Charcoal Jacket  -$119

Charcaol Jacket

It’s a bit more expensive than the other one, but that’s because it’s a wool/polyester blend.

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Limited Editions Charcoal Trousers  -$59

Charcoal Trousers

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Total Cost: $282

The Accessories

Ties

Navy  -$15

Solid Navy

The first on my list of 5 essential ties, navy is perfect for almost everything that you could need a tie for.

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Burgundy  -$15

Solid Burgandy

Just as versatile as the navy tie, you need to be able to mix it up once in a while.

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Black  -$15

Satin Black

Perfect for every formal/sombre occasion.

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Navy Silk Knit  -$25

Silk Knit

Great for casual situations; pair it with a white shirt, chinos, and a navy jacket.

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Belts

Stitch Detail  -$20

Stitch

For pairing with your light brown shoes.

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Wembley Westminster Reversible  -$30

Wembley Reversible

For pairing with your black and dark brown shoes

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Socks

Navy  – $8(Buy 2 Pair)

Navy Socks

Pair with your navy trousers.

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Burgundy  -$8(Buy 2 Pair)

Burgandy Socks

Pair with your casual outfits for a splash of colour.

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Speckled Charcoal  -$8(Buy 2 Pair)

Speckled CharcoalPair with your charcoal trousers.

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The Watch

Invicta 9204 Pro Diver Collection  -$50

Watch

If I could have only one watch for the rest of my life, it would be a Rolex Submariner or Omega Seamaster. This is the next best, reasonably priced thing. Transitions perfectly from an afternoon on a yacht, to a meeting in the office.

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Total: $218

 Activewear

Blue Running Shirt  -$20 ($10) (Buy 2, Second half Price)

Running Top

Activewear depends on what you like to do, I do mostly cycling, so I don’t need anything fancy. Go with what suits you.

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Blue Running Shorts  -$20 ($10) (Buy 2, Second half Price)

Running Shorts

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Spalding Navy/Lime Runners  -$40

Navy Runners

It’s easy to hurt yourself if you don’t have good shoes; I recommend getting some professional advice if you are going to be on your feet a lot.

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Ankle Socks  -$15

Socks

If you are wearing shorts, you don’t want your socks to be showing; go with ankle socks, or none at all.

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Total: $115

Total Cost: $1451

So, a whole new wardrobe for less than $1500, not bad at all. Of course, that doesn’t include shipping, but let’s ignore that, shall we?

 

That’s What Style Means To Me

“Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.” – Ralph Lauren

There is no one else on the planet who has the same style as you; they may be similar, you may have the same taste in clothing, and you may have the same style icons, but what you do with all that is completely unique.

You could walk in to a store and buy the latest outfit straight off of the runway, and be fashionable, but being stylish means making that outfit your own; in means being comfortable and confident in your sense of self, it means knowing who you are, and having your clothes reflect that.

“…You can have no money and have great style. You can have a lot of money and have great style. More often, you have a lot of money and you have terrible style; and you just plaster yourself in what you think you are supposed to be wearing and you’ve lost yourself. I actually hate to see my designs worn head to toe the way I show them on a runway… Style, for me, is someone who figures out who they are, what works on them, what they feel good in, and develops that, develops their character, and the outer expression of their character is what is style…”– Tom Ford

Quick Tips to Beat the Heat

So the temperature can reach about 40ºC (107ºF) in the Summer on the Sunshine Coast, and for those of us without an air conditioner, the temptation to throw on a pair of shorts and a sleeveless shirt is quite powerful. Unfortunately, that’s not an outfit that you can leave the house in (unless you’re going to the beach); so the question is: How do you look good, and still avoid heat stroke?

tl;dnr: Light colours, natural material (cotton, linen, silk), and lightweight fabrics.

Lightweight Fabrics

This is pretty obvious. The lighter and thinner the fabric, the easier it will be for air to circulate; and the more air that flows, the cooler you will be.

When looking for summer clothing, try them on first so that you will be able to actually tell the weight of the fabric before buying.

Synthetics Are The Enemy

Unless it’s specifically designed for activewear, synthetics like polyester and rayon are generally no good in summer clothing. The plastic-like fibers will trap sweat beneath the clothing, making you hot, and humid. Instead, stick with natural fibers like cotton, silk, and linen; they act as a wick for sweat, sucking it from your body and allowing it to evaporate, which is what cools you.

Light Colours

Dark colours absorb sunlight better, and therefore create more heat. Light colours reflect sunlight, and keep you cooler.

Fabric Pros and Cons

Linen Shirt

Linen Shirt

Linen

Pros:

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Dries quickly
  • Unique and memorable

Cons:

  • Expensive to manufacture
  • Can be difficult to find
  • Creases and wrinkles easily
  • Less durable than cotton and wool

Cotton

Pros:

  • Cheap, easy to find
  • Light (in the right weave)
  • Durable, and easy to maintain

Cons:

  • Absorbs and retains sweat easier than wool or linen
  • Can lose it’s shape and droop in humid heat

Wool

Pros:

  • Neatest and dressiest fabric
  • More breathable and faster drying than cotton
  • Smoother drape and cleaner lines than linen

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavier than linen or cotton
  • Can be difficult to find in lighter weights

Silk

Pros:

  • Smooth and comfortable
  • Can be much lighter than other fabrics
  • Holds colours well

Cons:

  • Fragile, difficult to maintain
  • Retains moisture
  • Expensive

MJ Bale and the PayWave Suit

A while back I was taking up the sleeves on a new jacket, and thought to myself “maybe I could put one of my pay pass tags in the sleeve of this jacket; wouldn’t that be cool?”. I decided that I couldn’t be bothered, but it still thought it was a neat idea; to be able to pay for something with just a swipe of your cuff, you would never be without money in an emergency again (assuming you don’t lose your jacket). A curious google search that night revealed that I wasn’t the first to have the idea, but only one company had actually put it into practice: MJ Bale. I don’t usually have much to say about the Australian menswear industry, but it makes me glad to see an Aussie company at the forefront of such innovative technology.

Certainly, being able to pay for things with your suit jacket is a bit of a novelty, with new mobile phones already having the ability anyway, and it is just one more thing that can be stolen (though that can be helped by simply not taking off your jacket), but the idea of combining technology and style (my two greatest passions) in a functional and useful way is certainly something that I approve of. Also, it would look pretty cool, paying for something with wave of your arm.

10 Style Tips for Your High School Formal

You don’t want to be looking back on the photos of you high school formal in ten years time and wonder to yourself, ‘what the hell was I thinking?’, do you? Fortunately, if you follow these 10 style tips, you’ll probably think to yourself, ‘damn, I looked good’, and wonder if you can find the names of some of the girls that were hanging around you all night.

1. Think formal, not fancy dress – I cannot stress this enough, you don’t want to be the guy who shows up to the formal in a top hat and a bright red suit. Pastel colours have their place, but not in a formal suit. Think black tie, or a three-piece suit and tie; if you aren’t sure what is appropriate, ask one of the event organisers.

2. Get a haircut at 1 week before – This is good advice for any event; getting your haircut the week before gives you time to get used to it, and that means you will be less likely to mess it up on the big night. As for hair product: less is more.

3. Don’t be matchy-matchy with your date – don’t try to match the colours of your outfit with those of your date; instead, wear a pocket square or boutonniere that compliments her colours.

4. Shine your shoes – Sometimes the simplest things can have the biggest impact; it is not possible to overstate the value of a pair of well shined shoes.

5. Tie your own damn tie – Oscar Wilde once wrote “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life”. Clip on ties are for children and waiters, you are neither; and don’t even think of asking you mother to tie it for you.

6. Steam and press your clothes – just like shining your shoes, having clean and crisp clothes is one of those little things that makes a massive difference, especially with formal wear.

7. Don’t rent – the option to rent your formal wear can be tempting, but I urge you to reconsider. Rented suits will never fit as well as as an off the rack suit tailored to you, and may even cost you more. At around $150 – $200 to rent a suit for the evening, you are better off heading in to Target and buying a suit (~$150 for a wool/poly blend charcoal suit); at least then you will have a suit when you need it (until you grow out of it).

8. Tailor your suit – It’s well worth paying a little extra to have your suit tailored; it will look exponentially better. The three main alterations are the sleeves (showing about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of shirt cuff), the waist (slimmed, but not tight and pulling), and the trouser length (covering the shoe, but not bunching). It will probably cost between $40-$80 to get it done (depending on who you ask), but it is worth it.

9.Don’t use body spray – this is one of the ones that applies to life in general; body spray in general is overpowering, and most of it smells awful. Instead, go with a roll-on antiperspirant, and a spritz of cologne. If you need help choosing a fragrance (and you probably will), go to a store that specialises in fragrances (or a department store with a fragrance section), and ask for help; the people who have to stand next to you will thank you.

10. Have fun – this night is meant to be fun, so enjoy it. It is one of the rare occasions that you will be able to socialise with all your classmates (and some of your teachers) outside of a school environment, so make the most of it, and enjoy yourself; and make sure to get lots of photos.