5 Things to Learn When Starting Your Menswear Journey

The idea of “wanting to dress better” is one which many guys have spoken to me about this week.

That first step can be a daunting task, it’s definitely easy to feel uncomfortable and out of your depth.

I’ve had a few private messages on twitter about tips for someone who is at the beginning of the journey. Where to look for ideas, rules to follow etc. It has inspired me to put together this list of 5 simple facts you can learn which will help you improve your style faster than you thought possible!

 

1)The “fit” of clothes are one of THE most important aspects of your look.

One of the common misconceptions is that this rule only applies to formal wear. Yes, the fit of your suit is very important. However, this rule can be applied universally across your entire wardrobe.

A poor fit can make a Hugo Boss suit look like a £5 Primark effort; however, very solid fit can make a full Primark outfit make you look like you’re carrying around million dollars (in a good way … not a mafia way).

It really is the No.1 rule of menswear and the faster you get to grips with it, the faster your style will improve. An easy way of thinking about it: strong style is about a strong silhouette of your body; this becomes impossible to achieve if your frame is drowning in excess material.

You should always try on clothes before you buy them. Make sure they fit you properly.

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2) Self Grooming and Hygiene is as Important as Clothing

This one is a little self explanatory … but I feel it still needs to be said.
There is very little point in being dressed to the nines if you are absolutely stinking of piss.

…or have an uncontrollable monobrow.

It’s a simple fact, but it is the truth.

It’s a little sad in the modern day to hear fully grown men describe using moisturiser as “feminine”. Don’t be one of those guys.  Men’s skin get damaged the exact same way women’s do. Therefore, it is important to take care of it. You’ll thank yourself later.

 

You’ll never see the “best dressed man in the world” with a scraggly beard and monobrow.

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3) Sizes Vary Between Stores

I mentioned above that the No.1 style rule is getting the “fit” of clothes correct.

It is important to point out that the stores on the high street have different fits to their clothing, even if they are sized the “same”, e.g Small, Medium, Large.

Therefore, try not to go into each store with a pre-given size that you “know” fits you.
Try on each item before you buy it. Make sure you are happy with the way that it sits on your body.

Don’t be afraid of trying the next size up/down. It could potentially fit you better?

…and besides, it’s only you who knows what size the item is once it’s on your body!

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4) Get a good tailor

Important point, body types vary significantly, they simply can’t be broken down into the “Small, Medium, Large” brackets that modern high street stores use. (Are you beginning to see a pattern?)

When you start to consider the different body shapes you see on the street every day, it becomes unreasonable to expect most articles of clothing will fit you perfectly straight from the rail.

It’s not even a matter of your weight; it can be down to sleeve length or should width.
I, for instance, have a wide frame developed from my days playing rugby as a growing lad…but I suffer badly from T-Rex arms. Most items of clothing I buy require that I roll up my sleeves, or have them tailored to fit properly.

The art of tailoring is all about making clothes fit perfectly on your body. Find yourself a decent tailor and things get even easier. With just a few nips and tucks, a tailor can make even the most basic of pieces look like they were made for your body.

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5) Do your homework

The internet is now awash with Menswear resources. Utilise them!

If you are not sure about any topic? Google it.

 

Almost every question can be answered online!

Also … feel free to fire any questions to me on Twitter… @galluslad.

 

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HIS NAME IS “PAUL”

The world famous designer Paul Smith was recently in Glasgow to celebrate the opening of the “Hello, My Name is Paul Smith” exhibition at The Lighthouse venue in the city. The exhibition was first displayed in London a few years ago; but has since spent 2015 and 2016 (so far) touring Europe. Now it is Glasgow’s turn to host…

Paul Smith, along with his counterpart Ray Kelvin, has always been vocal about his affinity with Glasgow, previously writing:

“I’ve always had affection for Glasgow based on the city’s strong art heritage and its wonderful link with creativity. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the School of Art and just the whole atmosphere of the place is fantastic.”

I was invited down to meet with Paul and get a sneak peak at the Glasgow-leg of the exhibition, guided by the man himself. “Hi, My Name is Paul Smith” draws on Paul’s personal archive and memories, spanning from the company’s very beginnings in the city of Nottingham to the now infamous international prominence the company have built.

The first thing that was instantly noticeable as I entered The Lighthouse was the charisma of Paul himself, he could instantly be identified, despite a) facing the other way …and b) wearing a traditional blue suit and pastel shirt combination.

As he turned to address the noise of us coming through the door, his face was welcoming and content, instantly putting my nerves (I WAS MEETING AN IDOL!) at rest. There was no ego at play here, it was obvious.

I could tell this before he had even opened his mouth yet…

One of the first things that Paul wanted to clarify was the real purpose of the creation of exhibition in the first place. He stressed (almost defensively) that the aim was not to create a vanity project, or an exhibition of how fashion has developed through the years; the exhibition was put together in an attempt to inspire more young people into starting their own business. Any business, in any industry.

The exhibition was mainly recreations of essential rooms in Paul’s business history. However, also included was the “Inside Paul’s Head” room, which aimed to pull together all of the different muses Paul uses to try and inspire his creativity. There is also a room which collects the most bizarre items Paul has been sent by his biggest fan. He/She has been sending him items since the late seventies; Paul doesn’t know their identity, he doesn’t want to. However, if you are reading this, you should know…he has kept them all…

For me, the highlights of the exhibition were:

  • A recreation of Paul’s first shop in Nottingham (which measured 3mx3m!!)
  • A recreation of the Parisian hotel room in which Paul Smith sold their first collection
  • A recreation of Paul’s office (a nonsensical sensory bombardment)

There was no doubt in my mind walking around this exhibition that the Paul Smith in front of me was the same Paul Smith that was welcoming strangers to view his home-made creations in broken French many years ago. Fame and success haven’t changed him; they have simply facilitated his creativity.

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Travel Blog: Berlin (Part 2)

The world I heard most often in Berlin was definitely “rebuilt”.

From the time I spend there, one thing became perfectly clear, Berlin was bombed to ruins during the Second World War. Seriously, go on the “big red tourist bus”; I promise almost every single attraction will have been “rebuilt” after the war.

One of those attractions to have been rebuilt was Berlin Zoo.

Germany’s oldest zoo, it hosts a collection of over 16,000 animals. Rebuilt after the war, it received heavy artillery fire; only 91 of the animals survived the war. I loved Berlin zoo. While I am not entirely comfortable with the thought of a zoo at all, there is no denying that seeing some of the world’s rarest animals is a thrilling experience. The zoo’s separate aquarium is also absolutely worth the money.

After the Zoo, we headed along to the infamous Alexanderplatz; the largest urban square in the whole of Germany. If I am honest with you, we didn’t spent much time in the square. At that time of year (December) it is entirely taken over by a Christmas market and shopping stalls. If I am honest with you, by this point in the trip, we were both pretty much burned out on these entertainment options.

However,  my girlfriend and I spent significantly more time in another German urban square, Postdamer Platz. During the war, Potsdamer Platz was almost completely destroyed (as with most other things…) and spent more than 40 years in a state of wasteland located between the East and West. After the city’s reunification though, Berlin had the unique opportunity to completely rebuild a section of their city centre. They have done well; even the sceptics have had to admit that Potsdamer Platz has been a great success.

My MUST SEE from Postdamer Platz is Panoramapunkt, a stunning viewing platform offering a 360° panoramic view of Berlin. This offers one of the best opportunities for photographs in the whole of Berlin; a must for budding photographers.
An added bonus is the ability to ride the fastest lift in Europe; taking just 20 seconds to reach the top the 24th floor. Stomach churning, but enjoyable!

Checkpoint Charlie was next on this speedy tour of the city. Checkpoint Charlie is the most famous East German-West German border crossing. You will no doubt have heard of/seen it before; this particular army crossing is a favourite for many thriller and espionage movies. One of the reason for its fame is the so-called “tank stand-off” which occurred on October 1961 during the Cold War.
The threat of war was high; but no one fired. It is a really interesting story, if you’re not aware of it, you should look it up.

After all of this walking around the city … we felt we needed a little substanance to fill our rumbling bellies! Pfffft, who needs substanence when you can have sugar!

Fassbender and Rausch is the famous Chocolate producer from the center of Berlin. However, it isn’t just a haven for those with a sweet tooth, it also offers plenty in the way of eye candy: scaled-down (yet somehow still enormous) chocolate sculptures of Berlin landmarks. You can pick a selection of specially made sweets; however, we ended up buying pre-packaged chocolate (which was lovely) after sauntering around lost for a while. We simply couldn’t make our minds up. Far too much to choose from! haha

Close to the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Berlin is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Made up of 2,711 concrete pillars of varying heights, the final appearance creates a grid-like structure. The uneven terrain helps with the overall effect, creating a beautiful wave like effect. It’s powerful to see and is a fitting tribute to those lost in such a horrific manner.

Now… last week I promised to talk about the Reichstag Glass Dome.

This was the last thing we did in Berlin, attending on our final night. The Reichstag was redesigned between 1994 and 1999 as a modern Parliament building with an attempt to retain the extensive, historical dimensions.

Part of the redesign was the opening of an accessible Glass Dome. Originally the glass generated a lot of controversy, but has since become one of the landmarks of Berlin. You can see why. It’s a stunning piece of architecture.

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Travel Blog: Berlin (Part 1)

A trip to “visit a foreign city in the run up to Christmas” is an item which has been on my bucket list for a very very long time. Despite this, it has thus far evaded me…until this year, when my girlfriend and I managed to escape the dreary rain of Glasgow and ambushed the beautiful city of Berlin.

We flew in and spent 4 nights in the stunning Ivbergs Premium Hotel; which is located near the Breitscheidplatz area in the heart of the city. Breitscheidplatz is a major public square in the inner region of Berlin. Together with the Kurfustendamm Boulevard, it very much marked the centre of the former West Berlin.

For me, one of the highlights of the Breitscheidplatz Square was definitely the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It was a strange mesh of very traditional and modern architecture; both of which were equally stunning. The original church was destroyed during a bombing raid in 1943; however, what remains of it still stands today in unison with a new, modern, architectural addition. This was apparently decided by the German people, who voted with their voices that the original ruin must not be torn down. The new church consists of honeycomb-like blue coloured glass blocks which produce an intense blue light inside. I could instantly see why it was such a massive appeal to those who were religious in the area. Not religious myself, I could still feel the calming atmosphere the inside of the building created all on its own.

I was really excited to finally get the chance to see some of the famous tourist attractions which stand in Berlin; including the Reichstag Building and the Brandenburg Gate.

The current version of the Reichstag Building was officially opened in 1999 (good memory eh?) and featured a new roof terrace with a large glass dome which you can see in the photos below. The roof terrace and dome of the Reichstag Building can be visited by members of the public, and we took this chance to witness the spectacular views of Berlin’s sights. More details on this in Part 2!

The Brandenburg Gate is the only remaining city gate in Berlin and was originally used to represent the separation of the city between East and West. Fortunately, the city has moved past this; and now, since the falling of the Berlin Wall, the gate has become the cities symbol of German Unity to the city.

German unity…but of world unity. Unfortunately our trip had coincided with the aftermath of the horrific tragedy in Paris…and a large memorial had been laid out by the people of Berlin as an act of remembrance and unity with those affected. It was beautiful.

 

Back to the lighthearted fun! I had a great time in the DDR Museum!

The DDR Museums is the only museum in Germany that deals exclusively with life in the former German Democratic Republic, a.k.a the East side of the wall. This was an incredible exhibition that I thoroughly recommend any visitors Berlin make the time to visit. It’s interactive, with each piece of fascinating information hidden doors and in drawers. There is also Trabi car available in which visitors can drive through a virtual tour of the area. This was amazing…Grand Theft Auto in East Berlin!!

There was also a stereotypical East German home set up for your to go and experience…we had some fun with that too! 😀

 

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“So this is a new year…”

First off, I’d like to apologise to you all for being so quiet over the December period. I took some time off from the blog to concentrate on other aspects of my life which needed my attention; including:

  • A new job. (WHICH I LOVE!)
  • Flat hunting.
  • Family.
  • Friends.
  • Girlfriend.

However, I can promise that I have returned to Gallus Lad bags of motivation …and big plans for 2016.

The first thing I’d like to do in 2016 is make it easier for you all to know when new content will be uploaded on GallusLad.com

Therefore, I’m making a commitment that for 2016, content will be uploaded WEEKLY on the TUESDAY of each week.

You can receive more than one post a week, but NEVER less. I promise.
If I do not deliver, I’d like you all to call me out on out!

 

An Overview of 2015

2015 was quite an incredible year for me; I started the year working as a Music Manager, discussing the pros and cons of a record contract with a particularly large German record label … I finished the year as a Digital Marketing Specialist and Freelance writer.
About as drastic a change of career choice as you could imagine, isn’t it?

I also managed to see some fantastic places in the world; and share it with you, including:

  • Pitlochry, Scotland
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Leeds, England
  • Berlin, Germany (coming next week!)

I thought I would share some of my favourite photos from 2015…

 

Looking forward to 2016

I’d like to tell you a story.

In December 2014 an elderly, female, stranger approached me in Glasgow’s central train station and ordered me to write down a list of the things I would like to have achieved by the end of 2015. There and then, no discussions. She began to pressurise me into doing it in front of her.

I have never thought of myself as one to bow to peer pressure.
That is until this very moment; when I found myself with a pen and paper in my hand consulting a complete stranger on my year ahead. Simply because she asked me to.

In December, 2015, while clearing out the Eifel Tower of paperwork which had miraculously built up on my desk over the course of the year, I found this piece of paper.
…I had, somehow, managed to achieve each of the goals I had set myself. Without consciously trying.

You really can’t doubt the power of the subconscious.

Therefore, I have done the same this year … and here are my goals:

  1. Successfully meet the self-imposed target of Gallus Lad posts.
  2. Be able to look back on 2016 and say “I travelled”.
  3. Draw my entire family tree… in crayon… on an abandoned piece of wood… found by the river.
  4. Move into a new flat.
  5. Read at least 10 books (comics not included, I read hundreds of them).
  6. Slap a celebrity.

 

What about you? Do you have any goals?

Travel Blog: Dubai (Part 2)

One of the more fortunate things to happen when traveling is knowing someone who already knows their way around the city. We were lucky enough to have this in Dubai; and our hosts kindly offered to drive us around the city. This was an excellent bonus to our trip – showing us areas of Dubai we would not have the opportunity to see otherwise.

We were kindly driven around several of the otherwise out of reach residential area and through the regularly tourist-ignored backstreets of the Downtown area before heading down to the Palm and Jumeirah Beach.

I highly recommend you spend some time down on Jumeirah beach if you make it across to Dubai. A few of the fellow visitors I have spoken to have remained in the downtown area only.

Water Parks are always one of my favourite attractions to attend in any city, and I had been told both the water park at Atlantis the Palm AND Wild Wadi were viewed as being one of the best in the world. This left me with a difficult choice to make …which one to attend?!

We eventually made the decision to show Wild Wadi some love due to its closer location and the presence of the infamous Jumeriah Sceirah slide. You may have seen the Jumeriah Sceirah on the internet. If not, you can check it out HERE.

 

In my opinion, the best thing we did over the whole trip though was taking part in the Arabian Nights Tour though. It truly was a special experience.

We got to experience the fantastic Dubai Sand Dunes, ride camels and taste some fantastic local food as part of a help-yourself meal.

What else could you ask for really?

 

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Style 101 – How To: Layering

Winter has arrived hard and fast.

With the unpleasant arrival of the cold and the wet comes the necessary art of layering. Layering becomes a daily essential. Even the heartiest of men begin to require a few extra layers to keep themselves warm.

However, though this need arises like clockwork year-upon-year …are you prepared when it finally arises?

 

 

What IS layering?

It really isn’t complicated, laying is essentially the art of combining your clothing on top of each other while ensuring that they keep you warm, protect your body and are still aesthetically pleasing.

 

Why should I “layer”?

Layering’s appeal is twofold really.

 

Layering is Practical.

An obvious function of the layering process is keeping yourself warm. If you’re wearing more layers (all of them stylish, of course) you can retain more heat and keep your body temperature higher during these cold seasons.

 

Layering looks awesome!

Layering gives you the opportunity to step away from the regular summer staple of a t-shirt and jeans. Layering items on top of each other gives the opportunity to display your own take on style. It also enables you to get the most out of your clothes …as the same garments can take on dramatically different looks when used in different ways.    

 

How do I “layer”?

In all honesty, layering isn’t all that hard. In fact, if you break it down to its basest level … you can follow one simple rule “thin to thick” and make sure it looks good (in your opinion)!

The “Think to Thick” rule is simple: thin clothing should be closest to your skin, with every piece of item you wear becoming thicker in size and weight as you progress through your outfit.

However, if you are looking for a little more detail in how to layer properly, here are a few further points to keep in mind:

 

  • Remember Pattern Matching Rules

Pattern Matching rules are a whole different Style 101 article which I promise to bring to you soon. However, to keep it simple:

  • If you are not confident, keep it to 1 patterned item in your outfit
  • If you feel confident, try to keep it to 2/3
  • Any patterns you do choose should contrast with each other in size/density.

  

  • Keep your outfit balanced

Layering largely tends to be top heavy for obvious reasons. When piecing together an outfit, make sure to regularly check your top half isn’t disproportionately bulky compared to your lower half.

Sorry lads, no spray on jeans matched with bulky shearling jackets!

 

  • Be care of colour coordination

Unfortunately, increasing the number of layers you are wearing means exponential growth in possibility of poor colour combinations.

If you are not confident, keeping your clothing colours in the natural hues (black, navy ect) should help keep you on the right side of taste.

 

  • Each item of clothing should be suitable to be worn on its own.

Layering shouldn’t be an excuse to wear (and hide) those tacky t-shirts you haven’t brought yourself to throw out yet. A key benefit of layering is the option of adding/removing items as you see fit.

You will need to wear most layers in the mornings (as that’s when it is coldest) and as the weather gets warmer, you may want to take off a layer or two – so it’s vital that your comfortable showing each layer.

 

Sailing into Venice Harbour…kind of.

This week I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to get behind the scenes at the recently unveiled City of Glasgow College campus. The new Riverside location for the College is a modern, seven story tower crammed to breaking point with the utmost state-of-the-art technology.

It should be too…

The newly revamped “world class campus” cost a massive £66m to build; and you can tell from the moment you walk in that they have raised the bar in architectural technology. From the high-security entrance-way to the cloud-based teaching styles, this campus offers learning at its most technologically advanced.

The main reason for my excitement of this visit was two-fold:

  • The location and height of the Campus building offered a view of Glasgow which I was very intrigued to experience
  • The campus’ new Marine Engineering Workshops featured Scotland’s very first Shipping Simulation Suite … and I was invited to use it!

This essentially meant that I was given the opportunity to (pretend to) steer a Super Tanker or Cruise Ship through the world’s most famous harbours!

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Travel Blog: Dubai (Part 1)

“If you are going to spend the money to visit somewhere really special – Dubai is not the place to go.”

These are not my words.

This is the strong opinion of Dubai that I received from an acquaintance after announcing that I had finally booked my trip to visit Dubai.
It is the tiny kick to the stomach that everyone wants after parting way with a significant chunk of their own cash is it not?

However … now that I have returned from the city… I can honestly say that I completely disagree with the opinion stated above. I loved Dubai. I would go back as soon as possible …and fully intend to do so!

 

——

 

After initially arriving to the city in the middle of the night, my girlfriend and I decided to take our first day in Dubai city reasonably easy – relaxing by the swimming pool of our carefully chosen hotel, the Mövenpick Hotel and Apartments of the Bur Dubai area. Our chosen hotel was incredible, a beautiful 5-star rated hotel; and with the incredible service we received, it deserved every single star.

We wandered the local area and saw some of the “out of the city centre” gems that I love so much when visiting a new city. Having never experienced any part of the UAE previously, this was a very big culture shock for me. However, as you will no doubt be aware, some of Dubai can be extremely Americanised … especially our chosen dinner venue … CHUCK E CHEESE!

Following this initial full day of R&R, we make the most of the bustling downtown area of city by making our way to the vast Dubai Mall.

The only words I can find to describe Dubai Mall are awe inspiring. Regularly declared as the largest shopping mall in the world and containing over 1,200 stores, this place was vast. A few locals even explained to us that to cover every store in the building would take approximately 3 full days of shopping… without stopping.

This was not a challenge I was particularly eager to undertake.

It is important to note however that there is definitely more to see in Dubai Mall than just restaurants and shops. For instance we took the time out to visit the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which is actually located inside the centre itself. The main attraction for the Aquarium/Zoo is definitely the “King Croc” … a monster of a Crocodile measuring in over 5m in length. He truly was a terrifying beast of nature.

The highlight of this day which we had cram packed with tourist activities however was definitely climbing the Burj Khalifa to floor 125 and seeing Dubai from the great height. The Burj is the tallest building in the world and in any other city, getting this spectacular view would take a helicopter.

If you are visiting the Burj Khalifa, my advice to you would be book online and in advance of your trip. This method proved to be significantly cheaper and allows you to skip a pretty significant queue. Also, find out what time sunset is expected to occur during your stay; then book your visit time for approximately an hour before. This allows you to see these fascinating views in daylight, watch the stunning Dubai sunset, and then witness the city light up as darkness descends. It truly is an experience like no other.

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