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.

 

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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Up Close With: Jack Edwards

I have returned ladies and gentlemen!

Feeling refreshed and ready to roll after my trip to Dubai (more information to come!).

So back to what you want to see…
I am always very passionate about sharing good resources with you and I am not shy about promoting other bloggers!

I have been lucky enough to make some good friends through this blogging malarkey … and it just so happened that one of the first people to check in with me (pun intended) following my Dubai trip was the good lad Jack Edwards from The Jack Experience.

I decided to grill him on your behalf…

 

Hi Jack, great to speak to you again.

Hello!

So – I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now…but how long have you actually been blogging? What inspired you to start in the first place?

I launched my blog The Jack Experience in September 2014 after months of tireless work on the website’s design. I tried out different servers such as WordPress but nothing I was creating felt quite right. Instead, I designed my own website entirely from scratch; a blank canvas which allowed my creative reservoir to flow freely without being confined to the boundaries of strict layouts. Although it did take a lot more time to produce, I’m really proud of the outcome.

The effort was definitely worth it … the website looks great and is responsive across all of my devices. In terms of the content though, you’ve managed to create a space where you can quite literally blog about ANYTHING you want. That can be quite difficult to achieve without readers feeling that a blog is “off topic” … is that something which was quite important to you from the offset? 

That’s exactly what I wanted!
My blog derived from a passion for writing and sharing my perceptions of the world… it’s a hobby. Writing in the real world involves lots of strict guidelines and rules – “we want you to write this number of words on this number of topics with a deadline of this number of days” – but on a blog you can write about anything your heart desires! I can write just about anything I like, and the broad ‘lifestyle blogger’ title umbrellas so many different topics. I love setting myself challenges and stepping out of my comfort zone, but I also love creative freedom. I’m like a little pug let loose from its cage which just jumps around excitedly because there are so many different places to explore and bums to sniff – or maybe not the last bit.

We don’t judge. You can do with your spare time what you like haha.
Having just left school – you are younger than most of the other male bloggers I have come across. This is a breath of fresh air in a sector which can become quite repetitive. However, I know as well as anyone that when you write …you open yourself up to serious criticism. I can’t imagine dealing with that kind of thing while at school. How did you find that?

Most comments I get about my blog or my writing ALWAYS somehow gravitate back to my age. In the blogging world, it’s important to never judge based on number of years but simply by the quality of the content; yes, I may be younger than many of my peers but that’s not to say that I cannot produce a kick-ass article for you just as well as anyone else can.

Opening yourself up to the world is absolutely terrifying – it’s daunting to completely expose yourself like that. However I can’t say I’ve received much criticism at all. In my experience, I’ve found people in the blogging world to be very accepting and friendly, so this hasn’t really been a problem for me. Of course I’ve had the odd ‘mean tweet’ but sometimes you just have to laugh – the haters gonna hate hate hate….

I think that’s exactly my point. You write as well as anyone …better than most if we are honest about it. I highlight your age as it gives a frame of reference for the level of talents you have. I’m glad you haven’t received many haters. I agree that the blogging community (from my experience) is full of really lovely people!

I always find myself laughing on your website, you write with a comedic breadth I haven’t seen on many other blogs – is comedy important to you?

I think that comedy is the most important thing; the ability to make someone laugh or smile should never be under-estimated. It’s one of the greatest feelings when someone tells me something I’ve written cheered them up or helped put a smile back on their face – what more could anyone in the entertainment industry ask for? The blogging world is so rewarding because you get to see this impact directly.

You have a very popular blog – with expectedly similarly popular social media accounts. I love your Instagram account. The photos are incredible…but I’ve noticed you DON’T have much video content across your blog or social media – is there a reason for that at all?

I’ve just launched my first ever YouTube video and I’m really excited for what the future holds with that. Stay tuned!

Very mysterious …looking forward to seeing what you come out with.
Moving on, you recently teamed up with ASOS – working with a brand as well known as ASOS is pretty much what most male bloggers strive for. Can you tell us a little about how that came about?

They just asked and I obviously jumped at the chance! I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great brands such as boohoo, ASUS, ASOS, Harrods and Goldsmiths but this doesn’t just happen overnight. You have to work hard to build up a brand identity and a positive reputation in the industry before brands start to get interested, although it may seem unrewarding at first. I focus on every meticulous detail on my blog, pouring my heart and soul into everything I upload. You shouldn’t be in this industry for the money or for the freebies, you should be here for the passion and then watch those things happen as a side-effect. If you write with passion, it will radiate from your blog like rays of light, I promise!

Great advice for all those hoping to make their mark.
You’re obviously a man with style; what shopping tips do you have for the Gallous Lad readers?

Firstly; wear what you want. Fashion is about you and your style, because no two people are the same. I’ve always tried to hear my blog away from telling people what they should or shouldn’t wear and what or what isn’t ‘cool’. As long as you’re happy and feel confident, dress however you want! My one tip would be that the best fashion inspiration comes from the streets; see what people are wearing around you and decide what you like. I love going to big cities and checking out the street-style for inspiration!

Brilliant, great speaking to you again Jack, thanks for taking the time out!

 

You can check out the debut Youtube video Jack mentioned above here:

 

 

 

Style 101: Formal Wear – Identical or Different, Never Similar.

Style is a cruel mistress, difficult to master; easy to get on the wrong side off … sometimes you must wonder why you bother?
Even the experts don’t always get it right.

Never fear – Gallus is here to teach another easy to implement lesson which can have a drastic impact on your every day styling.

The lesson today is simple – when it comes to pairing formal wear; the jacket and trousers must be identical or completely different – similar is a BIG NO. You need to remember that simple rule.

When you are buying formal wear – you must either buy it with the corresponding trousers or pair it with a suitable option in a noticeably different colour and texture.

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(Here is a strong example of the “Corresponding” option)

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(Here is a good example of the “Different” option)

The reasoning behind this rule is the two major factors mentioned above: Colour and Texture.

Choosing a pair of trousers which give the illusion of a matching suit fails to look as good every time because it will neither straight-up match or functions as separates clothing entities.

The best example I can find of this common mistake is Guy Ritchie’s outfit below from the GQ website:

As you will be able to see yourself – Guy’s outfit doesn’t really work due to the similarity of his linen jacket with his trousers. They are very similar colours … but clearly not identical. The textures of the two fabrics are vastly different too.

It’s a shame, as if it had been a better jacket/trouser combination the outfit would have been pretty strong. The colour combination between the jacket and the shirt looks good …and I like the white pocket square to match.

Guy Ritchie is normally very good with his style, but as I said above – even the experts get it wrong sometimes!

Brand Overview: Jack Spade

It has taken a lot of concerted effort for me to learn to spend money on quality fashion items.

It’s hard to explain…mainly because I don’t fully understand it myself.

For some reason it simply comes much more naturally for me to spend a significant sum of money on an old, rare, out-of-print book or a piece of original artwork by Matteo Scalera than a gorgeous 100% leather holdall.

However, I have learned through experience now that the price tag attached to these items comes with an unspoken guarantee that these items will last a lifetime.  In short, they are worth the money.

The first brand that I spent more than £100 for an accessory on was Jack Spade. They were my gateway brand.
The brand may be familiar to those of you in the USA; however, outside of the USA, it is relatively unknown.

I can think back now and remember clearly what it was that convinced me to part with my hard-earned cash (I was employed as a music manager at this time, so all cash WAS hard earned to say the least). I was sat on a train to Edinburgh  and a fellow commuter flashed by me … and his dark-grey briefcase caught my eye.

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From a simple glance I could see the quality of the product and the attention to detail yet simplicity of the design.

I knew in that instant that I needed to own it.

How did I know?
…because in that quick flash as the stranger walked past I managed to both read and remember the brand name.

Jack Spade create timeless pieces, consisting of quality components.
High quality with beautiful style… but a reasonable price tag.
They are the type of brand I would expect to see regularly in Esquire magazine if you added £100 to the price tag of each item…

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Jack Spade was founded in 1996 with the aim to only create items which could be both utilitarian and stylish. This company moto was inspired by the creator’s experiences living in New York, where storage space is expensive. They wanted to create items which could service multiple needs.

Kate Spade: New York is an American fashion design house founded in 1993 by fashion power-couple Kate and Andy Spade. The company initially started selling mainly woman’s handbags, but now have also branched out to include a full women’s clothing line.

Jack Spade is the name for the Kate Spade brand’s line for men.

Jack Spade, is an entirely fictional name, inspired by the couples’ two idols – Beat novelist Jack Kerouac and business titan Jack Welch. They believed the combination of these two idols were the perfect fit for a company which aimed for art and commerce to comfortably co-exist.

From their initial offering of men’s bags – accessories followed – and now Jack Spade offer a full clothing line. However, in recent years, the brand has featured designs by guest designers and is no longer the sole creative output for the marital dream-team.

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I am still very attracted to the designs of the organisation, high quality leather goods that let everyone know you have a classic, effortless style. However, I also love the family aspect to the organisation. I have a strong affinity to family, it is very important to me.

There’s a reason menswear is consistently going back and revisiting the classic styles; Jack Spade deliver this in abundance.

The Importance of the Nike Air Force 1

Today I want to highlight to you the importance of the shoe Nike Air Force 1 (AF1).

The AF1 is without competition my all-time favourite shoe.
For me, no other pair of trainers have even come close to looking as stylish yet casual.

So where does the AF1 win out over other shoes?

I believe the sleek all white/black design of the current version combined with the thick sole and added touch of class in the rectangle medallion (which used to be circular by the way!) create a simplistic, eye catching design without being too brash.

The Air Force 1 has even been included in a few of my Instagram looks so far:

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Originally launched in 1982, the Air Force 1 was the very first basketball shoe to feature an air pocket in the heel for cushioning and support. For added information; the air pocket had been utilised before in trainers, just never in a basketball shoe.

This proved to be a very important milestone in Nike’s history. At this point, Nike had previously proven themselves to be one of the top brands in running shoes; however, were still very new to the Basketball market.

Although the shoe, which was originally named and produced as a tribute the plane that carries the President of the United States, was discontinued in 1984, the public demand for the shoes return remained extremely high.

For high-end trainer manufacturers at this time, once a shoe had sold out, reproducing them made no sense. Why would we as consumers want to spend our hard earned cash on a pair of shoes that were essentially old news?

This is why the Nike Air Force 1 is special, the demand for this shoe made Nike re-think the whole idea of discontinuing shoes.

Finally, the Air Force 1 did what no shoe before had done … and raised from the dead.

Today, there are nearly 2.000 versions of the Air Force 1 and it is still going strong.

Now sold in three different styles (low, mid and high) and in a multitude of different colour schemes, the most commonly sold are still the reliable solid white/black designs.

So there we have it ladies and gentleman …the Nike Air Force 1 … the shoe which changed an industry forever.