Tuesday, April 29, 2008


This week I want to talk about the importance of making your bespoke suit reflect who you are. Of course a tailor-made men’s suit works wonders for your figure and can improve your confidence, but whether you’ve got a strong personality or like being a wallflower there are accessories you can employ to show off your flair for individuality.

Belts are a good way to complete your image. There are some fantastic choices as far as buckles are concerned from the simplest, squarest (geometrically, not fashionably) choice to the most outlandish looking “plaque-style” embossed with a pattern or even text of your own design. We have found a fabulous range of belts at Ted Baker where you can have the choice of protected or unprotected leathers to suit the look you want to create.

Pocket squares can brighten up any suit no matter if it’s off the peg or made to measure. Never to be underestimated these squares sit in your left breast jacket pocket (if your style fits) and serve to counter or enhance the suit itself. For example if you’re sporting pinstripes why not juxtapose your style with spots or colourful thick stripes? I recommend not matching your pocket square to your tie as this brings about a sense of “matching tie and shirt” flat-pack, which is not flattering to something as unique and beautiful as a tailor made suit.

Cufflinks can be considered to be a little old fashioned, but with the bright and ostentatious Murano Gemelli range available from firstchoicecufflinks.com, this underrated way to bring about a zing and certain panache to your suit will never go unnoticed!

Finally we come to the most contentious yet practically essential accessory to your suit: the men’s bag. Whether you choose an executive satchel style such as the Hugo Boss Valo bag or a casual looking rucksack type like the Maine New England bag, a men’s bag is undeniably essential for getting from the office to home, whatever your profession. It’s no longer de rigueur (and is even a little undesirable) to saddle yourself with a clunky attach√© case or brief case – times have changed, and for any man with an ounce of style, men’s bags are the way forward.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How to Tie a Bow Tie With Three-Piece Suits

Since my last posting was all about waistcoats and how best to wear them, I thought I'd run through a quick guide on how to tie a bow tie. For the more formal occasions and in league with a three-piece suit, the bow tie is one of the greatest accessories to offset a distinguished, or even colourfully eccentric, look.

Whether you're attending a black or white tie event, a bow tie will set you apart from the crowd as long as you wear it correctly. Firstly choose your fabric and colour with care - the flimsier the material, the easier it will be to tie. Colours are paradoxically acceptable at black tie events, though the use of one colour rather than a patterned effect is considered the more modern look.

Tying a bow tie is in fact recreating the knot that is most commonly used for your shoelaces, try to re imagine that your neck is in fact your foot and you may find this helps. Once you have your tie, let it hang around your neck with the end on your right lower by about one and a half inches lower than the end on your left.

Cross the longer end over the shorter end creating a loop, which is as tight as is comfortable. Any longer and your bow tie will be looking down at your shirtfront for the evening.

Pass the longer end up through the loop creating a very loose knot. Now take hold of the loose end forming a loop over itself pinched between your thumb and index finger. Now double the part of the tie that is lying on your right side over itself.

This forms a loop, which is the front of the finished tie. Now pass the left end of the tie up through the loop and over the front of the bow.

Repeat the bow forming process on your with the left end. While still holding down the loop you have just made double the end over itself.

Now adjust the new loop behind your front loop and facing in the opposite direction. Pinch these together and pass the second loop into the knot behind the front loop. Now you can adjust the knot by pulling both the loops together.

Finally straighten your bow tie.

Confused? Don't forget if you're struggling with this and don't have time to practise, you can buy a clip on tie which still has the effect of looking dapper as long as no one sees the fastener!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Two piece or not two piece? That is the question…

Bespoke two-piece suits should be a staple in the modern man's wardrobe and, whether worn as in a professional or distinguished, the style can say a lot about you. This week I have been looking into where the three-piece suit fits into the equation and I have come up with some interesting musings on the subject along the way.

It's been observed that Daniel Craig has been sporting a gilet by Penfold Outback on the set of Quantum of Solace, and the cardigan has featured heavily as part of the 2008 New York men's fashion shows. The idea of an item of clothing which can be worn under the jacket is a high profile one this season.

So I returned my attention to the humble waistcoat also known as a vest or vestee. The waistcoat has resurfaced as an essential part of the modern wardrobe since its resurgence in 2007. Worn in fashion terms over a shirt without the jacket, the figure hugging aspect of the material is used to show off a man's physique and create the illusion of formality in dress without the necessary effort. Best demonstrated in the Dolce and Gabbana spring show for 2008, the waistcoat worn without a jacket can still be a formal affair.

The waistcoat which underpins the style of the three-piece suit is a different item altogether however, emphasizing not only the formality of the suit but expressing a certain elegance. The suit waistcoat is usually designed in a single or double-breasted style and will have one or two rows of buttons or snaps in accordance with the style. Worn as a mark of distinction, a silk waistcoat and matching tie are de rigeur at white and black-tie events.

Friday, April 04, 2008

How to tie a Windsor knot

Men's formal suits have hit the catwalks in a big way this season, with every menswear fashion show of any note featuring our favourite fashion statement boldly and proudly. Proving that custom suits really can cut it in this age we were shown a fantastic display of male grooming at its best, with bold statements made by designers such as Ann Demeulemeester in her Fall/Winter collection, on display in Paris earlier this year which reflected Bob Dylan at his peak.

With suits for men back in the limelight, I have put together a guide on the correct way to tie a Windsor knot for you so that your bespoke suit will get the full benefit of its most essential accessory.

Often distinguished from a half-Windsor, the Full Knot forms a wide triangular knot that gives the impression of formality and is most commonly worn at formal occasions. Associated with the latter day Duke of Windsor’s (later Edward VII) penchant for wider knots, this particular method of neck tying is best suited to a spread collar so that it's width can be best admired.

The first step to perfecting your Full Knot is to hang the tie around your neck so the wide end is slightly more than twice the length of the narrow end and adjacent to your dominant hand.

Secondly, bring the wide end up through the loop formed when you cross these two over. You should find that the wide end will now be sitting on the top.

Pull the wide end underneath the narrow end and then pull over to the right. Follow on back through the loop and to the right again. You will now find that the wide end is facing the wrong way.

Next, manoeuvre the wide end across the front from right to left - the wide end goes through the loop again and is then passed through the now formed knot at the front of the tie.

Adjust slowly to suit.

These instructions should point you in the right direction, but you can visit YouTube for a selection of video demonstrations if you still find yourself tied up in knots!