I’m now selling Men’s clothes on eBay and figured I’d just quickly update this with some of my sources I use when listing items just in case I forget what type of style an item of clothing is.
Whether you’ve started a new job, or you want to revamp your current style , sometimes you contemplate picking up a brand new set of clothes to wear at the office. You may have some staples in your wardrobe, or you could be a complete novice. But before you panic, you should know, you don’t have to break the bank to look good. Don’t believe me? Read on.
Buy your main items of clothing in neutral colours
Neutral colours like black, white, navy blue, grey and beige are colours that fade into the background when worn with a more eyecatching item, this means you can wear them more than once without giving people outfit deja vu. You can mix and match easily, saving time and money. We all have an item of clothing in our wardrobe, whether it’s a shirt , trousers or jacket that looks smart and awesome by itself, but it literally cannot be paired with any other item that you own. They’re just there, almost for decoration, to show everyone how good your taste is.
On that note, you don’t need lots and lots of clothes to look varied each day. Try getting about five shirts, three or four jackets, three or four pairs of trousers, five pairs of socks, three ties and two pairs of shoes. This is more than enough when you’re starting out.
When it comes to shoes, black and brown are your safest bet in a professional environment, the same goes for socks too.
Buy complimentary pieces in coordinating colours
Avoid having too many neutrals,and be sure to get some solid colours such as red and blue as distinct patterns are more likely to stand out, making it obvious that you’re reusing the same thing again, and they’re more difficult to mix and match. If you do prefer patterns, look for muted colours, and minute patterns that will compliment the other items in your wardrobe.
Try working with what you’ve got
Have a look in your wardrobe for some inspiration, you might have a nice shirt that just needs ironing or a pair of shoes that would look as good as new with a little polish. Never underestimate the power of washing, ironing and polishing to really bring out the quality of something!
Ask friends and family if they have office wear they’re not using that they can give you, or at least let you borrow
Rather than splashing your cash at Zara, why not ask someone close to you to lend their showstopping shirt or shoes that got them a job every time? This option is great if you’re really strapped for cash, or simply if you know that it always feels better getting things for free.
Make a list of what you need before you go shopping
Start with the cheapest priced stores first, nothing is worse than buying a £80 blazer only to find its twin for £25 somewhere else. Stick to your shopping list, and avoid going into a more expensive store if it’s outside of your budget.Going without a shopping list means you’re more likely to pick up something you didn’t want or need.
- Charity shops- Go to the ones in nicer neighbourhoods, as you’re more likely to find good condition designer clothes. Look for jackets, trousers and shirts as these are more likely to be wearable Avoid buying used shoes.
- Discount retailers (Primark etc) Buy your dress socks, possibly your shoes and tie here. Take a look at the shirts; look for machine-washable natural-fiber shirts and tops. The jackets/pants/shirts at the discounters may look nice but they are not usually made to last.
- Discount Ex-shop retailers (TK Maxx): This is where you find the designer stuff that department stores couldn’t sell. Luckily, last year’s classic suit looks pretty much like this year’s classic suit. This isn’t cheap (expect to spend £100-200 for a suit) but it’s still cheaper than paying full price at a department store.
- Online shops and marketplaces- Shops such as boohoo, or online marketplaces such as eBay and amazon are normally fairly inexpensive with good quality clothing. You don’t even have to leave your house and voila, you have your outfit. Just be sure to check where the item is shipping from and what the expected delivery date is if you need your shoes or clothes for a particular day.
Incredibly excited about this one. Who doesn’t like designer brands? Although the price tag may not always appeal to us, the quality you get for your money is, generally speaking, worth it. I am an avid brand buyer, not because I want people to know I’m wearing Ralph Lauren or Armani, but because I know what to expect from a label. When you own multiple items from one brand, you start to get a feel for it and know how things will fit before you put them on. You know that even though you wear a size 8 shoe, with this brand you’ll need a size 9. It’s nice having that security, it gives you confidence. I remember when the only place to get these world-famous brands was at their outlet stores or at flagship stores like Harrods; which going into makes you feel the need to dress up for the occasion and act in the most ostentatious of fashions.
Not to take anything away from the mega department stores, they are great, most of the time; I still regularly shop at House of Fraser. BHS obviously got left in the 80’s and have now closed down. The fact Selfridges have a Primark section says it all. Maybe it’s time to try out the smaller companies selling top brands at decent prices, maybe it’s time to try Infinities Menswear.
Let’s see, shall we.
Infinities Menswear As A Company
Founded in 1991, they’ve been around awhile. They built their name by building relationships with big brands and then eventually becoming big enough to retail some labels exclusively. They appear to be a company that has a good turnover of stock which is fantastic since you won’t end up constantly seeing the same dated products every time you visit. I’ve noticed multiple new names and ranges added in the past weeks and on top of that; they ship worldwide for all of you outside the UK.
Infinities sell all types of menswear clothes; smart, smart-casual, casual and sportswear. I’d say they are more geared towards the casual side of a man’s wardrobe but you can find something to suit almost every occasion. Although please note you’re not likely to find any tuxedos.
It is incredibly evident that Infinities have a strong relationship with a variety of big brands known across the world; Polo Ralph Lauren, Adidas, Paul Smith, Lyle & Scott and Stone Island to name but a few. I’d say the two biggest and strongest brands they have are Polo Ralph Lauren and Paul Smith. Not only that but with over 250 Ralph Lauren items and over 150 Adidas items, you’re set for all your casual and sportswear needs.
Judging quality is a difficult one. I count 60 brands on the Infinities website. Could I tell you how they all rank in quality? Probably not. Infinities stock many big names as I’ve mentioned previously like Ralph Lauren whereby quality is established, then they have the huge brands where the quality isn’t so up to scratch, not mentioning any names. The issue of quality concerns will always be there so long as you keep trying new brands but if the price is right and the item is aesthetically pleasing, then trying a new label is worth a go.
Most of the time when I look at a brand or a product I usually always check the price and ask myself; is it worth that much? The answer is usually no. When it comes to buying branded clothing, looking at the price is one of the last things you want to do really. Obviously, you would have a price range in your head, i.e. I would expect a pair of Ralph Lauren socks to be between £5-12 each, any more than that and it’s just not worth it.
The way I see branded clothing is simple; I’m paying more than normal for the privilege of a Ralph Lauren logo on my sock.
Product Review – Ralph Lauren Socks
I was incredibly fortunate to be sent these Ralph Lauren Polo socks to review. I love free things, for some strange reason I actually tend to wear all the stuff I get for free more than the stuff I pay for. Maybe it’s a psychological thing. I go through phases in the year, whereby I’ll wear colourful socks for a few months and then wear nothing but black socks for another few months. Thankfully with the British weather finally picking up and even recording the second hottest day in the last 10 years, I can wear my colourful socks again.
Ralph Lauren as a brand are fantastic, we know that we are basically told to believe that Ralph Lauren equals quality and I’m not about to disagree. Made from Egyptian cotton, these two pairs of socks in Navy & pink are wonderful. I have my reservations about Egyptian cotton as its usually quite thin and thus the elasticity won’t last long. I’ve had these now for two months and worn them many times and surprisingly the elasticity has stayed true. I’m yet to experience that horrible feeling of my sock rolling down my leg and bunching at my ankles.
I tend to look after my clothes with regards to following the label in washing advice. Even though I take care, cheap socks always end up bubbling into random cotton bunches and usually within two months look a year old. Although the Ralph Lauren socks certainly don’t look brand new they don’t look a year old either. Take a look at them side by side with a pair of socks I bought for £1 a week after I got the Ralph ones.
Obviously priced at £16 you would expect a difference in quality from the £1 socks but is £8 for a pair of socks really worth it. Well if you love brands and have a spare bit of change, why not? They are light, look fantastic and if you ever do take off your trousers or wear shorts then you can flash that expensive logo.
The Perfect Customer
Infinities menswear is not for everyone, same way brands aren’t for everyone. Not all of us are cash rich and many of us have big commitments so sometimes brands are a little out of reach. I recommend if you fit into that category of NOT cash rich, then I suggest only shopping here during the sales and try your luck at grabbing stuff in your size.
If you are either a massive designer brand wearer or money is not an issue for you then infinities is for you. With massive stock, good prices and exclusives, they have the balance perfect so you probably won’t bump into someone wearing the same thing as you.
Accessories – £50
Whenever we want to buy a certain brand but are not able to quite afford it, we turn to accessories as they’re usually the cheapest. On Infinities buying any accessory will set you back a minimum of £5 for a pair of Egyptian cotton socks from a brand I don’t know. At the top end of the accessories, a Paul Smith leather bag will set you back a comfortable £500. The average accessory will set you back £50, while £60 would get you a Paul Smith leather belt and £30 with Infinities will get you two pairs of Ralph Lauren socks.
I’d say this is fairly expensive for the accessories.
Shirts – £60
Shirts are a part of every man’s wardrobe (or at least should be) and quite possibly one of the most important components of the outfit. I’ve spent many years working in the office without my tie and blazer so how my shirt looked was critical. Infinities without a doubt have many shirts available although the vast majority would not be suitable for office wear. Most are quite casual from casual brands like Lyle & Scott, Paul Smith & Armani. Thankfully for us, they do have a fair number of dress shirts suitable for all office environments. An Armani dress shirt would cost you around £70, while you could get a Ralph Lauren or a Lyle & Scott dress shirt for around £60. I wouldn’t expect you to pick up a designer shirt for less than £50, not a nice one anyways.
£60 is probably around the price I would pay for a designer shirt, most I’ve seen would cost a lot more. Overall, Infinities shirts are priced well.
Suits/Blazers – £200
Infinities are aimed more towards casual clothing than it is office-wear, which is probably why they only stock one full suit and five blazers all from Paul Smith. The PS by Paul Smith mid-fit suit is the only they sell. It’s a single breasted, double vented navy suit with a playful interior lining. It’s truly a wonderful piece of tailoring made from 100% wool and would be the exact suit I’d love to buy. However Paul Smith’s suits are way above my pay grade, priced at £549.95, it’s not for those with small pockets.
The other five blazers they stock are all designed by Paul Smith and are priced between £99 and £335. For me the suit is far too expensive while some of the blazers are decently priced, their stock is far too low.
Office Shoes – £80
I must say I did not expect Infinities to stock any smart shoes, don’t judge a book by its cover right? I suppose seeing the giant that is Bass Weejuns on Infinities is enough to put that assumption to bed. The brands that supply Infinities with their smart shoes are four; Bass Weejuns, Paul Smith, Ralph Lauren & Swims. With about 40 shoes to choose from, all range between £65 and £200, which is about what you would expect. The stock once again isn’t fantastic but you can definitely work with it.
The average cost for a pair of shoes you like in your size would probably be about £80. Not bad but not cheap either.
Trainers – £50
I’m quite into going smart/casual nowadays so trainers are becoming more and more my kind of thing. If like me, your interested in trainers then you can expect to pay roughly the same amount you would anywhere else. Maybe this is me being ignorant but trainers appear to be the same price across most companies/brands. The only time I can tell a difference in cost would be if one has a sale while the other doesn’t.
£50 spent with Infinities will get you a pair of simple & smart Ralph Lauren trainers or a pair of Adidas originals.
Infinities are just like many other sites, they are essentially a broker for big brands. I suppose they have may have been part of the first few companies that started selling other companies products but with the internet boom, there are now thousands of websites selling big branded items. The question then arises; what makes them different?
The three main areas that would influence my decision to purchase from one brand as opposed to another would be price, stock & exclusivity.
We’ve all been on websites where items are so cheap they are basically free, and you’re thinking ‘OMG Armani Suit for £10!!’ then you check and it’s out of stock. You also get those websites that have wonderful products, with free delivery and hundreds in stock but when you compare the price to House of Fraser, it’s £50 more expensive.One thing that makes companies stand out, other than price is exclusivity. If a man’s not bothered about the price for whatever reason then sometimes he can turn to wanting exclusive items others don’t have.
We need balance and I wanted to see if Infinities has that balance.
Price, Stock & Exclusivity Comparison
Adidas Originals Los Angeles Trainers
I first had a look at some new in trainers, I picked a personal favourite of mine; Adidas Originals Los Angeles Trainer Black. Priced at £74.95, I was fairly certain I’d be able to beat that price. I did manage to beat the £75 price tag by £10 on five or six different websites however none had the trainers in every size. The maximum number of sizes available on any one of the other sites was two (size 6 and size 13.) Infinities, however, had in stock all sizes from 6 to 12. These trainers are a classic example of what I mentioned earlier, most websites have super cheap prices and no stock – fantastic. Interestingly enough Infinities let me order fifteen pairs of these in size 8 so they clearly have stock. In terms of exclusivity the fact that most websites had these in stock themselves for seemly quite a while, I can assume that Infinities are a bit late to the party in that sense so I’d have to mark them down in terms of exclusivity.
Price Score – 7/10
Stock Score – 10/10
Exclusivity Score – 6/10
Polo Ralph Lauren T-Shirt Grey
Next up was the Polo Ralph Lauren Classic Crew Neck T-Shirt Grey Heather priced at £44.95. We all know and love Ralph Lauren and as such I expect Infinities to be off the mark on this one since the Ralph Lauren market is so competitive. I managed to find over ten suppliers selling this t-shirt with only three stocking it in every size, even Ralph Lauren’s own website was out of stock of XXL. Of the three that had every size in stock, all were priced at £45, same as Infinities.
Price Score – 8/10
Stock Score – 10/10
Exclusivity Score – 7/10
PS By Paul Smith Brushed Oxford Shirt Sky Blue
Lastly comes the Paul Smith Oxford Shirt. I wanted to pick something that I thought could be quite unique and I picked well. I searched the web and only found one other company selling it, which is a good sign. Oddly I couldn’t even find it on the Paul Smith website. Priced at £114.95 on Infinities it’s 5 pence cheaper than the other website it’s sold on.
Price Score – 8/10
Stock Score – 10/10
Exclusivity Score – 10/10
I do like a good blog, hence why I got into blogging in the first place. I’m addicted to fashion and football blogs and in the last few weeks I’ve attempted to keep up with Infinities blog. Most of it isn’t really to my taste since it’s them promoting their new products rather than useful reads. Which to be fair to them, they are a store and how else would customers know about their new collections if they didn’t promote them. There are some decent reads on how to re-wax your jacket or how to roll up your sleeves however most are look-books.
I always recommend if you like a brand/company to sign up to their newsletter and Infinities newsletter seems to be pretty decent so far. It’s important to know when there’s going to be a new sale so that you can get hold of the discounted items first before the good stuff sells out.
As a cheeky side benefit, Infinities will you 10% off your first order just for signing up. Not bad by my standards.
At first working out what Infinities’s game plan was confusing. I wasn’t sure if they were trying to be like House of Fraser or another version of ASOS. I find that they are pretty much neither or maybe a blend of the two. I suppose I’m still not sure what exactly they are but then again do they need to be anything? Is it possible they can just be themselves? I would say time will tell but they been around for more than twenty years so maybe time has already spoken and maybe you should give them a go.
Aftershave is not my field, I don’t know much about them or how they work. Although saying that, I couldn’t survive without it. I thrive off of aftershave and never stick to just one. I’m always jumping around trying new ones, looking for scents that will make people stop and comment. I’m an attention seeker, sue me. When I got the opportunity to review a new aftershave brand, I jumped at it with both hands. It’s a brand that is new and according to the world of the internet, Gruhme is doing really well. They have some fantastic reviews online from huge brands like GQ, Men’s Health & Esquire.
My first impression was probably the same as everybody else’s. Everything Gruhme do seems to be at a high standard. The delivery came within 48 hours. The box was standard but in good condition. The bottle to put it simply, is incredible. It is a brilliant solid black cover with a lovely matte finish to it. It has that ‘real deal’ feel to it, very heavy, very solid – well made. The bottle isn’t over decorated nor is it covered in text, just a simple classy bottle.
The way I see things, first impressions are incredibly important, and i mean that in a general sense across all fields, haircut, outfit, CV, speech, texts – everything. Likewise that all important first smell, I wanted it to be strong overpowering and authoritative. Gruhme didn’t disappoint. It’s a very masculine smell, smell a lot like ginger and spices. Kind of makes me feel like I’m out in nature with the wind in my hair (whatever that means.)
From what I can tell Gruhme is a small new brand, less than three years old and started by an ex lawyer with a vision. I asked a few people in the West Midlands about the brand and funnily enough they knew Rob (the founder.) Rob apparently mixes in with business networking groups and from what I’ve gathered “he’s a straight up guy.”
Gruhme as a brand is designed and positioned exactly as I want my brand to be. Elegant, simple and effective.
According to their website Gruhme believe fragrance designers have lost what it means to be daring and now just play it safe. How true this is, I don’t know, I’ve owned over 30 different bottles of aftershave and while some have smelt the same, I find the majority to be different and distinct. I’d like to see Gruhme do well and as a brand I think they’re doing a brilliant job. Below is an excerpt from their About US page and I think it sums up things wonderfully.
Attention to detail and aesthetics are more important to us than just daily profit and spend. Welcome to our world and we hope you’ll stay with us on this journey from one-man start-up to industry changer. After all, without you there is no us.
The Difference Between EDP & EDT
Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette are French words, indicating the rise of the perfume industry in France. The terms themselves indicate the way that these products were generally used. Eau de Parfum was meant to create an aromatic experience, with a lasting fragrance that remained throughout the day. Eau de Toilette refers to a ladies’ toilette, or grooming ritual, and indicated the product was used for freshening up over the course of the day. The varying concentration levels of these fragrances means that they can still be used in this manner.
Here’s where I actually have to strive to put my smelling ability into words, here comes the artist me. The best way I can describe Gruhme No.14 is as a spicy ginger natural fragrance. It’s almost like you’re standing in the woods thinking about life. The scent is very masculine, strong and makes me feel like I have more money than I do. I think this picture describes it best;
This Gruhme No.14 is their new and improved fragrance. This new fragrance is designed exactly as their original fragrance was originally designed with three years ago. The only difference between the original and the new No.14 is that Gruhme have increased the concentration from 10% to 14%. I think this shows that they had an issue with stick-ability and not the scent of the aftershave.
I think even now there is a problem regarding the ability of Gruhme to last. I find myself spraying all my clothes and body with the spray and then within an hour it’s gone. I have asked people to describe the fragrance I’m wearing after meeting them outside and they have struggled. I even tried to google how to get my aftershave to stick around more – if you’re interested it’s a pretty decent post here.
Gruhme No.14 is priced at £45, making it an average priced fragrance. You could purchase the Paco Rabanne 1 Million and many of the other well known aftershaves for that price. This begs the question: is £45 worth it for a 100ml of Gruhme? Well if you’re looking for a great new scent then Gruhme is for you. If you’re looking for a scent that will make people think about “Oooo this reminds me of…” then Gruhme is for you. Gruhme is most definitely remarkable in everything but it lacks massively in its ability to stick around.
Compliments, Comments & Complaints
Wife: Yeah it’s nice, I prefer it to all your feminine sprays, it’s like a real masculine smell, reminds me of smell of the woods.
Friend: Oooo reminds me of one summer when we was going hyde park, it’s got that freshness smell to it.
Friend: I’d say it’s like ginger, it’s very strong scent.
Other Reviews Online
I searched through the internet and found a whole army of reviews regarding Gruhme. Most are very short and concise, I suppose most people probably wouldn’t want to read too much into things. I did find however that most reviews only told half the story. If you focus on the scent and the brand image, then honestly I don’t think many fragrances can compete with Gruhme. I can imagine the problem with many bloggers is they don’t want to give a negative review for fear of offending the brand and potentially ruining any further opportunities. I differ from this view, I hope that Gruhme will be back with a stronger more lasting scent.
Customers who have paid for a product always give the best review and that’s why brands like Amazon do so well since potential customers can read honest reviews. I found a customer review online in which I can relate to on every level. Please see below.
Although I give this fragrance a neutral it has more to do with performance than the quality of its smell. I find this to be a rather beautiful green offering which oozes class. Smells like a walk in a dewy forest on a fresh early morning. It is masculine and gives me the impression that good quality ingredients have been harnessed. I imagine this would be a good office scent; however while longevity is almost average the silage is really poor. I used several sprays and a friend didn’t realize I was wearing it!
I’m hopeful the guys at Gruhme will read this and think I’m right and maybe in the near future I’ll get the third version of Gruhme No.14. They have gotten literally everything else right. The bottle is beautiful, the website is aesthetically pleasing & functional, they have been endorsed by big online players, much bigger than I, but unfortunately for me, they are lacking in probably the second most important part of an aftershave: its ability to stick around.
Customers can order a bottle here;
Gruhme No.14 (EdT) 100ml
I’ve decided to do a post for men who just want to look good but don’t have the money. The last thing I’d ever advise you to do is spend your last £200 on a suit. Make sure you stay in your financial lane, even if that means building an outfit for £60 – it is possible trust me. Always be on the lookout for low budget stores or the next sale at your favourite brand and sign up to newsletters. I know shopping on a budget can be frustrating and annoying but it is what it is, try to remain patient and it will get easier.
All of the stores mentioned in this post are specific to the United Kingdom unless you intend on getting them delivered to you. With that being said there will be near identical stores in your country, exact same products and prices with a different name so be sure to check them out.[Featured Image Credit: strangeness-and-charms.com]
I must admit I consider myself to be on a modest income so I definitely am not above shopping in these low budget stores – sometimes.
As the name suggests, Poundland is a piece of land in which anything and everything on that land is priced at £1. It’s well known in the UK and in recent years has grown from strength to strength, with stores popping up everywhere. They once sold ties, still do sell some underwear and all their stores definitely sell socks. Obviously due to the price, it’s seen as a poor mans store so beware before you brag that your boxers only cost £1.
As mentioned previously, I’m pretty sure every country has their own kind of stores in which everything is sold at the same really cheap price – so be on the look out.
Primark is well known in the UK for being the huge cheap shop no one wants to admit they shop at. They are averagely good at everything, you can’t expect too much of their products. They are pretty much everyone’s go to place for underwear and socks. My favourite thing about Primark is their incredibly cheap suits, it’s a well made suit with cheap material sold at around £40 for a two piece. This is no exaggeration when I say you could pick up a full two piece suit, with shirt, tie and some black office shoes all for £60.
Please note that on the weekends the ques in here are ridiculous so I advice going there during the week.
Next is definitely one of the biggest retailers there are, they sell everything, men’s clothes, women’s clothes, children’s clothes and even home furniture. Truth be told, their menswear range is the very opposite to my taste, I find them very basic and standard. They have a very small range of shoes, definitely not their forte. Their clearance is the best time to shop there, you can pick up some amazing blazers for dirt cheap. Usually this is because the trousers would sold out or only have really huge or slim waist sizes. Next also have a really good online store, it’s pretty spot on and they have massive stock.
TM Lewin might come as a surprise inclusion on this list as it looks like a very expensive store, well it is. TM Lewin is mainly aimed at corporate lads with navy suits and pink shirts on huge salaries. The average suit here will cost you around £250, with shirts costing £35 and ties costing around £25. With that being said they have earned the right to those price points as without a doubt, they have lead the way in the last 100 years and have almost become the benchmark for quality. If you’re reading this wondering why I would include such a brand on my list, the answer is simple; their change of season discounts. Between the months of April to June and October to December they start to dump all their stock that didn’t sell as they expected and £40 shirts are sold at £15 – bargain!
After shopping here for five years, I’ve loved every purchase except their socks, they lost elasticity within a month, wasn’t impressed.
My Best Buy From Each Store
This is going to sound funny but I’m being serious, I picked up three pairs of black socks for £1. I’m actually wearing them now. They are comfortable, have a decent colour and they are cheap as chips, or even cheaper.
In 2010 I picked up a suit for a work event I went to. Cost me a whopping £35 for a two piece black suit. I also picked up some black shoes for £8. Not bad right?
I have had over fifteen suits from Next, no exaggeration, many of which I still own and its hard to pick an out and out favourite. For the sake of this, I’ll go with one of my go-to suits when I need to impress – the blue pin stripe suit. The suit is a poly-blend suit, nothing special, but looks fantastic, has great colour, I’ve owned it for three years and it cost me a modest £110 for the jacket and trousers.
I have and always will rant about my twill pink oxford shirt from TM Lewin, I’ve had it for over two years and it’s served me well. However it cost £35 so you would expect it too. For that reason my favourite shirt from TM Lewin will have to be my non-iron summer shirts I bagged in the winter of 2015. I remember seeing these online and thinking “what the hell – £15.” Since it was November and no one wanted to wear summery colorful shirts they were on sale from £35 to £15. I grabbed three . Without a doubt; a brilliant bargain, brilliant quality and my favourite buy.
Low Budget Stores
Wherever you live and whatever shops you have available to you, you can apply some of these tips to suit you. When the season changes as it is now, have a look at all the winter clothes, the jackets, scarves, gloves, wool or denim shirts. No one wants to buy thick clothes now when they’re expecting hot sunny days, I’m in England so I wouldn’t bet on it too much.
Also be on the look at in the sales section of your favourite websites. Check in your local “pound shop” and see what they have to offer. Enjoy the budget shopping and if anyone asks; you paid top dollar for it.
Reviewing anything related to suits is the most arousing thing since lasagne, almost enough to give you a stiffy, pun intended. As much as I like black socks, I can’t be bothered writing about them. New innovations like these from small start-ups is what I’m all about. It’s simple, it’s cheap, its cheerful, just what the doctor ordered. This review I’m going to have some fun with and try something new. In the first half of this post, I’ll review the magnetic collar stays before wearing them, just giving my initial thoughts on the product, idea, price, appearance etc. Then I’ll give them a spin for a week and then write the second half of this review. Which will be my exact true thoughts on Stiffies and if its worth buying them or not.
Before Wearing Stiffies
I recently lost a lot of my collar stays in a trip to the dry cleaners and was planning to buy a pair of metal ones from TM Lewin or John Lewis. So the email asking me to review a pair of Stiffies came at the perfect time. I’d like to thank the guys at Stiffies for sending me these, as always I’ll be brutally honest and mention all the good & bad, hopefully they don’t mind.
The concept is simple, they’re metal collar stiffeners, that go into your collar and then you place a magnet under your shirt that pulls your collar towards it and holds your shirt collar firm in place.
I’m a price man, I’m all about price and saving money where I can. I love looking good but I refuse to be wasteful with my money. Thankfully £20 isn’t a painful amount of money. Having metal collar stiffeners (collar bones) is an absolute must for me and should be for you so the fact these are metal is a big deal for me. Never will plastic do as good a job as metal!
The delivery was super quick, took two days to get to me. I didn’t pay for my delivery so I’m not entirely sure on the delivery charge but it looks like it is free.
I’m not a fan of having a small magnet on me, I just get the feeling it can easily come off throughout the day, if that happens you’d have to buy replacements which are sold by Stiffies. To be fair to them, it looks like they supply some spares in the package. I suppose that tells us they’re aware the magnets may be easy to lose. The idea behind it being magnetic isn’t something that has sunk in with me yet and I’ll go into more detail about how the magnet works and is used once I get my head around it all.
There are actually some health and safety rules about these things which I’d definitely recommend reading; here.
A Week Later
Well what a difference a week makes. I’ve gone from being a doubter to being a possible lifetime customer. I’ll elaborate…
I’m a skeptic, I look at adverts and think, yeah right, does it really do that or is this just over exaggerated. The trick with collar stays is if you wear a cheap shirt with nothing in the collars, then add in some plastic £2 collar stays, the collars would look much better. That’s what I thought was happening here. I’m glad I was wrong.
I took Stiffies to work everyday for a week, except on casual Friday, while wearing my normal plastic collar stays for the first half of the day and then the Stiffies the second half. The results were pretty impressive, here’s an example of one of my shirts;
I had some reservations as all my shirts are from TM Lewin, I know they’re made very well so my collars look good even without wearing any collar stiffeners. I did not expect Stiffies to improve the look of the shirt. With my collars placed firmly in place and me never having to readjust them meant I realized just how much I touch my collars throughout the day. On one day I touched my collar seven times over 3/4 hours. The novelty hasn’t quite worn off yet, so I’m still aching for someone to comment and ask my shirt looks so damn good, unfortunately no compliments or questions yet.
How It Works
How the magnet works is simple. You place the magnet underneath your shirt and then position the collar where you want it to stay and the magnet will click onto your collar from under your shirt, thus holding everything in place. Probably the best bit about this is the fact you can take off the shirt and the magnet will stay attached so as long you don’t lift up your collars.
Was I Able To Lose Any Magnets?
I wanted to see what it would take to lose the magnets so did a few tests to see if they would survive. In my first test, I decided to do some running, not like miles or anything, just sprinted for the bus and stuff. I purposely ran kind of all over the place to see if it would fall but to no avail, 1-0 to Stiffies .
Next I decided I would wear my duffel bag across my shoulder (I normally carry it in my hand.) I fidgeted about with my bag while it was on, I took the bag off and then on a few times expecting for the magnet to fall down my shirt during this process – it stayed put. 2-0 Stiffies.
Third and final test, I decided to leave the magnets on, take off the shirt, roll it up and throw it in the wash basket. Now I would never advise rolling your shirts up, I always hang my shirts up, even dirty ones. Anyways I threw it into the wash basket and needless to say, the test went in favour of the Stiffies. 3-0.
Magnet Strength Fading
In terms of magnet strength fading overtime, I’m not sure if that’s possible. I’ve only had these little over a week so this isn’t something I can comment on.
The Two Sizes
Of the two sizes, I use the smaller ones, the longer pair didn’t work at all. The longer pair looked ridiculous in my shirt. I wear a 15.5/16-inch collar with relatively long collars so I’d expect the longer pair to fit. I’m not sure I’d ever need the longer pair but for now the small ones are perfect.
To be honest, I’m more of a fabric kind of guy, metals are not my thing so discussing how good the metal used to make Stiffies is, is pointless. I have no idea if it’s strong enough to build a house with or survive extreme heats so if you’re planning on going near a volcano, to be on the safe side, leave these at home. I will however say that they are definitely aesthetically pleasing.
A Must Have Or A Luxury?
I can’t say that an accessory is a must have, the reason why is because your shirt doesn’t need collar stays, especially if you wear a tie. Most shirts come with plastic collar stays so you could just use those. You could also buy normal metal collar stays. Then we come to the question;
Why Should I Buy Stiffies?
I’ll attempt to answer whether you should buy them or not in the most simple way. If you work in an environment where a tie is required, then just pass on these. If the shirts you wear are worth less than £20, then I wouldn’t advise spending £17.99 on collar stays, makes more sense to invest in a decent collection of shirts.
If like me, you don’t wear a tie to work, and you own good quality shirts with decently made collars – then yes, get these and don’t delay. Honestly just in terms of confidence, it’s worth the £17.99. Not to mention you can go about your whole day not worrying about your collars moving, even a little.
I’m incredibly pleased with Stiffies, companies like these deserve the recognition they get. They have found a way to improve every mans outfit without breaking any bank accounts and with little effort. I personally will be ordering another pair myself as a present for a friend. I would recommend you pick some up for yourself.
Hope you enjoyed my review of Stiffies and if you have anything to add from your own experiences then please comment below.
No Sock Look? How Long Should Socks Be? Socks Bunched Around Ankles? Let’s touch on some important points here and some not so important points. Here’s everything relating to socks.
1. Should I Try The No Sock Look?
Some could also ask should you wear socks at all, the simple answer is, if you’re employed – yes. The no sock look is great for walking around on holiday or relaxing in a park somewhere but at work, socks are an absolute must. If you insist on the no sock look then give your colleagues their right to odourless air by wearing invisible socks.
2. Whats The Deal With Stretched Out Socks?
Quality is important in every aspect of your wardrobe, from your suit to your shoes. It’s a widely accepted assumption that the more expensive the item, the better the “quality”. Since more expensive materials were used then the item must be better for the user. This may be the case in general but just because your socks cost the price of most peoples shoes doesn’t mean they are actually good quality.
Many socks lose their tightness (elasticity), thus resulting in the sock rolling down your leg and bunching up around your ankles. The sock can also bunch up in your shoe which can easily make you uncomfortable when walking. I’ve found this most commonly in cheap cotton socks but it still definitely happens with the expensive branded socks that are made cheaply.
This can be easily resolved by getting a pair of socks that are a blend of cotton and lycra. It will cost you slightly more in the short term but you will end up buying less pairs of socks thus resulting in everything balancing out.
3. How Long Should Socks Be?
Now onto the discussion of how long your socks should be. If you are going to take anything from this then let it be the following. Keep all the hair on your legs hidden at all times. When you sit, your trousers will raise and your sock should at all times prevent your lovely hair legs from being on show.
The issue of white socks is well established so I’ll mention it briefly, if you’re an Michael Jackson fan and couldn’t care less what some humans think about you, then go for it.
Regardless to how beautiful your legs are, they are not appropriate for the work place. Save them for the beach when you can really turn some heads.
Also bear in mind, none of these rules really mean anything, enjoy yourself and have fun with your socks. Trial and error is the way forward my friend.
Until we meet again,
The Monaco Lifestyle
This outfit is composed of a casual double breasted blazer with wide lapels and a black and white checked shirt. This is combined with smart slim-fit tracksuit bottoms, casual Chelsea boots/trainers and a watch that really stands out. It’s perfectly fine to wear a bold watch with a muted outfit. In case you didn’t know already, this Monaco based Instagram great is Tom Claeren, with one hundred and fifty-four thousand followers, he’s definitely among the most popular men’s fashion bloggers.
The blazer is made of a thick warm material perfect for cold spring mornings and evenings with deep spacious pockets. The trousers, although slim fitted, are not restricting and allow for a smart comfortable look without looking too dressed down. The shoes are a cross between Chelsea boots and trainers, once again allowing for a smart look without looking too casual. The watch is a nice finishing touch and makes the outfit complete by drawing the eyes to an otherwise simple everyday outfit you could wear it if you have a relaxed dress code for work, a day out shopping, a work event or even a casual night out with your other half.
Have a go at this outfit and you will look smart enough for most occasions but casual enough to to jump around on a park bench with some friends.
Where To Get The Look
A Young Man’s Guide To His First Work Outfit[Featured Photo Credit: everydayinterviewtips.com]
Whether it’s for an interview or you managed to land yourself a good apprenticeship, we all experience going shopping for the first time for that all important first work outfit. I’ll touch on some of my experiences and then give you some advice on how to make sure you wow your new employer (in a good way.)
I remember what it was like buying my first proper dress shirt. It was for work experience in a desk job at the councils recycling center. I had no idea what people would be wearing in the office so I went into Burton with £30 and picked up a light blue shirt and a black & gold shirt. Needless to say, this was at a time when social media was limited to MySpace and Bebo, so there wasn’t much in the way of fashion inspiration. As time went on, I learned how to dress while making horrible fashion mistakes at the same time, including the classic Michael Jackson look, black suit with white socks.
P.S – I bought at least six suits from Primark when I first started out.
When you are first starting to dress formally in suits and shirts outside of school, it can be a bit daunting, just know that it will take time but you will get there. Pay close attention to the way you dress, and build your wardrobe slowly in accordance to your income. Below are some tips to help you pick out your first work outfit.
Have A Plan
Having a clear plan before you start splashing out the cash is important, especially if your funds aren’t unlimited.
When going to buy your first work outfit, I don’t recommend buying it online. Go into a few stores that you like and that are in your price range and try on as many different sizes as you can. Get a feel for what size fits you, don’t just buy the same size blazer you wore in school.
Know what colours you want, for the suit, keep it dark. Black and blue are the two best suits to buy as a beginner. They are so easy to match with things and they’re suitable for many occasions.
White shirts are always an easy start, but if you’re feeling adventurous then you can try for a light blue or a light pink shirt. Stay far away from dark colours for now – trust me.
Keep ties simple, no weird patterns or cartoon characters. Go for a colour that matches the colour of your suit.
Keep your socks black or navy blue, at least for now. Never wear white and leave your crazy colours at home. Once everyone at work knows your name and they like you, then you can wear your yellow and pink socks.
Expect To Fail
This is something you should be used to, failing. We all do it. Don’t expect to go shopping and spend £80 on your first work outfit and expect it to look like those Instagram gurus. A lot of the men on Instagram spent upwards of £2000 on their outfit and they’re in their thirties. Your time will come.
Try to limit your failures but if you do end up wearing an outrageous tie and people make you feel uncomfortable for it, don’t sweat it. We’ve all been there – on more than one occasion as well.
Dare A Little & Enjoy It
You’re young (if you’re not young then you’re young at heart right?), enjoy yourself and don’t take all this fashion stuff too seriously. It’s definitely not worth being late to work just to fix your tie. Fashion is something that’s enjoyable, I have this blog to have fun and I do enjoy it a lot. The moment you start stressing too much over what shoes to wear to the point you’re late to work, is the point you need to do a 180 degree turn and assess yourself.
Remember: Have fun with your outfit!
Educate Yourself & Copy Others
The fact you’re reading this is a great sign. When I started there weren’t many blogs around but I remember clinging to GQ Magazine. Knowledge is power and the more you learn, the better you will look.
When you’re traveling to work, waiting for someone or just sitting on the toilet – read some blogs and fashion tips. Obviously I’d recommend my own but there are loads online.
Go on Instagram or Tumblr and follow people who dress well and have great taste. Screenshot what you like and when you go shopping pull up those pictures and use them for inspiration. Forget this original nonsense, I copy the New York gents all the time and it works great for me over here in the UK.
Keep It Simple
I hope this helps a little, I wanted to keep it short and just get across the message; keep it simple and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. That’s the exact advice I would have given to myself ten years ago when I bought a £80 silver suit (cringe.)
There comes a time in every man’s life where he decides a change of appearance is much in order. Now may be the perfect time to reinvent yourself. Whether it’s for a new job, new love interest, or even a new year, there is usually some sort of driving force behind it. If you’re thinking about shaking up your signature look, check out our tips to rejuvenate yourself.
Look After Your Skin
Women just love skin products. If you have a woman in your life, you’ll know that their serums, lotions and potions take up most of the space in the bathroom and bedroom. Women are usually one step ahead of us men, they already know that looking and smelling good is feeling good too. We should follow suit and look after our skin too. Our skin can be even more prone to dryness and irritation than women’s. If you don’t want to dip into your other half’s strawberry puree, you could get some Nivea cream for men.
If you have thicker, dryer skin, you might find that thicker balms and creams are more effective for you and leave your skin feeling softer and more moisturized. My all time favorite cream (after Nivea) would have to be Palmer’s cocoa butter, great smell, great feeling and great value for money.
Whether you’re on a tight budget at the moment, or not, drink plenty of water and get a good nights sleep. These two things are free, and will work wonders for your skin. You won’t get dark circles and your complexion will look clear and healthy.
Choose Your Products Wisely
In order to change your look, you’ll probably need to change your approach to styling and that means trying new products.
There’s a myriad of skin and hair products for men, but choose wisely; sometimes cheaper products are more damaging to skin and do not last as long as the slightly more expensive products. No one’s saying a £50 jar of cream here, but the dubious cream from discount stores is not always worth it.
Cut Or Restyle Your Hair
What quicker way to reinvent yourself is there other than changing your hairstyle? One of the quickest and most effective ways is to change it to something you’ve never tried before. Even if it was as simple as changing what side you part your hair on, or more drastically shaving off long locks of hair. Believe me, a good trim can make you feel like a new man.
If your hair is short, you could try growing it into a longer style, and if it’s already long, experiment with a few new styles in front of a mirror until you find something you like. You can find inspiration easily on Instagram or even Google images (old school, I know), or ask your barber for suggestions. Look up hairstyles on models who have similar face shapes, hairlines, and hair textures to you. There’s nothing worse than getting a haircut that doesn’t suit you at all.
Clear out your wardrobe, get rid of those baggy jeans you’ve had since you were fifteen and invest in new ones that will last. You can find designer labels for cheap in places like Tk Maxx and in the sale section of websites and high street stores. A quick way to reinvent your look is by swapping jeans for chinos, and trainers for boots. These two items can be tweaked to look casual or smart depending on your accessories.
Developing a new signature look means not looking like every other guy out there, and bold accessories make it easy to really personalize your style.
Hats, scarves, watches, crazy socks (check out my posts on them) or bold-framed glasses: knock yourself out and make them your own.
Getting a new body shape needs a little more work than changing your hair and clothes , but if you feel you need to size down, remind yourself of the old adage – no pain, no gain.
Exercise is free so forget extortionate gym memberships. Go walking, running, swimming or cycling. Whatever you do – stay active. Exercise releases endorphins so you’ll start feeling good and in time you’ll have a body to match.
Learn To Accept Your Body Shape
While you can exercise and slim down, your natural body shape may always remain the same. The solution to this is not to attempt to squeeze yourself into ill-fitting clothes, but identify your body type to pick clothes that compliment your shape and size well.
Find Out What Brands Work Best For You
In order to succeed when reinventing your wardrobe, you need to know what brands suit you. Topman and ASOS favour more slim fitting clothing, whereas stores like House of Fraser and John Lewis are your go-to for more classic men’s clothing.
Build Your Self Esteem
Having high self esteem affects how you see yourself and how others see you. People are drawn to charismatic, confident people. Work on your posture, slouching suggests a lack of self confidence whereas walking with straight open shoulders rather than hunched ones says a lot about you. Also, change the way you think about yourself if need be, from negative to positive. Being positive and confident is the best way to pull off great new looks.
Ask The Ladies
You can find plenty of inspiration online for a new look, but the women who matter the most in your life – your mum, wife, or sister know you and will always have some helpful, unsolicited advice on how you look, eat, dress, sleep, breathe… you get my drift!
Do your homework and see what’s trending, there’s some great free advice and product reviews all over the internet. Experiment with different looks, get creative, be active and in no time you will have reinvented your look without breaking the bank.
Reinvent yourself now and you’ll be glad you did.[Photo Credit For Featured Image: 123rf.com]