• Reviews
  • Stiffies Review – Magnetic Metal Collar Stays

    White TM Lewin Shirt With Stiffies

    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 Idea

    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.

    Price

    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!

    Delivery

    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.

    Magnets

    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;

    Me With TM Lewin Plastic Collar Stays - Stiffies Review
    Me Wearing My TM Lewin Shirt With Plastic TM Lewin Collar Stays

    TM Lewin Plastic Collar Stays Abovetheankles

    Me With Stiffies Magnetic Collar Stays - Stiffies Review
    Same Shirt Now With Stiffies Magnetic Collar Stays

    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.

    Silver Stiffies - Magnetic Collar Stays

    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.

    Silver Stiffies - Magnetic Collar Stays

    Metal Quality

    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.

    Get Your Own Magnetic Collar Stays Here – Stiffies!

    White TM Lewin Shirt With Plastic Collar Stays

    White TM Lewin Shirt With Stiffies

  • Tips
  • Match The Knot Of Your Tie To Your Collar

    match tie knot to collars

    If reading the title confused you a little then good, it confused me the first time someone said it to me. Thankfully it’s pretty basic and once I explain it, you’ll just do it subconsciously. If you have been wearing suits awhile – you may already be doing it.

    The size of your tie’s knot should be in proportion to the size of your collar and vice versa. In layman’s terms; big & thick ties for large collars and skinny/thin ties for small collars.

    The style in which you choose to tie your tie matters. I haven’t worn my tie in any other way except a full Windsor for over five years. I find it perfect for me as when I choose to wear a tight fitted shirt with small collars and a tie bar, my skinny tie and Windsor knot looks fantastic. Equally as fantastic are my TM Lewin big wide collar shirts with my thick standard ties in a Windsor knot. However, I have seen some people doing some crazy knots, making patterns out of it all, this is fine if it suits you but make sure that you haven’t wrapped your tie around your knot 15 times on a shirt with small collars.

    If you are unsure as to whether your tie’s knot will be big or small then simply look at the width of your tie. The more material in the tie the larger your tie knot will be.

    michael fassbender gq cover
    Skinny Tie With Small Collars
    david gandy gq cover
    Regular Tie With Large Collars
  • Tips
  • Metal Collar Stays

    Collar stays (also known as collar stiffeners) should be a part of your life, you should be sliding them into your collars whenever you finish your ironing. They are small in size but very important, without them, even the best of shirts look cheap and battered after a few wears. Cheap shirts have “built-in” collar stays, while decent dress shirts will have removable ones. If you don’t already use them often, you need to start – now.

    If however, you are among the few men who take care of their clothes and pay attention to the “silly” things most men ignore, then you probably already wear collar stays. Chances are they’re plastic, am I right? Time to step it up.

    wurkin-stiffs-collar-stays

    Why Should I Upgrade To Metal Collar Stays?

    The same way plastic collar stays transform a normal shirt great. Metal collar stays take the shirt to another level again. There is something about a man’s clothes looking rigid and sharp that just make him look the business. Metal collar stays make the collars on your shirt look sharp and when you move around they won’t. You won’t be able to feel the difference when wearing them but take a picture with plastic collar stays vs metal collar stays and you will see the difference clearly.

    How Much Are They?

    Some companies can go to the extreme with their collar stays and have some £200 silver stays. Other companies are more accommodating for us normal lads with prices around £10/£15. I strongly recommend grabbing yourself a pair, you only need one since you only wear one shirt at a time (I hope.)

    I wouldn’t bother getting them engraved with anything, except of course, if you’re buying them as a gift for someone.

    I personally prefer the pair from Moss Bros as they are cheap but solid/quality. I’ve added a few more collar stays to my store in order to spoil you for choices. Buy one pair of collar stays that will last a life time, trust me you won’t regret this purchase.

  • Tips
  • Collar Stays/Bones

    tm lewin collar bones abovetheankles

    Maintaining the appearance of your clothes should be a top priority for all of us. Looking after our clothes is often so simple to do yet so many of us slack in it. Little things like brushing our clothes, using a lint roller or shoe trees can really make all the difference. One thing that many people miss out on is collar bones. Collar bones are the hard things in your shirt collar that stop your collar from loosing it’s shape. Many of you won’t actually need these because your shirts won’t actually have the space in your shirt collar for it. If you have a quality shirt from TM Lewin, M&S or Hawes & Curtis then you will definitely know about collar bones.

    The important thing to know is; always take out your collar bones before putting your shirt in the wash. Collar bones come in either metal or plastic, I prefer the plastic ones but both are equally as good really.

    Ensure your shirt collar stays flat and crisp with this set of collar stays. Designed to slot into the specially-made pockets on the underside of the shirt’s collar. Not every shirt is fitted with these pockets, so best check your shirt beforehand.

    collar bones abovetheankles shirt and tie 2
    collar bones abovetheankles shirt and tie 3
    collar bones abovetheankles shirt and tie
    collar bones abovetheankles
    collar-stays1
    tm lewin collar bones abovetheankles

    Where To Buy Them?

    I personally would recommend eBay, you can get them for like £2-5 but I know some of you aren’t really big fans of eBay so if that’s the case then here’s some other links.

    Moss Silver Metal Collar Stiffener – £15

    John Lewis Rhodium Collar Stay – £18

    M&S Collar Brass Stiffeners – £9.50

    Classic Collar Bone Gift Set – £25

  • Get The Look
  • Get The Look – Issue 1

    get the look #1

    Since this is the first issue of get the look I thought I would start off with something simple yet beautiful. I will provide three to five different links to products that similar to what the model is wearing in the picture. This should give you enough options to buy things within your price range and also from companies you prefer.

    The Look

    get the look issue 1 above the ankles

    This look is beautifully dapper, the colours are a variety of different blues. The shirt is a cutaway contrast colour, which provides that modern gekko shirt look. The paisley pattern on the tie is simple but goes perfectly well with the shirt. The navy braces are nice and thick, removing that casual look and creating that “ready for work” look.

    The Shirt

    ASOS Smart Shirt In Long Sleeve With Curve Collar – £22

    John Lewis Contrast Collar Stripe Tailored Shirt, Blue/White – £20

    John Lewis Fine Stripe Contrast Collar Shirt, Blue – £40

    M&S Pure Cotton Winchester Shirt – £45

    TM Lewin Slim Fit Plain Blue End-on-End Double Cuff Shirt – £29.95

    The Tie

    John Lewis Made In Italy Dot Print Wool Tie, Teal – £17.50

    TM Lewin Khaki Paisley Print Slim Tie – £20

    The Suspenders/Braces

    M&S Self Cross Checked Adjustable Braces -£19.50

    TM Lewin Navy Pink Spot Braces – £29.50

    TM Lewin Navy Braces – £29.50

    ASOS Braces – £8

    get the look issue 1 above the ankles

  • Tips
  • Do You Know Your Shirt Collar Styles?

    different types of shirts

    When it comes to buying a shirt, it’s not just about picking up the first white shirt you see or looking for the cheapest packet of three shirts. Now I’m not saying you should spend tons of money on a shirt but you just can’t buy shirts for less than £20. Some places like Marks & Spencer sell shirts for £35 to £45, which is normal for most people but I’d never pay that much. You can get great shirts for £20 from TM Lewin, Moss Bro’s & Next.

    It’s not just price you need to look at when shopping around for a shirt, you need a whole bunch of things. You need to consider; the fit of the shirt, how the shirt cuffs are going to be, the colour of the shirt, the patterns on the shirt and what type of collar.

    The Different Types Of Collars

    different types of shirts

    The Cutaway collar

    This is a classic style perfect for business, whether you’ve got a day catching up in the office, or an important presentation to deliver. The cut away collar leaves a large space for a tie to be knotted into, mirroring the line of your shoulders. This is perfect for traditional ties to be worn in a Windsor Knot, giving ample room for that perfect triangular fold and wrap.

    The Button Down Collar

    The button down collar has evolved over time, with its heritage being in workwear as a practical solution to preventing the dreaded curled up collar. You now find button down collars more commonly in social environments. They’re perfect to wear teamed with a v-neck sweater or cardigan since the buttons help to control the collar, drawing the lines of the outer garment and shirt together. T.M. Lewin have recently started to bring the button down collar back into a more formal environment, applying the detail to shirts with a classic semi-cut away collar. This works well when coupled with a slim tie, tie clip and pocket square – adding great features to your look.

    The Contrast Collar

    Up until a few years ago, when you saw a contrast collar on a shirt (usually a white collar with a plain blue or pink shirt body), you’d think; 1980’s yuppies like in the picture above. This style has turned full circle since then and is now a prominent feature in many modern day shirtmakers collections. We’d always suggest wearing a tie with this type of collar, helping to draw the contrasting colours together, using the collar as the focal point.

    The Round Collar

    The round collar has been making a return to both work and social environments in a big way for the past couple of years. The collar itself will be rounded at the tips creating a less formal image, perfect for work Christmas parties and corporate entertainment. Round collars look great when they carry contrast to the shirt body, helping to accentuate the features of the collar. You can combine this style with a slim knitted tie and a plain silver tie clip to complete the look.

    The Collar Pin

    The pin is another way to add detail to your image. Shirts with collar pins will have a fairly tight area in which to slot a tie, so make sure you pick out a slim or skinny tie. Collar pin shirts don’t always have to be formal, however. A slim fit shirt buttoned up to the top and finished with a pin can look great with a pair of dark slim fit jeans and a well-tailored jacket for the party season.

    The Wingtip

    Form is temporary, class is permanent, and that can certainly be said of the wingtip. The collar is tunic in style with triangular tips placed at the fastening ends. This style of shirt has stood the test of time – team it with a sharp dinner suit and black bow tie for that James Bond appearance. If you want to look even cooler, untie your tie, let it drape around your neck, and unbutton your top button. How did you want that Martini again sir?

    If you are looking to get a shirt then I will always recommend TM Lewin, they look expensive, some things are expensive in there but ultimately they are a cheap store with top quality stuff. My absolute favourite for shirts of different styles.

    different types of shirts

  • Blog
  • The Gekko Shirt

    wolf of wall street above the ankles

    Every man loves wolf of wall street, why? I suppose for various different reasons. Maybe we all want to be in the movie because of the money, the cars, the girls or the fame. Whatever the reason, none of us can deny the outfits in the movies or on the actual wall street. These guys dress pretty well, my favourite look is definitely without a doubt the ‘Gekko’ shirt. For those who don’t know what the gekko shirt is, it’s basically a shirt that has a collar and cuff colour that contrasts the colour of the shirt. [See Below]

    Wall-Street_Michael-Douglas_Gekko-shirt_mid-phone.bmp-1
    The-Wolf-Of-Wall-Street-screencaps-10
    Wall-Street_Michael-Douglas_Gekko-shirt_cigerette.bmp-1

    Statement

    Wearing the Gekko Shirt is a statement, the moment you put it on you get that banker feel. Makes me feel like I need to make more money. So the question is; should you buy one?

    Well it depends on your job and where you plan on wearing it. Contract shirts are great with navy suits, especially pin stripes so if where you work its acceptable to look that dapper, then go for the contrast shirt. Unfortunately my Gekko shirts don’t have a place in my workplace so I’m only able to wear them on a weekend.

    Grab A Bargain

    So to actually buy a quality contrast shirt like Gekko then you’re going to get set back £40 or £50. Luckily for us we don’t have to pay that kind of money. Thanks to Moss Bros I have found three variations of the Gekko shirt that are absolutely stunning.

    Two of these shirts are £12 each and the other £15 so you know you’re getting a great bargain.

    Blue & White Double Cuff Contrast Collar & Cuff Shirt

    This regular fit Moss Esq. shirt has a special non iron treatment and taped arm seams means that only a minimal run over with the iron is needed to ensure a crisp, smart look.

    60% Cotton 40% Polyester
    Double Cuff
    Non Iron
    Regular Fit

    Blue & White Double Cuff Contrast Collar & Cuff Shirt

    gekko moss 1

    Single Cuff Stripe Contrast Collar Shirt

    This Moss London slim fit shirt with single cuffs is ideal for everyday work wear. Team with a skinny ties and a tie pin for an on trend, stylish look.

    100% Cotton
    Single Cuff
    Slim Fit
    White Contrast Collar

    Single Cuff Stripe Contrast Collar Shirt

    gekko moss 2

    Tailored Fit Navy Double Cuff Striped Shirt

    This Moss 1851 tailored fit shirt is made from 100% cotton. This shirt is great for either work wear or for special occasions.

    100% Cotton
    Double Cuff
    Tailored Fit

    Tailored Fit Navy Double Cuff Striped Shirt

    gekko moss 3

  • Blog
  • Fitted Plain White Twill Cutaway Collar Shirt

    crisp white shirt

    I put on my new wool suit, my standard white shirt and went out today for some shopping and a meal, it turns out I hate my current white shirt that I thought I loved.

    Standing inside Mark’s and Spencer, under the sharp white light I noticed my shirt wasn’t as good as it once was. The natural creases that happen throughout the day didn’t look natural anymore, they looked like they had been there for years.

    Maybe I’m making this sound more dramatic than it needs to be but if your going to keep your suit jacket on all day everyday then maybe you can get away with an old shirt. Me however, I take my suit jacket off all the time and although no one would say anything I would hate for someone to think; “That shirt used to be white lol”.

    So once the day was done and my suit’s in the wardrobe its time to make a change. When it comes to buying shirts there are many different retailers to choose from depending on your budget. If you need any help then give me a shout and I’ll be happy to help you choose a shirt.

    My solution

    TM Lewin Fitted Plain White Twill Cutaway Collar Shirt

    Fitted Plain White Twill Cutaway Collar Shirt - Above The Ankl

  • Blog
  • Next Trench Coat

    So as many of you who follow me on Instagram know that I always post pictures about wearing a nice jacket/coat with your suit and not ruining your outfit by wearing any random jacket. Well if you don’t follow me on Instagram you should know that generally the first thing people see you in is your coat, if it’s an ugly one then your outfit has failed.

    When I walk into work or into an event people notice my jacket first then my suit so make sure you have a good one. There are many different types of coats and jackets you can wear but I very strongly recommend a trench coat for three main reasons.

    Trench Coats..

    1. Keep you nice & warm.
    2. Look amazing over suits.
    3. Come in so many different styles and colours to suit your personality.

    Navy Single Breasted Coat With Faux Fur Collar

    My most recent and probably my favourite trench coat is the Navy Single Breasted Coat With Faux Fur Collar from Next. I really love this coat, probably because I get five to ten compliments a week about my coat. I have even been told I look like Denzel Washington in American Gangster with it on. Not to mention the wool and the fur keep me ridiculously warm while walking to work and getting rained on or the wind tries to blow me away. This is definitely one of my favourite purchases this year and considering its the 28th of December, that’s a pretty good achievement.

    You are probably wondering how much it costs, it’s a wonderful £99 well you could probably get a cheaper lower quality trench coat from Topman for £50 but I’m hoping you won’t do that to yourself.

    Please note this coat is slim fitted so if you’re a big guy I would definitely suggest trying on it on first, it fits almost the same way a suit fits.

    59% wool 33% polyester 8% other fibres. Lining and collar 100% polyester.

    UPDATE: I’ve had some people ask if you can take the fur off – No you can’t & why would you want too?

    Navy Single Breasted Coat With Faux Fur Collar

    Navy Single Breasted Coat With Faux Fur Collar
    Navy Single Breasted Coat With Faux Fur Collar
    Navy Single Breasted Coat With Faux Fur Collar