Contrasting Waistcoats – Fashion Tips

contrasting waistcoat

There are many rules to dressing well, one of them is making sure that you match. Another rule is to make sure you do not match. Whichever you choose to follow, I won’t judge you. The rules of fashion are there to be broken – or at least bent a bit. Wearing the right suit, for the right event is a must. Equally so are waistcoats. Showing up to a board meeting in a navy pin-stripe suit and a grey checked waistcoat might not be a good idea. It’s probably best to stick to the waistcoat that matches the suit for all formal events/meetings.

matching waistcoats

In every other circumstance out of the boardroom, wearing a contrasting waistcoat will work wonders.

The History Of The Waistcoat

The history of the waistcoat is quite boring, some English King (Charles II) decided that men were not dressing correctly in the monarchy. He decided in 1666 that all men must wear a vest. It started off as a colourful royal vest and then eventually ended up over the years as a really formal waistcoat. When they became formal, they lost their colour and generally just became black or navy.

Matching Waistcoats

Up until recently, it was unheard of to wear a waistcoat that didn’t match your suit to the T. It would have been considered scruffy. Matching your waistcoat is still very important in this day and age. If you’re attending something formal, then it’s polite to match your waistcoat. It’s a way of subtly looking head and shoulders above all those two piece wearing people without making it look like you tried too hard. Here are some great examples of men wearing waistcoats as they we intended to be worn – matching.

matching waistcoat

Contrasting Waistcoats

Thankfully for us, times have changed and people now use fashion to express themselves. Everywhere you go, every Instagram page you visit, you see people breaking fashion rules all the time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it looks horrible, live and learn. Gone are the days of plain waistcoats. Tailors are now expressing themselves with massive lapeled waistcoats and double breasted buttons. The outcome: pure beauty.

I, like most, can’t afford to pay £250 for a waistcoat. Instead of me buying expensive double breasted waistcoats or amazingly crafted checked waistcoats, I keep it simple. I buy a black three piece suit, a blue three piece suit and a grey three piece suit. Then I simply mix and match them as I wish. This ALWAYS results in a ton of compliments by shocked colleagues and friends who consider me as some fashion innovator. The problem is they only see the mannequins in the store windows and they see movies of wall street actors in the fully matching three piece suits. When they see something in contrast to that, it’s overwhelming. Thankfully in a good way.

contrasting waistcoat cover

Blazer Outer Pockets – Side Pockets & Ticket Pockets

blazer outer pockets cover photo

A pet peeve of mine is seeing things, like a sandwich, stuffed into the outer pockets of a man’s blazer. I feel like just slapping them on the spot. If you do this please stop, leave the pockets alone. Some blazers now come with fake outer pockets, where there’s just a pocket flap. However, most blazers have real outer pockets that are usually tacked together with a bit of thread but can easily be pulled open.

blazer outer pockets

The question then arises what do you use them for and in fact, should you use the pockets at all? Well there isn’t really a right or wrong way – it’s completely a matter of opinion. The way I see it, pockets are functional and are meant to be used. There is however a right and wrong way to use them – putting a sandwich in them is definitely a wrong way.

The breast pocket on the blazer is obviously for pocket squares in order to decorate the outfit. The other outer pockets – the side pockets and ticket pockets are intended to carry small flat items that do not create a bulge in the pockets. Anything ranging from receipts, cinema tickets, shopping list & other notes to your favourite brand of tea bag.

kennedy-nixon-suits

I have seen pictures of some celebrities with their hands in their side pockets, using them for the purpose of keeping their hands warm. Notably you’ll see pictures of JFK with his hands always stuck in his pockets – I actually looked into it and turns out he used to use them as ashtrays.

The stitching used to keep the pockets sewn together are put there to stop potential customers trying on the jacket in the store and sticking their hands in the pockets and ruining the shape. When you buy a new suit you should ideally remove the stitching so you can use the pockets but if you’re the type of guy that will stick bulky things in them – it’s best you leave them closed.

blazer outer pockets

Shirts Ripping At The Elbow

why do all my shirts rip mad men

Why Do My Shirts Rip At The Elbow?

I’m a proud owner of some beautiful TM Lewin shirts. So proud I’ve ordered some for others and told ample amounts of people to get them. Then out of nowhere – my shirt ripped right above my elbow, the fabric just decided to split and tear. I was so shocked I thought maybe I put on one of my old cheap shirts by mistake. I always thought only cheap shirts rip and quality/luxury shirts last a lifetime. In all my previous jobs I was always out & about and now working 9-5 on a desk, I’m a victim.

If this has not happened to you, then I’m guessing you probably don’t have an office/desk job.

Why Do My Shirts Rip At The elbow

Why?

You may be asking – Why Do My Shirts Rip At The Elbow? Does This Mean My Shirts Are Low Quality?

Why Do My Shirts Rip At The elbow

Why they rip is pretty easy to answer, the area under your elbow will be the most worn out part of any shirt. Every time you bend your elbow, you stretch all the fabric and the shirt will get more worn out as the day goes on. On top of this constant flexing, everyone that sits at a desk puts their elbows on the desk. Using a mouse or typing on your keyboard requires some movement which will slowly ruin the elbow area of your shirt.

To answer the second question, does this mean your shirt is low quality? – it’s a bit more complicated. I find TM Lewin to be among the best quality shirts on the high street and still my shirt ripped. The problem isn’t the quality, it is how thick the material of the shirt is. All fabrics rip after some time, unless it’s some indestructible military fabric. Thin fabrics will rip and tear faster than thicker fabrics – that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

How To Stop It?

It’s too late for my beautiful blue shirt but it doesn’t need to be too late for yours. Preventing your shirts from ripping at the elbow is not too difficult, you just need to be conscious of the fact this can and will happen to you if you sit at a desk or table often.

Blazer or Jacket – Easiest way to stop it is to keep your blazer on, your blazer will be able to handle a beating much better than your shirt will.

Elbows off – Keeping your elbows/forearms off of the table/desk is a sure fire way to stop them for tearing. All you have to do is adjust your chair and keyboard/mouse so they are on the edge of the surface and your forearms are in the air.

Roll your sleeves – I always roll my sleeves up, mainly because the people I work with live in the 1800’s and haven’t discovered air conditioning yet. Rolling up your sleeves will mean that your skin is free to rub against that table as much as you want it too. Just make sure you have your sleeves rolled up high enough.

Why Do My Shirts Rip At The elbow

How To Fix It?

Easy answer will be take it to the tailor and they’ll get it stitched over, it won’t look perfect but it’s better than having a hole in your shirt. You could also get your shirt converted into a short sleeve shirt but I don’t see why you would! Or you could be like me and attempt to stitch it yourself, however, I strongly advise you don’t unless you know what you’re doing. I did a horrible job stitching mine up and tomorrow I’m taking it to the tailor. (Lesson Learnt – I can’t stitch.)

I found a great article from this blogger, Eileen, on how to fix your shirt – properly! Click Here.

Why Do My Shirts Rip At The elbow

Twill Shirts

I’m a massive fan of TM Lewin as I’ve mentioned a million times and I’ve decided to order myself some more of their Twill shirts. My blue shirt that ripped was a Poplin shirt which like their Twill shirts it’s made from 100% cotton. The difference however is Poplin shirts are great for summer as they are thin and light. The Twill shirts are a lot thicker which is great for me as I know they’ll last a lot longer. Considering my blue Poplin shirt only lasted me five months, I’m hoping to get a good eighteen months out of my Twill shirts. Only time will tell.

Fitted Blue Poplin Double Cuff Shirt
Fitted Plain Blue Sky Fine Luxury Twill Shirt

How To Tuck In Your Shirt

how to tuck in your shirt - military underwear tuck

This is a strange tip because everyone knows how to tuck in their shirt, we have been doing it since we were kids. I guess the right title for this tip is; how to properly tuck in your shirt. You might be thinking what exactly do I mean by properly and who can say which way is the correct way. The correct and most proper way of tucking in your shirt is the way that looks the best and smoothest.

So here we go;

Tuck In Your Shirt | Avoid The Muffin

Let me make this clear; muffins are amazing but looking like one is horrible. When your shirt puffs out and kind of hangs over your belt you look like a muffin. This must be avoided at all costs, but how?

This usually happens for two reasons, which are both easily fixable. Usually because your shirt is too baggy and loose fitting or you are wearing a t-shirt underneath your shirt which is causing your shirt to puff out, making you look like a muffin.

Oversized or Loose Fit Shirts – Military Tuck

Whatever you want to call it, a baggy shirt simply isn’t pleasing to the eye. If like me you have a bulging belly sometimes you still need to wear a well fitted shirt, even if it means you got to cut down on dessert after lunch. If you currently can not afford to purchase some new slim fitted shirts then you can use the military tuck.

This, simply put is an easy way to tuck in your shirt by grabbing and pinching the sides of your shirt and folding them over and tucking your shirt in. It’s really simple and works like a charm, just follow the image below.

The Military Tuck
The Military Tuck

Wearing A T-Shirt Underneath – Underwear Tuck

Even if you have a well fitted shirt, if you wear a baggy or loose undershirt, it will cause your shirt to look messy and if the undershirt is not long enough in length you will get the muffin look. You have two options; wear a very thin, well fitted and long undershirt or do the underwear tuck.

Undershirts are amazing but finding a quality one is quite difficult. I prefer something light with a v-neck cut so if I wanted to wear my shirt without a tie, the undershirt wouldn’t be shown. Wearing one that can’t be seen underneath and is so soft and comfortable you can’t even feel it – is a real gem. I own and recommend this uniqlo undershirt.

The underwear tuck is fabulous, when getting dressed in the morning simply tuck your undershirt into your boxers/briefs. It might feel a little weird at first but trust me it works like a charm. As the day goes on you’ll get used to it and you’ll realise your undershirt hasn’t moved place.

I hope this has helped, these are the techniques I use and if you have any of your own feel free to drop me a comment below or send me over an email. Good luck with the military and underwear tuck.

T-Shirt Under Your Shirt

v neck & suit

There are a million style tips you can start applying in order to make yourself look better. In my old job, we used to always say that if you could improve 50 things by 1% you are now 50% better off – true stuff! So who wears a t-shirt under their shirt? I definitely do. Living in the UK, its cold 300 days a year and the need to put on another layer is real.

The problem with wearing a t-shirt under your shirt is that if you don’t wear a tie, it can end up poking out of your shirt. I wear t-shirts outside which is fine if your casual but the moment you wear it under your dress shirt, your t-shirt automatically becomes underwear. Sounds weird but it’s true, whether man or woman, your underwear is to be as hidden as possible and if you want to be a man of class then this is completely necessary.

Having your t-shirt poking out under your dress shirt looks sloppy and is similar to a woman who bends over and shows off all her backside & her thong – not a good look! If you want to be known as a well dressed individual then hiding your undergarments is essential.

The easiest way to hide your t-shirt is to not wear one, but living in the UK between october and june would mean you would be pretty cold. The best option is to do what I do, wear a v-neck t-shirt. They aren’t expensive and it really depends how many times you go out in a shirt without a tie. I only leave the house without a tie twice a week so I only own about three or four v-neck t-shirts. I save all my crewneck t-shirts for the days I wear ties and you should do the same.

I’ve added two items to my shop in order to give you guys the perfect v-neck’s to be worn with your outfits to ensure you won’t end up looking sloppy.

See the difference a v-neck makes for yourself;

Shaving – The Old School Way

shaving the old school way cover photo large

Ever heard of Sweeney Todd? If you have then you know what this post is all about. If you haven’t then not to worry, it doesn’t really matter. So let’s get to it.

shaving the old school way cover photo

Last night I was getting ready for today and figured I’d shave, which by shave I mean shave my moustache and shape up my hair line to get rid of the weird bit of hair that grows on my forehead (I know right eww.) So I normally do all of this with my normal disposable razor but recently I’ve been reading up on how amazing these cut throat razor are and everyone says it’s what a true gentleman would use. So being the aspiring gentleman that I am I felt like I had to actually go and grab myself one and actually see what all the hype is really about.

Usually when it comes to old fashioned things, I just naturally hate all things old. Why? I don’t know really, I love technology and new things, to prove my love for technology I actually even own a smartwatch which I pretty much wear and use everyday. I was a little reluctant to use the blade and not to mention a little scared of slicing up my face. I bought one online for peanuts and decided to give it a try.

It came in the post a few days ago and I figured I’d attempt to shape up my hair line and trim my moustache. So as per usual, I washed my face and then I added all the shaving foam and prepared myself for the worst. Needless to say five minutes later, I had a beautifully shaped up hairline, and a perfectly thin moustache. Then a minute later I was pretty much covered in blood, my skin had like seven different cuts so I ended the night covered in vaseline over every cut. Yes it hurt like hell!

Do I regret doing it? No way, the shave is amazing, it actually removes all the hair and I have so much more control over the blade. It may have hurt last night but now I can’t feel a thing, none of the cuts are visible so it’s definitely a winning situation.

I absolutely advise grabbing yourself one, hopefully you won’t cut yourself as much as I did.

Your Tie Clip Should Never Be Wider Than Your Tie

tie clips and suits 3

I’ve been really busy recently and haven’t managed to post much but I went for a walk today with the Mrs and noticed some cheerful chap in a suit, he looked pretty decent except he had a wide tie clip on a skinny tie. I had a dying urge to go up to him and correct the issue by stealing his clip. However I’m now hoping he reads this.

Tie bars are a great accessory and can really make us men look smart and dapper. They create a feeling of taking extra care on our appearance, even though they only take 3 seconds to apply in the morning.

tie clips and suits 4

If you are like me and like to switch between skinny ties and wide ties depending on the suit you are wearing then you really should own a tie clip for your skinny ties and a tie clip for your wide ties. Tie clips aren’t expensive so don’t be stingy on this one, its important. Some people say the tie clip should be the same length as your tie, others claim it should be almost the same length. Which ever opinion you follow is up to you, however it is absolutely essential that the tie clip isn’t longer than tie itself. This looks crap, cheap and weird.

The only other problem some people have is where to position them, that’s pretty simple, just have a look at the below image.

the perfect way to wear a tie bar

Get Yours Here..

Moss London Gunmetal Skinny Tie Bar
Moss London Gunmetal Skinny Tie Bar – £15.00
Moss 1851 Silver Brushed Tie Bar
Moss 1851 Silver Brushed Tie Bar – £15.00

Tie Width Matching Lapels

tie matching lapel

The width of your tie needs to match the width of your lapels.

It’s pretty basic but so many people go wrong either because a) they don’t know this or b) they just don’t have another tie to wear with the suit.

tie matching lapel

If you are among the “a” people then now you know, no excuses! If you are the “b” people then either go buy some more wide/skinny ties or don’t wear a tie with your suit. As tempting as it may be, a skinny tie looks awful on a wide lapeled suit and vice versa.

For those of you reading this confused.. I’ll go into a bit more detail. The lapels are the part on each side of a coat or jacket immediately below the collar that is folded back on either side of the front opening. Some jackets have really wide lapels, others really thin. Usually a skinny fit suit will have really thin lapels which is why they look great with skinny fit ties obviously.

If you have a ridiculously wide lapeled suit like the one shown below, then obviously don’t try to find a tie with the same width.

tie matching lapel

Don’t Match Pocket Square & Tie

Don't Match Pocket Square & Tie

Sounds weird right? Why wouldn’t you match your pocket square with your tie. Some say that’s the whole point of wearing them. Well I disagree – kind of. Let me explain..

If you buy a tie and it comes with a pocket square, don’t wear them together. Instead mix and match your pocket squares and ties. A black and white polka dot tie might look great but when paired with a black and white polka dot pocket square, its a bit too much.

I obviously understand that if you only have a few pocket squares and ties then you can get away with it. But eventually you want to build up a big enough collection that you can constantly keep mixing things up and keeping your outfits forever changing.

I wouldn’t advise going out and buying 10 pocket squares, however it wouldn’t hurt to spend £8 once every payday and grab yourself a good quality pocket square.

Remember you want to coordinate in your colors and fabrics but not be too robotic and matchy.

Don't Match Pocket Square & Tie

Size Down

size down sizing guide above the ankles 2

When buying a suit, there are so many things that could go well and also just as many things that could go wrong. If you ask any woman what is her favourite thing about a guy in a suit, 90% of them will say that it is the fit. A cheap well fitted suit is always going to look better than an expensive baggy suit.

Now the tip when buying a suit is to always try on the size below whatever you normally wear or whatever the store assistant says. Just because they work in TM Lewin or in Marks & Spencer, doesn’t mean they know what they are talking about.

By sizing down, you are going to find the jacket a bit tighter, you will fill a lot more restricted. So where does it get too much? If you can raise your hands high above your head then it is a perfect fit. If however, when you raise your hands above your head and your suit feels like it’s about to rip or you can’t close your blazer buttons, take the jacket off before you have to pay for it because you ripped it.

If you are a size 40, try on a 38, no harm in trying so. I have been doing this for years and it always work.

Leave a comment below and let me know if this has helped you.

size down sizing guide above the ankles 2