• Blog
  • Your Guide To An Office Wardrobe On A Shoestring

    Your Guide To An Office Wardrobe On A Shoestring

    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.

     

  • Reviews
  • Infinities Menswear – My Review

    Ralph Lauren Socks Above The Ankles

    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.

    infinites menswear store

    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.

    Quality

    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.

    Price

    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 Socks Above The Ankles

    Ralph Lauren Socks Above The Ankles

    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.

    Ralph Lauren Socks Above The Ankles

    Ralph Lauren Socks Above The Ankles

    Ralph Lauren Socks Above The Ankles

    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.

    Average Prices

    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.

    Paul Smith Accessories City Embossed Weekend Bag Black

    I’d say this is fairly expensive for the accessories.

    Paul Smith Reversible Saffiano Leather Belt

    Paul Smith City Embossed Weekend Bag Black

    Polo Ralph Lauren 3 Pack Combed Cotton Socks Black/Navy/Grey

    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.

    Lyle and Scott Lyle & Scott Micro Gingham Shirt Blue

    £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.

    Lyle & Scott Micro Gingham Shirt Blue

    Polo Ralph Lauren Luxury Twill Shirt Blue

    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.

    PS By Paul Smith Mid-Fit Broken Check Suit Navy

    Paul Smith Blazers Infinities Menswear

    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.

    Office Shoes

    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.

    Infinities Trainers

    £50 spent with Infinities will get you a pair of simple & smart Ralph Lauren trainers or a pair of Adidas originals.

    Similarities

    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.

    Adidas Originals Los Angeles Trainers

    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.

    Polo Ralph Lauren T-Shirt Grey

    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.

    PS By Paul Smith Brushed Oxford Shirt Sky Blue

    Price Score – 8/10
    Stock Score – 10/10
    Exclusivity Score – 10/10

    Blog

    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.

    If you’re a football fan I’d recommend having a look at the Cruyff rapid trainers. I read the blog post and fell in love, have a read here.

    Cruyff Rapid Trainers Red

    Cruyff Rapid Trainers

    Newsletter

    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.

    infinities newsletter 10% off

    Final Words

    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.

    Infinities – Click Here

    Ralph Lauren Socks Above The Ankles

    Ralph Lauren Socks Above The Ankles

    Ralph Lauren Socks Above The Ankles

  • Blog
  • Stores Every Man On A Low Budget Should Shop At

    low budget stores strangeness-and-charms.com

    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]

    next shopping centre

    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.

    Poundland

    poundland store

    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

    primark store

    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

    next store

    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

    tm lewin store

    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

    Poundland

    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.

    3 pairs of black socks low budget stores

    Primark

    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?

    black suit from primark hamed adefuwa 2010

    Next

    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.

    hamed adefuwa next pin stripe suit

    hamed adefuwa next pin stripe suit

    TM Lewin

    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.

    tm lewin summer shirts sale men on low budget

    tm lewin summer shirts sale men on low budget

    tm lewin summer shirts sale men on low budget

    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.

  • Blog
  • Create The Illusion You Have More Suits Than You Actually Do

    headlights

    Many people used to ask me how I have so many suits and how they all look so new – not a question I’m asked much these days. Unfortunately I have outgrown most of my suits and I need to spend some well needed time in the gym. Shopping was easier when I was slim, I would buy a new suit every three to five months. Finding off the rack suits that fit me perfectly was a piece of apple pie. Nowadays I have to spend a lot more money and look a lot harder to get that perfect fit. I’ve come up with a trick to create the illusion I have more outfits than I actually do and it also saves me a lot of cash as well.

    shirt and trousers no tie

    We all love change and wearing different outfits will definitely make you stand out amongst the others. Suits are expensive so we can’t always afford to buy a suit regularly, I simply buy nice trousers and forget all about the blazer. Trousers usually cost a third of the price of the suit, so if you buy two different trousers you’re still in pocket.

    Combine your new trousers with a good quality shirt and people won’t notice your suit jacket missing from the back of your chair. Usually when I do this I end up with a enough compliments about my shirt to make my head explode.

    Warning: don’t cheap out on badly made trousers. Leaving the suit jacket puts more attention on your trousers so you better make sure they are quality.

    Not only does having more options when you get dressed in the morning help you look great, it increases the lifespan of your outfits, since you’re not wearing that suit you love three times a week anymore.

  • Blog
  • To Primark Or Not To Primark

    Primark-Canada

    That is the question, well at least one that I have been asked a lot recently. It would be very easy for me to brush off this question and just simply say; no don’t go to Primark . That would definitely be a contradiction on my part, as I was in Primark yesterday, I did only buy a towel and a washing basket but none the less, I’m “technically” a Primark shopper.

    There are some things that you can buy from Primark that are completely fine and acceptable, such as; homeware and underwear. Primark is fantastic for essentials like bedding, socks and t-shirts and I would definitely go there to buy them. I’m not really one to buy a plain blue t-shirt for £30, but I am happy to pay £4 for one at Primark.

    Things You Must Not Buy From Primark

    Apart from underwear and things for the house, you should not really be stepping foot in Primark . Items to avoid are the ones that stand out in your outfit such as a suit or a shirt that people would notice often. With Primark you can really see the low quality in items like suits, shirts and ties. When you compare a Primark suit to a suit from anywhere else you get the feeling something is wrong, it looks like the Primark suit has been stuffed into a box and shipped from Turkey to Britain. Take a closer look at the shirts and ties and you will see threads hanging off everywhere and they lack massively in colour.

    Avoid: Suits, Shirts, Ties, Shoes, Jackets & Casual Clothing Like Chinos

    primark menswear

    Unemployed Or A Teenager?

    If you are either of the above, then scrap everything I wrote previously in this post. Not having any money spare to have an expensive or quality wardrobe is not a bad thing, it’s just a part of life that most of us have been through. Primark can be a great place to build your wardrobe on a tight budget so feel free to spend the little money you have available on a Primark suit or shirt.

    Primark-Edinburgh1