Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Septembeard 2014

A year ago I wrote a wee post detailing some pointers I had picked up along the way as one of the bearded brethren. Writing what I knew then, I gave some basic rules and ideas on maintenance and grooming of your facial fur.  I, along with my chin, have matured since then and my beard grooming practices have evolved so I thought I would write an updated version.

male grooming fashion blog rogues brogues beard septembeard
beauty is in the eye of the beardholder
I haven't really trimmed my beard since around April except for the odd wayward strand so it's never been longer or fuller. 

beard male grooming fashion blog rogues brogues

To paraphrase Spider-Man's Uncle Ben with great beard, comes great responsibility... So in addition to the basics (which I am sure you have undoubtedly refreshed yourself with by re-reading the post I linked to above) here are a few more tips for keeping your beard at its best.

What Lies Beneath. I touched on this last time but as I have discovered, you need to make even more of an effort when your hair beard gets longer to prevent the dreaded beard-druff flakes. I use Lush Ocean Salt scrub once a week to slough away dead skin under the hair. I apply it dry before I get into the shower and then give it all a thorough scrubbing. 
You'll need to replace the moisture lost by stripping away all that grime, so when you're applying your usual moisturiser, add a bit more for good measure and work it into your chin skin. 

Feed Me Seymour. Men are learning (slowly) the importance of skin care and grooming so while you apply moisturiser to your face and body and condition your hair, don't neglect your beard. If anything, it needs it more. 
While washing my hair, I apply OBSCENE amounts of conditioner to my beard. As I can spend up to 30 minutes having a shower and the conditioner is applied at the start and it's the last thing to be rinsed off; this is plenty of time to allow it to do its stuff. 
My opinion/budget on conditioner remain the same - if it costs more than a quid, it stays on the shelf. 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Just because it feels tougher, doesn't mean you can be too rough with facial hair. Pat it dry it dry when you're out of the shower.
Invest in a comb. (When I say invest, go buy one from the chemist.) It will keep tangles at bay, preventing it from feeling tight and also help train any unruly growth . I get bed-beard as much as I get bed-head and find I need to comb my beard more than my hair. 
I occasionally apply a little pomade if it's being particularly difficult. While VO5 extreme style grooming pomade isn't really strong enough for my thick head hair it can help tame some straggly beard whiskers. 

male grooming beard blog rogues brogues

Oil Be Back. If you are feeling even more indulgent, treat your facial foliage to some beard oil. I picked up Jack Earl Co rugged beard oil from Welcome Stranger while I was in San Francisco. Apply it directly after a shower  while your beard is still damp and warm (sounds gross) and your beard will literally drink it up. Initially, I had been applying it like hair product to dry beard hair but I discovered the oil can just lie on the hair and feel heavy and a bit greasy. 
It has an intense woody scent so you don't need to apply cologne. Yes, this sounds a little contradictory; although I don't shave, I still use aftershave. 

beard oil men grooming blog rogues and brogues

Happy Septembeard my facially hirsute rogues! If you have any additional tips or recommendations, please leave me a comment below. Are you pursuing the way of the beard this autumn?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

This rogue's new brogues

I haven't done a shoe post in a little while and when Last Shoe offered me my choice in a new pair of brogues, I leapt at the chance!

I have a shoe addiction. It's fair to say it borders on an obsession. Shoes are the one thing that will fit regardless how many bags of M&Ms I eat...

Anyway, I digress, back to the shoes that will induce envy and rage in many of my readers.

Last Shoe is a fantastic concept; they buy up cancelled, surplus or late orders from high street stores, rebrand them and sell them on for a fraction of the price to savvy shoe-shoppers like myself. They have a wide range of brogues, boots and shoes to choose from and are launching their women's and children's collections soon!

I broke them out for a wedding party, dressed down with dark denim jeans
I chose the Bowie brogues in a rich deep red. I have brogues in tan, brown and black so thought, f-it why not have a little fun with a coloured pair? Bold enough to make a real statement, these will perk up your suit or wear them with your jeans for some off-duty style. Naturally, I had to go out and buy myself a matching belt.

leather soles - take care on your first wear to prevent slipping!

As a bit of a brogue fanatic, it's not hard to figure out which high-street store these were intended for and when you know the original RRP, you can't pass up a pair for only £45.00!

Last Shoe is destined to make regular appearances on my blog so watch this space!

Here's my edit of the other styles you can't really afford to miss:
cooper brogues £45.00

hendrick desert boots £45.00

francisco derby shoes £45.00

wray brogue boots £60.00

This is my first "alternative" pair of dress shoes so I'd love to know if any of you have something a little more unusual in your shoe collection. Leave me a comment below!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

What I Want Wednesday

Today's want is something all men should have. I'm talking about a good suit.

I have said previously, I feel out of place in a suit. It is discomforting when something doesn't fit well and suits never fit me well off the peg. Sleeves, seat and in-seam all usually have to be adjusted and having so many alterations before you can wear it can take the appeal away.

Regardless, I should persevere. I own a light grey suit and while it worked at a summer wedding earlier this year, it's too pale for winter. 

I can't do a skinny suit as frankly, I'm not skinny. Even regular fit is sometimes tricky as I have large calves which make trouser fits awkward. Round shoulders and small stature also contribute to suit buying problems. 

Navy or dark grey preferably (black is for funerals) which means you can experiment with your shirt & tie combos to help break it up. Don't forget I have plenty of shoe options which will work with either colour.

the aforementioned suit
So I'm on the hunt for a 3 piece wool suit to become my go-to for any formal(ish) occasion that might arrive. (I want a 3 pieces because the waistcoat can help change the entire look depending on the event plus it helps hold the old belly in)

This grey flannel twill suit from Ted Baker at House of Fraser caught my eye as it has a classic shape, unfussy cloth and the dark colour will work with almost anything. (I'd hope to be a bit more inventive with the shirt and tie)
Throw in the fact it's down to £171 from £429 and its hard to beat. I just need a seamstress to take pity on misshapen me and get it to fit!
Ted Baker Blendz suit 

I'm off this week so I might just have to go check out my virtual window shopping in real life and see if my instincts are correct!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Orange you glad it's autumn?

I certainly am.

It's my favourite season; the colours, the climate, the style and the general magic of it all.

In preparation for what is generally one of the wettest times of the year (not that we usually experience much of dry spell here) I was on the look out for a practical jacket. Enter Mainline Menswear.

They generously gave me free reign from their collections and I selected this bold hooded jacket from Penguin.

It's a warm coral orange (although described as red on the site) and will tap this season's colour palette. It's lightweight, shower-proof and perfect for a casual day off. As it's waterproof, it will also hold in the heat, so there's no need to layer much underneath.

I'm wearing it here with skinny stretch jeans & black New Balance sneakers I picked up in San Francisco.

I pulled the jacket on yesterday when we took Frank for a walk. As you can see, my facial foliage is also in full bloom - I've not trimmed my beard since I was on vacation in May...

Check out the full range of big brand names including J Lindeburg, Hugo Boss, Armani Jeans & Billionaire Boys Club available at Mainline Menswear

(This post also marks the introduction of Frank. He's our new addition. We got him in June and he's a crazy, fearless, funny wee character.)

*this is a sponsored post

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Mid Season Melancholy | Sam Squire guest post

Sam Squire has relaunched his site with a great new look and kindly invited me to contribute a guest post. With his new site, a range of grooming products coming soon and even a book under his belt, he puts many bloggers to shame. (And to make matters worse, he's still a teenager!)

Check out my suggestions for the summer-autumn transitional period

Thanks again to Sam for hosting me!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

What I Want Wednesday

You can deny it all you want, but summer seems to have given up and we've jumped straight into autumn if the darker and cooler evenings are anything to go by.

This being said, I am not despairing. I LOVE autumn; the clothes, the food, the atmosphere. I can stop pretending to enjoy being too warm and having to layer up and down according to the changeable weather. I can now embrace the best season of the year!

I have spoken before of my love of scarves and my ongoing search for the elusive (affordable) blanket scarf. ASOS chucks up a few alternatives, but they're in the women's department and not what I have in my head. Burberry offer this gorgeous thing but at £995, it's a little out of budget.
burberry graphic blanket scarf
While in my head, I'm brave enough to don this poncho-esque beauty, I don't know if the streets of Belfast could cope with my fantasticness.

Measuring a sizeable 192x134cm, it is literally a blanket, so I got to thinking (I'm turning into a SATC cliche) feck it - why not just buy a blanket and have some craic? This tartan wool mix travel blanket from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill could be a bold and fun statement. Wear it like true Highland plaid like the model above, draped over one shoulder. At just £20.00, it's an affordable style experiment.
(I know I'll probably chicken out and it will become my sofa buddy, but I also have a romanticised vision of curling up under it with my laptop and be all pretentious and writery)
of course, it would have to be campbell tartan
I hope you're enjoying my little indulgent Wednesday fantasies; it's my way of living vicariously when I'm limited by budget or my own fears.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

If I Were A Boy | Belle Beauty

Today is the launch of a new series on the blog called If I Were A Boy. I'm asking female bloggers to write a guest post on what they think their style and life would be like had the fates decreed to make them a boy. The inspiration all came about from my very first guest blog from my friend Ruth of Willow Lane almost a year ago. Anyway, here is my first (of hopefully many) post, please allow me to introduce the lovely Issy!

I'm Isabelle and I ramble on about stuff over at Belle Beauty. After realising that I spent the majority of my evenings reading through Beauty, Lifestyle and Fashion Blogs I thought I’d have a bash at one myself. I am a complete amateur Blogger. I take all my photos on my Iphone, write my posts up on my Ipad and an still have blogspot in my URL. But, none of this matters, I enjoy rambling on about beauty products that everyone has already tried and tested, showing off some outfits when I remember to take photos before spilling food down myself (this happens too often) and posting the odd lifestyle post when I actually do something interesting.  I wanted to take part in this series because it is something so different, when blogging you can get completely wrapped up in the latest make-up release or the torrent of floral kimono based fashion posts, it’s refreshing to take a step outside of his little box and think about things from a different perspective.

I like to think of myself as very much a 'typical girl'. I'm obsessed with make-up and beauty products and I never have enough clothes; when I rummage around my double wardrobe, chest of drawers and hidden shopping bags with smuggled goodies I always come to the conclusion that I have NOTHING to wear. 

I decided to attempt to justify my shopping addiction by starting a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog. You see, when I spot a perfect outfit I need to buy it to blog about. I like to keep my posts quite light-hearted and in no way claim to be a fashion or beauty expert, I'm the kind of person that goes to the shop in a Onesie and Ugg boots and has to have at least 4 attempts at winged eyeliner before it looks even by which point, the corners of my eyes are so sore I can't wear any eye make-up at all. 

For my day job as a Legal Secretary I don't go to work in a Onesie and Ugg boots. I wear heels, pencil skirts and a blouse. My other half is a personal trainer and gets to wear comfy jogging bottoms and T-shirts and trainers to skip jog or run on his merry little way to work whilst I clip-clop and hobble the two minutes down the road to work praying that my blistered feet don't burst before lunch at the earliest. 

I cannot express the jealousy and anger I feel towards Ben on a Tuesday morning when he's pulling on his joggers and comfy trainers whilst I'm squeezing my swollen blistered feet into my heels and staring at my bloated post-KFC belly as it slightly protrudes out of my pencil skirt wondering if I'll actually physically be able to sit at my desk today. 

If I were a boy, I'd be Ben (not only because he has a super amazing girlfriend) but also because of his casual-comfy work attire. The first thing I do when I get in from work is launch my shoes across the room peel off my clothes and scramble into his joggers and a big baggy T-shirt, climb onto the sofa and watch A Real Housewives Series. Ben will then stroll in later moaning that his calves hurt because he's been on his feet all day, seriously, he should try sitting at a desk in a pencil skirt after a little too many cakes in the morning trying not to burst open and then hobbling to the printer pretending your feet aren't sweaty and you haven't worn away three layers of your skin in the same spot in the past three hours whilst pretending you're on a cat walk. 
issabelle (& the scene-stealing ollie)

Granted I could just change my career and become a personal trainer but then what would I do with my shoes? I could wear less painful and constricting clothes for work but they don't hurt in the changing room and the models always look comfy in them online. 
ben - issy's alter ego

If I were a boy I'd probably be a slob, I wouldn't shave...ever. I'd wear sports clothes all the time and never work out. If I were a boy I'd take my top off in town when it's too hot just because I can. If I were a boy I'd sit with my legs open and not feel guilty and when I eat a large pizza alone because I'd pretend I was on Man V Food and winning. If I were a boy I'd never use a bag because I'd just need my wallet phone and keys. If I were a boy I'd probably be single and very smelly. 

I think it's best that I'm a girl. 

Thank you Issy for being my test subject inaugural blogger. You can keep up to date with all the goings on with Belle Beauty via twitter