Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Don't Let Me Get Me

As of 2.30pm today, I am redundant. While this is simultaneously terrifying and depressing, it is also freeing and motivational.

For the past year I have been in a job I have not enjoyed; I accepted it as an alternative to redundancy around this time last year (talk about deja vu). This role was not one I would have applied for as I do not think it matched my skill set or personality but I thought it worthwhile to give it a try.

Long story short, the project I was working on has been pulled and I am now unemployed. My mood had been low for quite a while (even before this process) but I am determined not to wallow. I want to take this as an opportunity to start afresh and hopefully find work in an industry I will enjoy.

Until I find another job, I am setting myself a list of rules to prevent me from slipping into myself (I can turn horribly melancholic and insular if something aggravates me) and here's a brief run down.

Get out of bed like you're going to work. No pyjamas/ joggers allowed unless it's after 8pm.

I am a comfort eater, I can binge on sugary snacks in carefree abandon without ever feeling remorseful (or full at all for that matter).

I have a handsome walking companion in Frank and some fresh air often brings clarity and inspiration. If nothing else, it will tire the wee bugger out.

I like coffee. I have friends who like coffee. Ergo I should make a more considered effort to meet up with said friends for said coffee. While I don't want sympathy per se, a good talk always helps.


If anyone has any suggestions for meaningful ways to kill time during, please leave me a comment below!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Eleventh Hour

It's the same story every year. Christmas day is always on 25th December so it's not like we can be confused but we inevitably leave some gift purchasing to the last minute. The final post dates have passed so there is only one thing for it... braving the high street!
I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!
While storming into town on Christmas Eve can have it's merits; some sales will have started and you are much more focused and less likely to deliberate over choices, it's not going to be the most pleasant of experiences.

I've pulled a list of simple, straightforward gift ideas for men that may just save your bacon!

River Island denim shirt £32.00
A denim shirt is *the* day off essential. Pair it with chinos for some laid back style. Layer it up with some knitwear or a gilet for your Boxing Day walk.

Topman merino roll neck sweater £30.00
Equal parts Milk Tray man and Christmas cool; this little black number will look suave under a blazer at New Years.

Burton navy wool coat £90.00
Think of this as a real investment. A wool coat will last for seasons and navy will be much more versatile than black.

Barbour tartan lambswool scarf £30.00
Available at House of Fraser, this festive red scarf would look great paired with the navy wool coat above!

Daniel Wellington St Andrews rose gold watch £179.00
Available at Goldsmiths, Daniel Wellington's understated designs means this watch won't go out of date any time soon and the rose gold crown and case make a sophisticated alternative to the usual chrome or gold.
Bertie Braxton brogues £119.00
I would feel a fraud if I didn't feature at least one pair of brogues on my gift guide. These classic tan brogues will accompany a suit or your favourite jeans. You can thank me later!

It's always nicer to open a present at Christmas than a voucher. If you are unsure, always get a gift receipt!

Whatever you pick up out there, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Local Heroes: Andrew Watson Menswear

In the second part of my Local Heroes series, I'm giving you a little history lesson 

Flash back to 2007,  I had just started working in an awful office job and hating every minute of it. After 3 months, I took a chance and applied for a job in Carter, which was then Belfast's premier luxury fashion store. I didn't expect to hear anything back, but to my surprise I was called for an interview by Andrew himself and I ended up working there for memorable 2 years.

Working with such amazing clothes helped shape my personal style and improve my product and industry knowledge and I got the chance to meet some fantastic people. Andrew was/is the go-to-guy for suiting in Belfast. Andrew's quiet confidence meant he not only knew the right fit, you would  leave with your perfect suit and at least 2 shirts, a tie, socks and shoes.

Sadly Carter has since closed, but Andrew & Tim (who was then manager of the Lisburn Road store, previously working across London) have continued and improved on the premise of delivering classic, quality menswear with a wealth of experience and expertise to draw on.

menswear anywhere

Cashmere for Christmas? You shouldn't have!

get some Peter Capaldi Dr Who style with a Crombie coat
Shopping here is a complete boutique experience, with a one-to-one consultation on fit, fabric and styling to ensure you look your best. The store also offers a made to measure service on selected suits and shirts for those special occasions.

notice the running stitch on the shoulders; this indicates a hand-finished suit 
Famous brands such as Loake, Oliver Sweeney, Strellson, Baldessarini, John Smedley & Hackett sit alongside exclusives like Eduard Dressler, Eton, Jacques Britt and Phil Petter coming for Spring 2015.

a shearling coat is a menswear classic

In addition to all this, Andrew Watson Menswear is also the home of The Alteration Boutique. Ingrida is the stitch-witch; if she can't do it, it can't be done.

Have you any favourite independent menswear stores? Let me know in the comments and I might just pay them a visit!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Seeing Red

Pantone, the powers-that-be on all things tonal, have decreed that the colour for 2015 is marsala.

This rich red is a colour that can easily be added and integrated to any wardrobe with a few carefully selected pieces.
Marsala itself is not a particularly common colour, so look for similar wine-y shades to help you tap the trend; burgundy, claret etc. Team them with denim, or add some dark sophistication to your work wardrobe. This versatile colour palette is masculine but playful.

I've pulled a collection of marsala-soaked pieces - but please don't wear them all at once...

Clockwise from top left:

Red has always been a colour associated with strength, passion and energy so add some va-va-voom to your usual attire with some sumptuous shades this season.

With Christmas looming, any of these pieces would make ideal gifts and get a head start on the trend for 2015!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Local Heroes: Urban Threads

This post is the start of a little series highlighting independent menswear retailers across Northern Ireland who are offering something different to the high street.

In an industry dominated with disposable products, independent fashion stores struggle to compete with the bigger names, those giants who have huge stores and huge budgets. But it is the passion, product knowledge and customer service of the independents that sets them apart and it's these qualities that keeps their customers coming back.

My first post features a store which has just opened in my local town of Lisburn. While Lisburn has its traditional menswear stores, it has been crying out for something new and fresh. Urban Threads is the new boy in town and has no plans on leaving any time soon.

I was kindly invited to the grand opening on Saturday when the store was officially opened by Lisburn's Lord Mayor. The store is the brainchild of Steven, drawing on over 15 years retail experience, creating a modern and stylish menswear destination.

The store's pared back interior allows the collections to speak for themselves. Keeping the ranges in capsule collections shows a keen insight into fashion and commercial awareness; a definite case of quality over quantity.

The store stocks big name brands like Replay, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, Hudson and Scotch & Soda alongside exclusives like Pearly King and Claudio Lugli.

For a personal passionate and professional shopping experience, add Urban Threads to your list of Local Heroes.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

I Moustache You A Question...

Have you been cultivating a lipwarmer this Movember?

Once a year, men across the globe unite to support other men in a show of hairy solidarity, growing moustaches in support of charity. I have been a contributing Mo-Bro a couple of times over the past years (I am excusing myself this year on account of not wishing to shave my beard off to start again) so a few fellas in work are taking up the mantle.

Boohoo are supporting Movember this year with a selection of moustache themed tees, competitions and grooming tips.

They kindly sent me out a Movember gift box packed with a printed tee, moustache wax (I've been wanting to try it but not plucked up the courage to give it a go) and a handy little moustache comb to keep my top lip looking sweet.

Check out my entry to their #TashOfTheWeek competition. There's still time - enter it to win yourself some goodies. However, if you are entering this competition, I urge you to contribute to the cause too. While it's a bit of fun to grow a 'tache, why not help your fellow man out by donating to research male cancers?

(Ladies - don't feel left out - become a Mo' Sister and download your own moustache!)

Saturday, 15 November 2014


Last week I attended the grand re-opening of Atelier-Design, one of the Belfast's most interesting and inspiring interior stores. Having found a new home in the former Refound building, Atelier covers 3 floors with furniture, furnishings and accessories. The non-traditional layout of the building lends itself to an eclectic mix of contents, including designer pieces from Matthew Williamson and Christian Lacroix, vintage treasures from French Vintage Vie and local artisans Abigail*Ryan.



For the launch of the new location, Atelier collaborated with men's fashion magazine Beyond Man with a model installation showcasing the new FAUXIALITE capsule collection. 

A unisex street-wear collection is inspired by the notion of the faux-socialite, those celebrity icons who have been titled as such with little merit, a label without the legacy. The FAUXIALITE knows, loves and lives fashion. 

Fashion power couple Beyond Man editor-in-chief Lewis Cameron and stylist Jamie Russell's project saw models placed throughout the showroom creating a casual catwalk environment. The models were comprised of bloggers, stylists, students and creatives who embody the ideals of modern fashion; an uncompromising hunger for self-expression through personal style.

One of my favourite touches was super-stylist Jamie Russell's painstaking attention to detail; a cascade of dead flowers falling from the peak of a snapback cap, collars and lapels clad dried roses to contradict the military harshness of a wool overcoat.

The setting, combined with the installation created a truly stylish event. Belfast has come on leaps and bounds in recent years as it begins to embrace the creativity and skill of its residents and this is evident from the works shown. 

The FAUXIALITE collection is available exclusively via Beyond Man