Gluten is a mix of two proteins found in wheat
                                                       -  Live Science

While gluten isn't necessarily bad, lots of people have intolerances, causing their bodies to produce an abnormal immune response as the protein breaks down in their system. 

But why am I talking about gluten intolerance and what has it got to do with menswear?

It's a perfect simile for how some people may react to man-made fibres - mainly the chemical ones, but some also made from plant cellulose (plant wall/algae) and wood pulp. 

People have allergies to many different things. I'm allergic to mushrooms (all kinds). To give you a good example of my sensitivity; I recently tried some organic moisturiser which did nothing but burn my skin and leave a rash...But how could it? It was 100% organic. 

Scanning through the ingredients I stumbled across "mushroom extract" and it all made perfect sense and with all of these plant based man-made fibres it's easy to see how they could cause a reaction.

It all comes down to the cellar level making up fabric of your garments. For example a polyester suit jacket won't breathe as well as natural fibre and when heat is applied it will melt and break down. There's no flexibility in the fabric and worst of all it's made from dihydric alcohol and terephthalic acid, which pretty much means that you're wearing plastic bottles. 

Rayon is mainly wood pulp fibre, and although wood is natural, the techniques to turn it into rayon involve a concoction of caustic soda, ammonia, acetone and sulphuric acid. This means it can survive regular washing and wearing. 

Another man-made fibre and one we all know is Nylon, derived straight from petroleum giving it a permanent chemical finish.

Now I'm not a doctor nor a scientist, but by putting two and two together you can see how easily these fibres can cause intolerances. 

My thoughts on gluten free menswear?

Personally I try to steer away from them when it comes to choosing my clothing and shoes. Sometimes you can't help it (especially with footwear), but wearing socks will help put up a barrier. If anything is going close to my skin I try to consider its origins. Man has been using natural fibres like wool and cotton for thousands of years, so why stop now? If it aint broke, don't fix it.

Jacket by Stefano Veneziani
Denim Shirt by Trashness
Roll Neck by Hermen Menswear
Pants by Oscar Hunt Tailors
Sunglasses by Bailey Nelson
Boots by Meermin
Whatever the right hand findeth to do, the left hand carries a watch on its wrist to show how long it takes to do it.

- Ralph W. Sockman

Photo by Tuyet Do

I am not lying when I say it took me around half of my life to even consider wearing a timepiece, and off the top of my head it's only been the past two or three years that I've been wearing one regularly. To be completeIy honest I don't know much about watches, apart from the odd mechanical movement and crown. For my birthday a few years back I scored a vintage watch that is older than me and still ticking strong, but that's about where my knowledge stops.

Photo by Nixon

I do, however, love being educated about different products and was really thrilled to be invited to the opening of the new Nixon store in Chadstone shopping centre a couple of weeks ago. I've known about Nixon for a while - they've got a reputation for keeping their products straightforward and word on the street is that they "make the little shit, better". 

At the launch I was lucky enough to meet Willie Marshall aka Nixon's Senior Marketing Manager, who took me through the history of the brand. From their humble beginnings back in Southern California where the skate and surf culture is high, through to their alignment with all kinds of personalities; from athletes to rock-stars, retailers and loyalists, uniting them with affordable/quality watches. While they may not be the fully handcrafted timepieces that fetch 30k+, you can be guaranteed that a Nixon watch will look good and not fall apart. 

Personally like the simplicity; not too many dials or gadgets, little to no numbers, a leather wristband that molds to my wrist, a dial no more than 38mm (I have small wrists) and preferably gold as it's more warmer than stainless steel or silver. 

Photo by Tuyet Do

My pick of the new collection - the Sentry 38 Leather in rose gold (Brass), for all the tech-heads here are the details:


Miyota Japanese quartz 3 hand movement.


The dial features applied indices and custom molded hands.


38mm, 100 meter/10ATM custom solid stainless steel case, fixed stainless steel bezel, hardened mineral crystal, double gasket stainless steel crown, stainless steel screw down caseback and spring pin lugs.


21mm leather strap with stainless steel buckle.

To finish the evening off I was lucky enough to win the lucky door prize; a fully stocked whiskey barrel briefcase filled with treats from Bulliet Whiskey, Ran Ban, Bellroy and (of course) Nixon.

                                                                                  Photo by Tuyet Do

I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living
 -  John D. Rockefeller

Gambling takes both luck and skill and my chosen form of gambling comes in the guise of buying clothing through eBay auctions.

The main question people ask when I say a piece from my wardrobe has been purchased through online bidding, is how do I know something will fit without trying it on? The answer is something I can't stress enough…

Learn your measurements:

  •    Across the back of your shoulders 
  •    Chest circumference and half chest
  •    Waist (stomach) circumference and half waist (for jackets, shirts and pants)
  •    Sleeve length (Mainly what you desire)
  •    Jacket length (Suit, Sports, Overcoat, Shirt)
  •    Outer & Inner Leg lengths (pant and shorts
  •    U-Rise (front center waistband, between the legs and to the back of the center       waistband)
  •    Thigh, Calf and Seat 
  •    Foot width and length (Longest point and widest width)

With all of these calculations we’re looking for desired finished measurements if possible, so collect together the clothes that fit you best and take measurements from them whilst they are laid flat. For trousers, make sure to take note of the u-rise, as this will determine where your new pants or shorts will sit on your waist/hips.

When it comes to shoes it can be a little more difficult as shoes will differ in padding, shape and toe box size. As our feet aren't perfect triangles, asking the eBay seller for an innersole measurement then taking at least 1.5 inches off will give you a more accurate idea of size. With the width, if your foot is 4 inches wide, then depending on if the shoes are new or old will determine what you should go for. If new then 4 inches inner width would suffice as more will stretch and if used push towards 4.25 inches, as they are less likely to stretch further.   

In conclusion, everything that is learnt can be put to practice. I use everything I talk about on this blog everyday and save a lot of money in doing so. If not buying online then trying on in-store is the best practice in finding your fit for off the rack and ready to wear items. Once you know exactly what works for you, then shopping is easier and more affordable. If you're after something specific and can't find it, then don’t compromise - push it to the back of your mind because one day you’ll likely find it either online, on holiday or locally and you never know your luck - it may be on sale.

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way
- Edward de Bono

Layering goes hand in hand with the freezing weather conditions and unexpected rain showers of autumn and winter, but how does one layer successfully and what do you do when multiple patterns are involved? These are just a couple of the questions that I get asked quite regularly so I thought I'd devote this post to the fine art of winter layering.

In essence there are four main points to layering that can be used in all elements of your life (not just your wardrobe):

1) Scale
2) Colour
3) Shape 

My first rule of thumb involves patterns of opposing size and scale. If a pattern is going to sit on top of another pattern then you should always try to mix large and small shapes, making it easier for people to focus on you and your outfit. 

You can get some really effective layering happening by working with a single colour palette. For example, if you create a whole outfit around a particular shade of blue, you can break up the monotony by using different patterns to give your look character and depth. 

Let's say that you've decided to wear a navy suit as your foundation colour - You could try pairing it back with a contrasting striped shirt (perhaps in brown) and a navy tie. Or you could step the contrast up again by using a green tie with a large motif pattern which would compliment the navy and brown. 

Another option may be a grey vest or cardigan, which would pop against the navy suit. Use the white from your shirt as your neutral tone and incorporate that shade into a pocket square. It's tricky and a lot to remember but this can be done with as little as only two colours (in this case navy and brown) and one neutral (white). 

For an experiment or a little homework, try laying your clothes out on the bed and use these methods to visualise a final outfit before wearing. You can even photograph it and email me for my opinion, I'm always happy to help. 

Shirt by Eredi Libero
Tie by Biagio Santo
Cardigan by Hermen Menswear
Gilet by River Island
Jeans by Denham
Watch by Nixon
Sunglasses by Bailey Nelson
Boots by Jeffrey West