Classically Cool

Looking good isn’t self-importance, it’s self-respect.
- Charles Hix

I've recently discovered that the key to surviving the approaching warmer months, while still looking good and feeling like my clothes can breathe, is mohair.

Mohair is from the Angora goat and generally has a high sheen, giving it the nickname the "Diamond fibre" - A good tip I've also picked up is that if you're not really into a lustre finish, try and source yourself a wool/mohair mix (the wool element helps to dull down the shine).

Mohair is a great option for the spring racing season too. Since your suit will be able to breathe, you'll remain comfortable regardless of the temperature. I'm even considering wearing my mohair jacket to Derby Day this coming Saturday. 

In these pictures I've kept things more refined, letting the suit be the 'hero' piece of my finished outfit. I've paired it back with black loafers, a glen check tie, white shirt and my new briefcase.

The end result is quite business appropriate, illustrating the versatility of this excellent fabric.

Photos by Kim Donggwan at Looong Black

Mohair Suit & Shirt - Oscar Hunt Tailors
Tie - Vintage
Sunglasses - Bailey Nelson
Briefcase - Linjer
Loafers - Salvatore Ferragamo


City Sahara

I am no longer concerned with sensation and innovation, but with the perfection of my style.

- Yves Saint Laurent

Made from a lightweight cotton drill or poplin, the safari jacket was originally designed to be worn whilst on safari in Africa. Traditionally self-belted, it became a large part of the Afrika Corps uniform during the 1950s but it was only after Yves Saint Laurent released his iconic "African collection" in 1967, that this classic khaki jacket was introduced to the general public as an everyday fashion item.

At the time of Saint Laurent's design, the safari jacket was a total outsider, with only one copy made specifically for a fashion spread in Vogue magazine. It embodied the manifesto of liberty that was shaking up the wardrobes of the late 1960s and in the wake of its speedy success, production of the YSL safari jacket was immediately started and sold in Rive Gauche boutiques the following season.

With the menswear market ever evolving and growing here in Australia; made to measure is a great option for creating garments not around or sold currently. Taking a leaf out of Yves Saint Laurent's book, I decided to design my own safari jacket made from an unlined brown linen. I added bellow pockets, a back strap and spalla camicia shoulders to give it a more urban feel.

The safari jacket is a great casual piece, it's more relaxed than a regular sports jacket and looks great paired back with a panama hat. I think that giving classic pieces a unique twist helps to keep your wardrobe modern and individual.

Jacket & Pants by Oscar Hunt Tailors
Polo by River Island
Sunglasses by Bailey Nelson
Panama Hat by Don Belisario from Oscar Hunt Tailors
Loafers by Meermin


The race that stops a Nation

But once a year at Flemington, A horse race stops us all, and we hold our breaths and listen, to the commentator’s call. For never has there been a race, that holds such fascination, than the race they run at Flemington, the Race that stops the nation.
                                                              - Vivenne McCredie 

It's spring racing time again and really I'm hoping that this beautiful weather continues, as I've been invited to attend Derby Day thanks to AMPR and Johnnie Walker. I'm looking forward to spending the day in the amazing 'House of Walker' marquee, located inside the famed Bird Cage at Flemington Racecourse. 

Traditionally, the Derby Day dress code is black and white, but I'm not really one to follow the "rules" and a flat monochrome look doesn't really appeal to me. Here below is the inspiration board I've put together for the day.  

  A safari style brown linen jacket, I've had it made unlined so it'll be perfect in the heat.

A crisp blue shirt for the day, if it's very hot I will lean towards a linen rather than cotton.

A pale pair of pants, perhaps in stone or very light shade of grey. Fingers crossed I don't spill any thing, I'm worried that I may have just jinxed myself! 

A suede tassel loafer, hitting towards a snuff, in polo or khaki brown.

A smart pair of sunglasses and a panama hat (or maybe just the sunglasses, it's hard to keep track of your hat, especially when things get a little crazy). 

It's interesting to note that I'm looking at how colours work together and play against my hair and skin tone too.

As well as looking good, I like to smell good too. The new Dunhill Black Desire is very quickly becoming my favourite fragrance for summer. The scent is powerful without being overwhelming, with a great balance of notes.

I hope to see and meet lots of readers and new faces on the day, so if you see me please come up, say hi and join me for a drink.


Top menswear spots in Florence, Italy

I truly love Florence. I appreciate the balance of new and old, and the river that divides the local stores from your typical tourist traps. Don't get me wrong, I love all of Italy and I hope to return in the not too distant future. But for now here are some of the menswear shops I visited whilst I was there:

Otto Marchesi - I posted about it  HERE. The ready to wear store is located on Viale Spartaco Lavagnini, 26r and Via di Serragli, 7, in old Firenze for made to measure and bespoke. 

Liverano - One of the most recognised menswear boutiques in Florence. You can go in and meet Antonio who cuts 6 days a week, and, if you're lucky (and he's not too busy), Taka.
You will find the store on Via de Fossil, 43.

Sartoria Rossi - Like the Italian version of Ralph Lauren, but less preppy. Let's just say they love adding colour and pattern into the mix. The location is Via della Vigna Nuova, they also have boutiques in Rome and Milan.

Gutteridge - Perfect for the man on a budget. A great mix of colour and classics, Gutteridge is located in Naples vis Scotland, but you can also find their store on Via della Vigna Nouva and in most other Italian cities.

Boggi - Another big name in Italian ready to wear. Boggi has an average plus price point and these guys are truly everywhere in Italy. The stock is price point/quality perfect and can be found yet again on via della Vigna Nuova.

Simone Righi - This boutique is manned by Simone, formerly of "Tie your Tie". The store is full of sprezz and classic menswear. Very close to Vigna Nouva and just around the corner from Liverano at  via de Federighi, 7.

Stefano Ricci - A worldly name in tailoring and menswear, Ricci is very expensive and only for the rich and robust connoisseur of uomo sartoria. Via Faentina, 171, it's a must see even for only their ever amazing window displays.

For most of the high-end shopping and labels head down Via de Tornabuoni or head over the Fiume Arno into old Firenze for local artisans like Stefano Bemer etc.


Does being a smart dresser make casual lesser?

Style is the perfection of a point of view.
                                         - Richard Eberhart

It's the age old dress code that tends to cause a lot of confusion. What is smart, what's casual? And what on earth is smart-casual?

In my opinion it's up to the individual, what maybe dressed up and smart to someone could equally be casual or even dressed down to others. Here are the dictionary definitions of all three;

Casual - "A dress code than emphasizes the comfort and personal expression over presentation and uniformity."

Smart-Casual - "An ill-defined dress code that is generally of neat yet informal attire."

Smart or Formal - "A set of rules governing a certain combination of clothing; For example: Black Tie and Morning Dress. Usually set for formal social events, weddings, formal dinner/dance and races."

Note: Business attire is usually in-between Smart-Casual and Smart/Formal.


So where does today's outfit land? A sports jacket, shirt and jeans paired with a pair of classic suede tassel loafers - Is it casual or smart-casual? Personally I'd say that it's smart-casual, because when I think casual I think beach or resort attire, maybe a T-shirt and shorts or relaxed chino -  But I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about what constitutes the three types of attire in the comments below.

Photos by Jo Stevens & Susan Jeffers 

Sports Jacket by Oscar Hunt Tailors
Shirt by Eredi Libero
Jeans by Denham
Sunglasses by Bailey Nelson
Loafers by Church's London