smiling wearing Tom Ford Campbell sunglasses by Brighton Royal Pavillion
Fashion

CAMPBELL

Finally good weather has hit the UK and I can now wear sunglasses a little more often without looking like a mega-douche. I don’t know about you, but I have a cyclical situation when it comes to sunglasses. I’m never really one hundred percent happy with any one pair – that was until I bought the Tom Ford ‘Campbell in black’. Purchased a few years ago and they have remained my favourite pair to date.

A new take on the classic wayfarer style with a luxe edge, these frames are recognisable but not ostentatious. Tom at his best. Whatever outfit I choose, I know that these bad boys will always work no matter what. Cost per wear, they’re worth their weight in gold. Seriously thinking of getting another pair – just in case.

What is your favourite pair of sunglasses you simply cannot live without? Do you go high street, high fashion, or high rotation?

 

profile shot wearing all black outfit and Tom Ford Campbell sunglasses in Brighton

black and golf flatlay with contrasting textures
Fashion

FLAT LAY FEVER

The flat lay. It’s a hard thing to master and it certainly took me a while (not to mention a little lot of help from a good friend – you know who you are) to arrive where I am presently. Now I’m not saying I’ve nailed it by any means, but I have made progress.

If you search #flatlay on Instagram, it yields over 100,000 results, so it’s fair to say that the ‘lay is here to stay. Or maybe it’s just a case of flat cliché? Either way, I’m officially obsessed.

When attempting to compose your ideal image, it’s best to have a theme. In this instance mine was texture, with a black and gold palette. Composition and placement of the subject matter is crucial, so you may have to play around until you find what works for both you and the image. If you are capturing it with your iPhone, the square camera setting on iOS is godsend; but when using a DSLR, bear in mind that the image will have to be cropped when uploading it to Instagram.

Backgrounds and lighting are also key factors. Even the most amazing things can look awful on a hideous base; yet the most mundane objects can be transformed with a beautiful backdrop. Ultimately it’s a matter of taste, find what you like and do your best to make it work. Natural light is preferable, unless of course you’re a pro; and remember that shadows can actually work in your favour.

So what are your thoughts on the flat lay? You can check my Instagram to see my attempts. From food to fashion, it is what you make it. And yes, some attempts may be less flat yay and more crap lay, but progress not perfection…

brown snakeskin gucci loafers deigned by tom ford
Fashion, Menswear

SHOE STORY

I was tagged by Michael Biro of globalgarcon.com to spin a yarn on one of my pairs of shoes. A shoe story if you will.

Let me take you back in time to the nineties, when Tom Ford was appointed as Creative Director at Gucci. Selling sex was on the agenda and with help from super-stylist Carine Roitfeld and photographer extraordinaire Mario Testino, Ford created the infamous hyper-sexualised ads that showcased his designs perfectly. Clearly his creative genius was not only recognised, but applauded, with sales increasing by 90% between 1995-1996 alone. Gucci was back.

My passion for the arts and fashion started early and as a teenager those provocative adverts certainly caught my attention. Flicking through Arena Homme + magazine in the late nineties (when I should probably have been revising for some exam), I came across an advertising campaign with the most amazing snakeskin loafers. Slightly iridescent python beauties featuring a gold bar discreetly embossed with the coveted Gucci logo – it was lust at first sight. True shoe porn.

So after weeks of nagging and whining, I dragged my mother to Bond Street to sip in their serpentine splendour; ’twas not meant to be however, said shoes were sadly sold out. My dreams dissipated . Or had they?

A short while later, resigned to the fact I would never get my hands on, or indeed feet in, my beloved shoes, I was walking past a high-end consignment store charity shop when something caught my eye. Sitting patiently in the window were the python loafers, almost glowing in the fluorescent light. Surely not I thought, but then again, this was Dorking. So in I ran and out I skipped with one pair of never-worn Gucci loafers. Maybe it was meant to be after all.

Time and styles may pass, but I know that I shall never part with these shoes. Tom Ford nineties era Gucci will always hold a special place in my heart; it shaped my style and is a part of my fashion story.

Do you have your own tale to tell? A special shoe that speaks to you? I’d love to hear it.

Read Michael’s “Shoe Story” here.

 

close up of gold bar detail on brown gucci python loafers gucci logo plaque on leather sole side shot of brown python gucci loafers deigned by tom ford on a sheepskin rug

flatlay of my beach holiday essentials
Fashion, Travel

BEACH ESSENTIALS

At this time of the year with all the rain, snow, or whatever Mother Nature sees fit to throw your way, you can escape it all with a holiday. Unless of course you like the bad weather, in which case you can probably skip this post.

So in all it’s technicolour glory is my beach holiday edit. I normally play it down colour-wise with clothing, but I do like a bit of colour whilst on the beach – too much sand can be oh-so bland.

A good quality beach towel is a must; if you invest wisely not only do they dry you off much quicker, but are easier to spot on that sun lounger you poached at 6am (if you’re that way inclined). My garish colourful choice is the Giacomo towel by Missoni, with it’s distinctive pattern you’ll certainly be making waves wherever you choose to go. Available as part of a set here, or similar here.

My Goyard St Louis tote is not only water resistant, but also extremely hardy. I’ve dragged this particular one halfway round the world and back and it still shows no signs of wear. Pricey, yes, but well worth it in my opinion. Plus you can chose from a myriad of colours to suit your mood. More affordable options can be found here and here.

For swimwear, I recently purchased a pair of Orlebar Brown Setter shorts in Magenta. Not too loud and actually the perfect tone to wear with both light and dark clothing. They extremely comfortable, fantastic quality and they too are quick drying. Perfect for a quick dip. You can find a similar pair here, or a slightly longer version here.

Accessory wise, I am never without a pair of sunglasses. I stick to Tom Ford for holidays as they are sturdy and provide excellent sun protection, but buy within your budget. The only advice I will give is to make sure that they have good quality lenses to prevent damaging your eyes. You may also notice a bandana, granted it’s an Hermès one, but they do come in handy for covering the back of your neck or sea-swept hair if you’re vain like me. Just be careful how you tie it.

Lastly my iPhone. Perfect for some tunes, social media stalking, or checking the weather back home and dreading your return to normal life.

red Piers Atkinson baseball cap with eyes on the back viewed from behind
Fashion, Travel

OMG

When I think of LA, I think of relaxed style. So I played it pretty simple with my outfits. But, when I think of American style, one piece that stands out is the baseball cap – or snapback to use the vernacular.

I opted for a custom Piers Atkinson ‘OMG’ cap, made by the master milliner (friend and all-round nice chap) himself. I absolutely adore his work and this bad boy is one of my faves. Those sneaky eyes just make me smile… Not to mention being incredibly on-point in the fashion world at the moment.

Although I planned to get my mitts on one as soon as possible, I thought the pom-poms on the mainline version would make it hard for me to pull off with conviction; so Piers kindly made me one without. Finally I got the chance to show it off. Also wearing it back-to-front had dual benefits: it kept the sun off the back of my neck and gave me eyes in the back of my head. Literally.

 

palm-tree cap-shades-vest

 

iridescent pouch Prada cardholder and bottle of fragrance on old bricks
Fashion

BLUE AND GREEN

OK so maybe I got it wrong, maybe summer isn’t over just yet; well for today at least. Re-awakened from my post-summer slump, I chose a fragrance to reflect todays glorious weather; and what could be better than Tom Ford’s wonderful Neroli Portofino. The perfect scent for the warmer months.

As I was dashing out to pick up some dry cleaning and buy boring essentials like shaving foam and toothpaste, I didn’t need to take much with me. So, inspired by the packaging of the fragrance I chose an iridescent mutch pouch by Comme des Garçons to carry it all. I just LOVE anything holographic or iridescent (it’s my inner magpie). The phrase ‘blue and green should never be seen’ holds no merit with me, especially as the lesser-known part of that particular saying is ‘except with another in-between’; so my green card case seemed like the obvious choice. The two colours work magically together in my opinion and we all know green is the colour for this autumn…

 

iridescent-blue-green

selection of beauty products and daily essentials shot in black and white
Beauty

DAILY ESSENTIALS

Yesterday evening a friend on Instagram asked what my everyday must-have essentials were and after I replied she suggested I make a blog post out of it, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. Looking after yourself is paramount in all aspects of your life, so it made perfect sense to include this – et voilà.

It’s my first attempt at a flat lay (or #flatlay if you’re an Instagram fiend), and my OCD was going into overdrive with all the angles and shapes; so whilst it’s not perfect in my eyes, it’s as close as possible for the time being. Progress not perfection remember…

Firstly, for my skin, I start the day off with Clarins Gentle Refiner; a cleanser and exfoliant suitable for everyday use, as it helps minimise pores and even out skin texture. I follow this with SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, a beauty tip given to me by a Chinese friend. Apparently it speeds up the skin’s natural renewal process, so far so good. Lastly I use Dr Sebagh’s Serum Repair, as I have oily skin most moisturisers can be troublesome; even light lotions tend to give me break-outs. It was suggested to me that a good serum would be sufficient and since using this product for a couple of months, no more spots! It is also suitable for the delicate eye area thus negating the need for eye creams. That said I do suffer from eye bags and dark circles (I try to convince myself these add character), so when they are particularly puffy or I feel my eyes need a little boost I use Ultimate Eye Lift Gel by Ole Henriksen. With only a few ingredients, most notably cucumber, not only does it smell good but it’s also cool and refreshing.

Secondly, a good smile is always important, so I keep my teeth pearly white with teeth bleach and regular trips to the dentist Regenerate toothpaste at least twice a day. It’s said to rebuild the tooth enamel and whilst I don’t know the science behind the formula, it does certainly give that ‘dentist clean’ feeling.

Thirdly: Scent. I’m a sucker for most of Tom Ford’s ever-growing fragrance line, but Oud Wood has to be my number one. Strong, smoky and sexy. I mainly use it alone, due to it’s many notes, but occasionally I like to layer it with a floral perfume such as Rose Ikabena by Hermès to give it that extra twist. I even wear a spritz of scent before going to bed each night. A little bit of luxury never hurt anyone.

Lastly, the most important things I simply cannot live without: A Chanel mirror as I’m super vain and narcissistic, my battered but well-loved watch which was a present for my 21st birthday (punctuality is everything people); at least one ring, a copy of the Serenity Prayer – there is comfort in those wise words; and my most faithful appendage – my iPhone.

Thanks to the lovely ladies of Instagram who shared their must-haves and are the inspiration for this post: in alphabetical order @lornaluxe, @masteramas, @mimiettemi, @prihopkins; and @workyourstyle. Check them out and share the love.

view of me walking down Brighton street with graffiti in background
Fashion, Menswear

STREET STYLE

Yesterday, ‘that one friend’ and I spent the day together in Brighton. Partly for her kindly being my photographer, but more importantly to catch up and have a good gossip. I do struggle posing for photographs, as I David Gandy I am not (but I am myself and that’s all I need worry about). We stumbled across this side street by accident and fell in love with it instantly. The punchy graffiti and industrial shutter echoes the aesthetic of my outfit: street style luxe. Or rather @streetstyleluxe, which is our joint Instagram account. Have a peek and be inspired. These are my favourite shots, some are clearly staged, but I have mostly used the ones I didn’t even know were being taken. Kudos to Lorna for having such a good eye and being an avid director. I wore classic black straight leg jeans from Marc by Marc Jacobs, my current OBSESSION jumper which is Raf Simons (the colours are simply to die for), Tom Ford sunglasses and new Nike Lunarglide 6 trainers. Not only are they the most comfortable trainer I have ever worn, the cobalt blue and neon flashes made my heart skip a beat. Serious shoe porn for us guys.

 

streetstyle-graffiti streetstyle-graffiti-Brighton Raf-Simons-graffiti

Louboutin studded tartan slip on shoes in blue and red
Fashion

CROPPED

For me, my preferred trouser for this summer has been lightweight and cropped. I really struggled to find a pair that fitted me well, let alone being cool and comfortable. So when I stumbled upon this pair by Paul Smith, I was in absolute delight. My fashion prayers had been answered. Admittedly they did come with an unfinished hem, but nothing a trip to my tailor couldn’t fix.

On to the dilemma of proportions. It’s a fine line between looking like a pair of ordinary trousers that are merely too short, or even worse – pedal pushers. At my height, it was a difficult call, but I’m happy with the result. Plus being 100% cotton and a little lighter than navy (with a surprisingly rich hue), it was a sartorial YES!

I went down the casual route and paired it with a devore white t-shirt from All Saints. My love for this particular range cannot be stressed enough, they are beautifully soft and just so easy to wear; which did mean I bought all the possible colour, size and style permutations.

The shoes are Christian Louboutin and as you have probably guessed by now I have a bit of a shoedicction. Whilst they may not be for everyone, I seriously dig them. Studded tartan skate shoe? Hideously over-the-top, but majorly me. Plus they work in every season. Another fashion box ticked.

 

looking-down-outfit sunglasses-smiling

me looking down wearing sunglasses and black vest top in sunshine
Fashion

WHAT I WORE TODAY

To be honest, I am not really sure on the subject of this post. I had big plans on what I had wanted it to be, but in the spirit of recovery, I shall take it for what it is: a simple outfit post.

In true British tradition, even the slightest glimmer of sunshine makes me frantically dig out anything that one would normally wear in some blissfully hot summer idyll. I don’t know if it is a cultural thing, or merely grasping at the chance to wear something that will probably spend ninety five percent of it’s life in a wardrobe. Either way, it was warm and I wanted to make the most of it.

So I opted for a simple look, suitable for the beach admittedly, but who cares. A vest top from All Saints, shorts by Alexander McQueen, Louboutin espadrilles and the bag is Fendi; By The Way.

 

Brighton-man-standingFendi-bag-brightonLouboutin-espadrillesBrighton-man-smiling