Ape’s goal has always been to educate and assist men with making better informed decisions when buying across menswear, skincare and lifestyle choices. With a focus on menswear today, we thought it important to summarise the framework in which we advise. Our featured content and product recommendations revolve around Ape’s Ten Commandments of Menswear. This way ensures we are always on a consistent path to advising you the right way. We trust you’ll find the below useful whether buying from our recommendations or when making any decision to purchase your next piece of menswear.
Invest in Quality
“When you buy the best, you only cry once.” – Old Chinese Proverb
Forget fast fashion, invest in quality – this method will not only preserve a timeless style but save you money in the long run. A good example is footwear; a cheap pair of shoes will look, well, cheap and no doubt fall apart sooner than a quality pair of Northampton made shoes.
Crockett & Jones brogues, Northampton made
Keep it Classic
There’s a difference between fashion and style. Fashions or trends come and go whereas timeless style is for ever. Keep your menswear purchases classic – buy quality from brands that are masters of their trade. Think Savile Row for suiting, Northampton for shoes, John Smedley for knitwear or Sunspel for loungewear.
“The proud peacock of today may be only a feather duster tomorrow.” – Rick Barnes (also attributed to E. P. Atkins)
Use a Tailor
A good tailor could be the simplest trick in the book. Your favourite slim fit shirt, that isn’t quite slim enough? Take it to your local tailor, ask for it to be darted at the back and instantly, it fits like a dream. Depending on you go to, the cost will be minimal and can rescue a fine quality item of clothing from the depths of wardrobe despair. The levels of tailoring obviously vary here – from a bespoke suit, handmade to your exact measurements through to your local tailor (or seamstress) making minor alterations.
Don’t make the common mistake of buying clothing that is expensive or adorned with the label of a well known brand over fit. Buying an expensive item doesn’t automatically mean it will fit you well if at all. How many times have you seen men wearing blue chip brands but their attire just doesn’t look right. Money can buy menswear, but not style. Well fitted clothing makes all the difference, regardless of price. A good tip here – find a brand that fits your body shape, generally and stick with it. If items need tweaking, refer to point three above. Well fitted clothes should work with your proportions and accentuated or conceal your qualities or flaws.
Fitted never Tight
There’s a key differential here – Fitted means your clothes fit you like they should do; comfortable. Figure hugging in all the right places but never tight. Tight means uncomfortable, ill-fitting in the wrong places and generally unsightly. Denim jeans are a perfect example – buy slim fit if you posses a slim or athletic figure, ensure they are the right length and finish tidily and ‘slim’ around the ankle. Avoid super-skinny fit that restrict movement, resemble leggings and leave question marks as to where your manhood could possibly be located.
Emulating style icons is fine. They’re generally considered a style icon because they are stylish. Consider this your place of education, learn from the masters of style. Three gentlemen to begin with include; Steve McQueen and James Dean for laidback, off-duty style and Gianni Agnelli who mastered the art of Italian business-wear. Once you’ve figured out your own style and education, you can then consider breaking the rules.
“Learn the rules like a master, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso
Properly Tie a Tie
The amount of men who struggle to tie a tie correctly is more than you might think. It’s most likely due to the facts that a.) their fathers never taught them or b.) there are too many options. The Windsor and the Half-Windsor are particularly common but our preference is for the Four-in-Hand.
How To Tie A Four-In-Hand Tie Knot - YouTube
Noted for its simplicity and versatility, it is easy to tie, slender, tapered, mildly asymmetrical and self-releasing. If you only learn one knot, make it the Four-in-Hand.
If you’re ever deliberating over what to wear to an event, a social occasion or an important business meeting, simple wins. A navy suit, dark brown shoes and a white shirt for instance will always look good. Take a look at our guide; The Rail: A Tie for Every Suit, and White Shirt. It’s important to build good quality basics throughout your wardrobe, simple in style – these will last and never go out of style.
Referring back to point one above and spending £400+ on a pair of Crockett & Jones Oxford shoes is a good thing, not looking after them isn’t. It’s simple enough to do. Keep your shoes boxed and in their no doubt provided dust bags, with a pair of shoe trees for protection. Clean, waterproof and polish them regularly, and repair or replace the soles when required. The same goes for every other item of clothing or footwear you’ve invested in.
Sean Connery feeling good in a navy suit
Our final commandment; if what you’re wearing doesn’t make you feel good, don’t wear it. You’ve invested in quality, classic style and well-fitted attire – all the principles are in place. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. Before buying in the future, make sure you’re completely satisfied with what you’re adding to your wardrobe.
“A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.” – Hardy Amies
Be weary of that expensive, garishly coloured shirt – that looked so good in the brands’ advertising campaign but just doesn’t suit you. Good menswear is all about confidence, how does it make you feel? Like a champion, is the goal. It’s all about how you feel.
For those of you who enjoy traditional shaving methods you’ll be familiar with our guide on How to Shave with a Double-Edged Safety Razor. While the FMCG shaving giants have gone on to produce five, six or even seven blade razors, there is a growing collective of shaving stalwarts who prefer a traditional safety razor. The collective consists of gentlemen who have always used a safety razor, joined by an ever-growing number of gentlemen who are turning their backs on the marketing giants in favour of tradition. And not only for tradition, nor nostalgia or fashion – the reason men are coming back to safety razors are for the multitude of benefits. These include a closer shave, a smoother shave and much more affordable razor blades.
Leading the charge in traditional double-edged safety razors is German shaving brand MÜHLE. A medium-sized company based in Stützengrün, Saxony – who have a genuine passion for wet shaving. MÜHLE has been owner-managed – now in the third generation – since 1945, with each generation dedicated to producing the very highest quality. Everything is crafted in-house including design and production.
Diving deeper into the MÜHLE offering and its latest creation is the ROCCA series. A collection of intentionally simple, yet particularly masculine products. Modern, and a little more distinctive than traditional MÜHLE, we tried the safety razor and shaving brush made from the finest and most durable stainless steel in a satin or slightly matt finish. They not only feel great in the hand, but also look superb and upgrade any bathroom with a touch of shaving style you can’t find anywhere else.
The R96 MÜHLE ROCCA Stainless Steel/ Black Safety Razor specifically has an ergonomic shape and grippy handle – a modern interpretation of the knurl on the handle of a classic safety razor. That honeycomb-like structure provides an eye-catching contrast to the satin-finished stainless steel, and excellent grip. Measuring in at 41mm x 105mm and 80g it’s optimally sized and feels reassuringly solid in the hand, delivering a first class shave courtesy of the rust-proof MÜHLE razor blades.
We used the R96 razor in combination with the 091M96 MÜHLE ROCCA Stainless Steel/ Black Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush. Crafted with silvertip badger hair noted for its soft, flexible nature and water retention properties – capable of generating a dense, creamy lather. MÜHLE tell us this shaving brush is manufactured using historical tools with artisanal methods, mastered by only a few specialists worldwide. The result is a semi-circular shaped brush head which is created by hand when binding, leaving only the fine tips which do not require trimming and where natural softness of the hair is retained. Again, measuring in at 57mm x 32mm (handle) and 120g with the same colour scheme as the razor, it looks, feels and performs superbly.
By now I feel I’ve done enough to convince you to give a safety razor a try. For closeness and value there really is nothing that beats it. If you’re a regular user of safety razors already then take a look at the MÜHLE ROCCA series for it really doesn’t get much more handsome. A great place to start for the safety razor beginner and an upgrade for the seasoned safety razor aficionados.
Sun-soaked Californian haircare brand Hanz de Fuko have added to its impressive collection of styling products with the launch of Heavymade. Boasting extreme hold with high shine, it delivers on that Venice-based style that you can only see on the boardwalks of California. As with every Hanz de Fuko product, Heavymade is crafted with natural and organic ingredients only – quite the achievement considering the efficacy of the pomade.
Extreme Hold and High Shine
The water based pomade feels clean on application with a light fragrance yet heavy texture. Despite the ‘weight’ of Heavymade the product allows you to manipulate your hair easily. From traditional pompadours, to classic red carpet looks, Heavymade is suitable for anyone looking for extreme hold and high shine. Heavymade offers all day hold with no maintenance, is humidity-resistant and washes out easily.
Application and Ingredients
Start by rubbing a ten-pence-sized amount between your palms and fingers and apply to dry hair. Pinch and twist hair strands for individualisation and texture. Or use a comb to provide smooth high-gloss control. Key ingredients include acertified organic hair care blend of Mallow Flower, Lemon Peel, Burdock Root, and Horsetail Fern extract which conditions hair.
Looking at the reviews on hanzdefuko.com – it’s nothing but positivity. Similar to our findings. On contact with the fingers, Heavymade feels ‘heavy’ or with context, as though it will hold your hair in place for a lasting period. Crucially, despite its ‘weight’ the pomade was easily spread through hair without clumping or gathering. A light fragrance adds a clean feel to the equation without overpowering your cologne of choice. The pomade did in fact keep hair in place throughout the day with a healthy-looking shine, which importantly didn’t appear greasy or over-slick like many pomades available today. It’s worth adding that the pomade easily rinsed off hands and hair too. Heavymade is another victory for Hanz de Fuko.
What does your hair say about you? Mine currently says work up at 6am after a hard weekend. I rock that look. But then, it doesn’t really matter whether I spend that extra 20 minutes of sleep time sorting out my barnet because I’m not a world leader. Yet. But you know who is a tremendous world leader? 45th president of the United States of America, Donald Trump. Forget your Kim Kong-Cuts and Thatcherite Thatches, his is the kind power hair that exudes the fire and fury of a nuclear holocaust.
Who on the world stage can match the sheer size of his hair? Like a cloud perched atop Mount Rushmore, his regal crest adds another element to his already-prodigious height. It says that this is the kind of man you don’t want to get into a trade war with. It’s the Trump Tower of hair.
There are of course various rumours out there of the ways in which the President curates his follicle kingdom, ranging from archaic, scalp-stretching surgery to an almighty combover to simply threatening it if it ever begins to recede.
45th president of the United States of America, Donald Trump
Nearly all of it’s fake news, obviously, as is every detraction of the greatest world leader that ever led the world. But would it be such a bad thing if there were a grain of truth? Look who we’re stuck with. If Teresa May spent a fraction of the time Donald Trump supposedly does on her hair she’d have seduced Tusk into a Brexit deal months back. Is it so wrong for a figurehead to want to look his best?
Time and Effort
Then there’s the time and effort spent. If Trump spends as much time on his hair as his detractors say, then surely, he must spend even more time weightily assessing every governmental decision he makes. If he’s as discerning about lawmaking as he is about ensuring he’s well-coiffed then the USA will have a constitution as delectable as a Trump-brand steak.
Yes, occasionally the veneer might slip as a stiff gust of wind interrupts his soaring, multifaceted verbosity, but that just serves as an insight into the dedication this man puts into his work. He’s willing to risk the elements and show a moment of vulnerability to better serve his country.
With all that in mind it’s not hard to see why the world is jealous of Trump’s hair. It’s a focal point (follicle point?) for all the insecure liberals to rage against, a symbol of the magnificence they can never achieve. Does the hair bend to demands? No. Does the hair compromise on its values? No. Will the hair make America great again? Probably not.
Audi has always done two things incredibly well: four-wheel drive and fast estate cars. The new Audi RS4 Avant, then, carries a lot of expectation on its shoulders. On paper, at least, the new RS4 fits perfectly into the category of the only car you’d ever need. It’s practical, just peer into the 505-litre boot; it’s quick, just glance at the 444bhp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6; it’s also very handsome, just look at it.
Climb inside and its appeal is amplified; the cabin is a luxurious mix of soft leather, aluminium detailing and flashes of racy car bon fibre. The deep, figure-hugging bucket seats grip you firmly in place, and the speedo which swings it way around to 186mph gives you an indication of the performance on offer. Fire it up and despite the RS badge affixed to the rear of the car, you’d be forgiving for thinking you’d jumped into a rental-spec A4 Avant; it sounds a bit timid and far too restrained for a model from Audi’s RS range.
The blame lies squarely with the new engine. The 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 has replaced the old 4.2-litre V8 from the previous RS4 – and bigger is always better. But while its vocal range might not reach the same crescendo as before there’s no arguing with its ability. Pin the throttle and the Audi RS4 bites into the tarmac and catapults itself down the road; Audi claims 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds, which is over half a second faster than the old model. The quattro all-wheel drive system means progress is drama free and completely addictive.
Once you’re into the heart of the engine’s power it begins to sound like an Audi RS should, with a deep-chested bellow and unapologetic burbles from the exhaust as you lift off the throttle. Best of all, when you’re not draining the fuel tank, the RS4 behaves like a comfortable, refined and polished family car. It might empty your wallet to the tune of £62,000 but you do get an awful lot of car for your money.
Men’s grooming experts like myself spend so much time writing about how to get a perfectly smooth chin that it’s easy for us to forget that there are lots of men out there shaving their heads too. And having a smooth scalp presents its own set of problems, leaving you with even more skin to moisturise, de-shine and protect against sun damage. Luckily, however, looking after it is no more difficult than taking care of your face. So here’s how to shave, de-shine and protect your scalp in five easy steps.
To begin the shaving process start by wetting your scalp with a little warm water, then apply a finger-sized amount of shaving cream to a shaving brush then lather or, if you like to see where you’re shaving, some transparent shave oil like REN Tamanu High Glide Shaving Oil or a shaving gel like Baxter of California Beard Line-Up Shave Gel to the palm of your hand. Then rub between both hands then apply evenly over your scalp.
REN Tamanu High Glide Shaving Oil
Baxter of California Beard Line-Up Shave Gel
If you’re in the habit of letting what hair you go have grow between shaves invest in a hair clipper and cut it back to the shortest length possible to make the whole shaving process simpler and faster and to reduce the chance of nicks and cuts.
Take your razor and, starting at the point just below your ear, begin shaving from front to back using long, sweeping strokes, placing each successive stroke next to the last to avoid missing any bits (imagine mowing a large lawn if it helps). You can use the hand you’re most comfortable, though many men prefer to use the left hand to shave the left half of the head and then swap hands once they reach the half way point. Then push the ears back to do behind them (using downwards strokes) and finish off by shaving around the nape and removing any stray neck hairs.
If you have curly hair – and are susceptible to ingrown hairs – always shave with the direction of hair growth and try to avoid too many passes with the razor.
If you want to give your head the once over to check for hair you may have missed apply a little more shave prep, along with a little water, and go over your head with your fingertips – the cream and water combination will make it easier for you to feel for stray stubble. Then rinse your head thoroughly with cool water to remove all traces of your shaving prep.
If you do get any cuts, help them heal quick-time with a dab of Proraso Shave Cut Healing Gel which is mildly astringent and antiseptic and perfect for treating nicks and cuts whether they’re on your chin or head.
Proraso Shave Cut Healing Gel
Muhle Aloe Vera After Shave Balm
As with your face, you can also give your scalp the once over with a post-shave balm like Muhle’s Aloe Vera After Shave Balm, too, to promote the skin’s natural healing process and reduce any irritation cased by the razor.
Protect and de-shine
With the top of the head a prime spot for skin cancers it pays to protect it on a daily basis with a moisturisercontaining a built-in sunscreen. If you want to protect and prevent shine at the same time, though, why not treat your scalp to Anthony Day Cream SPF 30, a daily-use moisturiser with added SPF which does both?
Anthony Day Cream SPF 30
Aesop Protective Body Lotion SPF50
If you’re hitting the beach, however, it’s worth upping the ante protection-wise by using a sunscreen specific product like Aesop Protective Body Lotion SPF50 which offers fantastic protection against sun damage. Better still, grab yourself a hat and protect your head from sun exposure altogether, especially between the hours of 12-3pm when the sun is strongest.
Don’t forget that, as with the skin on the rest of your body, the stuff on the top of your head benefits from regular exfoliation. So to keep your scalp healthy and happy remove dead skin cells once a week with a facial scrub.
A steam room is a wonderful place – having a positive effect on skin, muscles and joints while helping to relieve stress, however there are always a few people that manage to detract from the otherwise therapeutic experience. I like to think it’s more ignorance than anything else, so I thought I’d put ‘pen to paper’ on a few steam room etiquette issues, assuring they are enjoy as they should be.
1. People, we are not in Ancient Rome; steam rooms are now mainly unisex, don’t come into the steam room naked. Even if you are in a single sex steam room, please don’t come in naked. There really is no need. If you don’t want to wear trunks, then fine don’t, however please have the decency to put a towel round your waist to protect your ‘modesty’. Furthermore, if you are only wearing a towel, don’t put your leg(s) up – needless to say, no-one needs to see that.
2. Shower before you come in. There’s nothing worse than someone stepping in the steam room straight from a two hour cardio workout, still dripping with sweat. Suddenly people become rather weary about the source of steam in the room, not to mention the ‘scent’. Have a shower please, it takes 30 seconds.
3. If the steam room is almost empty, don’t sit directly beside the only person in there, it’s awkward – use the space. Much like Thomas Fink’s of the Man’s Book method of selecting the optimal Urinal; leave at least one space between you and the other person where possible. Trust me, it’ll make for a more enjoyable steam room experience for all concerned.
4. Unlike the normal rules of Gentlemanly behaviour, do not hold the door open for the person behind you – they managed to get this far, I’m sure they’ll manage. With users waiting up to thirty minutes for the ‘optimal steaming temperature’, then Barry opens the door and holds it open waiting for Tina to finish showering… not cool, too cool.
5. You are either in or out. If you’re not sure you want to come in, think about it outside, not with the door open. If you are looking for someone, come inside rather than trying to see through the impenetrable steam, or waiting for all the steam to filter out to ease your line of vision.
6. Shaving. Now this is unbelievable; some actually think its fine to bring a razor into the steam room, and have a shave. Where do these people think the hair goes? It doesn’t matter how much hair you have, the hair still has to go somewhere. There is not ‘hair length’ related rule for this one, it cannot happen. Ever.
7. Conversation. While it’s polite to say a ‘Hello’ when entering and a ‘Cheers’ when leaving, conversation in the steam room should be kept to a minimum, and not forced upon any unwilling recipient. If their eyes are closed, it’s probably a good sign they want to be left alone. Gentleman, it is not a pub, do not use it as a venue to discuss your lurid stories from the night before, how well your job is going or divulge the inner workings of your ‘relationships’ – there’s a reason psychologists get paid. Comments such as ‘It’s hot in here’ are not required – we know it’s hot, that’s why we’re here.
8. If the sign says ‘No kids under the age of 16’ it means it. I would like to add that the age restriction also applies to mental age.
9. Don’t stare, it’s still rude, even if (you think) they can’t see you. It’s not polite.
10. And finally, if you must break wind, please, please, please do it outside; unfortunately the steam doesn’t numb the sense of smell.
On a more serious note, there are many benefits to using the Steam room as part of your men’s grooming regime. The heavy sweating induced by steam rooms opens the pores and allows dirt and dead skin cells to be flushed out, resulting in a more thorough clean than can be attained from most other cleansing methods. Furthermore the increased blood circulation brought about by the heat brings more nutrients and oxygen to the skin’s surface, which is said to be beneficial for acne sufferers and for other skin conditions.
I think that pretty much covers it, so now no excuses; the next time you go to the steam room follow these 10 rules and let your skin and mind enjoy the benefits.
There is no better name in professional haircare than Redken – mention it to salon owners or those in the know, and you always receive a nod of approval, never a bad word spoken. Founded in New York City in 1960 by hairdresser and chemist Jheri Redding with actress and model Paula Kent, hence the name ‘Red-ken’, the pair carved out a new path in haircare. Redken’s method dubbed the, “Scientific Approach to Beauty” introduced protein reconditioning and other protein based products which revolutionised the professional salon market. By 1993 sales hit $160 million, and in 2007, Redken was named as one of the “Icons of the American Marketplace” together with 256 other American brands (out of 800 nominations). The brand is cutting edge, at the forefront of haircare technology, echoed by their edgy choice of brand ambassadors; Suki Waterhouse and Lea T.
Photography by Ape to Gentleman
Redken however is predominately a women’s focused brand, despite in 1967 introducing one of the first professional male grooming lines for men, it’s not so well known in men’s. Technically much of the product offering is unisex, and in truth – the neutral colour scheme lends itself to this, but we can’t say it’s a brand men flock too. That’s not to say it isn’t suitable formulation wise but the branding and marketing to men just hasn’t been there. That is until now, and the launch of Redken Brews, a complete destination for style, haircare, skin and beard care solutions. A collection benefitting from nearly 70 years of Redken haircare expertise.
Ape have been fortunate enough to try the entire range, and are most impressed. There are cleansers (£12.50) to suit most hair types, including a 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash and a variety of styling products (£13.50);
Wax Pomade for mild control and shine
Maneuver for medium control and shine
Outplay for maximum control and a matte effect
Clay Pomade for maximum control and grit
Work Hard for medium control and a natural finish
Stand Tough for maximum control and shine finish
Hairspray for maximum control and a natural finish
Our top picks were the 3-in-1 for convenience and performance, followed by Work Hard for medium control but coupled with a natural looking finish. Depending on your hair styling preference however, there is something for everyone. And crucially, the quality is superb not to mention the decidedly handsome packaging.
Beyond the obvious hair styling products, there is more – a skincare and colour collection. Skincare consists of a superb Shave Cream (£15), protective enough for everyday shaving and a Beard and Skin Oil (£18.50) to soften the beard and skin, for those of you who choose to sport facial hair. Perhaps most unique to men’s is the Camo Colour (from £5) collection, featuring a variety of colours to blend in grey hairs – we’ve seen this in action and it works superbly well. Forget what you think about existing male hair colouring products such as Just for Men, this is new, stylish and works. A fuss-free five-minute colour service designed specifically for men – it’s an easy, quick colour solution.
The resurgence of barbering and specialised hair services for men is booming, and why not. As we’ve always preached – optimise your haircare routine with not only the best products but also the most appropriate for your hair. Redken Brews remains true to its salon only roots and it’s a good thing – get expert advice from your trained barber to ensure you get the right cut, and the right product to suit your needs. The term salon professional exists for a reason.
Founded by Michael Drake in 1977 in London’s East End, Drake’s quickly earned a reputation for producing quality scarves and shawls for high-end fashion boutiques and traditional tailoring houses. This initial success saw the company branch out into ties and pocket squares for which the brand is recognised for. A philosophy of producing timeless pieces that have a relaxed elegance, to exacting standards ran through the Michael and the brands’ veins. A recipe for success in itself, soon picked up on by the style and tastemakers in the UK but never by the mainstream – intentionally no doubt.
Michael Drake, co-founder of Drake’s. Photo by Jamie Ferguson
Michael Hill, Creative Director of Drake’s, with a handful of bespoke tie cloth on his arm
It was in 2010 when after working alongside Michael Drake for over a decade, Michael Hill took over as Creative Director, and Drake’s began to rise to prominence with menswear enthusiasts and the wider, discerning population look for quality. Under Hill’s stewardship, Drake’s has grown from a luxury accessories manufacturer to a true design house, with a distinct and recognisable aesthetic; sartorially informed yet easy-wearing, contemporary yet timeless.
Despite this growth in terms of offering and market reception, Drake’s remains true to its root – and is still the biggest independent producer of handmade ties in England. Carrying out 18 quality checks on each of its ties, the quality of Drake’s is legendary, while the firm has cemented its fashion credentials by collaborating with Comme des Garçons and J.Crew, among others. Drake’s also produce each shirt by hand at its factories in London and Somerset, using only the finest materials and most skilled craftspeople.
Drake’s, once the well kept secret of those in the know is today growing into one of the UK’s most respect menswear brands with customers able to shop the latest arrivals in store as well as online, with a curated selection of clothing, accessories, footwear and more from across their collections – offering more than just the ties but a lifestyle proposition.
Its spring summer 2018 collection is further evidence of Drake’s promise; a collection of highest quality, vibrant transatlantic sensibility, one which examines the principles of classic American style but in a distinctly European context. We see twentieth century Ivy League favourites such as madras and seersucker coupled with the flair of Italian tailoring in suits and jackets cut in Drake’s soft house style. A distinction between formal and casual is disregarded with the collection teaming terry cloth polos with refined sport coats; rugged linen over-shirts with tailored trousers. And equally impressive, the thoughtful location of the campaigns’ landscape shots of Charleston, South Carolina which provide an idealised look at America through a European lens and represent the Drake’s ideal beautifully.
The rise to prominence of Drake’s is a simple enough formula; produce high quality menswear and accessories in a contemporary yet timeless style and the people will buy. A deserved story of success, well done Drake’s. Drake’s is available online at drakes.com and in-store at 3 Clifford Street (London), 20 Prince Street (New York City) and 3 Haberdasher Street (Factory & Store, London).
There are few pieces of menswear more versatile than the suede jacket. And with the style-theme of the summer heading towards a relaxed, more casual, 1970s-inspired aesthetic, now is as good a time as any to invest in this multi-talented stalwart of outerwear. Valstar 407A.F077 Suede Jacket (pictured top)
The name suede is attributable to the French who would import ‘gants de Suède’ (gloves of Sweden), renowned for their soft, napped-leather interior. Suede, in layman’s terms, can be described as leather “inside out” – soft, thin, pliable, tactile. From gloves the benefits of suede evolved to shoes, shirts, jackets and beyond clothing, crafted in cowhide most frequently but also in sheepskin and goatskin.
Sandro Suede Jacket worn by Kit Harington for MR PORTER
Daniel Craig wears a Matchless suede jacket in SPECTRE
Hardly worthy of being deemed a wardrobe essential, suede is notoriously difficult to care for with it being more sponge-like than water-repellent. However despite this and being delicate in appearance suede is reassuringly tough, and if worn right, a suede bomber jacket can add a touch of sophistication to any outfit; be it casual or smart. Layer it up or down with a variety of looks depending on the temperature and your situation, whatever the time of year but particularly during spring and autumn. It’s also important to remember that good suede isn’t cheap, but invest wisely and you’re suede jacket could last a lifetime and quality tells – a statement piece if you will.
Jeans, t-shirt and a suede bomber jacket, it’s that simple. For a causal look this partnership is tough to argue with. If the temperatures drop you may wish to layer your ensemble with a merino knit crew neck sweater or a hoody for a more causal edge. Team with a pair of classic low top white or light grey sneakers and a pair of Persol 714 sunglasses in Havana brown.
Valstar Valstarino Unlined Suede Bomber Jacket in Dark Brown, £745 >
Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Sweater in Navy, £29.90 >
Sunspel Men’s Pima Cotton Pique T-Shirt in White, £75 >
A Day’s March Denim No.1 Jeans in Tumbled Raw Denim, £85 >
As an alternative to a weighty overcoat, a blazer or a poorly insulated trench coat a suede bomber jacket can provide a touch of flare to smart-casual or even tailored office wear. Here it’s best to colour-match to avoid being accused of being a Pitti-peacock, who would ever take you seriously. Team with a pair of Persol 649 sunglasses in black.
Officine Generale Liam Suede Jacket in Midnight Blue, £795 >
Despite suede’s water-resistant frailties and easy staining which can be countered using a protective suede spray and a soft suede brush, there is much to be lauded for the suede jacket. A truly versatile piece which can be worn casually or smart, it provides a stylish layer to take the chill off in spring or autumn and can be layered up during winter. Worn with a t-shirt in the summer months, it’s as cool as a cucumber – like you. Our advice would be to invest in a quality piece, the outlay might seem punchy but good suede, is good suede – it’ll look great, and last long.