Nostalgia of the 90s

Good day to you my reminiscent readers,

It has always amazed me how a certain scent, item of clothing or hair style (Kenzo flower, a multi coloured corduroy miss sixty skirt and who can forget the “Rachel hairstyle for me) can bring back thoughts of your younger years in an instant. For this months post, I wanted to delve into the world of nostalgia; and in my case the 90s and 00s and how style has evolved over the decades.

(Images courtesy of google images)

I have such fond memories of where my foray into the fashion world began. I always loved pouring over fashion magazines and influences for me as a teenager were from Top of the Pops on a Friday night and the annual Oscars ceremony from Hollywood where I looked on in wonder at the cutting edge creations which adorned the movie stars.

Although I admired the body con style of dresses that girls from my school would wear when we were old enough to go out, with my swimmers shoulders and tomboy, athletic build that look was not for me. As soon as I saw Kate Moss however, I knew that I had found my muse. With her understated hair, bare faced beauty and bohemian style I was hooked. I was the only one out of my group of friends who would wear an ankle grazing skirt, plain vest and flip flops to a club and some of the looks from the glamorous girls in the bars were to be desired but I have always been comfortable in the fact that I know what suits my body and confidence comes from being unequivocally YOU.

Growing up I remember the excitement of going to the Brand Centre which was a huge clothing store near to where I live at the weekend. With every designer from high street to high end there really was something for anyone there and I would be so excited if I managed to bag a steal in the bargain corner! Haha. From Evisu denim bomber jackets to Maharishi embroidered cargo trousers I loved the versatility of teaming these incredible one off pieces with a simple top and accessories or over a evening dress and heels – the key was mixing and matching.

As I’ve got older, my style is a lot more paired back now as my 9 to 5 is in the Corporate world. Weekdays are filled with fitted dresses, suit jackets and court shoes, although I still love the thrill of purchasing classic, timeless pieces which will stand the test of the relentless fashion cycle – you seriously cannot beat a well made, elegant overcoat or a silky soft pair of leather boots. Although the cost may be slightly higher than the high street, I still have a leather jacket which I’ve had since my 16th birthday which comes out every year – believe me the cost per wear is incredible.

Sometimes in these cold winter months when we feel like we are habitual night creatures going to and coming home from work in the dark, sometimes seeing a certain brand on someone you walk past in the street or seeing a pop of colour in a colleagues umbrella can transport you to those heady days of school holidays and planning an outfit for your prom and you just cannot help but smile.

Besides, who doesn’t like to feel young every once in a while hey! Pull out those retro Moschino trousers, pair them with an oversized knit and you are winter 2019 ready.

Until next time,

Take care, Keya x

World of wonder at the Wallace

Good day to you my art enthused aficionados,

This past week after a colleagues recommendation, I went to check out the Manolo Blahnik exhibition at the Wallace Collection. Considering I have lived in London my whole life, I had never heard of this museum and all I can say is, wow what a treasure.

(Image courtesy of google images)

As I’m sure you can tell from my earlier posts, I LOVE accessories. The simple art of putting on a statement pair of earrings or a tailored blazer can transform an outfit, however I find shoes can be the most versatile. Block heel black ankle boots can be worn with a pencil dress for work, tucked under slim fit trousers with an oversized jumper for weekend brunches with your friends or with bare legs and a fitted skirt for weekend dinner dates. Talk about worth per wear 😊

Manolo Blahnik, born in the Canary Islands is an household name in this department, made even more infamous as the shoe go to for Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. She really brought these works of art to the forefront of fashion and I have admired the designer for many years. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing of him, there is a great documentary on Netflix called the Boy who made shoes for Lizards – really worth a watch.

When I heard he was showing a limited collection from his archives at the Wallace I knew I had to check it out. The building nestled in the heart of West London is so inviting and as soon as I walked in and was faced with the sweeping split staircase leading to the upper floor, dressed in intricate red tapestry carpet, I knew I would love this place.

I walked through the rooms drinking in the immense variety of statues, jewellery and coats of armour – it really leaves you reeling. To think that this was once their family home, lived in with formal reception rooms and grand ballrooms, it was so quintessentially British. After perusing the ground floor and learning all about artefacts from around the world, we stopped to grab a coffee in the atrium. With the winter sun streaming through the glass ceiling, the excitement about seeing Blahnik’s works of art inspired by this collection mounted.

As we ascended the grand staircase, we were immediately met with the Trellis shoes encased in glass, as if good enough to eat. Moving through the various rooms I loved how the shoes were displayed beneath portraits of women from the 16th/17th century in voluminous dresses with just a peek of intricate shoes peeping out from the hem – Manolo’s shoes could easily have been from the same period.

In the study there was a writing desk which would not have looked out of place in the palace of Versailles and it was so interesting to see how fashion has evolved so much as the centuries have progressed. It’s incredible to think that pale skin and English Rose delicate features were revered, which seems such a far cry from the sun kissed, bronzed aesthetic that we aspire to in our European summers now.

One of the rooms which had long sky lights gracing the ceiling and huge portraits lining the walls literally took your breath away at the scale of it. I also felt a strange sense of deja vu as soon as I entered it and soon realised it’s because it housed Dante’s inferno, which was the key plot point of Dan Brown’s novel Inferno.

The painstaking process of the embellishment, fresh water pearls, beading or use of luxurious leathers or suedes made the shoes seem to hold their own amongst the splendour of this collection, they complemented each other perfectly and I feel so privileged to have seen Manolo’s masterpieces before the collection moves on to another city this week. I feel positively invigorated to pick up my pencil and sketch book myself.

Until next time,take care

Keya x

Siestas and sunsets in Santorini

Good day to you my olive loving, fetalicious globetrotters,

I hope you all had an amazing summer and made lots of holiday memories. We not so long ago got back from the amazing island of Santorini and I certainly left with a heavy heart as I had the most amazing time. With the white washed, blue domed buildings, quiet sandy beaches and unbelievable local produce, for this months post I thought I would deep dive into this incredible place.

For this years summer vacation we had a handful of locations in mind but as soon as we saw the pictures and read the reviews we were sold on this magical gem in Greece. As soon as we had made our reservation the excited countdown began. After lots of research about the best places to stay we decided on Perissa, which with the black sandy beach on the doorstep of our incredible accommodation, Petri Suites we were over the moon as soon as walked into our room. With the white cave exposed walls, huge double sinks and fluffy robes and matching slippers it instantly felt like home. Also who doesn’t love an egg chair?

Our days were filled with swimming in the ocean and lunches over looking the crystal clear waters. One of our favourite spots was a restaurant called La plage noire. The squid and calamari were the freshest we could imagine and their crab and mango salad is a must try.

We even managed to head out on a fishing trip off the coast. The morning started off with a short sail to pick up the nets from the previous night to see what had been snapped up and we then headed to a secluded cove where we could go snorkelling, try our own hand at fishing and to just seal the deal whatever was caught was barbecued on the boat and we had it for lunch. Could you possibly get any fresher I hear you say?

Our nights were filled with visiting the many quaint towns which were easily accessible as we managed to hire a car for a week during our stay which is definitely a good idea should you visit. Every town has its own unique style however the sunsets never failed to disappoint no matter what location we watched them in. From Oia to Thira to cosy courtyard al fresco dining in Megalochori, the feta, cherry tomatoes, olives and my favourite – watermelon were mouth watering wherever we went.

The local wines were incredible too, each time we usually asked the restaurant staff to recommend a local vineyards wine to try and if you are a bit of a grape lover than the bottles from Sigallas Estate and Venetesanos were our particular top choices. We even partook in a wine tasting experience at the latter which was a first for me and it definitely did not disappoint. The pairings of crab croquettes with a soft white wine and rich dark meat with a bold red were a shock to the senses.

I couldn’t talk about Santorini if I didn’t go into the unbelievable sunsets they have pretty much every night there. As the sun began to set around 7.15pm, the sky was ablaze with burnt oranges, fiery reds and then the sun would just disappear into the ocean before your very eyes. What I loved about this island is, that no matter where you are, the restaurants and bars all have a perfectly placed terrace or veranda to easily add to your photo album each evening and bathe in its ethereal, romantic glow with your loved one.

I know that a destination has made an impression on me when a smile tugs at the corners of my mouth as soon as I reminisce about it and this is definitely the case with Santorini. It has the perfect mix of places to explore and is the ultimate in relaxing and chilled if you want to unplug and unwind from the stresses of our careers. It also holds a special place in my heart, because this is where I got engaged – such an amazing surprise and obviously I’m ecstatic. Whatever special memories you want to make in your own lives, this island is definitely going to help you make them.

Until next time,

Take care

Keya x

Summer City Dressing – The Men Edition

Good day to you my sun loving summer followers,

I begin writing this month’s post, still smiling from a glorious bank holiday with the sun shining, the BBQ’s grilling and socialising a plenty for most of the Capital. Alas, we are back to work again and with temperatures set to reach 31 degrees again today, it felt so nice to throw on a dress and some pumps and hope to beat the heat on my daily commute. This had got me thinking however; how do men do it? Still maintaining a degree of smart office attire but staying cool, so I quizzed my loved ones and colleagues to bring to you – Summer City Dressing – the Men Edition.

Hi All, firstly thank you so much for taking the time to take part in this interview. Lets get straight into it.

1) Firstly do you prefer the winter or summer months for office attire?

Dan: Winter. Considering I am originally from the north of England, I have always put more emphasis on winter attire seeing as though it can get very cold for most of the year.

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Kenz: To be honest that’s a tough question as being in London is difficult in both. You have the problem of trying to stay warm to the station but then not over heat on the underground.Then again the same problem in the summer months.  If I had to choose, it would be summer time even in the office, light shirts and chino’s matched with sun glasses is the best feeling when it’s home time or off for drink in the late evening sun.

Josh: Winter Months office attire.

Alpesh: Summer.

Darren: Winter months

Paul: Winter! There’s a lot more room for maneuver when it’s cooler. I commute on the train, tube and in the car so for the vast majority of the time, the temperature is moderate so there’s more choice for work attire! I am a big suit fan and it’s nice to be able to wear a tie and jacket without getting hot. Looking professional is much easier when you’re comfortable.

Jack: I prefer summer overall but for office attire I prefer the winter months. In winter, I can add more layers and vary what I wear day to day, and I have more clothes for winter. You can’t beat a nice fitted overcoat or trench coat to finish an outfit with different textures and materials underneath. Jumpers, cardigans, thicker materials from head to toe, e.g. corduroy (if you don’t look to much of an old man) For winter a must is a Scarf, to finish an outfit, add a bit of colour or a bold pattern. https://www.drakes.com/accessories/scarves 

Ed: Winter as there is more scope for different clothes.

2) I definitely am a summer fan, but for us women it can be so much easier to dress for work and stay cool in the city heat. What are your go to pieces for the warmer weather?

Dan: A loose fitting shirt and comfortable chinos makes working in the heat more bearable, but sometimes it is difficult to feel completely comfortable in this kind of outfit, especially when it is a hot summers day. Where I can, I try to wear loose fitting long sleeve t shirts, but try to be as smart as possible.

Kenz: I think the best go to for me are my Uniqlo shirts as they are made from the best materials that allow your skin to vent in this heat. To be honest it doesn’t matter where you buy your shirts or even your trousers, breathable. One feature I would pin-point with the Uniqlo shirts is the fit and the button down collars, so your style is on form even after a hot day in the office.

Josh: Short Sleeve Shirt, Chinos instead of trousers.

Alpesh: Light shirts (blue or white to reflect the rays), and some lose fitting comfortable trousers.

Darren: Lighter cotton shirts in pale colours, lightweight trousers, shorts & tee-shirts.

Paul: Light and airy! I’m not a fan of short sleeve work shirts, so longer sleeves but always lighter cotton shirts, usually more loose fitting than their winter counterparts. I prefer lighter colours too…whites, pinks, light blues (easy on the pattern) – and light grey trousers. There’s a psychological element and lighter just *feels* cooler!

Jack: For summer, I have less of a range through necessity but I do have go to pieces or items of clothing. I tend to mix my selection with higher value items that will last longer and are predominately better quality with cheaper one-season items. Linen is a must in summer. Trousers and shirts, Trousers for work but they have to be structured otherwise the fit is all wrong. If very hot I will wear a Linen shirt to work but usually a comfortable button down shirt opposed to a dress shirt with cuffs, sleeves can then be easily rolled up and in a way that is more comfortable to me personally. Smart chinos, thin socks but not stocking thin! Or no socks at all to keep the ankles free and breezy and to finish off, a pair of tan penny loafers or tassels is a good summer uniform. Generally, lighter colours such as tan and khaki are nice for trousers and chinos then earthy natural colours or browns go well. You obviously can’t beat a pristine white Oxford to pair with camel coloured chinos and mid-range brown loafers.

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Fridays at work I will relax a little so I’ll wear more linen shirts with a lightweight overshirt and a more casual shoe, a suede tassel loafer or wholecut loafer. I like to buy a jacket each summer that is unstructured and usually linen, something that I can throw on and will usually go with all of my trousers but still look smart.

Linen Jacket/Blazer – Suit Supply, Massimo dutti, Linen Trousers – Suit Supply, M&S, Chinos – Uniqlo, Charles Tyrwhit, Linen Shirts – Uniqlo, Massimo Dutti, Ralph Lauren, Shoes – Loake Eton, Justin Fitzpatrick, Baudoin and Lange, loake Lisbon, Belgian Loafers, Socks – Tabio, London Sock company

Myself, dad and younger brother at a summer wedding, suitable for work in the summer with a tie.

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Ed: Sadly not many options for blokes so its button down oxford shirts (cotton) and chinos for me!

3) Commuting during rush hour can be a challenge at the best of times, but when it’s 25 degrees outside, the underground can feel double the temperature. What are your best tips for staying cool, calm and collected whilst travelling to and from work?

Dan: Again, try to wear something that is loose fitted. There is no avoiding the heat of the tube, but you can place yourself strategically next to the window at the front of the carriage, stick in the headphones with some relaxing music or an entertaining podcast…..and calmly breathe your way into work.

Kenz: Best tip for commuting in the heat don’t rush and stay hydrated. No matter what you wear you’ll over heat in our under prepared tube network, take water with you. Even the finest cotton clothes won’t stop the 40 degree heat from getting to you.

Josh: Sitting next to the window, carrying water, Choosing train times wisely, Go to the pub after work and wait for rush hour clear.

Alpesh: Always carry a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated and cool. When it’s really hot I sometimes wear shorts into work then change into my work clothes when I arrive. Leaving earlier in the morning is also a good tip to miss the rush-hour – train carriage temperature only increases when packed-in like sardines!

Darren: I try to start my day earlier to avoid the crowds and get the cooler air in the mornings. After work, it is sometimes easier to walk a few tube stops at a slower pace in the shade as opposed to crowding onto the tube. If I do have to travel, my tip is to take a handkerchief to pat down any sweat, travel light but try not to carry a bag.

Paul: From experience – don’t carry anything you don’t need to in your bag! I think losing the tie, and one shirt button undone make a huge difference, without detracting from looking reasonably smart.

Jack: First of all I try to travel early most days to avoid the peak heat so on the way to work it’s usually manageable, I’ll undo my button cuffs maybe not roll them up just yet, and not rush to get to work or break out into a sweat, I’d rather be comfortable travelling into work than travelling home. Again, on the way home I’ll try and leave at a good time so the tube is not as busy and it doesn’t hurt to wait for the tube 2 minutes behind! I will have by cuffs up so wrists are free and I may even undo a cheeky shirt button but generally, I don’t feel comfortable without a jacket, obviously lightweight in the summer and I will usually take it off for the train and tube for the way home. It’s all about comfort for me, Keep calm listen to music and when it’s too hot just grin, bear it, and look forward to a cold beer when I get home.

Ed: Don’t take a jacket and don’t rush!

4) The Brits are known for layering clothes to deal with the unpredictable UK weather (sometimes ranging from 38 degrees and sweltering to thunderstorms all in one day.) Do you have one item of clothing which is your go to, no matter what the weather?

Dan: I am a big fan of wearing an over sized shirt with a t shirt underneath, you can always whip off the shirt if it gets too hot but at the same time it is airy, therefore it is bearable in hotter weather.

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(image courtesy of google images)

Kenz: I think the best item clothing for the unpredictable weather is a good trench coat, they are light to carry but keep you dry in the the sudden showers. My personal favourite is the Camden Car Coat from Burberry, classic design that you can wear with work clothes or even jeans and trainers.

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Josh: Light weight wind breaker jacket.

Alpesh: I have a light black water proof jacket that usually sees me through various weather conditions – it pairs with work or casual attire well, so an all-rounder.

Darren: Yes, a good pair of leather shoes. I currently wear Ecco shoes which suit rain or shine.

Paul: The check shirt – cool enough for summer, warm enough for winter. It’s good taste with a collar.

Jack: If I had to pick one item or type of clothing I would have to say a jacket. Depending on weather and occasion, for me other than shoes this will make or break an outfit, whether I’m comfortable, happy and satisfied. A jacket for me will finish everything off whether it be overshirt, chore jacket, Harrington, Linen jacket, Shacket, field jacket, suede jacket, blazer or shirt I don’t feel my look is complete without one. Anyone can wear standard jeans, shirt and shoes but adding the correct jacket can transform an outfit completely, drawing comments and compliments or making you feel a little more confident (even if it’s just in your head). Also I can’t stand when men put things in their front trouser pockets! Phones, wallets or change! So I have to have somewhere to put my bits.

Ed: My blue suede brogues.

5) I have to ask this one because I’ve seen it so much lately. Socks and sandals, the age old tradition of dads on their summer vacations – has it made a firm comeback for the younger generation?

Dan: Not for me personally. This is a big no no. But then again, As a 32 year old, I often look at the younger generation and feel slightly perplexed and not just because of fashion.

Kenz: It’s a no from me.

Josh: Yes it has made a come back but I would say socks and sliders is more in fashion that socks and sandals.

Alpesh: For me it’s a no no. When I see guy’s wearing socks with sandals I can only think that they are wearing it to hide hairy yucky toes or worse… crusty ones ! Sock’n’ sandals – not a good look (even if your name is David Beckham !)

Darren: I see the youngsters wearing “sliders”, the slip on with socks, but it seems to be confined to a casual indoor scene. I’ve certainly not seen any around London or in the office!

Paul: I’d sooner wear shoes made of wood! I’m certainly not a fashionable person, but when I do see guys doing that sort of thing, I always think “you’re doing that because you think it’s fashionable, not because it looks good – because clearly, it doesn’t!”

Jack: I’m quite glad I’ve not noticed this yet and I hope it’s not making a comeback! I’m not a fan but each to their own whatever people are comfortable in, saying that, there is a limit!! At home a white sock with the slider style sandals then fair enough but down to the pub or supermarket then no. There seems to be a lot of people that like to venture out in onesies or what look like pj’s these days. (palm of the hand over the face emoji).

Ed: I hope not 😦

6) As I’m sure you can tell from earlier posts, I am a huge fan of accessories. The perfect bag, shoes or jacket can finish off an outfit perfectly and also mixing and matching can rejuvenate those old pair of trousers in an instant. What is your favourite accessory and why? 

Dan: I am not a huge fan of accessories, a man of simple pleasures. A simple leather strapped watch is all I need to go with an outfit, whatever the weather.

https://www.olivercoen.com/ 

Kenz: Simple for me, Sunglasses. A good pair is an essential menswear accessory to finish any look – work or casual. I love my Cubitts Herbrands. Mine are the clear framed with black lenses. The reason I rate these is because they fit every occasion and they’re a UK based brand that make quality glasses at a good price point. They’ll also customise your order for the same price. Supporting the UK industries is a key goal of mine.

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Josh: Men’s Clutch Bag – Helps me keep/look after my personal items without having to stuff my pockets.

Alpesh: Mine has to be a black Sandquvist bag. It’s practicable, great design and has that urban city look about it, perfect for the commute into work.

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Darren: My favorite and perfect item is my watch, whether in short sleeve casual tees or full length double cuffed shirts, my watch never fails to attract attention and compliment my outfit.

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Paul: Cufflinks – a tasteful set of cufflinks can set off a shirt nicely.

Jack: Shoes are my favourite and I would say are almost an unhealthy obsession, but to name just one accessory it would have to be my Omega Seamaster. It’s obviously a luxury item but because of this I appreciate it when I wear it and it adds the finishing touches to an outfit. Not garish or overstating, doesn’t draw attention to itself and simple as a dress watch should be. For me personally less is more with most things and it can tell a lot about someone’s personality. My watch will easily accompany a smart suit or casual jeans, t-shirt and trainers. It’s comfortable, old but pristine and will last longer than me probably so I can pass it down to the next generation to look after. Plus it was a wedding present from my wife.

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Accessories separate people from uniforms and outfits and draw attention to the individuality of that person so you can tell a lot about who that person is or how they want to be seen. I have a simple bracelet I like to wear for smart and casual that accompanies my watch. It’s simple and inexpensive.

https://www.codismaya.com/shop/brass-bracelet-paddle-end/

Ed: Sunglasses, never leave home without in the summer 🙂

7) There has been a resurgence in recent times of comic book characters and retro games from the 80/90s are appearing in pop up bars and shops all over the capital. Did you have a favourite character or toy as a child and would you wear its image on a t-shirt at the weekend now?

Dan: I don’t recall having any standout toys or characters that stuck in my mind as a child. In the latter years, music became my passion. If I chose to wear something with a logo etc, it would have to be related to music. A favourite vest of mine, which I have had for years has a ‘Pink Floyd’ theme from their ‘Dark side of the Moon’ tour.

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Kenz: For me you can’t beat Batman. As a kid I was a massive fan of the comics and films, however I don’t really follow that trend. I like simply designed clothes, so I wouldn’t be following. 

Josh: Spider-Man – I wouldn’t wear a T-shirt with him printed on it though.

Alpesh: I loved everything about the 80’s/90’s. When films like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes or Star Wars kicked off in the 70’s, it really paved the way how sci-fi film’s were seen and perceived by its audience in the 80s and 90’s. You had the best directors like Spielberg telling heart felt stories or the likes of Ridley Scott portraying such intense suspense and captivating the audience in space. Nowadays sci-fi/ superhero films have become somewhat of a cash-cow for film producers. Not sure if the passion and thoughtfulness for a good superhero film is there anymore. In short, if there was – it would be Superman 🙂

Darren: Yes, I enjoyed shows such as The A-Team, Airwolf & Knight Rider, all of which look great on a retro print t-shirt.

Paul: I was a bit of a Sonic the Hedgehog fan when I was a kid…but as a man mid-30s, I wouldn’t wear a T-Shirt with it on now! At the weekend, if I wouldn’t go on a date wearing it, I don’t wear it!

Jack: I was never really a fan of comics and never really a big gamer but I remember my first favourite character or toy was Spot the Dog so yes I’d quite happily wear that on a t-shirt today under a bomber jacket or under an open shirt. The 90’s programs stick in my memory the most such as the animals of farthing wood, Bodger and Badger or Chucklevision!! I’d quite happily wear a t-shirt with these emblazoned on the front and have done in the past. I suppose it’s quite cool and retro to wear stuff like that now as their older, I think if I rocked up somewhere with a Peppa pig t-shirt I may look a bit creepy.

Ed: I never wear slogan or novelty t-shirts, ever!

8) In many offices today, companies allow a more relaxed approach to corporate attire on Fridays. Is it as hard for men as women to decide what to wear on a Friday (questions like did I wear this last week or is this too casual seem to run through my mind) compared to your standard Monday to Thursday attire?

Dan: Personally, I very rarely worry about my attire. I am very much someone who likes to do what feels right for me and is especially comfortable. If that means wearing the same thing twice in a week, I am all for it! As long as it has been washed.

Kenz: Well for me causal Friday’s is easy for me as you might of already realised from my answers above I’m a simple man. So all black works for me most Friday’s, I’m not ashamed to say it. Luckily for me my work place is very chilled, so a pair of jeans and a an oversized T-shirt is the go to. Coupled with a nice pair of sneakers/trainers. I may be a  28 year old professional, but still a child at heart.

Josh: Easier for men – Women are spoilt for choice in clothing & take more pride in how they present themselves.

Alpesh: Not really – I would just wear chino’s and a shirt. Sometimes I would just wear what I would typically wear on a weekday because sometimes it’s just easier – stress free Fridays! 🙂

Darren: Yes, in our office the “casual Friday” is not properly designated with some people coming in like they do Monday to Thursday, some with jeans, some with shorts. I think that companies could communicate more by sending out standard guidelines including if clients are expected in as well etc. In regards to choosing an outfit, it can be difficult as the thought of being too casual creeps in, which means that I generally dress like I do all week, except swapping a polo shirt for a work shirt, so not very casual!

Paul: I fully support the dress-down-Friday – I think it contributes to the good office atmosphere prior to the weekend. The main (rather tedious) issue in deciding what to wear I find is “will this violate company rules?” Companies vary of course, but where I work the guidelines are rather restricting, and sticking to them does rather limit what you can wear. I tend to gravitate towards smart-casual as my “standard” attire anyway so it’s not too difficult – but it is easy to slip into the trap of wearing the same “safe” items over and over – particularly with trousers.

Jack: Personally, I don’t find it hard but I do take a while to decide what to wear. This process can be week long, not necessarily a conscious decision taking a week to decide but ongoing in my head, but I plan ahead so I’m prepared and comfortable. I’ll then iron a couple of options and decide in the morning. I’ll not wear the same shirt a week apart, not because anyone would notice and comment but I know as an almost natural reaction I will unconsciously scan what someone is wearing, then I’ll notice if they have a new shirt from the normal collection or a new Friday casual knitted Polo like someone in the next bay to me : ). I would assume this is not the norm for most men but everyone is different I suppose. I probably take more time deciding what to wear on a Friday, as it can show more of your personality and more of what you wear casually rather than the office uniform. I probably have more casual weekend clothes than work clothes so I still like to make an effort. I will wear different shoes, maybe Suede tassel loafers (again!) or a boat shoe, something not as formal In the summer I will sometimes not wear socks or take them off when leaving work, you can buy good hidden shoe socks from a lot of places that obviously help your feet breathe and make them more comfortable. Comfortable jeans and shirt or t-shirt, again finishing it off with a jacket from the casual jacket collection of the wardrobe ; ) Basically I like to change everything for a Friday even down to Aftershave/cologne.

Ed: Yes I sometimes go for a polo shirt on Fridays but I worry it is too casual and doesn’t feel and look as good as a nice oxford shirt.

9) Another trend I have noticed in recent years and fully applaud, is the colourful sock. Happy Socks to Penguin, bold primary colours or even matching sock and tie combinations – are you a firm believer and partaker of this? Is there such a thing as too outlandish or bright?

Dan: I am a big fan of happy socks. It started when I was bought a pair as a gift once, I wore them to work one day and someone pointed out that they looked ridiculous. Me being me, I ventured out and bought a lot more to add to the sock draw and it became a regular thing.

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Kenz: It’s a big fat yes for me. Generally work attire is quite boring, let’s face it. Shirt and Chino’s can only do so much. Match it all with a loud, bright pair of socks – its the best way to stand out and express yourself. My go to sock company would have be Paul Smith. He does the classic socks with the well know Paul Smith stripes, however that’s not what draws me to him to buy socks. They do some excellent flowered patterned socks, that work for me.

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Josh: Firm believer – Don’t personally take part in it – Brighter the socks the better.

Alpesh: Not at all, depending on what I am wearing I would wear a brighter sock on Friday’s and weekends. Why not…it’s fun and cheerful!

Darren: I personally wear a trainer sock at all times with standard colours. I believe that wearing a colourful sock or tie is great if it fits your personality and the situation. Some scenarios may not be suitable for a Homer Simpson Donut tie!

Paul: Colorful socks are good – but I think you have to be able to pull it off. For me, I prefer dark socks with coloured logos – these tend to go better with what I wear anyway; but I have seen quite a few cheeky colourful examples on my commute and, where well-chosen, they do look good – often a good contrast to quintessentially smarter colours.

Jack: I applaud the colourful sock in most cases. I have colourful socks, stripy socks, and polka dock socks but I wear them in specific situations and with specific outfits. With a full suit I will usually wear a plain sock or subtly patterned and pair this with my trouser colour, overall predominant colour or with my shoes depending on the rest of the outfit. I’ll wear colourful socks when I’m more casual with a pair of jeans and trainers so I feel it doesn’t look out of place. I believe there is too outlandish and bright especially if you don’t think about the full look and just wear yellow socks with any ensemble it looks tacky. It sounds strange but you have to pick the right colours to make it look like you haven’t thought about it but somehow it goes and looks good, not a lot of people can pull this off.

A good brand for smart colourful and patterned socks is the London Sock company. You can subscribe monthly and they send you a pair or selection of pairs each month that you choose beforehand.

https://www.londonsockcompany.com/luxury-socks-for-men-the-perfect-socks-for-all-occasions-of-colours-tastes-and-designs/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkvmE1Zf14wIVw7HtCh0iPAmkEAAYASAAEgIgavD_BwE

 

Ed: Yes and no!

10) And finally, for your fellow mankind who are seriously struggling with the warmer weather we have had in recent months, what tips would you give for looking smart but staying cool in the office in 2019 and beyond?

Dan: My tip is to not worry about what people think, wear what you want to wear, think about your comfort over looks.

Kenz: Fit is key when trying to stay cool and looking cool in the heat. So understand your body and dress to it. It will be timeless. Honestly it’s the best advice I could give.

Josh: Before you leave the house make sure you’ve showered, brushed your teeth and invested in some deodorant. Basic hygiene is something that will help with these issues and don’t wear colors that attract heat and cause you to sweat.

Alpesh: Wear thinner shirts, and chinos. Change at work so wearing more looser casual clothes on the commute to work in will keep you a step away from becoming flustered. If your work place has showers then use it.

Darren: Lighter trouser material, a decent pair of leather shoes and light cotton work shirts with a sleeve design that allows them to be rolled up properly to make a short sleeve. Opt for a cravat instead of tie, or add a smart light suit jacket to an open necked shirt to replace the tie.

Paul: Keep it light, keep it loose-fitting and leave the tie at home or in the desk drawer.

Jack: Adapt and think about it, make the effort. Update your wardrobe with a few key pieces that are purely for Summer. For work a pair of linen trousers or breathable chinos is a perfect addition, change the shirts you wear from dress cuff, to button down oxford or light cotton, with more room around the neck. Thinner socks, and breathable shoes. Change oxfords to penny loafers, change hard leather to suede, change black to tan. Little changes go a long way to keep cooler in the summer months, changes in colours and materials will make you feel more comfortable and make you feel good with how you look, confident. If you want to wear layers still as I do, make sure they’re the correct material or style, a linen field jacket or an overshirt with pockets for the weekday commute. Put Phones and wallets in bags not in trouser pockets! Buy shirts that actually fit around the chest and arms not the first one you see in the shop or online, take an extra 5 minutes to look at an item and try it on, feel the material, this will benefit you in the long run. For me fit is almost the most important thing but is generally not a priority for people, you don’t have to spend an extortionate amount of money to find your fit, just take a little extra time and get some advice if needed.

Here is a link to a blog that I read weekly, It’s great for people that have a passion for style and quality. I read it to get ideas, as the majority of clothes featured are the highest of quality and mostly bespoke so way out of my price range. Very interesting though.

https://www.permanentstyle.com/2017/08/how-to-dress-for-very-hot-weather.html

Ed: No suits, ties or man made fabrics, button down cotton open neck shirts are a must, plus chinos and suede shoes.

Thank you all so much for taking part in this interview, I am sure the readers and myself included feel so much more enlightened to the plights men face in the warmer climes also.

Until next time,

take care,

Keya x

Homely Houston.

Good afternoon to you my travel loving trendsetters,

This past weekend I returned back from a business trip to attend a training course. Although I have been to Texas once before, this time around I got to see and do a bit more to experience the great hospitality and homeliness in Houston.

(Image courtesy of google images)

On the first day I arrived in the US, I was taken to my hotel which was the Sorella in the City Centre and the pictures definitely did not disappoint. The rooms were modern, airy and spacious and the pool area was almost magical when it was lit up with twinkly lights after sunset. I spent my evenings meandering the pedestrianised walkways window shopping and deciding what restaurant to try next. (If you are ever in the area, I would really recommend the Smokehouse for their huge selection of barbecued meats and delicious salads)

I had heard that July was a particularly hot month in Texas but the humidity that sends your senses into overdrive the minute you step outside was definitely something to get acclimatised to. As usual, I was faced with the conundrum of what to pack which was both professional, office attire but also light and cool. I settled on fit and flare styles in bright prints with tanned Ralph Lauren sandals or knee length floaty dresses with embellished flats. I am sure those on my course could definitely tell I wasn’t from the US not only from my accent. Haha.

With Houston being a predominately Oil and Gas city, as you can imagine there were designer shops mixed in with your usual high street favourites catering for all bank balances and occasions. Some of the cars which were being valet parked outside my hotel were incredible too – a particular favourite of mine was this postbox red Ferrari.

One of the things which astounded me before and was proven once again on this trip is that southern charm really is infectious. From taxi drivers to restaurant staff, everyone was so friendly and genuinely seemed interested in your day which is so refreshing. With our busy lives working and living in London it can sometimes be a struggle to forget about the stresses of the day and smile 😊

Although my trip was short in duration, it definitely left a lasting memory in my mind. I love travelling – experiencing new walks of life and cultures and I can pretty much guarantee that no matter which city you visit in America, it will be completely different from the last in a good way.

Where will your adventures take you next?

Until next time,

Take care, Keya x

Green garden

Good morning to you my nature loving readers,

From earlier posts you would know that I LOVE travel. Whether it be practising yoga amongst the rice paddy fields in Bali or relaxing on the beach in Cyprus – I am in my element. For the past few months however, I have stayed a little closer to home and visited some beautiful places within the UK. For this months post I wanted to delve into the garden just beyond our doorsteps.

My parents have been taking me on holiday since I was three years old, my first destination being Portugal. Although I cannot remember that trip specifically, the bug must have stuck because as I’ve got older I have tremendously enjoyed researching new countries to visit – either going with family, friends, as a couple or on my own! I guess, I just never really considered staying in the UK for my summer holiday – boy was I wrong though.

I love this time of year in the UK. When the sun is shining, everything just seems to come alive. The grass looks greener, the flowers in full bloom and it just makes me want to get outside and enjoy nature at its finest.

Growing up as a teenager I loved Kate Moss, as I can imagine many girls my age did at the time. I remember reading an interview she gave where she said that when she wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of London she went to her country home in the Cotswolds, only a few hours away so that was our first short weekend break location. We spent our days filled with long forest hikes, stopping off for quaint country pub lunches and finding local gems to explore for our evening entertainment.

Our next stop was Warwickshire. When we were looking for places to stay the Wroxall lodge and spa was our instant favourite. The mansion has been standing since the 1800s, and I loved how it still had original features like the bell telephone system and the ornate fireplaces in each room. Around every country bend there was another cosy pub which were mostly dog and children friendly. We instantly felt like we were welcome and one of the locals. If you are staying in this area, for a great coffee spot try the Cowshed and for dinner you must secure a reservation at Robbie’s restaurant. On our last night, we had a seven course french taster menu which was simply out of this world and great value for money.

Including a weekend stop over in Bath last year and several trips to the North East under my belt, I can safely say my passport is staying put for the time being as there are still so many exciting areas I would love to explore on our green shores.

Until next time,

Take care

Keya x

Power dressing – the feminine touch.

Good afternoon to you my sleek stylistas,

Well so much has changed since my last blog post. After much deliberation and decision making, we decided to end our chapter in Qatar and I am now living back home in London. I have also since started a new job – slightly more senior than I had been previously which is a huge challenge but mega exciting. Quite fittingly for this months post we are going to delve into the tricky world of power dressing but keeping it feminine.

All images courtesy of google images)

Whenever I hear the words power dressing, I can’t help but be reminded of Oliver Twist – sooty faced chimney sweeps on one end of the spectrum and gentlemen in elegant three piece suits with a slick hairstyle to match on the other. It does seem like quite an old fashioned notion especially as today’s fast fashion is one in which we embrace our individuality and what we wear today is yesterday’s news once it’s picture has been posted on social media – however power dressing has had a serious upheaval in recent years.

As I recall I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, the very first time I watched the series Suits on TV with Jessica wearing an one shouldered monochrome dress with sky high Christian Louboutins and Rachel in fitted a line dresses or shirts and pencil skirt combos I was sold. I knew that I wanted to improve the way I dressed in the office too.

One of the fond memories I have from living in a conservative state in the UAE is it really made me think twice about the length of my skirt or whether my shoulders were covered each day. I really liked how elegant I felt in midi skirts or floaty long sleeve tops and trousers. I have always believed in the less is more approach to dressing anyway so being covered up in the work place felt natural and comfortable.

In my new role I wanted to embrace that new style into my wardrobe so I find my day to day go to’s are knee length fitted dresses with a jacket and heels or tailored chinos with a smart top and heels. It really doesn’t have to cost a fortune, I find by mix and matching my jackets or cardigans or shoes with certain outfits it can look completely new and is extremely versatile.

Because my days are so fluid in the office also I never know when I will have to attend an impromptu meeting so I find a simple shift dress with paired back accessories and simple hair can take you from boardroom to after work team building with ease.

One of my absolute style crushes for work wear at the moment is Amal Clooney. She effortlessly puts outfits together so beautifully and she looks amazing whether she is attending a red carpet event or spending a day in the office. There is something so chic about a twin set and pearls and she really pulls off the old school 50s Hollywood glamour.

So whether you prefer a sharply tailored suit or a ankle length pleated dress and jacket for your work wardrobe, just remember in a proverbial mans world we can still be feminine and on trend with or without the trousers in the board room.

Until next time,

Take care

Keya x