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.

ce0a973b08e84fab9b831792a9e5ef15

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.

shoes

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.

1

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.

longline2016-tees

(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.

85246cc9-ae2e-4460-96c3-8acbf1ab5397

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.

0244f221-488e-4289-8c25-bad4dc91be56

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.

10

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.

9

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.

6

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.

617fQtMHhxL._SY355_

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.

httpsasset.productmarketingcloud.comapiassetstorage233_c5d9c9b2-a78e-4374-9af6-58f18603bc8fmagentoimage

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.

3dda864b-c6eb-4ecf-bae5-ec68a2eae141

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

An ode to Oud

Good day to you my sweetly perfumed patrons,

Just over a month into my time here in the Middle East, I felt it imperative to immerse myself in the local culture and traditions as much as possible. It is such a different way of life to my own upbringing back in the UK, but immensely interesting.

As a predominately Muslim country, I have personally witnessed many people taking part in Wudu, which is the religious ceremony of washing one’s hands, faces, feet and arms prior to prayer. Another facet to this ritual of cleanliness is scent which is what I wanted to delve into in this months post.

When you walk into any fragrance store here you are instantly subjected to an overload to the senses. Firstly you have the utter visual beauty of the glass bottles displayed on the shelves, secondly the heady scents of incense, Amber and the rich woody texture of Oud fills your nostrils and finally tracing your fingertips over the amazing tapestry of presentation boxes can easily transport you to a traditional store in a souk in Morocco or Saudi Arabia.

Auod/ Oud or agar wood as it is also known, is one of the most expensive woods in the world with an average price per kilo as QAR 40,000. The wood can be burned on its own to perfume an individuals home, or more commonly the oil from it is used as the base for many perfumes. It’s rich, powerful aroma is instantly recognisable.

With agar wood as the base note of the scent, other delights like incense, Amber, or strawberry (the list could go on) are amalgamated to form the most incredible scents. Many are unisex with women preferring the bolder hints of the masculine eau’s and the lighter, more fruity feminine fragrances are used by men subsequently.

The delightful concoctions are not just limited to our skin either with many people opting for perfumed hair sprays and body musks to ensure they all are smelling deliciously fresh and clean in the summer heat.

These fragrances are not just a wonder for our noses either, the opulent and luxurious bottle designs would not look out of place in the palace of Versailles, however we too can have our own slice of exquisiteness on our dressing tables at home.

It is utterly impossible not to walk out of an Arabian perfume shop without having a huge smile on your face and more than likely owning your own personal scent bottle also. Our senses are heightened everyday with the world around us and sometimes a certain smell can remind us of a lost loved one or transport us back to a childhood memory at the drop of a hat.

We decide everyday what outfit, lipstick colour or shoes to wear, who says our perfume choice can’t be included in our daily routine also?

Until next time,

Take care

Keya x

Otherworldly Oman

Good day to you my travel loving adventurers,

I cannot believe it has been so long since I last posted, but once again I have flown the proverbial nest and I’ve joined my partner in the Middle East in his new career opportunity which is incredibly exciting.

Within 24 hours of arriving in Qatar, we were en route to Oman for a short break. Considering I have never been to the UAE previously, it felt very jet set visiting two countries in short succession but Oman is truly breathtaking and definitely a must visit.

On our first day we hired a car for the duration of our stay (which we ended up being so grateful for in the end) and checked out the local mall for some lunch. We then headed to the port where we glimpsed lofty vessels moored in the harbour from around the world and with the incredible backdrop of mountains and ancient forts dotted all around us.

We then visited the popular souk where we were met with sense heightening smells of incense and spices in the air, mixed with visual displays of pure cashmere scarves, harem trousers and to my delight oodles and oodles of silver jewellery. I managed to find the most incredible pair of sterling silver handmade earrings which were priced on the weight of the metal not a tourist laden price – it was a lovely memento to take back with me.

On our second day we embarked on an incredible drive through the mountain ranges once again an hour and a half out of Muscat to visit Wadi Shab. After browsing the night before, must do things in Oman this tropical oasis was one of them and it certainly did not disappoint 😊 We arrived at the location and had to get a little boat to the opposite island where we had a tough 30-45 minute hike through unbelievable scenery to the fresh water lake in the depths of the mountains. We happily plunged into the freezing cold water and embarked on the series of lagoons, eventually finding ourselves in a cavern where we climbed a rope laden waterfall to yet another water wonderland. It was spectacular, a real pinch yourself moment.

During our trip we also visited the magnificent Grand Mosque where I was asked to cover my arms and head in respect of it’s religious significance. We laid our eyes on one of the largest chandeliers and woven carpets in the world. I just couldn’t believe the sheer size of that vast but intimate space.

Another must see if you get the chance and are able to get a reservation is to have dinner at the Al Bustan Palace hotel. This positively regal establishment is beautiful beyond words and I am so happy we got to experience the heartwarming local hospitality. Our table overlooked the ocean and you could hear the waves lapping the shore as we dined. Our appetites were gracefully satiated with tuna sashimi, steaks and king fish with the freshest vegetables and Parmesan dusted fries. It is making my mouth water now thinking about it.

We completed our short trip in Muscat by visiting a traditional Omani restaurant where we tried camel Biriani, shark soup and beef Tagine with fresh dates and apricots. What an unlikely but delicious combination I can assure you.

And then before we knew it, we were on our way back to Qatar and our mini break was complete but wow with so many amazing memories to take away with us. Oman it was short, but oh so sweet. It is hopefully not good bye but see you soon.

Until next time take care,

Keya x

Forza Italia

Good day to you my stylish superstars,

This past week we saw Milan Mens Fashion Week and it did not disappoint. For this instalment, I have picked out the key looks which certainly piqued my interest for the start of 2018.

(All images courtesy of google images)

1) Colour

Whether it was suits in bold primary colours or just a hint in a tie or sock, this year was all about colour. Continuing with the theme of trouser legs tapering in tight at the ankle and paired with a box fresh pair of trainers, this look was everywhere last week. If you are a little uncomfortable with going with head to toe colour, ease into it with one standout piece (it could even be a colourful pocket-chief to begin with) then as your confidence improves, up the standout ante.

2) Head and Eyewear combos.

From earlier posts, you would know I LOVE sunglasses. In my opinion, there is nothing that brings an outfit together like a perfectly coordinated pair of eyewear. This season though, when these eye wonders were paired with a fedora or trilby, it amped up the style to an 11. Even in the harshest of European winters, there is no excuse to not keep your head warm while still looking chic. There are so many varieties of hats on the market also, there is certainly one to match every occasion.

3) Tailoring.

I am such a huge fan of tailoring in my own wardrobe. The impact a perfectly fitting suit jacket worn over an a-line dress is dramatic at best, so you can imagine my delight when I saw how tailoring featured heavily in the catwalk shows in Milan. From three piece double breasted with accompanying pocket watches to the classic staple of a city work suit, I love the clean lines and simplicity of this trend. I am sure it is one to continue for many years to come.

4) Mellow yellow.

I am a huge SUMMER lover, especially in London so anything that reminds me of this season during the cold winter months is alright with me. The cat walks were awash with every shade of yellow and it just instantly puts a smile on my face. You can honestly go as bright as you dare and there really are no rules when it comes to this hue. Either pastel, canary or mustard – go with whichever shade works with your skin tone to incorporate this colour into your winter wardrobe.

5) The younger generation stealing the show.

We all know that fashion is evolving but style is everlasting. I still can recall, having Doc Marten boots in every colour to match whatever outfit I was wearing for the day when I was a child and I definitely think my love of Fashion was ingrained in me from birth. The younger generation were definitely stealing the show this year also, from two tone trench coats to father/ son matching aplenty but one thing I know for sure, these stylish young gentleman are surely going to be on our fashion radars for many decades to come.

These are just a few highlights from the awe inspiring Uomo Pitti 2018 but if there are any trends here that you just love, then my advice is to GO FOR IT. The world really is your oyster when it comes to personal style. Although we all have fashion fails at times, surely it’s more fun to have given it a try than to always play it safe.

Until next time,

Take care Keya x

Tis the season…to up the style ante.

Good day to you my festive friends,

As the Christmas period fast approaches and with so much emphasis on present buying, house decorating and general indulgence, it can sometimes be hard to even begin to think about what to wear during this holiday season. Well, that is where this months post will come in handy. I’ve selected my favourite styles for both men and women to help you get through the next few weeks looking and feeling fabulous.

(All Images courtesy of google images)

Ladies, let’s begin. My first trend is Lace. Now if you are like me, looking for the perfect dress for any occasion you are drawn to this whimsical fabric, then you are in luck as at Christmas lace is always uber chic. You can glam up a simple dress with statement earrings and some classic court shoes paired with a nice bejewelled Alice band for that work Christmas luncheon.

Next we have, you guessed it sparkly. Whether it be in the form of beads or sequins, in all of the shop windows currently there is a glittering little number taking centre stage. If you are a tad nervous of dressing head to toe in this look, then a sequin clutch or even a diamanté detail on your shoes can be your ode to this trend and still make you centre stage.

On the third day of Christmas we have my favourite colour, Red. No matter what your hair colour or skin complexion red can suit anyone. The trick is in the shade you go for. If you are brunette like me, the fire engine red really sets off my olive skin or if you are fairer, picking a red with a slight orange tinge will really work wonders. The plus side of wearing such a traffic stopping dress also means you can play it safe with your accessories and makeup. Let the outfit do the hard work.

On the fourth day of Christmas we have the trouser playsuit. If over the summer months, you lived in your flirty short suit, sandals and beach hair then you are going to love the tailored trouser suits which are in the shops currently. Apart from the inconvenience of needing a zip friend when using the amenities, these hard working power suits really can be dressed up or down dependant on the occasion. I am always drawn to the more structured, form fitting styles just because it suits my body shape but really this style suits everyone. As long as the leg length is tapered to give you that gorgeous peep of ankle and you team it with a beautiful pair of shoes to elongate your legs, we all can feel like Amazonian models in the playsuit.

And on the fifth day of Christmas, we have the printed dress. I LOVE colour, especially in the dreary winter months it always puts a smile on my face. So, what better way to feel good than to wear a beautiful printed dress. Whether it be floral, galactic or even art noir – whatever tickles your fancy just go with it. With black opaque tights, ankle boots and a cross body bag – this is the epitome of edgy but fashion forward.

And now over to the magnificent men who also deserve to look and feel a million pounds this Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas we have the tuxedo jacket. Dependent on where you intend to go for New Years Eve, perhaps you will get the chance to wear a classic tuxedo with bow tie (a masquerade ball is always a chance to really dress up) but if not, the tuxedo jacket always completes an outfit. Pair with a button down collar shirt, tan chinos and tasselled loafers and I am sure you will turn a few heads this year.

On the second day of Christmas we have the polo neck. Try to forget about times past when the only association you had with these high necked delights were your slightly eccentric uncle who you only saw at key holiday periods throughout the year in his pastel hued one teamed with canary yellow trousers. They have had a revamp and teamed with a well cut pair of suit trousers and patent shoes you can look boardroom to high society party in moments.

On the third day of male movie star worthiness, I present to you the luxe fabric which is Velvet. I still have pictures of me as a child dressed in velvet corduroy skirts matched with stripy knitted tights and to this day I still love the elegant aesthetic it gives on both men and women. I particularly love the wine coloured hue which has frequented catwalks this season. To downplay a jacket in this colour, I would team it with a black slim fit cotton shirt, black skinny jeans and desert boots – what a gorgeous combination.

Finally to finish off the male category by putting a smile on your face, who doesn’t love patterned socks. The trend has garnered such a cult following, that there is now a brand called Happy Socks which I am sure you all are already sporting. It just makes me feel warm inside when I see their displays in London department stores. But in this festive season dare to show your individuality with a flash of flouro, classic red or even Christmas themed with trees, snowman and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. By keeping the rest of your outfit neutral, let your feet do the talking.

Whichever sex you are, Christmas is all about being with your loved ones, having lots of wonderful home cooked treats but also it is a chance to relax your usual day to day style and be a little more creative. No jumper, headwear or slipper is too much – indulge your inner child. I certainly will be 😀

Until next time,

Take care

Keya x

Class act 

Good morning my Chic chameleons,

What with all that has been happening in politics and in the media over the last few months, my focus has really been brought to the fact that although some people have abundant levels of resources or money, it still does not buy class or poise. I think these are attributes you are either born with or not, anyone can put on a Chanel jacket but this does not always make you the woman who Coco prided herself in dressing.

I thought for this weeks post I would go through my top six people in the public eye both past and present, who I have always thought exude elegance and style.


(All images courtesy of google images)

1) Grace Kelly

I have such fond memories of when I was a little girl during the summer when my mum was doing the washing, I also would wash all my Barbies clothes and hang them on the line at the same time. Once our “work” was done we would go inside and there would always be an old black and white movie playing in the background. This was the first time I ever laid eyes on Grace Kelly. To me she looked like a real life princess with her regal features and perfectly coiffed hair long before she actually married the Prince of Monaco.

2) Audrey Hepburn

My love for black and white movies continued from then on and I was soon introduced to the wonderful Audrey Hepburn. I have watched Breakfast at Tiffanys countless times ogling over the wonderful designs from Givenchy and it was that film which gave me the inspiration to always incorporate a little black dress in my own wardrobe.

3) David Gandy 

I still remember the day when I saw the Dolce and Gabbana light blue perfume advert on the tv for the first time. The contrast between the clear ocean reflected in his eyes and his tanned skin set off by his white swimming trunks, I was transfixed. The cinematography of that advert was mesmerising. David Gandy is the first known male supermodel in the world and his style off the catwalk is as classical and elegant as on the runway. All of his three piece suits are tailored on Saville Row in London -the clean lines and fit are truly unmistakable.

4) Natalie Portman

I have always loved the films that Natalie has made over her career but I think her defining role for me was in V for Vendetta. The scene where she has her head shaved is so raw and heart wrenching I instantly had compassion for her. I know how important hair can be to some women but as I have also had a buzz cut style a few times in my 20’s, I found it liberating. You cannot hide behind you hair any longer, your face is on full display and also it grows back so quickly I think experimenting with styles and colours is so much fun. 

5) James Dean

My childhood crush when I was in primary school of Macauley Caulkin (who didn’t think he was the cutest in Home Alone and Ritchie Rich) soon escalated onto James Dean when I reached secondary school. His smouldering all American good looks and uniform of a plain white T shirt under a rugged leather biker jacket was so rebellious and so far removed from all the other lead actors in films during that time. I absolutely love nautical stripes as I’ve told you before so this photo below really sums up why he features on my list.

6) Marilyn Monroe

And finally I have saved the best for last, my wonderful idol and timeless muse Ms Monroe. Ever since I can recall, the tradition for my family on Christmas Day is to watch Some Like it Hot in the evening. I have seen it probably a hundred times but I still love it. My favourite moment ever is when she comes bustling along the train platform in her fitted pencil skirt, stopping to straighten the seam down the back of her stockings – she just exudes sexiness and femininity. Even though her personal life plagued the headlines more than her film reputation she is still my favourite on screen heroine. She was both sensual but approachable which is proven by the amount of women as well as men who adored her. You are greatly missed MM but as we both share our birthdays in the month of June, I will always pay a tribute to you on your special day 😍



Although these are just a handful of the instantly recognisable faces who have helped shape my childhood, there are many more who I seek daily inspiration from online or in magazines. Those public figures have taught me that less really is more, I do not need to have all of my assets on show to be seen as attractive and also that no matter how successful financially or in my career I become that being classy and chic is not nurtured in an individual but something I certainly aspire to have been born with. Making good choices in your wardrobe and in life in general, will certainly lead you on the right path. 

Until next time take care

Keya X

Brawn & Brains

Good day my sports loving stars,
As you will have read in my earlier posts, I am a keen sports enthusiast and over the years I have competed in a range of sports from Athletics, triathlons and running races. For any kind of event you are training for,  it really helps your performance and to reach your goals to be disciplined with your diet and training so I have the utmost respect for anyone who excels in their sporting field which brings me perfectly to my guest this week.
Please welcome my friend Steve, who is UKBFF British bodybuilding champion under 80 KG and owner of Extreme Nutrition store in Romford.
 img_7109-1
Hi Steve, thanks for agreeing to take part in this interview. For the purpose of my followers, what do you do for your day job?
I am the managing director of Extreme Nutrition, a supplement and health store located in Romford, Essex and we have an online site too. I also am a competition prep coach, preparing athletes to compete in bodybuilding, physique and fitness shows.

 

img_7116

When you aren’t training for a competition what do you do in your spare time? 
 I like to read personal development books and articles.  I also like to read and research training and nutritional studies.
Is there any truth to the myth, that the body is mostly built in the kitchen not the gym? Is it mostly down to diet what separates the best from the average bodybuilders?
It’s true that diet is the most important element and you are absolutely built from what goes on in the kitchen. But in order to be the best you need to do everything with 100% effort and consistency. This part is the key to achieve not only a shredded physique but a conditioned one!! This is what wins shows… Of course lots of time in the gym supports this but it’s about delivering workouts that are consistent, with good form day in, day out!
img_7107
What is your standard outfit for working out in? 
Extreme nutrition jogging bottoms and hoodie and for cardio I drop down to Nike combat running tights for support and agility. Of course you need good footwear so Otomix for workouts and Asics for cardio.
Do you get any merchandise from your sponsors or do you prefer to stick to the brands that are tried and tested which work for you?
  I do, but I always keep to the Extreme Nutrition tracksuits as branding is key to creating a strong business and personal reputation. But I do mix it up with xxxl wear who make great gym tops and of course I always stay faithful to the Nike running tights and footwear mentioned above.
Being as ripped as you are, is it hard to fit into “regular” sized clothes? Are there are any shops that cater for athletes especially?
 Trousers and jeans especially can be a pain to find however when I find something that suits me I buy loads. I find Uniqlo great for trousers which generally have a wider leg fit. I’m also a big fan of All Saints tops and there is a great new longwear range (longer length tops etc) for men from Topman and H and M.

image2 (1)

What does an typical day in your life consist of?
Get up, shower, gym, train weights, cardio, sauna, work, commute home with my little boy, bath, dinner, bed … Repeat.

 

Besides competing, what else are your true passions?
 Reading and going away to spas, massages, pampering, pedicures – it’s important to look after yourself and your well being. Spending quality time with my wife and children.

 

And finally for anyone wishing to get into body building or even just to get healthier, do you have any advice to a complete beginner?

Stay consistent and be persistent. You have to get into this sport with true love, where you live and breathe it – everything you do, do it with integrity. Whether it’s your diet, exercise or general well being, the results will come.

 image6
Please check out Steve on his website extremenutrition.co.uk or follow him on Instagram @extremenutritionstore where you to can take that first step to a better you 😀
Until next time take care
Keya X

Awesome Australia 

Good day my wonderful wanderers, 

I hope you had a lovely month of March and Easter break, enjoying the time with your families, eating and being merry and just having some well needed time off.

I just returned from a fabulous vacation in Australia. It was my first time visiting that part of the world and I can confirm that I left a little part of my heart there. It really is such a vast, beautiful expanse with abundant nature, gorgeous coastlines and trendy cities. This was the view from the Brisbane river at night – simply spectacular.

  
I am such a beach girl at heart, give me sand between my toes and the sun on my face and I am smiling from the inside out. Whilst in Aus I was lucky enough to visit a fair few of them from Byron Bay to Coolangatta to Burleigh heads and each had their own unique personality. The white sands stretched as far as the eye could see and the ocean was as wild and unruly as my hair most mornings. Haha. 

  
   
 

I couldn’t believe it when I arrived to my accommodation and opposite there was a Westfield shopping centre. I had travelled nearly an entire day to get there and I was instantly transported back to one of the many shopping centres I frequent back home in London. Albeit the shops inside were slightly different but when I was in need of some beach shorts or to get my nails done, I knew I would be in luck in there. 

  
It was incredible to me how everything is so accessible also. If we drove 45 minutes from Brisbane we were on the Gold Coast or the same distance inland we arrived in a tropical paradise. The falls at Mount Tamborine were truly breathtaking. Who would have known after walking in the brush for 15 minutes this natural wonder would be revealed. 

   
 
One of the highlights of my trip was snorkelling over the Great Barrier Reef. We flew to Cairns and did a whole day tour of the reef. The choppy conditions on our way out to the reef were quickly replaced by the incredible views beneath the water. It was like an alternate universe as soon as I put my face beneath the surface and I and I am still pinching myself that we did it.

   
 Exploring this beautiful country was an absolute experience of a lifetime for me. I got to see Australia from a local perspective not as a tourist per se and I could even turn a blind eye at the thought of giant spiders, cockroaches and sharks whilst being surrounded by such natural wonders. It is not good bye Australia, but see you again.

Until next week, take care

Keya X 

Music maverick.

I have always been fascinated with the relationship between Music and Fashion. It truly amazes me when you hear a song on the radio from your teenage years and it instantly reminds you of the shocking t-shirt and trousers combo and hairstyle you were sporting when it was released. Haha.

For this weeks post I am interviewing one of my old school friends Tom Armstrong. He has that uber cool blend of personal style combined with an innate talent of knowing what is current in the music world also.

Keya – Hi Tom, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview for me. For the purpose of my followers, can you tell me what you do for a living?

Tom – I help run a creative agency with James Brown, who started Loaded magazine and went on to edit GQ among other titles. We have an online magazine called Sabotage Times and also do creative projects for brands.

Keya – I can see from your everyday style, you also are into Fashion. Does this go hand in hand with your profession? How did you get into your line of work?

Tom – Yeah I suppose it does – I work a lot with menswear brands and still do the odd bit of writing about style. It took me a while to work out what I wanted to do. I didn’t go to uni or get any A levels and I didn’t have a clue how to get into the media, I just sent loads of emails out with my writing and hoped someone would notice me, haha.

Keya – Is there a dress code at your work place?

Tom – Unless I’ve got a meeting I’m usually at home in a tracksuit haha.

Keya – What are your hobbies in your spare time and what are your “go-to” pieces that you always turn to at weekends?

Tom – Music. I spend so much time listening to new stuff it doesn’t leave much time for anything else. I’ve been DJing for years with three good mates and have been lucky enough to play some amazing gigs. We’re all into our clothes too, in fact two of them run a menswear label called Ardour Brand.

Keya – Are there any trends that you have seen in A/W 2015, S/S 2016 that you already have your eye on from the men’s collections?

Tom – It’s probably an old cliche but I don’t really pay much attention to trends. That’s not to say I’m not inspired by stuff all the time, just not necessarily what the catwalk dictates. At the moment I love the Ivy League style of the 50s and 60s – how very simple pieces can look superb when they’re put together well.

Keya – Looking back, what key trend past or present can you just NOT?

Tom – That whole Shoreditch nu-rave thing was pretty bastard about 10/15 years ago.

Keya -If you could only take 5 items to a deserted island, what would they be?

Tom – I’d dress like Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley. There could be hundreds of desert islands out there with blokes in fire outfits and no wifi connection to upload their pics to Instagram. It does make you think.

Keya – And lastly, where do you see the Men’s Fashion industry going in the next 5-10 years? Are there any major throwback looks which you see making a comeback in 2016?

Tom -In my opinion, the fashion industry is a bulky old machine that’s out of sync with the 21st century. I’d like to see more start-ups become successful by selling direct to their customers at a fair price, and I’d like designers to have a bit of imagination when showing their collections. Two catwalk shows a year at the same boring events aren’t going to cut it for much longer.

And there you have it guys, what an awesome insight into the wonderful world of Tom. Keep an eye out for him on social media (@sabotagetimes) on Instagram and at a trendy London bar near you in the future.

Until next week, take care

Keya x

David Bowie – Style Chameleon

Hello my Ziggy Stardust Extroadinares,

It is with great sadness that I write this weeks post after hearing of the news of David Bowie passing away this past weekend. I have decided to dedicate this post to the legend of a man he was and the mark he has permanently left on the world.

 

Even though his heyday was before I was even born, I like most people was touched by his music and could relate to his lyrics. His stage persona and style was infamous. He was known for pushing the boundaries of fashion – telling people to embrace being different 😀 I have picked some of my favourite looks below over his expansive career and how they have influenced me.


I personally loved how he reinvented himself over and over again. The stripes and shoulder details of the outfit above with the PVC knee high boots and his electric red hair is edgy and theatrical. This look reminded me of his character in the Labyrinth. The full body leotards and electric shock hair style was both frightening and cool in that film. Even on the catwalk today, bodies are being worn under chiffon midi length skirts and heels and even in my own wardrobe I have some long sleeve stretchy tops that I wear under my jumpers in the winter.

  
As a huge fan of sharp tailoring, I love the padded shoulders and slim fit style of this suit. With the addition of the gingham socks, fedora hat, sunglasses and braces Bowie makes this look effortless and uber comfortable, as if he is adding his own personal twist to a classic piece. In my own every day style I love wearing a crisp white shirt and tailored trousers with one of my wool bowler hats and brogue shoes whilst on a night out or at the weekend.


This look instantly reminds me of the T Birds from the movie Grease. Growing up, I had such a crush on Danny Zuko with his biker jacket and slicked back, perfect hair. Bowie looks tough but with his chiselled good looks, also approachable and someone you would want to have in your circle of friends. I cannot wait to get out my leather jacket in the spring time.


Even into his 60s Bowie rocked buttoned up shirts paired with a blazer and roll neck jumpers matched with cigarette leg pants. In the cold weather we are currently having in the city, I love wearing a wool roll neck jumper tucked into a pencil skirt or a tailored jumper underneath a round neck jumper for work.

With his mismatched eyes and “free” androgynous attitude to his appearance David Bowie truly was one of a kind. He truly influenced so many people in the way they dressed, carried themselves or even helped through tough times in their lives with his music. He will be missed by fashion and music lovers alike all over the world.

Until next week, take care

Keya X