Essential Tips: Shirts

Shirting is one of the easiest areas to refresh in our style arsenal, but with such a vast array of designs to choose from, where do you begin? Our easy to follow guide will help you sort your Oxfords from your Marcellas, and have you looking crisp and polished whatever the occasion.

The White Shirt

1- £18 RRP from boohooMAN | 2- £25 RRP from M&S | 3- £55 RRP from Hawes & Curtis | 4- £325 RRP from Turnbull & Asser | 5- £85 RRP from Reiss

A backbone to both formal and casual looks, the white shirt remains a timeless menswear classic. With formal white shirts (defined by a stiff collar and long sleeves, sometimes with double cuffs), gents with a stockier or larger frame should opt for the classic fit, which offers a little more room. For slimmer gentlemen, opting for a closer slim cut can bring a more modern feel to the look. Lightweight casual white shirts are a great option for summer, and a loose-fitting linen or cotton style will be cooling whilst lending an artistic touch to your outfit.

Where to wear it: To work with your weekday tailoring, formal events and off-duty occasions layered beneath knitwear

Style tip: For a casual summer take, try a loose-fitting linen shirt with a pair of pastel chinos and loafers. Finish by nonchalantly rolling up your sleeves.

The Oxford Shirt

1- £95 RRP from Hackett | 2- £16 from boohooMAN | 3- £44,99 from Superdry | 4- £90 from GANT | 5- £120 from Thomas Pink

A menswear staple, every man will have one or two of these in his wardrobe. A casual style, the Oxford shirt is identified by its Oxford cloth, usually made of cotton or linen and woven with a fine basket-weave. Some Oxfords have a chest patch pocket, others are pocket-free and can either be plain or printed. Collars are often of the button-down variety. A casual classic, Oxford shirts are lightweight and ideal for layering with knitwear, or wearing solo in accordance with the season.

Style Tip: The Oxford shirt is a great all-rounder and can easily be smarted up with tailoring, or worn casually with denim. During colder spells, pair with a tweed blazer, swapping for a navy cotton jacket when the weather warms. On down days, simply team with a pair of indigo jeans and pop-colour diving loafers

Where to wear it: During casual weekends paired with chinos or denim, or smart- casual occasions with tailored trousers and a blazer.

The Printed Shirt

1- £50 RRP from ASOS | 2- £119 RRP from HUGO BOSS | 3- £20 RRP from boohooMAN | 4- £25 RRP from M&S | 5- £44,99 RRP from Superdry

Menswear is largely dominated by solid tones, so a printed shirt can add a welcome dash of pattern to your aesthetic. Whether you opt for an artful micro-print style, a traditional check or stripe or a bold floral print, a printed shirt will bring a fresh dimension to plain wardrobe staples. If a more subtle approach is your aim, a geometric micro-print shirt is a great way to introduce pattern in a quieter fashion, while the check shirt remains an essential ingredient in today’s menswear offering. For the more daring gent, an abstract or bloom motif is will lend a summery edge to any casual look.

Where to wear it: To offices with a creative outlook, after-hours drinks, weekend gatherings.

Style tip: It’s best to avoid pattern overkill. If you’ve opted for a printed shirt, pair it with solid-tone separates for a more considered approach. A micro floral-print shirt will look great layered with a slim-fitting navy blazer and dark-hued denim.

The Short-Sleeve Shirt

1- £22 RRP from ASOS | 2- £25,99 RRP from ZARA | 3- £20 RRP from NEXT | 4- £29,50 RRP from M&S | 5- £16 RRP from boohooMAN

Previously seen as a relic of our grandfather’s closet, short-sleeve shirts are back in a big way. Cotton or linen, plain or printed, the style is the perfect for the warmer months, making them a holiday wardrobe essential. Hawaiian shirts have shaken off their Magnum P.I. and tasteless tourist associations, and have become a bona fide summer style necessity, with high-end and high-street designers creating luxe, contemporary versions. Short-sleeve shirts have equal styling merit with shorts and sandals as they do with tailored trousers and chinos.

Where to wear it: Holidays in warmer climes, sultry days in the city, barbeques and summer outdoor jaunts

Style tip: Avoid dressing up a short-sleeve shirt too much, and leave it out of formal office ensembles. It definitely still works best in casual situations. Invest in a dark-hued Hawaiian shirt for your next jet-set break to warmer climes and team it with a pair of light grey linen shorts, leather sandals and your favourite retro-inspired sunnies for a nonchalant holiday look.

The Dinner Shirt

1- £29.50 RRP from Marks & Spencer | 2- £44.95 RRP from T.M.Lewin | 3- £89 from Hawes & Curtis | 4- £135 from Hackett | 5- £235 from Turnbull & Asser

The dinner shirt or dress shirt is a style we see less and less of these days with the relaxation of dress codes and the waning of black-tie events. Traditionally worn with a dinner suit, the style is identified by a pleated, plain or textured pique ‘bib’ front (known as a Marcella shirt) and double cuffs and is fastened with either enamelled metal dressed studs, or buttons. This style of shirt can have a wing collar or a classic spread collar. Traditional dinner shirts are cut in a classic fit, but contemporary slim fits are a considered choice, particularly if you’ve opted for a close-fitting jacket.

Where to wear it: Formal black tie functions

Style tip: Don’t feel obliged to opt for the more ubiquitous wing collar when choosing a dinner shirt. A classic spread collar offers a neater look as it folds over the neckband of your bowtie and keeps it in place. This is particularly useful if you don’t know how to tie your own bowtie and wish to conceal the clip and adjuster.

Words by Shane Kurup

The Best Swim Shorts Of The High Street

For over 100 years swimwear has dominated the fashion landscape throughout the summer months.

Swimwear is important as it takes you through a mountain of memories in your lifetime; from riding the waves, to wild swimming in a deserted lake, to hitting the hotel pool on the first day of your holiday. It’s important to make sure that the swimwear you choose both suits the situation and makes you feel confident and feeling your best. After all you want to make the best memories possible.

Men have a whole host of different swimwear options for consideration, from small briefs, to the slightly more giving trunks, to the everyman’s board shorts. With swim shorts being the most universal choice from both a suits-most-situations perspective and holding the highest preference among men, this article will be entirely focused around this classic cut.

The StyePilot team have handpicked the best swim shorts on the high street this Spring/Summer so you don’t have to go out hunting. Let us know which pair is your favourite in the comments section or on Instagram.

Thanks to our friends over at Hatherley Manor Spa for allowing us to shoot there.

Palm Tree Print Mid Length Swim Short by boohooMAN

£10.50 (usually £14 RRP). Shop at www.boohooman.com

Take the Mediterranean with you wherever you go this summer with these palm tree shorts. The dark purple base overlayed with green palm tree print means that you’re guaranteed to make a lasting impression wherever you are. The length of the shorts come comfortably above the knee, with the fabric feeling premium creating a fit that will compliment most men. Pair with a plain white tee to draw attention to the palm tree print.

Echo Racer Swim Shorts by Superdry

£29.99 RRP. Shop at www.superdry.com

These shorts are instantly recognisable as Superdry and will definitely make a statement when you rock up at the beach. The dark navy panels meshed with light blue and pink panels make a fantastic colour-block combination for this season. You’ll be very thankful for the quick dry technology when you forget to pack the towel. The shorts also come in a variety of other prints including all-over ice lolly and a palm tree pattern which are both great for when you’re heading off to brighter shores.

Sustainable Quick Dry Swim Shorts by Marks & spencer

£10 RRP. Shop at www.marksandspencer.com

These classic look swim shorts pack in a lot of features. Made from 100% recycled materials; you don’t have to feel guilty about splashing out on another pair of swim shorts this summer. If you’re planning on hitting a pool these shorts are perfect for you thanks to the chlorine resistant technology which keeps them looking and feeling in top-notch condition. Other useful features include quick dry technology as well as UPF protection against harmful rays.

Stripe Swim Short in Mid Length by boohooMAN

£11.20 (usually £14 RRP). Shop at www.boohooman.com

Every man can rock this pair of swim shorts. The classic vertical stripes in navy and white gesture towards the timeless nautical theme making these the ideal staple piece for the beach, dock or poolside. You can be sure that they will see you through the next few Spring/Summer seasons. Pair with a similar vertical striped shirt to turn up the volume.

Bardo 80’s Swim Shorts by Fila and only at Urban Outfitters

£35 RRP. Shop at www.urbanoutfitters.com

Exclusive to Urban Outfitters, these Fila 80’s colour block shorts bring a retro addition to your summer swimwear wardrobe. The bright blue, yellow, red and white collide together flawlessly creating an explosion of boldness. Every angle offers a different colour. The Fila branding guarantees a high level of quality in terms of both style and material.

Runner Swim Shorts by boohooMAN

£9.60 (usually £12 RRP). Shop at www.boohooman.com

This classic cut nods gently to the 80’s whilst remaining contemporary to today’s market. The white piping detail along the sides and bottom compliments the pale pink to create a subtle yet stylish piece. Style with a grey t-shirt to fully enhance the pink. Other colour options include a deep pink as well as pale blue.

Pink Tiger Print Swim Shorts by Topman

£18 RRP. Shop at www.topman.com

The oriental-style tiger print brings something unique to the high street selection of swim shorts this season. The intricate details mean your eyes keep picking out new elements each time you wear them.

Beach Volley Swim Shorts by Superdry

£29.99 RRP. Shopt at www.superdry.com

Simple can be king. Completely different to the prior pair of Superdry, these shorts come in one all over colour. Still following the theme of standing out; the neon lime green colour is electric and one of our favourites this season. The shorts come complete with zipper back pocket which will be a lifesaver this summer. If you’re not brave enough to choose this shade yourself the product also comes in a colour scheme from black all the way through to pink.

STYLING TIPS

With so many different styling options out there it can be overwhelming to decide what’s going to look best with your shorts. Here’s our quick styling tips to make sure you’re on trend:

  • Sliders. The hottest footwear trend from the past two years has hit the market again this season. Sliders are great to wear around the pool or on the beach and will instantly up your fashion game. Try the Tommy Hilfiger sliders we featured in our shoot.
  • Shirt. Let your shorts do the talking. Marry a plain short sleeved shirt, and style it with the buttons all open for a retro California throwback. If you aren’t confident enough to bare your torso, then a simple short sleeve tee will also work the same.
  • Accessories. If you want to style the look further so you’re not limited to just sticking to the beach or pool, finish the look off with a classic hat like this from John Lewis. Be warned that hats will only work with a classic swimwear look (think plain shorts and simple sliders).

Hatherley Manor Spa

Thanks again to the team at Hatherley Manor Spa for allowing us to shoot at their luxury Cotswolds based hideaway. If you’re looking to get away from the big city, check out the great packages that are available to detox, relax and unwind throughout the summer.

Essential Tips: Blazers

A blazer is a key component of the modern man’s style offering. It smartens up casual looks with a tailored edge, yet exudes a more relaxed impression than a suit. It will pair equally well with a denim and tee combination, or a crisp shirt and tailored trousers.

Some believe the garment’s name is derived from the navy uniforms made for the crew of the HMS Blazer in 1837, others claim it was due to the ‘emblazoned’ family and school crests that were applied to 19th century blazers. Whatever the origins of its name, its adoption into mainstream menswear stemmed from the necessity of a casual style of jacket to thrown on at more laid-back occasions.

Here, we take a look at the crucial styles and factors to consider when investing in this wardrobe all-rounder.

The Cotton Blazer

A cotton blazer is suitable for dressing up a fine-gauge knit during transitional months, or pairing with crisp shirting and crew-neck tees during warmer weather. A navy two-button style is a wardrobe failsafe you can rely on time and again; the shade is timeless and will complement both micro-print patterns and solid colours layered beneath.

Where to wear it: To the office with your formal shirting and silk accessories, at the weekend with a crew-neck tee or merino knit. You can’t go wrong at most smart-casual occasions with a navy blazer.

The Wool Blazer

Given that the British climate is generally of a cooler persuasion, a wool blazer is an indispensable style suitable for wear throughout most of the year. A quality virgin wool or mohair blazer in a neutral shade will prove its worth and versatility each season, and retains warmth while remaining breathable.

Where to wear it: Wear it in the week dressed up with a striped silk tie and a crisp poplin-cotton shirt, or try it with an Oxford shirt and lean indigo denim for weekend drinks. Finish the look with leather derby shoes for the office, or penny loafers at the weekend.

The Linen Blazer

Linen tailoring has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent seasons, and its suitability for warmer climes makes it ideal for maintaining a polished appearance in summery conditions. The fabric is renowned for its cooling, lightweight qualities due to the breathability of natural linen fibres.

Where to wear it: Holidays to tropical climates or warm Mediterranean city breaks. Linen is also acceptable city wear in summer for those who want to beat the heat while remaining smart. Try it with a minimalist white polo tee abroad, or chinos and an open-collar shirt in town.

The Tweed Blazer

Heritage fabrics have been big news in menswear design for successive seasons, with designers and brands reinterpreting this traditional British fabric in a modern context with slimmer, more contemporary cuts. The dense weave of tweed cloth means it retains warmth exceptionally well, explaining why it was used in the past exclusively for outdoor sports. This makes it the perfect way to combat the cold and damp British winters.

Where to wear it: Traditionally confined to the country, tweed has now made its way into the urban closet. Sunday lunch, weekend drinks, or strolls in the rural wilds are all acceptable occasions to don a tweed number. Wear it with sturdy boots in the country or polished leather brogues in town.

The Double-Breasted Blazer

The double breasted blazer is rather like sartorial marmite – you either love it or hate it. There’s certainly been a concerted effort to reinterpret this style for modern tastes, and retailers from high-street to high-end are full of them. Appearing a touch more formal than the single breasted, the overlapped, double-button front creates a structured silhouette that broadens the shoulders, offering a more masculine shape. It’s ideally suited to gents with taller, more slender frames – avoid it if you’re shorter and stockier as it broadens the chest and will make you appear squatter.

Where to wear it: In the city for work or play – it can transition nicely from the boardroom to after-hours dinner, and will make a sharp impression on a date. Try it with a lightweight cashmere roll-neck and printed silk pocket square for an elegant retro-inspired look.

FINDING THE RIGHT FIT

Fit illustrations from Artofmanliness.

Finding the right fit for a blazer can be a bit of minefield, but following our simple guide below will hopefully find you one that fits like a glove.

Sleeve Length

The ideal sleeve length should finish just on your wrist bone and show about 2cm of your shirt cuff. It shouldn’t be approaching your knuckles, nor should it be so short that it shows your entire shirt cuff.

Blazer Length

The hem of the blazer should finish at your knuckles. It shouldn’t extend beyond this and shouldn’t finish above the wrist (unless specifically a cropped blazer).

The Front Fastening

When fastened, the jacket should sit comfortably showing the loose outline of your waist. The material should not be ruching or pulling (too small), not should there be so much excess fabric that your body shape is lost (too large).

Whether you’re wearing a two-button or three-button blazer, always leave the last button unfastened.

The Shoulders

The shoulder seam of the blazer should sit naturally on the end of your shoulder. If it’s too small, the jacket will pinch and ruche around the shoulders, too large and the seam will be drooping over the edge of your shoulder.

ESSENTIAL HINTS & TIPS

Buying your blazer

  • Avoid synthetic fibres – they don’t breathe like natural cloths and ultimately won’t last as long
  • Don’t buy into trends if they don’t suit you. You may be reading about the virtues of the double-breasted blazer everywhere, but if you have a shorter, stockier frame, it’s only going to make the situation worse
  • Wear what you’re comfortable with – everyone has their own taste in apparel, and rules are there to be broken, so if you feel like wearing a tweed jacket to the office, go for it, but keep the rest of your ensemble smart and city-appropriate
  • Don’t just buy the first thing you see – do you research into brands to find the perfect fit. Many brands have a signature cut which will suit certain individuals, and once you’ve found yours, you can return to the brands each season knowing what to expect

How to Care for your blazer

  • Give your blazers a rest – don’t wear the same blazer day after day. Instead, invest in several and rotate them. Hang your blazer up after a day’s wear and let it air before putting it back in your wardrobe
  • Get rid of those flimsy wire hangers you have left over from your last dry-cleaning trip and invest in some broad-shouldered wood hangers for your blazers. These will help maintain the shape of your blazer
  • Don’t dry clean too often. The dry cleaning process uses chemicals which gradually break down material fibres with each treatment. We recommend dry cleaning no more than twice a year for each garment to prolong its lifespan.

Essential Tips: Footwear

Whether you’re in the market for a pair of polished Oxfords for the office, a set of solid boots for outdoor pursuits or some sandals for an escapade to warmer climes, our ultimate footwear guide will ensure you are well-shod in all situations.

LACE-UPS

The Brogue

With their distinctive punched and wingtip detailing, the brogue is one of most traditional lace-up styles in the modern man’s shoe compilation. The decorative punched details are the key to shoe’s name: they were originally perforations to allow drainage when crossing damp bogs – ‘brogue’ is derived directly from this. Sturdy, versatile and striking the perfect balance between smart and casual, the brogue makes an easy pairing with tailored trousers, denim and chinos, making it a suitable style companion to most outfits. With a marked return to heritage dressing in menswear, the brogue has become an indispensible footwear investment.

The Oxford

Developed from a short boot with side slits popular at Oxford University in the 1800s, the Oxford shoe is the most formal footwear style today. Simple and clean-cut, they feature a ‘closed lace’ design, where the bottom of the lacing panel has been stitched to the front of the shoe (the vamp). Oxfords tend to be constructed from smooth leather and feature a simple toe-cap design, although variations in suede and other materials are common. The shoe of choice for city gents on office-bound days or formal functions, the classic Oxford is best styled with tailoring.

The Derby

A more casual and multi-faceted take on the Oxford, Derby shoes feature an open-lace construction, (in contrast to Oxfords) where the bottom of the eyelet lace panels have not been stitched to front of the front of the shoe (the vamp). Suitable for wearing in both casual and dressier situations, the Derby shoe can be crafted from leather or suede and usually sports a simple clean-cut design, but can also feature a toe cap.

Best foot forward: Heavier-soled lace-ups tend to look better on well-built men. If you have a slimmer profile, opt for a less chunky construction. Extend the lifespan of your leather shoes by investing in a good wax-based shoe cream and giving them a good polish and buff once a fortnight. With suede shoes, use a quality suede brush and a waterproof protector spray to keep them in order.

BOOTS

The Hiking and Work Boot

Inspired by the footwear of explorers and working-class labourers of yesteryear, these heavy-duty designs have come to dominate the men’s boot market in recent seasons – largely due to designer’s proclivity for mountaineering gear and heritage dressing. No longer the preserve of the intrepid country rambler, this type of boot has found its way from the country to an urban setting and is ideal for tackling city pavements in challenging weather. With a lace-up front and a solid grip-sole, these study boots afford superb support for keen walkers and will also lend a rugged finish to any look. Wear them year-round with jeans and chinos, lightweight sporty jackets, textured knits and woollen peat coats.

The Chelsea Boot

Since their rise to popularity in the Sixties, Chelsea boots have earned cult status. Identified by their slip-on design featuring elasticised ankle inserts and a round or slightly pointed toe, Chelsea boots are ideal for the gent who wants to introduce a hint of rock ‘n’ roll attitude into his aesthetic. Designs are traditionally in leather or suede, with contemporary styles featuring details such as colour-pop inserts and metallic embellishments. Chelsea boots look their best when worn with slim or skinny jeans, or close-fitting trousers.

The Desert Boot

Also known as the Chukka boot, the style owes its name to the footwear worn by British troops engaged in the Western Desert Campaign during the Second World War. Typically made of suede or leather, these softly constructed boots feature a simple open-lace construction, a crepe sole and round toe. Comfortable and lightweight, Desert boots are a smart choice for the warmer months and will easily pair with all your casual apparel. Opt for a colour-pop or pastel hue to put a contemporary spin on your summer footwear.

Best foot forward: Boots are by nature are more casual than shoes, so pair them with your weekend looks unless you work in a more creative office where the dress code is more relaxed. Invest in a few pairs that will see you through the seasons: hiking and work boots will help you keep a firm footing in inclement conditions, whilst desert and Chelsea boots are an astute choice for the warmer months.

LOAFERS & MONK STRAP SHOES

The Penny Loafer

This classic style, usually crafted from leather or suede is defined by its simple slip-on design which features a cut-out detail on the front of the shoe. The smartest type of loafer, it’s easily adapted to wearing with tailored trousers and denim alike.  Opt for classic tan, black and navy colours in the cooler months, swapping for jewel-tone or pastel-hued suede designs in the summer season.

The Tassel Loafer

A more casual style than the Penny loafer, this shoe is guaranteed to lend a dash of natty charm to your aesthetic. Featuring signature tassel fringing on the front, this preppy design can trace its origins to the colleges of 1950s America. Try them with lean dark-hued denim or tweed trousers for a sophisticated nod to vintage mode.

The Driving Loafer

These softly-constructed loafers feature a heelless sole, with leather lace detailing around the upper and front and a bobble-grip sole designed to provide firm traction on the pedals of a car. An easy summer style, they can be worn with almost any casual leg wear option.

The Monk Strap Shoe

A stylish alternative to lace-ups, monk straps have a decidedly elegant edge over other traditional shoes, and strike a well-executed balance between a formal Oxford and the more casual Derby. Defined by their buckle and strap fastenings (single or double straps are the norm), these shoes evolved from the footwear worn by 11th century monks, who appreciated the hard-wearing and practical design. Simply team them with a suit in the week or with your tailored chinos and knits at the weekend and they’ll earn you instant style credibility.

Best foot forward: Loafers are a superb smarter footwear option for the warmer months. Try wearing them sockless (or with invisible socks) and roll up your chinos or jeans a few centimetres for a fresh, contemporary look.

SANDALS & SLIP-ONS

The Fisherman Sandal

Fisherman-style leather sandals, which owe their origins to the ancient coastal communities of the Mediterranean, have made a big comeback in recent seasons. Designed so that water could easily drain out (essential when working on a fishing vessel), these traditional shoes will lend a dash of heritage charm to your feet. They’re versatile too, pairing equally well with both shorts and smarter trousers.

The Modern Sandal

Designed with a solid platform and an easy slip-on, slip-off design, these are ideal for wearing in exotic lands where removing your shoes before going indoors is customary. The airy open-toed construction of these styles gives your feet a chance to breathe after being incarcerated in darkness for the best part of the year.

The Espadrille

With their jute sole, lightweight construction and breathable canvas upper, espadrilles are great for gents that want put a summery spin on their footwear, without exposing their toes. They make the perfect style partner to a striped Breton tee and tailored shorts.

The Flip-flop

Best confined to the pool, the humble flip-flop serves the wearer well in situations where water is a constant feature. Remember to pack a pair in your suitcase to wear with your favourite poolside apparel.

The Boat Shoe

This instantly recognisable style is crafted from leather or suede and sports signature lacing around the upper, and a leather lace-up front. First emerging in the 1930s with the rise of maritime pursuits amongst the leisured classes, these shoes are designed to have a firm grip on wet surfaces, making them ideal for wearing in places where water may come into the mix.

Best foot forward: Sandals were previously viewed as strictly holiday-wear only; this is no longer the case. A pair of minimalist sandals will look great worn in the city on a hot summer’s day with a pair of tailored shorts.