If you’re feeling a little more Bah Humbug than I wish it could be Christmas Everyday and want to partake in a soup-son of  the Christmas Spirit – we don’t condone drinking too much Christmas Spirit, everything in moderation please. Well, we’ve gathered together our collective knowledge at Clothes-make-the-man of Christmas Markets and rather then you waste your time going to some dank, miserable half hearted affair where Santa stinks of a cocktail of moth balls and Vodka and the Christmas Products on sale amount to a knitted Nativity scene and toilet roll Snowmen, we’ve got a selection of the best around.

Yes Manchester, although the holder of the crown for traditional Shopping mecca of the North of the UK; Manchester also has a rip roaring Christmas Market thats up there with pretty much the best around. It’s been running a Germany Style Christmas Market since 1999 and although starting off in very modest terms taking up St Ann’s Square over the years it has continued to grow in both size and popularity. Only last weekend it had a recording breaking 85,000 attendees in the Albert Square market alone and the stalls, entertainment and general Christmassness stretches pretty much throughout the City Centre now taking in not only Albert Square but the new Spinfields Shopping area (with an ice rink), St Anne’s Square through to the Triangle past Harvey Nichols and Selfridges and then right up Market St and into the revamped Piccadilly Gardens, phew. Traders from as far away as Lapland and Transylvania have come to the city to run more than 300 stalls, selling everything from Traditional Continental Christmas Decorations and food tasting to Madchester Memorabilia and it runs right up to 23rd December.

Edinburgh next, yes moving up a little further North of the border, explore Edinburgh’s renowned German Christmas Market for unusual gift ideas such as handmade decorations and unique craft items. Warm up with a mug of Glühwein, red wine that is heated with cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, citrus and sugar and try some traditional German fare including biscuits, sweets and venison burgers. Right up until Christmas Eve Edinburgh has events occurring including the Great Santa Run on the 9th down West Princes Street Gardens to the Ethical Christmas Fair from 8th on Castle Street.

On to the Capital of the UK, London, where you’re rather spoilt for choice, but we’re concentrating mainly on the Southbank’s Christmas Market. Firstly, whatever you do DON’T Drive in, take Public transport, with Waterloo, Blackfriars, Embankment, even Covent Garden tube stations all very accessible to it and countless bus routes don’t bring the car ! This market is still the new kid on the block when it comes to Christmas Markets, but what it lacks in age it more then makes up for in attracting crowds. It stretches along the South bank of the Thames from Borough Market down at London Bridge right the way along to past the London Eye and along to the Houses of Parliament. 80 authentically decorated wooden chalets will sell you a whole host of Christmassy products all offered in a magical winter atmosphere.

Now, we couldn’t do Christmas Markets without mentioning Winter WonderlandThink if Disney were to do a Christmas theme park, independent of its own Theme parks of course, then that’s Winter Wonderland. Housed within Hyde Park so close to Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Victoria and Marble Arch tube stations. This Christmas Wonderland not only includes a Christmas Market, not a great one, please tell me who would want to buy a wooden tie or a CND symbol wind chime ???? but it does have a Yuletide themed Fairground, a Zippo Circus, an ICE AGE 4(the film) Ice rink and An Ice Kingdom (the clue is in the name). Plus I have a couple of pieces of advice which are specifically for Winter Wonderland, but can equally be for all the other locations. I have to say firstly, Winter Wonderland is brilliant ! but –

1) Either go early, i.e. 10am when it opens or 7pm ish (it closes at 10pm), it is even more magical in the dark I have to say & the mulled wine seems to go down better than 10 in the morning. Now the reason for this pearl of wisdom is, IT GETS HORRENDOUSLY busy, every day of the week.

2) Go to a cash machine before you get there, although they have introduced more cash machines within the park this year, still go to go beforehand, trust me.

3) Its lovely to taste festive cuisines from around the world, well mainly Germany, but if your hungry you don’t wanna be queuing for the best part of 45 minutes for essentially a hot dog and charged, lets just say, inflated prices. There are literally hundreds of restaurants near to Hyde Park, The Worsley(one of the best Restaurants in London) is near Green Park Station, to Ask, La Tasca, Pizza Express, McDonalds (even) and lots of pubs near to Victoria Station. Ohh and by the way its here until the last day of Christmas 6th January.

Last, but by no means least is the Daddy or even Grandaddy of Christmas Markets, Bath. Located in the heart of the City close to the Roman Baths and the famous Pump rooms(good idea for a spot of Christmas lunch or afternoon tea, how civilised). The market consists of over 140 individual wooden chalet style stalls, each one offering quality products and brilliant gift ideas. From handmade crafts, unique jewellery pieces and decorations, to locally produced food and drink, you will find it easy to find that special ingredient for the most memorable and treasured gifts. However, get your skates on if your fancy a bit of Bath as their Christmas market only runs til 9th December(I have no idea why).

Normally the one to watch section of the blog is reserved for young, up and coming brands, however today we’ve made an exemption to the rule as Lyle & Scott almost feel like a new brand as they have so much coming up over the next couple of months. But before we move forward, we can’t miss out the rich history of this brand which stretches back to 1874 when it was  founded with a loan of £800 from an Edinburgh based investment company and £500 from a local corn merchant by Messers William Lyle and Walter Scott in the Scottish town of Hawick. Lyle & Scott have, as the Headline reads, stayed true to its roots and still today draws on its over 130 year archive that includes designs by Christian Dior and Michael Kors.

However, is wan’t until 1960 that the Eagle finally landed and started to be used by the brand as their iconic logo and round about this time they started to establish themselves as key players in the world of Golf apparel. During the 1970’s & 80’s their bright and patterned knitwear became synonymous with the golfing world and the Celebrities of the day. It was common place for such stars as Sean Connery, Greg Norman or Comedian Ronnie Corbett,  who would be sat in his arm chair telling us of a funny thing happening to him on his way into work, to be seen wearing the unmistakable knits.

Like with every good brand it had a period in the 90’s where it took, what can only be called a sabbatical from the style scene but like a phoenix from the ashes of the new millennium came out fighting with a re-branded new look and feel which was followed by the launch of Lyle & Scott Vintage. Like in the 80’s the retro aesthetic look of Lyle & Scott became a hit again with the likes of The Arctic monkeys, Kasabian, Dermot O’Leary, Steve Jones and the cast of Skins.

For AW12 the Heritage collection takes a trip along the great British coastline, using inspiration from the traditional Naval and Maritime dress code to create a sophisticated and stylish winter wardrobe.  The key piece of the collection that embodies the design ethos perfectly is a Melton wool pea coat in navy, a real time-honoured classic. Of course, the knitwear offering is at the core of the collection with a shawl collar Submariner sweater in 100% heavy gauge merino wool. Another knitwear highlight includes a crew neck pullover, available in a range of colours and made in Scotland from 100% lambswool, providing a simple but timeless winter indulgence. Cords complete the Heritage look, capturing the nautical dress code of the season in navy or burgundy.

Now with British designer Caroline Massey taking at the helm watch this space for another new and always interesting turn in the next chapter of Lyle & Scott

LyleandScott.com

 

 

 

 

 

The idea of having your suits personal made to your very own specifications is something that most men find terrifying, for numerous reasons including the “ah Suits for sir” characters from the TV Comedy The Fast show, obviously, the cost, but also the lack nowadays of the availability of reputable tailors. Now having you suits bespoke tailored to your own vital statistics might be out of your budget at the moment, but have you thought about a bespoke shirt ? Increasingly, in this gloomy economic climate men are turning to bespoke shirts to add a little piece of luxury to their lives. So, as always, we at Clothes make the man, like to make the lives of our loyal readers a little easier so here are a selection of the best around from difference sections of the market. But before I launch into one I do need to explain three things when it comes to Tailoring and they are;

i) Ready to wear – This literally means Ready to wear now, you come into the shop see it, like it, buy it and leave with it.

ii) Made to measure – This is taking a ready to wear piece or the pattern or block for it and tailoring it to your own measurements.

iii) Bespoke – This is to make a garment from scratch using your own personal measurements and constructing the piece to fit you perfectly.

1) Savile Row – Richard Anderson

Now this really is a bespoke experience, these shirts are exclusively made for Richard Anderson, in London, by one of the finest shirt makers in the whole of the UK. As the shirts are only available ‘to order’ they are all individually cut to the clients specification and finished by hand. The fabric selection is made up of the very finest Egyptian cotton which, for the most part, have been woven in Italy. The lead time is approximately 4 – 6 weeks (from time of order to delivery). If required, the shirts can also be personalised by adding an embroidered name or initials. Prices start from £240 with an average price of approximately £260 – £280. Now Anderson also offers a Made to Measure service on ready to wear shirts The lead time is approximately 4 weeks (from time of the order to delivery) and clients cannot only order a shirt that fits perfectly but the shirt can also be personalise by embroidering the clients name, or initials, on the cuff, chest or midriff. With Prices for this garment as £200 approx.

2) The Expert’s choice – Mr Start

Now when researching this piece I did think who should I ask, I thought a designer like Paul Smith or Tom Ford, but wouldn’t they be bias, the same for a Savile Row Tailor. A Celebrity ? Well I might as well speak to their Stylist, because behind every well dressed Celebrity is an equally well turned out Stylist, no matter how much they protest they dress themselves. Then it came to me, go for a Style Journalist who isn’t afraid to speak their mind and  tell 100% of the truth, plus know what they’re talking about. Of course ! Style Director of Shortlist & Editor of Mode Adrian Clark, who replied straightaway when asked where he would go to ? “Mr Start !!!! Without a question of doubt.” Now Mr Start is Philip Start a man who has a sterling reputation within the Menswear industry and was behind the Mens retailer Woodhouse until 2002. Philip set up his own men’s tailoring label, Mr Start, in 2008, which specialises in suiting both off the peg and made to measure. The fit is described as subtle yet certain, creating an everyday elegance. It has its own store in London’s East End Temple to style Rivington Street and has representation in Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols amongst others in the UK and world wide. Their made to measure shirts, start at £180 each and run up to around £240.  Included in the price is a matching pocket square with each shirt.  They source fabrics from great shirtings factories around the world including Thomas Mason, Albini, and Mileta They have a selection of small, mod-style collars, our famous round collar, and a new forward point collar and the turn around time for this service is approximately 5 weeks.

 

3) The New business – Harrington & Thomas

Harrington & Thomas was founded after, Tom Griffths who was working in the city, up to last year, got fed up by the quality of shirts the general  high street had to offer. The quality of the fabric was generally pretty poor, and a whole bunch of his shirts developed holes in the elbows from sitting at the desk (admittedly for 18 hours a day but that’s another story).

He found it a struggle to get a shirt that actually fit well, and with the jacket on the back of the chair for most of the day, it was the shirt that was on show most of the time. They thought there must be a better way than having to shell out over £150 to a bespoke tailor, but to still be confident that you were getting a great fit and top quality fabric. They strive to provide a made to measure service where people could really be confident that they were getting a really good quality shirt, that wasn’t going to cost the earth. Plus, they wanted to keep it simple so that someone could order a shirt in a matter of minutes, without necessarily having to take out a tape measure.

4) The High St Opinion – Marks & Spencer

Probably not surprised to see this High Street name in this position to be honest, it is the number 1 most popular suiting supplier to the UK male population. Marks & Spencer offer a made to measure shirting service in four simple steps, with prices starting at just £45, you can create a shirt from a choice of over 25 fabrics, design details including collar, sleeve and pocket options and a choice of fits, including the super slim fit. Using biometric technology, your correct size and fit is worked out ensuring the shirt is created just for you! For a unique look, each part of the shirt can be a different fabric, if you so please, from the front panels to the collar and cuffs, plus intricate details such as button colour and monogram create your shirt just the way you like it.

5) Tailor Made – Dale Rhodes
Dale Rhodes is a Yorkshire based tailor who splits his time between the Dales of Dewsbury and the Metropolis of London. His company was launched by his Father Bert over 60 years ago and now boasts a client roaster that includes Barristers, international Business men, Members of Parliament and celebrities. Earlier this year he launched a new online system of measuring the clients based on off-the-peg sizes which are then adjusted to the individual. He has fascination of technology and its effect on the way people interact. Rhodes has assembled a team of tailors and a specialist IT team who have combined these elements and reacted to the feedback of their clients and designed his unique way to shop online.This site allows people to choose and design perfectly fitted shirts online with a simple to use interface that engages the customers and allows them to preview how putting together different designs and combinations will look on a shirt before choosing to order. With a simple to use order system you can buy shirts in ready to wear sizes or at a no cost option adjust them accordingly to make them available to the large, small, tall, short, athletic and portly, basically adapting them to the individual.
Hope this has thrown some light on this ever increasing trend and maybe even given you an idea for a potential gift for a tricky fella to buy for, or even something for yourself ! Nonetheless, Clothes-make-the-man.com will be offering you indispensable guides to gift buying and making your life a little easier over the Yuletide.

 

The Christmas party season is nearly upon us and its cranking itself up to be a big one this Yuletide, whether you want to impressive your boss or another work colleague at the annual office party or if you want to cut a dash and look the part on Christmas Day while watching Downton Abbey. One piece of clothing that guarantees to transform any outfit into a sophisticated, suave look, worthy of any event, whether that be held at the Dorchester to the Dog & Duck, is the Velvet blazer. The Menswear sector of the Fashion industry are in complete agreement, from the catwalks of Milan and New York to the high Streets of Carlisle and Coventry, they all adore this piece for Winter 2012.

If it isn’t broken don’t try to fix it, Channel your inner milk tray man in this Black Velvet blazer by Ted Baker

 

Always one to perfect Traditional with a twist Paul Smith’s Brown Velvet blazer can be found @ MRPorter.com

 

Look Super cool in this Wine coloured double breasted Velvet jacket by ACNE exclusively for MRPORTER.com

 

A Contemporary Classic this Navy Velvet jacket by Austin Reed Cut

 

Any a purple haze to the Yuletide thanks to Marks & Spencer

 

Be a little different and stand out from the crowd in a good way in this Emerald Green piece by Tiger of Sweden @ Selfridges

 

A beautiful timeless Navy piece which will make you feel $1,000,000 by Reiss

 

 

 

NO don’t worry, Yes it’s still Monday, I know we don’t normally have an AskAnt on a Monday, Monday is grooming day and you don’t like it when I change things about I know, I know. We’re doing a spot of cross pollination today blending a little of grooming with a dash of AskAnt, as I said don’t worry, all will become clear. Here’s todays problem –

 

Mr X, a tricky dilemma indeed, which as the title of this post states, “It’ll happen to all of us Fellas”, as sure as we are born to pay taxes as we gentlemen get mature-r we will indeed start to lose or slow down hair growth on our noggin, to get it, its technical term, and start to grow head in more, how shall we put this….. Places we wish we didn’t ! This is due to the fact that as we men age we reduce the production of female hormones, honest ! Now, I just want to commend Mr X for reaching out and searching advice from an “expert” like oneself. Rural County Mayo is indeed a deep and dark place as I know only too well and walls have ears and barbers around these parts are known to have loose lips.

Anyway, Mr X, without further a do, I have scoured the market for a solution to your delicate issue and here we go –

1) Sassoon for Men TITAN SERIES Hygiene Trimmer – This is small, discrete, cheap and effective. The nano silver technology blade provides an anti-bacterial action, while the rotary function means you can remove unwanted hair without pulling. With a waterproof detachable head and advanced vacuum function for easy clean up.

2) Now if your after something a little more va, va, voom take a look at the Remington PG180 Pilot Grooming Kit. One again it’s relatively discrete, this smart four-in-one trimming tool keeps your facial hair looking dapper. Boasting advanced steel, self-shapening blades, you’ll achieve a high quality finish each time. Unkempt facial hair, beards and stubble, plus of course nose & ear hair will be a thing of the past.

3) OK, its time for the big guns to come into play, if you need some heavy duty hard wear, look no further then the Babyliss 10 in 1 Titanium Grooming System. It  is a professional grade rechargeable trimmer with titanium blade technology and 5 interchangeable cutting heads for use on the face and body, ensuring precision grooming wherever you need it. This device has such features as –

Body groomer with five position comb guide (3-15mm)

·         Detail trimmer for accurate lines and detailed styling

·         Foil shaver for a clean, smooth finish

·         Hygienic trimmer for the safe and easy removal of ear and nose hair

·         Taper control for fine cut adjustmentat the touch of a button

·         Turbo button for increased power at the touch of a button

·         Cleaning brush, oil and moustache comb

·         Charging / storage stand

This is a serious bit of kit and answers any of your hair related grooming needs.

So Mr X, all that is left for me to do is to tell you, the choice is yours ??? Do let us know what your decision was and  join us again soon for another style clinic.

If you have any stylistic problems, events to go to that  you don’t know what to wear etc. Whatever, you query no problem is too big nor small, please just email askant@ymail.com and we’ll happily give you informed, knowledgable common sense advice.