This week’s dilemma for Askant comes in the form of a problem which I think affects most men at one time or another and that is buying trousers which AREN’T jeans.

Well Blubes, I hope you don’t mind me calling you Blubes, thanks for taking the time to get in contact and firstly don’t worry this isn’t a problem that affects just you, this is an issue that affects men up and down the country. We all like what we know and know what we like and when it come to jeans once we’ve found a pair and brand we like, it’s like the footie team we support, we like them for life and grief them once they’ve gone.

The first matter I think we need to address though is your fear of chinos or Chinophbia to give it, its correct term. Now, this may stem from having to have worn them as part of your school uniform, or a dislike to yuppies in the 80’s, which is very similar to the phobia many people suffer, Coulrophobia or the fear of Clowns. Now Chinos have moved on an awful lot these days, so please no longer think of them as the remit of sailors and bankers on their day off (that was bankers BTW). There is literally a pair to suit any man of any colouring and body shape.

Brad, Dave, Zac, & Ash - The Chino boys

Regardless of your budget, I would set a side an hour and visit TOPMAN and take advantage of their personal shopping service, get someone else to do the running around store for you while you have a bit of a seat down. They have a multitude of colours and fits, (check out topman.com) or if TOPMAN puts the fear of God into you, maybe try the home of the chinos GAP(gap.eu) or Burton, yes you did read that right Burton (burton.co.uk).

A selection of TOPMAN's chinos

A snippet of Gap's chino selection

A snippet of Gap's chino selection

Bags more Chinos at Burton

After you’ve got a better idea of what cut, shape and colour of chino actually suits you then you can expand your search, if you so wish, to reflect the amount you wish to spent. Do a little retail research but I’d recommend a brand like Ralph Lauren, Maison Martin Margiela or Albam.

Ralph Lauren Chinos £170

Maison Martin Margiela @ Mr Porter.com £245

Albam Chinos £105

Now remember Chinos are not the only casual trouser, another option open to you are the humble cords, don’t think Geography

OK maybe not the orange but you get the idea !

teacher, but do think geek chic. Dressed down with a pair of plimsoles/trainers or boots, like the above images and your cords can be ever bit as versatile as your chino, plus they come in nearly as many colours as the chino and can be dressed up by pairing them up with a blazer and if you’re feeling adventurous thrown in a pocket square and you have the look down to a tee.

Lastly, Blubes, I’m going to throw you a screw ball and put out there the idea of maybe buying a suit or using already the suit

See Blubes maybe you could look as cool as this dude busting his trousers and trainers

trousers you already have and utilising them as an individual piece in their own casual right. Once again wear the suit trousers with a pair of plimsoles and a T-shirt rather then a shirt and tie and you instantly give them a new lease of life.

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

A.M.

The talented Mr Miller

During the recent London Fashion week, or to be more correct Man day at London Fashion Week, their was a real buzz about the place which had been lacking over some past seasons. But one name had a particular BUZZZZZZ about it both before the show, there seemed to be a real anticipation for it and post show a satisfaction about it. Matthew Miller, might not be a name you’re so familiar with just yet but give it time, I promise you, you will be.

After graduating from The Royal College of Art, this Stoke lad cut his teeth working on projects for Sportwear brand Umbro & Suiting Supremo Brioni amongst others, before setting up on his own. Vogue have labelled him, “One to Watch” and Selfridges picked up on him after only his second collection, which should be touching down over the coming weeks. For Autumn/Winter he has a collaboration with the footwear designer Oliver Sweeney which promises to break new ground for both parties and amongst all that he answered a couple of questions for us here at Clothes-make-the-man.com.

How did you get into the industry?

I had graduated from the Royal college of Arts during the worst economic time in the History of Man-Kind, it was either sign on the dole, become a career criminal or try and earn some money, doing what I enjoy. Still trying to earn a crust, but doing what I enjoy.

If you could give £1,000,000 to someone/something who would it be ?

I’d buy a million pounds worth of forest, and just leave it. Investment for the future.

What piece of clothing best describes you ?

Matthew being interviewed after his recent show

What do you have to do after this conversation ?

I have a list of 50 things to do, but the head buyer from Mr Porter just e-mailed me about a 5 a-side fashion football tournament were organising, Buyers, Designer’s, PR’s, Stylists and Editors. If i can get everyone together i think it will be amazing and a much welcome distraction.

What would you like to be doing after this conversation ?

Going some where hot, and doing some kind of dangerous sport, eating a food I’ve never heard of with Charlotte Free.

Have you ever bought a piece of clothing and regretted it ? If so what & why ?

Bright orange Coat when i was 15, it was expensive and to big for me.

What piece of style advise do you live by ?

Be who you want to be, with conviction and no one can fault you for it.

Tell us something no one else knows ?

I’m the poorest wine snob in the world.

Who is your style icon ? Why ?

The models during the rehearsal for the show

What would be the one piece of clothing you would rescue from your home in the event of a fire ?

I get asked this question a lot, I value the idea’s behind clothing or the reason for the pieces existing, as these idea’s exist through memory. I have the memories and these are much, much more valuable everything else can be replaced.

What inspires you

People.

Can you tell what it is yet ? A pair of the Oliver Sweeney X Matthew Miller Collaboration boots

matthewmillermenswear.com

oliversweeney.com

Firstly guys, thank you for heeding my call for your sartorial conundrums, I was pleasantly surprised to see regular emails to the askant account seeking advise and calls for help on solving matters of problematic styling. I promise I will get through them and please keep ’em a coming to askant@ymail.com.

So first up is a stylish young man with an issue regarding looking his best when carrying his gym kit to and from that accursed fitness place. Basically, he’s asks –

Right, quick as a flash, I sprang into action. On inspection of this mighty fine piece of weekend luggage.

Hugo Boss leather Weekend bag £655 hugoboss.com

I do have to say, although I agree with you Ahmed, £655 is a little steep for something that, primarily you want to lug around your sportswear in. You have to see a purchase of this nature as an investment piece, this is something that you, SHOULD, be able to use for many years to come, for weekends away, holidays, business trips etc. The materials used on an object of this level will be some of the best leathers money can buy.

However, this was not what you were asking, so I sourced the great and the good of the UK High Street from Designer names to more humble price points, but something you do need to bear in mind when making a purchase of this nature, particularly with regard to luggage is, buy cheap buy twice. You get what you pay for when buying a leather weekend bag.

Nontheless, this is Ask Ant and answers to your problems is the name of my game. So option one is –

Zara black leather holdall £79 zara.com

From the Espana retail giants Zara, Zara just seem to have come from nowhere to being major players in the style stakes when it comes to menswear and yet they still seem to want to keep somewhat underground with it too ???? This piece is a real bargain, but PLEASE remember the aforementioned maxim, buy cheap buy twice. Spain is known for its leather goods and the quality of them but the price is the price and at £79 it’s an unbelievable one, get it while stocks last !!! Buy two at that price.

Leather weekend holdall £245 from Reiss (not available online as

Option two comes to us from Reiss’s Spring Summer Collection. Although this piece isn’t on their website at the moment it is available from their stores and in the requested Black. At £245 it is a little more but hey it’s not £655, it’s a really versatile and masculine weekend bag that you won’t be embarrassed to pick up at the luggage carousel on the next business trip. It’s just the job for slinging your gym togs into and it’s appearance will improve with age.

Finally, we have option 3, which is brought to us via the fantastic mr porter(.com). If you haven’t had a chance to check this

Black leather bag by Marc by Marc Jacobs £470 available from mrporter.com

amazing emporium out yet, what have you been doing !!! let it be your first job after reading this. It carries everything you could possibly need and so much more, it does take itself a little too serious, but we all can’t be perfect. The bag in question is by Marc by Marc Jacobs and comes in at £470. Probably keep the name of the designer behind this bag from your girlfriend as he IS the King when it comes to girls handbags and you could find yourself, shall we say sharing this lil number. Ahmed, if this be your choice, strike while the irons hot as this piece is selling like the proverbially hot cake. As the learned ones at Mr Porter put it, “Whether heading to the gym or jetting off for a weekend away, this Marc by Marc Jacobs holdall bag will ensure you do it in style. Crafted from tough full grain black leather, it has rugged attitude, so pile in your essentials and go”.

So Ahmed all that is left for me to do is to tell you, the choice is yours ??? Let us know what your decision was and join us again next week for another style clinic.

A.M.

The Phenomenon that was Hai Karate, otherwise known as "the Lady Killer". Please, feel free to insert your own joke here.

Splash it all over, you Brut !

When I say heritage, I don’t mean smelling like an old person, nor do I mean the overpowering pong of Hai Karate or Brut, nothing could be further away from the truth. When I talk about heritage I mean a fragrance that has a history stretching back over 200 years.

Increasingly guys want to smell a little different, hence the explosion in the shear number of mens fragrances on the market today. Men don’t want to walk into a bar and be overpowered by the woft of Joop. Plus a great opener, when wanting to chat someone up is always, “Mmmmm you smell great, what are you wearing?”  And let’s be honest we want ladies to reciprocate this. So what better way to induce this reaction then to wear a fragrance that you can be sure not every Tom, Dick or Harry will be wearing.

Two such fragrances are 4711 & Green Irish Tweed by Creed. 4711, pronounced “forty-seven eleven”, is one of the oldest recognised cologne brands. Often referred to as aqua mirabilis or “miracle water” the exact formula is still a secret today, which dates back to the Cathusian monks of the 17th Century. The Unisex fragrance’s ingredients include Lavender and Rosemary for a calming effect to steady the nerves and Neroli, extracted from bitter orange blossom to guarantee a positive attitude, which, hey lets face it, we all need right now.

Then we have Creed, founded by James Henry Creed in 1760. The House of Creed soon drew the attention of Royalty throughout Europe, even a certain Queen Victoria appointed Creed as the official supplier to the Royal household. Still today Olivier Creed, oversees the House of Creed as President and insists on using natural ingredients rather then synthetic ones. My personal favourite from over 200 scents they have produced over the years is Green Irish Tweed. A blend of floral and woody ingredients that infuses, Violet leaves, Florentine Iris, Sandalwood & Ambergris to create this unique, fresh, masculine and natural aroma which cited Carrie Grant, Robbie Williams & Prince Charles as fans.

4711 is available from good independent pharmacies & branches of Boots Nationwide. Priced at £16.95 for 100ml. (See image below)

Green Irish Tweed by Creed is available from Harrods, Libertys, Harvey Nichols & Selfridges and is £135 for 75ml. creedfragrances.co.uk (See image below)

4711

Green Irish Tweed by Creed

No some joker hasn’t double-parked his yacht on top of the Southbank centre, it’s the new quirky pop up hotel, well hotel room in ole London town. But before you rush off and Google how to book yourself into what has to have one of the MOST incredible views of the great capital, all the rooms were snapped up, literally, before you could say “A-ha me harty”.

The idea is that you can stay aboard the installation for a single night throughout 2012 where a series of artistic performances have been organised including Mrs Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and the Malian duo Amadou & Mariam, all a touch high brow for me.

But, nonetheless, the idea behind the boat is the Roi des Belges, a riverboat captained by Joseph Conrad who journeyed the Congo in 1890. The brainchild of Architectural genii David Kohn and Fiona Banner who beat off competition from over 500 entries to come top of the class in a competition to celebrate the host city of the Olympics for this year.

For more information check out aroomforlondon.co.uk

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