Smarten yourself up this party season – The Velvet Jacket

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 @


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


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




It’ll happen to all of us fellas – AskAnt

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 and we’ll happily give you informed, knowledgable common sense advice.

A Coat for all Seasons – COMPETITION TIME !!!

In past Autumn/Winter seasons there nearly always is A specific style of coat which will have been picked up on by the Designer Houses of Paris, Milan, London & New York and given an individual interoperation whether that be by Burberry, Saint Laurent, Tom Ford or Gucci which is turn is then translated by the High Street retailers, whether that be a Parka, Pea, Duffle, Car, Military, Over or Trench, but not so for this season, surprisingly, we are spoilt for choice in Winter 2012 as there are many different great styles of coat on all ends of the style spectrum.

The Donkey Jacket – More Stylish man than Bin man in this enduring favourite of the Englishman’s wardrobe, reworked through modern styling, fit and fabrication by Ben Sherman, but Paul Smith has also got on that Donkey tip.


This great example of an Overcoat is perfect for dressing up with a suit for work or is equally at home teamed with jeans or chinos and a knit for the weekend. There are many great overcoats on the market at the moment from the creator of the garment itself, Crombie, to a more designer option from Raf Simons to this choice from Moss Bros’s Ventuno 21 range.


Channel your inner spy this Winter and pretend to be on a mission behind the iron curtain. This example of a great Trench coat won me over for the pure and simple reason that it’s the coolest pac-a-mac around, by Burberry Brit @ my However, for some old school heritage luxury maybe look to Mackintosh or Hancock for a cool collars up Trench.


Not strictly a coat, but will sure as hell keep you warm throughout the Winter. This brilliant padded jacket from Self has a built in Ruck Sack in the back, just in case you run out of hands carrying all those Christmas presents and the price won’t break the bank either. Other highly commended options around come from Moncler, APC and Dolce & Gabbana.


The Pea Coat was cool long before Jack Nicholson made it an icon in One flew over the Cuckoos Nest. Gucci have done a number of interpretations of this classic for this season, but keep it simple as its a classic and if you treat it well it will do you proud. However, everyone from Gap, McQ, Marks & Spencer and once again Dolce & Gabbana have all done great translations of this menswear classic.



The whole Military trend has been around for a considerable length of time now in menswear and looks like its going nowhere soon. This coat is from Robbie Williams’ Farrell Range, showing singing isn’t the only thing he can score a top place at. Brands Unconditional, Wolsley and Marc by Marc Jacobs have all produced great coats using the Military look for inspiration.


If your thinking about investing in a Duffle Coat this Winter, keep it traditional. In 1954 the Gloverall family started to produce their own Duffle Coats in a factory behind St Pauls Cathedral London. Now Gloverall aren’t on their own in making great examples of a Duffle coats, Marks & Spencer, APC, Carven and Burton have all done so.


Now if you feel the cold, you certainly won’t in this amazing Byrd Parka from Woolrich, currently celebrating its 40th Birthday, doesn’t look to down does it ? Originally designed to protect workers from the frigid glacial temperatures, and since then, after slight modernizations in fit and style, continues to be a must-have for clientele both for its technical qualities (it maintains body heat to a temperature of -40°) and for the comfort that makes it perfect for city life. Woolrich aren’t the only provider of sterling Parkas NapaPijri, Barbour and Penfield are all in on the Parka act.

Now to celebrate the fortieth birthday of the Woolrich parka, one of you lucky readers will be all toastie warm this Winter, yes we are giving you the chance to win an incredible Byrd Parka, a 100% natural cotton fabric, naturally water repellent, breathable, and wind resistant thanks to the special spin and weave. It is padded with the highest quality goose feather down guaranteeing maximum warmth while keeping it light in weight.

All you need to do is follow us here at by –

1) Returning to our home page and in the subscribe to box on the left of your screen

2) Input your email address

3) An email from the blog will be sent to you and you MUST open and confirm that email.

OR follow us at Twitter @ Clothesmakethem OR Facebook

Do this by Sunday 2nd December and hey presto a few days later you will receive a gift from us to you. It’s that simple ! Good luck.


Wham, Bam, Albam – James Shaw of Albam- Textual Conversation

About eight years ago while on a Press trip to Manchester I found myself sat next to the subject of today’s Textual Conversation. As the dinner progressed and the vino flowed myself and James Shaw started to discuss his new business idea and I proceeded to tell him he was mad for leaving his job and thinking about starting up a new clothing brand while we were in such a bad economic climate. I can categorically state I was 110% wrong, in fact I could not have been any wronger. This little brand, that in my tiny little mind was destined to fail has, to put it mildly, come on in leaps and bounds since it was founded in 2006, in fact Albam, to give this Great British clothing brand its correct title, was recently voted ‘Best for Men’s Fashion’ at The Telegraph’s Best Small Shops in Britain awards. Albam was built on a foundation of, “to make an honest product that is well made and that uses great fabrics”. This ethos has served the brand well and has earned itself the accolade of being THE most copied, sorry inspiring, brands of recent menswear history, from multi national designer houses to humble little high Street retailers, have used Albam as their inspiration in some way, shape or form for pieces or entire collections over recent seasons, whether they’d admit it or not.

The customer of Albam is equally diverse from Actors, Creatives, club kids, trendies or regular guys all loving a bit of what the label calls ‘Basics’ or what I would call foundation pieces. They, in my opinion, produce great, easy garments that lift whatever you’re wearing and make you feel good about yourself and what you’re wearing.  As an independent clothing company, Albam are always looking for new ways to tap into their customers lifestyle, bringing them more of what they love: honest, beautifully-designed and well made products, whether that be the artisan services of barber extrordinaire Matt Raine aka Mr Natty or collaborating with mid century modern furniture website antikmodern.

Anyway, enough of me going on with oneself, lets hear from the man himself the co-founder of Albam, James Shaw;

What’s your favourite piece of clothing ?

I have three at the moment! A Western Mountaineering Down vest. Albam seamless T Shirts and a pair of Spellbound Jeans. My daily basics.

Who is your style icon ?

Cliché, but there is Steve McQueen (the actor) Simple American sportswear, great staples and just worn with his own edge. Not sure I would have liked to know him in person but he looked great. Royal Robbins (climber) looked pretty awesome when he climbed El Capitan back in the day and then nowadays I am not so sure. I like the idea that you wear the clothes rather than the other way round. Clothes should always be well made and great fitting, but I want to see the person and not the clothes first. 

Can you tie a bow tie ? If yes, who taught you ?

I can after a few goes, my dad showed me many years ago and I just never have the opportunity to wear one regularly. They are fun but for me, speed is pretty important in the morning!

What piece of style advise do you live by ?

Keep it simple.

In your words, describe the collection ?

Albam AW12 has 3 points of view, which are relevant to the brand. We realized that we want different things daily and a single look/silhouette wasn’t particularly us as we live doing many and varied things. So we took this and created 3 spirits, all interchangeable but taking into consideration the basics of a wardrobe, great shirts, denim, T shirts, sweatshirts, work blazers and some technical outerwear and then looked to our sportier and more relaxed “white” label to bring in elements of sportswear whilst our “black” label brings to life some more fluid silhouettes, softer minimalism, maybe a Modern Crafted English silhouette. Honest, confident, a nod to the technical and a purity of thought.

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

I bought a great Armani work jacket once, it was on sale for £50 and thought I must have it. I got it back home when I was living in Manchester and then sent it back. Twelve years later I regret sending it back, it would have been perfect for this winter!

In terms of regretting a piece because it wasn’t right, I have banished these to my Room 101!

What do you have to do after this conversation ?

Go for a run to wind down! I have cleared my inbox and my head is spinning!

What would you like to be doing after this conversation ?

Going for a run anyway, it keeps me in check with my headspace and creates a fluid energy that keeps my mind ticking.

What piece of clothing should everyman have in his wardrobe ?

Great jeans, for me at the moment anyway. Various stages of wear, Japanese denim, maybe some Albam in there for good measure!

What inspires you ?

Movement and the idea that we have to keep on moving on.

If you could have invented anything what would it be ?

Time, we all live by it, so that would have been fun!

Albam’s store on Bleak Street, London




Watch yourself ! – 5 watches for your wish list this Christmas by Leo Parker

As you are no doubt well aware, Christmas is now only a matter of weeks away and if you’re as bad at buying presents as I, then your attention will inevitably already have turned to what to buy for friends and family this festive period.

Well, fear not, there isn’t a man alive who wouldn’t love to be on the receiving end of a luxury Swiss timepiece and if you a] have deep pockets and b] feel incredibly generous this Christmas, then why not consider one of the fantastic luxury watches that will be wowing  your eyes in a matter of seconds…

….there are some truly epic luxury watchmakers out there (I’m looking at you Rolex, Baume et Mercier and Cartier) so narrowing your choice of watch purchase down to 5 this Christmas is no mean feat – unless, of course, your budget is more paltry (it’s spelt C…A…S…I…O when you Google it).

Luxury watches are the ultimate statement symbol and undoubtedly a question of personal taste so it might be a good idea to indulge in a spot of Christmas fishing before shelling out thousands of pounds on a luxury watch that will traumatise the recipient (and you’ll discover on eBay by Boxing Day).

It’ll be Christmas if we waste any more time, so let’s get started! Take a look at the 5 luxury Swiss watches below and you’re sure to find something that ticks all of the right boxes:

88 Rue Du Rhone 42mm Chrono Watch – Price £500 Approx. One of the newest luxury watchmakers on the market. Given the luxurious nature of this Swiss timepiece, its price-tag is nothing short of miraculous. This newcomer has an interesting backstory regarding the origins of their name – 88 is the only number missing from the Rue du Rhone street in Geneva and it was left clear to reveal a view of the Rhone River meeting Lake Geneva.


Chopard Classis Racing Watch – Price £4,300 Approx.  Chopard are one of Switzerland’s finest watchmakers and they are particularly famed for the quality of their sport timepieces. This Classic Racing watch is a limited edition piece which has been inspired by the dashboard instruments of classic racing cars and boasts a GMT function that allows the wearer to view the time in a separate destination without altering their current set time – making it a perfect choice for the frequent traveller.


Breitling Transocean Watch – Price £8,500 Approx. From their Transocean series of watches, this exemplary timepiece has many an impressive feature to make it including a 70 hour power reserve, glare-proof, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass case and a chronograph display which shows each of the world’s 24 timezones simultaneously.


Limited Edition TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Space X – Price £4,500 Approx. The TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Space X watch is a limited edition piece which has been released to celebrate the achievement of having the first Swiss watch in space when one of their stop-watches was strapped to the wrist of astronaut John Glenn during the 1962 mission into space on the rocket, “Friendship 7”


Longines Master Watch – Price £1,900 Approx. This immensely stylish and understated timepiece is perfect for any Don Draper wannabe as it’s right out of a bygone era of luxury watch design and wouldn’t look out of place strapped to the wrist of a 1960’s Manhattan ad executive. Longines are one of the oldest Swiss watchmakers on the market and their reputation is built upon high quality timepieces such as the Master watch, which has a silver ‘barleycorn’ pattern dial, self-winding chronograph automatic movement and luxurious brown alligator leather strap.



So, there you have it, if it’s a luxury watch which you intent on purchasing this Christmas (and if you’re like me, you’ll probably wrestle with the idea of keeping the watch for yourself (do it) because nobody really wants to part with such awesomeness) then one of the stunning watches above is likely to be as good a place as any to start.

All images have been used with permission of The Watch Gallery, where you can find a superb selection of Rolex, Breitling, TAG Heuer and Cartier watches for men and women.