Universal approval – David Keyte

The subject of today’s Textual Conversations is David Keyte the power behind the genius Menswear Brand, Universal Works, whose primary principle is to produce a well made, easy to wear and affordable collection for men who want contemporary clothes, but understand tradition and looking good without trying too hard.

Based around and understanding of classic working clothes, of the workshop and the office, but with a modern slant on fit and shape. The collections have David’s signature throughout and show his love of craft and a feeling that someone cared about making this piece of clothing. The garments have a “lived in” and “ my old favourite” feel.  Detailing of the pieces are often quirky and off beat and all garments are designed to stand-alone and function well.

1)If you could have invented anything what would it be ?

The instant translation app, I travel a lot and have crap language skills, I am convinced the world would be a better place if we could all understand each other more.

2) If you had one day to live what would be your biggest regret ?

Probably working too many hours and not spending more time with my family and friends, but really I try to live without regrets, or at least I would if it was my last day for sure.

3) What inspires you ?

Everything! – well a few things would be; the way old guys dress in too many layers, mixing checks and pattern in a totally mad way. Hikers on long walks in the Peak District, my Dad and his brothers work wear but also getting dressed for a night out when I was a kid. British clothing history, modern Japan.

4) What’s your favourite piece of clothing ?

It changes a lot, but right now its our work jacket called the Bakers Jacket (see image below) after my dad who was a Master Baker but instead of the normal cotton twill its in Indigo Blue Dyed Harris Tweed

5) Who is your style icon ? Why ?

Icon is such a big word, I am not sure I have a style icon really, its normally used about celebrity and I really don’t care much for celebrity, I have a few favorites dresses for sure, Brian Ferry in the seventies, Michael Stipe most of the time, David Byre in his talking Head days, Joe Strummer any time ever, shit they are all musicians maybe I am in the wrong business !

I think my icons would be more in the world of politics, ecology or science, you know, important stuff, clothing is just for fun.

6) What piece of style advise do you live by ?

Dress for yourself, be yourself always

7) What piece of clothing should everyman have in his wardrobe ?

Clean underwear

8) What do you have to do after this conversation ?

I am Paris right now at the worlds biggest fabric trade show, hunting for fabrics for Spring 13, a busy day ahead

9) How did you get into the industry ?

I convinced Paul Smith to let me work for him, when I did not really have the experience or training, he took a chance on me, I spent my early years working for Paul and it was a great time to learn the about the industry from one of the best guys in the british clothing industry, I owe him a huge debt he was a great guy to learn from.

10) Have you ever bought a piece of clothing and regretted it ? 

I bought a pair of red wing boots on a snowy day in New York and they still murder my feet 2 years later,

Maybe I was not cut out for the lumberjack look! ( if this gets printed then; sorry Mr Red Wing, I am sure it is my feet not your boots!)

The Fabulous Baker Jacket

Spring 2012 Images from Universal Works


Mamma mia, you better not forget ! – Mother’s day Gift Guide

We’ve all got one so remember 18th March is Mother’s Day this year, that’s not just me reminding myself, that the Clothes-make-the-man.com offering what it does best, an essential service for you, it’s good readers. So to save you the trouble of running round your local high street late on Saturday 17th looking for something to buy the good lady that gave you life. Here is all you need to know in one place, a selection of the best gifts to buy your lovely mammy.

1) Direct from Sir Paul Smith, a gift that you just can’t go wrong with, offered in his signature candy stripe

Paul Smith Scarf £99

Paul Smith Scarf Silk Scarf £99

2) Next up is the old faithful, Flowers from, you guessed it Next.You can’t go wrong with Roses and at £18 it won’t break the bank, but we’ll keep that to ourselves. Plus you can add chocolates for the grand price of £22.

A bouquet of Rose from Next £18

3) If you’re looking for something a little special for your Momma, as always we save you the trouble of searching and you can’t ask for specialerer then Dame Vivienne Westwood. These delicate pieces crafted in the shape of a golden sheaf to celebrate her British heritage.

Vivienne Westwood Harvest Earrings £155

4) If you can’t decide what to get mummy dearest this year why not go with a selection of goodies in a hamper format from that Great British institution Marks & Spencer, with Prosecco, chocolates, and Rose Flutes,amongst the treats, plus already wrapped so you don’t have to, what more do you want.

M&S Indulgent Collection £45

5) If you’re feeling particularly flush this year, splash out and make your mum feel special. The Effie bag from Mulberry is a new classic, and can be used either everyday or kept for those special occasions.

The Mulberry Effie Satchel £495

6) Wanna look you like you choose a present with your mum in mind, go for this exclusive to Selfridges Diptyque Mimosa Candle.

Diptyque’s Mimosa candle £40 exclusive to Selfridges

7) If you want to play it safe this Mothering Sunday you can’t go wrong with Tolietries and those good people over at Burt’s Bees have thought of everything with these Head to toe or Tips to toes Starter kit Gift Set. It includes some of their best selling products including Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash (1.8 fl oz), Coconut Foot Cream (0.75oz), Beeswax Lip Balm (0.15oz) and is available from selected stores Nationwide.

Burts Bees Head to toe Starter kit £14.99

But, after all that if you still can’t decide what to buy your mum let Clothes-make-the-man.com take the stress out of it for you. We have a bumper bag crammed full of wonderful products from Burts Bees all you need to do is click on the Follow me button above or Follow me on TWITTER between now and 6am (GMT) on Thursday 15th March and you could  be making you Mum a very happy lady with this goody bag winging its way to you in time for Mother’s Day on Sunday. Good Luck lads !

A Pants Problem – Ask Ant

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.


Buzz about town – Matthew Miller

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


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



Ask Ant – Bag dilemma ?

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.