Sock it to ’em – Socks the finishing touch to any outfit

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There was a time, not so long ago when socks were seen as purely a utility item, very much the unsung hero of any outfit. The fact, if you wore camel coloured socks, you were seen as being daring. They were the MOST conservative item of mens apparel within the gambit of gentleman’s wardrobe. Even in the hazy, tie dyed, hippy-trippy 1970’s socks still reminded untouched by what was going on around them, in fact that during this time one of the biggest crimes against style was at its most savage and rampage, the SANDAL AND SOCK COMBO. It was simply socks came in black, navy and grey and then sports socks were white and never the twain shall meet.

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 15.39.24THEN CAME THE 80’s ! A decade of high power dressing, over indulgence, decadence and Cartoon Character socks were everywhere, whether it be Fred Flintstone, Garfield or Mickey Mouse, if you were alive during this time, the chances are you had at least a pair. YES maybe you didn’t buy them, but you had some and mores to the point you wore them ! Even to this very day these heinous creations can be purchased in numerous incarnations.

Today though, socks are a very different entity, thanks to the return of the turn up and the Thom Browne trouser length, socks have had a real renaissance and a true return to their former glory. When it comes to socks we men as consumers are spoilt for choice within every section of market certain brands are doing great things for socks from Marks & Spencer to Lyle & Scott through to Paul Smith and Corgi are producing well made, bright, without being garish and comfortable socks. But, for today’s post we’re highlighting a brand or two who are doing exceptional work within the field.

Firstly, Panterella, a brand with genuine sock history having just celebrated their 75th Anniversary. Family owned, Founded in Leicestershire, UK, Pantherella takes pride in its long-established heritage of designing and producing great men’s socks. Authentically ‘Made in England,’ the quality of Pantherella socks is distinguished by a hand-linked toe seam. This traditional method leaves an exceptionally, almost invisibly smooth, secret join.

This trademark attention to detail marks Pantherella socks as some of the very best in Britain; combining traditional methods with modern technology makes the brand hard to beat for craftsmanship, colour and choice and with fact like,

One sock takes 15 minutes to make

1.1 million socks are produced a year

There are 1373 options per season

72 socks are hand linked a day, you can see why.

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Pantherella Spring 2013

Next up we have, Falke, a brand that can boast they produce  6, men’s socks annually.  4 generations of the Falke family manage the company and still do today. The brand was borne in Schmallenberg, Germany in 1895. Their most expensive sock is a mind boggling €860. Plus, shhhhhh 13 heads of state wear their socks, but lips are sealed as to who. They offer such foot delights as fine cashmere and climate-regulating merino wool to provide you with incomparable wear comfort -whether you’re looking for business or leisure socks. They even offer a Sock Subscription option, a practical feature that gives you peace of mind as you’ll always have enough of your favourite socks in your closet.

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Falke Spring 2013

Last, but certainly by no means least and definitely a sign of the times is Richmond Socks an on line web emporium dedicated to sock par excellence. We caught up with Simon Bullmore Founder of this sock lovers utopia who gave us his expert opinion on why wearing quality socks is so important –

1) Great socks get you noticed. Men used to be able to add some colour to outfits with a tie. But the move from suits to smart casual at work has taken this away. Socks are a great way to add back a touch of flair and class.

Step out in a pair of stylish socks and you’ll stand out against the sea of socks in boring blacks and greys. A pair with a decent design, interesting colour or beautiful texture will get you noticed – for the right reasons.

What to choose? This season’s favourites at Richmond Socks are vintage designs in modern colours for work wear. At the weekends bolder designs in stripes or candy colours like raspberry and orange are getting really popular.

2) Socks are an easy way to wear a bit of heritage and support British business. Sock making is a British success story right now. Firms like Pantherella, Corgi and Wolsey are true icons. The attention to detail and quality finishing that goes into their socks make them stand out. You’ll know the difference when you pull on their socks. And so will other people.

3) Hand linked details. At Richmond Socks all the socks we sell are handlinked. It’s a small detail. But one we insist on. Why? Well, you know that ridge under your toes on most socks? The bit that rubs? You won’t find it on decent socks. A quality pair of socks is hand linked – a fiendishly difficult manual process. The result is a smooth seam, which means the socks won’t rub you up the wrong way, and will last longer.

Stylish men are now aware that hand linking is important. So when you want to buy your next pair make sure they are handlinked. It’s makes a real difference and in the long run will protect your feet as well as your pocket.

4) Socks are now as good for the planet as they are for your feet. Our customers want to know that their socks don’t cost the earth. So we’re seeing increasing interest in socks made in renewable materials such as bamboo. Wool is still a firm favourite too. In many ways it’s the ultimate renewable resource!

These materials have the added benefit of making socks longer lasting and more comfortable. Take merino wool. It’s far better than nylon at wicking away the pint of sweat your feet release each day. It’s also naturally anti-microbial which stops feet from smelling. A bonus for you, and of course for anyone who’s around when you take your shoes off….

5) Keeping your legs undercover. Most men now know that showing off a swathe of hairy skin when they cross their legs is not appealing. It’s a definite style faux pas. Worse, in many Muslim countries, that bit of leg can cause offence.

So, stylish men, and those that do business abroad, are increasingly adding a few pairs of over the calf socks to their wardrobe. Over the calf socks have always been de rigeur in Italy, but are now catching on elsewhere. The added bonus is that they’ll stay fitted to your leg all day, and won’t sag around the ankles.

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Oh and one last thing, good reader, please remember –



Fragrant Denim – Mr Black’s Garment Essentials

MR.BLACK 2We have many things to thank our antipodium cousins for, not only filling our TV channels with countless quality daytime soap operas, the cultural design greats of Ken Done and Sir Les Patterson, Sir Rolf Harris (maybe not, at time of going to press), Dame Kylie Minogue, The King Sisters and now we have a true wonder of the Southern Hemisphere, Mr Black Denim Refresh and Denim Wash

As we all know when we purchase a pair of denim jeans, they are never quite the same after we wash them, in fact, leading denim manufacturers recommend raw and dry denim not to be washed for up to six months, and minimum washing from then on. This allows the denim to develop an individual character, and with non-frequent washing it will acquire a fabulous natural look. Now, Mr Black’s Garment Essentials care range shares the same ethos, and has created unique formulas to prolong unwashed jeans.

Denim refresh is an all-in-one product designed to clean and refresh, that prevents stains from settling in your denim. Denim refresh gets to the root of the problem by attacking down the oils, surface dirt and bacteria that causes the odors in the first place. Using denim refresh extends the life of your denim by extending the time between washing and dry-cleaning. In fact the active ingredient was found used in morgues, nice.

When it comes time to washing your jeans, Mr. Black’s unique enzyme free wash, is specifically formulated to clean and help maintain the original color intensity of your dry denim and pre wash jeans. This highly concentrated denim soft wash offers unsurpassed cleaning action whilst minimizing fading, shrinkage or stretching.



Ensure you look tuxedo-tastic – Chester Barrie’s top tuxedo tips

core 3pce evening suitWe’re coming up to that time of year again, that no matter what age you are, you are either thinking about dusting off that diner suit which lurks at the back of your wardrobe or you’re pondering investing in a new model, because of the aforementioned statement. Whether, its a Wedding, Day at the Races, Award Ceremony, or increasing a Prom, yes you read that right, Proms are not just the exclusive property of High School Musical or Grease, depend on your age. Proms are now common event in educational establishments from Junior Schools, yes Junior Schools, to Universities and as Tuxedos are no longer just confined to your classic Black, single breasted, one button numbers. There is greater choice for us gentlemen to choose from which can of course through up an increased amount of problem areas. So, Chester Barrie, the resident address holder of 19 Savile Row, who have counted Cary Grant, Sir Winston Churchill, Gordon Ramsey and Frank Sinatra as clientele. Plus dressed, probably, the most stylish screen characters of all time, both Steve McQueen in the Thomas Crown Affair and Sean Connery as James in Dr No and Thunderball ! And if that wasn’t enough they are also sponsoring the Laurence Olivier Awards this coming weekend. So one does think its safe to say, this is a brand who know a thing or two about not only tuxedos but suiting in general. Take a look below at their Classic top tips when investing in a Tuxedo –

1) Look for a good quality grosgrain on the lapels.

2) Dress trousers should have a strip of fabric down the side – look for braid. It looks much classier and adds an authentic touch.

3) Do not buy a dress suit that requires a belt – it spoils the look – go for side adjusters or braces.

4) A low-cut waistcoat will enhance the look and looks better than the cummerbund.

5) Marcella dress shirts should off the option for buttons or studs – pleat fronts are flashier but are acceptable.

6) Bow-ties should always be black and self-tie.

7) Studs and cufflinks should be the only flash of colour shown.

8) Pocket squares may also be coloured adding elegance and fun to an eveningwear outfit.

9) A white silk dress scarf should only be worn with an overcoat (a white cashmere scarf can also be particularly classy).

10) Shoes should always be black; traditionally they should have no detail and highly polished.

 11) (And just for good measure) Socks should be black or dark red only.


Bags of Likeability – Universal Works X Millican Collaboration

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.47.08Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.47.08Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.47.08It honestly is a rare occurrence when I’m able to say, watch this, it explains everything, but that is exactly what the below short film does. Two Great British Menswear brands have come together to produce a concise capsule bag collection, offering everything, any man, any bag he could possibly need. Universal Works, who 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. They have teamed up with Millican,  a brand that follows the path left by eco-adventurer and godfather of sustainable living, no not Tom Goode of the Good Life, God Rest his Soul, but Millican Dalton, who in turn produce a collection of organic canvas bags and accessories. Watch and Enjoy –

SS/13 Universal Works x Millican Collaboration from Millican on Vimeo.

Age Defence – Korres Black Pine Anti-Ageing Serum

Korres Black Pine Serum jpegHaving just returned from what can only be described as being a full on trip to Las Vegas, more on that at a later date, plus having a very bad sleeping new addition to the family, I feel I’ve aged 10 years recently. I’ve started to avoid mirrors and when I find myself confronted in a mirrored lift or washroom I catch myself scrutinsing those “laughter lines” and what can only be discussed as shopping bags under my eyes.

So, when the press release for Korres Black Pine Anti-Ageing Serum arrived in my inbox it really was a sight for, not only, sore but tired eyes. The Greek organic skincare range, whose first product was an aromatic herbal syrup with honey and aniseed, a recipe inspired by “rakomelon”, a warming spirit with honey concoction, which George Korres’ grandfather used to favour in his hometown on the island of Naxos. Set up in 1996 with the aim to utilize its extensive scientific resources for the development of clinical effective and safe products, Korres today offers a natural and certified organic range in all areas of beauty and skincare. The brand’s core values remain the same as in its pharmacy days – the use of herbs and natural ingredients of the highest quality; skin and environmentally friendly products with clinically tested effectiveness; affordable for every day use yet of high-aesthetics with strong artistic direction.

With the Black Pine Anti-Ageing Serum 100% of the test panel users reported positive results with firming and TempSure lifting action for wrinkle reduction, skin elasticity and re-contouring. To further push the benefits of its serum Korres then asked Dermatologists to clinically measure the results on the members of the test panel. They confirmed improvements on every member of the panel.

To achieve these impressive results Korres collaborated with the Institute of Biology of the Laboratory of Cell Proliferation and Ageing, I promise I didn’t make that up, honest, to investigate and harness the exceptional qualities of Black Pine polyphenol [Epigallocathechin] in regulating metalloproteinases [MMPs] thus maintaining the dermis junction (the acellular zone that is between the dermis and the epidermis of the skin).

The combination of black pine extract, a rich source of polyphenols and pure polyphenol Epigalocatechin reduce the action of MMPs and effectively firm the skin and along with the other active ingredients ensures real results.