Tag Archives: style

give three piece a chance pt.2

27 Apr

Now if you subscribe to the Bertie Wooster school of sartorial styling (technically, I think you can probably only aspire to the Wooster school of style, as actually reaching those dizzy heights is beyond even the most sophisticated gents capabilities), you’ll probably be aware that along with a pair of brogues on your feet and a stiff G&T in hand, the must have accompaniment for any gentleman’s suit is a close clean shave and a quality haircut.

Amongst my more follically challenged friends, I have what they might describe as a very positive problem – lots of very thick, gravitationally opposed hair (sods law says that this post will kick start the onset of my male pattern baldness).

So a good barber that can help with the only element on my head I can easily change for the better is an imperative, which makes Gentlemen’s Tonic hidden away on Saville Row such a find.

I think because it’s nestled within Gieves & Hawkes at No.1 Saville Row, people don’t necessarily know it’s there. So for me who leaves booking appointments to the very last minute it’s one of those rare as hen’s teeth barbers, one where you can call up in the morning and get an appointment for 1pm that lunchtime.

If it wasn’t blatantly obvious from the name of the establishment, Gentlemen’s Tonic caters male grooming needs, and a wide variety at that. From barbershop classics such as traditional wet shaves, complimentary shoe shines to sports massages in a dedicated therapy room, pretty much the only thing they don’t have on site is a quartet.

Apart from cutting hair very well (ask for Mark) it pulls off the male grooming experience with aplomb. Neither too metro-sexual or too “laddie”, its traditional chairs, tiling, pots of barbicide and cut throat razors give the interior a really sharp edge (bad pun I know).

On my last visit I was quizzing Mark about wet shaves and how to shave properly. Given the average man will spend 5 months of his life shaving, I’ve never been taught the proper approach, and after reading Mark’s top tips (given to everyone who has a wet shave) I’ve realised that even if I have umpteen blades on my Gillette razor, I won’t get a closer shave without a few basic skills.

If you’re a lady reading this (firstly thanks for showing interest in this very male focused post), I’d 100% recommend buying a male companion the experience of a traditional barbers wet shave for a present.

I imagine it’s equivalent of us buying you ladies a massage/facial.. it’s pampering, but with an unequivocally masculine edge (there’s really dangerous blades involved.. grrr.). Also for us men it has an added bonus – a perfect excuse not to shave for three days beforehand…

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give three piece a chance pt.1

26 Apr

With the other half of the His and Hers working in the vicinity of Saville Row, and this half’s predilection for forgetting house keys/mobiles/wallets, it’s of a fairly high frequency that I find myself wandering along one of the most refined streets in London town to collect my brain possessions.

Seeing the master tailors at work and the sharp, sophisticated suits displayed in the windows of these purveyors of fine fabrics is enough to make me want to purge my wardrobe of any denim and take to tailored trousers forevermore.

Much to the delight of the hoardes of hormonal teenagers visiting from mainland Europe but to the chagrin of everyone else, on the corner of Saville Row and Burlington Gardens is A&F. If you’re not aware (count yourself lucky) they are a retailer of heavily branded garments which are churned out cut in a somewhat more relaxed fit.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it is now planning to expand and encroach on to Saville Row itself, setting up a “baby” version of their store on the old site of Apple Records (a crime akin to treason itself in some circles). Rumours abound that their next expansion plan is to replace the Queen’s Foot Guards with the washboard stomach wankersarriors that flex to attention at the doors of their stores at present.

However, us Brits aren’t going to take this seizure of our streets lying down. No! we’re going to put on our best tweeds, twiddle our ‘taches and take to the streets (with a healthy supply of rough shag for the pipe and whisky in the flask of course).

Photo: Matt Dunham / AP

Brilliantly the chaps at er.. The Chap magazine organised this fantastic protest in an attempt to stem the tide of “sweat” shirts from Saville Row, and preserve its history and expertise in tailoring… By proxy I think they also raised awareness about the dangers of what leaving the confines of the home or gym wearing ill fitting sports wear can do to ones reputation.

Also situated on Saville Row a His and Hers hidden gem.. but more on that tomorrow, as I’ve now got to rush off and starch my collars.

shanghai fabric market

20 Apr

Since my parents moved to Shanghai, my sister and I have visited them regularly, and quickly sniffed out the fabric market just south of the Bund. It is a pretty overwhelming place, and there is a lot of very shiny fabric, but there are definitely some treasures to be found.


Just last weekend I was there and bought some beautiful Liberty fabric to line a parka. (Some Liberty fabric is imported from Japan, and a lot seems to “fall off the back of a truck” in Shanghai on its way over to Great Marlborough Street.) I also bought loads of patterned cotton to make sundresses for summer – we have a week in Greece planned for early June and I need to get kitted out. I will show you the fruits of my sewing labours as they emerge…but don’t hold your breath. I am very, very slow at sewing (ask George, who’s been asking me to hem his jeans since last February).

My sister, Felicity, was in Shanghai a few weeks ago and bought some fabric to make cushions. I love big floor cushions as a way of brightening up a room and providing extra seating when surprise guests arrive, and Felicity has done a beautiful job here. I love the crazy combinations she has put together. (This picture is slightly misleading as these cushions are HUGE.)

Now…to sneakily stow them away in my suitcase when I fly back to London!

Shanghai South Bund Fabric Market: 399 Lujiabang Road, Shanghai

shanghai cycle chic

17 Apr

We Londoners consider ourselves pretty chic cyclists. We have the Cityboys with all the gear and no idea (Ollie), the girls on Pashleys with baguettes and flowers in their baskets (me), and the gnarly old timers who swear at pedestrians and snarl at you when you pause at the traffic lights with them (George).

The Shanghainese take it to another level. Shanghai is wonderfully flat so everyone is on their bike most of the time. Initially nervous of cycling along an eight lane freeway, I quickly got with the program and realised it is the quickest and most scenic way to get around. Also, because of the traffic, nobody actually moves that fast. If you do get hit, it will likely be by a cab moving at 2kms an hour, so you should survive relatively unscathed. Dad (who lives in Shanghai), thinks the authorities are trying to phase out cyclists by making it more and more difficult for them to move freely, but I think that would be a travesty. We certainly would no longer be able to see sights like this:

Just catching a few zzzzs…

Group power nap…

While this chap’s not technically on a bicycle, the fact that he’s carrying around all those hazardous bottles of GAS merits his inclusion…

I just took these photos over a long weekend in Shanghai, but photographer Alain Delorme has seen some real crackers in his time:

I would say this just couldn’t be real, but having been to Shanghai a lot over the last couple of years, I can assure you that ANYTHING is possible.

alaindelorme.com

we hope you’re wearing your easter hat

5 Apr

Ollie will be tramping the moors in Devon and I will be in Helsinki Sauna Heaven this Easter…so let us sign off with a Happy Easter and a tribute to Easter Hat Parades of yore…

(Thank you: internationalschool.sc)

(Thank you: dipity.com)

(Thank you: Flickr. We actually found this picture when we read this article about growing up in Australia in the 80s. If you too are an 80s Aussie kid, read it – it will take you back. God bless birthday parties at McDonald’s!!)

let’s make like k middy and head to richard ward

31 Mar

Kate “The Duchess of Cambridge” Middleton is quite a polarising figure but the one thing people will cross party lines over is that she has undeniably good hair. And you would have to be pretty out of the loop (or at least not checking into

the Daily Mail’s Sidebar of Shame over your morning coffee), not to know that the Middleton tresses are due to the wizards at Richard Ward.

Keen to have a piece of the Princess Pie, I cycled down to the Kings Road to spend the morning at Richard Ward, where I basically asked them to cut my hair like Kate’s.

I was shown into a ‘waiting bar’ (no, this definitely isn’t CoolCuts) where I treated myself to a latte, and read about Kate Middleton’s  exciting week.

By the way, this ‘latte’ set me back six pounds. Do NOT order a coffee if you come here.

I was then collected by my hair stylist, a man who essentially looked like an Italian count who’d just stepped off a yacht (cravate, deep tan, chinos…you get the drift). I told him how I wanted my hair done. And for the first time in a lifetime of trips to the salon, he did exactly that. My hair looks amazing. I’ve fallen completely in love with my reflection (well, the hairstyle part).

Keen to show off my new lid, I had a quick mosey around the nearby Partridges Farmers’ Market. This is on every Saturday and is jam packed with treats from all over England.

I don’t get down to the Kings Road very often but I always love it when I’m here. Every man is wearing coloured trousers, the kids are dressed in matching Bonpoint (it’s rare to see a boy under 12 who is not wearing a blazer) and the overheard conversations are hysterical. If you’re unfamiliar with the local species – the Sloane Ranger – have a quick look at this video (it’s so spot on it’s basically a documentary).

dvf sample sale

29 Mar

As fabulous German princesses go, Diane Von Furstenberg is our absolute fave. Especially because this week she is having a sample sale.

A friend came over last night groaning under the weight of her purchases. We were jel. You would have been too. Get yourself down to Bruton Street.