Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The Staple - Pastels

Fruit Pastels

This week I had the questionable luck to be hanging around waiting for a mate at Oxford Circus, and I decided to pop into H&M, just to have a look, while I was waiting. Having not crossed the threshold there for quite some time, it was a pleasure to wander around in the evening of a quiet Monday, without wading through the quicksand of neon teenagers. Maybe I'm just getting old, but Oxford Street on a Saturday now fills me with terror me, rather than the feelings of excitement that I had when I first came to London. On this occasion, I quickly grabbed a few polo shirts and a couple of neckerchiefs, and suddenly remembered just why it is that H&M is so busy - it's very cheap and very cheerful. Pastel polo shirts are my summer look, and this lilac one will be replacing a much-loved Lacoste one that is now practically sheer. A few weeks ago I bought a couple of polos at Rokit in Camden, just fairly plain in a lovely turquoise-teal and a powder blue with a maple leaf design on the breast pocket, however these were £15 a pop. H&M's were less than half that, just £5.99. That's absurdly cheap. I bought three (the lilac; a vibrant orangey-red, and a lovely sky blue) and am very impressed with both the quality and cut of them. The two-button placket is relatively stiff and looks great buttoned to the top, and the pastel shades work brilliantly with pastel cardigans. This clashing Hockney-via Burberry Prorsum S/S '05 is a smarter way to wear colour this summer; pastels take the brightness and mute it down a little, and when paired with a more subtle colour of jeans (burgundy; grey; black) or shorts leads to a smart yet still fun look. I’ve also been hankering after adding some pastel canvas shoes to my growing collection – Topman’s mint pair are top of the list, followed by their subtle (ish) peach pair. I'm a long way off dressing all in black yet...
Other Staples this week:
Pastel-coloured polo shirts and shoes
The Miller pub in London Bridge
Matthew Dear at the ICA (with my Dad)
A glut of sample sales (Thanks McQ!)
Whisky & ginger
Squint Homme magazine

UPDATE: So I bought the peach ones yesterday as they didnt have the mint ones. they are delicious...

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Staple - Full-Size Umbrella

The Surprise Formal Element

During the recent rather changeable weather, I have been carrying an umbrella with increasing frequency. And not a fold-up black one either; these ALWAYS break, unless you shell out £20 for a posho automatic opening one, which I am loath to do. A long umbrella - ideally not covered in golf or banking brands - is the mark of a gentleman. A curved handle is the masculine portion of a brolly, and makes it surprisingly practical when travelling by tube with your hands full. An umbrella should also have a steel tip for a reassuring clack when walking. This example, purchased from a supermarket in Brittany of all places, is perfect. A lovely chocolate colour with surprisingly smart cherry-coloured pinstripes and a soft-touch black handle. Agreed, it's no James Smith, but it's a pretty good start considering the likelihood of my losing umbrellas, and the distress that misplacing a £100+ brolly would provoke. For the princely sum of 8 euros, I have an umbrella that will smarten any outfit - I once read in the Sunday Times Style supplement that a full-size umbrella provides a "surprise formal element" and I have found this to be true - it not only dignifies even the scruffiest of jeans, but when walking with a baton this size, it forces you to walk properly and with a certain swing in your step. It's also very useful for batting small children, dogs and tourists out of the way on the tube. Some might say that there's certain Freudian element about the size of your umbrella, to whom I say if you had a steel-tipped pinstriped penis, you'd probably want to show it off as well. Anyway, give them a try, man or woman - full-size umbrellas are the only way to combat this vile global-warming induced weather...Other Staples this week:
Full-size umbrellas
Rubies' album 'Explode from the Center'
M&S Cheese scones
A day in Brighton with the parents
The Betjeman Arms in St. Pancras station
Andrew Rae's postcards