Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Pen Magazine Feature

A few months ago, completely out of the blue, the lovely folks at Japan's Pen Magazine dropped me an email to ask if I'd like to be featured in their magazine. I originally thought it was some sort of semi-elaborate joke from one of my mates, but it turned out to be real, so I went along with it,styled up some outfits which were all based around a cardigan (at their request) and took the day off work. It was tremendous fun, though somewhat sweaty under the lights, and a great opportunity to go through my wardrobes to find suitable outfit combos. And now, it's in print! So here I am, rocking some fairly eclectic outfits and looking about a thousand times smarter than I usually do, in the Japanese version of GQ (apparently) let me know your thoughts and if anyone does happen to read/translate Japanese then I'd love to know what the article says - something about Big in Japan, presumably...

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Staple - Sandqvist Rucksack

Backpack Pro

It's been awhile, what can I say? Editing PlanetNotion is stealing my days, and my evenings are filled with gigs. I'm not sat around like I was at my old job, surfing the web and reading menswear blogs incessantly. Also, Twitter for me seems to have rendered the blog a little superfluous. But look, it's been six months since I posted anything and I reckon I oughta get back into it. So here I am. There have, it's safe to say, been many Staples over the last six months, but Imma try and be forward-looking rather than retrospective. Best purchase has to go to my rucksack. It was, I'm afraid, a wantonly whimsical purchase from (where else?) Liberty, while on a casual shopping trip with my mate Mark. Rucksacks are obvs all over the shop nowadays, and you can buy a perfectly good one from ASOS. So why splurge? Well in a sea of lookalike Dalston trends, the details are uber-important. On first glance my Sandqvist number might not be the most obviously nice bag, but well, since when did first glance give you the whole picture? Take a closer look (past the dirt if you please); the tan leather straps have aged nicely in six months of near-continuous wear, though the heavyweight black canvas is still as tight as day one. The fastening, a combo of a thick drawstring and two of those rich tan straps tucked into neat tabs is practical if occasionally fiddly, and looks good without recourse to jangly metal hardware. It;s the kind of fastening that only works with precision finishing, which is just the kind of thing Sandqvist do, as Scandinavian connisseurs of design. I'm obvs very much used to it now, but my bag is both widely admired and not often seen on the street; is there a better combo for an item? I've become a big fan of the brand, and this example has accompanied me on trips all over the place; not to go too Tyler Brûlé on your asses, but it's great as airline carry-on too. Anyhoo, I'll not bore you with my ode to a canvas bag. The purpose of this is to highlight what for me makes an item a Staple; it stands out and it's - well, if not individual, every hipster cyclist and their miniature daschund has a rucksack now - of sufficient quality to make the design notable. Look, it's a nice bag, alright? I like nice things...other Staples this week:
Sandqvist canvas rucksack with leather trim
Azari & III's debut album
Home-made cheese scones
The Travel Almanac (magazine)
M&S triple-berry juice
Eley Kishimoto x Orlebar Brown Setter shorts
A nice bottle of rosé from Majestic in Shoreditch

Monday, 28 February 2011

The Staple - Leather Clutch

Clutching Up

So LFW is over. Gosh, didn't it go quick! My six days of running around co-ordinating a team of over 20 people for Notion Magazine was knackering and exceptional fun in equal measures. There's nothing quite like getting dressed up at 8am, chucking an envelope-full of tickets in your bag and hailing a cab to Somerset House to make your day be that bit special. Existing on a diet of randomly-obtained cakes, bottles of sparkling water and the occasional espresso shot was somewhat precarious, but for all my complaining, I love the excitement of LFW. It's utter madness and I needed 2 days off work to recover, but it's so inspiring seeing the catwalks, presentations and tho be honest, the punters; anyone looking for a good people-watching venue would, I think, find it near-impossible to better Somerset House's cafes over LFW. Anyway, my fashion reports are all over at PlanetNotion, so take a look there. Two shout-outs though: JW Anderson & Matthew Miller. Utterly fantastic menswear with a twist, and whose collections I want to wear EVERY piece of (chance'd be a fine thing!). Anyway, this blg is about real life (erm-ish), so it's time to reveal the ASOS clutch bag that I ummed and ahhed over for so long, and which accompanied me to every show that I attended (apparently there were over 20). It was surprisingly practical, for a largish satchel with no handles; the main advantage being that it restricted the amount of crap I could carry about, forcing me to be ruthless with my shit, as well as frequently without a beverage. This did however mean that I didn't have a hernia after this season's Fashion Week, or the remains of cupcakes smeared across my notebooks. It creates a neat, businesslike look that I felt was appropriate to LFW, and didn't interfere with the contours or lines of my outfit. Also the slightly ridiculous orangey-brown leather gradually softened and became less garish as the week continued, and I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of people double-taking (outside of Somerset House, at least) on a man carrying a large women's clutch bag. I was even more pleasantly surprised by a few women I saw at LFW carrying the black version of this, who commented that they'd wanted to buy this one but played it safe with monochrome. So, all in all, a good purchase (though not as bargainous as my recent Vivienne Westwood black crewneck jumper on a sale rail at Selfs, £179 down to £29), which was widely admired - and yes, style-snapped; see here - and practical. I saw quite a few guys around LFW toting document wallets/clucthes of a similar type, so I reckon that makes it a Staple. Definitely one to give a try...amongst other Staples this week:
Navy YMC canvas lace-ups
Delia Smith's recipe for cheese scones
Shine 2009's Associates EP
Patterned Paul Smith socks
An entirely booze-free February
Twitter LFW madness (@sebulous and @NotionMagazine)
'Sup Magazine

PS: The photo above is not, I admit, particularly brilliant. And I don't really DO outfit posts. For a nice shot of what I wore to menswear day, take a look at The London Journal of Style (Navy APC trench, red Carolyn Massey tiefront cashmere jumper, Filippa K chinos, brown plaited leather belt from Turkey, patterned Paul Smith socks, navy YMC lace-ups, grey silk All Saints Union Jack scarf, grey cashmere wristwarmers from Brora, brown clutch from ASOS).

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Staple - Desert Boots

Just Deserts

I went to a meeting last week about social media. The guy I was talking to actually used the term 'cross-platform integrated strategy' in my presence (although in his defence, he did apologise for it). We laughed about it, but accepted it. After all, however wanky the words might sound, they are the easiest way to refer to what we were talking about. This morning, I had an entertaining discussion with a couple of people (@oohbrilliant and @sluttyfringe - poor @_sophiejames got caught in the crossfire) on the hipster-ness of trousers tucked into those boots. Whether it's a hipster signifier or not, it was a discussion on Twitter, and thus we're all fucking hipsters anyway. Some things we just accept as Shoreditch cliches. In this vein, may I present the desert boot. At aforementioned meeting, both of us turned up wearing desert boots, and (self-aware media types that we are) immediately recognised the fact. We laughed about it, but *puts on SJP voice in SATC* it got me thinking: how come everyone is wearing desert boots? Trendy guys, dads, office workers and shop asistants alike favour the desert boot, and the girls' version (with a wedge heel) is pretty popular too. What's the attraction? I think the reason is that the desert boot is that perfect blend of just-smart-enough without being too formal; just practical enough not to be ridiculous and above all exceptionally comfy. The crepe sole offers a lovely bounceback that we're just not used to in a non-trainer, post-plimsoll world of footwear, and suede is soft and yielding, like a nerf ball. I'm a semi-recent convert, buying these electric blue (well, almost) beauties in the time-honoured manner: in the sale at Liberty, last winter. For bonus points, they're from APC. And I've been living in them - lasting me throughout the summer and autumn, I've worn them to raves, family events and work; like I said, they're perfect for any occasion. Although they do bear the scuffs, scars and stains of the cycle commute. Anyway, before I fulfil any more cliches, and after much deliberation, this week's Staple is without doubt the desert boot.
London's fantastic cab drivers
Future Disco compilations
Quilted sweatshirts (from Topman)
M&S ginger beer
Receiving invites for #LFW
Home cooking

Monday, 7 February 2011

Staple Shops #1: ArtWords

So I was asked to blog for Le Cool London, and I decided to write about my fav LDN shops, seeing as it's not something I've directly covered here, but that I am a bit of an aficianado of. Enjoy...

Now that we’re all permanently engaged with the digital world, the idea of a bookshop seems rather quaint. I guess it is, in a way. However, in my mind, there’s nothing that beats the smell of a well-stocked bookstore, and ArtWords is just that. With the recent demise of fashion magazine emporium RD Franks and the loss of Borders’ much-loved browsing stands, it seems good ol’ WHSmith and a brace of independent newsagents are the best place to sate your glossy, thick-stocked, exotic magazine fix – but ArtWords, tucked away on Shoreditch’s Rivington Street and on hipster Mecca Broadway Market – is my idea of paradise. Dealing in all the visual arts and disciplines, ArtWords stocks only the most beautiful and thought-provoking books. For me, however, it’s the magazine selection that shines – Every international edition of all the glossies like Vogue, L’Officiel and Elle mingle with London’s cutting-edge titles like Oh Comely, Little White Lies and Notion. The selection is vast, and utterly inspiring – even as a magazine fetishist, I’ve barely read, let alone heard of half of the titles they stock. ArtWords brings to mind one of those 18th-century curiosity shops, filled with delights, but reminds that the international publishing scene of the 21st-first century is still flourishing, rich and alive. Without doubt, it’s worth an hour of your time to explore.

ArtWords, 22 Broadway Market, E8 4QJ & 65a Rivington St, EC2A 3QQ

The Staple - Chinos

Filippa K Chino, Primark sweatshirt, APC desert boots

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chino Town."

I seem to have smartened up a little of late. This is, of course, relative; I still practically never wear shirts (they remind me of my old job in the City), and proper leather lace-ups never grace my feet. Nonetheless, I've taken to a smarter look, with plainer clothes that are well-cut, rather than the old graphic T/cardi combo (though I'm sure that'll be back come the summer). I'm dressing more cleanly, and this is evident in my embrace of the chino. It's not exactly revolutionary, I'll grant you that, but then The Staple has never been about revolutionising; it's a document of my evolving wardrobe, and the ways in which I wear it, rather than a blog all about designers and the industry. That's what magazines are for, no? Anyway. Chinos. I have three pairs that kind of fall under the chino banner. The first pair are an old pair of Helmut Lang's I picked up in a closing down sale in Nottingham about 6 years ago, for a tenner. They then lay in the back of my wardrobe, unworn for years, surviving cull after cull until I dug them out this summer and decided that straight cut cream jeans are actually wearable. The next pair are ASOS cargo trousers, in a carrot fit. I'm still unsure about the 'carrot' trouser shape; I love the slim fitting legs, but the low crotch and baggy arse is unflattering to say the least. That said, they do look modern and are perfect for duffing around Shoreditch in - also it's an unusual novelty having pockets on one's knees. Not that I've filled them with 'cargo' at any stage, but they add detail to what might have looked like a faintly rubbish pair of trousers. Only problem is that I've managed to get oil from my bike chain on the hem of one leg. Ah well. I still wear them, the oil kind of hides in a fold, and it doesn't bother me hugely. The final pair are gorgeous. Neatly tailored, slim-cut and made from a luxe cotton, these Filippa K beauties were picked up (like a lot of the nice things in my wardrobe) from the Liberty sale. I've worn them a few times for work, and they are as comfy as they are smart, with the added bonus of being terribly flattering to the derriere. They're actually my ideal trousers, and I expect to wear them for most of LFW. So yeah, not exactly groundbreaking, but I've definitely moved away from the blue jean lately, and as my black jeans seem doomed to fading and untimely/unsightly rips, it looks like I'll be in Chinotown for awhile yet. Other Staples this week:
Pentel rollerball pens
Tartan scarves
The Jamie XX/Gil Scott-Heron album
Orange Capri-Sun
Green & Black's dark chocolate with cherry
Blue APC desert boots (Totally living in these beauties at the mo)

Monday, 31 January 2011

The Staple - Parka

Parka and Ride

Well there we go. Straight into 2011, and I fail to post for two weeks. Ah well. In my defence it was my birthday (and that seems to have been going on for about two weeks...) But yeah, anyway. It's bloody freezing at the moment, innit? And I'm Northern (well, originally, at least). I've climbed hills in freezing snowy conditions (including a memorable whiteout on Ben Nevis), I've lived in the Midwest where one day in October, 3 foot of snow suddenly falls and doesn't disappear for 6 months, I've skied in the Alps, but it took a parky night out with my parents in the Lake District last Autumn for me to fully appreciate the brilliance of this parka. Having arrived home without a practical coat, and not wanting to pair my nice jeans with an enormous fluorescent cagoule, I decided that there was nothing for it but to cocoon myself inside this somewhat voluminous parka. A relic from my student days, it had been languishing in my room at my parents house (much to my Mum's consternation) for, maybe 4 or 5 years. I originally bought it in a vintage shop in Camden back in my first year, wearing it incessantly, and looking like a tramp with my 'artfully' distressed jeans, floppy fringe and filthy Puma Roma trainers. Fast forward half a decade, and look how things come full circle! Parkas are everywhere on the high street, and wearing this one with my gorge electric blue suede APC desert boots and a pair of narrow chinos have given it an updated look. Yes, it's a bit obvious, but you can't swing a fake-fur cat in Shoreditch without hitting someone in a 'heritage' parka, and I'm safe in the knowledge that mine was a measly £25 quid a decade ago, and not the best part of a grand from Present or Nigel Cabourn (as lovely as these brands are). It's also, (as I'm sure I say every week, about every item of clothing that I wear) perfect for cycling; warm, voluminous, durably and not too long. The fur around the hood does look a bit ratty, but with its orange lining, it feels more 'miner at a picket' than I normally would, and the hand-warmer pockets give it a certain cosiness that I just don't get from any of my other jackets. It has become, without a doubt, my Staple winter coat. Not quite sure if I'll wear it to LFW yet though - what d'you think? Other Staples this week (ahem, fortnight)
Feasting on cheese
Taking high tea at Liberty
A French magazine (about magazines) called Magazine
Mason & Taylor in Shoreditch
Hercules & Love Affair's new album Blue Songs
(shamefully) Watching old, old Sex and the City DVDs
Acne t-shirts

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Staple - Jazzy Rucksack

De-Fendi of the Earth

This last week I've been on the hunt for a new bag. Back in November I had my backpack stolen in a pub in Soho (annoyingly one of my favourite Sam Smiths; the Glasshouse Stores on Brewer Street). It wasn't expensive - in fact it was only £17 from an agricultural supplier - but the stuff inside was priceless to me. Ancient Moleskines, my diary, my Comme wallet, my iPod, a Westwood scarf that was a gift from an old friend and trinkets from holidays past - I was not a happy bunny when that happened. It did however prompt me to reconsider what I carry around: I might love my old notebooks, but it's not worth carrying around ten years of notes and mementoes on a daily basis if it's going to be stolen. Your memories are worth more than that. Aaaanyway. I'm kind of into rucksacks at the moment, but I'm avoiding anything too 'Hackney heritage farmer'. Unfortunately, that rules out just about everything apart from Givenchy's fantastic studded leather backpack from a couple of seasons ago. Luckily, back in September I chanced across this oldskool backpack in a slightly ridiculous geometric pattern. It's pretty striking (to say the least) and is also, apparently vintage Fendi. I've got a hunch that it's actually a children's rucksack, but it just about fits an A4 folder in, and that makes it practical in my book, so I've started using it for work. The size also means that I've also been carrying it like a clutch bag, which feels surprisingly comfortable; like a big, jazzy document wallet, rather than a rucksack. Alright, so it's pretty Hackney, but at least I don't look like I'm going on a ten mile hike in 1922, when I'm actually going to the office (far from it: I look like an 8-year old Italian exchange student). What I want is a kind of simple, unstructured leather knapsack (unfortunately missed out on the recent Gaspard Yurkievich collab), in a nice tan colour, but it's been pretty fruitless so far. The Fendi will do me for now (it's a hard life, innit?), and while it might not be a Staple, it's definitely MY Staple of the moment. If you happen to come across any rucksacks that are anything like, then do let me know. Here's a few more Staples from this week:
Wolf & Lamb vs. Soul Clap's DJ Kicks compilation
A chilled bottle of Corona
Finally having the right prescription in my black Prada glasses frames
Bargain homewares from Argos & Matalan (I know!)
Leon chocolate brownies (yep, again)
Rearranging the living room

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Staple - Sweatshirt

'Mark My Words

Well hello there! It's been awhile hasn't it? 2010 was not a successful year for The Staple, however, as you may have gleaned via Twitter or previous posts, that's cos I finally got out of the world of financial journalism and into magazines; Notion Magazine to be precise. And as the Online Editor of, I've been in charge of a bigger platform for 'blogging'. However, it's time for The Staple to come back - I need some personal perspective. So expect at least weekly updates on the usual things, with an injection of style-related bits that I come across through Notion.
So, what am I feeling at the moment? Sweatshirts. I'm not entirely sure what sparked this one (though I think the fashion show in the latest issue of Fantastic Man might have been Genesis), but for some reason I'm all about sweatshirts. Not jumpers, but cotton, fleece-lined sweaters with a crewneck are my order of the day. I sit here wearing a grey marl one from (amazingly) Primark, which was £3 and worth every penny. In this cold snap, it's been a practical purchase, but I've been desperate to find another in the January sales. Luckily, I snagged this bargain Marc Jacobs number in Selfs: it's that shade of cobalt blue that I think seems pretty flattering with my skintone, and the perfect shape and size for me (amazingly as I didn't hit the sales 'til NYE - even the nice tillmonkey was surprised that I'd managed to find something nice and in the right size with almost £100 off)> In fact, it was my NYE outfit, and roundly complimented as well. I was dubious about sweatshirts at first, but there's something that feels modern and fresh about them, especially after years of thin-knit cotton V-necks. I've never held with chunky jumpers (I just get too hot, even in this weather) and there's something cosy but not suffocating about the humble sweat. Even the Primark one. In fact, I've been surprised by Primark. Yep, the menswear isn't exactly groundbreaking (in fact much of it is sub-River Island printed tshirts), but the sweaters are actually wearable, and for £3 a jumper, it's definitely worth investigating (if you can put the sweatshops out of your mind, though I don't reckon Primark's any worse than the rest of the High Street). Either way, Primark or Marc, it's time to get into a sweatshirt. Here's some other Staples from my week:
Walking in the snow
Paul Auster's latest novel, Sunset Park
Monocle Alpino
James Blake's debut album
Home cooking at Xmas
Terry's chocolate orange
Moleskine notebooks