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)