OTC Recommends: Smart Turnout


Every now and then I come across a company that is truly unique and catches my eye.  It could be the products or marketing approach.  Sometimes it’s their buzz factor or ability to hit the market with the right thing at the right time.  In the case of Smart Turnout, it started with a watch band. Page 195 of the 2007 Esquire Big Black Book showed a picture of a sharp looking Fortis chronograph on a red and blue ribbon watch strap.  The … [Read more...]

The Struggle to Innovate in Menswear

It’s rare that traditional menswear retailers are genuinely innovative. A few designers have their odd quirks, and many fluctuate with the (fashion) seasons. But a precious small number actually change the way people look at jackets, shirts and trousers. Paul Smith has original quirks. His suit linings were the first thing that made him popular in the UK, or at least the first that made him stand out. Bright colours, bright stripes and … [Read more...]

Is the Suit on Borrowed Time?

A lot is written about suits on men’s style pages. A heck of a lot in fact. And it is hardly surprising that it should be so; many of us require, for professional, occasional or aesthetic purposes, a suit at some point in our lives. My first suit came before I was seven. I looked rather ridiculous of course; an improbable character from a fairy tale – with blonde ringlets, a little waistcoat and tiny turn-ups – but it was the beginning of … [Read more...]

Lobb and Berluti. How Different Can You Get?

“Good afternoon, sir, can I help you?” “I hope so. You see I’m trying to find a last that fits the shape of my feet and I have to say I haven’t had much luck so far. “They’re quite wide across the ball of my feet, and also quite shallow – I have rather fallen arches. As a result I end up getting shoes that are a little too long to compensate for the width, and my heels move around in them because they are all too … [Read more...]

Black Notes


Although I am a man who would scarcely converse on an encounter made in a department store men’s room, a recent experience in a toilet at Selfridges made me reconsider. A brief moment, passing through the swing doors into the department store’s rather basic and disappointing facilities, provided the light bulb; I passed a gentleman who was dressed in black, quite literally, from head to foot. There was not a scrap of colour, even a square … [Read more...]