Archives for July 2011



This season I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with the colour turquoise. That’s not a sentence you’ll read very often, and with good cause.

As colours go it’s jarring to the eye and seems almost unnatural. It would seem impossible to pair it successfully; and incorporating it into a look certainly appears to go against the accepted wisdom that a successful look is one of harmony. What might conceivably harmonise with such a colour?

But sometimes things can be so damned ugly that they become beautiful, and I’ve developed a strange appreciation for this colour which possesses a peculiar versatility.

I’ll confess I’m not a fan of summer clothing. Consequently, most of my purchasing takes place in the autumn and winter months, and are of a weight and colour palette to match. But the clothes of a well dressed man should compliment the season as much as they do the wearer and each other.

And so rather than try and reinvent my wardrobe from scratch or try and become something I’m not, I’ve been using turquoise to reinvigorate my core wardrobe and provide a splash of summer vibrancy and seasonal harmony.

Turquoise sits well with all shades of blue as well as browns, from tobacco to beige. If you want brighter and lighter, it compliments white without that common conformity of white and navy. And for those with boldness coursing through their veins, then try turquoise with orange, particularly burnt orange, and red. However, this last combination works best when the red is confined to a tie or handkerchief.

Personally, despite this new found fascination I’d still take my turquoise in smallish doses. I’m not sure of the virtue of a Turquoise jacket for example.

But, whether you opt to take that splash of summer colour in the form of a shirt, bag, watch strap or sock you could do far worse than opt for turquoise.

Albert Ahoy: The Monegasque Royal Wedding

Another wedding, another balding royal; but this time there was something slightly peculiar about the ensemble, something Mediterranean. In the tiny, Hyde Park-sized principality of Monaco, Prince Albert II married his South African bride Charlene Wittstock in the Saturday sunshine. There was no carriage ride, no cavalry guard, no scarlet tunics or polished riding boots. Instead, the Grimaldi scion wed in an ivory-white military uniform that clashed rather awkwardly with his wife’s sleek-but-dull Armani gown. Fellow royals from Sweden, Great Britain and Holland were also clad in white – famously the least favoured of all dress-uniforms – and the addition of white shoes made their ensembles ever so slightly absurd.


Unlike his father, who famously wed Grace Kelly in a pompous but more fittingly regal navy tunic, embellished with gold thread and spurious military awards, paired with sky blue and gold-braided trousers and accessorised with a jewelled sword, Albert – a ruler in charge of the smallest military force in the world – looked more like a ship’s captain from a 1940s Pacific & Orient pleasure vessel in the summer uniform of the palace guards. Whereas Grace was allowed to gleam, Charlene had to clash; in the sheen of her gown, there was no sign of the legendary elegance of the groom’s mother who had so influenced the bride of the year’s other royal wedding. As one has come to expect from Armani – a gifted but scarcely imaginative designer – the dress itself was flatteringly simple and, alongside the pleasure-cruise uniform of her new husband and the crowd of bluebloods, entirely disappeared.

There was something rather flabby and carefree about the Prince’s ensemble, and indeed that of other royals. For a place that is considered to be the world’s most glamorous superyacht marina, the uniform was certainly appropriate but it lacked the sober majesty of other royal wedding tunics. It was an aesthetic redolent of sweet vermouth cocktails and sticky nightclubs – apposite for a ‘party Prince’ but jarring with the reverence of a Catholic ceremony: it is a rare wedding that allows the groom to be ‘the meringue.’ The majority of the attendees, including Karl Lagerfeld, Sir Roger Moore (orthopaedically shoed) and Bernard Arnault, were in formal morning dress but there were a number of uncovered female shoulders, despite requests to abide by cathedral dress codes, and more than a few pairs of loafers. This was very much a Med wedding.

And yet, as shocking as Albert’s seasonal uniform was, in the beating sunshine and azure background of the glittering Mediterranean, it looked far more apropos than the double-breasted waistcoat and tails sported by others who looked like dazed colonials, shipwrecked on their return from India, squinting into the sun. The military whites looked like dashing sailors taking shore leave in a sunny paradise.

As ridiculous as it was to smash the bride’s white prerogative, Albert’s pristine uniform matched the gleaming and manicured buildings in the quiet and ancient Monaco-Ville; had he climbed into a carriage it would have been preposterous, instead he climbed into a new Lexus landaulette. It was a little gauche, and would certainly have made other royals wince, but it did fit the occasion.  Albert does not pretend to be a knight in shining armour – indeed, with his reputation and flutter of rumours regarding a paternity suit, he most certainly could not. Unlike Kate Middleton, who beamed with unnerving consistency at her marriage to a prince, Charlene Wittstock rarely deployed her smile. Perhaps it was the paternity rumours, or possibly the service? Or maybe it was the sight of her husband, gleaming and winking in white; for clashing with his bride on her big day, even a prince might have some grovelling to do.

Review: Made-to-Measure Shirt from Solosso

I’ve had the pleasure of wearing several made-to-measure (MTM) shirts in my sartorial journey. My most recent experience came by the way of the online shirtmaker Solosso. Solosso is a Swiss owned Singaporean company (don’t ask me how that came about) founded in 2009. They take pride in creating environmentally friendly and socially responsible stylishly tailored custom dress shirts at an affordable price. I’ve taken the time to bring you the details.


The product
: Solosso shirts are made from premium two-ply Egyptian cottons and linens. All the other usual high-quality shirt features are there as well: pattern matching, mother-of-pearl buttons, single needle stitching, split yokes, removable stainless steel collar stays and gussets. Shirts are handmade in Bangkok, Thailand under the supervision of one single tailor for each garment.

Shirt Models
: Solosso offers four different shirt models. Business for the office, casual for the country, elegant for formal attire and design from scratch for those looking to make something of their own.

Pricing: Solosso shirts start at a mere $89 and go up to $149 depending on fabric selection.

Design: A slew of options beginning with four different collar selections from button down to the wide spread English cutaway. Two collar button options. Three cut options in slim, regular, or loose. Three placket options in regular, French, or hidden. Five chest pocket options. Four short sleeve options. Three cuff options from single button to double cuffs. Three cuff shape options in rounded, angled, or squared. Three pleat choices including none, box, and side. Three bottom cut choices in straight, rounded, or enhanced for extra tucking security. And last but not least a single or split yoke option which allows for easy pattern matching for striped or checked fabrics and molds to the wearer’s body over time.



Personalization: Three monogram script options with eight locations in a bevy of colors. Contrast collar and cuff options. Inner collar and cuff contrast color and design choices including flowers, polka dots, and solids.

Measurements: Customers have the option of measuring themselves, sending in measurements of their favorite shirt, choosing from standard sizing, or mailing their favorite shirt to have the sizing duplicated.

My shirt
: I choose to design my shirt from scratch in a white Twill cotton with a cutaway collar with one button, two button angled cuff, single French placket, no pocket, side pleats, enhanced tail, blocked monogram on the left stomach in light blue, blue flowers inside collar, solid light blue inside cuffs, with my own specific measurements.





The good: The ordering process was clean and simple with loads of personalization options and I like the fact that they offer linen shirting when most online shops don’t. My shirt arrived within two weeks which is an exceptional turnaround time. The presentation was great. A discrete box embossed with the Solosso logo. Packaged expertly with a personalized note and shiny stainless steel collar stays. Sturdy construction but a soft feel and light sheen will make it a joy to wear. The dressy fabric will make it office appropriate, while the contrast inner collar and cuffs will make it easy to transition to a night on the town.

The bad: It shrunk a bit. I washed this shirt intentionally to test the degree of shrinkage. After the fact it definitely felt like it shrunk more than what’s comfortable but after ironing and wearing it seemed OK. The collar was a bit big. This is common in custom shirting to allow for fabric shrinkage and physical expansion over time. However, this felt a bit more than normal.

Bottom line
: For a new company offering the fabrics and options they have and with the stellar customer service, turnaround time, price point and overall quality; I highly recommend Solosso for the gentlemen just introducing themselves to the MTM world of shirts.

– Grant Harris (Image Granted, LLC)