Archives for October 2011

Mode Rage: Sewn in Pocket Square

I don’t watch much television. I find a lot of the ‘entertainment’ that is transmitted through the box to be banal, idiotic and depressing. ‘Reality’ television, which has eaten up much of the schedule, is particularly disagreeable to me, although there are a few notable exceptions in this category that appeal to me, chief amongst them the splendid Dragon’s Den on BBC2.

For those unfamiliar with the program, Dragon’s Den is effectively run in a gameshow format; ‘dragons’ – successful businessmen and women – sit in judgment on pitches from entrepreneurs and decide whether to provide them with the capital they are asking for in return for a stake in their business. The presentations are often rather poor, the entrepreneurs insufficiently informed and the dragons are entertainingly ruthless and unpleasant. There are however some aspects of the show which I do not like, one of which is a truly awful aspect of Peter Jones’ attire.

Jones is one of the most amusing ‘dragons’, and certainly one of the most astute but he has a curious taste in suits not commensurate with someone of his wealth and apparent discernment. He clearly has a liking for suiting and colour-matching, but seems to have fallen for a rather common and artless flavouring; the sewn-in pocket square.


The sewn in pocket square is not actually a square at all. It is not a stuffed-in, decorative handkerchief but a tiny slip of silk or other material that is sewn in to the top of the pocket, obviating the need for a separate accessory. In other words, it is an aesthetic fake; the clip-on bow of the pocket square world. However, it is not a very good fake. With every movement of the jacket, there is no change in the position of the ‘square’; it is but a lifeless border.

I have no idea what else necessitates such an inflexible, inadaptable, unattractive and lifeless addition to a suit except laziness. However, the convenience of the accessory is entirely wiped out by the expense of it. Jones wears his sewn-in-square suits with matching ties, often in bright colours. This means he must have a sewn-in square suit for every tie he owns; although he can certainly afford it, this is hardly a wardrobe blueprint for a man on an average income, or a sensible act of economy from a supposedly shrewd businessman. It is far wiser to adapt accessories to suits, and not the other way around.

Disappointingly, these suits have started to appear in shops on the high street (how could you, Zara?), often on mannequins with matching ties, no doubt to encourage the latest armchair-aesthete to avoid all the ‘hassle’ of choosing squares and ties (god forbid there should be colour variety in this world) and simply purchase a manufactured, Lego-man armour for the wash & go generation.

The worst thing is, in the spirit of the Den, I actually have a better idea for the lazy-but-economical: pocket-square cards (as made by Umo Lorenzo). Simply attached a ‘card clip’ – which receives the card – to the top pocket, and click in your selected ‘card’ of the day (with a strip of silk attached to each). “Sewn-in-security, but with variety.” Absolutely awful.

My Two Scents: Autumn and Winter Scents

I love Sunday evenings on my little street. The sky, which often roars with Heathrow-bound air traffic, is relatively quiet, the sirens are few and far between and my neighbour fills his fire with oak logs which, in turn, fills the air with the aroma which Diptyque refer to as ‘Feu de Bois.’ One whiff and you are transported to the countryside, to a fireside idyll in the woods with crunchy leaves underfoot. After beatific smiles and exhalations of satisfaction, I wanted to bottle the smell and lather it on me. It was the definitive autumn smell.

I like smells that define the season. Cypress for the spring, oranges, grapefruit and lemon in the summer; in my opinion, fragrance is about more than selecting a year-round scent. When you wear your light linen and espadrilles to a soiree at the yacht club on a warm evening, you should add something that complements your clothing, the season and the occasion; a deep, woody number with spice notes would be a mistake. Here are some season-friendly suggestions for the remainder of 2011.

The Autumn Scent


Comme des Garcons ‘2 Man’ smells like church pews, old ships and forest fires. It is mossy and woody and has conspicuously intense notes that smell like incense. In the splendid words of one admirer, David Hunter; “…it is intoxicating and a masterpiece. Strike a match and light a waxed saddle on fire, throw in a tumble weed, cedar, sandalwood, frankincense, and what the hell, add a gallon of gasoline. Then grab a Single Malt Scotch and get drunk on the smoke. By the time you pass out, you’ll find yourself inside of a Byzantine Mosque. Believe me.” The rusticity of the scent and distinct smell of incineration make this the ideal scent for the autumn season; team with a peanut-butter coloured cord jacket, paisley tie, dark denim and brown brogues.

The Winter Scent


Admittedly this scent isn’t an all-winter scent, but it is perfect for the festive season. In the cold of December, when the snow covers the ground, and you mush through the naked trees in your favourite overcoat with your gloved hands shoved deep in your pockets, you catch a whiff of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine from a nearby stall; that is the effect of Dolce & Gabbana’s ‘The One Gentleman’. The original scent, ‘The One’, was pleasant with base notes of tobacco and ambergris and sweet top notes of grapefruit and basil but it was more of an all-rounder; ‘The One Gentleman’ is spicier and more oriental with pepper, cardamom and patchouli. It smells like Christmas should smell; that warm glow in the darkness. Team with a burgundy velvet jacket, tartan tie, black trousers and patent shoes for the party season.

Bowties & Bogans

This is a guest post by Trent Beven

The other evening my girlfriend and I were walking down the main street of our town to an art opening at my favourite gallery; I was a bit excited about this but more excited because I was wearing my new bow tie from Le Noeud Papillion.


While we were stopped at traffic lights I noticed a car waiting there also. What drove my attention to the car was that the girl inside looked right at me, laughed, then said something to her boyfriend so he could get in on the joke. With the window down it was pretty easy to see the two of them grinning, glaring and laughing directly at me until the lights changed.

I’m new to this sort of style (it’s only the 3rd time I’d worn a bow tie) and I have to admit it got to me a little.

Had I been either more brave or petty I might of pointed out that his singlet is only meant to be an undergarment, his hat was crooked and, with a bachelor in fine arts, I can say his tattoo looked standard issue and thoughtless.

Most others in this small rural town when seeing me in a bow tie that night just looked at me like a little oddly, and I guess I was the odd one out so fair enough.

This little experience has taught me at least two things.

Firstly, wearing a bow tie in this world requires a confidence of a belly dancer (they look pretty confident to me). If you show any sign of individuality in your appearance you’ll be judged and ridiculed. You can pull it off only if you tell the world: “I’m confident in myself. No matter how ridicules you think I look I disagree and I’m not fussed with your opinion”. I was a little funny about it at first, but I look forward to wearing a bow tie at our local jazz and wine festival. I like bow ties, I look good in the bow and my girlfriend thinks so too. All the good reasons to continue wearing them.

Secondly, you should never point and laugh at people from your car when stopped at traffic lights.

Trent Beven is a fine arts graduate in rural Australia with weakness for fine hats, blazers and american folk songs.

Links: Perry Ellis, Sartorial Library, Feminine Side…


• Perry Ellis: the real deal. (

• What not to add to your sartorial library. (

• Elegance-conscious gents or “men willing to accept their feminine side.” (

• Portrait of a Parisian dandy. The last picture is priceless. (

• Haters gonna hate. (

• 2011 lookbook. (

• Review: Charles Tyrwhitt military captoe boots. (

Going Green


I’ve decided I’m going green. An unusual pronouncement for a former policy advisor on aviation, so perhaps I ought to qualify that statement.

Of all the colours present in my wardrobe green is conspicuous by its absence. Why I’ve omitted this colour I’m not sure. I’ve spoken to many a shirt maker and clothing retailer, all concur that it is not a colour favoured by many men. On the whole when we think of adding colour to our wardrobe it seems green figures low on the list. True, it’s a common enough colour for those that stalk the countryside, particularly in its favoured guise of a Barbour jacket and wellington boots, but outside of that you don’t see it too often.

And yet it is an eminently useful colour, suitable in one shade or another for almost any complexion. If you’re dark haired or dark skinned then look to darker shades of green – British Racing Green, bottle green and their like. If you have fair skin and fair hair then consider lighter shades such as mint and moss.

It’s also a colour that is more than a little apt for the season of holly, fern trees and the rich dark browns of autumn and winter. And as colours go it’s perfectly versatile, sitting well with most blues, pinks, browns and its variants – rust, beige and terracotta.

For my own part I’ve decided to have made what I call a town tweed odd jacket. I call it town tweed because instead of the more common single breasted guise for tweed jacketing I’m having it made in a double breasted form with patch pockets. Tweeds tend to be rather heavy and normally you wouldn’t contemplate a double breasted jacket. However, living in London and moving from building to building via covered walkways, underground and covered train stations you can actually dispense with a coat in all but heaviest rain, provided your jacket is weighty enough to keep you warm. If it does rain I’ll be able to use a Mac rather than carry around a heavy wet woollen coat.

I’ve opted for a Herringbone Harris Tweed in mid/moss green. If green jacketing is a little bold for you then start small. A green stripe shirt works wonders with a blue blazer and club stripe tie. Alternatively, if you’re attempting to add colour to your sock collection then green works wonders with a navy suit and black or brown shoes.

It’s time to go green.