Ramblings

#55. My Top Three Favourite Menswear Collections Of All Time: 25-03-2017.

As personal style posts have provided the vast majority of the content on my blog, my thoughts on fashion as an industry have not really come into the foreground. I do tend to keep up to date with the menswear collections, but, to be honest, the news and politics of the industry bore me a little. I admire the creativity and genius of designers and their brands, but I despise much of the pretentiousness. As a past contributing writer for HERO, and recently for The Rakish Gent, I would add that I love writing show reports, as they offer me the opportunity to write in a manner that I tend to forego with my blog.

Since this is pretty much my first expression on the blog of fashion outside of my personal style, I thought I’d show you guys my 3 favourite menswear collections of all time, and which outfits from the shows I particularly liked. There won’t be much commentary on the collections, but I’ll run through the reasons why I’m so keen on them, and you can let me know if you’re a fan, too. Also, who doesn’t like looking at photos of extremely nice clothes? I’d like to add that these are in no particular order – I couldn’t pit them against each other. Be sure to leave a comment with your favourite collections, by the way – I’d love to check them out.

All images are from Vogue. If you want to check out the rest of the collections, just click the links below.

Robert Geller AW16

First up is the Robert Geller Autumn/Winter collection of 2016. I actually hadn’t even heard of Robert Geller until HERO asked me to cover this show, and I’m so glad I did. The looks are incredibly unique, and the entire collection was based on a German novel called Momo, or The Grey Gentlemen. Each outfit seems to carry a strange, slightly unsettling aura to it. Big fan.

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Saint Laurent SS15

The second of the three collections is Saint Laurent’s Spring/Summer 2015 show. Think ‘Wild West’ meets Psychedelic Rock. I’ve always been a huge admirer of Hedi Slimane’s work, and this is definitely my favourite collection by him. It’s the sort of stuff I really do wish I had the money to buy. One day.

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Alexander McQueen AW09

There’s no way I could leave out Alexander McQueen from my top three. And when you combine McQueen with Victorian London, you get magic. As a literature student, and lover of Dickens, the looks in the Autumn/Winter 2009 collection captivated me. The tailoring, the colour palette, the accessories; everything is perfect about it.

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#47. A Guide on Men’s Jewellery; Where to Look When Searching for Silver.

Men’s jewellery seems to have become far more prevalent over the past few years, with more and more men looking towards rings, bracelets and necklaces to accentuate their outfits and distinguish their style. I, personally, have always found rings, in particular, to be critical in creating uniqueness in a wardrobe that is otherwise rather plain; the vast majority of my clothes are black, many unbranded and unadorned (though, my recent Zara purchase is the complete antithesis of minimalism), and it becomes easy for my outfits to become all too similar. Jewellery has, for centuries, been used as a means of distinguishing people. In early history, it was used to exhibit rank and status, and later, wealth, and now it is worn around the world as another form of self-expression. I find that appreciation for jewellery is fuelled by the variance it offers my outfits; pairing a plain black t-shirt with black jeans need no longer look stale – the addition of a few statement silver rings, and possibly a bracelet, breathes life into minimal style. With this growth in popularity – particularly amongst men, who had, prior to the 21st-century, tended to stick to a signet ring and a wedding band, and maybe a plain silver necklace – there have come numerous options to look towards when shopping for new jewellery. This ‘guide’ will run through a handful of the places that gravitate towards if I’m looking to add to my collection. Now, as you guys are probably aware, I have a fairly distinct taste in jewellery; I like silver, or stainless steel, and I like rock ‘n’ roll-esque pieces. So, if that sort of thing doesn’t float your boat, then this guide probably will do nothing for you except cause you some disbelief at how much money you need to really build up a comprehensive collection of jewellery.

First up is House of Need. What I love about this brand is that the designs are of the calibre you’d expect of the more expensive jewellers, but because they create most of the pieces with stainless steel, the pricing is perfect for those with a tighter budget. This “Need Luck” ring is £28.50, and I’ll be picking it up when I get paid in 11 days, because I’ve had my eye on it for so long now and, well… I want it.

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Clocks & Colours are a brand that first popped up on my Instagram through one of their adverts, and caught my attention almost instantly with their extremely detailed designs. I tend to stick to rings when I’m looking for jewellery for myself; however, their bracelets are the coolest, and some of the most intricate, I’ve seen. Another great thing about the brand is that they offer their pieces in silver or stainless steel, which, once again, helps if you’re on a budget.

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The Wildness’ jewellery, and particularly their rings, have a very sleek finish, and I’m a big fan of the design of the skull on this piece. £85 for .925 silver is extremely reasonable, too.

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I’ve been eyeing up this piece by The Bricks London for months now; it’s incredibly unique, and exactly my style. Just need to save up £195. They have some particularly distinct designs.

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Arguably, the most famous jeweller of this kind is The Great Frog, renowned worldwide for its niche designs and celebrity clientele, and though their pieces can be pricey, some really aren’t so dear as you’d first expect. This rock ‘n’ roll skull ring is £110, and hallmarked .925 silver.

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I had to put this next one in the guide, purely for this particular ring. I’m a huge fan of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, and so, this Crazy Pig design has haunted me since I first saw it. One day.

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Thomas Sabo is a large leading jewellery brand, though they cater to the alternative side of style with their offbeat but elegant watches, bracelets, rings and necklaces. This ring is priced at £215, which is around average for a Thomas Sabo piece.

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What do ya think; any of these pieces seem like your kind of thing? Any brands you particularly like the look of? Let me know in the comments, and hopefully this will provide you a basis of a few jewellers to browse from when looking to build up your own jewellery collection. Also, I’d love to know if there’s any brands that you know of that I’ve missed out that are similar in style. Cheers.

 

#44. A Look Back on 2016, and What I Want from the Year Ahead. 

There has been somewhat of a deep divide carved out between many people in 2016, and whilst, personally, I don’t feel that 2017, nor 2018, will provide the remedy for such a divide, I also am not of the belief that the past year was one of pure disaster, as many seem to think. No, 2016, for me, was not ripped directly out of the pages of a Greek tragedy, not even in the context of politics, economics and social change. It is easy to get caught up in the doom-and-gloom of the world, and if all you did for the 365 days of 2016 was keep your eyes glued to newspaper headlines and Facebook, it is even easier to understand why. And whilst, yes, the year was no sequence of rainbows, it was far from the cesspit of misery and woe that many – predominantly, the media – alleged it to be. In fact, when you compare 2016 to the vast majority of the previous years of life on planet Earth, I’d say we’re far from the worst of it.

My point is, at the risk of sounding like some sort of awful life coach or preacher, there are far more positives to take from being alive in this era than there are negatives. I’m a firm believer that if you are lucky enough to live in a liberal democracy, with access to the internet, a roof over your head, unplagued by scarcity of food or the true terrors of life apparent in the more desolate regions of the world, you are 100% in control of your life, and Trump, the Tories or any other political pisspot has very little say in your story. The world is a far better place today for most than it has ever been.
I rambled on a little too long there, but I felt that it needed to be said, because when all you see, hear and read about 2016 was that it was cruel and callous, one needs to be reminded that the world could be, and has been, far worse. That being said, 2016 was a proper savage for taking Alan Rickman. Not cool. And Earth/2017, if you put David Attenborough in even the slightest bit of danger, I’ll start using plastic bags again, leaving lights on, and keeping my TV on standby.

Right, now for the less grave part of this post; what I’m proud of achieving in 2016, and what I hope to achieve in the year ahead.

To be honest, 2016 was probably the second-best year of my life, the best being 2015 for a multitude of reasons that I won’t delve into here. Regardless, the year was one in which I felt I became more myself than I’ve ever been, and, in doing so, seemed to achieve a great deal more than I had expected to. I stopped binge-drinking entirely, bar on certain occasions (New Year’s Eve, you’ll haunt me for weeks to come), and I began employing my time in all the things I knew I loved to do, rather than in all the things that were easy to do. The important distinction being that the easy things, namely; getting pissed, having several TV shows on the go at any one time, and spending countless hours on personal social media; were not the things that I enjoyed. In fact, I despised binge-drinking; it was just the lazy choice to make.

Instead, for the best part of the year, I began to read far more, write far more consistently, spend the hours I would have spent watching utter drivel instead researching topics and concepts that fascinated me, and, most significantly, began to put continual effort into my blog, and my Instagram (which, really, is just a visual form of the written blog). When I say a continual effort, I’ll give you a comparison to flesh out what may seem an exaggeration: I created my style blog very early on in 2016, and, between February and August, probably wrote maybe a dozen posts and spent around 4-5 hours a week working on the images and the writing. In August, I decided that if I truly wanted my blog to grow (which I did), I needed to be putting much more work into it, and considering it was one of the aspects of my life that I most enjoyed, it just made sense to do that. So, I started spending 2 or 3 hours a day – in between going to seminars, doing my reading for uni, and working at AllSaints –  writing up draft posts, creating images, editing, revising posts etc. My routine would be (and still is, except over the past fortnight) to wake up around 7am, spend an hour or so working on a creative aspect of my blog, go to work, do whatever needed doing for uni, and then work on my blog for a couple more hours. Now that I’m no longer at my part-time job, which was taking up 25-30 hours a week, I have even more time to devote to both, the blog, and university. The fruits of this labour began to appear faster than I expected, and towards the end of the year, the whole thing had begun to snowball.

One of my highlights was definitely completing my first collaboration, which was with Original Grain, and another was hosting two giveaways as a thank you for the support to everyone who follows me, reads my posts, comments on my photos etc. There’s a bunch of different things that you do in support of what I do, and I’m very grateful for that. Whilst metrics do not, in any way, facilitate nor signify the success of a blog, and it would be infantile and naive to rest upon them, solely, as milestones of one’s achievements, there is no doubt that it would be equally silly to ignore them entirely. That’s why another personal highlight was when I realised 5,000 of you guys were following me over on Instagram. I’m now closer to 6,000, which is crazy, given that 5,000 seemed to have only just gone by.

Goals for 2017:

  • Engagement:

One thing I will say, however – and this ties into what I would like from 2017 – is that, though it is amazing that so many people find my images and my style to be worthy of their time, there is only so much you can take out of pinning down your audience to a number of followers. Whilst I have around 5,500 followers on Instagram at the moment, the number of those who engage with my content is probably between 10-15% of that. It is far more important, in my opinion, to build a network of people who actually want to engage with you and have conversations and offer opinions, than to simply have a large number of followers. And so, one of my priorities for the year ahead is to concentrate on growing in this manner, rather than growing in pure metrics. I would love to end this year with a far greater percentage of my audience, across all platforms, engaging with my content. If I finish 2016 with 6,000 followers but 50% of those people are commenting, conversing, and letting me know what they like and dislike, and what they want to see and read more of, I will be a lot more proud and far happier than if I end the year with 10,000 followers but less people who actually care.

  • Surroundings:

Another goal of mine for the next 12 months is to venture out into different settings for my outfit photography. Brick walls, though functional, can get boring – and if they’re getting dull for me, I would imagine you guys would like a change of scenery too. So yeah, I’m definitely going to start finding some new spots for the outfit shots.

  • Overhaul:

A last note on what I want out of 2017 for my blog is a complete redesign of my website. I have a lot of ideas for what I want it to be, and though the current format is clean and useful for my writing and photos, there’s a lot more that I want to bring to the table that isn’t just blog posts. Keep an eye out for that; it’ll most likely be getting an overhaul in summer.

 

And that’s pretty much it. I say “pretty much” – that is it. I’ve written nearly 1500 words; it began a bit deep and serious, I know, but I thought it was important to give a little of my own opinion on the past 12 months. And since this is a style blog, I think a few hundred words is more than enough, though I could write volumes on that topic.

Hopefully you guys enjoyed this post, and had a great weekend. Happy New Year, everyone! Let me know what you thought about 2016 in the comments, I’d love to discuss it.

 

#41. SLVR & Co, and a Christmas Giveaway; A Review of the Mayfair + £50 to Spend on AllSaints.

SLVR & Co are a newly-launched watchmaker, founded in London, with an aim to provide premium timepieces on a shoestring budget. Their inaugural collection is a concise one, with six classic styles available, and the Mayfair – the the watch I’ll be reviewing today – is, in my opinion, the most elegant of the range.

The brand initially got in touch way back in early October, explaining that they were in pre-production of their first ever collection, and they asked if I’d be interested in styling one of their pieces upon launch. This was also back when they had just over 100 followers on their Instagram, and their growth to well beyond 1,000 since then has not been without merit. Having checked out their site, there were a couple of designs that particularly stood out to me as ones I’d be keen to wear day-to-day; the Richmond, and the Mayfair. I had initially picked the Richmond, in tan, as my preference, but, lo-and-behold, due to some unforeseen production issues, the Richmond was unfortunately not going to be available for their launch. So, with absolutely zero reluctance, I opted for the Mayfair, in black.

And what a choice that was. Keeping in mind that SLVR & Co’s watches retail at around £65 for the majority of the designs, including the Mayfair, I was very much impressed with the construction quality of the watches. What most impressed me is the quality of the leather on the strap; leather that, had I not known the price beforehand, I would have priced at above and beyond three times its retail. I don’t want it to sound like hyperbole, and it really isn’t, but every time I pick it up I think, “I would without doubt pay £65 for this watch and believe I’d come away with a steal.”

Now, before I go into a further review of the watch, and thus, cast myself to look even more of a fanboy, there are a couple of negatives, though small, that I want to bring up, in order for this to be a genuine review. Firstly, there needs to be another hole or two punched in the strap in future productions, because, when you have dainty wrists like mine, the current adjustability doesn’t allow the watch to quite sit right on me. If you have regular-people wrists, however, you should be just fine. Maybe I just need to eat a few more Deliveroos. Nope, definitely don’t want to be doing that. The second, and last, criticism would be that the face would look even more sleek and sophisticated if it was 100% black – the white ring of the inner edge of the case slightly disturbs the harmony between the black of the dial and the black of the strap. Two small aspects that I think, if changed, would make the watch faultless for me. The italicisation there was to draw emphasis to the fact that these small issues are my own, and may not be a problem at all for other wearers.

So, onto why I’m so impressed with this watch. Firstly, the packaging; it arrived in a beautifully simple and functional box, jet-black with an off-white edge, and the watch itself came regally wrapped around its own soft, onyx pillow. Subtle silver branding is embossed on the upper interior, lifting the box from unidentified sophistication to the premium the brand had pushed for. The watch itself looks stunning from afar. As I mentioned previously, if this watch is anything to go by, the brand’s selling point is in its construction quality; the surprisingly rigid black leather strap feels like it belongs on a watch with an extra digit on its price-tag. The rose-gold casing is subdued and soft, bringing character to the watch without the accompanied noise typical of gold casing. The face of the watch proudly and boldly displays the watchmaker’s origins, and the hands are sharp and glistening, like two short-swords, polished and preened. The piece, as a whole, is beautiful, especially when you consider its price. It combines a minimalist aesthetic with unquestionable class, at the upper-end of a stocking-filler budget and the lower-end of a gift’s.

If you’d like to check the Mayfair out for yourself, you can do so here: SLVR & Co – The Mayfair

I’ll be styling the watch in an outfit post early next week, so keep an eye out for that. Massive thank you to the guys over at SLVR & Co for getting in touch, and gifting me one of their first designs. I really appreciate it. Hopefully this review can provide an honest and insightful guide for any potential buyers.

 

GIVEAWAY:

Now – I know you beady-eyed folk have been eagerly awaiting an explanation of this new giveaway since the word cropped up in the title of the post, so here it is. Who fancies £50 to spend at AllSaints? All of you? Awesome. One of you can have the £50 AllSaints gift card. All you have to do to enter is one of two things (or both for two entries):

  • 1. Repost my giveaway image on Instagram, tag me in it, and add #nikpxtxlchristmasgiveaway to the caption – so that I can keep track.
  • 2. Add me on Snapchat – @nikpxtxl

It’s literally that easy. Doing both of those things will get you two entries, doing just the one will get you one entry.

I will be picking a winner randomly through a name generator, like in the last giveaway I hosted, next Thursday, 22nd December, at 7pm GMT. I’ll contact the winner for a shipping address, and if I don’t receive one within 48 hours, a new winner will be picked. Entrants can be from anywhere – worldwide. So, what are you waiting for? Get reposting, and get adding. Good luck to everyone!

Don’t forget to leave a comment with your thoughts on the watch, and also, since it’s nearing Christmas – what are you getting to gift to others?

#29. £40 ASOS Giftcard Giveaway.

It’s happened. I woke up this morning to find that my Instagram following has surpassed 4,000. Thank you guys so much, I appreciate it massively. I’m still baffled at that number.

And so, with it being such a ridiculous achievement (in my eyes, at least), I thought it to be the perfect time to launch my first ever giveaway, as a thank you to all of you who read my posts and engage with me over on Instagram.

As most (if not all) of you know, ASOS is my lifeblood, so what better gift to give away than to donate some of my blood – wait, no that’s not right. What I meant to say was, who would like a £40 gift voucher to spend on ASOS.com? All of you? Unfortunately, there can only be one winner. The rules are simple – you have to fight one another to the death in your best outfits, and the last person standing gets the giftcard. Runners-up prize to the best dressed. No? Okay, I’ll tone it down. How about we have 3 methods of entry:

Each of these actions will result in 1 entry (per action) for the giveaway, which means nobody will have more than 3 entries. You don’t need to do all 3, or even 2, if you don’t want to. Just pick whichever action you prefer and you’ll be in with a chance to win (though I would really love it if you could do all 3).

All of the usernames will be placed in a random name picker to generate the winner (http://www.miniwebtool.com/random-name-picker/). If you’ve entered via 2 or 3 methods under the same username, your username will be entered into the list the equivalent number of times.

The winner will be announced at 8pm BST on Tuesday 11th October.

The £40 ASOS Gift Voucher will be emailed to the winner as soon as I receive their email address from them. If I don’t receive an email address from the winner within 48 hours of the announcement, a new winner will be picked.

The voucher can only be spent on ASOS.com. International entries are absolutely fine, as long as you know that there may be shipping charges for whatever you decide to use it on. That being said, ASOS often do free international delivery.

I think that’s pretty much all the information you need – now go forth, and enter.

I want to thank you all again for helping me hit 4,000 followers – it’s insane. Good luck to everyone for the giveaway.

#26. The Best Affordable Winter Coats on Mallzee + £10 Free Spend.

Right, it’s been a good (or bad) five days since I last had a moment to write anything substantial, and I’m sure you’ve all been weeping during that time, but I’m going to start this post off with the bad news – due to the imminent arrival of my final year at uni, it’s likely that I’m not going to have the time to write 3 posts a week anymore. *cue booing, jeering and crying* Dry your eyes, I’m only dropping 1 post a week. Hopefully, doing so will allow me the time to focus on uni but also to keep this blog consistent and valuable for you guys. If I’m honest, I’m still unsure as to how outfit posts will pan out – I’m yet to find a photographer, though, if it comes to it, I’ll buy a tripod and take the photos myself. I’m hoping I can get an outfit post up every week, and if not, then certainly every fortnight. The bulk of my posts, and the general direction of my blog, will probably become more informative until I go home for Christmas; budget shopping guides, style tips and outfit picks will take centre stage over my OOTD posts. Who wants to see me pose against a brick wall in black clothes, anyway?

Well, that was a rather unnecessarily long introduction. Hopefully you’re still with me. If you are, congrats, you’re going to get £10 to spend on clothes for free. I got an email from the guys over at Mallzee this afternoon, (remember them? the proper cool app which works like a Tinder/Google Search mashup for online fashion) and they mentioned that from 5pm tomorrow until Sunday 2nd October they will be offering a tenner to anyone who enters a referral code into the app – no strings, you literally just have to type the code in and your account will be credited £10 to spend on whatever you want. As fate would have it, I happen to have a referral code -> NIKP2YQ. You don’t, of course, have to use my referral code, but we both get a tenner free, win-win. Make sure you don’t enter it into the app until 5pm tomorrow though, else you’ll only get £5 credited. If you have any friends who want free clothes too (who doesn’t?), just give them your own referral codes to enter for even more credit. I’ll leave a link to the app below. You just need to click on the credit button in the My Account section of the app to enter a referral code:

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Now, what to do with your free spend? With the sudden drop in temperature this past week, I realised that, somehow, I don’t actually own a winter coat. Leather jackets, denim jackets, shirt/jacket crossovers – these I have many, but no real December coat. I do have a Burberry trench coat, but I get a little scared it’ll get ruined, so it only comes out on special occasions. I had a browse on Mallzee after they’d emailed me, and found a bunch of different styles on sale. You don’t need to spend your tenner towards a winter coat, you could get some underwear, a t-shirt or jewellery almost completely free instead, but I figured this is a good opportunity to get a high-quality coat as inexpensively as possible.

First up, I saw this very clean and classic cotton Mac in navy-blue. It’s a regular fit, and would be ideal for layering over a long-sleeve t-shirt and a plain jumper.

TheIdleMan – £56, down from £69.90.

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River Island are always worth looking at for affordable men’s coats; this one comes black, double-breasted with funnel-neck, and in a wool blend, with zip pockets on the chest and large buttoned pockets at the waist. It’s also on sale at £40 (and that’s before our free tenner).

River Island – £40, down from £95.

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Third up is another River Island piece. This one is a belted, slim-fit jacket in dark brown. The belt gives the jacket some added versatility; I’d wear it unfastened as a warmer substitute for a blazer, which would also dress down a more formal look.

River Island – £50, down from £110.

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River Island are on a roll. I really love this next one, and, if I didn’t already own a navy trench-coat, I’d be all over it. The details on this coat are what make it unique; it comes fitted, with zipped pockets, epaulettes and a longline cut. River Island have made a £40 coat look like a £400 coat.

River Island – £40, down from £95.

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I was going to end the post there, but then I saw this; it’s not quite a winter coat – more of an autumnal piece – but this tanned suede biker jacket is beautiful. And it’s £96. Just take my money.

TheIdleMan – £96, down from £119.90.

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If any of you were contemplating buying a winter coat, hopefully you’ve found one in this post that’s swayed you. Remember that all the prices I mentioned are without the £10 free spend, so knock an extra tenner off them if you’re going to be so kind as to use my referral code. Here’s a link to the app: 

https://appsto.re/gb/U2nMO.i

I can’t stop looking at that tan biker jacket.

Feel free to leave a comment letting me know which of the coats you liked best, and which, if any, you’re thinking about buying. Also, what are you going to spend your free £10 on?

#11. Spring/Summer 2017 Menswear for HERO.

So it’s been almost an age since the last time I posted on here, for which I apologise. Unfortunately, during the last 3 months I was way too preoccupied with second-year exams and essays and the such, but enough of the boring recap; now that that’s all done and dusted I can finally get back to some sort of regularity with blogging, and writing in general. First order of business, this season’s menswear fashion weeks; I was once again given the opportunity by HERO to cover a handful of shows across London and Paris. So for anyone interested, here are the links for my reports on Margaret Howell, E Tautz, Belstaff, Wooyoungmi and AMI: