It’s that in-betweeny season time, like now, when it’s time to reassess and stock up on good quality basics. Waiting for the new season to fully drop, this is the best time to refresh and replenish your wardrobe with items which will be the framework and structure for everything else you buy. Here is TheChicGeek’s Top 10 Essentials and why;
1. The White T-Shirt – A wardrobe classic, the white T-shirt is the perfect base layer for everything - shirts, cardigans and tailoring. It’s a great way to enhance the last of your holiday tan plus a new one always has that boxfresh pure white colour.
ChicGeek Tip – You'll want something snug but not too tight. Roll the sleeves to accentuate those guns.
2. The Beige Trench Coat – It’s always going to rain at some point, so, a beige trench coat is the ultimate in wardrobe outerwear classics. Every movie from Kramer Vs Kramer to Working Girl features it. Think trench, think Burberry, who has been making these for nearly 100 years. It is expensive but you'll wear it forever.
ChicGeek Tip – Dress this down with jeans and T-shirts to stop it looking too ‘business man’. Always wear open, unless it’s raining.
3. The White Button Down Shirt – You’ll want to buy the Oxford/Buttoned collar shape as it’s the style of shirt to wear at the moment. The buttons minimise the collar and is pure preppy.
ChicGeek Tip – Pair with a striped club tie under a blazer to dress-up or wear open for dress-down.
4. White Underwear – Nothing says ‘fresh’ like new underwear. Whether you’re a pant, trunk or boxer kind-a-guy, white says you’ve got nothing to hide. Being practical, they also don’t fade like coloured underwear.
ChicGeek Tip – Keep logos and branding to a minimum, nobody is paying you to advertise down there. Buy little and often.
5. Grey Socks – They may remind you of school, but grey socks work just as well at work and out of work. They look great with a suit and smart shoes and also dressed down with brogues.
ChicGeek Tip – Buy wool socks rather than cotton to keep your feet warm. Wool socks also retain their shape better.
6. The Navy Chino – Comfortable and smarter than a jean, the chino has become the casual trouser of choice. Nobody makes a better pair than the Italian Incotex brand. Well worth spending the money.
ChicGeek Tip – Look for chinos with a bit of stretch for added comfort and a better fit.
7. The Grey Cardigan – This is a really versatile piece, perfect as the nights get a little cooler, over a T-shirt or layered under a jacket to look like a waistcoat. The grey goes with everything.
ChicGeek Tip – Push the sleeves up to look more casual and wear open on summer nights, saves carrying a jacket.
8. The Black Umbrella – When it rains, it pours. So, you may as well take cover in style. A gentleman is defined by a quality umbrella.
ChicGeek Tip – While you won’t want a bright pink umbrella, you’ll want yours to standout incase it gets lost in the mass of black umbrellas. This one has a distinctive bamboo handle or look for animal heads or different finishes.
Right - London Undercover – Collapsible Bamboo-Handle Umbrella - £60 - Buy Now
ChicGeek Tip – Insert a real penny into the slit at the front of shoe for an authentic look.
Left - Quoddy – True Penny Leather Loafers - £265 - Buy Now
10. The Navy Suit - The navy suit goes with all of the above. Buy something classic and slim, but avoid skinny lapels, it will date the suit fast.
ChicGeek Tip – Spend as much as you can and buy a second pair of trousers.
Right - Acne – Navy Drifter Slim-Fit Pindot Wool Suit Jacket - £460, Trousers - £230 - Buy Now
COMPETITION - To help refresh your wardrobe, we have an amazing £500 to spend at MR PORTER to give away, Enter now
Experts in acne prevention and control, Aknicare Cleanser exfoliates and reduces bacterial levels, deeply cleaning the skin, removing debris and surface oil, unblocking pores and preparing the skin for moisturising.
TheChicGeek says “They say prevention is better than cure, so, when it comes to acne it’s often best to use a cleanser that reduces the bacteria levels regardless of whether you have an acne problem or not. This time of year, with the use of sun protection, I find that spots do become more of a problem and this gentle cleanser felt like it minimised the ‘life’ of said spots and dried them out faster. The pump dispenser is also a big plus here.”
Aknicare Cleanser - £14.95
We thought we'd combine Milan and Paris men's fashion weeks as many trends crossed over. Here's what stood out for TheChicGeek:
THE SMOCK - PEASANTS' REVOLT
Maybe it's the turmoil of the european economies or our waining power in the world, but it was a return to simple peasant smock.
From Left - Dolce & Gabbana, Vivienne Westwood, Fendi
This boy scout was prepared for most things and not doubt has the budget to get himself out of any trouble.
From Left - Louis Vuitton, Moschino, D Squared
Tomas Maier drew the details on at Bottega Veneta.
From Left - Both Bottega Veneta
TUCK 'EM IN
Long shirts hang out, short ones get tucked in. The new way to wear it. Now swing your pants!
From Left - Prada, Dolce & Gabbana
Get the kitchen sink and everything else in these enlarged accessories.
From Left - Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci
CASH 4 BLING
All that glitters isn't necessarily the best taste, but it's certainly fun.
From Left - Acne, Costume National, Moschino
The new trouser is one part runner, one part obscene!
From Left - Etro, Gucci
So SS14 is all about the breast pocket, just make sure it contains something important. From Left - Fendi, Valentino
Prada says jump, we say 'how high'. Think a moody Wicked Game video.
From Left - Both Prada
CHICGEEK RANDOMS - Just some random fashion loveliness we like from Spring/Summer 2014.
Left - Balmain Shoes
Left - Carven textured suit
Below Left - Dries Van Noten's Flowers
Below - Louis Vuitton's 50s font
Brush on Block is a patent-pending, non-greasy, non-sticky sun-block and post treatment product that has been created to help encourage everyone to wear invisible, yet effective, sun protection on a daily basis.
Left - Brush on Block - Simply brush on high protection factor to face and bald spots
Offering instant SPF 30 broad spectrum protection, the Brush on Block is a fast and convenient way to defend against the sun's harmful rays and environmental damage. Plus unlike chemical sun creams which work by being absorbed into the skin, Brush On Block features naturally-occurring active mineral ingredients that sit on top of your skin and reflect the sun’s rays away from your body.
It contains green tea leaf extract, a natural antioxidant; safflower seed oil which functions as an emollient that moisturises and protects the skin and chamomile extract and honeysuckle that help to prevent skin inflammation and irritation that may be caused by sun exposure. Since it is not absorbed into the skin and does not contain any chemical ingredients, Brush On Block is less likely to irritate the skin or clog pores, making it ideal for people with acne-prone or sensitive skin.
Susan Posnick is an accomplished beauty professional and skincare expert. She did not come to realize her true calling, however, until she was diagnosed with skin cancer in the late 90’s. It is then that her life work came clearly into focus and early research for Brush On Block commenced. Susan first began experimenting with mineral powder skin products over a decade ago. She was quickly attracted to the natural components, ease-of-application, instant coverage, and non-irritating attributes of mineral formulations. After developing a line of high-end mineral powder cosmetics, a mineral-based sunscreen that was suitable for the entire family seemed like a natural encore.
Brush On Block is perfect for thinning hair or bald spots, and can be taken anywhere and reapplied with ease throughout the day.
Brush on Block - £23
Leading a healthy lifestyle is no longer a fad and has become a permanent fixture in our daily lives. All of us feel, or are aware of the need to be healthy; 5-a-day, 30 minutes of exercise a day… you know the drill.
The healthy living mantra has transformed from a sideline narrative to a lifestyle choice. And, amongst the mountain of tips and tricks to stay healthy, there is an unsung hero that could help prevent and solve a whole heap of problems.
Left - What a lovely bunch of coconuts!
Virgin Coconut Oil, ingested, is converted into lauric acid by your body. Medical studies have shown the potential for this acid to heighten the bodies’ defenses from diseases – and also to treat infection.
It is clear from the research that there is a general consensus that Virgin Coconut Oil is an untapped super food, with research covering prevention of colds through to cancer. Used topically, Virgin Coconut Oil can also clear pores, help heal broken skin, act as a sunscreen, stop spots, moisturise – and is highly anti-ageing.
TheChicGeek says "Since I was a teenager I’ve had terrible acne on my back, for 15 years I have tried everything from prescribed creams, antibiotics to even prescribed sun beds(!) – but nothing worked completely. The closest I got was with medication, but I really didn’t fancy being dependent on tablets for the rest of my life and even then my back wasn’t right.
After stumbling upon an article about Virgin Coconut Oil and its antibacterial/antifungal properties, I thought I would give it a go. I was dubious at first; oil combating oil? However, after just 2 weeks use, I saw a massive improvement and 6 months on I haven’t stopped. My entire back is clear, not just acne free, but now looks really healthy. Every morning after showering, I moisturise my entire body with Virgin Coconut Oil. It’s best to keep it in a cool place as it melts at 24C and it can get quite messy when it’s in its oil state. Grab a small lump of it and just moisturise as normal; it will melt when it touches your skin. I find it is best to do this after a shower as all your pores are open, so the oil can get inside and rid them of bacteria. You’ll look and feel like you’re completely covered in oil (Chippendale anyone?!). Let the oil sink in for as long as possible then just dab yourself down with a towel. Your skin will be super soft with a healthy glow! It also makes a great hair gel!"
Here are TheChicGeek's picks of the best Virgin Coconut Oil products;
Above - The Body Shop - Coconut Body Butter - £13
Left - Coconoil - Original Virgin Coconut Oil - 280g - £5.40 - FYI - Tinie Tempah uses this one
Right - Biona - Organic Virgin Coconut Oil - £4.49
Left - Lush - Vanilla Dee-Lite - £11.95
Darren Skey, Menswear Buying and Merchandising Manager, Harvey Nichols
"Acne Studios is a new brand for us for SS13. Acne grew from their denim business and this sweat from the designer collection is youthful and fun, and can be worn with your favourite pair of jeans."
Acne - Sweater ‘Detroit Print’ – £125
"Another new brand for us is Wooyoungmi, which is designed by two sisters who create pieces based on ‘their ideal man’. I have selected this floral sweater from their SS13 show to illustrate how the two designers contrasting tastes, one conservative and the other artistic, collide to create interesting pieces."
Wooyoungmi – Flower Sweatshirt - £190
"The SS13 show had a strong Gladiator theme running through, showcasing lots of metallic, silk and gold details. Bombers have been a recurring trend this season across the Designer brands we carry and this high shine bronze bomber is a great way to keep on trend."
Versace - ‘High-Shine Bomber’ – £725
"Wristwear, particularly bracelets, has been an increasing trend for the past few seasons. This wrap bracelet from M. Cohen is a one-off, unique piece made up of a vintage Hermes silk scarf and oxidised skulls."
M. Cohen - Bracelet – £360
"Alejandro’s iconic ‘TRON’ sneaker is always a sell-out for us, this season’s version in keeping with the metallic trend with gold panelling detailing."
Alejandro Ingelmo - 'TRON' Sneaker – £365
Damien Paul, Menswear Buyer at Matches
"A bright, fresh, and wearable way into this season’s all-encompassing camouflage trend".
Left - Valentino - Studded Detail Trainers - £430
"You’re going to need at least one printed piece this season. This silk bomber by McQueen is visual and distinctive, while the sporty shape keeps it from looking OTT".
Below - Alexander McQueen - Dragonfly-print Bomber Jacket - £1695
"AMI is a personal favourite. The designer, Alexandre Mattiussi, designs for the men he knows, and the result is always an effortless Parisian cool. These look great rolled up with a crew-neck knit".
Left - AMI - Bird Print Chino Trousers - £185
"Metallics showed up at most of my favourite shows this season and this Burberry tote, hot off the runway, is bound to be a sure-fire sellout".
Below - Burberry Prorsum - Metallic Alford Tote - £988
"A graphic twist on a menswear staple, this Acne shirt would look as smart beneath tailoring as it would with denim".
Left - Acne - Isherwood Stripe Panel Shirt - £168
Here is Bradley Cooper at the 'Silver Linings Playbook' photocall in Rome. We're not going to lie, he doesn't look that great, the jeans are a horrible fit and he looks like he's visiting his nan on a Sunday afternoon, rather than promoting a film! But, you can see how nice his raglan-sleeved Bomber jacket is.
And this brings us to the perfect transition piece; the Bomber jacket. It can be dressed up or down and layered for colder weather. Whether worn with jeans or trousers, the rule is always fitted. Keep everything tight and body-conscious.
Here is TheChicGeek's round-up of the best ones out there ATM.
Left - Salvatore Ferragamo -
Below - Acne - Cusack Textured Bomber Jacket - £370
Left - Private White VC - G1 Nylon Bomber - £395
Below - Topman - Burgundy Nylon Wadded Bomber Jacket - £50
Left - ASOS Bomber Jacket - £40
Below - Paul Smith - Damson & Navy Leather Bomber Jacket - £1220
Left - Burberry Prorsum - Cropped Nylon Bomber Jacket - £1695
Below - How it should be worn - Another look from the Burberry Prorsum SS13 Show
James Ronald, Buyer Men's ASOS Brand
"The Bomber Jacket – Of course my number 1 would be a jacket. This is the must have for any guy this AW. It started resurfacing about 6-8 months ago but as we hit trans AW12 it has exploded in a million shapes and forms. At ASOS we have sold everything from the authentic MA1 shape to the batik embroidered trend pieces. The beauty of this jacket is that it seems to be relevant in all of the menswear markets regardless of your age or taste. I don’t see this one going away for SS13 and right into AW13."
ASOS - Bomber Jacket in Quilted Fabric - £50
"AW is the perfect opportunity to get some great boots and none have come finer for AW12 than the Grenson Sea Bee boots. I love the combination of the two colour French calf leather. They are an amazing boot to wear. I got them as a wedding gift from my wife."
Grenson - Sea Bee Boot - £370
"The Acne Defoe Peacoat in navy. A wardrobe essential that you can pull out every winter. I bought this about a month ago and have used it several times already. It feels like it’s going to be a long cold winter so I’ll get some serious use out of this. As always Acne have turned this basic into a beautiful coat that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion."
Acne - Defoe Peacoat - £440
"Eastpak by Wood Wood Amos Single Strap Backpack. Fantastic first collaboration between Eastpack and Wood Wood. When I saw this I knew I had to have it."
Eastpack Wood Wood Backpack - £174
"I had these Norse Projects gloves last winter and I lost one of them on the tube. I was so happy when I saw they’d released them again for AW12. The outer glove is 100% deerskin leather."
Norse Projects - Ivar Glove - £75
We do the same every year, think we'll never wear it and then an invite comes along and we need something dressy or smart. In the season of Christmas parties, swanky dinners and for the hell of it, it's time to bite the bullet and get yourself some evening wear.
Take a look at Acne's new eveningwear range exclusive to Mr Porter. Based on the classic tuxedo, the collection of 14 pieces is a complete eveningwear wardrobe, with prices from £70 for a bowtie to £650 for an overcoat. Pieces include smoking jackets and trousers, an evening overcoat, formal shirting, a tuxedo T-shirt, bow ties and shoes.
“We have worked with Acne from the launch of Mr Porter and are delighted that they have been willing to further develop our relationship. This collection provides everything a man could need where evening attire is required and is designed with the most beautiful fabrications and attention to detail.” says Toby Bateman, Buying Director, MrPorter.com
“When I designed this collection I wanted it to all work separately. I love the fact that each piece can be taken in isolation and worn with jeans and a t-shirt.” says Jonny Johansson, Creative Director of Acne.
You'll soon find it creeping into the rest of your wardrobe, being dressed down with jeans and knitwear.