Be a fashion trailblazer with a blazer

The word ‘blazer’ conjures up many pictures. Think French Riviera with an open-top sports car, or by the water at Henley with a Pimm’s. A blazer is the staple of any gentleman’s wardrobe with a personality all of its own as no matching trousers are required. But that also means it’s extremely versatile and can be sported in all seasons and on numerous social occasions.

Although a blazer isn’t any substitute for a suit, it’s still de rigeur for formal events or evenings worn with a white shirt, dark flannel trousers and black shoes. For a less formal business occasion, simply combine with cotton chinos and penny loafers and you’re set to go.

‘Single or double-breasted?’ you’re wondering. Originally, the style was copied from the naval uniform and was dark blue double breasted with gilt buttons and two slits at the side. While a brightly striped rowing blazer may not be your thing, many gents opt for a preppy look with strong colours matched with chinos in paler shades of stone or sand. ‘To cufflink or not to cufflink?’ is yet another dilemma but it’s a great way to dress up a blazer without needing to wear a tie.

The ever-popular blazer featured in a number of SS 2015 collections by top names, with stripes and shades of blue dominating the fashion runways. Let’s take five very dapper gentlemen and see how they blaze in glory.

Nick Wooster in tweed

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Image: via Lookastic.

If ever there’s a man with a brightly blazing fashion beacon, it has to be this man. A former fashion director of Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, Nick now describes himself as a ‘free agent’.

His CV reads like a guide to 5th Avenue: Barneys, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren. He moved from buyer to designer twenty years ago, and his career has gone from strength to strength. Nick now creates his own line of effortless tailoring, in among heavy blogging and general dominating the world of social media as far as men’s fashion is concerned. This guy has one incredible wardrobe, that’s for sure.

This blazer in Harris Tweed is a great handshake with us across the Atlantic because only tweed woven in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland can carry this label. Nick, welcome to Britain.

David Beckham in corduroy

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Image: via UpscaleHype.

He may be approaching 40, but these days David knows how to work a look that goes with his age.

This is a football icon who helped us win the bid for the London 2012 Olympic Games. This is also a man who knows how to do classic cool just as easily as street smart. He often favours a separates route with a bit of mixy-matchy. You need confidence to carry this off, which he has in abundance. David Beckham is often snapped sporting a two-buttoned blazer in grey, khaki or navy, with well cut trousers in black or navy teamed with brown shoes. (The rule for a two-button blazer is to keep the top button done up, which he never fails to deliver on.)

This corduroy blazer softens a look while adding warmth, making it perfect for springtime and early autumn. What could be better for doing the school run – or watching a football match?

He once said, “I like to think I’ve got my own distinct look which reflects who 
I am as a person.” We couldn’t agree more.

David Gandy in linen

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Image: via thegoldendiamonds

A trim figure is needed when sporting a double-breasted blazer, so it’s important to ensure a good fit (no unsightly tugging at the button holes because of accommodating a frame that’s indulged in too many Easter eggs). This man not only looks good (male model) but also does good (charity ambassador) and writes rather well too (columnist). Is there nothing David can’t do?

He first wowed us for a Dolce and Gabbana fragrance campaign and became eye Gandy for women everywhere when he launched and modelled his underwear collection for M&S.

“The bottom line is, a gentleman sets trends; he certainly doesn’t follow them,” he’s stated. Here’s a guy who’s not only unafraid to team a linen blazer with a fine v-neck shirt (Simon Cowell, take note) but also add a flourish and finishing touch with that loosely folded handkerchief nattily tucked into the top pocket.

Very dandy, Gandy.

Idris Elba in check

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Image: via thefashionbomb

Yet another classy dresser, Idris does love a strong pattern – as witnessed in this striking grey blazer with red check accentuated by those red chinos and tie. He isn’t always quite so flashy though and looks equally manful in more sombre tones.

Born in Hackney, Idris went to the States and earned his crust as a doorman and DJ. His break came on The Wire and he’s continued to dazzle us ever since. Who could forget his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which earned him a nomination for a Best Actor Golden Globe?

No wonder he was hailed as Essence ’s ‘Sexiest Man of the Year’ in 2013 and runner up in People’s annual Sexiest Man Alive list. Rumours have been flying recently that he’ll take over as the next James Bond but he’s strongly denied them.

With such suave style, you’re more than able Elba.

Daniel Craig in slouchy

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Image: via brincandodediva

You know those days when you just want to grab something on to nip down the shops for teabags and a paper? Life isn’t always about ramping up style factor: sometimes, even the best of us need men’s fashion to be the equivalent of a duvet day. So there’s no hiding behind Ray Bans for Daniel Craig, seen here looking casual yet still a dapper chap in a tatty-but-natty blazer. (Who can blame him after having to wear all those tuxes, 007 style?)

He once declared, “I’ve always loved to dress up a bit and show off.” And how it shows. Over the years, the dividing line between Craig and Bond has just about disappeared. We can’t wait for his fourth performance as James Bond in Spectre this November, once again directed by Sam Mendes.

This is a man who knows how to do suave – even on a dress down Friday or a quick trip to Tesco’s.

5 things every man should know about the importance of comfortable shoes

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According to The College of Podiatry, our feet carry us the equivalent of five times around the world in an average lifetime.

With everyone these days glued to scores on activity trackers like Fitbit (did you know users average 43% more steps a day?), keeping active on your feet is a hot topic. Yet every time your heel lifts
off the ground, your poor toes are forced to carry 50% of your body weight.

Because our feet get so neglected, here are five things to make you aware why choosing comfortable men’s shoes is so important.

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1. Don’t rankle your ankles

This may sound odd in an article about the need to wear comfortable shoe brands, but read on….. Ankle sprains happen when you accidentally twist your joint and the ankle ligament stretch or even tear. This injury can also damage small nerve endings in the joint that pass messages to your brain to control the muscles that move and protect your ankle. As a result, your ankle may give way more often and more easily making you more prone to ankle sprains. So wear comfortable men’s shoes with padded ankle supports, keeping your ankles nicely cushioned supported.

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2. Your shoe size may not be your shoe size

When did you last have your feet measured? You may already know that many of us have one foot larger than the other, but did you also know that your feet can increase in size over time? It’s because the many ligaments and tendons holding together the 26 bones and 33 joints in each of your feet (adding up to a whopping quarter of all the bones in your body) become stretched, making your feet not only longer but also wider. The soles of your feet also lose their natural cushioning – which also means losing their shock absorbing ability.

If you’re still buying the same size shoe as you’ve always done, then stop – get your feet measured. It’s a good idea to do so in the afternoon because your feet swell during the course of the day. Shoes should be a snug fit but not too tight, with room to wiggle your toes. The inside should be 1-2 cms longer than your foot, with the width of the shoes the same as that of your feet. The most comfortable shoes for men never really need breaking in. They should feel like a great fit as soon as you put them on.

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3. Standing can be dangerous

Standing in the same spot is actually more tiring than walking because you’re using a few muscles for longer. Millions of us spend most of our working day on our feet, which can lead to circulatory problems and swelling. However constant sitting isn’t the safe alternative.

If your job does require you to stand, try to sit or walk around during rest breaks. Avoid standing on hard concrete surfaces: wood, carpeting or rubber are much kinder to your feet and knees. It’s so important to wear comfortable shoes for work with flexible soles and cushioning and to make sure your shoes or boots have enough room for you to move your toes.

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4. It has to be leather, patently

There’s no nice way of saying this, so let’s be blunt: the average pair of feet give off about half a pint of perspiration each day. This means nasty bacteria and smelly feet (somehow the medical term ‘bromodosis’ sounds far more attractive).

All the top comfortable shoes are made with good quality leather or soft nubuck uppers. Unlike leather, synthetic materials don’t breathe so they break down due to foot pressure, perspiration and bad weather. Leather uppers also adapt to the shape of the foot to support it. Leather is also ideal for footwear since it’s waterproof, with a regular polish keeping your shoes in as-new condition.

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5. Alternate to evaporate

Shoes also get smelly if sweat gets into them and they don’t cool down and dry out before you put them on again. Always wear a different pair of shoes to the ones you wore yesterday. This reduces bacteria and the risk of fungal infection, with feet keeping fresh and shoes lasting longer.

Many men make the mistake of wearing trainers all day, but these should really just be kept for running. If relaxed is your look, then opt for loafers or moccasins instead to dress up jeans or dress down a linen suit.

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What are the most comfortable shoes around? >>

Editor’s pick – New in for a new season

Your season style update is here, with our editor’s special spring/summer 2015 selection. What will the best dressed feet be wearing? What are the latest colour trends? And who’s inspiring us to wear what right now?

Don’t miss a trick, with these shoes and boots tipped for the top.

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1. Dumas driving shoes

As our winter thoughts can at last turn to spring and clear blue skies, so must your wardrobe turn to chinos paired with these stylish leather driving shoes, available in full-grain chumbo and bronze.

 

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2. Colorado desert boots

Bradley Cooper’s sturdy footwear in ‘American Sniper’ is going down a storm. Carry off a similar gutsy style with endurance qualities with our soft nubuck desert boots.

 

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3. Brejo lace up shoes

It’s time to banish dark colours and lighten up for summer casual. If you prefer a generous medium fit, these light brown leather lace ups will do you justice.

 

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4. Matao desert boots

Giving your wardrobe a punch of colour via your footwear is right on trend, especially in navy. These waxy nubuck desert boots see you through from desk to dinner.

 

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5. Nova lace up boots

These brogue boots shout style, fashion durability on the outside yet whisper comfort, breathability and common sense on the inside. Perfect with jeans.

View All Spring/Summer 2015 >>