Monday, 26 January 2015

Cords for winter

It's not that Britain ever gets really cold, not ridiculously cold like some places. But I'm a bit rubbish with cold weather and I like going out in something that keeps the legs warm. Corduroys are absolutely perfect for that - a combination of heavier material and the wales (ridges) in the material make them better insulators and thus warm and comfortable on a cold day.

That's the practical side but, more importantly, they can be worn in a wide range of colours and are pleasingly versatile: as appropriate with a soft shirt and scruffy jumper as they are with a tie and a blue blazer. As long as they are smart and tailored they are perfectly wearable in a club or at a semi-formal country house party. 

Like any casual trousers they should be worn with brown shoes, and I particularly like them with my brogued boots, which gives them a suitably rugged, practical air that belies the fact that I largely wear them for Sunday brunches in Soho or casual Fridays in the office. They also go perfectly with a classic tweed jacket although avoid the temptation to ape the window displays in Jermyn street and wear cords that are the same colour as the over-check of your tweed. That's a bit too 'matchy-matchy' to be truly smart.

Both my favourite pairs of cords come from New and Lingwood, which has an enormous range of colours and a couple of different styles, including some rather nice ones with thicker, heavier wales than is usual - my yellow ones are in that style.

Warm trousers will be a joy for several months yet, and as far as I know cords are still on sale at New and Lingwood, so give them a go.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The walk-through wardrobe project

For years I've been suffering with a common complaint of the well-dressed man (particularly the well-dressed Londoner, who often lives in a fairly small flat): a crippling lack of wardrobe space. When I moved into my flat, the main bedroom was equipped with a single built in wardrobe and a utterly ghastly 'over-bed' style wardrobe in a hideous shade of beige. The large wardrobe just about fitted my suits in, and the narrow cupboards that made up each leg of the over-bed wardrobe more or less fitted shirts in one and coats in the other, but as my (metaphorical) wardrobe grew and my (literal) wardrobes did not, the whole situation became more and more unsatisfactory. For a time, I used the smaller spare room as a dressing room which was nice if a little over-the-top, but lately I have had a friend living with me and so was forced to return my clothes to their inadequate home in my own bedroom. The suits were too cramped, there wasn't enough room for the shirts so they got crumpled, and there was nowhere to hang trousers or store jumpers folded. What space I did have was split over several locations, one of which was stuck at the far side of my bed and awkward to get to. All in all, just not good enough. If possible, a chap wants to be able to look at most of his daily wardrobe in one place, at the same time and easily see what's there, take things out, and put them away again neatly. A walk-in or walk-through wardrobe is ideal, but it's not all that easy to achieve in a fairly small London flat.
The original wardrobes. Hideous, inadequate and difficult to access.

I was inspired, however, by a video on (of all places) the Ikea website, demonstrating how even in a small room, by using a wardrobe as a divider, a walk-in or walk-through wardrobe could be created. It wasn't nearly as easy to do in my room as in the Ikea video (funny that) due to the relative positions of door, window, radiator and built-in wardrobe leaving me with very few configurations that would work, but in the end I worked out a layout that placed two full-size 100cm wide wardrobes alongside the door, blocking off the bed, and thereby creating a walk-through wardrobe that is entered as soon as you enter the bedroom. 

Although it makes everything a bit less spacious than it was before, the joy is that I now have acres of wardrobe space, all in one place, so I can finally store my clothes properly and get to them easily. 

Much better