Mind The Gap

Fashion

I’ve worked at Gap for over a year now. As you can imagine, I’ve spent it consistently making variations on a poor joke about it being my “Gap year”. These jokes are never well received.

Despite people’s unfortunate inability to appreciate my humour, I’ve grown to love Gap and their clothes. Now past their 90s heyday, Gap has perhaps fallen a touch out of favour with millennials which I think is a shame.

While keeping its finger on the fashion pulse, Gap generally goes for lasting style, rather than fleeting trends. By way of an example, I remember seeing a selection of men’s capes at Topman a couple of years ago. Safe to say Gap never got on board with that particular trend.

Gap clothes are, for the most part, good quality and they have a simple, understated cool to them that, I think can be underrated in today’s fast fashion market.

And believe it or not, I’m not just saying all this because they pay my salary.

For today’s outfit, I picked some of my favourites from this season at Gap. I styled them a couple of ways to show how versatile some of these items can be. All pictures are from my incredibly talented friend Luke. Take a look at some of his work here and read some things he’s written here.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are now approaching the station.

Please mind the Gap.

 

Look 1

I based the first look around this vintage style ringer tee. I really enjoy the rings on the arms and neck which is a nice sporty touch. Coupled with the ’69 slogan, they make me think that this is what you would wear in old-timey gym, throwing around a battered leather medicine ball and wearing unnecessarily revealing shorts. 1980s Bruce Jenner and the Village People know what I’m talking about. (You need to click on that link. Thank me later.)

While this outfit is mostly new stock, the chinos are currently £14.99 in the sale. I like this particular pair because of the pleats, which is something I’m quite into right now. It’s a nice little detail that makes the look stand out a little. Usually my trousers have a 34inch inseam (the distance from your crotch to the bottom) but cropped trousers are having a moment right now, so this time I went for a 32inch instead. I also helped them out a little by turning up the hem a single time, once again adding a little detail that makes it a little more personal.

This denim shirt is a really easy layer to throw on and bring a some instant cool to an outfit. It looks great dressed down like this or dressed up as we’ll see later on. I rolled up the sleeves  a little which makes the outfit look a bit more chilled and relaxed.

A big fan of denim, I’ve thrown on another layer. I love this indigo denim jacket which brings some darker tones to the otherwise rather bright outfit. Double denim can be dangerous territory. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake found that out the hard way in 2001. Never forget.

An easy way to avoid that sort of turn of the millennium madness is to go for differing tones of denim. Here the darker jacket stands out from the lighter shirt so the outfit doesn’t look too matchy-matchy. As you get more confident in your denim mixing skills, you can start to play with similar tones for some more retro-style looks.

I’ve done this a little this time by adding this embroidered denim cap. Trading heavily on Americana influences, it’s quite a fun, casual piece and I think it really brings the outfit together. Embroidery is popping up in all kinds of places recently (last year’s souvenir jacket trend probably had something to do with that) and so is distressed denim. This piece gives a tip of the hat to both trends. See what I did there?

Look 2

Keeping things classy, this second look is a little more put-together than the former. Holding on to the denim shirt, I threw on a light sweater for a relaxed but less casual look. In a slightly washed out navy blue, this jumper is the perfect summer layer to add as the evenings start to get a little chilly, while the denim jacket is the perfect summer layer to add is the evenings start to get even chillier. Let’s be real here, people.

Trousers and shoes are of course the same as last time – my incredibly cheap chinos and my trusty white sneaks (my shoes are from Boohoo, not Gap).

Where possible I have added online links to the items in this post. Unfortunately the tee shirt and the hat are unavailable online at the time of writing, but should be available in larger Gap stores. Often items can be cheaper in store than online so it’s always worth popping in anyway.

Finally, I’ll say that Gap are incredibly generous with sales and discounts. At the time of writing, there is 25% extra off sale prices online and instore. Those chinos, for example would cost £11.24. You can keep up with all the discounts by joining the mailing list here.

Just to clarify, Gap haven’t asked me to say any of this. I just genuinely think they make some good clothes which can be very competitively priced if you come at the right times.

I’ll leave you to fill in the gaps.

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Looking for a good time, sailor?

Fashion

It’s been a hot couple of weeks here in England. Finally our prayers have been answered and the sun is shining. And of course, we’re responding to it in typically British fashion: by complaining. It’s too hot, it’s too humid, I’ve died of dehydration and vultures are picking at my lifeless carcass. Quit your moaning, guys. Let’s just enjoy it while it lasts, eh? To quote Peter Kay’s response to sunshine complainers, “Have a Solero and shut the *bleep* up!”

I, for one, am loving this heatwave, but I suspect that’s because I’ve spent most of it indoors watching Netflix. If you’re anything like me then, you’re in need of a summer outfit for the odd occasions when you have reason to leave the house. Something that says, ‘this definitely isn’t the first time I’ve been outside this month and this sunshine definitely isn’t burning me with the white hot intensity of one million furnaces’. And if you’re anything like me, you also want an outfit that’s cool in both senses of the word.

Well don’t worry, friends, here’s an outfit that is as cool than several chilled cucumbers. This is a great summer outfit that keeps the heat away and looks good too. England’s gping through something of a tropical heatwave so I shot the photos for this in the most tropical location I could find. My back garden.

This outfit has quite a nautical feel to it, hence the questionable title of this post. They came to a seafaring sartorial climax a couple of years ago, but nautical styles are never really out of fashion. Just ask James Dean. Or the Village People.

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Let’s start off with the sailor’s classic: the Breton striped tee shirt. These are available pretty much anywhere, especially in the summer. This one is blue with thin white stripes but the inverse would work just as well, as would  equally thick blue and white stripes.

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Next we’ve got some white denim shorts. These were once cheap but ill-fitting white jeans so I cut them off at the knees and rolled up the hems a couple of times. No sewing required! Khaki shorts (not the cargo kind) would work just as well here. Or a bright colour if you’re feeling adventurous.

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In case it gets chilly, which it almost always does, I’ve got this cosy waffle knit jumper to get me through the breezy evenings. I like a  comfy baggy style so I went for an XXL when I usually wear a medium. This makes it quite large on me, but I like it snuggling up in the excess material. If you prefer a more fitted style, pleasse go for your actual size! If you’re feeling exceptionally preppy, drape the jumper over your shoulders and tie the sleeves together around your neck. You’ll look like the illegitimate lovechild of Ralph Lauren and Carlton Banks from the Fresh Prince, but it’s a strong look.

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Remember back in 2011 when all the boys would wear boat shoes, polo shirts and drop-crotch cuffed chinos with greasy ‘wet look’ hair gel? Good times.

Following the navy blue theme of the outfit, I’ve gone for this sort of hybrid between canvass plimsolls and boat/deck shoes. You might notice the touch of Breton stripes inside the shoes. It’s the little things. Ordinary, non-mutant plimsolls would also be more than acceptable for this look or, if you want to add a touch of formal, go for some nice  brogues in brown or beige.

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Finally, this pair of tortoiseshell keyhole sunglasses tops the look off. Different face shapes will suit different sungalsses so go with what works best for you. Classic aviators or wayfarers work just as well, especially if they’re in a preppy tortoiseshell pattern.

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And there you have it. Nautical inspired, cool summer outfit. You’re welcome.

Spring Outfit

Fashion

I left the house the other day (this is surprising enough without me continuing the story) and I was pleasantly surprised that, with my coat unzipped, I was almost not cold. Almost. This either means spring is coming or I need to stop self-medicating. (Joke.) So, Spring is on her merry little way, hopefully followed by her estranged cousin Summer, who’ll stay with us for roughly as long as estranged cousins do on sitcoms – two weeks max, before she’s hastily written out. It’s been about a year since I wrote my last one of these so I thought it was time for another style post. A year on, here’s another spring outfit:

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Topman longline tee

Let’s start off with a t-shirt, shall we? I’ve gone for this grey ‘long line’ one from Topman. Long line just means the bottom hem comes down lower around my groin. No pleasant way to say that. Oversized styles like this have been quite big over the last year or so, reflecting a general 90s sportswear trend. Top tip: you can just buy a larger size instead of specifically long line ones as they’re generally cheaper. Play the game. Beat the system. Stick it to the man!! Alternatively, feel free to just use a normal t-shirt if you prefer.

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Tan, beige, weathered sandstone, call it what you like.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to be warm (i.e. not from the north of England), you’ll want a jumper. I got this one from Primark not too long ago. You can make up your own mind on what colour you want to call it. This might help. The long tee should stick out under the jumper a little to create a nice layered look, making the outfit a little more distinctive. Wear some dark jeans underneath. Darker shades will contrast nicely with the lighter jumper. I chose a pair I got on sale from Zara. I forgot to take a picture so I’m afraid you’ll just have to use your imaginations on this one. As per usual I rolled up the hems a couple of times. wpid-img_20150325_1409492.jpg.jpegwpid-img_20150325_1412212.jpg.jpeg On top we’ve got this denim jacket which adds a bit of texture to the look. I’ve rolled the sleeves up a few times on this  too. I can’t tell you where it’s from as it belonged to one of my parents a long time ago and neither can remember which one. I’m pretty sure it was my mother though…. wpid-img_20150325_1153052.jpg.jpegwpid-img_20150325_1154122.jpg.jpeg Altogether it’s quite a casual look so I’ve added a touch of formal with these brogues. You can go sockless (buy ‘invisible’ socks. Bare feet in shoes sweat like crazy) or add a pop of colour with some bright socks, to jazz up an otherwise rather pale outfit.

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“One ring to rule them all.”

If you’re feeling optimistic, try some sunglasses. I’ve got this necklace which is just a ring on a chain. If you’ve got a ring that doesn’t fit or is a little too obnoxious to be wearing all the time like some kind of a medieval monarch, chuck it on a chain and wear it around your neck Lord of the Rings-style. All the cool hobbits are doing it.

And if it’s a little chilly, throw a coat on instead of the jacket. No point being cold just because it’s supposed to be spring!

Spring expectations.

Spring expectations.

Spring reality.

Spring reality.

Autumn days….

Fashion

It’s been a great summer, hasn’t it? Andy Murray won the Wimbledon, Miley Cyrus twerked at the VMAs, and in a curveball move from the weather, we actually got quite a lot of sun. But, alas, it’s all over. Come on, guys, we knew it wasn’t going to last forever. (Insert sad emoticon here.)

Now we move steadily to autumn and to the dreaded winter which, let’s be honest, we only put up with because of Christmas. But the colder months of the year aren’t all bad. I mean, who doesn’t love stepping on crunchy fallen leaves in autumn? Besides that, there’s always the delights of the Autumn/Winter wardrobe: Fairisle jumpers, winter boots, big, warm, snug coats. At the risk of sounding like Mr Autumn Man, the following season’s got quite a lot going for it, sartorially at least. And it is for this precise reason that I’ve put together an autmumn layering look for you fashionable males out there.

Autumn clothes tend to be more sombre and neautral than their spring/summer counterparts. Obviosuly, no one’s expecting you to throw out all your brightly coloured sumer clothes, but you’ll notice that, almost subconciously, people start to wear less bright clothes…. like we’re mourning the loss of the sun…. If you compare these two pictures from Next’s High Summer and Autmn/Winter lookbooks, respectively, you’ll see what I mean.

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Next High Summer

Next Autumn/Winter

That being said, bright colours can stop your outfit from looking depressed, so I’m going to start out with a yellow sweatshirt because I like yellow. After all, YOLO. (See, I can be cool.)

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We all live in a YOLO submarine. See what I did there? (That joke was terrible on so many levels. I’m genuinely ashamed of myself.)

A white Oxford shirt underneath tones down the brightness of the yellow. And it looks pretty good too. Depending on my mood, I might undo the top button (cheeky bit of cleavage). I think fastening the top button makes it look marginally more formal. Try it both ways and see how you like it.

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You have to get all A’s in your A levels to wear an Oxford shirt

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I’ve gone for skinny indigo jeans and rolled up the bottoms a couple of times. Dark blue jeans like these are a staple and pretty much everyone owns a pair. Rolling up the hems makes it stand out a little. I got this pair from Primark for a tenner.

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Looks like Miley isn't the only one getting

Looks like Miley isn’t the only one getting “turnt up”

To finish of the outfit, I’ve added these (imitation) suede chukka boots in a tan kind of colour. They didn’t come with these laces, but I think these navy trainer laces make them look a little more casual and I like the contrast between the colours.

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A ‘shacket’ (a thick shirt that is worn like a jacket), I use inverted commas because I hate that word, provides an extra layer for chilly evenings. Burgundy’s a popular colour (see my carpet for more details), so I’ve gone for one:

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I rolled up the sleeves on this too

Finally, this light brown belt matches the shoes (though it probably won’t be visbile behind the jumper).

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Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Mustard yellow, burgundy and navy blue is possibly my favourite colour combination at the moment. They mirror the hues of autumn (yellow and brown leaves etc). But don’t take my word for it? FC Barcelona clearly agree with me.

So there you have it, my autumn layered look. Comment and let me know what you think. Layering is one of the few things that makes the colder months bearable. I love being able mix and match colours and textures of clothes, and the simple fact that it keeps me toasty.

And if layering’s not enough to get you through autumn and winter, there’s always those overpriced gingerbread lattes. “Christmas in a cup,” they say. Personally, I’ve never wanted a cupful burnt turkey, family arguments and bad television, but hey, each to their own._