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A note on men’s grooming.  With sales of men’s products on the up, continually and more pamper-salons such as The Refinery and Murdock, tending to male hair and skin, it is refreshing to think that even when you can’t high tail it to your trusted favourite you can help your own efforts at home by making your bathroom into an ammunitions store of product for you to command.

Take the choices from Elemis celebrating about 25 years in the business of making male skin more delightful.  With grooming products for men (and beauty products for women) Elemis is ‘defined by nature, led by science’ as they say.  From the sleek range of treats – a skin scrub to anti-fatigue day cream, a daily moisture boost to a marine cream.  All the products are light and gentle and quite honestly, you will notice an immediate difference – whether to soothe or prepare to defend your skin against the elements.

Offering what the company calls ‘a Bespoke Support Package’ it could be the perfect beginning to the day long before you dress.

A note on men's grooming.  With sales

By Robin Dutt

Whilst loud details anywhere when it comes to elegance is a distinct no-win situation, there has been one area of the body, which many have chosen as the centrality of discreet rebellion.  The feet.

For most, one suspects that the ‘3 Graces’ of pedestal extremity colour choice can only be black, navy and grey.  Never brown.  In fact, let us extend the old tailoring adage… ‘Never brown in town’, that is to say never brown – anywhere.  Brown socks are definitely for cardboard characters with wild ambitions.  And no hope!  Whilst there is much to be said for the black, navy and grey staples, something is well… afoot.

Increasingly, we are being offered some surprisingly attractive examples going beyond the solid colours perhaps with heels and toes of contrasting colours or elasticated tops.  No, there has recently been a sock revolution where one is positively encouraged to wear with one’s suit and especially with one’s elegant casual outfits, imaginative chausettes.  Witty even – although one does not countenance that horrible word, ‘novelty’ items.  Novelty has nothing new about it.

Take a look at some imaginative offerings from the likes of Paul Smith – often dots and stripes, New & Lingwood for unexpected (perhaps) skull motifs and Happy Socks run by a fun loving duo who create wild swirls of imaginative designs from Prince Paisley Park motifs to stark black and white almost tribal markings.

Not to be confused with the wearing of ‘cartoon character braces’, give any of these brands a go.  Then, of course, there is much to be said for the indispensible and delightfully anonymous Pantherella plains.  Alternatively, play Dr Jekyll to your Mr Hyde…

By Robin Dutt Whilst loud details anywhere when

By Robin Dutt

The Leather Biker Jacket has proved not a trend item but a style staple.  Skin up and be brave enough to mix it with a pinstripe suit but wear only the waistcoat and trousers.  The two very different provenances work a curiously effective magic.  If you stretched to a Balmain example from last season you don’t need to read this.  That was a forever piece.  Immaculate.  But there is still hope.  Check out the goods from Burberry to Sandro, The Kooples to Portobello Market on a Friday especially where one vendor has several examples dating from the 1960s in indispensible black, red, blue and many other hues.  £3,000 will set you off in Paris catwalk style.  Vintage from about £100 may suit a few more budgets.

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By Robin Dutt The Leather Biker Jacket has

By Robin Dutt

Decades ago, when global warming or whatever else detracted from the four distinct seasons in a year our wardrobes were stuffed accordingly.  Now, it is difficult to find an ankle-sweeping winter coat because everyone is in a taxi or sipping Champagne at The Rivoli.  But I am delighted to see the return of the tailored and rather minimal spring coat – knee length and simple, it does provide protection against the unexpected spring chilly blast and most are showerproof, which should be a given.

Over a suit and in a contrasting colour, or an example that has pattern, weave or even texture, the spring coat becomes for a short time, a trend indispensible and one which won’t disturb the line of what lies beneath.  Not a raincoat as such, it is its own distinct affair.

Mine, I discovered recently, an unworn, light pure wool German example hailing from the late 1960s in an aqua ground with a subtle check in black and seal grey.  It goes with everything. Even leather…

By Robin Dutt Decades ago, when global warming

By Robin Dutt

I was recently invited to a reception at Searcy’s at the very top of The Gherkin in the city to witness a burlesque show.  Yes… tassels abounded but those were not the points.  The occasion was an unveiling of some very smart shoes and boots from the Jeffrey-West collection.  Celebrating soon, some 30 years in the business, designer Guy West has always been passionate about the classics: Chelsea boots, Brogues and Monks – but with his instinctive and assured twist which seed shoe interiors flushed with ruby red leather, larger than average piratical buckles, brightly hued-laces and also etched soles, featuring mottoes and the familiar duelling, top-hatted silhouettes – his USP is obvious.

In fact, part of the attraction of the event was being able (should you have wished) to have your own shoes tattooed on the spot by an artist wielding an electric needle.  He showed me his London skyline along the side of one shoe.  Sublime. And, of course, unique.

The company’s strap line is ‘Infamous English Shoes’ and with branches in London, Manchester, West Leeds and as one might expect, Northampton (the original home of English shoe making) each dramatic and atmospheric boutique carries a large stock of his constant but consistently classic models.  Guy West is always sartorially elegant whether in a suit or dandy uniform, whether for a lunch in the city or a stroll down town to arty venues and clubs.  The shoes are always a neat partner to carefully considered threads, as all constantly returning customers will cheerfully testify to.

By Robin Dutt I was recently invited to