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Shirts have always been an important part of a man’s image and when chosen badly ruin the look of even the finest suit! Too often these days’ men are swayed by the pile it high and sell it cheap offers that are readily available and fail to realize that it is better to have a few good shirts that fit them really well rather than a dozen shirts that do not.

Go back to basics and touch fabrics to compare weight and feel of the cloth, shirts are the closest thing to your skin and need to feel great as well as providing the foundation for a balanced look. I have always preferred Egyptian cotton as it feels amazing on the skin and has such a lovely handle when touched.Weight and fabric quality are the most overlooked areas in shirt selection and they are as crucial to get right as colour and pattern.

Once you have selected the cloth and fabric colour you should start to consider how you would like it to fit you, it is pointless buying a shirt that fits you badly as it will destroy your overall look. It is important to pay attention to the key areas to ensure you end up with a good fit, how does the shirt fit across the shoulders for instance? Is there a large overhang on each side? If there is then it is not the shirt for you as the arms will probably be too long also. Next look at the chest is it too full? If it is then you are losing a key area of fit as a man’s shirt should show off his chest shape and not drown it in a sea of overflowing cloth.

Decide on how you wish to wear the shirt, inside or outside your trousers, both have an important influence of finished length of shirt and ultimately in the lower cutting style. The design and fit of the shirt collar will be considered at this stage as the collar for a formal shirt differs greatly in both size and style from those worn more casually.It is also hugely important to consider what you will be wearing the shirt with as most men mistakenly buy their shirts independently and not at the time of buying new suit or jacket, this is a grave error of judgment that usually leads to a bad impulse buy later on or worse still a sympathy buy from a frustrated wife of partner.

Get it right and a shirt will add style and impact to your outfit, you don’t have to buy a vulgar pattern or colour to get noticed as I receive more compliments in a sharp fitting white shirt than when wearing any of my fancy ones. A good shirt can make most suits look better than they actually are and add confidence in your overall appearance.

Jamie Henfrey founded Marc Oliver in 2008. With an extensive background in men’s tailoring and design, he’s had the opportunity to distinguish himself by serving many of England’s leading figures from the word of sport and finance. As head designer for Marc Oliver tailoring he has been the driving force behind the brand that has attracted many of today’s leading entrepreneurs and company directors to the label, as they appreciate his fresh approach to tailoring.  He also enjoys working as a stylist, branding and retail strategy consultant to some of the UK’s very best designer brands.

THE PERFECT SUIT

For many years major brands have courted celebrities and paid them huge sums of money to be seen using or wearing their products. This is done with the clear objective of sharing  the celebrities fame and starlight in the hope of increasing sales by adding glamour to their own label by association.

It can be a great relationship for both parties when managed correctly often leading to huge financial rewards and increased media coverage. When someone achieves personal success or becomes cool we naturally like associate ourselves with that person as it reminds us of our own dreams. People are prepared to pay big money to follow their heroes and spend small fortunes on the products that they endorse. I have admired many great people through the years and would be lying if I said no one had influenced me as my dad had huge effect on my life for starters.The word hero means different things to different people.

Here is my problem as who is a hero…?  And at what point do they become a true celebrity…?

When I was growing up there were so many great stars in the media spotlight and they had actually achieved something special to get there, often enduring great personal sacrifice or pushing themselves to a higher plain. These people gave us “the ordinary people” personal targets to strive for in our own lives, seeing our idols achieve greatness inspired us to keep going no matter how tough it seemed … If they could do it! Why not us?

Today the world is a very different place as young people clamor more than ever to be recognized and seek personal fame as some life defining achievement in itself. Something has gone very wrong with our so-called role models these days as they are often people who have done little more than appearing on a TV program. The birth of shows like the X Factor has propelled people of mixed or no talent into millions of homes at the drop of a hat , as long as it’s good for the ratings it goes on the show. So at what stage do people start to become a marketable asset for a brand? It is obvious to see that being associated with stars like David Beckham, Roger Federer is a shrewd choice for a big brand but they are now headline acts costing big bucks.

ROGER FEDERER

My questions are aimed a little lower down the chain as often I meet people who have started to slip down the fame ladder or who are just starting the long fight to the top. I am always rocked slightly when someone say’s to me with all seriousness “do you know who I am? I suppose it is because I feel when someone actually say’s this to me that I should actually know them without formal introductions. These days it is all too easy to get confused as people become “mini hyped” overnight. These are the very people who often need an image consultant or constructive advice on getting their look right in the first place. Instead their heads can be  filled with the dreams that they should receive things for free because of who they are and this line of thinking can usually be traced back to an agent.

David Beckham

Brands should always seek to find a good fit before they allow their image to be carried by a well known personality as it can be a winning fomular when done correctly!


Jamie Henfrey founded Marc Oliver in 2008. With an extensive background in men’s tailoring and design, he’s had the opportunity to distinguish himself by serving many of England’s leading figures from the word of sport and finance. As head designer for Marc Oliver tailoring he has been the driving force behind the brand that has attracted many of today’s leading entrepreneurs and company directors to the label, as they appreciate his fresh approach to tailoring.  He also enjoys working as a stylist, branding and retail strategy consultant to some of the UK’s very best designer brands.

Golf is such an exacting sport and the margins that can define a player’s season or their entire career continue to grow ever smaller with every passing tournament .These days the bar is continually rising in the pursuit of perfection and golfers face huge pressures to win at the business end of a major tournament. Winning can be elusive and is usually a combination of many factors coming together at the same time.

Of course the Players still have to maintain high levels of concentration over all 4 days if they want to win despite numerous distractions .Today’s stars have a strong support team around them to help them cope with the daily pressures that go hand in hand with being a top player but they still need that unique and special ability to pull a major win out of the bag when it matters most. Having made clothes for many of the sports major stars I can say there is something very special about the guys who have won golf’s biggest tournaments and these qualities were very evident from the first moment that I met them and long before they became major winners. Apart from their dedication, desire and supreme skill they also possessed a formidable mental strength and combined this with relentless practice, hard work and a rare attention to the smallest detail.

 

Horror Fashion

Through my daily dealings I became aware of the unbelievable demands on these palyers  time and concentration by media and sponsors that go with this success. Two things above all others impressed me most about them the first was an ability to instantly put things out of there mind if results had not gone their way there by not compounding problems.The second was an close attention to detail in things which mattered to them.

This is wear the fun began for me as there is nothing I love more than a person who notices small details and quality when he sees it. Dressing well is such a wonderful thing and can really add so much to someone’s life and approach to what they do. Golf was becoming huge again on the back of Tiger mania and Europe had a clutch of rising starts who would soon dominate the world stage. Sponsorship has always been big business and players needed to look their best on course to attract new fans and new sponsors with this sudden surge in the popularity of golf. Players became more photographed and golf as a whole entered a whole new dimension with the boom in on course fashion.

This often ranged from the cool to the sometimes ridiculous outfits captured so hungrily by the media and in a way hampered the emerging and many sharp looks on the tour as players wanted to be remembered for their golf and not their trousers. These fashion lapses were often reported as “Wardrobe malfunctions or savvy fashion statements? You make the call “and the player’s golf frequently failed to live up to the high exposure his outfit was awarding him.

I have worked with fabric all my life and look at its qualities for function, comfort and then make sure it is carefully cut and sewn together to produce a golf trouser performs perfectly when worn. Of course Golf places different demands on what is needed and listening and observing where key areas at first and then it was easy to apply my experience in making perfect bespoke golf trousers each time for the discerning professional and keen amateur golfer alike.

Jamie Henfrey founded Marc Oliver in 2008. With an extensive background in men’s tailoring and design, he’s had the opportunity to distinguish himself by serving many of England’s leading figures from the word of sport and finance. As head designer for Marc Oliver tailoring he has been the driving force behind the brand that has attracted many of today’s leading entrepreneurs and company directors to the label, as they appreciate his fresh approach to tailoring.  He also enjoys working as a stylist, branding and retail strategy consultant to some of the UK’s very best designer brands.

At last the summer months are here and with them come the invitations to this year’s fashionable parties and must attend events. The social calendar has well and truly woken from its post Christmas excesses offering a non stop ride for the fun loving man about town. Of course this brings with it a few problems that can worry even the most confident and assured man “what should he wear”? Men are differently programmed in the way that they shop and usually make impulse pressure purchases which can take a lot of pleasure out of the whole experience.

It always amazes me that men often only start to think about their attire when they catch sight of an invitation on their doormat or are only a few weeks away from an important event. Then over the next few days they start to look thru their wardrobe hoping to find a solution , surely they should be able to squeeze one more event out of an old favorite only to remember it’s short comings last time out.

This dilemma can be avoided with a little effort as planning what to wear can be great fun whilst adding to the anticipation of the event. Don’t wait any longer go to your wardrobe now and check if your outfits are as ready to wear as you think they are. You will probably find that your wardrobe needs freshening up a bit to give a little boost to your summer look and this can be done fairly easily with a few clever purchases.

Start with your shirts as a good shirt can make a bad outfit look much stronger as it is always what people notice first. Do your shirts actually go with what you intended to wear with them or did you just buy them because they looked good in the shop?

When buying a shirt it is always a good idea to have what you intend to wear with it close at hand so you can see how it looks together. Choose your colours and fabrics carefully as they are an important part of getting your personal look right. Avoid buying cheap fashion gimmicks or garish colours as they age very quickly and can be worn only a few times before becoming well known by your friends and peers. Choose shirts that will work with more than one outfit and don’t be afraid to ask the shop if you can try them on to check that the cut works for you.

Cool Italian Cotton

A man can never have enough Jackets, they are a god save for anyone who wants to jump out of a suit and still look smart. This year well tailored jackets are being used to create strong summer looks and lighter colours are leading the way. Simple detailing is being used to create personal looks that will receive admiring glances where ever the wearer goes. One and two button styles are leading the look very much this year and both can be very versatile when chosen carefully. I always sink inside when I see a man destroying a good jacket by wearing a pair of jeans with a poorly chosen shirt and tie combination, it’s so lazy. Jackets can be worn with jeans but you should never combine the look by wearing a tie as it often looks ridiculous. Choose a couple of trousers when buying a jacket as you can change your look from formal to casual quite easily if you plan ahead. This season a well cut Jacket is worth its weight in gold, it can be dressed up or down with ease and is a garment of choice at the moment.

The more formal summer events like Ascot or Henley have a strict dress code as do many others but a man is given a lot of freedom to choose how he would like to express his own personal style. A well tailored suit is the preferred attire for this arena, choose the fabric and cut carefully as they can make all the difference to your overall look. As I have mentioned already the shirt is a key ingredient in defining your look and should be chosen at the same time as a waistcoat and tie. Waistcoats are being worn to a greater degree these days and are the perfect way to add colour to and define your overall look. Keep any patterns small and choose colours that complement each other and resist the temptation of buying the loud waistcoat on the top shelf in the shop, better to leave it there.

Following these simple tips will have you feeling and looking great wherever you go this summer, enjoy the ride!

The Hurlingham Club

Jamie Henfrey founded Marc Oliver in 2008. With an extensive background in men’s tailoring and design, he’s had the opportunity to distinguish himself by serving many of England’s leading figures from the word of sport and finance. As head designer for Marc Oliver tailoring he has been the driving force behind the brand that has attracted many of today’s leading entrepreneurs and company directors to the label, as they appreciate his fresh approach to tailoring.  He also enjoys working as a stylist, branding and retail strategy consultant to some of the UK’s very best designer brands.

By Jamie Henfrey

Accessories should always be chosen with a great deal of care as they often have the power to raise the look of an outfit or destroy it completely. A well chosen shirt and tie can do wonders for a tired suit and disguise many faults that may have been made in its origanal selection by an inexperienced shopper.

Shirts are a great way to express oneself but should never overpower and outfit as they are the foundation to achieving a strong and stylish look. I prefer to wear good quality cotton as it makes your skin feel so much fresher and if you follow some simple care routines they are surprisingly easy to look after and well worth the small effort involved. When selecting your shirt always have your intended suit or jacket near at hand as you will avoid wasting time and money on mistake purchases that are nearly always wrong. Keep patterns small and classic and stay with soft colours that will compliment your outfit rather than dominate it. If you are struggling to find a good match then often a good quality white shirt is the perfect choice rather than trying to find a crazy colour that will make you look silly. Choose a collar shape that you like and don’t be afraid to ask if you can try one on to make sure you like it , most good shirt stores have a few available to try on these days.

Marc Oliver Shirts

Ties are being worn to a lesser degree these days so it is all the more important achieve a balanced look when you do wear one. I find people often revert to wearing a tie when an event or appointment really matters to them, they hope it will add a little formality to their appearance and portray an image of someone you could depend on. Always choose a good quality silk tie as they make better knots and ensure it has been cut on the bias as it prevents twisting when being worn. Again choose the colour with care and avoid vulgar patterns and overly strong colours that may at first seem fun as their initial appeal will fade very quickly. There is little point in buying a good tie and then not bothering to put in a little time and effort in learning how to tie it correctly. Learn couple of basic knots as they can be really effective making you the envy of the less skilled .Try the half Windsor or for finer thinner fabrics the full Windsor, again ask you the shop you are in to show you how to do them, if they don’t know to then maybe you should find a shop that knows it’s trade.

Silk Ties

Shoes are often the biggest problem area for most men as I find a real reluctance to part with cash being behind their initial choices. Make no mistake good shoes are a very serious work of art and take many hours to produce and use fine quality leathers. I recommend buying a few good pairs of shoes overtime rather than a few quick fashion choices that won’t last .You get what you pay for! And with shoes this is absolutely true as I have never regretted buying a smart well fitting shoe as they can last for years and make your feet feel fantastic. The most disappointing area again can be presentation and preparation , I always smile when I see people who don’t bother to care for their shoes , a simple routine using a good quality shoe wax will keep them looking great for years and takes only a few minutes to do each time.

These days there a wide range of finishing accessories available to men and these can run into many hundreds of pounds and are often best left to a minimum. Don’t lavish huge sums on cuff-links but invest in a few good pairs in classic colours or designs that will go easily with your wardrobe, job done!

Cuff-links

One final tip to bear in mind is to think beforehand where and when you will be wearing your outfit it will focus your mind on buying the correct accessory items. If you know a women who has great taste why not ask her to come shopping with you, she will tell you bluntly when you get it wrong.

Remember it is better to hear it in the store before you pay for it rather than while at a function wearing it!


Jamie Henfrey founded Marc Oliver in 2008. With an extensive background in men’s tailoring and design, he’s had the opportunity to distinguish himself by serving many of England’s leading figures from the word of sport and finance. As head designer for Marc Oliver tailoring he has been the driving force behind the brand that has attracted many of today’s leading entrepreneurs and company directors to the label, as they appreciate his fresh approach to tailoring.  He also enjoys working as a stylist, branding and retail strategy consultant to some of the UK’s very best designer brands.

This is a subject that has recently started to puzzle me as I have looked around at today’s offerings on the high street and find it somewhat surprising that men still consider hiring a suit for their wedding day a good option!

The choice available when I went out to look was limited and at best, usually constitutes a small range- just basic colour options made from average materials along with a few simple waistcoat colours. There were a few small independents out there where the ranges on offer show a little more imagination, but still they are nothing exciting.

I attended an evening function recently where I met a man who was soon to be married and as his wedding was only 4 weeks away, I enquired what he had chosen to wear on the day. I was not prepared for the answer he gave me … ” I haven’t given it much thought really, maybe I will pop down to Moss Bros and hire a suit”… now he had my full attention as he had only a vague idea of what they did. He smiled and said that his girlfriend had bought everything months ago and was ready for the big day (men and women are so different).

The man standing in front of me, was obviously successful, wealthy, but strangely very calm about his lack of planning for his big day, he suddenly realized he should be giving his attire more urgent consideration as his wedding day was only a few weeks away. This brought me back to my problem of trying to understand what was happening as his “wife to be” had spent a small fortune on a wedding dress, shoes etc. They had also booked a photographer to capture the images of them socializing with their friends throughout the day, I was now struggling trying to visualize him standing next to her in a hired morning suit in the grounds of a stunning Caribbean hotel.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL : Shania Twain's wedding day

Why had he not given his outfit that much thought?

As we were talking, it became clear that he had a natural assumption that men who get married wear morning suits. He had formed this opinion over the years through how weddings are shown in films and media in general. Of course here was a good answer, but as he was not having a classic wedding I wondered why he felt it may be the right choice and why he had not checked out what else might be available.

At this point he suddenly woke up to what was he was going to look like on the day- and asked for some help.  Luckily, we had just enough time to make something special and agreed to meet his bride that weekend where we all planned an outfit that would do him justice on the day. It was a close call and his bride was relieved to have someone take charge and sort her partner out. And let’s face it, it’s very hard to tell the people we love how to dress.

At the dawn of the suit hire business, the social demand to dress correctly was immense, but the cost of the garments was often beyond the ordinary man who received a grand evening invitation. He would need the use of a morning suit for his wedding as he would never attend enough social events of a standing where he could justify the cost. The birth of the hire business can be traced back to a musician who regularly borrowed a wealthy friend’s evening tails because they shared the same size and over time, they agreed a small fee each time as he was using them so often.

Over the years there have been so many advancements in the way things have been made and these processes have also had an impact on price. In 2011, it is much easier for the ordinary man to obtain a suit where the cost of buying an evening suit has been greatly reduced. The corporate expense account has also to led to the longevity of the evening suit hire business- men could charge the expense to their companies. This is financial madness when you consider the waste of time and money involved with senior staff who might attend up to 20 functions a year. The fact that these suits are often picked up and returned by courier makes you wonder about the wisdom of company financial directors who allow this and could have dressed their staff for a fraction of the cost by agreeing to buy an off the peg suit that can start from as little as £150 these days.

More often than not, the people hiring suits are wealthy individuals who may lack some of the general knowledge on the dress code required when attending high profile events. For this type of man, hiring a suit is a safer option and should ensure that he attends the event in the correct attire (so avoiding the obvious embarrassment of wearing the wrong outfit). Examples of this can range from an overseas ambassador presenting his credentials to the queen at Buckingham palace, or someone attending the royal enclosure at Royal Ascot for the first time.

An Ambassador presents his credentials to the Queen in a" Poorly Fitting Hired Suit"

Good Tailors should have a broad knowledge of the correct attire for formal occasions and therefore are a good choice for anyone who appreciates wearing clothes that fit like a glove. I feel more than ever that the fun of dressing up for big events applies as modern life can make even the most special occasion seem ordinary-  if you don’t apply some thought to it.

It is safe to assume  that Prince William will not be following the very British tradition of hiring his wedding suit for his forthcoming wedding  on April 29th and will instead choose a beautifully tailored suit.

Jamie Henfrey founded Marc Oliver in 2008. With an extensive background in men’s tailoring and design, he’s had the opportunity to distinguish himself by serving many of England’s leading figures from the word of sport and finance. As head designer for Marc Oliver tailoring he has been the driving force behind the brand that has attracted many of today’s leading entrepreneurs and company directors to the label, as they appreciate his fresh approach to tailoring.  He also enjoys working as a stylist, branding and retail strategy consultant to some of the UK’s very best designer brands.