4 August 2017

FEATURE: A Formal Response

Suited and booted.

Although August is typically the month associated with shorts, t-shirts, and bikinis on the beach, you might find yourself in greater need for formal wear. Proms, garden parties, days at the races, summer weddings... these are August events where flip-flops and bare chests just aren't welcome. To that end we've created a tidy feature of formal goodies; each being quick to get and not too damaging on the old bank account.

Dobell Black Suit

A decent suit should be any guy's first thought when assembling a formal outfit, and plain black is always the best place to start. We were invited to try the suit service offered by Dobell, an online Mecca of smart clothing. However, if you have some reservations about purchasing a suit online, worried that it won't fit and that the site's sizing chart will be complete fiction, don't.

Using the Dobell site is easy. You peruse the suits based on category or colour, then find one you like the look of. It is then a simple case of building your order by selecting the size of the jacket and trousers (and waistcoat, should you want one) and go to the checkout. Where Dobell stand out from the online suit crowd is in their use of sizing charts. Basically, they make sense and are spot on.

We were getting a simple black suit, made by Dobell themselves (there are other brands available, too, such as Selected Homme and Torre). Sizing the jacket was a case of measuring the chest, and along along the sleeve, and comparing those numbers to their guide. It produces a size, such as 40R or 42L, and as there is a large range of sizes we felt quite confident.

The same was applied to the trousers; around the waist (or rather just under your gut, guys) and the inside leg. Once selected you enter your details and pay. The website said it would be with us in 2-3 days, but in actual fact it arrived about 36 hours after ordering. This is a damn speedy service, so if you have a last minute event, or you discover just days before a mate's wedding that the suit you had tucked away neatly in the wardrobe has been eaten by moths, Dobell is perfect.

The suit itself is nicely tailored, with a lightweight single-breasted jacket, double vented in the back. There are side pockets with flaps, a notched lapel, and handy internal pockets for wallet and phone. The trousers have the same clean Italian cut, spacious hand pockets, and a zip fly with a clip and double button closure on top. The whole suit is very comfortable and light to wear, with more of a business look to it than anything. However, with the right shirt, tie, and waistcoat combo, it could be confidently worn for any smart occasion, from weddings and funerals, to race days and proms.

£109.99 (waistcoat + £24.99)

Visit www.dobell.co.uk

Charles Conrad Unisex Watches

We might be the kind of site that promotes the wearing of the latest technology, but often a smartwatch or wrist-based activity tracker just isn't appropriate. If you need something with a bit more style than a blank black circle or square, but would like to make any investment you make in a watch pay off further down the road, you need this.

The new Unisex Watch range from Charles Conrad is unique in that, not only can they be comfortably worn by both a man or a women, but the range boasts the ability to quickly swap straps and bracelets. This means that the same watch face can matched with several different straps depending on the occasion. Black leather for funerals, rose gold metal for parties, yo.

We were sent a watch with a standard white face, although black and blue are also available. The watch itself is as simple and as elegant as a watch can be, possessing only a single dial to adjust the time. It is also surprisingly thin, but we're used to chunky great watches like this. Because of those slim dimensions, it can sit very happily on the wrist of either sex without looking weird.

The strap release mechanism really is super simple. You merely pull down on a spring-loaded lever on the underside of the strap, and it comes free from the watch. Usually, changing the strap on a watch requires some form of tool, but this means you can swap them out just to see what looks best, before trying something else. As well as coming with a rose gold metal bracelet, Charles Conrad also sent us both a black and red leather strap, too.

Just like the Dobell suit site, Charles Conrad allows you to mix and match to find the right look, then add a few extra straps for additional occasions. We love the cleanness of the watch, the fact that it won't bulk up your shirt cuff, and the versatility of the straps. Check out the range.

£199.99 (although some models start from £179.99)

Visit www.charles-conrad.com

Fox and Luther Pocket Squares

One great way to completely change the look and feel of your formal outfit is with a pocket square. You might not immediately think about handkerchiefs adding a splash of colour to your suit (ties take all the attention, don't they?), but they can be very useful to alter your look - just like the changeable straps for the watch above.

We were sent a selection from menspocketsquares.co.uk who stock an enormous range of the Fox and Luther squares. Almost every colour and pattern you could imagine is there, in different materials for different occasions. For swanky summer dos where bright, eye-catching colours are very much the order of the day, they are great. And, you know, you could actually blow your nose on them, if you need to.


Visit menspocketsquares.co.uk

Make-up for guys

Yep, its out there, waiting you. Once you've completed your look, trimmed your beard, and styled your hair... what else is there to tend to? Well, you could always take a leaf out of the ladies' books and apply a touch of make-up to your handsome mug. That is just what we tried, and it was all thanks to www.mensmake-up.co.uk

The site is filled with make-up and cleansing products designed specifically for blokes, from facial scrubs to actual concealers and eye-liner. We were sent several items to test, and, although we began our testing quite sceptically, found the MMUK Concealer to be pretty genius. 

Coming in a discreet stick, the concealer is the kind of thing that can be dropped into a suit pocket and forgotten about until you really need it. And lets be honest, guys needs concealer every once in a while, because nobody is perfect, damn it! A couple dabs of this onto unexpected spots and pimples will help boost your confidence. Coming in several skin tone colours, it only costs £15.

Check out the whole range at www.mensmake-up.co.uk

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