A Gent’s Guide To Buying Off The Rack

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Not everyone can afford to buy a hand stitched, pure wool, bespoke, Saville Row masterpiece. Many men will, especially in their younger days, have to resort to buying their suits off the rack, which is to say, ready made. They’ll walk into a shop find the closest approximate fit, pay and then walk out. And for most people who only wear a suit for weddings and funerals, whats the point in investing beaucoup bucks in something that’ll only be worn a dozen times in a lifetime?

So here are somethings that you’ll need to remember.

Size

The size tends to go in inches, a jacket or blazer will be measured by the full circumference of your torso, under your armpits, across your chest. Jackets will generally come in a short, a regular or a long, this refers to sleeve length as well as to the length of the overall jacket.

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Trousers will, again, be measured in inches around the waist, and also come in Short (approx 28-29 Inches), Regular (approx 31-32 Inches) or Long (33-34 Inches) and will be measured on the inside of your leg.

Waistcoats will take the same measurement as the blazer, although if sporting a larger midriff than chest, it is advised to go for a larger size as needed.

Fit 

 

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These days suits come in Three fits (for the most part) and these are regular, tailored and slim.  Slim fit suits are very form fitting, and not flattering on the larger gent. Regular fits are more relaxed, however have the tendency to look boxy on slimmer people. Tailored fits are a mix of the two, being slightly fitted, but not overly slim.

Price 

The lower end of the price scale is anything under £100, and is ideal for everyday business wear and for the one off formal occasion.

The mid range for suits starts around £150 and quality begins to show here, and run up to anything around £350 (if you’re going for designer brands, chances are you’ll be paying on the higher end of this spectrum).

The Higher cost range goes from anything above £500, and this is getting into the point where if you’re spending this sort of money on an off the rack suit, you have more money than sense, because for this sort of price, you are also looking at the middle price range for tailor made suit anyway.

If you are on a budget, an off the peg suit may be a good investment, especially if you are going to wear it, because even if it wasn’t made with you in mind, a decent one will still look sharp, and in this age of track suits and denim, a man in a nice suit will still stand out.

30 Before Thirty (Comics & Graphic Novels)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the Comics and Graphic Novels that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

Grant Morrison’s 18 Days

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Camelot 3000

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Miracle Man: A Dream Of Flying

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All Star Superman 

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Preacher: Gone To Texas

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The Crow

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Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes

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Alan Moore’s: Saga of The Swamp Thing

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Marvel 1602

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Saga: Volume 1

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 The Order: Die Mensch Machine

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The Complete Scarlet Traces 

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Button Man

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Ronin 

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Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow 

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The Infinity Gauntlet 

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Amazing Spider-man: Kravens Last Hunt

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Promethea Book 1 

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Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus 

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Multiversity 

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Son Of Superman 

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Hellblazer: Original Sins 

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The Authority: Relentless 

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Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction 

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Doctor Who: Emperor Of The Daleks

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Death: The High Cost Of Living  

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JSA The Liberty Files 

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Alice In Sunderland 

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Daredevil Yellow

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The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch

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How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

30 Before I’m Thirty (Films)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the films that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

How Green Was My Valley 

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Gentleman’s Agreement

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From Here to Eternity

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Gone With The Wind

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Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

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West Side Story

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Lawrence of Arabia

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf

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Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

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Funny Girl

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Fiddler On The Roof

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All The Presidents Men

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Milk

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Kramer Vs Kramer

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Terms of Endearment 

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The Cider House Rules

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An Education

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The Wolf Of Wall Street

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Guardians of the Galaxy 2

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Moonrise Kingdom

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Saving Private Ryan

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Going In Style 

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Wall Street

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King Ralph

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Planes Trains and Automobiles

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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The Monuments Men

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Good Will Hunting

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Good Morning Vietnam 

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This Is Spinal Tap

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How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

A Eulogy For My Trainers

So I can officially say that I’m a councillor now. This campaign has been an odd one. As I was standing unopposed I was helping out with other peoples campaigns for the most part. I’ve clocked up over 50 miles in walking distance and spoken to several hundred people on the door in an area I’m relatively new to. My dislike of dogs has been intensified, as has my sympathy for postal workers. I’ve completely disregarded my physical limitations and feel absolutely broken, but it was absolutely worth it because everyone I helped with their campaign has been elected, and my own sense of self importance has been inflated. And whilst I would have preferred to win against an opponent I am still immensely proud to serve the people of Northville.

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All this campaigning has not been without hardship and the biggest casualty of all has been my knock off converse. I brought them for £7 on ebay and while at first they pinched, after making great strides we soon settled into a groove and managed to plod along comfortably together.
But after 2 months of solid life, working hard almost every day, they passed away from being worn out. You served me well old friends, you didn’t give me a blister, and you were tender with my gout, you didn’t exacerbate my ingrown toenail and most importantly, unlike most trainers, you didn’t look ridiculous with a suit.
Thank you trainers, may your replacements not rub my ankles.

Culture, Curry and Shopping Excursion’s

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Today was a day for culture, culture and shopping. Marianna and I ,this morning, decided to go shopping for clothes. Marianna needed some formal black shoes, and a cardigan to go with the dress I brought her the other day, which she’ll wear to a few things we have coming up like a family wedding, and a few civic functions.

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The Dress

After wandering every shop that sells child’s clothing and shoes in Cwmbran, its a fair few, we finally went into Primark last and there we found a lovely cardigan for £5 and a darling pair of boots that were reduced to £3, so we paid for our purchases and took the 2 minuet walk home, wherein I made a sumptuous lunch of a cheese sandwich, sliced grapes, a packet of crisps, a yoghurt and two jaffa cakes all for Marianna, which she ate in its entirety, which was a nice surprise.

So then we came to the question, what where the two of us going to do this afternoon, as I was up to date on house work, I had nothing pressing to do paperwork wise, which is odd when I have an AGM to attend tomorrow. So I decided it would be one of those days where I attend to my child’s cultural development. So we cranked up the ole’ Amazon Fire Stick, went to Youtube and started on with the opera. Knowing that a two year old, even one as bright an attentive as Marianna, would not have the attention to span an entire opera. So I opted to pick some arias, specifically from some famous sopranos, all of which weren’t overly long, Marianna decided she would dance to what she dubbed the singing princesses (I think it was the posh frocks and tiaras that put the idea in her head) after about an hour of various arias and duets we came to The Flower Duet by Lakmé and at this point I gave up on the opera, because I realised I was having a conversation with a two year old about the “pretty dresses” of the two sopranos.

So it was getting on for four o’clock and we switched to the ballet, mainly as I saw this awesome version of The Russian Dance from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker the other day. So we watched that and then moved on to Swan Lake, where Marianna could get a good look at the “Dancing Princesses” and try to copy their moves (the kids pretty damn flexible, but not coordinated, not even a little bit) but it did inspire this beauty of a conversation.

Me: Marianna, would you like to be a ballet dancer?

Marianna (Age 2): No, I want food. 

The perfectly innocent, but still perfect, response made me remember, from many many years ago, the date I had with a woman studying ballet, I can’t remember the name of the woman, but I do remember that it was possibly the cheapest dinner date I have ever been on, and its made me smile. And with that, I made dinner, we had curry and chips, followed be Neapolitan Ice Cream, it was nice, Marianna then had her bath and went to bed, now I’m on the sofa writing this with The West Wing on in the background while a little part of me is wondering if we finished all the curry or if there’s enough for me to have a second bowl in half an hour or so.

 

How To Look A Million Dollars, When You’re Worth About £2.80

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They say that looking good comes naturally, but dressing well takes a massive bank balance. I have often found this to be the case. A decent suit will cost in excess of £200, a good pair of shoes will set you back to almost 3 digits and that doesn’t even begin to factor in the cost of, shirts, boxers, socks and various other accessories that you need in order to look like a functioning member of the human race. It isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t cheap, to get a wardrobe from the pages of GQ. Here are some tips that should help ease up the burdens on those purse strings.

  1. Online Tailors: Using online tailors can save you an absolute fortune, to get a tailored suit in the UK, from scratch will cost you over £200, but using an online tailor, usually from the far east, you can get a completely bespoke, made to measure suit from as little as £35.
  2. charity shops: Vintage is always in, and charity shops are a great way of finding those vintage threads for rock bottom prices, to be honest, you may spend days routing through charity shops trying to find that one amazing item, and a lot of the time you will come away empty-handed, but its an immeasurable feeling when you do find that piece that is just you.
  3. Up-cycling: Sometimes you just give in and buy that hideous jacket from the charity shop, purely out of social embarrassment, Brenda behind the counter has been eyeing you since you walked in, so you snap and buy the old blazer in your size. So now in order to make this purchase wearable, you should have the thing seriously dry cleaned to get it looking as good as it ever will, then add a few elbow patches, change the buttons for some extra little bit of flash, and see if maybe you can add some sort of crest to the breast pocket and then you’ve actually got yourself something straight from the pages of Gentleman’s Quarterly.
  4. Cheaper Alternatives: Sometimes you’ll want those £4000 Brioni shoes, but lets face it, why on earth would anyone pay that massive amount for a pair of shoes? Especially when you can get a pair that look pretty damn similar for less than 1% of the cost? I mean outside of a Milanese fashion show, or a Parisian runway who’d notice?
  5. Hair care: Regular haircuts and styling your hair can go a long way to imposing your look on the world, being well turned out, with a haircut you could set your watch by is certainly a way to look like the proverbial big spender, even if you are only getting a £10 haircut once a month and using a Tesco value gel to style it between cuts.
  6. Grooming: Trim that beard, clip those nails, and for god sake pluck those eyebrows. Shave every two days, if you have a beard, define the edges regularly and don’t forget to moisturise. Use teeth whitening toothpaste and for the sake of everyone around you, please use an antiperspirant style deodorant especially if you use public transport, but remember no deodorant should ever replace a regular shower, even with 72 hour protection.
  7. Cologne: Use a nice smelling cologne, it might not make you look any better, but as any blind person will tell you, smell is a distinctive part of your image.

Hopefully these tips will help you to maintain or improve your personal look and even if you don’t quite hit the million dollar mark, at the very least you’ll probably look better than the 50 pence you feel like.

The Lazy Ramblings Of A Lazy Guy (On Being In Love)

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I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  1. ON BEING IDLE.
  2. ON BEING IN LOVE.
  3. ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
  4. ON BEING HARD UP.
  5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
  6. ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
  7. ON THE WEATHER.
  8. ON CATS AND DOGS.
  9. ON BEING SHY.
  10. ON BABIES.
  11. ON EATING AND DRINKING.
  12. ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
  13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care)

On Being In Love 

Have you ever seen someone and known that they would be a terrible distraction to your life. That was how I would describe it, that feeling of knowing that this person is going to really change your life. That knowledge that this is going to be massively inconvenient.

That’s how it all begins then you slip into it, the early days are all wine and dinner and flowers and dancing, but then comes the big pants and netflix, the cups of tea, the farting and the lack of make up, if you can get through that, that is true love. The enduring real world version of the thing.

Foreigner wanted to know what love is, well its two people who have decided to just give up and settle with each other because they find the other person somewhat less detestable than the rest of humanity, that my friends is love.

This is the second in series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.