Fashionbeans: Ask The Expert
The Experts’ Introduction

Life is a battlefield; yet wielding any description of prehistoric war paraphernalia at your boss/ co-workers/ friends/ potential love interests is deemed to be socially unacceptable. Going into any battle well dressed is going into a battle half won. The other half is won with…blagging it?

Throughout my editorials I pedal consistently insightful mottos/life sayings/aphorisms/pronouncements/dictums. I carry myself with an ‘imperceptible’ sense of humility (?) I grasp the English language and ‘blag’ my way through any such means of a dictionary.

I could pedal more self-fashioned proverbs than I could any brogues, ‘farers or buttoned sorts, but unlike the prior, I can dedicate myself to one in all its entirety. “The epitome of arrogance is when you stop thinking you can learn from others.”
Humility restored.

Ask the Expert Introduction

So tell me when you first developed your fear of socks and sandals…

FashionBeans is a growing media output, a phenomenon but by no means overnight. Think of it as a pogo-stick, a Nintendo ‘whatchamacallit’ or a Furbee; without the fury annoyance.

FashionBeans corners almost every potential corner of the fashion-print industry; it is the dedication of its editor & its editorial staff that are pushing the ‘beans’ towards a mainstream magazine connotation. It is the exciting expansion of our portfolio that brings on permanent features dedicated to the readership.

I’d love to be able to tell you all the exciting upcoming features that are going to be added to the site but if I told you I’d have to kill you; and steal your shoes. –Mainly because Ben would kill me…and steal my shoes.
And I like my shoes!

Dedicated to the sartorial styling of you dapper chaps, I will preview what will soon become a regular on-site feature: Ask the expert.
There is usually an article on FashionBeans for everyone, for every style, every trend and for every occasion. But sometimes there is just one pressing question, one fashion conundrum, one potential lawsuit that troubles you. Thankfully, we can help with two out of those three!

When the ‘ask the expert’ feature [along with many others] becomes live on site, every writer will contribute to answering your questions. However, for now, you’re stuck with me! So my first tip is to grab your (or the nearest persons) underwear and wear it on your head, go on, do it. Done? Good. Now can all those who are not currently sporting underwear on their head: stand to the right. And those of you who are: you need to see a real shrink, not a style shrink

Basic abuse of power over I will answer the questions posted on the FashionBeans twitter over the past few weeks. As judge Luke I will give you the best possible fix to your question or conundrum. My ruling is final, and if I find out you have gone against my judgement I will hunt you down and, well…steal your shoes.

Schoolboy Error

“I brought a check slim tie from ASOS. It’s the same one you featured in an earlier article. I paired it with: a long sleeve white shirt, Navy to mid Blue shaded Diesel Jeans, Brown casual Caterpillar loafers, Armani watch, brown cuff.

I thought I looked good but my girlfriend thought I looked like a school kid because of the combination of white shirt and checked tie combo. I said I will get a professional opinion to prove one of us right so I have turned to you. I am thinking of getting a navy shirt next though, might not look so school-boyish after that?”
Waqas Khan via email

A: First of all, that tie is a great pick and will be one of your best friends throughout the SS10 preppy trends! Surprisingly, it isn’t the tie that will give a schoolboy aesthetic, nor the tie and shirt combination. It is in fact dependant on the shirt. The cut of the shirt is distinctive in defining a look. Classic school errors would be the standard white, one chest pocket, and regular collar plain sort. To avoid your shirt connotating the classroom, make sure you go for a shirt that offers an edge. Anything from dual breast pockets to epaulettes to eccentric buttons. As long as you’re not wearing a school shirt, how can you look like you’re wearing a school shirt – regardless of your tie choice? See my point?

Top tip…
Another facet to be noted is the colour scheme. When trying to avoid the pre-puberty educational look you must think about what that actually entails. By this I mean distinguish what makes the school boy look the school boy look, and then avoid accordingly. These days, with every education institution having their own unique uniform this can be hard to wrap your head around. However, many do favour certain colour combinations; including blue & brown. Mix up your colour combos and have fun by mixing & clashing colours. Just remember, clash, clash well, otherwise you will look like you have just clashed!

So Mr Khan, in the interest of not getting on the wrong side of either parties (in my experience the girlfriends can get somewhat violent), I shall not be pointing out (in so many words) who failed to be, well, correct. I can only give you this advice and hope you will subtly put it into play before giving your girlfriend a cheeky wink and she stands in awe of your well collaborated shirt & ensemble aesthetic lacking in any school boy errors!

Here are my top alternative white shirt picks:

White Contrast Button ShirtASOS Tailoring Contrast Trim Slim Fit ShirtCreep By Hiroshi Awai Oxford Shirt

In Need of a Unique Wardrobe?

“I love buying all the latest and greatest fashion picks, but how can I find a wardrobe full of unique things?”
Alex James via Twitter.

A: Ummm, Narnia? By unique I think you mean exclusive, and by exclusive I think you mean: something no other on-trend fashion eccentric has. There are three shortcuts down the yellow brick road to an unrivalled wardrobe, just try not to trip over the munchkins.

To say something in a vintage store is unique is an understatement worth slapping someone about. In the war they did not follow then middle-aged premise of “oh this fits sort of well, I’ll buy eight of these”, ration tokens didn’t stretch to Savile Row and a sheep wouldn’t even let you sheer it unless you had an air of class about you.

Vintage shopping is an amazing way to build a wardrobe with a story and in most cases, a unique one. It is not true that you have to delve into the underbelly of London to find good vintage. My top tip? eBay! Vintage stores have been cropping up on ye old auction sites more and more since the economic…thing? There is a dedicated area of search for men’s vintage so there is no excuse not to get shopping…and addicted. Hidden gem of choice? PuppyDogVintage!

Every sartorialy fluent chap approaches his wardrobe with a different bearing. Some will buy key pieces from the highstreet collections, transitional staples that will last their mix-matching all season. Others will know what they want and hunt for it in a caveman’esque, but by no means Neanderthal, manner. Unless you plan on setting up a self professed sweat shop pushing out jumpers to the masses, what easier way to get what you want and what others will want by fashioning it yourself?

Snip, stick, dye, graffiti and sew; just make sure they’re your own.

High Street Exclusive Collaborations:
Another option is to stay on top of the high street collab’s. These are going to be cropping up left right and centre throughout SS10 into AW10. From River Island’s sponsorship of GFW (graduate fashion week) to Puma’s effort with New York based painter Kehinde Wiley (as featured in the FashionBeans Sportswear & Men’s Fashion editorial).

Stock is limited in every sense of the word; it has been known to cause riots and divides amongst families! So pssst don’t show your brother these picks from Topman’s partnership with rock and roll brand AAA.

AAA Nude Beaks Print VestAAA Chain BracesAAA wet look long line hoody

Denim Education

“Luke, any chance of a lesson in raw denim? What is the difference and how do I care for raw denim?”
Stuart Colvert via Twitter

A: Pay them compliments, take them out for dinner and be wary of the milkman? I applaud your attention to denim chivalry and it could not be needed more than with these sorts. Dry denim or ‘raw denim’ at its best is a difficult map to manoeuvre. But like the wrinkles on a little old ladies face, they will tell a story. Dry denim, as opposed to washed denim is a fabric that has not been washed after being dyed during production, hence ‘dry’. Along with its characteristic fade and distress (the jeans, not the old lady) they are defined by their…smell? (The jeans, not the old lady again). Legend rightly has it that dry denim jeans must not be washed for six months. To follow the bible of care is to air them should your grass-antics lead to developing some odour.

Oki-Ni’s denim care guide is an essential read for any dry/raw denim virgin [click image below]:

Oki-ni Denim Guide - Click Here

Summer Wedding

“I am attending a summer wedding. I have a grey suit but I only own brown shoes can these go together? I plan on either buying new shoes in a different colour or a different outfit completely…HELP!?”
Marco Ling via email.

A: Firstly Marco, can it really be called a summer weather? As the British learn to dress they must also learn to dress for the weather. Take the weather with a pinch of rainy salt. Nevertheless if you have faith in the blue skies I see no reason to ban your brown shoes & grey suit from the event. That said, I would dress for your entire outfit and not for your individual pieces. Far too many display a blind rush through the wardrobe of “My shoes match my belt, my underwear matches my shirt, my jacket matches my watch” – But do your shoes match your belt match your underwear match your shirt match your jacket match your watch?

It is key to dress in an ensemble and nothing else.

To dress for your brown shoe & charcoal mix I would suggest a dark toned tie and well selected white shirt. Alternatively I will do nothing but what can be expected of me for all formal occasions and push the use of the pocket square. I idolise the pocket square and disregard any who fail to notice its colourful properties. As McDonald's epitomises obesity, Drakes of London epitomises attentive eccentricity; and without the ketchup & mayo stains.

Drakes Of London Mogal Print Square Pocket ScarfDrakes Of London Mogal Print Pocket Square ScarfDrakes Of London Animals And Trees Print Pocket Square Scarf

Top Tip…
In my opinion, as in insider and self confessed chap of the cloth, I see a block colour tie as a subtle etiquette of wedding attire. Reserve any fancy ornamentation for the top table and let your dance moves with the bridesmaids do the talking.

One for the Comment Box

I do not overlook the knowledge of the ‘Beaner, nor do I underestimate their ability to offer insight in all sartorial conundrums. In an attempt to create a forum of fashion-conscious Caesars to preside over the people, I offer the final question to the coliseum. I’m in a roman’esque mood.

Leave your take on this question in the comment section below. Debate. Discuss. Decide. Just don’t kill each other because I’m not clearing it up!

“Stripes have been indulged (perhaps over indulged) in the Nautical and French Riviera looks but what alternatives are there to stripes?”
Jason Greys via email