Men’s Free Style


Hold it, Mister
October 29, 2008, 18:48
Filed under: Discussion | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Residents of England’s fair capital will undoubtedly have heard that tomorrow brings the grand opening of the Westfield London shopping centre, said to be a largest in Europe (yes, I know it’s not a patch on what you’d find in most major US cities, but we get what we can over here).

Those of you who appreciate the stripped-back style first brought to these shores by Gap will be interested to know that favourite of mine Hollister will be one of the new shops on offer. It won’t be the first in the UK – that honour went to the one that opened a few days ago at Brent Cross – but the Westfield one finds itself in somewhat better surroundings so is likely to receive the most visitors.

You may not be aware of it, but Hollister is the baby brother of Abercrombie & Fitch, which already has one shop in the UK (in central London), and which sparked widespread fury when its doors opened over here as people realised they were in some cases being charged more in pounds than they would be in dollars across the pond.

True to my ethos of seeking out affordable style, I have checked out Hollister’s new prices in London. It appears (and we got the calculators out for this one) that at the current exchange rate you will be paying 28% more in the UK than in the US. I don’t think this is too bad given that at the time Abercrombie launched, its mark-up was around 100%, and in any case the overall price level in Hollister in lower than in Abercrombie despite the clothes appearing to be in many ways of identical quality.

The one thing to watch out for is a trend recently spotted in the US – namely, that the Hollister prices are being raised to levels similar to those seen in Abercrombie (no doubt to counter the inevitable shift in customers from over-priced A&F to reasonably-priced Hollister). Let’s just hope we get a bit of time to enjoy the new wares at Westfield and Brent Cross before the corporates have their wicked way in the UK.



The iron, no Fitch and your own wardrobe
September 23, 2008, 12:57
Filed under: Advice | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Apologies for the Narnia-lite title, but I think it sums up where this business of looking good for less really starts.

It might sound a little bizarre to suggest that the best place to begin is in your own wardrobe, but I think it makes a lot of sense. Firstly, running an iron over a large number of items already hanging in their would undoubtedly breathe some sartorial life back into them in an instant.

Also, and more importantly, my view is that the key to looking stylish is nailing your own personal style, and the only way you can do that is by taking a good look at your current crop of clothes. Are you primarily a jeans and T-shirt guy? Or do you like to scrub up a little better with some smart trousers and a pair of brogues? Perhaps you’ve become evangelical about the Americana look and can’t see yourself in anything else.

I think the thing to establish is what your signature look is (by which I don’t mean that you like wearing a white shirt and navy jeans every day of the week, but that you appreciate the finer points of a shirt and jeans combo), a style which will naturally have an element of you imprinted on it and that you feel comfortable in.

So where does the Fitch come in? Well, I don’t reckon I’m the only one who thinks there’s very little chance of pulling off any ‘personal’ outfit on the streets of London with “A&F 1892” emblazoned anywhere on your person. Individuality is one thing that the Abercrombie boys can’t sell you.