Fashion, Lifestyle, Men's Fashion

The Virtues of the Trench Coat

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If you ask me, the word ‘timeless’ is bandied around far too freely in the fashion world. The term is overused and all-too-readily applied to any garment that has an indefinable quality or an undeniable allure. Very few items deserve or merit the immortality that is so willingly placed upon them, but I don’t think I’m bestowing superfluous or hyperbolic praise on the Trench Coat, when I say that it is one of the few items of clothing that can truly be referred to as ‘timeless’.

The origins of the Trench Coat date back to the late 1800s, with both Burberry and Aquascutum laying claim to its genesis. Undoubtedly, hundreds of years later, it is the former of these brands that has become synonymous with the Trench Coat and while its initial inception was merely borne out of militarian function, the Trench has become one of fashion’s most recreated and loved items, with designer offerings existing alongside more affordable high-street versions. Originally constructed for soldiers, the Trench Coat has permeated popular culture and become a fully-fledged go-to item for millions of men and women all over the world.

Today, the Trench Coat isn’t the reserve of the front-line or even Wall-Street businessmen, but an all-encompassing fashion must-have that looks good on any guy, regardless of age. Amazingly, the design of the Trench Coat has changed very little since its days as part of a functional uniform, with the classic, ten-buttoned, double-breasted coat still being the style’s most prominent example.

The beauty of the Trench Coat really does lay in its versatility and I can’t think of many items that can make an outfit look better than a trench can. Wear with a suit for the ultimate lesson in power-dressing or pair it with a more casual ensemble of jeans and a shirt to let your Trench Coat do all the talking. The devil is in the detailing and Burberry have it covered with their impeccably-designed trenches, with the epaulettes, throat latch, hook and bar, back rain shield and the D-ring on the belt all harking back to the pre-War aesthetic. The Trench Coat is one that was intended for battle and with one of these bad boys on your back, nobody is going to mess with you!

Check out some alternative options to the Burberry Trench below:

Topman Online – £75

Reiss – €340

River Island – €94

Diesel (ASOS) – €338

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olly suit
Men's Fashion, Music, Showbiz

Olly Murs: Man of Style | Jamie Tuohy

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To say that Olly Murs has done well for himself would be an understatement. Since finishing as runner-up on the 2009 X Factor, the Dance With Me Tonight singer has become a household name, with four number 1 singles under his belt, 2 number 1 albums and a third one on the way, a sell-out arena tour, an autobiography and if that wasn’t enough, he landed a presenting job, hosting The Xtra Factor alongside the ever-gorgeous Caroline Flack. Not bad for second place, eh?

Proving that he is the real winner of the talent competition, Mr Murs’ star is very much on the ascent, and as if to demonstrate that there is nothing he can’t conquer, Olly is certainly ticking all the right boxes when it comes to his fashion sense. He rarely puts a foot wrong in the style stakes and this Essex boy doesn’t fall into the perma-tanned TOWIE genre, as his look is distinctive and unique, with a strong influence from 90s BritPop, mixed with the retro vibes of the 1950s.

Olly has gained infamy thanks to his predilection for extremely tight trousers, which have gone on to become one of the singer’s signature styles, along with his beloved trilby hats. However, it’s a look Murs effortlessly pulls off – combining his chinos with quirky loafers, desert boots or brogues and pairing braces with a buttoned-up grandfather-style shirt.

Every Saturday and Sunday night, Olly demonstrates how he has become the master of smart/casual dressing, as he hosts The Xtra Factor in his signature cheeky-chappy manner. When he opts for a blazer, Olly tends to go for a double-breasted piece from a young and cool brand, such as The Kooples and he never looks overdressed or overdone, as he usually teams the blazer with different colour trousers. His style has all the sartorial sensibility of the X Factor’s main man – Dermot O’Leary, but Olly doesn’t have the responsibility of anchoring the entire show and therefore, his personality is evident through his wardrobe each weekend, as he can play and have fun with his look.

Olly doesn’t get enough recognition for his effortless style and to credit him, it has evolved from his X Factor days, but the original template still remains. Olly was always a snappy dresser and you can be sure that when it comes to what he wears, Olly makes all the decisions and isn’t being moulded into something he’s not by a stylist. Olly Murs may be a Troublemaker, but when it comes to his dress sense, he is top of the class!

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sandro
Lifestyle, Men's Fashion

Most Wanted for AW12: Aviator Jackets | Jamie Tuohy

Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly been developing a predilection for aviator-style jackets and the manifestation of this love has been abundantand expensive. Denim jackets with sheepskin lining, suede coats with the softest collars and the classic leather aviator jacket have all been welcomed into my covetous arms. I’ve bought them all and I promise you, I have no tendencies towards piloting or aerodynamics, but I do hold every appreciation for its impeccable style!

Burberry Brit Aviator Jacket: €1976
APC Aviator Jacket: €420

AW12 is all about the aviator jacket, with everyone from Burberry to APC sending models down the catwalk in luxurious and tactile comfy coats. Naturally, the high-street was quick to follow suit and the likes of Pull & Bear and Zara have some fantastic aviator jackets that are equally as stylish as their designer counterparts, but far more pocket-friendly. (Although, if you buy them in all possible styles, then maybe the latter part of that sentence is rendered futile!)

Zara Parka Aviator: €130

Gone are the days of the aviator jacket being a reincarnation of Tom Cruise’s Topgun monstrosity, as a new era of sophisticated and stylish sheepskin-lined heaven has dawned. Designers such as Sandro and APC are taking the classic aviator style and reworking it to give the classic jacket an updated look, be it through the use of print or injections of colour. Levis have a fantastic denim aviator jacket, but at €350, it’s a little pricey, but the Pull & Bear one featured below is a very similar style, at a much more affordable price point.

Pull & Bear Denim Aviator: €50

For the coming winter months, every guy should have an aviator jacket of some sort, but gents remember; the aviator jacket doesn’t give you a licence to don matching aviator sunglasses. Unless you are Paul Newman or James Dean, such looks should be avoided at all costs. Stay stylish and warm with the season’s hottest jacket and don’t be left out in the cold for your unnecessary depravity towards fashion.

Sandro: €325
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zara jacket
Lifestyle, Men's Fashion

My favourite AW purchases | Jamie Tuohy

A/W is probably my favourite time when it comes to fashion and 2012’s offerings are better than ever. WINTOUR is coming, so I’ve been stocking up on the season’s necessities. Although, I must admit, the way in which I delineate necessity isn’t exactly conventional. Or practical. Nevertheless, here are some of my favourite purchases so far.

Zara Aviator-Style Jacket

Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly been developing a predilection for aviator-style jackets and the manifestation of this love has been abundant and expensive. After much (not really) procrastination, I welcomed this beautiful baby into my covetous arms. It’s two weeks old and good as gold. Literally – the gold zip detailing was a deal clincher for me. This really is a solid winter coat and despite my propensity towards impracticality, it is both a stylish and pragmatic winter staple. Okay, it’s suede, but it never rains in Ireland, so this will be absolutely fine.

Denim Aviator Jacket

Can you spot a theme emerging? I have been looking for a denim aviator for the last year and ideally I would have liked a €350 Levis one, but this Pull & Bear option is a great alternative, saving me a whopping €300. A/W12 is all about the aviator jacket, with everyone from Burberry to APC sending models down the catwalk in luxurious and tactile comfy versions of this classic style. Naturally, the high-street was quick to follow suit and the likes of Pull & Bear and Zara have some fantastic aviator jackets that are equally as stylish as their designer counterparts, but far more pocket-friendly. (Although, if you buy them in all possible styles, then maybe the latter part of that sentence is rendered futile!)

 Pull and Bear T-Shirt

I LOVE this t-shirt and it was a steal at only €12.99 from Pull & Bear. Alexander McQueen and Burberry have been emblazoning their t-shirts with animal faces for the past year and I’ve been longing for one of their creations ever since. I couldn’t resist this tee when I found it, costing a tenth of the price, but just as voguish. Givenchy has a near-identical version of this t-shirt, so ten points to Pull & Bear for their ‘inspired’ piece! I think this will look really cool with some black slim-fit jeans, the aforementioned denim aviator jacket and a pair of Kurt Geiger beige brogues.

River Island Brogues

Far exceeding my obsession with brogues is my obsession and dedication to wearing suede. Also, as a coffee-wielding friend can testify, despite my best efforts to keep my suede clobber in pristine condition, it often falls victim to caffeine’s staining malice. Nevertheless, I had to have these berry brogues, because they were too all-encompassing to pass up. Brogues. In suede. In one of the season’s hottest hues?! Perfection. Here’s hoping these babies can withstand the cosmos’ and karma’s efforts to destroy them.

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SNAP
Lifestyle, Men's Fashion

Most Wanted: Obey Clothing | Jamie Tuohy

They say “if you obey all of the rules, you miss of the fun”, however, rules, by their very nature are prone to exceptions. And Shephard Fairey’s OBEY clothing line is certainly the exception to this old maxim. Despite its imperative brand name, the label which was established in 2001 is fun, expressive and full of boisterous mischief and doesn’t shy away from political messaging. In fact, the brand’s name finds its origins in irony and sarcasm, as it seeks to steer people towards self-expression and independent thought, by ignoring the bourgeois propagandists.

OBEY clothing evolved from Shepard Fairey’s hugely popular 1989 “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign. The campaign was a type of phenomenological experiment, designed to concentrate on the objects of direct experience and human consciousness. The sticker, which was initially distributed amongst his skateboarding clique, became hugely popular and transgressed into mainstream Americana. Subsequently, OBEY Clothing was born out of the campaign’s populist ideology.

The brand is all about “variety and experience” and over the years, OBEY Clothing has taken inspiration from a host of different mediums, from popular culture and street art, to politics and marketing. The classic white t-shirt emblazoned with the brand’s name is intended as a type of “Do It Yourself” message – perhaps a sharply sardonic comment against capitulation to capitalism. Nevertheless, its philosophical outlook is certainly tinged with some canny marketing, as the OBEY logo has become a popular fashion accessory for hoards of trendy teens and twenty-somethings.

At the end of the day, behind all the socio-political iconoclasticism, there is actually a clothing line, and a very cool one at that. Some may see the items as only pseudo-Hipster must-haves, but the majority of the pieces are subtly-designed and stylish, rather than fashionable and fleetingly trendy. The collections are rooted in military structures, but at the same time, each piece is casual and comfortable. Over the years, OBEY Clothing has become huge with celebrities, with everyone from Channing Tatum to Viggo Mortensen wearing it. Even Barack Obama’s famous 2008 “Hope” campaign sticker was designed by Fairey himself and featured on many of the brand’s t-shirts.

For a clothing line, OBEY Clothing might seem overly political and philosophical, but really, it’s what fashion should be all about. It promotes self-expression, individuality and a sense of carefree abandonment. The ironic and paradoxical brand name is a nice tribute to its central adage – “the medium is the message.” And aside from its almost Saussurean semiotic tendency towards hyperreality, I just think it’s a really cool clothing line. Bet you never thought that your OBEY snapback could also be your thinking hat?!

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lorraine and robbie
Men's Fashion, Reviews, Showbiz

Robbie Williams Launches FARRELL Clothing Line in Brown Thomas | Jamie Tuohy

Today I attended the AW12 launch of Robbie Williams’ clothing line, FARRELL in Brown Thomas’ Menswear Rooms and the singer offered an exquisite collection which is “deeply rooted in military themes” and sought inspiration from “utilitarian silhouettes infused with British-made fabrics.”

Farrell was launched in September 2011 and the collection was inspired by, and is created in homage to Williams’ Kilkenny-born grandfather, Jack Farrell, whom Robbie fondly calls “Jack the Giant Killer.” Robbie’s Head of Design is former Burberry Design Director, Ben Dickens and both men joined the ever-gorgeous Lorraine Keane today for a Q&A session in Brown Thomas, in front of Ireland’s fashion press.

Robbie was in fine form ahead of his gig at the O2 tonight and he spoke expertly about the clothing he claims he didn’t design, but rather “DJ’d.” The singer said, “I’m not going to lie to you and say that I’m a designer, I let Ben do that. The thing that I do for Farrell is DJ clothes.”

He was also quick to praise his design partner, Ben Dickens, saying, “Ben arrived, bringing optimism to my granddad’s clothing line. The more we talk, the more ideas we throw around – it’s exciting.”

Robbie also made reference to his grandfather’s attitude to the young star’s childhood, saying that Jack didn’t wanted him to be a ‘sissy’ and this is reflected in the collection. It’s a real manly clothing line, full of 1920s Gangster meets War hero. Robbie, perhaps the best marketer for his own brand, quipped, “It’s Savile Row tailoring, at high street prices.”

Lorraine asked him if he was ‘into fashion’ and he replied, “I’ve always been into clothes. I’ve always liked clothes. I don’t know if I have always been into fashion. I know what I like wearing. I know what I feel comfortable in and what makes me feel empowered.”

Robbie and Ben then took us through some of their favourite pieces from the Farrell A/W12 collection, which included a Military Control Trench and a pea coat. Key pieces from the collection also include Savile Row-inspired Chesterfield coats, quilted jackets and grandfather-collar shirts.

Every piece within the collection is designed to become a longstanding part of a man’s wardrobe, growing and evolving with the wearer over time and Robbie Williams’ AW12 Farrell collection is subtle, masculine and full of quiet integrity. It’s everything a guy wants from his clothing – and then some!

Farrell is available exclusively in Ireland at BT2, Grafton Street, Dublin 2.

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Lifestyle, Men's Fashion, Reviews, Showbiz, Television

The Most Stylish Man of 2012: Dermot O’Leary | Jamie Tuohy

They say, “When in doubt, choose change” and in times of uncertainty or ambivalence, the X Factor has followed this old adage, by alternating, firing, re-hiring and switching its judging panel line up. However, for the last five years (since Kate Thornton found herself a victim of Cowell’s permutation), the talent show has found its constant in the form of its dapper host, Mr Dermot O’Leary. The 39-year-old British and Irish TV presenter has recently been named as GQ’s Most Stylish Man for 2012, so it’s only fitting that we pay tribute to his suave, slick tailoring and his impeccably turned-out style.

There’s something sanguine about O’Leary’s style – an extension of his personality, you might say. His look certainly isn’t flamboyant, experimental or quirky, but it’s still as interesting and as fashionable as if it were all of those things combined. His is a style which is masculine and manly, but also one that pays flawless attention to detail. You won’t catch him in skin-tight, spray-on jeans and a Versace for H&M-print t-shirt, but equally, he wouldn’t be seen dead in tracksuit bottoms. Dermot’s fashion sense has evolved from his jeans and t-shirt wearing Channel 4 days and it’s no surprise that he has become GQ’s Most Stylish Man.

He often speaks about the importance of fit when it comes to men’s clothing and his affiliation for British tailoring can be seen every Saturday and Sunday night on the X Factor. Gone are the days when Saturday night TV presenters looked like worn-out and ageing Quality Street wrappers, as Dermot O’Leary leads the way in designs by Acne, Spencer Hart, Rake and Paul Smith et al. Whether he is playing it casual in an A.P.C jumper and chinos, or furthering his image as the doyen of British TV in Savile Row’s finest, Dermot always looks dapper and well-dressed.

Dermot’s fashion sense is so appealing because it isn’t thwarted or influenced by trends or ‘of the minute looks.’ He remains true to himself and while some may say that his refusal to veer too far away from his classic staples make him boring and repetitive, I say this is the very thing that makes him a style icon. He is a man of constants and with so many fellow TV stars sporting polka-dots, rainbow-coloured parkas and generally desperate ‘wannabe-fashion-icon’ clothing, Dermot gives a lesson in appropriate apparel. He is undoubtedly the best-dressed man in British TV and Dermot O’Leary is one whose image is as carefully considered as the well-positioned handkerchief in his double-breasted jacket pocket.

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