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Business Casual Men’s Attire & Dress Code Explained

Business casual is a dress code men are confronted with everywhere, but what does it really mean? In this Business Casual Guide for men, we answer this question in detail, share DO’s and DON’Ts and provide specific advice on what you can wear so you are dressed to the T.

Business Casual Video

Please watch the video & read the guide for the best explanation of Business Casual. If you enjoy this guide, please subscribe for free on youtube and sign up to our complimentary email newsletter here.

History of Business Casual

Until recently, the Business Casual attire dress code did not exist. There was simply daywear and evening wear. During the day, men would wear a stroller coat or a morning coat for business. In the evening they would change into a tailcoat for dinner and events. Once retiring for bed, pajamas would be donned as would a dressing gown, but the chance of anyone seeing them wear them (besides their spouse and perhaps a valet) was slim to none. The most casual attire a gentleman might wear would have perhaps been a tweed suit while shooting or for a walk in the park.

Around the turn of the century, black tie made its mark and the tuxedo overtook the white tie dress code in popularity. Business suits became the standard daywear for decades.

Solid options for casual Friday

Business Casual for Men Changes with the Office Environment and the Job

Aloha Friday Paved the Way for Business Casual

Then came 1966. Until then, casual wear was worn on the weekends at home, but if you worked in an office, you wore a suit and a tie. There was no debate about what was appropriate office attire. Then, a company that made Hawaiian shirts began to strategize how they could increase their profits and a brilliant ad agency in Hawaii came up with the idea of “Aloha Fridays”.

They began petitioning local businesses to allow their employees to wear the Hawaiian shirt on Fridays. Initially penned as a way of showing local pride, it ended up quickly becoming a trend and a popular way of avoiding the rat race of corporate America. The fad began to catch on and soon it hopped off the Islands and made its way to the mainland.

Vintage Hawaii Shirt by Penney's

Vintage Hawaii Shirt by Penney’s

Dockers Ad Campaign Brings Khakis To The Office

By the early 1990s, Levis began to notice the trend on the mainland and many of its customers in upper management began complaining that their employees were too casual, wearing shorts and t-shirts to work. The sale of jeans was in decline and so they took it as a chance to market their new brand called ‘Dockers’ to the corporate community.

They began to launch expensive ad campaigns for their khaki pants and it took off. Employers looked at it as a fair compromise between shorts and suits and the employees agreed. As this was occurring, television shows like Saved by the Bell and movies about wealthy country clubs began showing the Preppy, Ivy and Trad styles to those outside the Northeastern United States. Companies like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and J.Crew jumped on the opportunity to increase the sale of their casual wear. They began marketing polo shirts, sports jackets, shirts and chinos as perfect options that worked flawlessly or better than the Levi Dockers brand. It was a revolution of sorts.

How is Business Casual Defined Today for Men?

Business Casual Outfit by Hogtownrake - Single Breasted Blazer with popover shirt, cotton pocket square, khakis and brown tassel loafers

Business Casual Outfit by Hogtownrake – Single Breasted Blazer with popover shirt, cotton pocket square, khakis, and brown tassel loafers

Business Casual in a Nutshell = No Suit, But Also No Jeans

Obviously, that is just a general guideline but in order to nail the business casual look, you have to adapt to your specific company culture. Also, your age is important and the older you are, the more formal your business casual outfit should be.

Business Casual in Traditional White Collar Jobs: Law Firms, Banks, Accounting Firms

If business casual attire is allowed in this kind of work environment it is the most formal of all business casual dress codes and it consists of the following items:

1. Blazer or Sport Coat

The blazer is an essential part of a business casual wardrobe. Avoid gold buttons and stick with dark colors. Navy is the most classic color and your best bet. Single breasted is the standard while a double-breasted navy blazer can look more powerful.  To learn more about the blazer in general, check out our blazer guide.

If you wear a sports coat, opt for something subdued with a subtle pattern and avoid loud summery colors.

Oxford Cloth Shirt - A Business Casual Staple

Oxford Cloth Shirt Button-down shirt – A Business Casual Staple

2. Long Sleeved Dress Shirt

Wear a cotton dress shirt in light blue or pastel colors. An Oxford dress shirt is absolutely appropriate for business casual wear and can be worn in a relaxed state by keeping the top button undone or wearing a more casual knit tie with it. A simple white oxford shirt is the ideal shirt for business casual wear as it can be elevated to business attire for a last minute meeting with the addition of a tie kept in your desk drawer and a blazer thrown over the top.

Business Casual Outfit with silk knit tie for fall

Business Casual Outfit with silk knit tie for fall

3. Neckwear

Neckwear is optional but it certainly elevates your outfit. Ideal ties include grenadine ties or knit ties because they perfectly underline the business casual character. Bow ties certainly make a  statement, and when in doubt stick with the tie.

In case you decide against neckwear, make sure that your undershirt is not visible.

4. Trousers

Jeans should not be worn but the jacket and shirt are ideal

Jeans should not be worn but the jacket and shirt are ideal

5. Dress Pants

A pair of solid navy, grey or even charcoal dress pants pleated or flat front are the perfect choice for business casual wear. With a dress shirt neatly tucked into it, and a blazer or sports jacket you are good to go.

Small Houndstooth pattern ideal for Business Casual

Small Houndstooth pattern ideal for Business Casual

6. Chinos / Khakis

Chinos are appropriate in many casual work environments, but should ideally be paired with a contrasting blazer to elevate their casual heritage.

7. Corduroy Pants

Cords can also be worn in lieu of chinos during the colder months of the year. The same rules apply to corduroys as they do to chinos.

Business Casual Mens by hogtownrake - Cardigan Madder inspired tie that extends beyond the waistband with suspenders, and vintage watch

Business Casual Mens by hogtownrake – Cardigan Madder inspired tie that extends beyond the waistband with suspenders, and vintage watch

8. Sweaters

A sweater vest, cardigan or turtle neck works well during the colder days in addition to your sports coat or blazer. Simply worn over a collared shirt it is only appropriate for Casual Friday. In general, a knitted vest will always make a formal garment more casual.

9. Accessories

Accessories are a great way to distinguish yourself from the pack. Choosing a knit tie or pocket square for your blazer pocket will make you look very dapper. Depending on your environment, a boutonniere or a collar pin may work as well, but when in doubt, skip it.

You could also consider a more casual wristwatch with a more formal outfit or pairing a dress watch with a more casual outfit to add a touch of elegance.

Cufflinks are also a good way to enhance your outfit, just like tie bars.

Wrist bands are a bit too casual and when in doubt, skip them.

Full Brogue Oxford with a beautiful chestnut brown patina

Full Brogue Oxford with a beautiful chestnut brown patina

10. Shoes & Boots

This is where you can have a bit more fun. Rather than sticking with the classic oxfords and derbies, you can get creative with unique colors like oxblood or wearing more casual dress shoes and boots like monk straps, loafers or chukka boots, Chelsea boots or balmoral boots. For an in-depth rundown on business casual shoes, click here.

In terms of color, brown shoes are a great companion for Business Casual, and so are burgundy and Oxblood. Click here to learn how to wear and combine them. 



11. Bags

Sometimes you see grown men wearing backpacks with their business casual outfits. That’s a faux pas and it makes you look like a little school boy. Instead, go with a leather bag in brown or black that works for you. Whether it’s classic, functional or sleek, clean and modern you can find hundreds of leather bags in various price ranges.

Business Casual in the Service Industry

If you work in the service industry, in sales, trade positions or a job where you interact with the public, you should adapt the business casual standard above.

If you are just at the office and you don’t have customer contact, your employer will most likely have a more relaxed attitude when it comes to business casual.

Hogtownrake in combination of light sport coat with charcoal pants and brown wool knit tie, blue shirt and cream pocket square

Hogtownrake combines a light sports coat with charcoal pants and a brown wool knit tie, a blue shirt, and a cream pocket square

1. Jackets

It’s likely that wearing a jacket is optional. So if you don’t want to go with just a dress shirt and a blazer would be too much, consider wearing a vest or a cardigan instead.

2. Shirts

The button-down collar shirt is another classic shirt that is acceptable for business casual wear. Alternatively, a long-sleeved polo shirt is acceptable too, if others wear it in the office as well. You don’t want to be the only one wearing polos though.

In this scenario, business casual does not mean wearing t-shirts, casual sweaters without a collared shirt underneath, hoodies, pullovers or any other style of shirt.

Checked Shirt Fabric - Ideal for Business Casual

Checked Shirt Fabric – Ideal for Business Casual

3. Neckwear

Neckties and bow ties are completely optional, yet they look great with vests, jackets and cardigans.

4. Pants

While dress pants are ok, chinos, khakis, and corduroys are the best choice. Dark colors such as navy and grey are versatile, although lighter colors are preferable for the warmer months of the year.

Pants such as denim jeans, athletic wear, sweatpants, draw-string pants, shorts, and cargo pants should not be worn, nor should any pant with a camouflage print or large visible logo.

Navy pants, burgundy vest and tweed jacket - business casual in the fall

Navy pants, burgundy vest, and tweed jacket – business casual in the fall

5. Sweaters & Accessories

If you decide not to wear a jacket, sweaters and knit vests or cardigans become your best friends. Not only will they keep you warm, but they also look stylish all while adding that casual note to your outfit. Accessorize your outfit as you please but try not to add too many accents, otherwise, people don’t know where to look.

6. Shoes & Boots

Skip sneakers and tennis shoes but you can choose from a wide range of classic shoes in various materials such as leather, suede, and fabric.

7. Bags

Leather bags are best but if you want a canvas-leather or all canvas bag may work as well. You can be more daring with your color choice and go with green, yellow, blue or red if you want.

Chinos are acceptable making this a great business casual outfit

In young start-ups, this would be an appropriate business casual outfit

Business Casual in Startups

Startups are generally much more casual than traditional jobs. They will likely also not have a company dress code but the hierarchies are typically low and often people can wear whatever they want, especially in a tech related environment.

1. Jackets

In most places a jacket is probably too overdressed. Is your startup that place? You’ll figure it out pretty soon. At the same time, startups often have a very accepting culture so if you enjoy dressing up, wearing a jacket the way you like it is a good thing.

2. Shirts, Sweaters & Neckwear

While most startups would consider a t-shirt to be just fine, a nice trim cut polo shirt looks much smarter. Sweaters are perfectly acceptable and neckwear is definitely not the norm but again, if you like it, go for it.

Bold sport coats are too much for business casual

Bold sport coats are too much for traditional business casual but in start-ups they are fine

3. Pants & Shorts

While it’s totally fine to wear denim at most startups, and you can even find people wearing cargo shorts, you are probably better off wearing lightweight summer slacks such as seersucker because no matter what you do in life, people will at least subconsciously judge you based on what you look like. Being perceived as being well put together will never hurt you, but being a slob can. Consider wearing a sports coat with jeans for a polished casual look.

Appropriate business casual attire for young men

Appropriate business casual attire for young men in a start-up

4. Shoes & Boots

A nice pair of boots or shoes will always make you look more dapper than wearing sneakers. Instead of just going with brown, you can be more playful and wear stone, red, green or blue suede loafers, driving mocs or spectators. Of course, sneakers or stylish canvas shoes can be acceptable too, and even though some coworker may wear tennis shoes, you will look better without them.

5. Bags

A portfolio or a leather/canvas bag is your best bet. In terms of colors, anything goes, even though a bright pink bag with pokemon on it may not reflect positively on you. If you are into tech, bags with built-in chargers, cables and camera compartments will satisfy your needs but please, skip the backpack.

A great business casual outfit with outerwear and accessories

A great business casual outfit with button-up shirt outerwear and accessories

Business Casual Outerwear & Accessories

When your job means being on the move, it’s a great idea to ensure your outerwear matches your indoor attire because that active jacket you wear skiing or hiking does not go well with your sports coat.

Quilted Jackets

Lightweight, warm and classic the quilted jacket is slightly longer than your blazer and makes you look instantly well put together. At the same time, it is easy to care for, wrinkles easily and can be machine washed.

Trench Coat

During the fall and spring season, a trench coat will look very dapper. To learn all about this garment, check out our trench coat guide. For a more youthful look, with a trench coat, that is shorter than your knees.

Peacoat with double sided scarf, Jodhpur boots and Chinos - Business Casual

Peacoat with a double-sided scarf, Jodhpur boots, and Chinos – Business Casual


For the cold winters, a pea coat is the perfect business casual companion because it is less formal than a full-fledged overcoat yet still warm, stylish and functional due to its many pockets. To learn more about peacoats click here

Scarves & Gloves

A gorgeous paisley scarf or a nice pair of gloves will add the finishing touches to your business casual look.

This is too casual for business casual unless you work in a young tech company

Jeans & sports coat: This is too casual for business casual unless you work in a young startup office or tech environment

Business Casual DON’Ts: When in Doubt, Dress Up

Jeans should be avoided unless approved by management

Jeans should be avoided in a traditional office or service environment unless approved by management

If you are unsure of whether business casual is allowed in your workplace or not, it is best to err on the side of caution and to be overdressed rather than underdressed. Wear a suit and tie the first day. Then you can see how people dress around you and adapt. If you are still unsure about what is appropriate, ask your coworker or superior.

Business Casual DON’Ts to Avoid

Even for the most casual workplaces, there are times where business casual simply isn’t appropriate. Here are a few of the times you will want to wear a more conservative outfit such as a business suit:

  • When you have an important meeting with clients or customers outside your normal range of duties
  • When you have a meeting with a manager or executive in the organization
  • When you will be attending a board or committee meeting
  • During work-related events, conferences, and symposiums
  • When representing your company in the media or speaking at an event
  • When interviewing for a position or negotiating a raise with your employer
  • When you work for a firm with a policy that does not permit the regular wearing of business casual attire
  • Don’t wear business casual to a  job interview – to learn more about what to wear to an interview, check out this guide
Wonderful business casual outfit for fall with brown suede double monks and green turtleneck

Works for most offices. Wonderful business casual outfit for fall with brown suede double monks and green turtleneck

What about Casual Friday? It Depends

Some companies do not support business casual attire but they will allow it on Fridays, others even allow very casual clothing on Fridays. Talk to your coworkers and your boss to find out how your company handles Friday dress codes.

In case there is a more casual dress code for Fridays, but you notice that senior management doesn’t dress that way, you should consider following their lead. It’s more advantageous for you to dress for the job you want, rather than the job you have.


Business Casual for men is not easy to master because it means different things at different offices and events. Using our guidelines will give you a good place to start.

Finally, remember to use this rule of thumb: if you’re unsure whether it’s appropriate, chances are it’s not! Dress up a notch because it is always best to be slightly overdressed rather than slightly underdressed.

Gentleman’s Gazette


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Watch Movements Explained

While many men will consider or purchase a new wristwatch based solely on the looks of its exterior, the true connoisseur will give equal attention to its internal mechanisms. Such internal workings are collectively referred to as the movement or caliber of a wristwatch.

The movement drives the hands on the face of a wristwatch and also powers its other features, known in the trade as complications. These would include such things as the calendar, chronograph, or alternate time zones.

Watch Movements In General…

Watch movements can come in many different shapes and sizes in order to fit into the different shapes and sizes of watch cases that are available. As such, a watch movement could be round, rectangular, oblong, elliptical, and so on. The thickness of a watch movement is measured either in millimeters or in an old French unit called Ligne, in the case of French and Swiss watchmakers. One Ligne is equal to about 2.256 millimeters.

The individual parts of a watch movement are situated between two plates; the front plate which sits just behind the face of the watch has the same shape as the movement overall as well as the case, in general. The backplate, however, can have a few different shapes. It can be a full plate to match the front one, a 3/4 plate or a series of smaller plates referred to as bridges. In the case of these latter two, it’s so that the individual parts of the movement can be more easily accessed when the watch needs to be repaired.

Mechanical Movement Vs Quartz Movement
Mechanical Movement Vs Quartz Movement

Mechanical Watch Movements

Speaking broadly, the mechanical category simply means that the watch in question isn’t powered by a battery. All mechanical watches, meaning both of the types we’re about to cover, will contain the following types of parts.

Crown Styles
Crown Styles
  • The mainspring is the power source of the movement and the kinetic energy from winding the crown is transferred to the coil shaped mainspring which stores the energy by getting tighter and tighter.
  • The gear train transmits the stored energy from the mainspring to the escapement through a series of small gears.
  • The escapement also referred to as the escape wheel, is responsible for taking the energy from the mainspring and transferring it to the balance wheel in equally apportioned amounts. The balance wheel is essentially the heart of the watch movement; receiving the energy that it needs to run from the escapement. The balance wheel beats or oscillates in a circular motion between five and ten times per second. A watchmaker can make the balance wheel oscillate faster or slower which in turn makes the watch run faster or slower.
A beautiful vintage movement
A beautiful vintage movement
  • Also of note here are the jewels, these are usually synthetic rubies that are set at points of high friction within the movement to reduce wear and improve performance. Rubies are used because they absorb heat well and they’re also extremely hard and therefore durable.

Why Are Mechanical Movement Watches Prized By Style Aficionados?

Simply put, the intricate small parts inside of the movements as well as the craftsmanship that goes into assembling them makes these movements pieces of art. Many European produced mechanical movement watches will sell for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars at auction. Though as with anything else, some of that price is due to brand name value.

Aside from just the considerations of artistry though, there are also practical benefits to mechanical movement watches. For one thing, with proper care, watches like this can last a lifetime and you won’t have to worry about constantly replacing batteries. On the other hand, mechanical watch movements can get dirty and the lubricants inside can dry up so they should be maintained by disassembling them and cleaning them every three to five years or so.

Patek Philippe. A very fine and rare 18ct gold manual wind perpetual calendar split seconds chronograph wristwatch with moon phases
Patek Philippe. A very fine and rare 18ct gold manual wind perpetual calendar split seconds chronograph wristwatch with moon phases

Manual Movement

A manual movement, also frequently referred to as a hand wound movement, is the oldest type of watch movement made. It dates back to the 16th century. Most manual movements will need daily winding in order to keep time accurately but some higher-end models can store energy efficiently enough to only need winding every few days.

Some watches will feature a complication known as a power reserve indicator which tells the wearer how long they can go before they actually need to wind the watch again. With this said though, men who prefer to wear manual movement watches generally get into the habit of winding them daily often at a set time, usually before they go to bed, for example. Because manual movements are the most traditional type of movement available, they’re typically found in conservatively styled expensive and collectible watch models.

Some important aspects to consider when purchasing a manual movement watch: First of all, you will need to get into the habit of winding your watch regularly. If you don’t do this, the watch will wind down and it won’t keep time accurately. With that said though, if a manual watch is wound too tightly or wound at an improper angle, say for example, if you try to wind it while it’s already on your wrist, this can do damage to the movement over time.

Automatic Movement
Automatic Movement

Automatic Movement

Along with manual movement watches, the other type of mechanical movement is the automatic movement, also known as the self-winding movement. This type debuted in the early 20th century. An automatic movement harnesses kinetic energy from the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist. In other words, moving your arm around while you’re wearing the watch throughout the day will wind the mainspring.

How is this accomplished then? It’s because an automatic movement contains all of the components we covered earlier plus an additional component that’s referred to as the rotor. This is most often a semi-circular metal weight that can swing freely 360 degrees as the wrist moves. The rotor is connected by another series of gears to the mainspring which gets wound as the rotor swings. From there, the mechanisms of the automatic movement are the same as the manual and yes, it can also be wound from the crown, if you so choose.

Xetum Swiss Automatic Budget Watch
Xetum Swiss Automatic Budget Watch

Some important aspects to consider when purchasing an automatic movement watch: starting with the fact that the ritual of daily winding isn’t necessary. As long as you wear the watch often and keep your wrist moving naturally, the watch will continue to get wound on the opposite side of the coin, however, if you go a long time without wearing an automatic movement watch, the lack of movement will probably mean that the watch will run down over time. Also, automatic movements are usually just a little bit thicker than manual movements because of the room that needs to be made for the rotor and additional gears. With that said, some gentlemen do appreciate the extra bit of heft that this brings to the watch.

Seiko Quartz Astron, the first quartz wristwatch, released in 1969
Seiko Quartz Astron, the first quartz wristwatch, released in 1969

Quartz Movement

Also known as a battery-powered movement, it was introduced to the public by the Seiko corporation in 1969. Unlike the mechanical movements, the inner workings of a quartz movement are made up of very different components.

Firstly, the power source of a quartz movement is a battery. It takes the place of a mainspring. A watch battery will typically last between one and two years at which time it should be promptly replaced to prevent any leakage of battery acid.

Next up is the integrated circuit which carries the electrical charge from the battery to the quartz crystal and from the crystal to the stepping motor. The quartz crystal acts in a similar fashion to the escapement on a mechanical watch. Quartz vibrates when electricity is applied to it and this generates voltage. The stepping motor transforms the electrical impulses into mechanical power and the dial train functions just like the dial train that’s found on a mechanical movement.

Quartz Movement
Quartz Movement

How Quartz Movements Work

First, the battery sends electricity through the integrated circuit to the quartz crystal. The electric charge makes the crystal vibrate at a rate of 32,768 pulses per second. These pulses are sent through the integrated circuit to the stepping motor which sends every 32,768 electrical pulse to the dial train. Ergo, this comes out to one pulse sent to the dial train per second. Finally of course, the dial train, as it did with the mechanical movements, moves the hands of the watch.

What Type Of Watch Movement Is Right For You?

In short, it really does depend on what specifically you’re looking for. If you’re a true watch connoisseur and you value the tradition and the craftsmanship that go into the construction of mechanical watches, then a manual or an automatic movement is probably going to be a good choice for you. Remember though that you will probably need to be willing to spend a bit more and that you’ll have to take the additional time to make sure that the watch is wound and running properly.

If you’d rather not deal with these additional factors, you’re just getting into the watch collecting hobby, or you just want one watch to use on a consistent basis, a quartz movement might be a better choice for you. You don’t have to feel that a quartz movement is inferior to a mechanical movement either. After all, they are the most accurate type of movement in the long run and there are still plenty of handsome styles of watch that contain quartz movements.

We’d like to know what were you most surprised by in today’s video? You can share with us in the comments section below.

Gentleman’s Gazette


Look like a Gentleman, Travel in Style and Enjoy the Best in Men’s Accessories at Hook & Albert. Get 20% Off Your First Order with Coupon Code TAKE20. Shop Now!

Must Read: LVMH to Develop Luxury Hotel in London, Influencer Marketing as Explained by a 19th Century Economist

These are the stories making headlines in fashion on Friday. LVMH to develop luxury hotel and flagship in London When LVMH acquired the luxury hospitality group Belmont at the end of 2018, it was a sign that the conglomerate wanted to expand into high-end experiences. This week, the company …

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6 things that can cause irregular periods, explained by a doctor

First things first: Don’t panic

irregular periods

Irregular periods messing with your head? Your mind may be running away with itself and imagining all sorts of possible causes, but usually there’s a simple explanation as to why your cycle isn’t playing ball.

There are a number of reasons why your periods could be irregular (or completely absent), including lifestyle factors, medical conditions and just plain biology.

So to clear some of the fog, Dr Victoria Manning, women’s health expert at River Aesthetics, explains six of the most common causes below. If you’re concerned about irregular periods, always speak to your GP to discuss further.

What causes irregular periods?


If you’ve been under significant stress lately, whether work or home-related, it may explain why your period is acting up. ‘Stress activates a hormonal pathway in the body called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, via the release of increased levels of cortisol,’ explains Dr Manning. ‘The HPA axis and cortisol help control the stress response in the body.

‘Cortisol release can suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones, potentially leading to abnormal ovulation, anovulation (no ovulation) or amenorrhoea (absence of menstration).’

The contraceptive pill

‘Within your natural menstrual cycle your hormone levels fluctuate throughout the month – the main hormones involved are oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone,’ Dr Manning says. ‘The presence in varying levels of these three hormones trigger different parts of your cycle, such as thickening the lining of the womb, maturing your eggs and releasing them into your fallopian tubes.’

Essentially, the pill alters your hormone levels, which can in turn throw your menstrual cycle out of whack. According to the NHS, the progestogen-only or ‘mini’ pill can cause periods to stop, become lighter, irregular or even more frequent.

‘Oral contraception alters these hormone levels by introducing synthetic hormones. Some have a mix of oestrogen and progestin (a synthetic progesterone), others just progestins. Since these hormones are the key orchestrators of your menstrual cycle, it makes sense that your menstruation and ovulation would be different as a result of taking hormonal birth control,’ Dr Manning adds.

‘When you’re on the pill, you don’t have fluctuations in hormone levels because you’re actively taking synthetic versions that are keeping your levels high. So in essence, the pill inhibits ovulation because the levels of oestrogen and progesterone you’re taking don’t allow the hormone dip that triggers your natural monthly egg maturation and drop.’ If you’re thinking of coming off the pill, speak to your GP.

irregular periods causes


‘Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a common condition that affects the way a woman’s ovaries work,’ explains Dr Manning. ‘The main three features of PCOS are irregular periods, which means your ovaries do not release eggs; excess androgen, high levels of “male hormones” in your body, which may result in physical signs like excess facial or body hair and central weight gain; and polycystic ovaries, where your ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs.

‘If you have at least two of these features, you may be diagnosed with PCOS.’ For more information, read our guide to PCOS when you’re done here.

Weight gain

‘When overweight, cholesterol compounds in fat cells can get converted into a type of weak oestrogen called estrone,’ explains the doctor. ‘Overweight or obese women carrying extra fat cells have “little estrone-making factories”, which can have an oestrogenic effect on glands.

‘This added oestrogen can cause bleeding or irregular periods. A woman may go months without ovulating, for example, but the uterine lining is still building up to the point that it becomes unstable. This can cause prolonged or very heavy bleeding.’

Weight loss

‘On the other end of the spectrum underweight women and women with eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, which result in extreme weight loss may also be unintentionally impacting their menstrual cycles. Women without much fat on their bodies may have fewer periods or go longer without ovulating.

‘Starvation, as well as extreme exercise and stress, can trigger an effect that suppresses the brain. These women may be so underweight that their bodies simply stop making oestrogen. Additionally, the lack of fat doesn’t allow cells to convert cholestrol into extra oestrogen.’


‘During the years leading up to the menopause, known as perimenopause, shifts in hormone levels can fluctuate quite significantly causing changes in the menstrual cycle,’ explains Dr Manning. ‘During a normal menstrual cycle, the levels of oestrogen and progesterone increase and decrease in a regular pattern. Ovulation occurs in the middle of the cycle and menstruation about two weeks later.

‘However, during perimenopause, hormone levels may not follow this regular pattern and as a result you may have irregular bleeding or spotting. Some months your period may be longer and heavier and others shorter and lighter, the number of days between periods may increase or decrease and you may begin to skip periods.’

Note that the purpose of this feature is to inform, not replace one-to-one medical consultations. For advice tailored specifically to you, always discuss your health with a doctor

The post 6 things that can cause irregular periods, explained by a doctor appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Grenadine Ties & Fabric Explained

The fabric weave known as grenadine is prized among the sartorially inclined for its versatility and understated character. But why is it so appreciated, and how exactly is it produced?

All About Grenadine

Those who dress in a suit and tie just because they have to will usually find a plain silk tie, regardless of color, to be good enough to wear with a suit (though hopefully not a shiny silk, lest they look like a boy at prom). A step beyond this is the businessman’s standard: a printed silk tie with some sort of geometric pattern on it. A grenadine tie, meanwhile, comparatively represents a gateway into refined style. It’s truly something different; still very business-appropriate, but versatile enough for more casual use and a sign that you don’t want to settle for the commonplace in the way you dress. Here’s all you need to know about the weave called grenadine.

Beautiful brown sport coat with grenadine tie and orange pocket square - one in real ancient madder silk would have been better, note the curved button down collar
Beautiful brown sport coat with grenadine tie and orange pocket square

A Brief History of the Grenadine Weave

Grenadine is not the name of a material, but rather of a variety of open weave made of two warp (vertical) yarns twisted around the weft (horizontal) yarns that run perpendicular to them; this is also referred to as a “leno weave.” The result is a sheer fabric that is conducive to hot-weather clothing, and grenadine used to be popular for tropical garments. Yet, its earliest known use was in the form of black lace fabric worn in 18th-century France. Some speculate that grenadine originated in Grenada, Spain because of the name (and presumably because it can get quite hot there), but it has made appearances throughout Europe, and its exact origins remain shrouded in mystery. The most direct reference we have to its geographic roots is its description as an “English gauze” (“garza a giro inglese“) in Italian. Indeed, giro inglese is still the name used to describe summer shirts made with the weave, and the term “grenadine” refers only to neckties.

Leno weave and a summer shirt made with it

Ties made of silk grenadine are woven exclusively in the Lake Como area of Northern Italy on historic wooden looms from the early 20th century.  This mode of manufacture not only adds to the artisanal nature of the product but to its overall mystique (and conversational value).

In German, Grenadine is called “Schlinger” which highlights the distinctiveness of the weave.

Types of Grenadine Weaves

Brown Grenadine
Brown Grenadine garza grossa

Grenadine ties appear most commonly in two varieties–called by the Italian terms garza fina (fine gauze) and garzagrossa (large gauze). A third sort of weave found more rarely is the prometeo (meaning “Prometheus,” though the significance of this mythological name is another obscure part of grenadine’s history).

Grenadine Garza & Custom Made Patchwork Vest with Lily Pulitzer Fabric
Grenadine Garza Fina & Custom Made Patchwork Vest with Lilly Pulitzer Fabric
Clip-on suspenders with grenadine tie - study of greys and blues
Clip-on suspenders with striped grenadine tie garza grossa – study of greys and blues

The prometeo can best be described as a large honeycomb weave.  Lastly, there is garzapiccola (tiny gauze), which is even smaller than garza fina, even if the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably by sellers. The difference is largely a choice of how much texture you want to emphasize. That being said, grenadine can be woven in many other combinations but it is just not done anymore, probably due to the fact that only very few machines exist who can weave this kind of fabric.

This silk grenadine tie from Fort Belvedere features a mixed weave of both garza fina and garza grossa.
This silk grenadine tie from Fort Belvedere features a mixed weave of both garza fina and garza grossa.

Finer grenadines (piccola, fina) tend to appear more like smooth solids whereas their larger counterparts (prometeo, grossa) have more visible texture. When the texture of the tie is less noticeable it is slightly more formal, so the fine grenadines can be perceived as especially office-ready.

Sean Connery in Dr No wearing a  Garza Grossa Grenadine Tie
Sean Connery in Dr No wearing a Garza Grossa Grenadine Tie

On the other hand, Sean Connery’s James Bond wore only garzagrossa ties and never fina, always with suits, and his style certainly never suffered for it. Garza grossaand prometeohave quite a visible texture, which can be compared to that of a knitted tie, though a woven grenadine will have a greater formality than any knitted neckwear.

Grenadine Garza Fina with patterns
Grenadine Garza Fina with patterns

How to Wear a Grenadine Tie

The beauty of grenadine ties–and why they’re so popular among menswear aficionados–is their versatility. Because they’re made of refined silk, you can find them dyed in nearly any imaginable color to coordinate with a range of clothes. The material and weave together also give a grenadine the sheen of a printed tie, along with the texture of a more casual woven one. Shine is usually a quality that makes something more formal (think patent leather opera pumps or the silk facings on a tuxedo lapel) while texture usually dresses something down; because grenadine ties have both, they are as equally at home with business suits as they are with button-down shirts and tweed sport coats. The texture of a grenadine tie, especially a garzagrossaworks perfectly with more casual sport coats that have a similar repeating pattern, like a houndstooth or shepherd’s check.

Houndstooth jacket with brown grenadine tie and Dark Green Silk Pocket Square with Orange Dots Motifs and Blue Paisley - Fort Belvedere
Sven Raphael Schneider in a houndstooth jacket with brown grenadine prometeo tie

Solid, Striped or Patterned Grenadine Tie?

When starting out with grenadines your first choice will usually be solid colors, because you can pair them not only with plain shirts but also with shirts that have stripes or even plaids. However, grenadine ties are also available with stripes, usually broader ones as well as other patterns. If the stripes are light in color, you’ll be able to see the honeycomb or brick-like rows of the grenadine weave even more clearly on the tie, which adds to the beauty.

It should be noted as well that grenadines don’t always come in the usual finished silk. Remember, it’s a kind of weave and not a fabric, so you can find grenadines in raw shantung silk, wool, cashmere, or a combination of these. This is where stripes also enhance the appeal of a grenadine because you can have one color of the stripes in one material, like finished silk, and those of another color in a different fabric, like shantung, both on the same tie. This really elevates the textural richness of the tie and is something that true connoisseurs will appreciate.

Fort Belvedere Grey and Orange Grenadine
A grey and orange cashmere-wool grenadine tie from Fort Belvedere

Garza grossa or Garza fina Grenadine?

As noted above, the choice of fina versus grossa boils down to how much texture you want to emphasize, but you really need both in your collection. Unfortunately, some men avoid garza grossa ties because their more open structure makes them prone to snagging, but, to be honest, all grenadines can catch on things. You may have to be a little more careful when handling a garza grossa–ensure that your fingernails are cut and well filed!–but this is hardly a deal-breaker. Knit ties are also susceptible to snags, but you probably wouldn’t ban them from your wardrobe, and grenadines are even more versatile. Lastly, if you prefer to wear a large tie knot, like a half-Windsor, or want to minimize your tie knot, the smaller grenadine weaves are a better choice. Garza grossa ties are called “large-knot grenadines” for a reason: the nature of the weave results in a fairly thick tie that will make a substantial four-in-hand knot. If you wear a four-in-hand anyway, garza grossa will give you one that is definitely not anemic.

Fine pinstripe suit with navy grenadine tie
The textural appeal of a grenadine can complement your suit texture

Lined or Unlined Grenadine Ties? It’s A Matter Of Choice

Neckties can come either lined or unlined. With a grenadine, you’re likely to find both options. The lining or interlining is a piece of fabric, usually wool, used on the inside of the tie to give it more body.  Because the open weave on a grenadine allows you to see through the tie to some extent, if you have a lining, it will be dyed the same color as the silk shell. Lined ties tend to look more finished, so they are most appropriate for business suits. Unlined ties, especially in an airy grenadine weave have more of a handmade artisanal look, which can also make them appear more casual. Because of the thinness of an unlined grenadine, you will also see the impression of the tie folds on the underside and perhaps the shape of the keeper as well. Some men dislike this because people who don’t know about ties will assume theirs is defective in some way.

Atte Rytkönen unlined grenadine tie
Atte Rytkönen wearing an unlined grenadine tie in which you can see the impression of the underside through the fabric.

As a counterpoint, the less finished appearance of an unlined grenadine provides a dash of sprezzatura: the characteristic Italian nonchalance in dressing that avoids perfectionism, so if you want to show this sort of rakishness, unlined is the way to go. A garza fina or piccola without lining is especially light and wispy, which also makes it an ideal tie for hot weather days.

Brown Grenadine Bow Tie & Green Linen Pocket Square by Fort Belvedere
Brown Grenadine Tie & Green Linen Pocket Square by Fort Belvedere

Its thinness pairs beautifully with a giro inglese shirt and a linen sport coat for a quintessential summer style. In this way, an unlined grenadine really returns to its roots as a breathable summer weave. Lastly, if you prefer a small tie knot, unlined is your best option. As already discussed, grenadines form a fairly thick knot, and a lining will only add more thickness. You can pull your tie tighter to shrink the knot, but then your risk stretching the fabric and making your tie too long. Keep in mind though that even an unlined garzagrossa makes for a fairly thick knot, so you’ll want an unlined garza fina if you tie a or to stick to a four-in-hand knot with these.

Fake Grenadine Tie
A false grenadine, which has texture but no open weave

A Word on Faux Grenadine Ties – Skip Them

In recent years, fake grenadine ties have appeared online, capitalizing on the popularity of the real thing. These can be had quite cheaply, for under $ 20, and they have a similar look from afar, so they’re popular for those on a budget. If you just want some texture and don’t care if your tie is an authentic grenadine, you might settle for these. However, the Gentleman’s Gazette upholds the general principle that it is preferable to buy better quality items that will last rather than cheaping it out in the short term.  You will likely desire an authentic grenadine tie eventually, and will probably have to replace the cheap one as it wears out faster–not to mention that it will never look as splendid as the real deal. The cost ($ 125 at Fort Belvedere) is not exorbitant–you’re not buying a Cifonelli suit after all–and you can choose a versatile color like navy, burgundy, red, or black that will get good use with the classic menswear colors of blue and gray. As a bonus, Fort Belvedere allows you to choose both the width and length.

The Fort Belvedere Shop offers grenadine ties in multiple colors and lengths.
The Fort Belvedere Shop offers grenadine ties in multiple colors and lengths.

Conclusion – Grenadine Ties Are An Essential Wardrobe Staple

There’s a good reason why a grenadine tie is considered a staple menswear item and an essential tie for every man. Solid grenadines come in a seemingly infinite range of colors, not to mention differently sized weaves, making them not only versatile but ultra-collectible. Meanwhile, a striped grenadine, especially one made of mixed materials, is just plain beautiful. So, if you’ve never tried a grenadine, now is the time to get one, and if you already swear by them, why not select another color for your collection?

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Gwyneth Paltrow has explained why Brad Pitt looks like his girlfriends

And it’s amazing.

brad pitt

The Brad Pitt girlfriend theory is one of our favourite things to ever happen, with the internet noticing the hilarious link between the Fight Club actor and his exes last year.

The theory, that sees Brad changing his look to resemble the woman he is dating, went viral after his split from Angelina Jolie, due to the internet rehashing his previous relationships.

This of course dubbed Brad as ‘the man who likes to look like his girlfriends’, and after looking at the viral side-by-side photographs of the actor and his former flames, we get it.

When he was with Angelina Jolie, he went for slicked black hair and shades. Jennifer Aniston? Long blonde beach waves. And Gwyneth Paltrow? An actual blonde pixie cut with a side fringe.

And it didn’t stop there, with more photographs surfacing of Brad looking identical to other former girlfriends, Christina Applegate, Juliette Lewis, Geena Davis and Thandie Newton, back in the day.

How did we not notice this before?

brad pitt relationships

Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock

While the images and theory went viral, neither Brad nor his exes made a comment, that is until now.

And who was it? Gwyneth Paltrow.

brad pitt relationships


The 46-year-old actress and Goop founder took to Instagram to voice her thoughts on the theory, commenting on a fashion blogger’s Instagram of a newspaper article, entitled: ‘Brad: The man who likes to look like his girlfriends’.

Keeping her comment simple, she posted: ‘Or we like to look like him, let’s face it.’

This is hilarious.

But seriously, why do Brad and his exes look identical?

The post Gwyneth Paltrow has explained why Brad Pitt looks like his girlfriends appeared first on Marie Claire.

Marie Claire


Style Your Home’s Outdoors with All the Perfect Additions from MacKenzie-Childs! Save on Tables, House Letters & Chairs. Shop Now!

Miles Morales and the Spider-Verse Heroes Explained

In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, we meet Miles Morales — he’s Spider-Man, but in another dimension. When the Kingpin uses a Hadron collider to break down the walls between dimensions, he causes Peter Parker’s Spidey to be sucked into Miles’ dimension. And Peter’s not the only one. There’s Peni Parker from the Japan of Earth 14512. Spider-Man Noir comes from a dark, alternate version of the 1930’s on Earth 90214. Finally there’s Gwen Stacy, the Spider-Woman from Earth 65.

As fun as it is to see all these Spider-People come spilling into this dimension and it seems like these incursions are ripping the universe apart. So Miles Morales and the rest of the Spider-Verse heroes have to figure out how to save their worlds and get back home before it’s too late.

Now, thanks to General Mills, Spider-Man has landed in the future with interactive themed decals. Inside select boxes of General Mills cereals, you can find collectible decals that you can bring to life on your phone.

Together, your whole family can enjoy the web-slinging family seen in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, coming to theaters on December 14th, 2018!

The post Miles Morales and the Spider-Verse Heroes Explained appeared first on FANDOM.



Shell Cordovan Leather Explained

Shell Cordovan is a staple material of fine men’s shoemaking, but you may wonder what makes this kind of horse (!) leather so special that it commands $ 500 or more per pair of shoes.

From the outside, shell cordovan looks quite similar to any other shoe leather – smooth, lustrous, and richly colored in shades of burgundy, brown, and black – but it has some unique properties that make it ideal for men’s shoes. It’s also a far rarer and more labor-intensive leather than cowhide. Let’s investigate what shell cordovan is, its history, how it is created and how to find, buy, and care for shell cordovan once it’s part of your collection.

Open cuffs, Fort Belvedere shadow stripe socks & Meermin Cordovan tassel loafers

Open cuffs, Fort Belvedere shadow stripe socks & Meermin shell cordovan tassel loafers

What is Shell Cordovan?

Shell cordovan is the name for a leather derived from the hindquarters of a horsehide. It’s one of the few types of leather that consumers might know by name.

The “shell” refers to the hindquarter part of the hide once it has been split horizontally to remove the grain. The name “cordovan” derives from the city of Cordoba, and means “from Cordoba”; together the terms refer to this specific type of horse leather.

Shell cordovan comes from only a small part of the horsehide

Shell cordovan comes from only a small part of the horsehide

Unlike other leather, the shell is a membrane in the middle of two epidermis layers in the rear portion of a horse butt. The hindquarter portion of the hide used for shell cordovan begins at about 24″ from the tail and extending 24-28″ on either side of the horse. The exact size depends on the particular horse.


Shell cordovan is exceptionally durable. The pores are so dense on the hindquarters of a horse that they are not visible to the naked eye. The hide is naturally resistant to water (though not impervious) as well as stretching. Instead of creasing, shell cordovan ripples.

Cordovan ripples as opposed to creasing

Cordovan ripples as opposed to creasing

Since creasing can lead to cracks in the leather, the tendency to ripple rather than crease helps to preserve the surface of the leather and the overall lifespan of the shoe. Furthermore, shell cordovan ages very well and develops a particularly beautiful patina over time. A well cared for pair of shoes can truly last you a lifetime.

Dalton boots from Allen Edmonds with Off White Fort Belvedere Boot laces with Cords

Dalton boots from Allen Edmonds in shell cordovan with Off White Fort Belvedere Boot Laces 

The leather itself doesn’t accept dye very well so it’s mostly found in dark shades of brown, black and what is known as “cordovan” color, which is a dark burgundy rose color. It takes approximately 1 and a half shells to make a pair of shoes.

Why is shell cordovan so expensive?

The high price of cordovan comes down to the low supply of hides, the high demand for them, and the long, complicated tanning process. Since horses are only raised as part of the food chain in a few places in the world, the supply of horsehides is small and unlikely to grow, contributing directly to the scarcity and high price of this type of leather. Only a small portion of the horsehide can be used and it can’t be split into layers like cow leather. Tanning alone takes 6 months and a great deal of handwork; very few tanners have the knowledge to tan it.

Smearing the Cordovan Butts

Smearing the Cordovan Butts

Shell cordovan is a truly rare and unique material, and prices vary, though it tends to hover around $ 100 per square foot. The cost is warranted considering the factors surrounding its production.

History of Shell Cordovan

Leather has been produced and used by man since 2200 BC, but the first documented use of horse leather was in 7th century Spain by the Visigoths and eventually by the Moors.

The city of Cordoba, from which shell cordovan derived its name, was a noted center for leather tanning.

Traditional Cordovan Leather from Cordoba, Spain

Traditional Cordovan Leather from Cordoba, Spain

In the 16th and 17th centuries, skilled craftsmen would create preciously decorated horse leathergoods such as wall hangings, trunks, shields, and armor.

Meryan in Cordoba

Meryan in Cordoba

Even today, you can find artisans such as Meryan in Cordoba who still maintain the tradition of Cordovan leather (sometimes also referred to as Cordoban). Because of its qualities, beauty, and durability, it found its way to the Spanish Royalty, who facilitated the spread of cordovan leather throughout Europe and the world through marriage with other royal families.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that shell cordovan was connected with the specific type of tanned horsehide that is used today.

Hides piled up outside the tannery

Hides piled up outside the tannery

In the middle of the century, German and Dutch tanners arrived in the US with their trade for “spiegelwahre”, which translates to “mirror ware”. The name is a reference to the fact that polished cordovan achieves a mirror-like finish. Their profession became known as “Cordwainers”.

Shell cordovan is noted for a natural high glass shine

Shell cordovan is noted for a natural high glass shine, hence the term “mirror ware”

That being said, shell cordovan in the 19th century was a thick, tough leather prized more for its durable nature than for its good looks. It was commonly used for leather razor strops until the safety razor emerged around WWI and the industry had to pivot to a new product. In the early 20th century, American tanners further improved the tanning techniques to make shell cordovan softer and more appropriate for shoes.

Vintage Wolverine shell cordovan boot ad

Vintage Wolverine shell cordovan boot ad

In 1910, Wolverine advertised its shell cordovan boots and gloves as being “buckskin-soft.”

Shell Cordovan Today

Today, only a few factories in the world tan shell cordovan. Among them, the most recognized is Horween, which is based in Chicago.

Horween Leather Company Chicago

Horween Leather Company Chicago

Style-wise, shell cordovan today walks the line between casual and dressy; casual due to its history as a workwear material and, on the opposite side, dressy due to it’s higher price and rarity. Most brands use shell cordovan for shoes such as tassel loafers, bluchers, wing tips and a variety of boots.

Cordovan Production

The tanning of cordovan is incredibly complex. Six months and more than a hundred processes are required to produce a useable hide, and therefore, very few tanneries remain in the world still produce this kind of leather. At Horween, although roughly 80% of their business stems from tanning cowhides, they are probably most famous for their genuine Shell Cordovan leather.

Salted Horsehides

Salted Horsehides

Tanning is a process that does two basic things: it stops the natural decay process and develops the desired characteristics of the leather. It starts out with salted horse hides. They are sourced from France, despite the common belief that Horween leather is an entirely American product. For more on the subject, read our article about Made in the USA.

The horsehides arrive on pallets and are then cut down by hand. Only the butt portion of the hide is tanned as shell cordovan.

Horween tanning pits

Horween tanning pits

In order to remove the hair, they undergo some chemical treatments described in the tanning process; they are then tanned in pits using Horween’s proprietary tanning solution which consists of chestnut and quebracho tree bark as well as resins.

The horsehides are put into frames that agitate constantly. This ensures that the tannins don’t settle and the hides are evenly tanned.

After thirty days, the horsehides are taken out of the solution and then shaved to expose the shell. Subsequently, it is put into another pit with a stronger solution and tanned for another 30 days.

The two tanning stages cannot be rushed, or the outside skin fibers would only be penetrated by the tannins, while the inside would be still raw.

Finished shell cordovan in a range of colors

Finished shell cordovan in a range of colors

Once the tanning process is complete, the hides still require another 4 months of work before they become finished leather. The hides are polished and colored by hand, and most importantly, they have to rest.

Horween sometimes has to turn customers down due to lack of supply. When these customers then see the piles of shell cordovan in the factory, they don’t always understand that the shells have to rest.

In order to better understand the whole tanning process, check out the following video which shows the different steps of the cordovan production.

How to Buy Shell Cordovan

The first step is to decide if shell cordovan is the right material for you to buy because it is a significant investment. Personally, I am not a huge fan of shell cordovan shoes because they wrinkle in a certain way, are harder and less breathable. However, I know quite a few people who swear by it. My advice is to check it out yourself – chances are you will either love or hate it. New shoes will feel stiff, but take a trip to the vintage store, and look for the trademark ripples and color of cordovan to try out what a pair of broken-in cordovan feels like for yourself.

Cordovan structure

Cordovan structure

Shell cordovan is a great addition to your shoe closet if you appreciate the unique look, feel and durability of the leather. It is especially great for enthusiasts that want a hard wearing, casual-to-informal shoe that they plan to care for and re-sole for many years to come.

Shell cordovan restoration

Shell cordovan restoration; note the deepening burgundy color

You’ll mostly find shell cordovan in shades of brown and black, and of course “cordovan” burgundy. However, this classification can be misleading because cordovan leather has its very own way of achieving a certain kind patina through exposure to sunlight.

Shell cordovan typically comes in a small range of colors

Shell cordovan typically comes in a small range of colors

Over time, “cordovan” ages from a burgundy tinged brown color to reveal a bit more of the red tone with each passing year. Other shell cordovan colors will also age and darken, with the exception of the black.

Shell Cordovan Shoemakers

Considering the rarity of shell cordovan, it’s not always available and well-marketed shoe releases often sell out quickly. Brands that consistently sell shell cordovan over multiple shoe models include Alden, Allen Edmonds, Viberg, Carmina, and Rancourt, among others.

Vibergs Color 8 Work Boot in Shell Cordovan

Viberg’s Color 8 Work Boot in Shell Cordovan

Expect to find classic, informal shoes such as tassel and penny loafers, and work-boot inspired styles of all kinds. It’s not an ideal material for elegant, sophisticated looks, but for elevated casual and every day looks cordovan is an excellent choice. Considering the cost of the leather itself, makers of cordovan shoes tend not to cut corners when it comes to construction.

Alden shell cordovan tassel loafer

Alden shell cordovan tassel loafer

Given the sturdiness of shell cordovan, you can buy either new or vintage with confidence. Just note the return policy of the retailer, in case you don’t happen to like the feel of the shoe.

How to Clean and Polish Cordovan

Cordovan is different than other leathers and as such, many claim the treatment is different. In my opinion, you should use an emulsion shoe polish and rub it into the leather in concentric circles with either a brush or a piece of cloth. Some also claim that a shoe bone should be used. Unlike most shoe horns, this bone is actually a hind (leg) bone of a deer.

Deer Shoe Bone

Deer Shoe Bone

Apparently, it is used for cordovan because it has the right amount of oil to ensure the surface is not damaged without over saturating it. In my personal experience, the outcome with or without a shoe bone was the same. As you will soon find out, there are many ways to polish shoes and everybody has a little secret.

Saphir Cordovan Polish

Saphir Cordovan Polish

With regards to shoe polish, Saphir now has a cordovan shoe polish in their portfolio but a regular emulsion cream (not turpentine wax) paste will do just fine as well. Since Cordovan is a very rough leather, you do not have to worry about it and if you go to the lengths of using emulsion shoe polish and a brush, you are ahead of most people out there.

Shell Cordovan before and after Saphir cordovan polish

Shell Cordovan before and after Saphir cordovan polish


Shell cordovan’s special qualities aren’t for every person’s closet or budget, but they are a cornerstone of classic men’s footwear. What shell cordovan shoes and accessories do you own?

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Daniel Radcliffe explained why he’ll probably never see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Daniel Radcliffe explained why he’ll probably never see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Daniel Radcliffe explained why he’ll probably never see <em>Harry Potter and the Cursed Child</em>

In a November 21st appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Daniel Radcliffe—aka the OG Boy Who Lived—was asked if he’s ever planning on seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—the play that centers on Harry Potter’s son. And it turns out Radcliffe likely won’t be sitting in the audience any time soon. The actor explained that it’s not that he doesn’t necessarily want to see it; rather, he thinks the whole experience will direct lot of pressure and scrutiny his way.

“I’ve been asked this a lot, and I feel like I always give a really boring, terrible answer,” he told Meyers. “I’m probably not going to see it. I don’t have plans to. Not because I think it would throw me into some existential crisis of like, ‘Oh, is that what happened?’ But more so I just feel like it would not be a relaxing evening in the theater.”

He continued, “I feel like I would be being watched for my reaction. And maybe that is complete conceited and egotistical and people wouldn’t care. But I do feel like if I was just surrounded by Harry Potter fans, it would be a little odd.”

Okay, he’s definitely not wrong. We have a feeling literally every single Harry Potter fan on the planet and their mom would want to know what Radcliffe thought of the stage show, and that definitely does sound stressful. So basically, we get it, dude.

Radcliffe is currently starring in the Broadway comedy The Lifespan of Facts, and you can get tickets now.

The post Daniel Radcliffe explained why he’ll probably never see <em>Harry Potter and the Cursed Child</em> appeared first on HelloGiggles.



Who Is Viktor Drago? ‘Creed II’ Villain and ‘Rocky IV’ Connections Explained

Creed II is hitting theaters on November 21. This follow-up to the 2015 Rocky spin-off continues the story of Adonis Creed, who has become a boxer in an attempt to live up to his father’s legacy. But the sequel makes things a little more personal for the heroic boxer. Not only does he have a dangerous new opponent to face in the ring, but his determination to fight him may end up costing him everything he cares about.

This new opponent is Russian fighter Viktor Drago, and there’s more going on with him than you might know. Here’s all the info you need on Creed II’s scary antagonist.

Who Is Viktor Drago and Who’s Playing Him?

Creed II follows the Rocky series’ habit of casting real fighters as fictional boxers. Viktor Drago is played by Romanian boxer Florian “Big Nasty” Munteanu. He hasn’t done much acting before. In fact, his only other credit is the 2016 short film Bogat. But the filmmakers didn’t hire him for his expensive film experience. He got the job because he’s big, scary, and knows how to throw a punch.

The ‘Rocky’ Connection

Viktor Drago’s father is no stranger to Rocky fans. He’s Ivan Drago, the villain of the fourth movie, which had Rocky Balboa traveling to Russia to take on the machine-like boxer to avenge the friend Drago had killed in the ring.

That friend was, of course, Apollo Creed. Adonis never met his father, but the opportunity to fight the son of the man who murdered him offers some sense of retribution or closure for his loss.

Rocky, who trained Adonis at the start of his career, suffered severe brain damage in the fight. And he hopes to steer the young boxer away from making the same mistake he did. But it wouldn’t be a boxing movie if the big fight didn’t happen, so he’s probably not going to listen.

How does Viktor compare to Ivan Drago?

Since Creed II is all about sons measuring up to their fathers, it only makes sense to wonder how Viktor Drago compares to his dad.

In Rocky IV, Ivan Drago stood 6’5” and weighed 261 pounds. This was thanks to extensive training and whatever no-doubt illegal chemicals his handlers injected into him. The film shows him as almost inhuman and monstrous.

Munteanu — and therefore Viktor — has similar stats, which is a little intimidating considering we’re talking about a real person and not a fictional boxer that the Soviets basically grew in a lab. He stands 6’4” and actually lost weight for the role. So he “only” weighs 245 pounds. And according to the actor, he achieved this by using old-style Russian training methods, some of which will actually appear in the film.

The Drago Legacy

Adonis sees the fight against Drago as an opportunity to reclaim — and possibly exceed — his father’s legacy while getting some sort of proxy revenge for his murder. He’s spent his whole life feeling like he’s had to live up to his famous, heavyweight-champion dad, and this is an opportunity to do so.

But Adonis isn’t the only one carrying father issues into this fight. Ivan Drago trained his son specifically to carry on in his stead. And Viktor’s success will be his own after his fall from grace 30 years ago. Losing to Rocky and embarrassing himself in front of high-ranking Soviet officials effectively ended Drago’s career, and his son presents his best opportunity to return to the spotlight.

So Viktor is carrying his own share of historical baggage, which adds even more to the stakes and tragedy of the bout. The fighters have more in common with each other than they realize, but pride and pressure are forcing them into the confrontation.

Viktor Is More Than His Father

Considering the complicated family history between Adonis, Viktor, and their trainers, comparisons between fathers and sons are likely. But from the footage we’ve seen of the younger Drago in action, he’s nothing like his once-famous father.

That’s probably because rather than being a symbol of the might of Soviet sport and science, Viktor is rising from the crumbs of his father’s life. The elder Drago got the boot from his home country after the fall of the USSR, and he ended up raising his son alone. He’s obsessed with revenge and blames Balboa for everything bad that happened to him.

And he’s poured all of this hatred and rage into his son, who then passes it on to his opponents. Viktor is an aggressive, angry fighter. That’s a huge shift from his father, who was basically an enormous punching robot made of meat and steroids.

The post Who Is Viktor Drago? ‘Creed II’ Villain and ‘Rocky IV’ Connections Explained appeared first on FANDOM.



Shoe Toe Shapes and Detailing Explained

The toe of a shoe is the most forward projection of your body, so it literally leads the way for the rest of you.  Therefore, it’s an important style consideration that will most likely be the design focus of your shoe purchases.

The shape and decoration of the toe of your shoes will almost certainly be noticed first. In this article, we’ll explore the various shapes and ornamentation possible on a shoe’s toe and how it can affect appearance and comfort.

Spectator Tassel Loafers

Spectator tassel loafers are sure to be noticed

The Shape of a Shoe Begins with the Last

The overall shape of a shoe is created by the last, which is the name for the form traditionally made of wood and hand-carved by the shoemaker. These days lasts are also machine-made or 3D-printed from plastic.

refined lasts

Wooden carved shoe lasts

The last then serves as the mold for the upper of the shoe, thus giving it shape. The leather is stretched on the form and allowed to sit there for some time (often several weeks) until the shoe upper holds its desired shape. Shoemakers will name or number their lasts to distinguish them for themselves and their customers. The shape of the last determines the fit and shape of the shoe as a whole, and these are most influenced by the shape of the toe.

Awaiting lasting

Shoes awaiting lasts

Classic Shoe Toe Shapes

Although there are numerous subtle variations in toe shape, these can be boiled down to a handful of basic shapes, namely round, almond, square, and pointed.

Round Toes

The most basic and traditional shoe shape is the rounded toe. This can be quite spacious and therefore very comfortable, especially if you have broad or wide feet. Because the shape is simple, it tends to be innocuous on most shoes–nothing offensive but perhaps nothing exciting either.

Tricker's Stow Boot - The ideal fall companion

This Tricker’s Stow Boot is chunkier and therefore well suited to a round toe shape

Despite being basic, a truly round toe tends to look best on more structured and heavier shoes, from boots to chunky country derbies (Tricker’s, Church’s, Grenson) to trainers or sneakers, but on loafers, which already are smaller and closer fitting than other kinds of shoe, a round toe can make your feet appear shorter.

Round-toed Shoes

Round-toed loafers can make your feet look smaller

This is because the half-circle shape of the toe does not elongate the foot visually but gives it a snubbed appearance. To compensate for this the added mass or bulk of a heavier shoe is necessary. You can see this on the variant of a round-toe shoe called the Budapester, named for its origins in the Hungarian shoemaking tradition. True Budapesters have a spacious toe box with some height to it. You can see the real deal at Vass Shoes from Hungary, but versions of it can be found at Crockett & Jones and elsewhere.

Budapester shoes

The shortness of a round toe looks best on boots and chunky shoes like these three budapesters because their mass counterbalances the shortness of the toe.

Shoes that you might consider oval at the toe also fall under the “round” umbrella in many cases. These are found on traditional British dress shoes, particularly oxfords. The shape is classic and not showy.

Crockett and Jones Connaught black oxfords

Crockett and Jones Connaught black oxfords on the round-toe 236 last

Almond Toes

An almond toe is essentially a more elongated version of a round toe, shaped like the narrower end of the nut it is named after. You can think of it as a tapered oval. In my view, the almond is more flattering and elegant than the simple round toe. It’s also more contemporary with an edge of dandy style. You might say that an almond toe exists in the “Goldilocks Zone” of footwear: among toe shapes, it’s just right. It provides a bit of foot elongation but is not at all extreme. In some more exaggerated versions, you can really identify the almond shape by the way the shoe widens considerably at the ball of the foot (the base of the toes).

Almond-toe monk strap from Ace Marks

Almond-toe shoes, like these monk straps from Ace Marks have an elegant shape

Some almond-shaped toes can be chiseled. This means that instead of having a smooth curved edge along the outside of the toe, you have straight cuts or angled sides. This is most apparent if you direct your eyes to the sides or bottom of the sole since the softness of the upper can make it less obvious. A good example of the chiseled almond toe comes from British bespoke shoemaker Gaziano & Girling who are renowned for it. The shape isn’t really possible with round toes, so chiseling really begins with the longer almond shape.

Gaziano & Girling's signature chiseled toe

Gaziano & Girling’s signature chiseled toe, evident in its three angled edges

Square Toes

The general rule is to avoid wearing true square-toe shoes. This sort of toe is usually found on inexpensive footwear, and, frankly, it can be described as blunt and ugly. You’ll know these snub-nosed shoes when you see them because they are hideous and cheap looking.

square toed shoe

Ugly square-toed shoes

However, note that certain brands can call a chiseled toe a square toe. This will usually be an almond toe with a leading edge that is rather straight across the front. Crockett and Jones Square Toes

Crockett & Jones Last 348 (square toe) and 337 (called “a soft square”)One example is Crockett & Jones’ Last No. 348, which is worn by James Bond in the SPECTRE and Skyfall films and is the most widely used shape in their collection. The company calls this a square-toe, but no one would mistake it for the square toe shoe shown above.

We could call it a chiseled toe or straight toe instead, as there is no standard naming requirement across different brands. So use your judgment and trust your eyes when assessing a shoe labeled as having a square toe.

Pointed or Elongated Toes

Pointed shoes were once the rage in 15th-century Europe where they were called either crackows or poulaines.

Crackow shoes

Pointed-toe crakow or poulaine shoes were the rage circa 1470

These went to ridiculous extremes of length as a sign of virility (longer feet suggesting larger genitalia) and some even had bells at the tips.


Winklepickers were extreme to say the least

They made a comeback in the winklepickers of the 1950s British rock scene and survive today in similar rock-n-roll boots (envision alligator skin) and in some cowboy boots. Thankfully, truly pointed shoes are hard to find in dress shoes that can be worn with classic menswear.

Olive green shoes with navy trousers

Olive green shoes with an elongated last

So, rather than speaking of pointed toes, when it comes to dress shoes, it’s more useful to speak of elongation. We already mentioned that almond-toe shoes as elongated, meaning the toe area of the shoe is extended. Shoes that are not elongated normally have a small amount of space beyond where your toes end, but elongated ones have more. Bestetti elongated toe

A highly elongated last (with a round toe): Riccardo Freccia Bestetti’s Boston shoeThis is especially true of toes that are chiseled or otherwise narrowed at the front; obviously, you can’t cram your toes into an area that is tapered, so the shoe has to be longer to accommodate the shape of the last.

Crockett and Jones 348Last

Crockett and Jones 348Last

A good example of this is Crockett & Jones’s 348 last, called the “Lowndes.” As they say, “The wearer may have at least an inch of space at the front of the toe box, which will not affect the heel to ball fitting as it is more for aesthetics.”

The elongation of the Lowndes is quite subtle, but, according to Donika at Crockett and Jones’ flagship shop on Jermyn Street, many men become alarmed when they put on one of their elongated models and look down at their feet. She recommends looking at elongated shoes in the mirror, rather than just by looking down at your feet in order to gauge whether the proportions are right.

If you have smaller feet or just like the style of a longer shoe, give it a try, but, as always, moderation is the key. You don’t want to look like you are wearing oversized clown shoes, but high-quality shoes from well-established brands won’t go to extremes, so you’ll be safe with them.

Shoe Toe Decorations

Reddish Brown Captoe Double Monks

Reddish Brown Captoe Double Monks

The All-Purpose Captoe

Besides its actual shape, the toe of a shoe also contributes to the overall appearance of footwear through its ornamentation or lack thereof. The simplest toe is completely unadorned, followed by the cap toe, in which the toe area of the shoe is separated off by a line of straight stitching, shown side by side in the Crockett & Jones 337 and 348 last images above. Since simplicity of design makes an article of menswear more formal, a plain or cap toe oxford is suitable for the requirements of morning dress and black tie, as well as for business suits.

Smart Casual Details: Wingtips and Broguing

Meermin Austerity Brogue - Made in China with red lining at a high quality standard

Meermin Austerity Brogue – Note the simplicity of the stitching that forms the “wing” on the toe

Next up in terms of increasing ornamentation is the austerity brogue, which is the simplest form of wing-tip. This is made up of stitching in the shape of a W (technically, “a backward-extending point and curving sides”) to separate the toe from the rest of the shoe. The name originates from the austerity measures imposed on British shoemakers during World War II. Since they weren’t able to use the same amount of leather as required by a regular brogue, they simplified the design.

wingtip spectator derby shoes with Mid Brown Socks with Green and Cream Clocks by fort belvedere with brown trousers

A spectator wingtip clearly shows the detailed design of the toe box in the usual wingtip, the wing shape is made up of a pattern of perforations that resembles lacework, but you can also find this as a straight band forming a captoe. This is the broguing, which was originally designed to allow water to drain out in country shoes worn in wet, muddy conditions.

Wingtip Cognac Antique

Wingtip in an antiqued cognac leather

The Formal Medallion

The last sort of broguing related to shoe toes is the medallion. This is an ornate geometric or floral pattern of perforations adorning the toe cap. You can find these alongside other brogue details, but they are sometimes the only bit of ornamentation on an otherwise fairly plain shoe. The latter will not be as formal as a plain cap toe, but a medallion can still feature on oxford shoes.

Beautiful Medallion with 12 hole lacing

Beautiful Medallion with 12 hole lacing

The Laid-Back Split Toe

Back to more casual shoes, there is one other type of toe feature that is worth mentioning, and that is the famous Norwegian split-toe, found on lace-up derbies and, occasionally, penny loafers. As the name says, there is a vertical seam right in the middle of the toe. Because of the visible heavy stitching, these shoes tend toward the casual, to be worn as any other derby.

suit slacks in mid-brown with split toe derbys

A pair of vintage Norwegian-toed derbies made by Mannina of Florence with a split toe

Toe Color Variations

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that shoes can also feature a toe in a different color or material than the rest of the upper, such as cream suede on the vamp and brown calf leather at the toe. These are spectators, whether captoes or wingtips. But, for those who find spectators too showy and want a more subtle difference, many a brown dress shoe is available off the shelf with color variation in the patina, usually darker tones of brown, at the tip.

Half Brogue without Medallion & two tone Ghillie brogue shoe by Ugolini

Two-tone Ghillie brogue shoe by Ugolini at right


Like other style details–shirt collar shape, the rise on a pair of pants, or lapel width on a suit–the choice of toe shape should be governed by what looks best with your physical features. Just as a man with a round face should not wear a wide-spread shirt collar because it increases the impression of width, if you have smaller feet, you should probably avoid rounded toes and try an elongated last. The choice can balance your proportions.

It is also important to realize that these toe shapes also often appear in combinations, so you might have a shoe that is elongated with chiseled sides and a square toe, but once you know the varieties you should be able to identify them when you examine a pair of shoes. Then choose the shape and amount of ornamentation that suits your personality best.

Gentleman’s Gazette


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