CLOTHES

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Fumagalli Swimwear

The Frozen Northerner has just recently celebrated his 63rd birthday, whilst not being particularly overjoyed at the years passing away rather too quickly. I have decided to embrace this event in a positive manner; therefore, the quest goes on to improve the sartorial elegance of the north eastern male, bringing us to that seasonal problem, swimwear.

This somewhat tricky subject cannot be masked by you strolling along the beach in a rather small pair of budgie smugglers, you may believe you look like David Gandy, but, if you are sporting a bit of a Geordie paunch after slightly overindulging in joys of Newcastle nightlife then you are going need something a tad more flattering.

So where to start, if your budget is somewhere between £20-£30 and you see yourself as the next Michael Phelps then look no further than Arena swimwear, who have  dazzling array of products suitable for the swimming/triathlete type that will enhance anybody that has a rather more sculpted figure than the average male.

Arena or maybe Speedo represent superb value, but I suspect you may be drawn to something designer orientated and this where things can get ugly, are you really going to pay over £300 for a pair of swim shorts?  The only lunatics likely to pay these prices are premier league players who are only buying them because they are expensive, so they must good, or bandits like disgraced businessman Philip Green who is always going to look like a slob no matter what he wears, so let’s be realistic.

What do I like, Hartford or Frescobol Carioca immediately spring to mind as well as Ralph Lauren’s range, but for me this summer The Frozen Northerner is going to be sporting swimwear by Fumagalli 1891.

Why have chosen them? Is it because I am obsessed by all things Italian, probably, but that is just who I am. Fumagalli 1891 have been around for a long time, producing a fine selection of ties, pocket squares and swimwear.  I discovered the company through The Rake magazine which, is now selling some really fabulous products. Based in Como, northern Italy Fumagalli 1891 are another Italian artisan family that need to be more recognised. So this summer push the boat and purchase at least a couple of pairs of these swim shorts, they will not make you look like Agnelli at the helm of the Agneta but, that is never going to stop me trying.

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CLOTHES

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Boglioi “K” Jacket

In blog notes 55 I highlighted the delights of wearing the J Kedge slack jacket, much to my shock and horror this wonderful jacket did not meet with the all-round approval that I thought it deserved. I was disappointed, certainly, but this has only heightened my resolve to find the perfect summer jacket.

This 2 year odyssey to find something that is possibly better than the J Kedge gem has led me to Italian maestros, Boglioli and their signature “K” jacket. Although Boglioli may be not as well-known as other Italian brands, this family ran company has built up a sound reputation by producing lightweight tailoring of the highest order, based in Brescia, Northern Italy, Boglioli have stayed true to their roots and the “K” jacket is just another fine example of their attention to detail. Cut from cotton twill and featuring an unlined body, this is a serious jacket that should take you to next level in the sartorial stakes. This jacket may not prevail in Whitley Bay or Tynemouth but if you on the streets of Taormina, or Montecatini this summer you may catch The Frozen Northerner strolling the streets pretending to Giancarlo Antognoni in his prime.

The “K” jacket is a summer essential that must be purchased at all costs but therein lies the problem, where to buy it, The Frozen Northerner found his on his last jaunt to Sicily but expecting you to travel halfway across Europe for a jacket is highly unreasonable, so, your best bet is probably Trunk Clothiers which is based in Marylebone, London. I don’t know of anyone else that stock Boglioli but please correct me if know of other places that stock Boglioli. Summer is coming but it will be so much better if you are sporting the “K” jacket.

CLOTHES

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Pretty Green

The Frozen Northerner may not be a huge fan of Liam Gallagher but I have to admit that I have a bit of a weakness for his clothing company Pretty Green. I love their Grainger Street shop in Newcastle and although some of the stuff they produce is not for me (whose paisley shirts may have looked great on the likes of Syd Barrett but, on me no chance) having said that, I have to admit there are areas where they really excel, for example they produce some really sharp items of rainwear that I would feel very comfortable wearing but where they genuinely shine is in the knitwear department.

Some of the stuff they have produced for their SS18 collection is I would suspect heavily influenced by John Smedley. Nothing wrong with that, the legendary Derbyshire stylists have set the bar high and are the benchmark for all things good relating to knitwear. However, not to be outdone by this iconic label, Pretty Green have rose to the challenge brilliantly and I have selected the five pieces for your consideration. All of the items chosen have a very modernist feel about them and are possibly inspired by the sixties; these objects of desire could have been worn by The Who when singing “I Can’t Explain”. McQueen would have nailed this look dead, but in all honesty these mesmerising pieces of knitwear would have looked great on the golden boy of Italian football Gianni Rivera, the ever stylish 60’s midfield maestro would probably would have paired it with John Simons chinos and Clark’s desert boots whilst whizzing around the streets of Milan on a Vespa with some beautiful actress like Claudia Cardinale on the back of his scooter.

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Stone contrast tipped high necked knitted t-shirt

Although there are times when I genuinely despair of finding clothes that will really getting my juices flowing, sometimes I will just walk into a shop and think oh, that’s going to work and that’s the way it is with these tops. Buy any one of these five items and you can’t miss so lie back in your Eames classic, get The Who on the turntable look cool and whilst dreaming of Italian sunshine pretend to be Rivera hitting 30 yard passes around the San Siro.

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Stone knitted striped t-shirt
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Navy knitted striped t-shirt
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Brown striped crew neck sweater

 

CLOTHES

Pocket Squares

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Georgina Von Etzdorf

What does a pocket square say about a man, is he wearing it to look a bit rakish or is wearing for the sole purpose of brightening up a rather drab suit or sports jacket, maybe he is hinting that bubbling under the surface lies a man who thinks that the addition of a boldly patterned pocket will allow him to look a little bit more suave, whilst attempting to cut a more dashing figure. Why are they so popular I have no idea, although, I suspect they are worn in a vain effort to make one standout from the crowd. Pocket squares are everywhere and are worn with style and panache by everyone from fictitious characters like James Bond and Don Draper) to original style warriors such David Niven or Frank Sinatra (sadly I am not seeing to many being sported by gentlemen from the north east of England. Normally made from silk, linen or light weight cotton, a pocket square belongs in the top pocket of a smart jacket; it is not a handkerchief and is there only for show, so please keep it well away from those nasal passages. They come in vast array of colours and may either plain or patterned and can be folded in a range of various shapes. As I have pointed in previous blogs the Italian and French male revel in sporting this type of clothing accessory whereas the English tend adopt a more conservative approach, so where do we purchase these decorative items, they can found anywhere from Marks and Spencer to Turnbull and Asser and like any item of clothing being discussed by The Frozen Northerner which one you chose is all about the amount disposable cash you have in your pocket. There are some real beauties out there by companies such as Drakes, Rubinacci, Calabrese 1924, Exquisite Trimmings hell, if even The Shoe Snob is getting in on the act, all of these firms make outstanding products but The Frozen Northerner’s personal favourite is Georgina Von Etzdorf, who once upon a time made a dazzling array of pocket squares. Unfortunately this noted textile designer has not produced pocket squares for a number of years which is hugely disappointing; you may find the odd one on E-Bay or maybe Etsy, but good luck with that one. No matter which one you select chose it carefully and it should enhance your ensemble, showing that given the right opportunity, you are always trying to become a little bit more stylish.

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Drakes
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Calabrese 1924
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Rubinacci
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Exquisite Trimmings

CLOTHES – SHIRTS

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The Frozen Northerner has been a bit lazy over the festive period and it is high time I got back in the groove, so where to start. It is well documented that The Frozen Northerner is only really comfortable wearing button down collared shirts, (mainly Brooks Brothers). The Americans are extremely comfortable wearing this type of shirt either with or without a suit; the English and certainly the Italians tend to regard the wearing of a button down shirt with a suit as a bit of sartorial misdemeanour. As I rarely wear a suit this not really an issue for me but, there are certain occasions that demand that I  wear a suit so I will normally wear a shirt with a forward point or spread collar rather than one my beloved button downs. With regard to shirting if you are looking for something little bit on the expensive side you should go to a great heritage brand like Turnbull and Asser who have fabulous shop on Jermyn Street or amble further along to the current darling of shirt making, Emma Willis, alternatively you may be into Italian labels then perhaps something by Marol or Fray. Although all of the aforementioned brands are superb and would be a worthy addition to anyone’s wardrobe the truth is that The Frozen Northerner simply cannot afford to shop at any of these outstanding establishments. Fear not, if like me you are constantly working on budget then look no further than these three excellent establishments, Hawes and Curtis, T.M. Lewin and Charles Tyrwhitt, all three companies make formal shirts to a high standard offering extraordinary value for money. Which one is the best is hard to say but, having tried all three brands I have to say that I personally prefer Hawes and Curtis to the two other brands, which is not to cast aspersions on the Lewin and Tyrwhitt brands which are both very good. Unlike T.M. Lewin, Hawes and Curtis and Charles Tyrwhitt do not have a stores in Newcastle which is a huge disappointment; I firmly believe that these they would benefit from having shops in the north east of England but like a lot of companies based in London it would appear that opening a in this part of country is a bad idea which is pity as I am sure that they would both prove to be very successful, T M Lewin do have a shop in Newcastle that does well so it is pretty much a no brainer that the other two should follow suit. Everyone keeps telling me to dress smartly, so come you two help the Geordie male improve his attire and open a couple of shops up here.

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Turnbull Ans Asser “Peerless”
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Emma Willis
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Marol
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Fray

CLOTHES

 

Donegal
Bark Follifoot Donegal Coat

When I first started blogging The Frozen Northerner visited various sites in search of inspiration on the topics I was most interested in, one site that immediately caught my attention was The Tweed Pig http://www.thetweedpig.com/ it had a wide range of interesting articles that I admired one which championed the purchase of Donegal tweed overcoat,  further research led me to the The Grey Fox’s blog http://www.greyfoxblog.com and piece on must have overcoats, it was written by Sarah Gilfillan who explored a wide range of overcoats ranging from highly affordable offerings by Marks and Spencer all the way to some very expensive unaffordable offerings by Dashing Tweeds and E Tautz somewhere in the middle was Cordings Donegal Tweed overcoat which according to the knowledgeable Gilfillan is “The Daddy of all Donegal Overcoats”. Barely off the train on my latest visit to London I headed straight to this bastion of country attire to check out this must have item. Now owned by legendary guitarist Eric Clapton, Cordings was founded in 1839 and I would suspect that it hasn’t changed that much over the years, with its wood panelled interior Cordings has a very traditional feel and has that smell of a bygone era which is just the way I like it. With its helpful and experienced staff I was duly informed that this latest version of their popular Follifoot Donegal Coat is proving highly popular with current racing fraternity. Whether or not this was typical Cordings sales pitch I have no idea but enough of the small talk, let’s cut to the chase and talk about the coat, made in England from100% Irish Donegal wool the Bark Follifoot Donegal Coat is a fully lined coat featuring traditional raglan sleeve and  jetted front pockets. Trying it on top of my jacket I was surprised at how light this coat felt, the question  now was I going to purchase it, personally I see this coat as a thing of rare beauty that should be purchased immediately and in the case of The Frozen Northerner  it was purchased instantly, the coat itself is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship that will probably last for generations provided that it is lovingly looked after, there may be better overcoats out there which is fine but I wouldn’t swap the Bark Follifoot for any other overcoat.  Wearing it make me feel little bit like Michael Corleone when he is standing outside the hospital with Enzo the baker, trying to protect his bullet ridden father from a further assassination attempt from his sworn enemy Virgil Sollozzo. However, I am digressing from the star of the show which the coat, although I dread the thought of snow throughout the winter I do hope it is cold enough to give any excuse to wear Cordings Bark Follifoot Donegal Coat, because it really does have the wow factor.

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CLOTHES

 

Ralph Purple
Ralph Lauren Purple Label Polo

In blog notes 42 I argued that when it comes to polo shirts it is impossible for the frozen northerner to look beyond Lacoste or Fred Perry and in particular the Fred Perry that was made in collaboration with Nigel Cabourn. The alternative to these classics are wide and varied and has led me to Ralph Lauren’s flagship store on Bond Street to explore Ralph’s purple label polo shirt. The famed Mr Lauren has under his umbrella a range of labels such as the aforementioned Purple Label, Polo Ralph Lauren, Big & Tall as well Polo Tennis and Golf and a few more. Each line of clothing is supposed to share the vision of Ralph which probably reflected by the exasperating price range of his Purple Label which is regarded as a more luxurious line of clothing which, in all essence means more expensive. Purple Label products all have that famed Made in Italy tag which is guaranteed to send the price through the roof, so let’s see what we made of the purple label polo shirt. The first thing  I noticed was that logo features an embroidered purple label pony which is different to that of their more iconic logo, furthermore it features mother of pearl buttons and is knit from two-ply long-staple cotton which the company argues aids colour retention. I cannot argue with quality of this shirt which is very good, but the price is exorbitant and that’s the rub, do you really want to pay that much for a polo shirt, who will wear it, well, it will probably be worn by people on the French and Italian Riviera and ivy leaguers heading for the Hamptons, but will it be worn in those summer hotspots of Whitley Bay and Tynemouth absolutely no chance in God’s creation, would I swap my Lacoste’s and Fred Perry’s for Ralph’s purple label pony,  probably not, but that is not going to stop me lusting after one.

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