What has Simon Paul got in his pockets?

All gentlemen who step out about town with their style intact know the importance of the contents of a man’s pockets. If you’re asking yourself what a gentleman should carry, here’s a rundown of the odds, ends and fashionable extras I’ll have stashed in my pockets.

A LIGHTER

Don’t be fooled into believing that only a smoker should carry a lighter. Fire has been the cornerstone of human life for millions of years, and has many more uses than you think. When camping, I carry two as a minimum at all times, and am alive today because it.

But with such a vast range of lighters on the market, it’s important to choose one that suits you and your habits. If you’re a frequenter of cigar lounges then find an elegant lighter with jet flame. If you’re a man who likes his cigarettes, or finds himself around others that do, then choose a Zippo or something similar, and learn how to use it with flair and precision.

And maybe, just maybe, a girl in need finds herself needing a lighter, and there just so happens to be one in your pocket. Just make sure you remembered to gas it.

A FLASK

It’s a myth that only alcoholics carry hip flasks. Rather, see them as a contingency plan for when the bar closes and you and your friends are out of service but not out of luck. Choose something slim, quality and stylish and made from quality stainless steel. A hand-worked leather wrap is always a nice touch. Now all you need is a fine single malt to fill it.

A POCKET KNIFE

Every man should carry a pocket knife. I choose a small folding blade by Beretta, modelled on the receiver of the Beretta S05, an Olympic level top-of-the-range under-and-over shotgun. And when asked why I’d carry a knife, I say out of the tradition that sees velvet slippers on my feet and Egyptian cotton on my back, out of need to cut string, open a letter, or decadently eat an apple whilst feeling like a true gentleman.

Choose something elegant, classic and meaningful for you. And then look after it. Dull edges and nicks are abominations. Keep your knife sharp, oiled and learn to sharpen it yourself. The time you spend with a whetstone will teach you life skills that make you handy in the kitchen and around the campfire.

And don’t be fooled by a combination knife. Choose a quality blade over a gimmick, and use a corkscrew to open your vintage reds.

A COMB (BEARD OR OTHERWISE)

Carrying a comb was a matter of fact in the ‘50s. Tonnes of product and hours of effort were spent by our forefathers getting just the right amount of slick on those curls, and you’re damned if you think they’d risk setting foot out of the bathroom without a comb for emergency image repairs, and some dramatic flair when your soon-to-be mother wandered by.

But somewhere along the line we lost our way and started to leave the comb at home, until it became unusual to see a man with a teethed piece of plastic on the street. But with the resurgence of beard popularity change is afoot, and the beard comb is leading the hair accessory revival. So if you’re a man of style about town, carry one. Because without doubt I’ll turn the car around if I leave my beard comb at home.

So fill your pockets like a gentleman should.

Each item should tell a story. It should be selected with care to reflect the man you are, and the man you aim to be. And whilst common items will do the job just fine, a sartorial expert will choose just one elegant, quality piece to last him his lifetime.

What You Need To Know From Pitti 87

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As the 87th Pitti Uomo draws to a close it’s time to ignore the Australian heat and look to the future trends for the coming autumn and winter. Designers from all over the globe descended upon Florence to showcase their upcoming 2015/16 F-W collections. So here’s what you need to know from Pitti 87.

The Big Names

True to Italian style, bold and trendsetting looks were dominant from the big names. Timeless sartorial tradition held true to etiquette, but also made way unexpected combinations of high fashion and streetwear.

Also making ripples were patriotic American labels showcasing Southern style on the runway. In particular was the rugged mix of shearling outwear and canvas trousers that made up MSL by Billy Reid.

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UNCONVENTIONAL Underground Luxury

Pitti 87 saw the launch of UNCONVENTIONAL. Held at the Archivi inside the Fortezza da Basso, this debut paid tribute to the trend-setting non-conformists with a selection of international brands and collections strong in style and personality. Featured were 20 international designers of accessories, clothing, jewellery, fragrances and footwear, including Alberto Premi, Artselab, Benan Bal, Casamadre and Hood by Air (below):

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For many this was the long-awaited affirmation of rule-breaking style at the highest level. Those daring to blend high fashion with streetwear and imbue elegance with unorthodox personal style were celebrated and showcased to the world.

Japanese Fashion in the Western World

Japanese style made a big mark this year with the elegant mix of cultural traditions and contemporary sartorial methods. Susuzan showcased a new collection of exquisite handmade Japanese scarves that mash traditional Japanese shibori with contemporary Western style.

And Andrea Incontri continued to impress with his renowned individual style. The Pitti 87 Designer Project returned from a four year hiatus with a simplistic and functional men’s clothing and accessory collection for Fall-Winter 2015/16 that stayed true to his architectural heritage and Japanese influence and market connections (below).

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New Players

Pitti Uomo is one of the greatest launching pads for new labels, and here are a few to watch following Pitti 87. Begüm Khan, the project of Ali Behnam Bakhtiar and Rufat Ismayil, impressed many with their Middle Eastern-influenced luxury cufflinks. For those seeking an elegant approach to their sportswear Afffair presented a luxurious collection of knits and sweatsuits.

Stockholm’s Army of Me pushed gender stereotypes with their mysterious but impressive collection of heavy fabrics and androgynous style. And on debut was Sastreria 91, a Spanish haute couture accessory label. Unique and beautiful, the collection included collars, bowties, hats and more made unique by exquisite feather compositions and features (below).

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What does this mean?

So as Pitti 87 closes its doors, one of the boldest messages sent by the Italian fashion extravaganza this year is that personal style and unorthodox fashion belongs on the runway. So find your look, refine it and wear it with confidence.

AR-CZYK: The Gentleman’s Way in Fine Australian Footwear

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ar-czyk is an Australian shoe label designed by Nicholas Wlodarczyk, purveyor of fine fashion and self-admitted lover of gentleman’s shoes. Pronounced ‘ar-check’, ar-czyk is an offering a range of dapper dress and casual shoes for the gentleman seeking to celebrate contemporary, European fashion.

Born and bred in Queensland, Nicholas has always had a passion for fashion and shoes. His love of European fashion comes from his mother and father, both of European heritage. In particular, his mother had a penchant for European shoes and his father for suits, but both for regular holidays. It was this travel habit that gave Nicholas a youth spent in cities all over the world, and an exposure to European style and fashion.

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Nicholas followed his love of fashion into tertiary studies, completing a bachelor of fine arts at QUT, with a major in fashion design, a natural choice for a man with a love affair for style. Nicholas identified a gap in the domestic market for men’s shoes produced by an Australian designer. And so ar-czyk was born with the goal to bring European sensibility to the Australian market at an affordable price.

Launched in 2014, the inaugural, and current, collection is entitled English Summer, and is inspired by the dapper English gentleman. Golf days, cocktails on the terrace, summer events, they all apply. A bold mix of brogues and slippers, Nicholas’ has been unafraid to draw upon strong colours and reflective surfaces, and blend them with classic textures and elegant style.

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Nicholas’ pick of the English Summer collection is the Tartan Slipper, a choice he shares with his father, who still sports a pair at age 62. They both agree it to be a timeless shoe that will impart elegant style upon any wearer. But Nicholas prefers to dress his down, matching them with a pair of jeans or chinos and a crisp white shirt or polo.

When it comes to those lucky enough to sport a pair of ar-czyk shoes, Nicholas promotes an adventurous sense of personal style. ‘If you want to wear purple suede with electric blue cinos,’ he says,’ do it.’

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The successful launch of the 2015 collection hasn’t slowed Nicholas down. When asked of his predictions of future footwear trends, he believes that men’s shoes will hold to the dapper course for a little longer, but will move to encompass more creative colours and appliques – a style he intends to embrace.

Buy ar-czyk here: www.arczyk.com

Streetwear Style with Ivanna Fontana at Cabinet Noir

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It’s with excitement that I hit the Perth city streets to meet with the international fashion stylist Ivanna Fontana for one of her signature personal shopping sessions. She and photographer Susan Young lead me to Cabinet Noir, Edward ‘Edit’ Maradona’s luxury goods and streetwear store tucked away in Shafto Lane of Perth’s CBD.

Read more at: http://stylehunterman.com/streetwear-style-ivanna-fontana-cabinet-noir/

SHM: Fashion on the Stage – Five Minutes with John Sheedy

johnsheedyfeatJohn Sheedy is the Artistic Director of the Barking Gecko Theatre Company. He’s also the director of the sold-out operatic adaption of John Marsden and Shaun Tun’s haunting picture book The Rabbits, starring Kate Miller Heidke. He’s been trained by the National Institute of Dramatic Art. And he’s no stranger to fashion.

I caught John at a regular haunt in Northbridge, a little gin bar called Frisk where we’d chatted once or twice before. Over an afternoon drink I assailed him with questions about who he was, what he’d done, and how fashion had been a part of it all along.

Read more at http://stylehunterman.com/fashion-stage-five-minutes-john-sheedy/#sthash.301hSiaL.dpuf

SHM: Firearms and Fashion – The Gentlemanly Pursuit of Clay Pigeon Shooting

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A quality shotgun has evolved into a symbol of class and luxury and remains to this day a staple indication of affluence and social position. One need only look to the history of the United Kingdom to find an oil painting of a stylish young noble with a hound at his feet and a double barrel shotgun under his arm. So what is it that ties firearms to fashion, and where has it led us today?

Find out at http://stylehunterman.com/firearms-fashion-gentlemanly-pursuit-clay-pigeon-shooting

Go Sockless This Summer

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As the Australian summer starts to lengthen the days and loosen the collar, it’s important not to sacrifice style for comfort, particularly when it comes to your footwear. If the heat is getting to you, maybe it’s time you grew bold and embraced sockless style. Here’s how to do it right:

The Vital Preparation

Before you step out in sockless style, there is some serious preparation to be done to keep your favourite loafers looking fresh and your paws smelling like roses. Feet shed dead skin and sweat, especially in the heat, so you’ll need to pay them some special care.

Scrub your feet with a pumice stone, paying attention to the harder, rougher parts of your ball and heel to get rid of any dead skin. Soak your feet in a footbath with a cup of white vinegar, two of Listerine and two of warm water to loosen up the dead skin before you scrub it off. Once dry, powder your feet and shoes to absorb moisture and keep sweat to a minimum.

If this fails and after a day of breaking in a new pair of shoes in unrelenting heat your shoes resemble a wading pool, soak your feet in a warm tea bath and add a dash of peppermint soap.

The Sockless Sock

If you’re a sweater, these steps might not be enough to protect your feet and your shoes. Time for a pair of sockless socks, which will give you a thin layer of fabric to protect your foot, absorb moisture and prevent rubbing without giving away their position and destroying your look. Check out NOTSOCKS for the latest styles.

Choosing the Shoe

Some shoes look much better than others sockless, and your choice will portray your inner style. Keep it safe and stick to tried methods:

Boat shoes love going sockless, and pair perfectly with cinos and a polo. Keep a jacket handy, and swap them for loafers and you’re ready for the evening too.

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The moccasin, once famed for its status as a driving shoe, has certainly left the pedals and hit the streets. A great addition to any casual or semi-formal outfit, always wear it sockless and the moccasin will speak of your class.

Espadrilles are your most casual option for an afternoon by the surf. Lightweight and breathable, they’re perfect with shorts and an open shirt. Don’t be afraid to swap the shorts for linen slacks and a jacket for the evening, especially if you’re dining on the beach.

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Keeping it more socklessly formal are the wingtips, Oxfords, penny loafers and monkstraps. Some will raise an eyebrow at a sockless business suit, but all you need to do is watch the catwalks and you’ll see their success. A little hint of naked ankle at the end of a trouser will bring style to your gait, so don’t be afraid to have that hem cut a little higher.

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And then there is the smoking slipper, or the dress slipper, once the footwear of aristocrats and playboys but now yours to sport almost anywhere. Slippers will transform the most simple of outfits into utter, unspoken style. Roll up the hems of your white jeans with a vintage v neck and a blazer for an afternoon on the coffee strip, or lose the Oxfords at your next cocktail ball and stride sockless across the ballroom. You’ll turn effortlessly turn heads with your boldly confident style.

After Care

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Once the shoes are off, take a moment to care for them before yourself. Slip in a pair of cedar shoe trees to absorb any moisture and odour, and to reshape weakened or deformed outers. Look for shoe trees with central splits that are varnish free, and they’ll keep your shoes walking longer than you.