Category

STYLE

Category

Beware the kilt. 

Quite a few years ago now, I was on a stag night.

And I wore a kilt.

This experience revealed something quite startling to me.

Something that I have never forgotten.

Wee.

When I go for a wee, I stand up.

(If you are wincing reading that, probably don’t read on).

Occasionally, this is at a urinal as opposed to a sit-down toilety thing.

Now – and you can test it if you like (just get naked in a public toilet when you have a wee) – quite a lot of wee splashes back onto ones thighs with urinal weeing.

I know this because of the kilt (naked leg)/urinal combination.

And this got me thinking that there will be quite a lot of wee on your trousers.

Most days of your life.

Wee that you won’t notice of course.

But it is happening.

PISS-LEGS…

…is a thing.

This Was a Public Information Message From 50odd.co.uk. 

You’re Welcome.

PS If you are a Scottish person, can you shed any light on this subject please?

Is PISS-LEGS a real problem? 

Is ‘aim’ a factor?

Is ‘standing position’ a factor?

Too close. 

Too far away.

Am I unique in recognising this as a phenomenon?

Is ‘get a life’ part of the response you want to send?

I thank you.

Genderless clothing brands are a good thing. 

Because they encourage people to share what they wear.

And because they (should) do away with any silly stereotyping.

Here are some to take a look at.

https://eckhauslatta.com 

Based in New York, quirky, quite nice and slightly bonkers.

https://t-o-o-g-o-o-d.com/clothing

Minimalist, cool and – again – a bit mad.

www.bethnals.com

Decent denim-obsessed basics.

Not terribly adventurous but yes – interesting and affordable.

https://vertigga.com

Another American brand.

Youthful.

The (odd) Wilde Boots are interesting.

Genderless.

I personally see genderless clothing as simple, common sense idea.

Not a political stance and neither for or against any particular group or persuasion.

Just something that, if done well so that it encourages us all to buy less and buy better, makes sense.

The examples here are early entrants to the category.

The category itself is young.

I suspect some enter it as it feels newsy.

The best will do it because of how it can effect our world positively.

They are the ones that will last.

Wear It. Share It.

We live in a world where over 70% of all clothing made is either burnt or buried within 3 years.

Things need to change.

And genderless clothing could be one small part of that change.

Wear it… then share it.

These two gentlemen are both highly respected for what they do professionally. 

Phil is a Producer / Director type.

Carlo founded and leads a property development brand. And he co-founded The Do Lectures.

Mucking About.

It has however come to my attention that, alongside these positions of responsibility (and I think that this photograph goes some way towards supporting my claim) they spend time ‘mucking about’.

It’s a disgrace.

When I was about 20 I imagined that 50(ish) old men should not be doing this kind of thing.

Rather, they should be reading the broadsheets in their sheds, watering plants and working out whether PEPs were better than ISAs or ISAs are better than PEPs.

The Baker Boy caps they are both wearing (blatant plug coming up) are as classic as they are cool.

They are from Always Wear Red.

Do I want the brand that I created associating with men that somehow manage to join the dots between  leading their profession, having a giggle and looking cool? All at the same time?

Yes.

I do.

I’ve been in luxury clothing design/fashion for almost 3 years. 

And I am 50 years old.

Nigel Cabourn has been in fashion for 51 years and he is (about) 69 now.

I watched Nigel for years. I love his single mindedness.

His focus.

And his expertise.

I first saw him in the flesh as he was served a noisy meal in a little cafe on Gosforth High Street in 2017.

The meal was noisy because it was one of those sizzling Chinese things.

I didn’t approach him. I’d have stuttered. I’m like that with my heroes.

And anyhow, he was eating.

London.

I saw Nigel talk in London, too.

Again, I didn’t speak to him one-on-one but I did ask him a question.

So that counts as ‘talking to him’ in my book.

PioNEers

In 2018 I had an idea for a photoshoot of people I considered to be pioneers in the North East of England.

Nigel is one of them, so I asked and he agreed.

The Always Wear Red team spent a couple of hours in his Jesmond studio.

Learning.

Listening.

Photographing.

Playing table tennis.

Design Network North

And just last week I went to a talk where Nigel was chatting to business people in the North East.

He shook me by the hand and we chatted away for 5 minutes or so before we went in.

Heroes

Meet your heroes.

Nigel is someone I’d admired for years.

And now I learn from him.

Not because he mentors me. Simply by being around him.

Listening.

Learning.

Watching.

Meet your heroes.

I have some good news for you today. 

It is:

There is no direct correlation between how cool you are and how old you are.

Most significantly, it is not true that the older you get the less cool you get.

In fact – if you do it right – you get cooler as you get older.

Classic cool.

I am in dangerous territory now.

The wrong kind of 50 year old guy using words like ‘cool’ or ‘disco’ is a terrible thing.

But I just wanted to point out that the coolness of Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Marvin Gaye is ageless.

And timeless.

So if you’re knocking on a bit, all is not lost.

Classic cool is the best kind of cool.

These days, most ‘cool’ is manufactured.

Vacuous.

Unauthentic.

So take a look at the images that go with this post at 50odd.co.uk.

And channel what they’ve got.

Most of them are sadly no longer with us. So they don’t need their ‘cool’ any more anyway.

Good luck.

Most of the Always Wear Red community are Generation X (35-50) or the Elastic Generation (50-69).

AWR talk a lot about brand purpose – the Creation of Confidence – and we tell our style story visually too. With images and film across social media.

Then, those that join us, join us.

Advertising.

I am aware that 80% of advertising budgets worldwide target 18 to 34’s.

Yet 80% of the UK’s wealth is controlled by people over 50.

This is very strange.

Because I think style is timeless and ageless.

Style.

For me and for Always Wear Red we’re nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with style.

That’s timeless.

Paul Weller (60), Nick Cave (61), David Byrne (66), Idris Elba (46), Tom Hardy (41), Lenny Kravatz (54) are creative pioneers.

They’re not ‘cool for their age’.

They’re just cool.

And even though AWR is menswear, we consider women like Tilda Swinton (57), Kate Moss (44), Kylie Minogue (50), Juliette Binoche (54) and Carine Roitfeld (64) as we design.

Such women would wear cool, classically designed, wonderfully made menswear in a heartbeat.

Worth.

As we age we gain experience and wisdom.

We more easily recognise the extraordinary from the ordinary.

We learn our worth.

I have to remind myself that, as a brand, we don’t have to ‘persuade’ the stylish, the liberated and the pioneering to join us.

We just have to be stylish, amazing, different and classic, with a little edge.

Because our customer is like that too.

Style.

Timeless.

Image: Pete Zulu, original Lead Singer of The Toy Dolls. Wearing AWR Skinny Bandage Scarf (Red. 100% Merino wool).

If you’re a guy aged 40 or above, take a look at http://www.greyfoxblog.com.

It’s run by a chap I know called David Evans. David champions quality British makers. Here is a link to his spreadsheet. Always Wear Red are on the list.

David is great for other reasons, too.

David looks at style for the older guy. Personally, I am not a fan of fashion where it is patronising or controlling – telling me what to wear. Always Wear Red customers wear what they want to wear.

But the way David does it is to, somehow, simply present cool options. Sensibly, simply and well.

Grey Fox Blog also knows what it is for.

This may seem like a strange thing too say but what I mean is that David understands the needs he is fulfilling.

Much of the fashion industry ignores the older guy, even though he is likely to have more money, more self awareness and – because he is less inclined to be worried about what people think of him – a more adventurous approach to style too.

So there you go. Grey Fox Blog. Spread the word.

Image: David Evans, Grey Fox Blog, featuring in The Rake Issue 56 March 2018.

I was invited to a White Ball last weekend. At Ramside Hall near Durham.

It was devised by a very cool chap called Sergio Petrucci. They’ve raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for CHUF (The Children’s Heart Unit Fund) over three years.

Amazing.

All In.

I am an ‘all in’ kind of guy. If I am going to do something I like to do it as well as I can.

So when Sergio told Lisa and I that we and every other guest had to wear all white to this 6 hour event, we set about getting outfits together.

For Lisa it was a dress and jacket and she looked great.

For me it was slightly more tricky. But as I’d decide to go all in I ended up with white Doc Martens, white jeans, white jacket, shirt and tie.

And white hair.

You can just about see this in the image accompanying this story at the 50odd website.

Crisis.

I think my mid-life crisis started when I was about 20. And this is probably just another stage I am going through.

I’d never dyed my hair in 50 years. So I thought, why not? I don’t have as much hair as I used to so it saved a few quid on hair dye. And a couple of whiskeys spurred me on to actually do it.

So here I am. Aged 50. With dyed white/yellow(ish) hair.

So when you see me wearing a flat cap or a beanie in the next few weeks… that’s why!

When I worked as a brand consultant, the advice that I gave most people most often was:

“It is better to be different than it is to be better.”

This is true for brands. Consumers expect a certain level of quality of course. But beyond the delivery of important benefits – they value individuality and the ability to express themselves as individuals much, much more.

Life

This is also amongst the best advice I have given myself, too. In life.

From time to time we all worry about not being good enough. And we shouldn’t really because, I’ll say it again, I think it’s better to be different than it is to be better.

And the best way we can be different is simply by being our unique selves.

Morrissey isn’t the best singer. Jarvis Cocker? Not really. Madonna’s first mainstream success was with ‘Holiday’ in early 1984 and whilst Madonna is a good singer, few would say she’s a great singer.

Better versus Different

I think it’s better to be different.

It’s more natural, because I see different as simply the most adventurous, authentic and brave version of who you already are.

We know these people already, too.

It’s not people like Lewis Hamilton. For him we might say:

Wow. I wish I was that good.

It’s people like Boy George maybe. A talent, of course. But an outlier too. For him we might say:

Wow. I wish I could dress and look like that.

Well the good news is – you can. If you want.

Today.

When I started Always Wear Red I spent over a year researching. I’m still researching of course. But in the early months it was pretty intense.

This is not like me. I am more right brain than left. I live in the world of the possible rather than the world of the probable. I don’t like research.

However on this occasion, with a lot at stake, I researched intensely. My sense of adventure was as honed as ever but I wanted a degree of surety. I wanted to learn from those that had gone before me.

Two small quotes from two big names stick in my memory.

One from Paul Smith, that made me feel a bit sick.
One from Tom Ford, that made me feel a bit scared.

Both quotes started with an absolute – ‘no one’.

Paul Smith

Paul Smith is one of the most successful British fashion designers ever. He has a personal net worth of around £350 million. His business remains privately owned.

When I was researching Paul, I had just closed two multi-award winning creative businesses and I was buoyed by new possibilities. I was confident. I thought that if I can do it ‘there’ I can do it ‘here’ too.

Then I came across something that Paul Smith says quite a lot:

No one cares how good you used to be.

That was a bit of a shocker. Paul was talking about how he stays consistent and focused in a world that craves innovation and excellence constantly.

“Hmm,” I thought. “I’d better get ever better”.

Tom Ford

Tom Ford was Creative Director at Gucci and YSL before setting up his own label. Tom is now worth $300 million. I am about to quote him but can’t find where I first read this.

No matter.

Even if I imagined it it’s still useful:

No one ‘needs’ anything that we have ever created.

Explaining why something is better is a waste of time. Why someone ‘needs’ it. This is trying to prove how you fulfil a need better than the next woman or man. In the world of luxury clothing this doesn’t work.

No one gives a shit about ‘better’.

Tom Ford knows that and so do I. I am determined to change how a man feels about himself and the way he sees his world when he chooses to wear the AWR collections. I create confidence for them; in them.

I sometimes spend too much time over-explaining why we are a better product (we are). When I should be talking about the fact that AWR things make you a better you.

That, after all, is our purpose.

Paul and Tom

So, Paul reminded me that it is important to never rest on your laurels. And Tom taught me that your brand has to be valued and really loved, not just known.

Maybe there’s something for you there too?

Paul Smith Video (available at the 50odd.co.uk website):