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New product – collar & trousers extenders

There’s this particular shirt you own that fits right everywhere except the collar, which is just a little tight – not too tight but still uncomfortable. You don’t want to throw it away but you know you’ll only wear it as a last resort – which is never. Well, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a solution for that – and it’s available at KIR ROYAL.

Our COCHIC collar extenders allow you to increase the size of your shirt collars by up to 2 cm. Simply attach the elastic loop to the collar button and slide the extender’s button into the collar’s buttonhole. Small, yet effective and it’ll save you from having to endure the discomfort of a tight collar without being noticeable. By the way, they are also guaranteed to last longer than your shirt.

Priced at €8.90, each pack contains two pieces, one with a black elastic loop, the other white.

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Also available are trousers extenders that have the same function as collar extenders. So if you’re struggling to button up your trousers, probably because they shrunk in the washing (why else?), here’s the solution. 

At €7.50, each pack contains one piece in black.

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Mandarin collar – to button up or not

Blending  urban minimalism and nonchalant chic, a mandarin collar shirt is the perfect alternative to the standard collar type. However, not being your everyday choice, you might be wondering if the collar should be worn buttoned or not.

In terms of style, when a  dressier look is what you’re after, you might want to wear the collar buttoned, especially if your look includes a suit or sport coat. Even if the outfit is casual, as in including jeans and athletic shoes, buttoning up the shirt collar will result in a sharper, more urban look.

On the other hand, if what you’re after is a softer and casual look, regardless of whether the shirt is worn with formal or casual pieces and especially if it’s a hot summer day, just leave the collar button undone.

In addition to your desired look, consider also the visual effect of each option on your face shape. Which of the two options complements it most?

The mandarin collar, being so minimalist, tends to accentuate one’s face shape, offering little to the wearer to visually balance his face’s proportions. For example, a man whose face shape is round or square, especially if his hair is cut very short or is bald, by wearing the (mandarin) collar buttoned, will only emphasise his face’s width. What he needs is to add visual length, which makes the face appear less wide and more oval, and for this, the collar should be worn unbuttoned.

Mandarin collar on a round face
By adding visual length, an unbuttoned collar will make a round face appear more balanced.

The opposite applies for men whose face is oblong-shaped and who therefore, need to visually minimise its length. Although a mandarin collar will not add visual width in the same way a standard collar does,  leaving the collar button fastened will avoid adding even more depth below the face. A higher collar can also help here, as it visually shortens the neck.

Mandarin collar and oblong face shape
By adding visual length, an unbuttoned collar will make an oblong-shape face appear longer, when the aim should be to make it appear wider.

Final note

Being well-dressed is not just about putting together a stylish outfit but also about how well that outfit complements your shape and features. Next time you’re trying on a shirt, consider how much it flatters (or not) your face shape. Does it accentuate it or make it look more balanced? Of course, other elements usually also come into play, such as one’s haircut and beard shape. These should also balance/complement one’s face shape for more flattering results.

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The black polo neck

Da Vinci once said: ‘simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication’ – and probably, no other menswear piece is as good an example of that, as the black polo neck.

On a par with the plain white shirt, or navy trousers, the black polo neck is a highly versatile classic that comes in handy when you’re at a loss, as to what to wear. It can complement just about any other winter piece in your wardrobe, from a suit to a pair of jeans. Dress it up or down, as required, whatever the occasion, it’s bound to be a safe choice.

Often, polo necks in a lighter knit will result in a more elegant look. The lack of volume, especially around the neck makes less of a statement, resulting in a more streamlined look.

A slim fit will accentuate the body, making it an ideal choice for men with a slender or toned physique. Bigger men will look better in a polo neck that has a chunkier collar and is not tight enough to be too revealing of one’s contours. The added width of the collar will also help minimise a wider face, which a polo neck inevitably emphasises.

In the case of men with a larger belly or wide hips, polo necks are best worn as part of a layered outfit, e.g. under a sport coat. This will visually widen the shoulders, balancing out the width of the hip area or belly.

Final word

When wearing a polo neck, aim to keep a small part of the neck – just below the chin – exposed. This will avoid your head from appearing as though it’s floating. It’s also a more flattering look for men with short necks, or who are rather lacking in height.

Also, one of the biggest concerns most men have about wearing polo necks is that the collar can feel too restrictive. Going for a soft and breathable fabric, as well as a collar that’s not tight, is crucial for ensuring optimal comfort. Finally, a polo neck in a heavy fabric might keep you comfortable when outside in the cold but once indoors, it’ll be too hot.

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Should you tuck your shirt in or not?

It’s one of those choices that seem straightforward. When one is required to look smartly-dressed, the shirt goes in and when a casual look suffices, the shirt remains untucked. Yet, if it was that simple, the outcome wouldn’t so often look so unflattering. Rather than choosing only on the basis of the smart/casual factor, consider also the actual length of the shirt, the visual effect of an un/tucked shirt on your silhouette, as well as how well your choice blends in with the rest of your outfit. The three need to be considered together, as one will affect the other.

3016Let’s start with the shirt’s length. This should not reach further below the level of one’s mid-buttocks (and not much higher either). A shirt, whose length extends beyond that level is too long for the person’s height. If worn untucked, it’s too likely to result in a sloppy look, making wearing it tucked in, the better option. This will hide the fact that it’s too long.

On the other hand, when a shirt is so long as to result in the ‘excess length’ bunching up under your trousers, it’ll feel somewhat uncomfortable, especially if the trousers are tight-fitting. Depending on the thickness of the trousers’ fabric, the result could also be rather unsightly. If it’s too long, just don’t buy it.

However, even if a shirt is in the right length, wearing it tucked in or not, could also be matter of wanting one’s legs to appear longer or shorter. This, in relation to the upper body. Leaving a shirt untucked will visually extend the torso, especially when the shirt’s colour isn’t similar to the trousers’, consequently, minimising the legs’ length (visually). This is usually an option more suitable for taller men, whose legs tend to be very long in comparison to the upper body. By making these look shorter, one creates a better balance between the upper and lower parts of the body, effectively creating a visually more proportionate silhouette.

In contrast, shorter men, whose legs tend to be short in comparison to the upper body, will look better wearing their shirts tucked in. By leaving more of the trousers exposed, one creates the illusion of longer legs. An untucked shirt risks visually accentuating the imbalance between the upper and lower parts of the body.

Finally and equally important, is considering the overall style of one’s outfit and how each individual piece (and how they are worn), contribute to the desired style. Wearing a shirt tucked in will not automatically result in a more professional or dressy look. It could still maintain the casual style in an outfit.

However, whether the way you wear your shirt ties in with the rest of the outfit, also depends on how casual or versatile the other pieces are. For example, on a pale pair of jeans and sports shoes, a shirt is better worn untucked otherwise, the smarter look of the tucked in shirt will clash too much with the laid-back effect of the jeans and sports shoes. Similarly, if wearing a sport coat, a tucked in shirt will compliment the overall style better than if worn untucked.

Final note

There was a time, not so long ago, when it was considered trendy to wear one’s shirt partly tucked in. David Beckham often sported the look himself. As is usually the case with trends, they have a short lifespan. Nowadays, a partly tucked in shirt will just look like a job half-done – it’s either one or the other.

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Bold patterned shirts

Men who wear bold patterned shirts can be divided into two groups: those who are confident and have an eye for style, and those who are merely over-confident. Five minutes of people-watching, especially in tourist hot-spots, are enough to convince anyone that rocking a fancy shirt requires more than just self-assurance. What makes an outfit that includes a bold patterned shirt visually interesting and tasteful, as opposed to one that’s fit for a circus-clown, is a proper combination of all the individual pieces. Here’s how it’s done.

Make the shirt the centre-piece

A bold patterned shirt makes quite a statement, so you want to keep the shirt the focal point. It’s the cardinal rule for wearing such an eye-catching piece well. Crucial to avoid, is a clash between your shirt and the other pieces you’re wearing. Therefore, start with the shirt and build the rest of the outfit around it, keeping everything else simple i.e. in a solid colour.

True, it’s possible to wear different patterns together, as long as each pattern varies considerably in density from the others. However, in the case of bold patterns, more often than not, when worn with another pattern, the result ends up looking chaotic.

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Combining colours

Bold patterns usually consist of a multitude of colours, some more than others. Yet, there’s always one that is dominant and that’s usually the brightest and/or the one that draws the eye first, even if it’s not the background colour.

Your safest option is to combine your bold patterned shirt with pieces in neutral colours, such as navy, grey, beige, etc. depending on the shirt’s colour scheme. An alternative would be to combine it with trousers or shorts in the shirt’s dominant colour. However, when this is a brighter or a not very common colour, such as orange or yellow, it’s best to exercise caution. The last thing you want is a look that’s reminiscent of 1970s disco-fever. Here, you’ll be better off combining it with a muted colour that balances out the shirt’s bright colour scheme.

Combining it with a suit/sport coat

Bold patterned shirts are essentially about fun and personality and therefore, are ultimately casual in style. Some designs will look more casual than others. Besides the print and fabric, how casual a shirt looks will often also depends on the colour. Neutral and darker colours tend to give a shirt a dressier look, especially if the fabric has a satin-effect that makes the shirt look more luxurious. In any case, bold patterned shirt remain casual in style and are considered inappropriate for formal events, as well as a corporate environment.

However, that doesn’t mean they cannot be combined successfully with a suit or sport coat. Although a corporate suit would still contrast too much with the shirt’s style, one that is less structured and in a modern cut makes a great option to consider for a smart casual event. The same applies to sport coats. One in a Neapolitan cut (softer structure) and with elbow-patches (if you don’t mind them) will add a good dose of the elegance factor without looking too formal.

Final word

Bold patterns are subjective. What to some might qualify as bold, might seem less daring to others. However, the tips above apply to any patterned shirt from the fanciest patterned designs to the simplest.

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Rolled up sleeves – how high on the arm should sleeves be rolled up?

There’s a lot of debate on how high on the arm shirt sleeves should be rolled. Just above the elbow is what traditionalists will say is the right height. At that level, the bulk of the roll’s folds is balanced by the widest part of the forearm. This is because one very, very important point to remember about rolled up sleeves is that they add visual bulk to the part of the arm where the roll is. As a result, the exposed part of the arm looks comparatively thin. 

However, we southerners tend to prefer a lower roll that reaches somewhere between just above the wrist to at most, mid-forearm. Since the wrist is the thinnest part of the arm, a roll just above it will of course make the wrist look even thinner. That makes a low sleeve roll perfect for men with a bigger frame, who can also afford a wider roll, especially if on the taller side and with long arms.

On the other hand, men with a small frame will look better with a higher roll that is also neatly folded and not too wide – so as not to look too chunky. This allows for the roll to be balanced by the natural width of the forearm. For better results, add volume to the wrist with a watch or bracelet. Generally though, skinny men, especially if on the shorter side will look best with an above the elbow roll that makes the biceps look bigger and the shoulders broader. It will also visually elongate the arms. However, it just doesn’t look very Mediterranean – if that’s the style you’re after. 

Regardless of one’s physique, the sleeve should never be wide enough to leave a visible gap between the arm and the roll. This seems to cut the arms in a way that makes them look hanging limp. 

Finally, if you’re not too sure about how to get a neatly rolled sleeve, here’s a video that will show you how to do it. 

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Four essential tips for choosing a T-Shirt

Originally designed as an undergarment, the T-shirt is nowadays one of the most popular, versatile, and practical pieces of clothing in menswear, which is why we love it so much. However, being so comfortable, it is easy to overlook the style aspect of a T-shirt, with the end result often looking rather sloppy. Here are four essential tips for choosing a T-shirt that will give you both comfort and elegance. 

Casual vs. very casual

T-shirts are always casual but some are more than others. If you don’t want a look that’s too relaxed, a T-shirt that fits close to the body (without being too figure-hugging), will give you definition and downplay the ‘comfort’ element that is associated with T-shirts consequently, resulting in a dressier look. 

Regardless of one’s size, a T-shirt shouldn’t fit too loosely as to have a draping effect. A slimmer fit will mostly suit toned men. Bigger men (including muscled men) should opt for a looser fit that fits comfortably, without being too loose. The same applies for skinny guys on whom a bit of volume will have a more flattering result than a tight fit.

How a T-shirt fits at the shoulders is a good indication of in/correct size. The shoulder point, where the armhole is seamed onto the shirt should lie just at the end of the shoulder. If it lies above that point, the size is too small for your frame and will result in the seam pointing upwards with movement. If the shoulder point lies below the curve of the shoulder (along the arm), it is because the size is too big thus, making your shoulders look smaller. For the same reason, the sleeves should not reach below mid-biceps.

Originally, T-shirts were designed to be long enough to be worn tucked in (as an undergarment). Today, T-Shirts are meant to be worn untucked. The length should therefore, not exceed mid-buttocks. Any longer and it will visually shorten the legs too much. However, neither should it be too short as to leave the trouser waistband exposed.

Which neckline suits you most?  

T-shirt necklines are typically either crew neck (round) or V-neck, albeit with varying widths and depths. A round neckline will broaden the shoulders whereas a V-neck will give the illusion of a longer neck.

Rather than basing your choice of neckline merely on style preference, choose according to which has the most flattering effect on your frame.

Going for a neckline that reveals a big part of one’s chest is not something I would recommend. They seem to be popular with men who jump at every opportunity to show off, which is probably why most women I know find a deep ‘V’ or a wide round collar quite a turn-off. 

Use prints to hide areas of concern

Prints and contrast colouring are what often make a T-shirt look less basic. However, since T-shirts can be quite revealing of a man’s physique, these can also be an effective way of camouflaging areas of concern, e.g. sizeable breasts or a beer belly.

Unlike a T-shirt in a solid colour, which leaves little to the imagination, prints can counterbalance the bulk of a beer belly by adding weight to the area where they are located. A full pattern, as well as contrast colouring (e.g. between the upper and lower parts of a T-shirt) will also make one’s silhouette look more ‘homogeneous’. 

Final word

Those are the four essential points to keep in mind when choosing a T-shirt. Can you think of any other things to watch out for?

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How many shirt buttons should a man leave undone?

That’s a question every man has asked himself at some point or other; and it’s a very personal choice depending on confidence and style. In this post, I’ll be taking a look at the options available, how each affects the overall look, and how to keep it stylish. 

One button

Timeless and safe, this is the option to go for when wanting to look slightly dressed down but not too casual. Often, it’s the best option for stiffer shirt collars that would otherwise sit floppily with more buttons undone. When in doubt, it’s also your safest bet.

Two buttons 

This is pretty much the limit for undone buttons. It’s definitely a more casual look than the previous option but also gives an air of manliness, that the more conservative one button option doesn’t. Nevertheless, if too much of your chest is visible, then it’s best to button-up – modesty really is key here. I find that this option works best with softer collars, especially the button-down type, which tends to keep the shirt opening just slightly apart. Also, chunky men’s necklaces and uncontrollable chest hair do not go well with this option.

Fastened collar 

Originally a sign of rebellion against the conventional requirement of a tie, it’s a trend that has been made popular again in the UK. Whether worn under a pullover or on its own, it’s my preferred option for that effortless chic look – just not in summer. I find that this option works best on medium to short collars. To soften the look, leave the shirt untucked and roll up the sleeves. Worn under a jacket, I would go for a patterned shirt, as in the case of a plain, formal shirt, it can look as though you’re missing your neckwear.

Open shirt 

This is a look typical of 1990’s boy-bands, whose abs were their best selling point. Nowadays, there’s only one place a man might get away with leaving his shirt unbuttoned – the beach. Elsewhere, a T-Shirt in a complementary colour should be worn underneath. The result is a youthful and athletic look.

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Six tips for choosing a polo-shirt

Polo-shirts are not only timeless, they are also convenient, requiring less ironing than shirts. Being a summer favourite, here are the most important elements to consider when buying a polo-shirt.

Opt for a fit that’s close to the body – even if you’re of the bigger type – without being too figure-hugging, hence too revealing of your physique. A loose fit will give a very casual (bordering on sloppy) look.

A polo-shirt’s collar should roll and sit neatly. One that looks flimsy will give the impression of poor quality. Unbuttoned, the collar opening should form a ‘V’. If it doesn’t, it’s likely that the collar is meant to be worn with all buttons done. Rolling up the collar is no longer considered stylish.

Since polo-shirts can be quite revealing of a man’s figure, especially girth and moobs. patterns and contrast-fabric are an effective way of camouflaging such areas, that one might not want to emphasise. In the case of isolated patterns, when these are located away from areas of concern, they divert attention away from such areas. Contrast fabric breaks up the silhouette thus, creating the illusion of a flatter surface. 

Following from the original Lacoste polo-shirt which featured the crocodile logo, polo-shirts, especially sportier designs usually feature the brand’s logo. On a solid colour, this can sometimes be the only detail present thus, adding a touch of design to the shirt. However, logos that are too dominant can at first appear to be part of the shirt’s general design, till they become all too recognisable.

Finally, a polo-shirt is generally meant to be worn untucked, which is why getting one in the right length is important. If you prefer wearing yours tucked in and you’re of the slender type, make sure it’s not loose-fitting and neither are the bottoms. Opting for a dressier polo with shorter sleeves for a look that’s reminiscent of the 1950s can give a touch of style, making it look less conservative.