Five Best: Tassel Loafers

27 Feb

While some may be waiting patiently for the first sign of any sun so that they can rush to the depths of their wardrobes to haul out the deck shoes they spent all last summer wearing, don’t act in haste. The deck shoe may have been massive last summer, but footwear in Spring/Summer ’11   is all about the tassel loafer.

We’ve mentioned tassel loafers a lot here on HIGHMAN previously, but for us they are a natural progression for the slip on shoe. And if you can’t just wait until the summer months to don them, there are a few ways you can get one step ahead of the weather.

A hard soled tassel loafer is a timeless classic and will look great with a suit or a shirt and smart trouser combo at any time of year.

A soft sole will provide a casual look, perfect for evenings chilling out at the pub. During the cooler spring wear them with woollen socks and slightly rolled up slim cut jeans or carrot fit chinos. And when the hot weather finally rears its head, forget the socks and roll ‘em chinos up even higher.

Here’s five great tassel loafers, all a snip at under £50 a pair.

Topman, £50 (also available in black)

Next, £45

Zara, £49.99

ASOS Was £40, Now £32


Dockers £48.30 (available from

Steal His Style: Best Dressed Star 2011

11 Feb

As they do every year, GQ magazine have published their 50 Most Stylish Men in Britain list and yet again it is full of super famous, super rich people wearing super expensive clothes. Given that 2010 was an exceptionally strong year for men’s High Street fashion there was little reference to chaps who champion affordable trends.

HIGHMAN FASHION’s Best Dressed Star showcases the best trends that celebrities are sporting that are either from, or can be replicated on the high street. As you will see there is a range of different looks which highlight just how diverse and versatile men’s fashion is becoming. The men that made the list have a real sense of how to dress and demonstrate that wearing High Street doesn’t mean you can’t look just as sharp.

5. Olly Murs

A self confessed shop-o-holic, Olly is far from the typified Essex lad obsessed with naff diamonte encrusted t-shirts. His look is inspired by the 90s Britpop look with Ben Sherman shirts and Fred Perry overcoats, but is brought up to date with on-trend pieces such as his infamous trilby and skinny chinos and jeans. Mr Murs is also a master at incorporating tailoring into his look without going overboard.  Wearing a blazer over a tee or polo with contrasting trousers keeps it casual and laid back, while Olly’s summer look incorporates tailored shorts and tasselled loafers. But the blending of smart and casual doesn’t mean Olly can’t pull off a suit and he demonstrates exactly why grey skinny suits are so on trend.

Topman, £14

Topman, £26

River Island, £44.99


River Island, £29.99

4. Tinie Tempah

Here is a man who really has his own sense of how to dress for his image. Staying true to his self styled look, Tinie dresses suits down by wearing hi-top trainers and is always fun and colourful. More casually, he wears a bright graphic tee underneath either a leather jacket or a denim shirt and plays around with either carrot or slim fit dark denim jeans or coloured chinos. His style is a twist on urban tradition and the playboy and geek looks with the addition of his big framed specs, which he is never seen without.

Topman, £14

River Island, £49.99

Topman, £38

Nike, £43.89

3. Ed Westwick

While his Gossip Girl character may be a little more outlandish with his fashion sense, Ed still has a very strong sense of style, which is probably why he has become a regular fixture at catwalk shows alongside Alexa Chung et al. If that wasn’t enough, his status as a male fashionista with cemented with his own fashion shoot in GQ magazine. He’s got a very definite rock look with leather jackets, deep neck V tees, aviators, military boots and band t-shirts but also throws is Sloane-esque elements that wouldn’t look so out-of-place on Chuck Bass, with coloured chinos, rolled up denim and loafers . He’s also not afraid to experiment with men’s jewellery, adding wrist wear and retro necklaces to outfits.

Zara, £59.99


Topman, £20


Topman, £40


Next, £75


2. George Lamb

While he may have started out as an Alex Zane clone and spent quite a long time experimenting with crazy bow-ties on Big Brother’s Little Brother, it seems as is Lamb Jr has found his niche. What is so key is George’s look is his adaptations to the quintessential English gentleman look. Traditional materials such as tweed and chord are brightened up by incorporating colour. On a dress down day, George is the chief of the rolled up chino and espadrille.

Topman, £85


H&M, £14.99

River Island, £9.99

1.  Aiden Grimshaw

While most contestants come onto The X Factor looking as if they dressed in a darkened room, Aiden was a shining beacon of hope in a sea of blandness when he auditioned for the talent show this summer. Having already got a sense of how to dress, he was assisted by Grace Woodward to achieve some great looks (bar those dreadful harem pants) during his time in the competition. His heavy reliance on chunky knitwear and the man scarf may not have been popular with all, but both he and his stylists really tapped into how to make fashion fun and accessible for young guys again – something which Company magazine editor, Victoria White calls ‘The One Direction Effect’. Aiden’s more formal looks such as the velvet blazer and scarf (worn above) and the floaty shirt worn during his ‘Mad World’ performance are heavily influenced by Morrissey, not least because of the quiff hairdo.  His casual look draws on many different colours, layers and textures in a way that is very easy to replicate on the high street and doesn’t alienate the less daring, which is why he earns the title of HIGHMAN FASHION’s Best Dressed Star of 2011.

Topman, £12


Topman, £42

River Island, £32.99

Topman, £14

Topman, £28

Office, £38.99

Who do you think was an accessible fashion advocatde in 2010 and who do you think will be wearing the latest trends best in 2011?

Style Spot: Vintage in Cardiff and on the High Street

31 Dec

Vintage fashion has a strange relationship with the high street. While you would think that they are often fiercely opposed to each other, many fashion conscious men are happy to embrace both. HIGHMAN FASHION looks at the pop up fairs in Cardiff and how they can live in harmony with the high street.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2011 if you are a vintage fashion fan in Cardiff. The scene has always been booming business in the Welsh Capital with a plethora of vintage boutiques lining the city’s famous arcades. But now a new breed of pop up fairs is allowing bargain hunters to gorge on more goodies.

One of Cardiff’s most popular vintage fairs is the Blind Lemon Vintage Fair, which returns to the city on 6th February, bringing with it over 40 stalls of good quality vintage under the roof of City Hall.

Blind Lemon Vintage owner Edwin Dyson

Starting as a clothing store in Narberth in Pembrokeshire back in 2005, the concept developed into a travelling fair across Southwest England and South Wales, in order to meet a need for a good choice of vintage clothing and accessories.

Owner Edwin Dyson explains that it is one of his favourite cities:

“Cardiff is one of my most popular fairs, with on average 800 coming along during the day. Although Cardiff has less vintage shops than somewhere like say, Bristol, it still has two universities and a vibrant live music and cultural scene.”

The previous Bland Lemon Vintage Fair at Cardiff's City Hall

But Blind Lemon is not alone on the Cardiff vintage pop-up scene. Buffalo Boutique is a monthly vintage fair that takes place at the popular Buffalo Bar on Windsor Place, and after taking a short break, it returns on the 16th February. Based on the idea of ‘pop-up shops’, each stall has its own identity and products range from the 1950s up to the 1990s.

Owned by the couple behind Looby Loo’s concession Kooki Two Bit, Chris and Hana also believe that Cardiff is fast becoming a thriving city for vintage fashion:

“The vintage scene in Cardiff is becoming really strong. There appears to be far more interest among students, I think because of the value it offers and it is becoming far more popular with more fashion conscious buyers looking for a unique style.

“I think that some people in Cardiff still see vintage as ‘second-hand’ and have a little bit of a naive view, preferring the high street instead.  People are easily influenced by what they see in the high street, as they have not had much on offer in the past in terms of vintage stores and fairs.”

From vintage to high street

However, vintage is not always about dressing head to toe in quirky clobber, looking as if the past threw up on you. It can be blended with high street pieces to create a look that is different to the everyday.

Vintage trader Geoff Waldron

As Blind Lemon stall holder, Geoff Waldron explains, many high street designs are inspired by vintage items, but that vintage is always that one step ahead in the fashion steaks:

“At the moment peacoats, chunky knits, cable knit jumpers and brogues are really popular on the high street and you can get them from Topshop and Topman, but their inspiration came from us. We have been selling these items way before the high street caught on to them.

“People still buy them from us because they’re all different and you won’t be wearing the same thing as everyone else,” Geoff explains.

I’ve got a few vintage bits and bobs but the problem I have with vintage shopping is that often I pick up something that I absolutely love but it’s the wrong size or has a fault with it that I don’t have the seemsmanship to fix. Like many other shoppers I pick out the vintage inspired items from high street stores because it’s less hassle and I don’t have to spend hours rummaging only to be disappointed.

If you like me love the vintage look but you like your shops set out neatly with a guarantee of getting what you want, the high street do offer some great vintage alternatives.

Steal his style

HIGHMAN FASHION went to the last Blind Lemon Vintage Fashion Fair to see if the best vintage looks could be replicated on the high street.

James, 23, librarian and vintage seller

James wears his loafers with a turned up pair of dark denim skinny jeans and braces:

“I really like the tasselled loafers at the moment. They’re a natural progression from the boating shoe which has been popular the past few years.”

Perfect for casual wear of formal wear, the high street offers a range for both occasions. River Island have kept it playful with coloured suede, while Burton and Topman both have offers available on their more traditional styles in their sales.

Star Style... Olly Murs

Brogued tasselled loafers, ASOS, £130

Brown tasselled loafers, Burton, Was £45 Now £20

Blue lace detail loafers, River Island, £39.99







Olly Murs wears a brown pair of loafers with chinos and a chunky kit.





Tom, 25, vintage seller

Tom wears a Barbour jacket with light denim skinny jeans and plimpsoles.

“I love my Barbour. It took me ages to find the exact one I wanted but I’m so glad I found it.”

Barbour, wax and quilted jackets are becoming ever popular, but be careful when trying to pull off this look, otherwise you could end up looking like you’re off out on a fox hunt. Tom has got the look just right here, keeping it casual with jeans.

Grey quilted casual jacket, River Island, £49.99

Navy jersey quilted jacket, Topman, £50


Alistair, 28, medical secretary

Alistair wears a tweed jacket with a plain white tee and dark denim slim jeans.

“It’s nice to buy something that you don’t usually see on the high street. I found my tweed jacket at a fair like this.”

Well Alistair, we’ve found you some high street options! How about a war inspired grey tweed or a more modern skinny fit blazer?


Charcoal donkey skinny blazer, Topman, £84

Grey tweed elbow patch jacket, Topman, £150

Star Style... George Lamb

Why not try layering up a more formal look like George Lamb with a shirt, jumper and slim coloured cords, complete with brogues.

If you want to find out about women’s vintage fashion, why not check out Peace, Love and Polkadots, Cardiff Chic and Vintage Cardiff for starters.

Style Spot Special: January Sales

30 Dec

With memories of turkey and Santa slowly fading away, many of us will be taking to the shops to snap up those post-Christmas bargains.

The high street sales have been particularly strong for men this year, with many key trend pieces making their way onto reduced rails.

Many stores in fact opened their online sales on Christmas Eve to give shoppers the maximum amount of time to shop before the VAT increases on January 1st. But never fear, there are still some great bits to be found.

Much of Topman‘s knitwear found itself with good reductions, some great pairs of jeans were slashed to as little as £13, and although the accessory sale has never been TM’s strong point, there are one or two nice trilbys at half price.

Oatmeal Cable Knit, Topman, Was £38 Now £20

Cable Knit Shawl Cardigan, Topman, Was £75 Now £55

Good quality shoes didn’t fare quite as well,with only minimal amounts knocked off, but you will notice a really nice pair of brogues found themselves reduced.

Tan Classic Brogues, Topman, Was £36 Now £35

Brown Vintage Boots, Topman, Was £65 Now £55

There were also two surprises in the sale. With tweed and roll necks looking set to be big for 2011, you can pick up these new trends for a snip of the price.

Stone Chunky Roll Neck Jumper, Topman, Was £38 Now £20

Brown Fleck Skinny Suit, Topman, (whole price) Was £150 Now £75

I managed to bag myself these two from the sale.

Grey Textured Trilby, Topman, Was £16 Now £8

Black and White Jumper, Topman, Was £38 Now £23

Over to River Island, who, in my opinion, are having one of their strongest sales in years. Although it is messier to shop in than the likes of Topman (although it doesn’t beat the bombsite of a Next sale), the rummage is well worth it for some great reductions.

Many of their military coats had good reductions on them.

Grey Double Breasted Military Jacket, River Island, Was £84.99 Now £50

Black Customised Military Jacket, River Island, Was £69.99 Now £35

Military blazers will also be a good transitional jacket as we move from winter into spring with some  even less than half price.

Navy Nautical Style Blazer, River Island, Was £59.99 Now £20

Grey Wool Military Blazer, River Island, Was £59.99 Now £20

There are also some great fashion suits in the sale, with the grey ones with black detailing being my particular favourites.

Grey Slim Fit Suit, River Island (whole price) Was £130 Now £70

Navy Super Skinny Stretch Trousers, River Island, Was £29.99 Now £12

Middle-of-the-road Burton also has some had two pairs of shoes that will be perfect for the warmer months.

White and Blue Stripe Espadrilles, Burton, Was £22 Now £12

Brown Tasselled Loafers, Burton, Was £45 Now £20

While a sale price at All Saints may be a normal full price anywhere else, there are some really good bargains to be had. Some of their fair ilse and oversized cardigans are heavily reduced.

Tallin Grey Open Cardigan, All Saints, Was £85 Now £59.50

Alexi Crew Neck Fairisle Cardigan, All Saints, Was £80 Now £40

Some of their typically smart shirts have also made their way into their sale, which also has an extra 10% off online on New Years Day.

Munich Bleached Grey Chambray Shirt, All Saints, Was £60 Now £30

Greenwich Ligh Wash Shirt, All Saints, Was £60 Now £42

Style Spot: X Factor Style Crimes – Men’s Harem Pants

29 Nov

FORGET Wagner’s Pat Butcher earrings and Katie Waissel’s bird nest haircuts, there is another fashion crime on The X Factor that has been going criminally unnoticed.

This year the contestants have been styled by Britain’s Next Top Model judge and stylist Grace Woodward. With the contestants sometimes sporting up to four different outfits over the weekend’s shows, it is perhaps no wonder that she has begun to run out of ideas. But is there really a need to dress the boys is girls trousers?

Harem pants have long been a woman’s fashion favorite, first becoming popular in the UK during the 1980s and experienced a renaissance during the latter part of the noughties. With their elasticated waists, tapered ankles and baggy legs and crotches, the shape gives a cross between a skinny jean and a skirt, with their comfort offering a smarter alternative to jogging bottoms.

The carrot fit jeans and chinos were popular with chaps during SS10, and are continuing into autumn/winter, but these harems are experimenting with their loose cut, pushing the boundaries of baggy. Over on The X Factor, Woodward has been pushing contestants on the show into them, perhaps drawing inspiration from one of the show’s fashion icons?

Cheryl Cole is a champion of harem pants

On last night’s results show, One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson became the latest perpetrator of the harem felony, sporting a black pair with his trademark snood and espadrilles, (seriously, summer is over – it’s snowing out there).

One Direction's Louis

Aiden Grimshaw














Although bad, it’s quiff headed Aiden Grimshaw‘s harems that really deserve to be burnt. Wearing them on the night of his elimination two weeks ago, Aiden’s crimpled grey harems took bagginess to excessive new levels with his crotch almost trailing the floor. Woodward chose to team them up with a smart blazer and shirt and military boots, and the result was a mismatched disaster which saw itself deservedly voted off the competition.

The high street is also catching on the trend, adapting the designs. Topman are carrying slightly more tailored harems with their grey super-drop crotches, which come without the elastic waist and ankle.

Grey Herringbone Super Drop Crotch Trousers, Topman, £40

Grey Shark Skin Super Drop Crotch Trousers, Topman, £36

Black Drop Crotch Jogger Trousers, River Island, £26.99

Meanwhile, River Island are playing it slightly more casual with a range of joggers and jeans.

Grey Acid Wash 3/4 length Joggers, River Island, £24.99

So what do you tink of men’s harems? Should we be free to embrace them or should they remain firmly inside our girlfriends’ wardrobes?

Key Trend: Fair Isle

21 Nov

ONCE upon a time it was a joke to receive one of Grandma’s Christmas knits. You would have to feign thanks, wear it for the rest of the day, then leave it to fester at the back of a mouldy cupboard. Not anymore. Fair Isle knits are back with a vengeance, becoming a must-have for this season.

Key Fair Isle looks from LOOKBOOOK

The Fair Isle pattern originally made its comeback a few years ago in the form of the peruvian hat, and last autumn/winter saw the return of the chunky knit, due to their resurgence in popularity on the vintage scene. For the A/W 10 collection, the high street has fully embraced them with patterns not only on jumpers and hats, but scarves, gloves, cardigans and socks.

Fair Isle fan - Ed Westwick

Some stores have gone for more bolder, more colourful designs, with River Island sporting a luminous yellow knit, while Topman have played safer with traditional patterns, colours and designs.

With Christmas fast approaching, Fair Isle is the perfect way to add an injection of seasonal cheer into your look. If you’re still clinging on to those last fading memories of summer, then team a jumper with a chino and military boots to bring your look into the colder months. Try a denim shirt buttoned to the top underneath a cardigan, and add scarves, hats and gloves to military peacoat. All of these looks are perfect to carry you through until spring, so forget about discarding them after you’ve scoffed your last mince pie on Christmas Day.

Here is the best of what the high street has to offer.

  1. H&M, shawl collared jumper with button detail, £29.99
  2. Zara, lined jacquard jacket, £59.99
  3. Topman, reindeer design cardigan, £42
  4. ASOS, chunky knitted gloves with wide ribbed cuffs, £10
  5. H&M, knitted scarf, £12.99
  6. Zara, knitted snood with fur detail, £22.99
  7. Burton, reindeer and snowflake funnel neck cardigan, £46
  8. All Saints, slouch knitted beanie, £35
  9. River Island, blue crew neck jumper, £34.99
  10. Topman, fairisle detail socks, £3
  11. Topman, snowflake fingerless gloves, £8
  12. Topman, shawl collar jumper with button detail, £38
  13. Topman, reindeer crew neck jumper, £38

Style Spot: Antony Price at Topman

16 Nov

ICONIC designer Antony Price has just launched his fourth collection for Topman called Priceless.

This time round he has created a capsule range concentrating on coats “fusing futuristic elements and military shapes”, offering his own take on the key military trend for A/W 10-11.

The London fashion designer, who has famously styled such musical icons as David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Roxy Music, first launched the Priceless collection for Topman back in July 2008.

The latest range includes peacoats, trenches, leather and padded jackets, and does not come with a designer price tag – prices start at just £100. And of course any Antony Price range would not be complete without his trade mark cap-sleeve tees, which are added to the Pricelss range along with jersey harem trousers.

I have picked out some of my favourites from the Priceless collection.

Black Wool Military Drummer, £120

Black Wool Cowl Neck Peacoat, £120

Black Wool Military Peacoat, £120

Grey Wool Long Military Trench, £150

Style Spot: Soap Character T-Shirts

10 Nov

The novelty T-shirt craze kicked off with the Mr Men collection circa 2007, and have been regular fixtures on the High Street ever since. While they’ve become a little unorginal, tending to feature kids TV characters, these beauties caught my eye while in Topman on Oxford Street.

Featuring characters from TV soaps EastEnders and Coronation Street, these tees have been designed especially for Topman Brands by Two Bucks and are priced at £22 each.

Ten Best: Men’s Brogues

2 Nov

WE’VE already had the return of the moccasin over the summer, and while the hot weather may be all but a distant memory, there is another gentleman’s shoe experiencing a renaissance.

Henry Holland

Brogues, famous for their punch-hole detailing, are a key footwear trend for A/W 10/11, tapping into the vintage country look that is so popular right now.

Interestingly, their history lies in the Scottish farming community. They were worn when crossing boggy terrain, as the perforated holes allowed water to drain from the shoe. However, over time they became associated with business and formality, especially during the mid 1900s.

But now they are back and more versatile than ever before. You can dress them up with a suit, or play it more casual with jeans. For that ultimate look, team up a traditional tanned, wingtip brogue with a pair of dark-denim skinny jeans.

Designer Henry Holland is clearly a fan of the vintage shoe and can be seen here wearing an Oxford style, black and white full brogue.

Here are my ten of the best, all from the High Street.

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TOP TIP: Go for a wooden looking heel – it will look less clompy and fits in more with the vintage look associated with brogues.