THE BLACK TIE MISTAKES TO AVOID MAKING THIS CHRISTMAS

'Tis the season of the black tie party, but get the look wrong and you run the risk of your invite to next year’s festive soirees going astray with the rest of the Christmas post. Black tie has been around since the 1800s, long before the word ‘trend’ filtered into our vocabulary, yet it is one look which never fails to throw even the most sartorially gifted into disarray. Fortunately, we have the know how you need to avoid any dress code conundrums this Christmas and New Year, starting with these most common black tie mistakes.

Confusing a dinner suit with a black suit

A black suit and a black dinner suit are not one and the same. Whilst a dinner suit will see you channel James Bond, a black suit is more likely to see you confused for the wine waiter, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get away with your failsafe black suit for a black tie affair. Peaked lapels in a subtly contrasting fabric to the jacket itself and covered buttons are the main differentiators between the two.

Faking it with a clip-on bow tie

No self-respecting gentleman should make it through life without learning to hand-tie a bow tie. A clip-on may be convenient but it doesn’t scream class like a bow tie should. And don’t even get us started on those novelty versions.

Discounting dark blue

The black tie dress code needn’t be as monochrome as its name suggests. In fact, the darkest of blue suits is also acceptable for black tie events and could even be considered a more modern take on classic formal attire.

Falling foul of footwear fails

You could be wearing the sharpest dinner suit in the room, but it only takes a footwear fail to let the whole look down. Strictly speaking, formal footwear should be patent and simple in style, so leave the brogues, boots and suede shoes at home.

Still bewildered by black tie? Our style advisors are on-hand daily in our dedicated suiting department, so visit Robinsons today to ensure you’re looking suitably suave for your black tie soirees this season. 

A NEED FOR TWEED

When the weather starts to turn, we turn to tweed. It’s the fabric which was once celebrated for its practical properties, but now it’s all about the winter wonder’s aesthetic appeal.

If your suiting repertoire is calling out for something more seasonally appropriate, few fabrics fit the bill for winter quite like the tried-and-tested traditional tweed. With a tweed waistcoat favoured by everyone from David Gandy and Idris Elba, to the likely lads of Mumford & Sons, the classic style has never been more current.

Winter weddings and the like call for heavyweight suiting, with a more country gentleman approach to being suited and booted. This earthy toned tweed sports jacket and waistcoat pairing by POLO Ralph Lauren is perfect, but it’s the way you wear this heritage fabric that is the key to coming across more dapper chap than Downton Abbey. Wear your waistcoat and jacket combo with dark denim, a white shirt and navy or deep red tie for smarter outings, or ditch the waistcoat and go for a chunky roll neck sweater in autumnal hues if an occasion affords you to veer more towards country casual. For those who favour the same laidback look as Mr Beckham, a chambray shirt with rolled up sleeves will keep your tweed look on trend.

Have you found your perfect winter tweed yet? Visit Robinsons today to shop season-appropriate suiting from POLO Ralph Lauren

CASE CONTENDERS FOR YOUR CARIBBEAN CRUISE

The summer holidays may be coming to an end but summer in the Caribbean has barely begun. If you’re a seasoned cruiser, packing is probably a sea breeze. However, for those who are yet to experience time spent at sea, the thought of cramming your case with outfits to accommodate everything from sea days to shore days, leisurely lunches to all-out glamorous gala nights can be a cruiser’s greatest conundrums.

Fortunately, a little planning goes a long way when it comes to creating a capsule cruise wardrobe for all eventualities. Here are some of our top tips and a pick of our favourite cruise-ready pieces from our brand new AW16 arrivals.

SHOP THE SALES

The Caribbean season starts as ours at home ends, meaning that you can shop those end of SS16 season sales with reckless abandon in anticipation of your second summer. Leave your cruise holiday shopping until closer to departure and the chances are you’ll find rails full of wool, rather than brimming with bikinis.

DON’T SHUN THE DRESS CODE

Ah, the dress code. Enter into a conversation about formal nights at your peril once on board; die hard cruisers take this subject very seriously! For us, the glitz and glam of formal nights and gala evenings are all part of the experience of cruising. After all, how often do we have the opportunity to dig out our cocktail dresses and diamonds at home? The good news is that there’s little chance of feeling either under or overdressed. Some opt for full-length gowns and super-smart tuxedos, others prefer to keep it more casual with shorter styles for the ladies and dinner suits for the gents. Whichever team you’re in, it’s important to note that many cruise lines will turn you away from the main dining room if you aren’t dressed accordingly on formal night, so embrace the elegance of the night and make the most of going all out.

For the fellas, our dedicated suiting department is a must-visit, with styles from Hugo Boss, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Versace and more, along with a tailoring service to ensure a perfect fit.

For the ladies, the options are endless. Boutique Moschino, Michael Kors and Versace lead the way in terms of cruise wear. Think short and flirty, or full-length and fabulous.  

SENSIBLE SHOES

 It is a phrase that strikes fear into the heart of any designer footwear fan, but the cruise lines aren’t kidding when they tell you to pack sensible shoes. A two-week cruise will take you to as many as ten different destinations; that’s a lot of walking if you want to explore them all! Fortunately, sensible most certainly doesn’t mean Jesus sandals and socks. New season Hugo Boss trainers in soft suede and smooth leather are as stylish as they are sensible, whilst Michael Kors Fulton flats are perfect for nipping between sun-soaked Caribbean harbours and sipping cocktails in the Barbados Boatyard.

LAYER UP

Cramming your case with layers is the last thing on your mind when you’re headed for the sun-drenched islands of the Caribbean and it’s unlikely you’ll be throwing a cardigan over your bikini anytime soon. However, nights at sea can be rather breezy indeed – it’s that sea air – so make sure you’ve packed chic cover ups for those walks on deck after dark.  

 

Are you leaving the winter weather behind and cruising the Caribbean this summer? Visit Robinsons of Bawtry and let us take care of your cruise wear conundrums with new season styles and sale steals. 

FEELING BLUE IN NEW SEASON SUITING

The blue suit is having a bit of a moment. We don’t mean navy – there’s nothing new about navy – but brighter blue hues. Today’s blue of choice is bolder, fresher and that bit more modern, so there’s little wonder that it has quickly become the must-have for the style conscious and suave. It’s a trend that started to soar in 2015 and will continue long into AW16 too; isn’t it time you got on board?

The key to finding your perfect blue suit is all in the colour. Pale blue and Air Force blue are more classic, whilst brighter blues will rise to the occasion when you’re ready for a party. Mid-toned blues are a more professional option – perfect for the office or a day at the races – whilst darker still shades have been a wedding favourite forever. Likewise, your accessory choices are equally important; black, brown or tan shoes are preferable, and there’s always an option to go for loafers, sans socks, if you’re for casual.

We recently welcomed a selection of blue suits and jackets from designers including Hugo Boss, Armani and Ralph Lauren, all of which are perfect for weddings, race days, job interviews and more. Visit Robinsons of Bawtry today to shop our full range of over 50 styles of suits and jackets in sizes 38” Slim to 48” Classic, with bigger sizes available to order.