There are certain things every gentleman should have in his life. And, from watches and cars to underpants and whisky, there is a wrong way and a right way to do every one. Let us show you the difference.
Right: Crockett & Jones – They’ve been making shoes for almost 150 years, so this Northampton-based brand is to be trusted. From Oxfords to loafers to Chelsea boots to brogues, the selection is enviable – so every many should own at least one pair.
Wrong: Crocs – If there is one footwear brand you should step your feet away from, it is Crocs. We’re sure they have a practical application in professional kitchens or lifeguard school, but even by adopting them at all could see you start down a slippery slope that has ‘everyday Croc wearer’ at the bottom.
Right: Woolrich – With almost 200 years of heritage, Woolrich is the original outdoor clothing company. Having served everyone from Civil War soldiers to buffalo herders, their virtues are tried and tested. Also, they don’t look half bad.
Wrong: Anything branded, tacky and too in-your-face. The most stylish men are the ones who wear the clothes and don’t let the clothes wear them. Wearing too many logos only proves that you’re more interested in money than you are style.
Wrong: Hublot – At the other end of the style spectrum is Hublot, whose watches couldn’t be louder if they were fitted with speaker systems. Chunky, garish and with a checkered history of past collaborations (Jay Z, really?) these are most definitely accessories a gentleman should avoid.
Right: iPhone – They’re the most popular smartphone in the world – and for good cause. Unrivalled on almost every level, iPhones are the perfect handsets for professional and social settings alike. Upgrade, invest, and tell us we were wrong – we dare you.
Wrong: Nokia – The old school type. You’re a contemporary gentleman and whatever kind of point you’re trying to make by having a phone that’s 20 years out of date isn’t working, so get with the times and invest in an iPhone.
Right: Lurcher – They may not be a pure breed, but Lurchers epitomise what it means to be ‘man’s best friend’. Their almost insatiable need for exercise will ensure you stay fit, their fierce loyalty will keep you happy and their quiet dignity looks nothing short of regal.
Wrong: Pug – They may be the ‘it’ dog of the moment but, like bell-bottom jeans and microwave cooking, the novelty will soon wear off. But, unlike other fads and phases, this passing craze involves selectively breeding dogs to the extent that they have trouble breathing – cruelty beyond compare.
Right: Bang & Olufsen – The Danish company are one of the few audio brands that have married design and sound quality seamlessly. But, although the speakers are undeniably beautiful, the sound still comes first – with each product rigorously tested over and over again.
Wrong: Playing music off your phone or your laptop. It’s time to invest, gentlemen.
Right: Land Rover – The classic Defender is as iconic as they come. Need we say more?
Wrong: Anything French – Renaults, Citroens and Peugeots have fostered a terrible reputation for reliability over the years and, even though some of their design quirks undeniably turn heads, it’s what’s under the bonnet that matters.
Wrong: Abercrombie & Fitch – Remember at school when all the Year 9 boys discovered scented deodorants, and whole classrooms became fogged with cloying, sickly scents? Abercrombie & Fitch fragrances have, somehow and for some unimaginable reason, managed to bottle those unpleasant memories.
Right: Turnbull & Asser – The best way to wear a shirt – tailored and tucked – is achieved no better than when you’re buttoning up a Turnbull & Asser garment. Meticulously crafted, and with alterations made to conceal everything from dropped shoulders to hunched backs, this is tailoring at its finest.
Wrong: H&M – For a high street brand that have got a lot right, H&M shirting falls incredibly short of the mark. Erring on the side of too tight, and with shockingly bad longevity, a H&M shirt is one to leave on the rail.
Right: The Macallan – From the Double Cask to the 1824 Collection, single malt scotch doesn’t get much better than this. Macallan have seen sales rise exorbitantly over recent years, and their dry fruity flavours, with subtle spices, toffee and cloves are the best a gent can buy.
Wrong: Haig Club – Its vivid square blue bottle is a departure from normal whisky, and the innovation of Haig Club doesn’t end there – they’ve also decided to make their take on the signature spirit taste awful. Notes of paint stripper and acetylene herald a whisky with a sharp mouthfeel, sharp palate and even sharper finish.
Right: Hermès – A tie is an important part of any gentleman’s outfit – it is the bow with which he wraps up his get up. So investing in a quality accessory, such as those produced by Hermes, is a must and both style and resilience is woven into every Hermès tie.
Wrong: Tie Rack – A tie should not be bought in a rush – as a last minute afterthought – and Tie Rack, cropping up in airports and railway stations, seems to encourage this sartorially slapdash behaviour. The ties themselves aren’t too great, either.
Right: Klosters – Nestled among unique mountain scenery, Klosters is one of the most exclusive ski resorts in Switzerland – and rightly so. Six areas and 200 miles of slopes mean that every trip to Klosters will be both an adventure and a challenge – something all men should be looking for in an escape.
Wrong: Dubai – Winter is for snow, gentlemen. Hot winter holidays, although popular, will not give you the opportunity to show off your seasonal wardrobe, enjoy a spot of skiing, or throw a good number of hot toddies down the hatch. Dubai, a popular choice, is also the city equivalent of a Hublot or Vertu.
Right: South of France – The French Riviera is synonymous with old fashioned class and suave, sophisticated fun. Blast a motor car by the glittering ocean, dine in some of the finest restaurants in Europe and soak up the rays – what more could a gent want?
Wrong: Benidorm – On the flip side, over-tanned leathery skin, football shirts, lager and chips abound in package holiday hell-holes like Benidorm. Shot girls, cheap beer and bad food, to name but a few more of the reasons why these hotspots are actually not-spots.
Right: Hemingway – Whilst there are clearly other authors you should read – Ian Fleming and Graham Greene among them – Hemingway’s clipped, economical writing is a joy to take in. Gorgeous in its simplicity, these are words at their most masculine – and the stories aren’t bad either.
Wrong: Fifty Shades – Literary porn has flown off the shelves in recent years thanks to EL James’ blockbuster paperback. But see a man thumbing his way through one such book and you know he’s no gent. If you are unfortunate enough to own such smutty titles, maybe just pretend you’re using them to prop up a wonky table leg.
Right: Berry Brothers – For under £10, you can get some of the best wine you’ll ever drink at Berry Brothers. Refined, simple and – you’ll sense a pattern emerging here – humble, the Claret is particularly popular.
Wrong: So many – Choosing the right white or red can be a minefield – or should that be ‘winefield’? – so here are a few brief rules: Never buy anything in a novelty bottle. Never buy anything that is flavoured. And if there’s a colour in the name, but it’s not a colour you’d usually associate with wine – Black Tower, Blue Nun – put the bottle down and walk away.
Right: The Sting, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Godfather – Films from the middle of the 20th Century oozed class. They retained the charm and scope of the Golden Age of Hollywood, but were produced with rapidly improving technology and starred some of the finest actors who ever lived.
Wrong: Romantic comedies – Let’s get something straight, there’s a time and a place for a rom-com. But no lovey-dovey laugh fests should appear on your list of greatest films of all time. They don’t take themselves too seriously – so neither should you.
Right: Soho House – A lesson in exclusivity, Soho House is selective, drawing its members mainly from the media, arts and fashion industries. This is a club for the modern man, ousting the more dated traditions of fustier clubs and promoting a relaxed atmosphere – with some cracking drinks.
Wrong: Morton’s – Embodying everything Soho House is trying to move away from, Morton’s is enforcing archaic rules – women in high heels, all devices on silent etc. – but without the charming old ‘look’ of other classic clubs. It’s a juxtaposition that doesn’t work, meaning you never feel completely at ease when you’re there.
Right: Globe-Trotter – Synonymous with Great British design, Globe-Trotter create cases that are not only a resilient as luggage can be, but also have one of the most iconic looks of any travelling trunk or suitcase on the market.
Wrong: MCM – Having something overly loud and monogrammed is simply offensive to the eye. It’s important to keep things classy and by doing that, you need to keep things subtle. A gentleman never shows off by being in-your-face. He’s far too good for that.
Wrong: Anything too sporty – Sporting sunglasses are so busy that they literally don’t even look like eyewear anymore. Garish lenses, inexplicable nodules and frames of the strangest shapes – facial furniture you want to put into storage.
Right: Old Fashioned – The classic gentleman’s cocktail, this blend of bourbon, Angostura bitters, orange zest and sugar is sophistication in a rocks glass. Zest your orange flamboyantly, use the best quality bourbon, and don’t skimp on the bitters.
Wrong: Pina Colada – If a man can walk into a bar and order this creamy, fruity travesty of a drink without wincing, there’s something wrong. File alongside Appletinis, Cosmopolitans and Sex on the Beach as drinks orders never to be uttered.
Right: Levi’s – Renowned worldwide, and almost 200 years old, Levi’s are one of the toughest – yet stylish – producers of jeans around. Not afraid to experiment with different denims and cuts, quality lies at the heart of every garment – you can put them through anything.
Wrong: Topman – They may be stylish, but the strength just isn’t there. If you buy a pair of high street jeans, expect to replace them before long.
Right: Le Chameau – This is the perfect brand for every gentleman to invest in. Stylish, practical and guaranteed to last, Le Chameau wellies are the perfect companion for a day out on the field.
Wrong: Anything that’s been designed for fashion purposes rather than practicality. A wellington can still be stylish without being built for the city, and anything that tries to be something that it’s not is a total no-go.
Right: Krug – This Reims-based champagne brand is the gold standard of sparkling wine. Golden in colour and with the finest bubbles, Krug Grande Cuvée is consistently rated one of the world’s best Champagnes by wine critics.
Wrong: Ace of Spades – Aspiring to be the gold standard, Jay Z’s champagne (the rapper’s second appearance on the ‘Wrong’ side) is not actually that bad. What does push the brand into our bad books, however, is the garishly gold bottle – straight out of a rapper’s music video.
Right: Ribeye – A perfectly-marbled ribeye steak is almost impossible to beat – and the fat content makes it incredibly flexible with cooking methods. You don’t have to be a brilliant chef to cook a good ribeye steak, so when a gastronomer gets his hands on one, imagine the results.
Wrong: Fillet – Commonly misconstrued as the finest cut of beef, there is of course nothing wrong with a fillet steak, but it shouldn’t be top of your list. It may be tender due to containing less connective tissue, but the fillet steak is actually less flavoursome than ‘lesser’ cuts.
Right: Kiki McDonough – Perfectly gentlemanly in every sense of the world, investing in a pair Kiki McDonough cufflinks is guaranteed to up your outfit like nothing else.
Wrong: Novelty – Where McDonough has pitched it just right, cufflinks can easily go over the top. If they have cartoon characters on them, you’ve gone wrong. If they’re painted and not natural metal, you’ve gone wrong. If they light up, you’ve definitely gone wrong.
Right: New & Lingwood – You can’t mess around when it comes to underpants. You want simple boxer shorts that do the job they’re meant to do. New & Lingwood are more than happy to oblige, turning their tailoring to your undergarments and crafting comfortable, plain pants which will last.
Wrong: Calvin Klein – A gentleman’s underpants do not have writing on them. Nor are they brashly patterned. And, whilst Calvin Klein’s signature boxer briefs do not fall victim to the latter pitfall, they fall firmly into the first.
Right: Rugby – An everyman’s sport, but with a little more honour and integrity than football, rugby is the great leveller – you could talk about it in a gentleman’s club or a local pub. As brilliant to play as it is to discuss, this is truly the gentleman’s sport.
Wrong: Ping pong. Unless it’s for fun.
Right: Wiltons – Traditional food. Fine oysters, wild fish and tender game. Courteous hospitality and classic decor. Wiltons offers the best fresh food in Britain – and has been serving oysters to the Royal household since 1836.
Wrong: Novikov – With gimmicks galore, Novikov looks cheap. Ironically, Novikov is anything but cheap, and could set you back £30 for a glass of wine alone. The food, of course, isn’t bad, but it is definitely over-hyped.
Right: John Lewis – Socks should be simple. Black or navy, plain and comfortable. Reasonably thick and well-fitting, a good pair of basic socks will see you through at least a year of use – and by wearing socks to start with you’ll be ahead, as we discuss below.
Wrong: No socks – A craze that seems to have developed as some sort of pseudo-European display of ankle-bearing voyeurism, the no-sock brigade are destroying British sartorial standards – in the sweatiest and smelliest way possible. Put some socks on.
Right: The Connaught – A luxury hotel in London’s chic Mayfair village, The Connaught perfectly blends a discreet English ambience with the contemporary 5-star touches expected by the modern traveller. A gentleman’s stop-over, this is resting at its best.
Wrong: Versace Dubai – Vulgar, overpriced, understaffed and in-your-face. One to avoid at all costs.