Grooming and gadgets for guys

Grooming is no longer just for women. Savvy guys already know this, and in fact, men’s grooming is now big business. Mintel reports that the men’s personal care market in the UK was worth £574 million in 2012 and is expected to rise by 6% by 2017. Why? Well, you may be dressing well, but you certainly don’t want your hair, skin or eyebrows to let you down. American entrepreneur Daymond John says it best: ‘Good grooming is integral and impeccable style is a must. If you don’t look the part, no-one will want to give you time or money.’ Furthermore, being well-groomed demonstrates attention to detail and enhances your professional image.

Given the myriad of products, gadgets and even apps on the market today to help you look your best, there’s no longer an excuse for not looking tip-top. Read on to find out more…

Go online…

If you are in need of some help but prefer to remain anonymous, there are a number of online resources that can help you look your best (not that I’m trying to do myself out of a job, you understand).   In recent years, the number of websites and apps geared towards men’s style and grooming has exploded. They can help you put outfits together, advise on how to tie a tie (or shoelaces), and keep you up to date with the latest grooming gadgets, techniques and outlets. Here are a few particularly useful resources:


  • Mr Porter: a shopping app (and website) allowing you to browse and buy clothing from international designers. The website also contains The Journal, with articles on a variety of lifestyle issues and styling subjects (free on iTunes)
  • Philips Grooming App: to help you find everything you ever wanted to know about shaving and beard styling, including ‘how to’ and personalised advice (available at Philips)
  • How to Tie a Tie: one of a number of apps available, covering a variety of knots (free on iTunes)


  • Fashion Beans: a fantastic source of advice on men’s fashion, lifestyle and tips on grooming. They also regularly rate their ‘top 10’ products (fragrance, skin care, etc)
  • Niven & Joshua: a very grown-up men’s skincare website, featuring exclusive and high-end brands, along with advice for the modern gentleman on specific issues such as acne, hair loss and rosacea
  • Mankind: site selling products for skin, hair, shaving and body. They also have ‘masterclasses’, giving step-by-step advice on dealing with ingrown hairs, combating oily skin and a range of other skin, haircare and grooming issues

Great gadgets

A quick caveat before I begin: I haven’t tried any of these !  But they’ve all had great reviews…

  • The Luna Cleansing System by Foreo: this non-abrasive silicone FOREO_LUNA_trade__Anti_Ageing_and_Facial_Cleansing_System_for_Men_1385466553device uses T-Sonic™ pulsations to remove dirt and prep skin for shaving. It also claims to lessen the appearance of fine lines, and is great for travel. Available on Mr Porter
  • Braun Series 7 799 electric rechargeable wet and dry foil shaver: This was recently reviewed by the Telegraph as one of the five best men’s grooming gadgets. Evidently it can ‘read your face’ and adjusts its micro vibrations according to your hair density. It also has three shaving modes and only needs a five-minute charge for one cordless shave.  Available at Tesco
  • Panasonic ER-GN30 Nose & Facial Hair trimmer: I know, not a ER-GN30-K_1particularly pleasant item, but unfortunately, one that becomes a necessity as the years pass. This one uses a rotary cutting mechanism (so no chance of cutting yourself). Available on Amazon
  • Philips BG2036 Bodygroom – for hair below the neck. Self-explanatory really. I’ll leave you to check this one out. Just let me add that men’s body hair removal has now become mainstream, with a wide range of products available and many salons offering specific waxing services for gents. Available at Boots

Kitty on the catwalk

Photos courtesy of Malcolm Tam

Last week was Brighton Fashion Week, which is becoming quite a significant annual event in our fair city.  At the industry networking evening, I had the amazing good fortune of bumping into Valerie Goode, Creative CEO of Kitty Ferreira.  Valerie founded the label in 2013, after working in China and witnessing horrific pollution and environmental degradation there.  She says, ‘I returned to the UK vowing not to contribute to that by sourcing upcycled materials in the UK and, where possible, British-made materials to keep my carbon footprint as low as possible.’

Valerie is a trained commercial designer who produces eminently wearable clothes. She designs timeless and elegant ethical pieces that dispel the ‘hippy’ connotations of sustainable fashion. Her clothes have featured at London Fashion Week and have won several awards.

I saw her simple and chic spring/summer 2016 collection at the Sustain Fashion Show on the final evening, held in the imposing All Saint’s Church in Hove. The clothes were definitely elegant and wearable, had sex appeal (without being clingy), and featured some of my favourite elements: long fluid silhouettes, a mainly monochrome/neutral palette and gorgeous silky fabrics. I particularly loved the semi-sheer silk transparent jacket and black trousers.

Catwalk shows are usually about art rather than wearability, but I could picture myself meeting a client or attending an event in one of her dresses (or the jacket/trouser outfit). Moving away from the neutral palette, Valerie also showed a vibrant African-inspired print top with peg-shaped trousers.

And the name? Valerie named the label after her grandmother, who lived in the Caribbean and was upcycling long before it became a fashionable term.

Valerie told me, ‘Brighton Fashion Week was excellent and I’m so excited for ethical and sustainable fashion right now.  Being the only UK platform for ethical and sustainable fashion is a huge step towards cleaning up the industry and creating awareness for the end customer.’  Her long-term vision is to rival non-ethical brands on the high street, and I have no doubt she will succeed.

Find out more and follow Kitty Ferreira on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.



Clothes give you confidence

Getting dressed is the most powerful thing you do in the morning’ – Lorraine Candy, editor-in-chief, ELLE Magazine

ten2Two bannerYes, clothes are powerful. They give you presence and confidence. And ‘confidence’ was the theme of a recent workshop I participated in, run by Emma Cleary and Laurie Smith, directors of Ten2Two here in Sussex.

the roomThe workshop, aimed at women looking to return to work, focused on building confidence for job interviews and meetings from a number of angles.

Hilary Ellis of Talent for Change spoke about ‘what is confidence’ and gave us visioning exercises to work on together.  Jo Ellis of Pure Confidence gave a fascinating talk on coping with nerves and how to make body language work in your favour. There were also speakers on what you should think about in terms of finances, how to define and articulate your skills and attributes and the various childcare options available to women returning to work.

me and EmmaAnd me? I talked about how clothes can boost your confidence and how to approach dressing for interviews and meetings. It’s important to remember that people will measure your professionalism by your appearance – how you dress signifies your status, self-confidence and self-worth. You may be the most qualified person for the job, but if you look scruffy or unkempt that will undermine your skills. Your goals when dressing for an interview should be to look smart and professional and to feel comfortable – which, in turn, will boost your confidence.

Do you have an important meeting or interview coming up ? I can help you harness the power of your clothes…

Thanks to Claire Brewer Photography for the images.


How to layer

autumn_journal_leavesChilly mornings, warm afternoons, cool evenings. Blustery wind, sudden downpours, bright sunshine. Whatever autumn holds, you can be sure it often includes four seasons in one day.  Which makes it tricky to know what to wear.

Recent press reports have also confirmed what many of us already knew.  Women do feel colder in offices than men, preferring an average temperature of 25C (rather than 22C favoured by the guys).

So what’s the solution?  Layering.  When done well, effective layering can see you through even the most changeable autumn days and keep you warm in chilly offices.

IMG_1190Here’s how…

  • Invest in the basics. Fine jersey camisoles and vest tops in white or nude make great base layers.  Jigsaw and Intimissimi are my go-to brands
  • Layer hem lengths. Try a sleeveless longline jacket (Whistles has a lovely black crepe version) or cape over a midi skirt, for example.  This looks cool (while keeping you warm)
  • Go maxi. An ankle-grazing skirt worn with a buttoned shirt, neat jumper and heels looks chic – see Net A Porter for some gorgeous options
  • Layer knits too. Wear a chunky sleeveless longline knit over a crisp longline white shirt or tee to add texture and interest as per the White Company
  • Add accessories. A skinny silk scarf around your neck is very ‘now’, and adds a bit of extra warmth (keep jewellery to a minimum with this look). You won’t want to spend a lot on this – Topshop is a good bet

Just remember to keep the total number of layers to three – you don’t want to add bulk.  Most of all, experiment and have fun !

Celebrating Diana.

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The bikini is the most important thing since the atom bomb – Diana Vreeland, 1946

This week marks the late, great Diana Vreeland’s birthday.  Diana was a fashion columnist, editor-in-chief and all-round powerhouse.  Born in Paris to an American socialite mother and British father, Diana and her family moved to the US at the beginning of the First World War.

Her varied career spanned six decades and many social changes – World War II, the advent of the sixties, the space age and feminism.  After marrying banker Thomas Vreeland in 1924, the couple lived in London, where she ran a lingerie business in Mayfair, where her clients included Wallis Simpson.  The Vreelands returned to New York in the mid-30s, where Diana joined Harpers Bazaar, writing the ‘Why Don’t You…?’ column, offering extravagant fashion and lifestyle tips.  She later became fashion editor of the magazine, remaining there for 26 years.

Knowing she wasn’t a classic beauty, Diana emphasised her flaws instead of concealing them.  She cropped her black hair and wore it sharply pulled back to show her severe profile, and emphasised her pale complexion with rouge and scarlet red nails (her favourite shade).

Diana advised Jacqueline Kennedy on dress during the 1960 presidential campaign, and introduced her to Oleg Cassini, who became Jackie’s chief designer.

She became editor-in-chief at Vogue in 1963, and celebrated the decade’s uniqueness, saying ‘If you had a bump on your nose, it made no difference, as long as you had a marvellous body and good carriage.’  While at Vogue, she discovered and photographed ‘youthquaker’ Edie Sedgwick.  After leaving Vogue, she became special consultant to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Diana was added to the International Best Dressed List (now run by Vanity Fair) in 1964.  She died in 1989 at the age of 85.