Style Manual

The modern man’s guide to dressing well every day

We talk to blogger Carl Thompson who appeared in our Party Wear feature about his plans on celebrating this party season and how he likes to prepare for a smart evening out.

Carl Thompson

Do you have many party invites in the calendar this year?

I have quite a few actually! From work parties to ones with friends and family, although I’m still hoping more will arrive in the post during the month of December! When it comes to the Christmas period I like to make the most of it. It’s a time that I love to get dressed up and make an extra effort in my appearance.

How do you decide what to wear to each event?

It may seem obvious but always remember to check the dress code first. Then check the venue where the party is taking place, as they may have their own dress code…And I also google last year’s party and see what sort of attire the event usually attracts. Dress code sorted, I tend to then style a few different outfits by laying the clothes down on my bed, so I can see visually what the outfit as a whole looks like. I will then try on each outfit to see if the clothes actually work on me. I leave the accessories until last, so if I’m wearing black shoes and a black tie for example, I’ll go with a black leather strap watch. It is important to work on the small detailed touches that make you stand out from the crowd.

Describe your ideal party at Christmas

I’d have a car pick me up complete with a bottle of champagne on ice…actually who am I kidding, that is not me at all. The chances are I would have a warm-up beer at home, step out into the rain to find my Uber driver who is not waiting by my blue pickup pin, stop off at a fast food place to line my stomach then make it to the party. My ideal party would look incredible from the venue to the people, it would be glamourous, men in dinner jackets and women in party dresses. The venue would be Christmassy, I’m thinking lights everywhere, log fires, fake snow, the works and, of course, I would be partying again with the Burton ‘You’re Invited to the Party’ guys and having my mind blown by the incredible magic from Mr London.

What’s your pre-night out ritual?

I don’t really have one to be honest – I just like to put on my favourite music to get me in the mood for the night then give my dog Charlie some cuddles before heading out out.

How important is a pre-night out grooming regime?

Extremely important! Even more so in winter with the cold windy weather and the differences in temperature from outdoors to indoors can really harm your skins appearance. My routine is, shower (that’s a good start!), exfoliate my face, use a daily cleanser – I prefer using something with citrus or mint ingredients as these will invigorate you for the night ahead. Once out of the shower and dry, I’ll use a daily moisturiser for my face and an under the eye cream, to hide those dark circles! Finally the fragrance you wear is extremely important. I have a few favourites, so depends on how I’m feeling. For night I would go for something that lasts, is more punchy and prominent to what I wear in the day.

Do you have a favourite party shirt?

Of course, this is an easy one. For me it is a classic crisp white shirt with a pin collar. This shirt has its history in the 1920s when men knew exactly how to dress dapper and boy did they know how to party? When you have multiple parties, you need a shirt that can be as durable as your body during this time and with this shirt you can accessorise with multiple different coloured pin bars keeping the shirt looking timeless. Further still, look super sartorial by wearing a tie over the pin bar and when the night draws in and the dance floor looms…remove the pin bar and tie, undo a button or two and roll the sleeves for a more casual look.

Have you made any memorable party outfit mistakes, and if so, what did you wear?

Of course not (insert winking emoji here)!! Okay, so I’ll give you this. When wearing a bow-tie, I used to wear one that clipped on and had another one that you had to tie, in my pocket ready for later in the night when the bow-ties came off. I would take the clip-on one off and have the other untied one draped over my neck undone, appearing sophisticated like I was wearing a tie-up bow-tie all night.

Roll neck

How would you wear this season’s roll neck?

The best thing about this season’s roll neck is that it truly is a piece of clothing that has one foot in casual and one foot in formal wear. With the Burton roll necks I’ve worn recently, they are woven using fine merino wool, are lightweight and therefore perfect to be worn underneath a suit without compromising the suit’s fit on your body. If worn casually, layer with a plain white longline tee underneath and complete the look with a classic overcoat.

Smart shoes or casual plimsolls?

Smart shoes all the way, remember footwear is usually what people look at first when ‘checking you out’ so a pair of smart shoes that suit your outfit can make all the difference. I prefer wearing slim trousers with a turn-up or skinny jeans rolled up to accentuate my shoes. The perfect shoe in my eyes is the classic brogue, as they are so versatile.

Any tips on party dressing from the office to the bar

This is always a difficult scenario because it totally depends on the attire of your office and where you plan on heading afterwards as usually the two looks don’t tend to match up easily. I would say that micro pattern shirts or button-down white or blue shirts tend to transition well between office and bar.

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