Frederick Thomas

Frederick Thomas Blog

  • Put your best foot forward: the 3 rules of wearing patterned men's socks

    March 21, 2018

    Ahhh, men’s patterned socks – the marmite of modern sartorial decisions. Some men love them, some men hate them.

    Us? We love them.

    We can’t get enough of quirky, in-your-face patterned men’s socks. (In the right circumstances, at least.)

    You see, wearing a pair of statement socks isn’t just a case of ‘pick the quirkiest socks you can 2find and throw them on with your suit’.

    There’s a lot more to it than that, and the stakes are higher.

    Pick the wrong tie or shirt, and, worst case scenario, your outfit looks a little off for the day.

    Pick the wrong statement socks and, even best case scenario, you look like Bozo the Clown.

    That’s why it pays to make sure you know the three rules of rocking patterned men’s socks.

    Luckily, we’re like the Yoda of statement socks, here to show you the path to exceptional sock game.

    So beware, for once you start down the sock path, forever will it dominate your style, consume you it will.

    (That’s probably not going to be the last Yoda quote. Sorry.)

    Rule #1: Learn when it’s OK to wear patterned men’s socks

    (Check out Canadian Prime Minister rocking the patterned socks - a great example of understated confidence.)

    Funerals. Weddings. Important work meetings. Black tie events. White tie events… The list goes on. Patterned men’s socks are definitely not right for formal events of any kind.

    By their very nature, patterned men’s socks are playful, anarchic and rule-breaking – they’re the Johnny Rotten of men’s accessories.

    Would you take Johnny Rotten to a job interview or a funeral?

    Thought not.

    Instead, save your statement socks for situations where showing your personality is a little more acceptable – around the office, at an informal(ish) event, etc…

    At these events, a pair of patterned men’s socks says ‘I know the rules, but I’m breaking them on purpose to have a little fun. Deal with it.’

    It’s bold. It’s confident. And it puts you a step ahead of everybody else in the room.

    Rule #2: Jump into the patterned men’s sock game with both feet, you must not.

    Jon Hamm rocking some patterned men's socks alongside some timeless menswear staples.

    If you’ve always been a black sock type of man, heading into the office with an in-your-face pair of orange beacon socks on isn’t going to work.

    Ease yourself into the statement sock world, you must.

    Start with a classic patterned sock – an argyle, paisley or striped sock in blacks, greys and blues for instance – and introduce them into your everyday wardrobe. They’ve been menswear staples for the best part a century, so you’re still playing it fairly safe while you broaden your horizons.

    Then, start experiment with different colours – getting brighter and brighter over time, until you can wear pops of bold patterns without anybody thinking you’re off to join the circus.

    Rule #3: Make sure your patterned men’s socks match your outfit

    Aaron Paul giving a masterclass in how to match your bold socks with the other colours in your outfit.

    Just because your socks are making a statement doesn’t mean they have to clash with everything you wear.

    Make sure your socks coordinate – coordinate, not match – with the rest of your outfit.

    An easy way to do this is to make sure that the colours in your socks don’t clash with any other colour you’re wearing.

    You can also take a colour that’s in your tie, for instance, and make sure a similar shade is on your socks. Even if it isn’t an exact match – bright orange matches with burnt orange, for instance – your admirers will see it all as a good match.

    That, friends, is the path to statement sock nirvana.

    One last tip: Don’t be afraid.

    Wearing patterned men’s socks requires confidence. They’re in-your-face and brazen. They’ve got bags of bravado.

    So make sure you’re completely confident about wearing them, otherwise the effect is completely lost and you might as well stick to your dark socks.

    In other words: ‘fear is the path to the dark socks’.

    (That’s the last Yoda joke, promise.)

    Where do you come down on the patterned sock debate? Statement sock convert or black-sock-only purist?

    Let us know in the comments or on social media.

  • Tying the knot: the only 3 wedding ties you'll need to get ready for wedding season

    March 16, 2018

    Holy Matrimony, Batman!

    Did you know that every year, over 1 million people get engaged on Valentine’s Day? That’s 500,000 couples that will be planning on tying the knot over the next 18 months, and it’s almost certain that you’re going to get an invite or two in the post.

    The thing is, weddings aren’t as easy to dress for as they used to be.

    5 or 10 years ago, it used to be that you could get away with one nice suit, one nice tie and one nice shirt, and you’d be sorted for every wedding for the next few years.

    Not anymore.

    Oh no, with an endless list of different wedding types – festival weddings, barn weddings, traditional weddings, non-traditional weddings… – it’s got harder and harder to have a ready-to-go wedding outfit sitting in your wardrobe.

    Of course, the first steps are easy: get yourself a navy or dark grey suit and a crisp white shirt. You can’t go wrong with these – they’re classy, timeless and can be dressed up or down depending on the wedding without looking out of place or thrown together.

    The tricky part is picking your tie.

    Luckily, we’ve got your back.

    We’ve put together a quick guide to the only 3 wedding ties you’ll ever need. (And we’ve included wedding ties for every occasion, from your sister’s bohemian wedding in a stable full of hay bales, to your cousin’s fairy-tale, Disney princess wedding.)


    Wedding #1: The Traditional Wedding

    We know, the term traditional wedding is a little broad, so let’s be clear: these weddings usually take place at a church and then head back to a manor house (or somewhere similar) for the reception. Fairy-tale weddings, Disney-inspired weddings or the kind of thing you usually see on Don’t Tell The Bride fall into this category too.

    What wedding tie to wear?

    For these weddings, it’s always best to keep things traditional and classy.

    We suggest this ivory damask, paisley design tie.

    It’s classy and understated, but with a paisley pattern that adds an extra touch of texture to your outfit.

    It’s a winner, that’s for sure.


    Wedding #2: The Relaxed Wedding

    OK, here’s where things get a bit trickier. The relaxed wedding is different to the Very Relaxed Wedding (see below).

    The Relaxed Wedding usually takes place at a fancy registry office or local church, followed by a reception at a country pub. It is formal, followed by relaxed – and that’s super tricky to dress for.

    What wedding tie to wear?

    A Relaxed Wedding is a little closer to the Traditional Wedding than it is the Very Relaxed Wedding in terms of formality, so think of something formal that’s not going to look out of place at 1am after you’ve opened your top button and had a few drinks.


    This navy blue paisley tie does the trick nicely.

    Buttoned up in church, it looks the picture of sophistication (with just a hint of individual style) – and holds up equally well late at night, too.

    Wedding #3: The Very Relaxed Wedding

    This is the type of wedding we referred to earlier – the type of wedding that takes place in a barn or a stable or in a forest.

    They’re becoming more and more popular, so make sure you’ve got a wedding tie ready (just in case you become an emergency +1).

    What wedding tie to wear?

    It’s still a wedding, so you’ve got to be wedding-ish, but not too wedding-ish. Easy, right?

    Speaking from experience, you can’t go wrong with a knitted tie at a VRW. They’re still formal, but they’ve also got that relaxed vibe and rugged texture that’s just right for spending the day in a dusty field.

    (This maroon wedding tie, complete with subtle love hearts, is a fool-proof choice.)

    So there you have it, your go-to guide for every type of wedding you might get invited to this season. Did we miss one? Let us know! 

  • The skinny tie isn't dead! (Just make sure you follow these 5 rules)

    March 9, 2018

    To us Brits, the words J. Crew might not mean very much. Sure, we know (well, we think) it’s a clothing brand, that it’s American and that – again, we think – they mentioned it in an episode of Friends once.

    But beyond that, we’re pretty much stuck.

    Which means that the fact they wrote ‘We widened our ties by ¼” to keep up with today’s changing proportions.’ on page 86 of their October catalogue shouldn’t mean much to us at all.

    Except, it turns out that J. Crew is held up as some sort of men’s fashion weather vane – so pretty soon the internet was awash with headlines proclaiming the death of the skinny tie.

    Business Insider said: ‘The Skinny Tie is Dying’.

    Bloomberg said: ‘Sorry Hipsters, the Skinny Tie is Over’

    And CBS said: ‘The skinny on men’s ties? They’re getting wider again.’

    Well, we’re going to stick our neck out and say they’re wrong.

    Don’t believe us?

    Think of Don Draper. Think of James Bond. Think of The Beatles.

    They all dressed pretty well, don’t you think?

    So well, in fact, that they’ve all had a huge effect on men’s style. (You could even go so far as to describe all three as timeless.)

    And they all wore skinny ties. And not because Topman told them too, but because they all knew the power of a well-placed skinny tie.

    You see, the skinny tie (usually measuring between 1.5 and 2.5 inches) became popular in the 1960s at the height of Beatlemania. This snowballed into both phases of mod fashion (the original mods vs rockers era, and later again with The Jam et al…) and across onto the silver screen with James Bond.

    Then, it had a little snooze. You’d see it here and there, but by and large, we were in the wide-tie era of the late 80s and 90s, as the John Lennons and Ace Faces of this world were replaced by Patrick Batemans and Gordon Gekkos.

    But in the early 2000s, something strange happened. Skinny, drawn-out hipsters – universally derided by the mainstream press – had a huge effect on men’s fashion. Pete Doherty – usually the punchline to a joke, rather than a fashion icon – made the skinny tie cool again.

    And once more, the skinny tie could be found around the neck of everybody from work experience boys to David Cameron.

    And now, it seems, the trend seems to be waning a little. But let us ask you this?

    Would you rather dress like Gordon Gekko or Don Draper?

    Patrick Bateman or James Bond?

    That’s what we thought.

    So before you dig out your black suit and go into a period of mourning, bear with us. The skinny tie may not be the must-have accessory it once was, but there’s life in the old boy yet.

    (Side note: 1/2inch skinny ties are definitely dead, thank God. We’re not going to argue with that.)

    That said, there are rules to wearing a skinny tie now. It’s no longer the ‘who can wear the skinniest tie?’ race that it was a decade ago.

    So, to help you rock the skinny tie without looking like you’re going on a date with Kate Moss, we’ve put together 5 handy tips to keep you looking good, even if you are stepping into sartorial maverick territory:

    #1: Match your skinny tie with your suit lapels and shirt collar.

    Skinny ties can look suave and super smooth in the right situation (even if J. Crew and Business Insider disagree). And the right situation definitely isn’t in a wide-collared shirt and a jacket with wide lapels. That’s a quick way to make it look like you got dressed in the dark.

    Instead, make sure you match the collar and lapels to the width of your tie – skinny tie, skinny lapels, skinny shirt collar. Easy.

    #2: Match the narrow tie with a smaller, slightly asymmetric tie knot.

    The skinny tie and a Merovingian knot do not good bedfellows make. Thinner ties call for smaller, less in-your-face knots – the four-in-the-hand knot (the one you’ve been doing since school) is perfect.

    #3: Pair your skinny neckpiece with a 1 or 2 button suit.

    Three-button suits do not work well with thinner neckties – like the wide lapels or collars, they look out of proportion and ill-considered. Instead, stick with 1 or 2 button jackets to keep everything streamlined and simple.

    #4: Keep it simple.

    Skinny ties aren’t really the place for in-your-face patterns. They’re good for a flash of colour, a hint of pattern or just an understated breaking up of the white shirt. They’re not good for statement patterns or – god forbid – a gimmicky, press-this-button-to-play-Santa-Claus-is-Coming-to-Town design.

    #5: Add a tie clip.

    Skinny ties benefit from just the hint of an accessory. Adding a tie clip to a skinny tie doesn’t just add another element of eye-catching style to your suit, but it elevates the whole thing from Pete Doherty to Tom Hiddlestone. (Or, in other words, heroin chic to potential Bond.)

    So there you have it. Five ways to continue wearing your skinny ties without risking the wrath of the sartorial gods.

    What do you think? Is the skinny tie dead? Or have rumours of its death been greatly exaggerated?

  • Common Style Mistakes Men Make: Part I – Around the Office

    February 17, 2018

    If you’ve ever Googled ‘what to wear to a job interview’ or ‘what to wear to a wedding’, the chances are you’ve read lots of the same advice over and over again; buy a tailored navy suit, accessorise in moderation, keep things simple, etc…

    And those articles are great - you’ll find lots of them on our blog too.

    But, as you’re learning to dress well, sometimes it’s easy to focus on the bigger picture and forget about the little details.

    For instance, let’s say you’ve bought a new suit, shirt and tie to wear to the your cousin’s wedding. You’ve made sure that the shirt, tie and suit all match - which is great.

    But have you thought about socks? Or shoes? Or matching your leathers?

    These little details can make a big difference to your entire look.

    At best, they can take a forgettable outfit and take it up a few notches, while at the very worst, they’re going to keep you looking tidy and presentable.

    This new series - which we’ve called Common Style Mistakes Men Make - looks at a selection of sartorial faux pas that are, sadly, all too common.

    We’ve decided to divide them up by occasion so that we can give really specific advice and help you look your best at all times, whether you’re next to the water cooler at work or best man at a wedding.

    Without further ado, let’s crack a bottle of champagne over the inaugural post of the series:

    Common Style Mistakes Men Make Around The Office


    1. Creased shirts

    Look, we’ve all been there. The alarm goes off. You snooze it. It goes off again. You snooze it. By time you’ve got up in a panic, jumped in the shower, and gulped down half a cup of coffee, you realise that you didn’t iron your shirt.

    A quick glance at your watch tells you that it’s either an ironed shirt or you turn up late and face the disappointed state of your boss.

    So, of course, you rock up to work looking like you slept in your clothes.

    Now, once, that’s not so bad. (Although, we recommend skipping out at lunch to buy a new shirt.)

    But making a habit of it doesn’t just make you look dishevelled, it looks unprofessional. It screams ‘I don’t take this job seriously.’

    Do yourself - and your career - a favour and take 2 minutes to give your shirt a once over.

    And don’t go kidding yourself with any of that ‘the creases will drop out if I hang it next to the shower’ business either. It never works.

    Keep an eye on our Facebook page over the next few months, we’ll be showing you how to iron your shirt in under two minutes. That should sort you out, even on those I’ve-snoozed-my-alarm-seven-times kind of mornings.

    2. Scuffed Shoes

    What can we say about this one? It’s one of the most common style mistakes men make when they’re just starting to dress well -- probably because your feet rarely show up in the mirror when you give yourself the old you-look-good double-guns.

    But scuffed shoes weren’t acceptable when you got home to your mum after a kick-about, and they aren’t acceptable in an office either.

    Pair a really nice suit with a pair of scuffed shoes and you’ll kill the whole outfit.

    Get yourself a brush, some polish and take a few minutes every week or two to give them a brush, clean and polish.

    Not only will you look better, but your shoes will last longer too. 

    3. White socks

    Unless you’ve got a girl named Billie Jean who you’re pretty adamant isn’t your lover, then don’t even think about doing this.

    There’s no quicker way to ruin a nice outfit than channelling the King of Pop.

    4. Incorrect tie length

    Look, we can’t really blame you for this one. If most powerful man in the world doesn’t know how to tie a tie to the correct length, then we can’t really blame you.

    But this is one of the most common style mistakes men make. They either go too long and end up with the tie poking out of the bottom of their jacket, or they look like they’re about to start singing ‘Hit Me Baby, One More Time.’

    The tip of the tie should touch the top of your belt. No shorter, no longer.

    5. Pointed or square shoes

    OK, if you’re a Lego figure or an elf, then ignore this tip. If not, then pointy and square-toed shoes shouldn’t even be in your wardrobe.

    Dressing like a schoolboy with fresh Clarks shoes isn’t professional, and nor are shoes that look like they could have somebody’s eye out.*

    Invest in a decent pair of round-toed shoes, keep them scuff-free and you’ll be climbing that corporate ladder in no time.

    *If you work in Santa’s Grotto, we apologise. We know that pointed shoes are part of your uniform.

    6. Short sleeve shirt and a tie


    There’s no easier way to go from ‘Have that on my desk by the end of the day’ to ‘the dog ate my homework’ than pairing a short sleeved shirt with a tie.

    Just don’t do it. It wasn’t a good look for Just William, and it isn’t a good look for you.

    7. Brown belt, black shoes


    This is one of those subtle things that makes a huge difference. If you’re wearing brown shoes, wear a brown belt. If you’re wearing black shoes, wear a black belt.

    Mixing and matching leathers looks scruffy, unprofessional and like you’ve got dressed in the dark.

    Even The Wall Street Journal agrees with us.

    So there you have it, 7 easy ways to fix common style mistakes men make. Are you guilty of any of these? Or think we missed some out? Let us know in the comments or on social media - we’d love to hear from you.

  • Learn from the best: quick fashion tips from 5 of the most stylish film characters ever.

    February 10, 2018


    With professional stylists, endless takes and perfectly tailored wardrobes, it’s no wonder that movie stars always look so effortlessly cool and enviably well turned-out in every single frame.

    And sometimes, especially with films that feature some of the most stylish film characters ever, it’s tempting to try and emulate their style exactly.

    Remember that horrible period in the early 2000s when there was a large number of people who started wearing long leather jackets and wrap-around sunglasses to look like Neo from The Matrix?

    That’s what you want to avoid.

    Instead, what we do here at FT is to take elements of what works for the most stylish film characters and adapt them into our wardrobes.

    That way, you can look less like you’re in cosplay, and more like a well-dressed gentleman.

    Let’s look at 5 quick examples of lessons you can learn from some of the most stylish film characters ever.

    Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor

    Pairing a light blue shirt with two killer jackets and some aviators, he shows us that keeping things simple and classic is the best way to look good at all times.

    If you asked us to name the most stylish actors ever off the top of our heads, we’re pretty sure Robert Redford would come close to the top of the list.

    Hell, the man’s an octogenerian now and he’s still dressing better than most men a quarter of his age.

    And in Three Days of the Condor, Redford is at his stylish best - even with a limited wardrobe.

    Pairing a light blue shirt with two killer jackets and some aviators, he shows us that keeping things simple and classic is the best way to look good at all times.

    (Oh, and that investing in a peacoat is more than worth it.)

    Ryan Gosling in Drive

    Surely nobody is surprised to see the baby goose on a list of the most stylish film characters ever?

    And in Drive, Gosling is at his cool, calm and collected best - and he’s dressed to kill, too.

    Now, as cool as that white jacket with an embossed scorpion might look, steer clear of buying a knock-off version to match up with your new tooth-pick-chewing habit.

    We’re going for style, not fancy dress.

    Instead, look at what Gosling wears outside of that jacket.

    It’s all items that you’ve definitely got at home. White tees, denim jackets, dark jeans.

    The difference is that they fit properly.

    Buy clothes that fit properly and you’ll be walking around to the sound of 80s-inspired synth in no time, you real human bean.

    Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop

    While Beverly Hills Cop’s legacy may have been tarnished by barely-repressed memories The Crazy Frog, one thing remains true: Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley is a lesson is how to look good in a jeans and hoodie.

    Even if Levi 501s are a little light for our tastes, they’re still a timeless classic that -- when matched up with a faded grey sweatshirt, charcoal blue hoodie and Adidas trainers -- wouldn’t look out of place today.

    The tip we can learn here?

    Eddie’s clothes look good because they keep everything to an almost monochrome palette. Save for the white trainers, everything is either blue, grey or, in the case of the hoodie, a grey-ish blue.

    Sticking to a few colours that match is an easy way to put together a dependable everyday outfit -- just don’t match them too closely, otherwise you’ll look like a Crayola.

    Steve McQueen in Thomas Crown Affair


    The main takeaway from this film -- and it was hard to choose just one -- is the importance of a suit that fits really well.

    The original Thomas Crown Affair (the less we speak about the Pierce Brosnan version, the better) is often thought to be the most stylish film ever made. And, by extension, Steve McQueen’s suited-and-booted eponymous thief has to be one of the most stylish film characters ever.

    (If you haven’t seen Thomas Crown Affair, then we couldn’t recommend it more. It’s got everything - nice cars, nice clothes, great heist scenes, a twisty-and-turny plot, and a killer cast. If you don’t finish the film wishing you were Steve McQueen, we’ll eat one of our ties.)

    The main takeaway from this film -- and it was hard to choose just one -- is the importance of a suit that fits really well.

    Steve McQueen’s suits aren’t just nice suits. They’re perfectly fitting suits that make him look like the self-made millionaire he plays. There’s little bits of accessorization here and there (including some enviable sunglasses), but on the whole, it’s just classic three-piece suits elevated by the fact they have been tailored to perfection.

    Cary Grant in North by Northwest

    Veering away from the same-old, same-old choices of accessories can have incredible results. These sunglasses aren’t wildly different from Wayfarers, but the little changes have a huge impact.

    Cary Grant’s suit in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest is a thing of film legend. Tailored for Grant by Savile Row tailors Kilgour, the lightweight wool, three-buttoned single breasted suit is one of the film’s standout pieces.

    Grant - who used to choose his own costumes - pairs it with matching trousers, Oxblood leather derby shoes, a white shirt with double cuff, light blue cufflinks and a grey silk tie.

    And man, for a film that’s nearly 60 years old, it holds up incredibly well.

    (Grant apparently had a clause in his contract that he got to keep all of the suits tailored for him during film production, which is incredibly shrewd.)

    But that’s not the lesson we want to learn from Mr Grant.

    Oh no, the lesson we want to learn from North by Northwest is about the power of a great pair of sunglasses.

    We’re going to stick our neck out here and say that the sunglasses Cary Grant wears in this film might just be the coolest thing worn on celluloid, ever.

    The Tart Arnel sunglasses in tortoise-shell with green-tinted glasses offer a deviation away from the classic Wayfarer/Aviator decision and towards something with a little more cool, class and character.

    (You can still get yourself a pair right here, if you fancy copying the look.)

    The lesson here?

    That veering away from the same-old, same-old choices of accessories can have incredible results. These sunglasses aren’t wildly different from your run-of-the-mill Wayfarers, but the little changes have a huge impact on the overall impression.

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