How to get on your bike and where to begin with cycling

You can’t have missed the bike revival that has taken place over recent months. With massive numbers of people cycling during lockdown for their daily exercise, followed by people rejecting tubes and busses in favour of a bike when commuting to work.

I believe the numbers of cyclists can only increase further as the government is investing heavily in cycling infrastructure, as well as other incentives to encourage people to get back in the saddle, get fitter and avoid public transport. 

So, here’s my guide to starting out if you’re considering taking up cycling to work or for fun, post Coronovirus:

GET YOUR BIKE RIGHT

If you are buying a new bike, first consider the kind of riding you want to do and the typical route. If it’s hilly – make sure you get a bike with enough gears to handle it, if you’re commuting then 3-6 gears should be enough to get you up and down most town and city hills. If you are looking to road or mountain bike you will want to consider more than 10 gears to manage the rougher terrain. 

Next, consider the weight of the bike. Modern road bikes are all designed to be very light so even the heaviest will do you well – but aim to go as light as possible. For commuter bikes, the weight can be an issue. The heavier Dutch-style bikes often look very beautiful but are hard work if you’re peddling uphill, lifting it up canal path stairs or storing it in your flat. So, factor in the weight of the bike if you have a lot of hills to conquer or you need to store it inside. 

If you already have an old bike, dust it off, check the brakes and the gears are working properly and enjoy it. Getting on the bike is the only way to know what kind of cycling you enjoy. 

PLAN YOUR ROUTE

The first thing I’m asked when I mention that I’ve cycled around London for 15 years is; “aren’t you scared of the traffic?” I’m not. But that’s because I always pick my route carefully – even now.  

The route is crucial to an enjoyable journey. The main highways and roads might be the most direct path but they will not be the most pleasant. Always take the backstreets; they are quieter, safer and much more interesting as you get to discover parts of your town/city you would never have seen before. 

Fortunately, picking your route has never been easier. There are lots of cycle routes now across the country and they are definitely worth taking advantage of. Most city and the country routes are in cycle maps that are easy to follow. For your local paths have a look on your council’s website – most of the maps are available there. 

Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to cycle, take the slightly longer, quieter route, get yourself lost and, most importantly of all, enjoy it. 

LOOK AFTER YOUR BACK

Get the bag off your back and onto the bike! Not only does it take the strain off your spine, it also reduces back sweat – something a backpack seems to create in very un-natural quantities. The solution is a pannier rack. They attach over the back wheel of your bike and you can attach pannier bags and baskets on them to carry whatever you need. As the rack is on the back of your bike, not the front, and is low on the bike, it doesn’t affect your steering or stability, so it will help you feel more secure on your bike. 

Hill & Ellis has a range of stylish bike bags that all attach securely to your pannier bike rack. They are also designed to look smart so are the perfect accessory for the work commute. 

JOIN A GROUP

If you still want a bit more Dutch courage (so to speak) before cycling on your own, then you need your own personal peloton (cycling group). Cycling is really friendly, with lots of groups keen to help other cyclists get started with advice, buddies and supported rides. There are groups all over the country, so you’ll definitely find one in your local area. 

The Breeze network offers women’s only rides and commuting training rides to help build confidence for cycling to work, they will even arrange a group to cycle with you to your office for the first couple of rides.

British Cycling also has beginners guide on their website for the A-Z of what you need to know before taking to the saddle.

But most of all don’t rush. Enjoy it. Life from the saddle will always make you smile. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Ellis is founder of Hill & Ellis, which produces a range of high quality, stylish cycle bags. Each bag, designed in the UK, is created to transition perfectly from home to bike to boardroom to bar. They are functional, fashionable and hard wearing.  There’s plenty of space inside for a laptop and other essentials, and each bag comes with patented pannier clips that fit almost any bike, allowing you to clip the bag on and off quickly and easily. 

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5 Benchmarking tests to track your fitness

At points throughout your training regime, you may want to benchmark your fitness to track your progress. This calls for fitness challenges that will push you to the very limit.

Here are some workouts to make you feel the burn.

The fast shuttle to fitness

Shuttle runs are a fast way of attaining fitness through short bursts of sprint running. They help to improve your acceleration and speed, as well as your anaerobic fitness. After placing markers at 10, 20 and 30 metres, you should sprint to the 10m marker first, touch the floor and run back to your starting position. Then repeat this with the 20m and 30m markers. Go back to the 10m marker, and repeat the whole set four times.

You can always time yourself to try to get quicker with every set, and vary the shuttle runs by taking giant strides, jogging with high knees or skipping, instead of sprinting.

At the first bleep…

As with the shuttle runs, you will need a flat, non-stop surface for the bleep test, or the 20m multistage fitness test. You will have to run continuously between two markers 20 metres apart in time to recorded beeps.

At the start, the gap between beeps or bleeps is quite large, and so your running speed is quite slow, but after about a minute, a sound indicates an increase in speed, bringing the beeps closer together.

After each minute, the gap between beeps decreases. If you reach the marker before the beep, you have to wait until it sounds before you turn and continue; if you fail to make the marker before the beep, then you are given a warning and you must continue to the marker and turn and try to catch up with the pace with the sounding of two more beeps. If you fail to reach the marker twice in a row after a warning, the bleep test is stopped.

Any score above 13 is considered excellent. A maximal test requires a good level of fitness, and if you wear a heart-rate monitor, you’ll have a better idea of when you’ve maxed out.

Buckle up, Bronco

The pretty vicious Bronco fitness test has made life hell for many in the past, so this will give you a great benchmark for your fitness. The idea is to run shuttles of 20, 40 and then 60 metres, then repeat the set five times, trying to get under five minutes.

This will test your anaerobic capacity, your motor skills, your running efficiency, and your turning ability – the legendary Kiwi Richie McCaw recently managed a personal best in the Bronco fitness test of four minutes, 56 seconds, so you’re going to have to push yourself right to the very limit to break the five-minute mark.

The great news is that your whole team can do the test and work to maximum effort together, motivating one another. Give each other encouragement and consistent instructions before, during and after this tough benchmark test.

Doing the crab walk

This is a compound exercise that works many muscle groups, as well as working on your cardiovascular fitness, co-ordination and mobility. Balance on your hands and feet, with your front facing the ceiling and your hips forwards, so that you form a bridge.

Take a few crabby steps backwards and forwards to elongate your body – your triceps, shoulders, abs, back muscles, lats and hamstrings will get a thorough workout from this unusual position.

Join up with the resistance runners

Coaches will often swear by resistance running to make simple sprint drills that much harder. Wearing several rugby shirts or one soaked in warm water will teach you to maintain your running style under pressure.

You can also try carrying water bottles filled with sand during the shuttle runs to build upper-body strength, or give a teammate a piggyback or a fireman’s lift – don’t turn too much, though. Stay running in one direction!

The beginners guide to hiking and walking

Exploring the outdoors is for everyone, and if you’re just starting to make walking or hiking a more regular thing then we have some handy facts and tips that can help you enjoy it as much as possible.

Hit the hills, don’t sweat the small stuff!

Why choose walking?

Walking is simple, free, and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.

Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier.

You don’t have to walk for hours…even a brisk 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your NHS recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.

Take yourself off to a local trail in the country and you’ll be presented with so much beautiful, open space, you won’t quite know what to do with it!

Get closer to nature

In the country, you are surrounded by the singing of the birds rather than by the noise from the traffic. The countryside is surrounded by nature which has a soothing effect on both the mind and the body. A good walk can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. But it’s not just about the occasional one-off feel good factor. Being active has a whole range of benefits when it comes to mental wellbeing.

It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.

But, what to wear?

The first question everyone will ask themselves before they head out on their first hike is, ‘what should I wear?

If you have little experience with walking or preparing for the outdoors in general, it can be daunting to kit yourself out properly on your own. Working from top to bottom, we have put together a guide to clothing and accessories for walking and hiking, so you know before you go.

Your Upper Half

Your first must-have is a waterproof jacket which will keep you protected, dry and comfortable when zigzagging through forests, hills and lakesides.

We all know how quickly the weather can change, and at higher altitudes, a sudden shift in weather can be dangerous if you aren’t appropriately prepared. Look for a good waterproofness level combined with significant breathable properties, as this will help you stay fresh when you’re on the move – ideal for brisk treks and mountain climbs.

Your mid-layer is just as important as the outer layer, as it insulates heat and can be used as a light cover-up when the weather is fine. A fleece zip-up is a good choice of mid-layer, as it is a multi-use garment and provides protection from icy winds and temperatures.

base layer will complete your gear for your upper half, wicking away moisture when you’re getting hot and sweaty from exerting yourself, yet still insulating your body heat when you’re cooler.

Your Lower Half

A pair of quality walking boots to your outfit to make sure that your feet are able to tolerate the strains and stresses of walking long distances across diverse terrain. Trainers or slip-on shoes just won’t cut it on the hills and mountains, plus varied trails below. You will need a pair of boots that has a rugged grip sole, good support around the ankle and preferably a waterproof outer layer.

From the daily commute to a day out reaching that elusive peak, our rucksacks will see you through. Each is designed with comfort, durability and performance in mind. Crammed with great details like breathable air mesh and convenient pockets they’re guaranteed to make life a little easier wherever you’re heading.

Make sure you have the best clothing and equipment possible for your walk or hike.

The beginners guide to hiking and walking high street gent

Things to consider as a beginner

First-time hikers can often forget essential things that might not be the end of the world but can maybe make life a little more difficult uphill. So, here is what to do to avoid trouble…

  • Take plenty of water with you
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged (and invest in a portable charger)
  • A traditional paper map will never let you down
  • A packed lunch and/or snacks will provide a much-needed energy boost
  • Pack some plasters, bandages and an emergency blanket (for those longer and steeper walks)
  • Do not wear trainers (more so for hiking than walking)
  • Bring a spare hoodie or fleece in case it gets cold
  • Let someone know where you are hiking before you go
  • Don’t rush it! You can go at your own pace!

Where to go?

Before you head out, ask yourself these questions to help you find the perfect trail and make sure that you’re 100% prepared:

  • How long do you want to be out for?
  • Are you going to take friends, go solo, or hike with the family?
  • Do you know the route?
  • Will you be back before dark?
  • Have you told someone where you’re going?

These questions will help you pick the right trail or route and ensure you stay safe as you go. The last question there is vitally important; before you leave civilisation, make sure that you tell a friend where you’re off to, how long you plan on being away and remember to give them your contact number.

In need of some inspiration of where to walk? Take a look at the Top 15 walks in the UK that you can enjoy with the family.

The beginners guide to hiking and walking high street gent men walking through the hills
The COVID-19 Crisis Survey for Men Reveals 100% of Those Interviewed Are Now Experiencing Mental Health Problems

The COVID-19 Crisis Survey for Men Reveals 100% Are Experiencing Mental Health Problems

A survey into how men’s mental health has been affected by the pandemic reveals that an overwhelming 100% of all men interviewed felt that their mental health had been affected. All of those who took part reported problems including feelings of depression, anger, anxiety, lack of appetite, sleeping problems and lack of sexual interest over the last few months.

The Covid-19 Crisis Survey for Men went onto reveal that over half of all men who took part (60%), have not made time to socialise with their family and friends and this has had a detrimental effect on their mental health. The research also showed that:

  • 85% of men felt that their children had been affected by the pandemic
  • 65% are concerned about their family’s financial future
  • Only 10% felt that their partner hadn’t been affected by the crisis
  • 60% felt that they had made some positive changes since COVID-19

Psychotherapist Noel McDermott explains that “from boyhood men are told to be brave and ambitious, as they grow older, they strive to become good fathers, partners and providers. Throughout the pandemic, the traditional role of man has changed and with this has come new pressures. For many men their whole lives have been turned upside down, the vast haven’t been able to go to work, the gym, play sport with a team or to the pub with pals. Men in general have fewer social and emotional support systems and the places where men used to go and talk about their problems are closed and they’ve found themselves in new, unfamiliar circumstances. For those that are fathers, they have been at home all day with more exposure to the household demands and domestic responsibilities balancing both work and family. This has created even more demands and pressures”.

What Men Fear Most

The biggest fear for many men is that they will not be able to return to full economic productivity and earning capacity and this is still a large part of men’s identity and role in our culture. Men who act as the primary breadwinners in their household feel the financial burden and responsibility within their relationship. For those that are now returning to work, many are reporting anxiety with the loss of family time and others are feeling the pressure to make up for lost earnings and secure an economic future. Numerous studies show men feel financial stresses both as a status issue and as a provider, this can lead to relationship difficulties, drinking and substance misuse and mental health issues. These concerns increase significantly during times of economic downturn and this can be seen during the lifting of lockdown.

Warning signs of mental health problems in men

Stress is a big factor in health and mental health for both men and women and these times of transition are very stressful. Typically, we see men express stress in a number of ways:

  • Sexual performance issues and loss of libido
  • Emotional dysregulation (irritability and anger)
  • Sleep issues, appetite issues
  • Withdrawal and bottling things up
  • Increased drinking
  • Mood shifts and mood swings

Self-help for Men: Stress Management Techniques

As these are stress responses the single biggest thing men can do to help themselves is learn better stress management techniques which are:

Spot it, know your signs that you are experiencing problems and have your ‘fire escape’ plan in place to ensure you manage better such as increased self-care, asking for help from others, getting professional help, talking to your GP.

Ensure general wellbeing hygiene practice to increase resilience: exercise, sleep well, good food, talk to friends and family about your worries, hydrate well, get outside regularly, ensure you do fun things!
Discuss your worries and ask for support, ensure you normalise your experiences of stress and understand everyone is feeling this and it’s not a sign of failure to be feeling overwhelmed.

Signs that there may be need of professional help are if there are problems in functioning that are persistent over a two-week period. Periodic anxiety or depression lasting a short period of time is to be expected and will generally shift of their own accord if your general mental hygiene/lifestyle is resilient. If it continues for days and weeks, then there is likely to be a problem needing proper diagnosis and treatment and asking your GP for advice is a good idea.

Noel McDermott is a Psychotherapist with over 25 years’ experience in health, social care, and education. He is the founder and CEO of three organisations, Psychotherapy and Consultancy Ltd, Sober Help Ltd and Mental Health Works Ltd. Noel’s company offer at-home mental health care and will source, identify and co-ordinate personalised care teams for the individual.

They have recently launched a range of online therapy resources in order to help clients access help without leaving home.

Beat your meat – Control the virus!

Fake news. Or is it? For us men, masturbating is a big part of our lives, but we feel we can’t talk about it and to be honest, the whole situation is surrounded with shame and uncomfortable willy talk. Why?

Back in 2018, we worked with Men’s Health and ran a survey to address the situation – you can read that survey here – but as lockdown hit, we ran another study to see if ‘pulling the pud’ could beat the virus!

From April – May 2020, we interviewed 152 men to understand their perception of masturbation, how they masturbate, how it affects their relationship, and what’s changed in restricted times.

It’s safe to say we’ve all been ‘at it’ a lot more, and boy have we been thrashing ‘em out! Luckily for you, this masturbation reality check, comes with health benefits too.

Do all men masturbate?

No shocks here, 100% of the guys we spoke to masturbate! It’s certainly deemed a must for all men. And that’s fine!

There’s often a taboo that comes with pleasuring yourself, and a shame that surrounds the act. All you need to remember is that your todger is there to please you. Don’t worry about playing with yourself, after all it’s consensual!

FACTS: Masturbation won’t cause unsightly hair to grow on your palms, but it may help you boost your immune system and beat off at least one type of cancer. That’s according to two studies that examined the effects of masturbation on the immune system and the incidence of prostate cancer. In this time of COVID-19, travel restrictions, and self-quarantines, many people are looking for every opportunity to bolster their immune systems – so get tugging!

You & your mates are all at it!

Men we asked in 2018 masturbate an average of 6 times per week, but during the virus this has grown to 9x a week. It varies massively on sexual appetite, age and relationship status.

That being said, we found men in their late teens and early forties pull their puds on average once a day!

Even men in relationships wank!

Does your relationship status matter when it comes to solo sex? No, we found singles report masturbating 21 times monthly and those in relationships masturbate 10 times per month on average.

In fact, we found men living alone (regardless of relationship status), were bashing the bishop most, clocking up 2 or 3 per day.

Turns out we look forward to doing it!

81% said they look forward to being able to masturbate at an open opportunity, with most of the chaps pre-planning when they can toss their todger and feel good.

A vast majority of men said ‘boredom’ was the main reason for reaching into their pants more times since the pandemic began, but still managed to climax every tine, during alone time whilst wrestling the snake.

How Long For?

Before lockdown, on average, men spent 20 minutes beating themselves off, with some millennials spending over an hour fondling their junk and ‘edging*’ – that statistic in lockdown has decreased to lads spending around 14 mins, but obviously an increased frequency.

When asked how quick you can bring yourself to orgasm, if aroused, our survey found it would take most men around 2-4 minutes.

Why have we been doing it more?

The most common reasons for masturbating? The survey found the top three reasons were: relieving sexual tension, stress and boredom. Sounds about right!

More 30-40 year olds reported masturbating because they enjoy it, with one participant saying “I love doing it.”

51% of over 40s and 46% of over 50s said sexual appetite and stress relief were main factors to lead them to pleasuring themselves.

Hey, we’re all human.

We’re creatures of habit

A whopping 78% percent of the men in the survey have a masturbation routine, which makes sense, because why fix something that isn’t broken?

Most men find morning or evening times in the bathroom, away from family and partners is safer. 87% use porn, 58% use their imagination, 34% think of a past experience, 26% look at pictures, and 19% use sex toys.

Caught out!

57% of chaps in the survey had been caught masturbating by a partner, parent or friend at least once in their lifetime.

3% of those were caught out at the moment of climax. *Insert awkward jizz face here*.

As we reach the climax…

It’s totally normal to masturbate! 100% of males agreed masturbation is a healthy part of their lives and of being a man.

Masturbation is good for your health, both mentally and physically. And it’s pretty much the safest sex out there!

When you have an orgasm, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that block pain and make you feel good. The good feelings that accompany an orgasm happen whether you’re by yourself or having sex with a partner.

Plenty of research has shown the health benefits of masturbation. Masturbation can:

  • release sexual tension
  • reduce stress
  • help you sleep better
  • improve your self-esteem and body image
  • help treat sexual problems

Besides, the NHS even says that sexual arousal sends the heart rate higher, and the number of beats per minute reaches its peak during orgasm.

So if you are feeling a little under the weather, or simply want your immune system firing the way it should, simply whip out your play mate and enjoy the time indoors.

…so what are you waiting for? Go knock one out now and report back!

Are your gym clothes too big or too small?

Almost Half Of British Gym Goers Wear Clothes Either Too Big Or Too Small For Them!

A new study has found that as many as 47% of Britons who go to the gym at least once a month are wearing clothes the wrong size for them, with slightly more wearing clothes that are too big for flexibility and movement. Those wearing smaller sizes admitted that they’d gained weight or purchased the wrong size clothing, whilst others bought smaller as motivation to get into shape.

Britons prefer athleisure wear to purpose-built gym gear, but it seems that almost half are choosing to wear the wrong size, whether they consider it to be practical, gained weight and haven’t bought the next size up or are doing so for motivation.

The team behind www.MoneySavingHeroes.co.uk conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into Britons’ fitness goals. 2,438 respondents aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they have a gym membership and attend at least once a month, were quizzed about their gym usage and expenditure.

Whilst purpose-built gym clothing is popular with one in five British gym-goers (19%), 74% prefer to wear athleisure. Asked why this was a popular choice, Britons felt the ‘selection to choose from was higher’ (41%) and that they like ‘being able to wear it inside and outside the gym’ (33%).

Interestingly, 47% admitted that they weren’t wearing the correct size clothing to the gym, with 53% of those wearing clothing that was too large and 47% wearing clothing that was too small.

Asked why they were wearing clothing that was the wrong size, the top reasons for wearing larger clothing were found to be:

  1. For flexibility and movement – 34%
  2. To hide my body shape/size – 30%
  3. To appear smaller – 18%

Likewise, the top reasons for wearing clothing that was too small were found to be:

  1. I gained weight and didn’t want to buy bigger clothes – 31%
  2. The sizing was incorrect but I didn’t return them – 26%
  3. I bought smaller to incentivise me to lose weight and train harder – 12%

George Charles, spokesperson for www.MoneySavingHeroes.co.uk  commented:

“Gym gear can often be an expensive business, but it’s always good to remain practical over stylish when it comes to exercise. If your clothing doesn’t fit you could run the risk of hurting yourself or even embarrassing yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot to have quality gym wear; supermarkets and budget brands do some really fantastic gym wear. Although if you do have the budget, there are some really great fitness and athleisure wear brands available. Feel free to shop around, try before you buy and see what discounts are available – it’s better than revealing more than you’d like to in the gym.”

Hit up some of our other articles on sportswear, sports underwear and feel better equipped at the gym, here.

How to style a Men’s Gilet

Man wearing gilet and wellies walking through a field on a grey day in the countryside.

The gilet remains one of the most divisive items in men’s fashion today. But after years of bad publicity and poor styling, we’re here to champion this vital item of clothing. A gilet can prove to be one of the best items of clothing you own.

After years of being left out in the cold, the gilet has recently been brought back to life. Whilst it may remain one of the polarizing items of clothing in the men’s fashion world, its recent resurgence suggests that it’s here to stay.

Whilst being highly fashionable in several European countries such as Italy, in Britain it has often been associated with the smell of cow manure and the sound of tractors. But thanks to a sudden surge in popularity, it’s fast become one of the most sort after fashion pieces around today.

The big question surrounding it though is just how do you pull one off? Get it wrong, and you’re likely to look like you are heading down to the boxing day hunt with some chums. Get it right though, and it’ll turn out to be one of the most stylish additions to your wardrobe.

How Should a Gilet Fit?

Whilst famed for their puffy aesthetic, the gilet in recent years has undergone something of a transformation and lighter padded, slimmer fitted gilets are available in most high street stores. To get the right style, a gilet should fit like a waistcoat– cutting slim around the body with high arm holes. This will help it fit perfectly underneath a nice coat or blazer,
alternatively opt for a more padded option if you are using it as your top layer, adding plenty of insulation in the colder months.

A gilet is no longer just viewed as a casual item of clothing. However due to its adaptability, it’s often seen on the high street being worn with a suit, or smart work clothes. A lighter gilet doubles up perfectly as a waistcoat, though if you have a tailored suit it will likely go better over the top. Make sure that the gilet is shorter than the layer underneath in order to style it perfectly.

Layer up

Done right, the gilet can perfectly compliment any well layered outfit. Whilst famed for being puffy, a well fitted gilet will fit nicely with an overcoat or casual blazer. By removing the stuffiness of the gilet, it can work perfectly as a replacement for a waistcoat, or even a coat, adding a practical layer to your style without ruining your whole look.

If this is the option you go for, then opt for a colour that blends with the rest of your attire- don’t try and be garish about it because it most likely won’t work. Neutral colours tend to work better with gilets, though when used as a top layer, there is more room for extravagance.

Whatever the Weather

In Winter, the gilet can be the perfect item of clothing- proving the difference between being horribly numb and being nice and cosy. In this scenario you should try and opt for a well-fitting quilted gilet, one that goes perfectly with a good piece of knitwear, or underneath a winter’s coat. Once again, try not to be too eye-catching, use it to layer your style, not as the focal point.

On a lukewarm day in Autumn or Spring, the gilet will also work as the perfect replacement for a normal coat. When it is too cold for just a T-shirt or shirt and a coat proves far too stuffy, the gilet perfectly fills the gap; padding around the shoulders can also prove the perfect alternative to a scarf.

One of the best advantages of using a gilet instead of a coat, is that it tends to prove more portable- lighter ones are easily scrunched into a ball that will fit into a travel bag, taking up much less room than a traditional coat. There is a bit more room for experimenting with colours here, however if you are likely to be wearing it with a variety of different outfits, a more conservative, neutral approach may be better suited.

Final Word

The gilet is an item of clothing undergoing a much-needed renaissance at the moment. Having suffered from bad styling for the best part of the last decade, the gilet is back with a bang and is quickly becoming an essential part of any winter wardrobe. It’s practical, adaptable and increasingly stylish- in short, if you don’t own one, what are you waiting for?

Here we’re wearing the Walker & Hawkes tweed gilet, fantastic insulation and a nice tailored finish. You can shop more of Walker & Hawkes range at Equestrian Co.

How to style last year’s clothes this season

Charles Tyrwhitt, Shirts, Autumn Winter 2018, Autumn Fashion, Fall fashion, 3 men, dapper men, dapper dress, smart casual, shirts, blazers

Image: Charles Tyrwhitt

Although it’s come around so fast, the AW18 season is well underway and our trends have changed with it. But, what’s in style this season? And, how can we reuse our AW17 wardrobe for this season’s fashion? In this guide, we’ll cover what’s hot for men and women this autumn-winter, perfect if your shopping for yourself or buying for your other half!

Styling menswear

Charles Tyrwhitt, Shirts, Autumn Winter 2018, Autumn Fashion, Fall fashion, 3 men, dapper men, dapper dress, smart casual, shirts, blazers

Image: Charles Tyrwhitt

One of the biggest trends of AW17 outerwear was shearling — the style of suede and wool combined in one garment. And, it’s back this year. Giorgio Armani mixed up the textures further with a shearling, suede and leather jacket that looks smart yet cosy for the colder months.

You might want to dig deeper than last year’s AW clothing with one of this season’s trends. That’s because this year it’s all about throwing it back to the ’90s. You might’ve thought you’d seen the back of shell suits and full tracksuits, but they’re back with a vengeance. On the catwalk, Prada completed the look with branded bucket hats and lightweight waterproof jackets (ideal for autumn weather).

Another garment that comes out year after year is the leather jacket. Instead of the shorter bomber style though, this season it’s all about oversized leather coats that can be paired with slim-leg jeans and winter boots. Fendi, Balenciaga and Paul Smith were all rocking the look during their AW18 shows this season.

When it comes to colours, it’s autumnal brown that’s in this season, a colour you’re bound to have knocking around in your wardrobe. From brown men’s suits to oversized ponchos and shiny leather jackets, the brown colour palette is so versatile. If you don’t want to overdo this shade, you can keep it simple with brown accessories such as hats, scarves and shoes to get in with the trend.

In recent years, we’ve seen layering really take to the main stage. It’s all about bringing together different garments in an effortlessly stylish sort of way. You might not have worn a V-neck in a few years but bring it out this year and slip it on top of a roll-neck jumper for an on-trend outfit. Other ways to layer include pairing an open checked shirt (a print that was everywhere in AW17) with a graphic t-shirt and black skinny jeans.

Styling womenswear

Similar to the menswear trends, layering is on-trend this AW18 too, with designers such as Balenciaga showing their support of the fashion technique at their shows. If you’re bold enough, the best way to layer is with contrasting colour and textures. Dig out you metallic puffa jacket from last year and wear it over a fringed jumper.

Animal print was a big part of this season’s shows. While Victoria Beckham demonstrated her love for leopard print, other designers such as Isabel Marant were all about snake patterns. The great thing about this style being in trend is that you can mix and match animal print and still create an outfit that looks well put together. Leopard print has rarely been out of the spotlight in recent years — why not pair your printed cami dress with snakeskin boots and a matching clutch?

Although glitz and glam was reserved for Christmas and New Year events last year, this season they’re acceptable throughout autumn and winter. Paco Rabanne showed off their models in oversized silver sequins that brought some much-loved sparkle to the runway. Don’t wait until late December to bring your glitter dresses out of the wardrobe, embrace them in October and November too!

Oversized and chunky knit is back for the colder seasons too. The great thing about this year’s trends though, is that you can pair your grandad knit with your summer dress and still look on-trend. Miu Miu showed off an outfit that was made up of a green floral midi dress and fluffy grey knit — no need to pack away your summer clothes just yet!

Follow our top tips for getting the most out of your wardrobe this season!  

Choosing the right jockstrap for your shape and size.

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Jockstraps are very critical protective under garments in contact sports. This is especially with male athletes who participate in very vigorous sporting activities like skating, basketball, football or rugby. Such sporting conditions may be a risk to your penis and testicles. Therefore, the jockstraps can provide additional support to these sensitive parts of your genitals. This is even better because with the recent advancements in technology, the experts have worked towards inventing the cupped jockstraps that offer even safer protection of your groin.

All in all, it can be such an uphill task to decide which jockstrap is best suited for you. This is because there is a whole diverse variety to pick from. That being the case, this article will be aimed at helping you to select the best jockstrap for you. This will be in consideration of how much protection you need, your age, as well as the body mass.

For this article, myself and two pals were sent a variety of jocks from AVA-J. We convened afterwards to feedback and build this guide to finding the perfect jock for you.

Easy steps that could help you choose the right Jockstrap

Besides providing protection from injuries, jockstraps should be comfortable and easy to wear for a long periods of time. There are many different occasions when you can wear jockstraps other than during sports. This includes your normal days to the office, to the gym or during the romantic evening dinner.

  1. Go to a physical shop

Jockstraps majorly come pre-fitted in most sporting garments. This means that if you go to the mall to buy your jockstrap, head to the athletics section. A physical store has more advantage when choosing a garment because;

  • You will be able to evaluate the size and fabric of your jockstrap physically. The fact that this garment is meant to cradle up your groin, ensuring that the garment you choose is well fitting and comfortable are a major key.
  • When you choose a physical store you will be able to ask questions from the attendants more about the jockstrap you want to purchase. This will ensure that you get the best garment as you leave the mall.

However, there are a few people who feel embarrassed to buy undergarments in a store. This is why the online selling platforms were designed in the first place.

  1. Find a wide variety Online

I must agree that online shopping has and never will be easy. This is because for you to lay your hands on the exact garment you need can be quite hectic. You have to be specific about your measurements. Otherwise, you will get an oversize or undersize garment. All in all, with online shopping, there is a very wide variety of jockstraps to choose from despite your desires. There will always be something for you at the click of your computer. We have to say, Ava-J is a particular favourite of ours. Check them out here.

  1. Material selection

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Jockstraps are like underwear and for you to be comfortable in this kind of fashion for either sports or even for your daily outfit, you must be keen about the material you select. Cotton or a blend of cotton is known to be the most appropriate material for such garments.

All in all, there are better ones like the rayon or spandex that keep your skin dry by wicking off any moisture on your body to the outer layer of the jockstrap. More to that, they are well ventilated making it convenient to participate in high-energy activities with ease.

Initially, the jockstraps were made from perforated steel which although offered protection, were ultimately uncomfortable. With technological advancements, lightweight cups have been invented. They are made from plastic but fitted with steel shields. They feature tough polymers of the carbon fibre. These materials are great because they act as shock absorbers.

  1. Look for fashionable Jockstraps

A little blend of fashion combined with that comfortable any day-jockstrap is every man’s dream. To find a fashionable yet the right type of jockstrap is always hard. However, you can always look a little harder. There is always something good for you. Just tap into it! Some of the considerations when selecting the right jockstrap may include;

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  • Colour blend. Unlike the sporty Jockstraps, the fashionable ones come in a wide variety of colours. The default colours are usually solid, black or white. A little colour blend is always fun and worth trying. Do not shy away from experimenting here and there. You might actually get surprised how good you may look in those rainbow colours. Take a look here.
  • The diversity that comes with everyone’s taste is actually the whole beauty of it. You may be intrigued by the boxer shorts-esque designs but your friend may like it the scanty-thong briefs way. Its upon you to choose the design that pleases you. 
  • The Pouch type. From the outward appearance, the pouch of the jockstraps may look obvious and identical. Be keen, this is not always the case in all jockstraps. Each design of the pouch aims at fulfilling certain needs. It may be the users comfort or even the presentation of the whole package. The few that may be available in the market are; original, contour or the snug.You can get uplift briefs or jocks from AVA-J, here.
  1. Know your size.

Normally, the size range listed on the jockstrap will majorly concentrate on the waistband size. When it comes to the cap it may be listed separately on the whole packaging bag. All in all, the concern is the same when looking for the best-fitting jockstrap. The cap should be big enough to accommodate your genitals comfortably and cover them completely.

On the other hand, the straps fitted on the legs should be tight to ensure that the jockstrap does not twist and rotate around your waistline. This will always make sure that the garment is always centrally placed to offer comfort and ideal groin security.

  • Small sizes range from 20 to 26 in (50.8 and 66 cm).
  • Medium sizes range from 26 to 32 in (66 and 81.3 cm).
  • Large sizes range from 32 to 38 in (81.3 and 96.5 cm).
  • XL sizes range from 38 to 44 in (96.5 and 111.8 cm).
  • The cups generally come in different sizes depending with age.

In conclusion, I hope that this guideline will helpful when considering whether to purchase jockstrap. Be sure to make a good choice with all factors in consideration. You don’t want to tamper with the functioning of your manhood. What are you waiting for?

Let’s go out and get you a classy but well-designed jockstrap and cup for your sporting activities and casual wear.

Shop AVA-J here.

Accessories For Guys For A Perfect Classic Look

Accessories For Guys For A Perfect Classic Look. sunglasses, belt, tie, men's accessories, men's watches, men's wallet, men's belt

Accessories compliment an outfit to complete the look. They upgrade your style quotient to add something extra to your casual wear or formal attire. Though, when it comes to men’s fashion, the choices are not vast, there are a few pieces of accessories that every man must have. The kind of accessories you wear speaks volumes about your personality, and it even adds to your persona.

For some men, teaming up accessories with their clothes is easy, while others struggle. Many might think that stressing over accessories is a waste of their time. However, once you get an idea of what works for you and what does not, building up the right wardrobe is easy. If you are confused about which men’s accessories are important to get you that classic look, read on.

 

  • Watches – Let’s check off the oldest chip off the block. Want to look timeless? Invest in a classic stainless steel or leather strap watch. Watches do much more than just telling you the time. Buying a good watch is a one-time investment and really amps up your style quotient. Watches come in different shapes, styles, and prices, and there is one for every person, every occasion. Watches are the perfect style statement and can liven up a boring outfit.
  • Tie – The tie is that one accessory that pulls the entire suit together. There is something about a necktie that screams maturity and confidence. Be careful to buy good quality, sober ties that add and not distract from your attire. Buy a tie you can afford, in a shade that will go with almost all your suits and formal shirts.
  • Wallets – The best wallet option for that classic look is the Italian leather wallet. Wallets are the perfect men’s accessories that are crafted to look good and give utility along with it. Some men go on to emboss their initials in it, hand down making it the most personalised and preserved accessory. Do not be scared to experiment with colour and ditch the black wallet for a brown or navy blue one.
  • Belt – Holding your trousers and look up is the job of a classic leather belt.  A good quality leather belt comes at affordable prices and will last you longer than investing in cheap canvas ones. Stick to darker shades like black, brown, blue or grey to match it with almost every suit. These colours will give you the attention you need without you having to ask for it.
  • Cufflinks – They are a must for men who love to attend formal occasions. A well-made set of silver cufflinks suits every shade of shirt for every occasion.
  • Messenger bag – A bag is a must-have for the man who is always on the go. Go for a nice leather bag, of a neutral tone that is not too big yet fits in all your stuff easily. Vintage bags are a must-have for that classic, old school vibe.

 

People build impressions based on what they wear and how well they carry themselves. Accessories make sure that an outfit is given that extra push without making one look like they tried too hard. Choose accessories that fit your personal style and suit your pocket equally well. Keep abreast with the latest trends and do not feel afraid to experiment.