As the weather turns cooler, it’s time to put the bright, citrus scents of spring and summer down for a long winter’s nap and add some heavier, more robust fragrances into your rotation. The scents outlined below eschew the lighter scents of warmer weather in favor of substantial scents that can stand up to a brisk fall evening and the coldest winter chill. Here’s a video of me and Peter Brooker (From Tailors With Love) discussing my five scents for fall. If you’re interested a quick overview of scent terms check out our Fragrance 101 article.
15ML – $128, 50ML – $310, 100ML $475, 500ML $1,760
This is one of my favorite new scents. This is a very boozy, smokey scent, that smells like having a good single malt and cigar around a campfire.
10 ML – $28, 100ML – $126
Jazz Club is the sweetest of the five I’ve highlighted here. There’s tobacco and wood notes for sure, but I also find a healthy dose of vanilla as well. Sweet, but not cloying.
100ML – $330, 200ML – $485 – ABLE TO BE REFILLED, TRAVEL SIZE ATOMIZER AS WELL
Ombre Nomade is Louis Vuitton’s first oud scent and it’s a great woody scent with a hint a rose.
50 ML – $240, 100ML – $325, 250ML $615
Probably my all time favorite scent! Great leather scent with a notes of raspberry, jasmine, and black suede.
100 ML – $59
A wonderful scent at a great price! Featuring notes of cedar, cypress, vanilla Eau de Baux keeps up with scents costing four times as much. If you like Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille but don’t want to shell out $240, this gets you into the ballpark without breaking the bank.
Here are some of my favorite grooming products that Bobby and I share. I’ve never been a fan of overly sweet, or floral scents, deodorants, or body washes so you’ll see that reflected in my choices. When we first started dating Bobby wondered why I had so many men’s products in my bathroom! Even though some of the products are labeled as “men’s” I’d encourage ladies who feel the same way to give these a try; not all of us like to smell like pomegranate! -Leah
Brave Soldier – Shower Shave – $18
This is by far the best shaving cream or gel I’ve ever used. It’s specifically formulated to be used in the shower and not to rinse off like so many others do. I’ve been using this for a few months now and I’m able to shave my legs without a nick, and find the smell to be pleasant as well. I like that it re-lathers easily and is more of a gel than a cream so it helps the razor glide smoothly.
Olivina – Bourbon Cedar Body Wash – $14
This one is labeled for men, but the smell is absolutely fantastic! This lathers easily and the smell is not floral or overpowering at all. Olivina has a crisp woodsy smell with a hint of bourbon; my all time favorite spirit!
Kiehl’s – Facial Fuel – $35
Here’s another labeled for the guys, but as with all Kiehl’s products the ingredients are high quality and a little goes a long way. Facial Fuel is light weight, absorbs quickly, and leaves my face feeling clean. I have sensitive skin and this has never made me break out. It also never looks shiny or greasy after applying it, just a light tingling sensation that feels refreshing. I use it at night after washing my face, and it’s a great moisturizer under make up in the morning.
Image Skincare – Ageless Total Facial Cleanser – $30
I used to work at a Dermatologist’s office and I was able to try many medical-grade skincare products. Most of these come with a hefty price tag, but this facewash is the exception. It’s a glycolic based wash that helps with fine lines, wrinkles, and breakouts while improving the tone and texture of your skin. I use it once a day in the morning, but if you’re new to products with glycolic acid I suggest you start using it every other day so your skin can adjust as it can sometimes be dying (see “Facial Fuel” above). I don’t find the scent of this to be the most appealing, but it has drastically changed my skin for the better. Image doesn’t make a bad product, and this is my all-time favorite.
Tom Ford Private Blend – Neroli Portofino – $240, 50 ML
I love so many of Tom Ford’s Private Blend fragrances, but this was my first and I find myself reaching for it the most. This is a perfect daytime scent. It’s vibrant, fresh, elegant, and smells like a secluded beach on the Italian Riviera. This scent is irresistibly light and is perfect for layering if you like mixing Tom Ford’s blends. I suggest pairing Neroli Portofino with White Suede for daytime and Neroli Portofino with Tobacco Vanille for nighttime.
I absolutely love all kinds of grooming products, but finding some Bobby and I both enjoy makes getting ready more fun.
The world of fragrance can be confusing. Bases note versus top notes. Perfume versus Cologne. And what in the world is “sillage?” While no means comprehensive, this is a quick tutorial on fragrance terms so next time you’re purchasing a scent you’ll be more informed.
What’s In A Name?
Perfume, cologne, fragrance, scent, many of these terms are used interchangeably, but there really is a difference; not only in name, but ingredients. The four main distinctions of scents we’ll focus on are: Parfum, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, and Eau de Cologne. The difference lies in the concentration of oils contained in the scent. Parfum is has the highest concentration, at 20-30% oil, while Eau de Cologne has 2%-4% oil. Not only is there a difference in how long a fragrance lasts based on the oil content, but there’s a difference in price. The higher the percentage of oil, the longer it will last, but the more it’s going to cost you.
What the heck are Sillage and Projection?
Have you ever been in an elevator (“lift” for those across The Pond) with someone whose scent just about knocked you over? That’s projection. Projection is what those in the immediate vicinity around you smell while you’re there. Sillage (pronounced “see-yazh”), on the other hand, is the trail of the scent that’s left behind after you’re long gone. Projection and sillage can both play into how your scent is received; choose wisely, no one wants to be “that guy” in the elevator.
The Great Pyramid
All fragrances are built with three main layers or notes: top-note, mid-note, and base note. These layers contain different notes that interact with one another and your body’s chemistry to create the overall scent, vibe, and feeling of the fragrance. The top notes are what you smell when you first spray the fragrance and it dries you’ll smell the mid-notes and eventually the base notes. When trying a new fragrance don’t judge it on the top note alone. If you’re testing at a retail store spray it on your wrists and go on with the rest of your shopping. Let it dry and, like a Polaroid, see what slowly develops.
Choose Your Scent
Scents are so personal that there’s really no “wrong” one to select. Whether you prefer something woodsy or sweet, spicy or floral there’s something for every nose. Knowing the basics outlined above should help you make a more informed purchase.
Colored laces are an inexpensive way to add a subtle bit of color to any outfit. Benjos has some outstanding color options and are an affordable way to change up the look of your favorite dress shoes.
Benjos was founded by Ben Hertz in 2011 after breaking a shoelace while traveling in Italy. He opted for a very Italian shade of red laces (available today as Rosso Scudiera) to replace his broken, standard laces. Upon returning home to The States he noticed the lack of colored lace options and thus Benjos was born.
I’ve been a fan of Benjos’ for many years and consistently get compliments on my colored laces. Some of my favorite combinations are below if you’re looking for some inspiration to stand out in a sea of black and brown laces.
Matt Jones launched Hemingsworth, and their first product the Clipper swim short ($240 purchase here, review here), in January 2017 with the goal of creating a travel wardrobe for the quintessential English gentleman. Matt spent some time with me recently outlining what sets Hemingsworth apart from the competition, why having his products made in England is so important, and giving me a preview of what’s next for the brand.
There’s no shortage of high-end swimwear for men these days, what sets you apart from Sunspel, Orelbar Brown, and Vilebrequin?
We wanted to be known for our commitment to uncompromisable quality – it’s really that simple. The past decade has seen an influx of swim brands or ‘tailored shorts’, most of which are just slim fit imitations of what they claim to be or offer little in the way of quality or value to the customer. Now competition is healthy, but it really has blurred the lines on what tailored shorts are and what is deemable as luxury. Therefore, we set out to make the very best product we could using the best fabrics and the best materials available, without compromise.
As such our Clipper short consists of a 29 piece pattern, which for all intensive purposes is the same level as you’d find on an actual Saville Row trouser (just cut at the leg). Its a level of detail and a cut that you cannot easily imitate. We included a french fly and integral waistband to provide a hold and fit that stays neat for the customer throughout the day. We felt it was very important that nothing be compromised in terms of luxury – from our fabric selection to our Tahitian Mother of Pearl buttons, every trim or detail of the short has been considered. That includes the subtlety of our branding – ensuring the value remains on the actual garment itself.
How does Chanel’s recent acquisition of Orlebar Brown change the competitive landscape for high-end men’s lifestyle brands like Hemingsworth?
I admire what Adam (Adam Brown – Founder of Orlebar Brown), his partner and the OB team has managed to do over the past decade. Adam reinvigorated a market space that was well overdue some attention. I like both the vitality of the brand and what it encourages as an active lifestyle – this is very important. Given Chanel’s menswear is less developed, there will no doubt be a few compromises along the way as they unite these creative forces. It may well encourage those competitors closest in the market to OB to expand & ramp up their collections, to seek out a similar path. All that though is a distraction, instead Hemingsworth will remain focussed on responsibly producing the best products we possibly can and working with partners with shared values, so that we can offer customers the best quality and experience. So in answer to your question, it doesn’t change very much for us at all.
How important is it to you that Hemingsworth swimwear and future products are made in England?
It saddens me to see much loved British institutions off-shoring their manufacturing to save a buck. To essentially use the equity synonymous with British manufacturing for which their is a ‘quantified value’, these brands need to be reinvesting into those same shores from a product perspective. Unfortunately, this isn’t particularly well policed and 5% of manufacture in the UK or adding a British made button often allows these ‘houses’ to continue their provincial claims.
It’s confusing for the customer and the result is trade and craftsmanship is disappearing as these skilled individuals are often forced into other career paths. Hemingsworth is uniquely English spirited and that comes from knowing that our manufacturing happens in one of London’s oldest factories. It’s important we protect that and encourage it, to maintain both the respect and value other generations contributed to our heritage. Its something I feel very passionately about and we will look to continually build on.
As a James Bond fan I can’t help but notice a nod to the classic Jantzen swim shorts Sir Sean Connery wears in Thunderball. Were the early Bond films an influence as you created the Clipper swim shorts? What did you draw upon when developing the collection?
The general look of Hemingsworth is heavily inspired by the styling of that era and obviously cinema and its idols are a huge part of that. Early Bond is of course a strong influence – no one doesn’t want to be Connery as Bond – but equally British icons like Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief, David Hemmings in Blow Up, Richard Burton relaxing on his yacht or even Morcambe and Wise in That Riviera Touch all have the image, attitude and humour that we draw on for Hemingsworths insouciant style.
What pieces are essential for an English gentleman’s travel wardrobe?
Fewer quality items that provide versatility. I used to do 3-4 flights a week and that is where the requirement for Hemingsworth was born. Constantly changing garments between climes and adapting my clothing, whilst I lugged around a host of ‘options’ – it was ridiculous! Start with a case that gets better with age. In my opinion a classic Globetrotter or new brand Bennett Winch holdall. A blue herringbone jacket will retain its shape, a crisp white shirt from Emma Willis and alternating cotton striped t-shirt or polo from John Smedley. Twinned with a breathable twill chino and relaxed modern day suede penny loafer from Church’s. Compliment it all with sunglasses from Kirks Originals and of course a Hemingsworth short which will neatly match all of those pairing items. These are really simple items but when they are done right they are superb.
What can we expect next from Hemingsworth? What pieces will be new for 2019?
Taking that same versatility forward, we’ve created a travel inspired collection for the modern Globetrotter. I won’t reveal too before we launch with our carefully chosen partners, but you can expect us to go beyond our traditional foundation of Shorting attire. From Seersucker suiting and Cabana Sets to Trousers and Polo’s, its less resort and more everyday travel wear that builds on our core principles. All of these new lines will still be made in London to guarantee the same quality.
Sneak preview of new items from Hemingsworth
The 1965 James Bond classic, “Thunderball,” finds 007 in the Bahamas racing against the clock to find two atomic bombs before SPECTRE, who is, of course, holding the world at ransom for £100 million worth of diamonds, detonates one in Miami. The world may be in peril but that doesn’t mean Bond (Sir Sean Connery) can’t soak up some sun in Nassau with the beautiful Dominique “Domino” Derval (Claudine Auger).
The resort attire Bond wears in The Bahamas is still influencing brands like Hemingsworth, Orlebar Brown, and Sunspel more than 50 years later. While many of the pieces are easy to identify, the navy Fred Perry polo shirt and Jantzen swim shorts for example, the sunglasses Sir Sean wears in much if the movie have proven to be more difficult to ID; the most likely model is the Polaroid Cool Ray N135. (Thanks to Iconic Alternatives for the info on the Polariods!)
Thankfully Mason & Sons, via their Curry & Paxton optical line, have released the appropriately named “Sean” model. The Sean sunglasses feature gorgeous piano black over tortoiseshell cellulose frames manufactured by Mazzucchelli, five-barrel hinges, and 100% UV protection green lens.
The construction and materials of the Sean is top-notch. Easily on the same level as my Tom Ford Snowdons, and a notch or two above my Ray-Ban New Wayfarer. I have a narrow face the 50mm lens width fits me really well. Living in Florida means that wearing sunglasses every day really is a necessity and it’s nice having a pair that’s unique and not sold in the mall. “Thunderball” is also my favorite Bond film so having a “Bond Experience” every time I wear them makes them pretty special too!
Launched in September 2017 as a limited edition and now available in a wider, albeit still limited, release as part of Tom Ford’s ever growing Private Blend collection of fragrances, Fucking Fabulous is not a scent without controversy. While the name certainly raises eyebrows (or makes eyes roll) it’s a scent that’s worth checking out.
My wife and I are both fans of many of Tom Ford’s other scents such as: Tobacco Vanille, Ombre Leather 16, Tuscan Leather, and Oud Wood and we tend to purchase fragrances that we can both wear. Fucking Fabulous is a unisex scent that I absolutely recommend giving a try if your nose gravitates towards darker scents. It’s an fragrance option heading into the fall and winter seasons.
Aruba is a Dutch island 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela that features beautiful beaches, crystal blue water, an arid desert-like topography, and some of the nicest people anywhere in the world.
When researching where to stay we quickly settled upon the Renaissance Aruba Hotel and Casino. The Renaissance Aruba is actually two distinct properties; the Marina Hotel and the Ocean Suites. We opted Marina Hotel for a few reasons: the rooms have been recently renovated, it’s an adults only property, and the primary reason there’s a water taxi that runs from the hotel lobby (yes, in the lobby!) to the hotel’s private island complete with Flamingo Beach.
The reception area of the Marina Hotel is an escalator ride up from ground level and features an open air lobby and BLUE bar. BLUE has excellent cocktails and sushi. If you’re into spicy food and drink I highly recommend the Peligroso Old Fashioned which features a homemade sweet red bell pepper/spicy yellow Madame Jeanette pepper syrup, papaya salsa, and bourbon; it really is an outstanding cocktail.
The rooms are spacious and our suite offered both a view of the marina across the street as well as an alternate view of the BLUE bar. But as nice as the rooms are we couldn’t wait to explore the property and were especially excited about the private island!
In true James Bond fashion the water taxi picks you up in the hotel and whisks you off for a 10 minute boat ride en route to the private island. Once docked at the private island you’re greeted by iguanas, lizards, and birds as you ascend the steps to the main part of the island. From here you have a choice: to the right is Flamingo Beach, to the left is a lagoon, beach, and Papagayo Bar & Grill.
Flamingo Beach is absolutely incredible and will make all of your Instagram dreams come true! Food is available for purchase and the flamingos come right up to you and are more than happy to eat right out for your hand. Be warned though, they’re not the most patient of birds so have your camera at the ready to snap the perfect shot, and don’t be surprised if you get honked at once or twice because even flamingos need personal space sometimes!
There are plenty of choices of beautiful places to stay in Aruba, however having access to Renaissance Private Island and Flamingo Beach made the decision easy for us. If you’re considering a trip to Aruba the Renaissance Aruba Marina Hotel should be on your short list of places to stay, you won’t be disappointed.