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  • Smart Turnout Meets Jonathon-Brookes: Country Blogger Extraordinaire

    Smart Turnout's Ambassador of the Month:

    At Smart Turnout we take pride in those who care for our brand and who help to shine a light on the exciting lifestyles of those who wear our products. Each of our brand ambassadors has something unique to offer, be it in their style, personalities or simply their way of life. That’s why each month we will be focusing on one of our ambassadors and giving you an insight into a Smart gentleman, or gentlewoman’s life.

    This month we caught up with Jonathon-Lee Brookes; a country life influencer and the reigning king of tweed. Jonathon’s blog can be found over at JLB in the North, where he documents his quintessentially British lifestyle. His posts are peppered with phenomenal styling tips as well as interesting notes about his escapades across the UK.

    Jonathon Lee Brookes Wears Smart Turnout Master Watch with Land Rover

    (Photo from Jonathon-Lee Brookes recent shoot with Twisted Automotive shot by MJ Photos)

    So, without further delay here's what happened when we caught up with JLB…

    The Interview:

    ST: So Jonathon, tell us a little bit about yourself and what an average day looks like for you?

    Jonathon: Well, a typical day - a typical day for me that’s a tough one as usually not one day is the same, but it will usually consist of the same elements which include admin (emails, phone calls etc - the boring stuff), catching up with clients and usually something to do with the countryside.

    ST: That’s great to hear your job allows you to mix business and good old British pleasure. As a British brand, we think it’s extremely important to celebrate our heritage. What do you think it is about Britain that gives it so much charm?

    Jonathon: I mean we, as the British, are so uniquely positioned in that our history and heritage can only be rivalled by a handful of cultures. Along with that we also have a royal family that still maintain a prominent role in our society, HM Queen is a huge draw for so many tourists, officials and heads of state and the fact we still have this ancient institution makes me proud to be British.

    Jonathon Lee Brooke standing By Range Rover in Smart Turnout

    ST: A very interesting point! Definitely something to be proud of. As a brand ambassador, I guess taking pride in a company is a big thing for you. What is it that draws you to a company and makes you want to work with them?

    Jonathon: Certainly for me working with a company means I have to buy into the brand and what it stands for. Of course, I have to be enthusiastic about the products it produces and the market it's sold within. I work with a number of brands that I’ve developed a close working relationship with. Much like I have with Smart Turnout.

    Jonathon Lee Brookes Driving Land Rover in Smart Turnout Household Division Nato Strap
    ST: It’s wonderful to hear you’ve managed to connect with so many great brands. So, how did you originally get into working as a Brand Ambassador?

    Jonathon: It all started with both my passion for British country fashion and my Instagram. My Instagram started to generate a lot of interest due to its large follower base. This, coupled with my passion for country pursuits and the fact I attend a whole host of country events gave me the exposure to embark on this career path.

    ST: Yes, we hear you are a fan of country events. Have you got any planned for the rest of the year?

    Jonathon: In terms of travelling I will travel near enough to any area of the UK. I’ve had lots of events this year. But what’s left for me are events like Blair Atholl Horse Trials and Blenheim Horse Trials, lots of black and white tie balls. In addition, Shooting season has just opened so I’ve got a few weeks booked in Shooting. I guess you could say the next 6 months are shaping up to be rather busy.

    ST: That does sound pretty hectic. In that case in your spare time (if you have any, that is!) what can you be found doing?

    Jonathon: In my spare time I can usually be found walking, riding or shooting at some far-flung corner of the UK.

    Jonathon Lee Brookes wears Smart Turnout Savant Watch on Boat Trip

    (Jonathon wears our Smart Turnout Savant Rose Navy Household Division Edition. This style is currently out of stock but is set to return soon. In the meantime you can check out our full range of watches.)

    ST: How exciting. You must take a lot of your favourite items with you when exploring. What is your favourite piece from Smart Turnout and why?

    Jonathon: My favourite piece from Smart Turnout has to be the Master watch in rose gold. I love the face size and also the fact you can interchange a wide variety of straps. They make it great for when I am not sure what I will be wearing or doing on any given day. As you know, I have many Smart Turnout products which I’m proud to say I wear on a daily basis.

    Jonathon Lee Brookes on a Shoot wearing Smart Turnout Master Watch Rose Gold

    You can purchase Jonathon's Master Watch Rose Gold Black Household Division Edition for £119 online and in store.

    ST: Now Summer looks to be coming to an end, what do you think will be your Autumn essential?

    Jonathon: With the cooler months now upon us I can guarantee that I will spend most of it in a tweed of some kind. I think my field coat from Alan Paine has to be one of my staples for Autumn and Winter.

    ST: Yes, we can tell you love tweed. Other than being the King of tweed, how would you describe your style?

    Jonathon: I’d say my style is quite unique as I’ve never conformed to what is considered fashion. I enjoy keeping my style as my own creation. That being said, I drew big influences from country lifestyle - tweeds, shirts, coloured chinos the whole shebang.

  • How To Put On Suspenders - A Gentleman’s Guide

    Louis Antonio Orefice wears Smart Turnout Household Division Braces whilst enjoying Coffee

    Pictured: Household Division Braces (Ph: LouisAntonioOrefice)

    First manufactured in the early 1820s by British designer Albert Thurston, braces (suspenders) were created to accommodate the men’s fashion du jour of truly high-waisted trousers. At the time, fashion was adjusting in response to the French Revolution and reacting against the disdain of excessive wealth. As such, men’s trousers were starting to be tailored with a longer leg and looser fit. Belts were no longer of use for holding up these garments, thus creating the need for braces or suspenders. Doctors in the early 20th century even used to prescribe practising “posture, exercise, and the wearing of suspenders”.

    The accessory was first patented in the United States by the acclaimed author Mark Twain and remained hugely popular, never disappearing from the gentleman’s wardrobe over the following two centuries. Instead, braces have constantly been re-purposed, resurfacing in popular culture when worn by the likes of Malcolm MacDowell in A Clockwork Orange; Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, or Michael Douglas in Wall Street.

    For any who ever feel hesitant about embracing braces, we are going to demonstrate how seamlessly they can complete a look, whether for work, a wedding, or Windsor racecourse.

    Brace Yourself for the Everyday

    A gentleman will always prefer braces over a belt: they are the definitive choice when looking to add a touch of colour to your shirt and trousers or for the perfect complement to your jacket and tie. They hark back to a time of suave sophistication, yet remain a contemporary wardrobe staple; part of ensuring their modernity, however, comes in choosing the superlative colour or pattern. You can choose to match your braces to your trousers, your socks, your wallet, or even to act in contrast with your other garments. Braces are a great opportunity for you to be creative and to add a degree of individuality to your casual wear.

    steven d elliot of genuine mens magazine wearing smart turnout royal fusiliers braces

    Pictured: Royal Fusiliers Braces (Ph: @StevenDElliott)

    Regardless of whether you are at home, at work, or out and about, braces should effortlessly elevate your style.

    How To Put On Suspenders

    Suspenders are often associated with being tricky to put on and may deter some gentlemen from using them as a wardrobe staple. However, that reputation is unfairly deserved, below our short guide will tell you not only how to put on suspenders but how to feel comfortable and style them appropriately.

    First - A few rules of thumb:

    1. Never wear braces and a belt;
    2. Never wear with slim-fit trousers, as this renders the braces redundant;
    3. Always leave a little comfort room;
    Putting On Your Suspenders

    Now to the important part, how to put on your suspenders. At first glance the format of braces can seem quite daunting, but look a little closer and the process is rather simple. The first thing to note is that there are two types of brace attachments. Firstly you have a clip fastening, a slightly newer method and firm favourite for those looking for a quick fix. Next, you have a button fastening, these can be notoriously tricky to attach, but when perfected give a real old school look that is very dapper indeed.

    Clip Method:

    We shall start with the clip method first. The great thing about suspenders is that they have plenty of give and ours are also adjustable, allowing you room for growth and movement. As with all braces you will need to start from the back, you will want to position the clips adjacent to your two back belt loops. This will give you the optimal brace distance for a comfortable fit. You must now bring the two frontal brace fastenings over your shoulders and ensure that they sit vertically and parallel down the front of your chest. Pull the front of the clip up to open the clip and then pull this down snuggly ready for attachment. You can now fasten the clip. There are two options for this and it is entirely personal preference. The first option is that you clip the clip to the waistband of your trousers, avoiding the belt, or alternatively, you can actually clip the clip to your belt depending on the desired look. Adjust to your desired fit, and voila, that is how you attach your clip suspenders.

    Button Method:

    On to the button method, now, most trousers do not come with suspender buttons already attached and this is what makes this method significantly more tricky than the clip fastening. This method takes commitment of sorts, but once you have got your trousers ready you are set for good. If your trousers of choice do not already have suspender buttons in place you will need to sew these on yourself. Our braces come with one button fastening at the back and two button fastenings at the front - this will be pivotal when marking your sewing points.

    Firstly, search out the centre seam in your chosen pants and use this as a reference point. Measure 1 inch either side of this line and draw a mark on either side (we recommend chalk as this will wash out from the fabric.) This will give you a nice overall distance of 2 inches, a perfect distance for the attachment. For the frontal markings you will need to draw 2 markings (as you did with the back) 2 inches apart, just above your hip bone, repeat this to the right and left of the zipper. Now you are ready to sew. We recommend sewing your buttons on the inside of your trousers, this give a much more chic and formal overall look. You will need 6 plain, flat buttons before you can start sewing. Sew each one individually atop of the chalk markings you have made. Start by threading the the needle through the trousers and then thread the needle through the hole on the front of your button. Next, loop it through the second hole in your button and back through the pant. Continue this until the button is secure. Once all buttons are in place you are ready to go. Follow the same rules as stated for the clip on method, the buttons should fit nicely through the attachment holes on your suspenders.

    Don't forget at Smart Turnout, we sell both button and clip fastenings, so whatever your preference, we have you covered.

    Getting Comfortable

    Regarding comfort room, braces are also the flattering choice. Braces allow you to hold up your trousers whilst floating your natural waist, rather than underlining or emphasising your gut in the way that a belt might. Moreover, for those men whose weight has a tendency to fluctuate, choosing suspenders can save many a trip to the tailors.

    Follow the doctor’s orders by improving your posture and your wardrobe. With your new braces, you will easily become the classiest man around.

    Smart Turnout Princess Louise Braces and Savant Rose Gold Watch

    Princess Louise's Braces

    Savant Watch Rose White Princess Louise Edition

    The Perfect Finishing Touch

    Not only for the everyday, braces are an essential addition to any gentleman’s evening wear. They hark back to a more traditional era, back when belts were mere decorative ribbon. As such, braces provide the ideal finishing touch to your formalwear.

    For instance, you could easily add our Royal Artillery braces to your suit: they offer a rich band of colour and can be used to complement anything from your tie or pocket square to your wallet or partner’s attire. To complete your classic style and solidify your fashionable status, accompany the braces with our matching Military watch.

    Royal Artillery Braces and Military Watch by Smart Turnout

    Royal Artillery Braces

    Military Watch Royal Artillery Delivery

    Braces to the Races

    Finally, whether off to Epsom or Royal Ascot, a trip to the races requires the most attractive of accessories. Attempting to follow in the style footsteps of Hollywood icons and the Royal family may feel daunting, but you can be sure that braces are a critical component to blending in, and standing out, at the racecourse. For those in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, braces are just as critical as a vintage silk top hat.

    Smart Turnout's choice:

    We at Smart Turnout would recommend our Royal Regiment of Scotland braces. They are the ideal width to complement your morning suit and have an elastic insert to provide comfort and flexibility. To round out the look, why not add one of our Master Watches.

    Smart Turnout Royal Regiment of Scotland Braces and Master Watch Black

    Royal Regiment of Scotland Braces

    Master Watch Rose Gold Black Oak Edition

    We hope you have enjoyed reading our post and have learnt something about how to put on suspenders, with some added history thrown in.

     

  • A Smart Guide to Regimental Cufflinks

    Cufflinks are thought to have been around since the 17th century. Over the years they have served many purposes, not only are they functional but they have, and still do, serve as a sign of style, status and identity. For these reasons, many choose to opt for cufflinks that embody their passions or show pride in a certain organisation that they connect with. Our cufflinks offer you an opportunity to proudly display the colours and emblems of your school, university, or regiment on your sleeve. They also offer an inarguably more personalised approach than the humble button.

    Smart Turnout Regimental Cufflinks on Display in Piccadilly Store

    Below are five of our most interesting pairs, both for regiments and organisations.

     

    1. Royal Navy Regimental Cufflinks - £49.00

     

    Smart Turnout Royal Navy Enamel CufflinksThe Royal Navy cufflinks provide an effortlessly bold look and are one of our best selling products. The crest of the Royal Navy may appear to the untrained eye as just a simple crown, but take a closer look and the crown comes alive with the sails and hulls of large ships and boats. It is believed that the crowns original design was born from the idea that the sails represented our British naval ships that appeared as small entities alongside the larger ships of the Spanish Armada. The Spanish Armada’s ships are depicted here by the large ship fronts that nestle between the sails. The crest shows that although we bared a smaller naval fleet, our heart and tenacity propelled us to become the largest navy for over 3,000 years. In the classic colourway of reds and blue, these regimental cufflinks can be worn with almost any suit or shirt.

    Shop Royal Navy Enamel Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

    1. Royal Marines Cufflinks - £49.00

     

    Smart Turnout Royal Marines Navy Regimental CufflinksThe Royal Marines cufflinks are one of the most intricate of all the regimental cufflinks we stock. The crest of the Royal Marines is compromised of 7 elements, all with significance and each representing something pivotal to the Marines detailed history. The seven elements are as follows: The lion and crown, Gibraltar, the great globe, the laurels, the fouled anchor and 'per mare per terram'. Take for example the great globe, a stunning addition to the crest. The globe is said to represent the Marines undeniable success across all corners of the globe. Some elements like Gibraltar represent significant triumphs for the RAMC, and some like the anchor are a nod to the overall DNA of the corps. Finished in the recognisable blend of red, navy, green and yellow the cufflinks are a fantastic way to show your affiliation on the edge of your sleeve.

    Shop Royal Marines Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

    1. Royal Artillery Enamel Cufflinks - £49.00

     

    Smart Turnout Royal Artillery Red and Regimental cufflinks

    Most striking about the Royal Artillery Cufflinks is the unique zigzag that runs through the enamel in the regimental colours of red and navy. This is unlike any other style of cufflink on our website and strays from the more traditional diagonal lines seen on most styles. The zigzag line was first introduced on the Regimental Ties of the Royal Artillery and has rarely appeared on other merchandise. Here at Smart Turnout we found the zigzag both iconic and endearing. We made it our mission to include this on our cufflinks. Legend has it that the line actually represents a lightning bolt. This lightning bolt is said to have struck and ultimately killed the pagan Dioscorus. It is believed that this came as a form of retribution for the earlier beheading of his daughter St Barbara (The Patron Saint of Artillery) for refusing to marry within her religion. One of our most intricate cufflink designs, this pair depict the crest of the Royal Artillery. They also feature its motto ‘Ubique Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt’ which translates to ‘Everywhere That Right And Glory Lead’.

    Shop Royal Artillery Enamel Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

    1. Royal Air Force Regimental Cufflinks - £49.00

    Smart Turnout Royal Air Force Regimental Cufflinks

     

    Gaining the silver medal in our top 5 is our Royal Air Force cufflinks. The Royal Air Force's badge features an Eagle superimposed onto a circlet which is surmounted by a crown. The badge was originally designed by a tailor from Saville Row. It was first used back in 1918 and was then revised in 1923 when it was registered with the College Of Arms. The reverse of the cufflink features the traditional Royal Air Force light blue alongside strong navy and red tones. Light and bright, these cufflinks are a beautiful addition to a linen summer suit.

    Shop Royal Air Force Enamel Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Princeton University Cufflink - £49.00

    Smart Turnout Princeton University Enamel Cufflinks

    And the winner is…. The Princeton University Cufflink! These beautiful cufflinks feature the historic colours of Ivy League University, Princeton. The iconic orange and black colours go back as far as 1867. The colours were first used against fellow Ivy League school Yale during a basketball game. The front of the cufflink displays the beautiful Princeton shield with the open book depicting the Old Testament. Below is the universities motto Dei Sub Numine Viget, which translates to Under the Protection of God She Flourishes. Overall despite strong competition, we feel the beautiful mix of orange and black combined with Princeton’s elegant crest is enough to win our heart and the top spot!

     

    Shop Princeton Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

     

    Let Us Know Your Favourite...

    Let us know what you think of our ratings as well as your own top 5 regimental cufflinks rankings! Regardless of individual preference, there are styles to suit everyone with the colourful and bold cufflinks being a more exciting option than a button! I mean, who can get excited about a button?

    We make all of our enamel cufflinks here in the UK. They are gilt plated, enamelled and hand finished to ensure the best quality design and durability. You can opt for the more traditional chain fastenings or go for the more modern T-Bar method. The T-Bar method is also commonly known as a bascule fitting!

     

     

     

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