SS-13 Trend: Varsity/Bomber Hybrid Jacket

The months are ticking by and soon wintry weather will be a long distant memory, so you’re bound to be searching for items to update your wardrobe and get stuck into the most wearable spring/summer trends for men.

If you haven’t met this item of clothing already, we’d like to introduce the bomber jacket – it’s your lightweight alternative to a leather jacket or blazer. First appearing during the 1950’s the MA-1 flight jacket (or nicknamed the bomber) became an American institutional icon, and has come back over the decades in many guises.

You may remember Ryan Gosling’s blue silk, bomber creation in 2012’s hit film ‘Drive’, or have seen celebrities such as Will.I.Am, Jude Law and David Beckham sporting their own version of the trend over the past few months.

Autumn/winter 2012 saw bomber jackets sent down the runway in heavier fabrics such as leather and suede. Now this season, designers and high street stores have mixed and reworked the baseball Varsity and the bomber jacket together to create the perfect lightweight piece for spring, and those chilly summer evenings.

The Varsity/bomber jacket hybrid, with its cropped, fitted length and cuffed ‘sweat’ wristband, it’s the epitome of sports-luxe and wearability. This SS13 sees the bomber come back in pastel hues or bright vintage colour-ways. Online retailer ASOS.com have reportedly ordered 20,000 bomber/Varsity jackets for this coming season, worth £1m alone.

The trend is best styled with chinos or jeans, a plain crew neck t-shirt and trainers. To smarten things up, wear your jacket in a similar colour as your trousers and keep the whole outfit to similar tones. Topman and ASOS provide some of the best high street versions, or if you can afford to splurge, invest in a designer piece by Christopher Raeburn, Louis Vuitton and Armani Collezioni.

ZIRH MEN’S SKINCARE: An Introduction

Zirh was created over ten years ago to create products – from the ground up – formulated to work for men. Zirh (rhymes with “sir”) has found popularity with professional athletes, celebrities and skincare professionals, thanks to a focus on quality and convenience.

“Zirh takes men’s skin care to a whole new level.” GQ Magazine

With awards from FHM, Men’s Health, Prix de Beaute and many more, Zirh have a full range of dedicated men’s skincare and grooming products that are easy to use. Zirh research and develop clinically proven products to address men’s specific skincare needs, containing the best natural oils, extracts and botanicals which are scientifically tested, but never on animals.

Zirh’s most popular products include; Clean, Rejuvenate and Fix.

Zirh CleanZirh Clean Face Wash removes dirt, oil and pollution with the benefit of powerful alpha hydroxy acids to spur new skin cell growth leaving the skin feeling clean and fresh.

Zirh Rejuvenate Anti-Ageing Cream is clinically proven to increase skin hydration and elasticity. With daily use, Zirh Rejuvenate reduces the visible signs of ageing including fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone.

Zirh Fix contains a unique formula which is antibacterial and antiseptic to solve common skin problems including blackheads, spots, pimples, ingrown hairs and minor blemishes.

THE COST OF RAZOR BLADES

WITH THE RECESSION LOOMING OVER OUR HEADS, MANY OF US ARE KEEN TO CUT OUR COSTS AND SHAVE ANY UNNECESSARY EXPENDITURE FROM OUR OUTGOINGS.
Rather than growing a beard, you might wish to remain clean shaven, which means buying razor blades. We’ve all bought the latest multi-blade razor with the lure of exciting marketing, tempting packaging and a free blade only to be stung by the cost of replacements. A pack of new razor blades often costs many times that of the razor – as much as £2.20 per blade!

Brands such as Gillette or Wilkinson Sword might sell the razor for little or no profit, simply to get you hooked on their own particular fitment and design of razor blade – where they make the real money. After all, if you don’t buy any more blades, your new razor will be useless and a waste of money!

A classic safety razor can not only provide an improved shave, but also a cheaper shave. Consider this; a 4 pack of Gillette Fusion razor blades costs around £9.99. A pack of 10 Merkur safety razor blades is just £4.95. Even more impressive, £9.95 will buy you 100 Derby Extra double edge razor blades or 25 times as many Derby razor blades than Fusion blades,with change to spare!

What does cost a little more is the razor. When you buy a safety razor, you’re not buying into a “shaving system”, locked into one type of blade by one manufacturer who can then charge heavily for the blades. You’re investing in a razor than can accept a wide range of razor blades, with different properties to suit your beard and skin type, to give you a better shave.

The range of safety razors provides another opportunity to tailor your shave to you. Our range of safety razors includes adjustable models – which increases the angle and exposure of the blade to the skin; slant bars – with an angled head which slices through the beard; non-adjustable razors – ideal for beginning with; travel razors; short handled designs and long handled designs.

Prices for our Merkur safety razors range from £19.95 to £64.95 for the hand-assembled Merkur Vision adjustable razor. Rather than being a piece of plastic, Merkur safety razors are manufactured from steel, chrome, nickel and brass in Solingen, Germany – the German equivalent of Sheffield – renowned for steel making.

HOW TO SHAVE WITH A DOUBLE-EDGE SAFETY RAZOR

The primary reasons for people switching to a safety razor are the quality of shave and shave experience, and the ever rising cost of buying into the latest fad in multi-blade marketing. A good quality double-edge razor blade costs under 40 pence, compared to the multi-blade cartridge coming in at around £2.50. Not only is there less waste generated in these climate-concious times, but double-edge blades being more cost effective means you’re likely to change it (we recommend weekly) and get a better shave than squeeze a few more shaves out.

Did you know: Multi-blade razors are nothing new – in 1933 an Italian called M Pelizzola filed a patent for a 5 blade razor – the Mvltiplex.

KNOW YOUR RAZOR

Shaving with a Double-Edge Safety Razor will take some practice. If you’ve previously wet shaved with a multi-blade razor you’ll immediately be aware of the extra weight a safety razor carries. A well made razor will exert enough pressure through it’s own weight to allow the razor to glide across your face and give a close shave. Applying too much pressure will remove skin layers and irritate leading to razor burn.

When picking up your DE razor for the first time, place it horizontally against the face with the handle pointing out sideways. Bring the handle down to approximate an angle of 30 degrees between the blade and skin. This is a good starting point and should be maintained where possible. For areas such as the chin and jaw, use shorter strokes to maintain the angle.

Did you know: The average man will use 150 to 200 strokes when shaving – as a rule, the thicker the beard the shorter the stroke.

As you move around the face, stretch the skin either with a series of embarrassing gurns or your spare hand. Stretching the skin exposes more of the hair shaft by opening the hair follicle, allowing for a closer shave.

With time you won’t need to think about the angle you hold your safety razor, it will come naturally and your shave will become quicker, closer and more enjoyable.

THE FOUR PASS SHAVE

The four pass shave gives a seriously close shave and, done correctly will leave your face smoother for several hours than is possible only minutes later with a single pass. Each shaving pass tackles the beard at a different angle and progressively cuts the whiskers down closer.

SHAVING PREPARATION
Preparation is vital to any good shave, to soften the beard and to lubricate the skin. Soak the face with hot water to get the beard wet through. Apply a good quality shaving lather with a shaving brush to help lift the beard. A cream can be best for a four pass shave owing to the extra razor cushioning. For best results a shave should follow a shower.

FIRST PASS
The first shaving pass is runs North to South down the face. Start by shaving across each cheek, from the sideburns to the mouth. Pushing each cheek up with your spare hand pulls the skin from the jawline on to the the flat of your cheek making this awkward angle much easier. Keep the skin taut though, otherwise you might get cut. Let go and shave the remaining area under the jawline. Next up is the upper lip area, take short North to South strokes working from the left to the middle. Now take short strokes from the right towards the middle. Finally, shave the chin from left to right, as with the upper lip, then from right to left.

Rinse the face with hot water and re-apply a lather – a good brush will hold enough lather for several passes.

SECOND PASS
The second shaving pass is runs diagonally across the face- North East to South West. Start with short parallel strokes across each cheek, from the sideburns to edge of the mouth. Push each cheek up in turn with your spare hand to pull the skin from the awkward jawline on to the the flat of your cheek and shave this area whilst keeping the skin taut. Release the skin and shave the remaining area under the jawline. Shave the upper lip area, working towards the middle from the left and then the right. The chin should be tackled in the same fashion, from the left to the middle, then from the right to the middle. Keeping the skin taut on these areas will help to get the shave closer.

Rinse the face with hot water and re-apply a lather.

THIRD PASS
The third shaving pass is runs diagonally across the face- North West to South East. Once again begin with short parallel strokes across each cheek, from the sideburns to edge of the mouth, keeping the skin taut throughout. Lowering the chin and pulling each cheek up in turn will make shaving the area around the jaw line much easier. Release the skin and shave the remaining area under the jawline. Shave the upper lip area, still repeating the North West to South East direction, working towards the middle from the left and then the right. Again, shave the chin from the left to the centre, then from the right to the centre.

Rinse the face with hot water and re-apply a lather.

FOURTH PASS
The fourth and final pass runs South to North. Take parallel strokes across each cheek, working from the outside towards the middle. Keep the skin taut to prevent snagging. Moving on to the jaw area, pull the cheek up to save following the sharp contours, shave South to North. Release the cheek and shave the remaining area under each jawline. The upper lip area can be tough going South to North, depending on the individual. A South West to North East pass on the upper lip can be easier going. still repeating the North West to South East direction, working towards the middle from the left and then the right. Again, shave the chin from the left to the centre, then from the right to the centre.

The four pass shave is great way to get an extremely close shave but does require some double edge shaving experience and some adaptation to suit.