In The Country Magazine
James Benjamin Style

Guest Blogger: James Benjamin

Everyone, please welcome my latest guest blogger –  Jamesbenjaminstyle – In this post James will be talking about his favourite winter fashion pieces.   James is an instagram blogger, regularly posting stunning images about ‘all things fashion and lifestyle in the country’.

We haven’t heard from a male’s point of view specifically on fashion up until now, so here goes, take it away James…

Love Hollie-Ella Xx

So the conkers have fallen, the clocks have gone back and Halloween is over, now it’s time to start thinking about the Christmas festivities.

I really do love this time of the year, well don’t get me wrong I love the hot summer months when picnics on the beach and drinking Pimms is the norm but you just can’t beat getting wrapped up in big coats and fluffy scarfs to visit the Christmas markets when trying to find that one perfect Christmas present for the father proves to be as difficult as it was the year before (I promise it does exist, just keep looking).

If your family are like mine then they will be happy with anything you give them but some sort of gadget or something nice to drink never goes a miss for the father, uncle and brother and for the ladies, well the list is endless from something they can use in the kitchen to help them cook what ever the lads have just brought back from a days shooting to something they can wear.

I think my brother is one of the easier family members to buy Christmas presents for because like me he has an interest in country fashion, well he can usually manage to put together some sort of matching outfit for a  days shooting or family dinner,  unless he tells us that and his girlfriend actually picks his clothes for him.

The thought of shopping for winter clothes is something I look forward to for most of the year, so any excuse I get to do some shopping I grab it with both hands whether it be traveling to a showroom over three hours away or just sat  at home in bed.

When I was given the chance to visit the Holland Cooper showroom in Kingham, Oxfordshire I just couldn’t resist, so after talking to the lovely HC team to plan my visit they informed me that they were launching a new luxury men’s padded bomber jacket just after my visit and they would make sure they had one in stock for when I got there.

When I arrived at the showroom and walked through the door I immediately spotted my new jacket hanging on the rail, I had been looking for a jacket just like this for a while now and this one really is perfect, as it’s padded you don’t need to wear lots of layers underneath just a jumper really and to add that little luxury it has a large fur trimmed hood, its perfect for this winter weather, oh and the charcoal coloured fur bobble hat just happened to end up in my bag too, well would be rude not to as they looked so good hanging on the rail together.

I really don’t need any more winter jackets as I have different styles from long dress coats to vintage Barbour’s in every colour, I actually have a totally different wardrobe for my winter jackets and clothes and soon I’m going to need another cupboard for my footwear if Fairfax and Favor keep bringing out great shoes and boots.

My obsession with this brand started when I treated myself to the navy Bedingfelds with pink tassels at Burghley Horse Trials a few years ago, I got so many compliments on how nice my shoes looked so I thought why not get them in the tan with purple tassels too, they really are my go to shoe for any occasion.

Now I even have the black Mayfair with a good chain detail across the top, so I really can match them with any outfit. For that special meal with the family or that last minuet night out with friends you really can’t go wrong with all black everything, and these shoes really do just finish it off.

Next on my Fairfax wish list is the chocolate Chelsea boots in suede with the signature navy blue side panels, they are perfect for work or that special occasion and they will make my Fairfax collection complete well for now anyway until they bring out their next design and if they keep making beautiful and stylish footwear then I will keep buying. 

Most people that have been brought up or live in the country either do shoot or know someone that does, well although I would love to claim that I’m a great shot on the field, I’m afraid I’m not.

We do have our own clay traps that we often use out in the field but I’m just not very good and me being me if I can’t doing something very well I just don’t do it at all.

One of the only times I have hit a clay is when I had my eyes shut so I thought it might be safer for everyone if I just leave it to my father and brother.

I prefer to just stick to what I know I am good at and that’s shopping although I do have to be in the mood, many times I have driven hours to get somewhere like London, Leeds or York and when I arrive and find myself wondering around shops, not really looking at anything I know it’s been a wasted trip so I will either come straight home or sit in a coffee shop with my manly glass of wine and watch the world go by.

Although I’m not great at shooting, I do love the outdoors and anything country based.

I often follow the hunt with my parents, I have had a couple of polo lessons and have been visiting horse trials and country shows for as long as I can remember.

I think my love of all things country started when I was a young child whilst visiting my Aunt and Uncle.

My Uncle was a game keeper and they lived on an estate so that meant lots of exploring through the overgrown woodland, jumping from hay bales and dog walking through muddy fields.

I have sort of been brought up outdoors, I was never that child that wanted to be inside playing computer games.

I always wanted to be out doing something, usually something I probably shouldn’t have been doing.

As my family have always been into the ‘outdoorsy’ sort of life, it was the norm to find muddy boots on the door step (mum would never let anyone in the house with muddy boots), tweed hanging in the cupboard and a countryside magazine on the coffee table. However as fashion is always changing, living in the countryside isn’t all about the tweed.

Don’t get me wrong tweed is still a massive part of it but it’s becoming modern.

Brands like Holland CooperTimothy Fox and Hicks and Brown are all designing tweed for men and women that is more fashionable and can be worn anywhere, not only in the field.

Hicks and Brown is a beautiful brand that has been created by sisters Alice and Rosie who are based in Suffolk, on their family farm where the inspiration for the H & B designs come from.

They might be recognised more for their cashmere gilets, women’s clutch bags, fedora hats and feather broaches but have recently launched the men’s Hadleigh gilet, made from British woven tweed with leather trim on the collar and pockets. This gilet looks great over a classic shirt and will look as good worn on the streets of Chelsea as it would in the countryside.

If you are looking for something a little different for that special event or night out then look no further than Beaufort and Blake, they design and produce some amazing patterned dress shirts.

Their collection offers you a simple, classic dress shirt when wearing you jacket but as soon as the night really starts and that jacket comes off then that’s when you really appreciate how amazing these shirts are.

The front is a classic white shirt but the back and sleeves are covered in Beaufort’s exclusive patterns, anything from Hot air balloons to hippos all designer by the team.

All of the Beaufort and Blake products are designed to show the patterns somewhere on the product including their casual and linen shorts, their luxury cotton boxers that all come with their own matching pouch and you can even match your bow tie with your shirt. 

So now you know some of my favourite country clothing brands, and from this you will be able to create a great outfit. But there is just one more brand to complete my favourites list and that special outfit.

Mackenzie and George is a great brand that has been created by a lovely couple, Melanie and Chris who are based in Whitchurch, Shropshire.

They hand make some great and unique belts and bags.

When I visited them at Burghley this year I just couldn’t resist the Warwick belt as a little treat for myself.

The Warwick belt is the centre piece for their field collection made with vegetable tanned leather, recycled shotgun cartridges and is set off with two panels of guinea fowl and pheasant feathers on each hip.

These belts make the perfect finishing touch to any outfit and for that added extra they will also personalise your belt by add your initials into the leather in gold.

Mackenzie and George also offer some great ideas for Christmas presents like their fedora hats and feather broaches, these are perfect for that special lady and will make her stand out from a crowd at the races, and for a little stocking filler they also hand make leather key rings with solid brass fittings also with the option of personalisation.

I just want to say a big thank you to James, who hasn’t done anything like this before, I personally loved the read. I don’t know about any of you, but James has given me some ideas on what I could get the other half for Christmas – I was a little stuck!!

Keep an eye out for more from this fab blogger once we launch!

Until next time. Xx

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