Party-ready men’s fashions: Selfridges in London

Posing outside Selfridges, where fashion and class come together on Oxford Street.

Posing outside Selfridges, where fashion and class come together on Oxford Street.

When you travel, you may hit those travel book high spots starred and written in boldface.  Why not?  They’re tourist stops for a reason.  We check ’em off our list like everyone else does.  But we also like walking neighborhoods, stopping in at little markets and local restaurants, and checking out what’s au courant, if you will, at the big stores in town.

So, when Bert said he needed new socks, we ducked into Selfridges (We’re fans of Mr. Selfridge on Masterpiece) and headed straight upstairs to the men’s section.  And that’s where Party-Ready Fashion, London style, greeted us squarely at the top!

Now, if you follow our blog, you know we fall into geezer categories — safe, comfortable travel; safe, comfortable travel clothes.  Nothing flashy.  Rather ordinary.  So, consider Selfridges the point at which our learning curve began.  And try to picture us being Party Ready!

Greeting us at the Men's Department at Selfridges: Party-Ready Style!

Greeting us at the Men’s Department at Selfridges: Party-Ready Style!

It was upstairs to the men’s department where it all began.  And we knew we weren’t in Tennessee any more.

Menswear at Selfridges, London

Menswear at Selfridges, London

For one thing, there was a nod to Bieber and ball hats from NY all in one place.

Second, some fashion attire fell into the category of scary, at least for us.

Hoodie on display at Selfridges

Hoodie on display at Selfridges

Third, we recognized a few familiar labels, like Burberry and Tom Ford.

But new things kept popping up at every turn.  Are these what we think they are?  Full patterned suits — flamingos, Christmas, even cartoon characters?  Yep.  That’s what they are!  And flying off the racks.

And shoes.  Hundreds of shoes.  Racks and racks of shoes.  Fashionable ones by designers we knew . . .

and some we didn’t know.  (We don’t get out much, I suppose.)

Bert finally spied a pair of running shoes he could wear to Big Orange UT football games in Knoxville if we had room in our carry-on.

You never know when you'll find Big Orange shoes in London!

You never know when you’ll find Big Orange shoes in London!

But back to the beginning of this journey.  Remember those socks that led us upward to the men’s department of Selfridges? When it was all said and done, Bert had found some in every color, stripe, and design.  In the end, however, he selected a conservative, throwback, gray argyle to wear on the trip.  Sigh.

Happy Socks at Selfridges, London

Happy Socks at Selfridges, London

We’re just not party-ready, I guess!

Not sure why, but Bert wouldn't even try on clothes from A Bathing Ape.

Not sure why, but Bert wouldn’t even try on clothes from A Bathing Ape.

 

For more information:

Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London, England.  http://www.selfridges.com/GB/en/content/store/london

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/selfridges

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Shiny and black: Doors on London’s Park Street

A passerby checks his phone in front of an elegant London doorway.

A passerby checks his phone in front of an elegant London doorway.

When you travel, walking the neighborhood near your hotel is one way to get a feel for how people really live.  And, if doors are any indication of the people inside the homes in the Mayfair section of London, we could expect to meet some very British residents, comfortable in their formality.

Doors on Park Street reveal some things in common:  Almost all are beautiful, and almost all are coated with high gloss, black paint.  Park Street doors reminded us of quaint London taxis bearing shoppers on Bond Street and those ever-popular (at least in the States) glossy boots by Hunter, the brand that outclasses almost all other rain gear on the market today.  Park Street doors are the ultimate chic, if you will, in this quiet neighborhood in the Mayfair section. And the color hints at lineage or status — the color not of royalty, perhaps, but of understated elegance that would never dare to scream, “Notice me!”

Who wouldn’t want to turn the knob, walk in, and see what’s behind any one of these doors?

With so many types of doors surrounded by entryways worthy of ambassadors (and some live here!), a walk in the Mayfair section of London may be in order.  It’s a place where variety reigns but uniformity is the gold (or, should we say, black) standard for doors.

For more doors, check out Norm Framton’s site: Thursday Doors, January 12, 2017.  It’s a welcome site to see!

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Cruise the Thames with London’s Oyster Card

Parliament forms the background for a memorable sunset cruise on the Thames.

Parliament forms the background for a memorable sunset cruise on the Thames.

You never know just how valuable a concierge can be ’til he gives you information that 1) saves you money and 2) gets you where you want to be!  Thanks to Grosvenor House: JW Marriott for hiring a man who understands Southern tourists (We have a drawl, ya’ll) and knows how to make their day.  When we approached the desk and asked the best way to get to The Globe from the Mayfair section where Grosvenor House is located, the concierge immediately said, “Have you heard of London’s Oyster Card“?

Good on most any London transport -- the Oyster Card!

Good on most any London transport — the Oyster Card!

And that’s how we discovered this little gem.  With an Oyster Card, you can tool around London on just about any form of transportation:  public buses, London Underground (the Tube), Docklands Light Railway (DLR), and trains.  River boat fares are discounted with an Oyster Card, the little blue smartcard you pre-load with money at any tube station. When you want to ride, hop on and touch your Oyster Card to an electronic reader which deducts the price of your trip and shows you how much you have remaining.  No cash involved.  Don’t use it all in one trip?  You can get a refund both for your deposit and what you didn’t spend.  Check it out at participating tube stations.

Is it only crazy, old Americans who take Thames Clipper selfies? Surely not.

Is it only crazy, old Americans who take Thames Clipper selfies? Surely not.

Passengers on a SunClipper, cruising the Thames

Passengers on a SunClipper, cruising the Thames

Purchasing an Oyster Card in London is pretty convenient, but you can order a Visitor Oyster Card before you leave home and have it mailed to you.  It wasn’t, however, much more expensive to purchase one onsite.

Boarding a ThamesClipper for the route to The Globe is easy.  Just walk down behind Parliament where ships dock.

London's Parliament

London’s Parliament

Follow the covered walkways to the waiting areas where you wait — but not long.  Many boats ensure short wait times.

Covered walkways leading to the docks.

Covered walkways leading to the docks.

Scan your Oyster Card.  Board.  And off you go.

If you want clear shots of the skyline, head to the back of the boat, stand up facing the back, and brace yourself.  It’s worth it to get shots like this one of the London Eye . . .

London Eye at sunset -- great time of day to catch this shot!

London Eye at sunset — great time of day to catch this shot!

or boats wrapping up their business for the day.

Wrapping up a day on the Thames

A scene on the Thames.

Of course, not all is lovely on the river.  But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This seagull must like what he sees!

This seagull must like what he sees!

Traveling on the river takes you close to architecture you can’t see from a bus, like these ornate details on one of the bridges . . .

Spectacular details on this bridge on the Thames.

Spectacular details on this bridge on the Thames.

or passengers crossing Millennium Bridge to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

London Millennium Bridge was once called Wobbly Bridge when crossers felt a sway. But it was revamped and reopened in 2002.

London Millennium Bridge was once called Wobbly Bridge when crossers felt a sway. But it was revamped and reopened, better than ever, in 2002.

It’s just another day on the Thames for those making a living on the water.

Well, the birds knew which boats to circle!

Birds know the right boats.

But for us, it was a sight to remember.

For pennies on the pound, a Thames River cruise may be one of your best memories of London.

 

For more scenes of London, check out our series Postcards from England.

 

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Resilient

What could be better than a day at the beach under a blue umbrella?

Grateful for resilient beaches where we can face the ocean once again under a blue umbrella.

For me, going to the beach restores my soul.  Even a quick view of the ocean renews my faith in life and living.  The resiliency of sand and shore is something I rely upon.  For me, it’s always been there.  And always will be.  Even if sands shift a bit here and there.

Birds move in and out with the waves along the shore at Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Gray days don’t discourage shore birds — their resilience keeps them moving up and back with the tides.

Nature really is resilient.  Even after gray periods, birds scatter along the shore . . .

The resilience of birds as they follow along, hoping for the catch of the day!

The resilience of birds as they follow along, hoping for the catch of the day!

or follow boats in the water, hoping the catch of the day will be theirs once more.

Walking the path to water's edge at Hilton Head, SC.

The path I follow daily at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Paths can only invite.  We must decide which ones to follow.

So, no matter what path you choose, may you find happiness and the resilience to endure whatever life casts in your direction.

Best wishes for a productive, happy, healthy new year! — Rusha Sams

For more entries in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Resilient, click here.

 

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Unexpected glitz: London’s Bond Street

Lighted boxes decorate Cartier for Christmas on London's Bond Street.

Lighted boxes decorate Cartier for Christmas on London’s Bond Street.

Sometimes we arrive at a hotel, put our things down, and head to the Concierge Lounge to get a bite to eat.  And that’s what happened on a chilly December afternoon when we arrived at London’s Grosvenor House: A JW Marriott Hotel (a spectacular place to stay, by the way).  But after a snack and quick drink, we were ready to see London, so we donned coats and boots and headed out the door, having no itinerary or idea what lay ahead of us.

Hanging above Bond Street, these sparkling orbs marked the spot for Christmas finery.

Hanging above Bond Street, these sparkling orbs marked the spot for Christmas finery.

We were attracted by a sparkling orb dangling over a nearby intersection, so we turned down another side street not far from the hotel only to find ourselves in the middle of Bond Street where shoppers of means, no doubt, purchase goods for themselves or for gifts.

Shoppers on Bond Street -- enjoying the lights and windows!

Shoppers on Bond Street — enjoying the lights and windows!

A lone street musician added sounds of the season to our window shopping excursion on Bond Street.

A lone street musician added sounds of the season to our window shopping excursion on Bond Street.

That night, however, shops were already closed, and those of us out for the evening found delight not in shopping but in peering into beautifully staged and lighted windows and soaking up sights and sounds. It was the Christmas in London we came to see — over-the-top designs, patterns, and accessories on one glitzy street.

Although shops were closed (It must have been around 9:00 PM), Gucci stood out.  Well lit inside and out, Gucci was astir with hush-hush conversations.  We knew something was up.  First, we noticed a Maserati parked near the door behind a black stretch limo. Across the street, men in dark glasses stood firmly on the corner — feet apart, arms folded, ever vigilant.  Was someone special — rock star? actress? Londoner? — inside doing a little personal shopping after hours?  Oh, how we wanted to know — but never did.

Quite the stir at Gucci, the only shop open after hours on London's Bond Street.

Quite the stir at Gucci, the only shop open after hours on London’s Bond Street.

A few city dwellers were out and about  — window shopping, strolling babies or walking dogs.  A lone delivery man pedaling for Deliveroo parked his bike and searched for the correct address.

A Deliveroo box sits empty on the back of a bike -- parked while the driver makes a delivery.

A Deliveroo box sits empty on the back of a bike — parked while the driver makes a delivery.

But other than that, it was just another glamorous evening on Bond Street where white lights and glowing windows said Christmas — London style. What a find!

Programmed lights fanned out over and over again, bringing London's Bond Street to life.

Programmed lights fanned out over and over again, bringing London’s Bond Street to life.

Thanks for following our travails in London.  For more short posts, click on Postcards from England: Christmas 2016 .  Hope you enjoy traveling with us!  — Rusha and Bert

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Postcards from England: Christmas 2016 — Cotswolds Elegance

Lovely home in the Cotswolds decorated with a single wreath. But what stands out are the other elements -- stone fencing, interesting roofline, climbing vines, and tiled roof.

Lovely home in the Cotswolds decorated with a single wreath. But what stands out are the other elements — stone fencing, interesting roofline, climbing vines, and tiled roof.

Dear Readers,

From the glitz and glamour of holiday season in London to the understated tones of the Cotswolds, Christmas is celebrated in many ways in England. Some homes in the country add only a single wreath on the door.  No flashing strings of lights, no blow-up Santas, no prancing reindeer on roofs or lawns.  Just the simplicity of greenery with a touch of berries, maybe a bow.  And how lovely that is.  Enjoy these homes — rooflines, stonework, interesting doorways — for what they are.  After all, you’re in the Cotswolds.

— Rusha and Bert

For more Postcards from England, click here for the list with links.  And thanks for spending some holiday time traveling with us!

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Travel theme: Shimmer at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel

A grand entrance welcomed us to Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel in London.

A grand entrance welcomed us to Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel in London.

Dear Readers,

Here’s a Postcard from England: Christmas 2016 from Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel in London, a hotel that shimmered with gold and silver all through the house. From the elegantly shiny trees outside to glittery table arrangements in the foyer, Grosvenor House exuded tastefulness and luxury.  But even with all that shimmer, what really stood out was service — from the doormen in tails and top hats to the women in the lobby ready to assist you even if you talk with a Southern U.S. accent.  (Wait.  Do I have an accent?)  Grosvenor House was a sparkly reminder that we were in a world class hotel, and we had arrived — for a night or two, at least — in one of the world’s finest cities, all dressed up for the holidays. Bring on the shimmer.

–Rusha

For more photos from Ailsa’s Travel theme: Shimmer, click here.

For more Postcards from England: Christmas 2016, click below.

Markets at Bath

Windows at Selfridges

Boots by the Door

Hamleys Toy Store

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

Yellow Door at Royal Crescent

 

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Postcards from England: Christmas 2016 — Yellow door at Royal Crescent

The famous Yellow Door at Number 22, Royal Crescent, Bath, England

The famous Yellow Door at Number 22, Royal Crescent, Bath, England

Dear Readers,

It seems that not all owners of penthouses in Bath’s Royal Crescent (built 1767 – 1774) felt compelled to adhere to tradition when it came to the requirement of all white doors in this finest example of Georgian architecture in the UK.  Miss Amabel Wellesley-Colley personally took on the Bath Preservation Trust by painting the door and window sashes of Number 22 a decidedly different Primrose Yellow.  As you can imagine, there was much back and forth concerning this “most regrettable” choice of paint.  And, before the matter was fully resolved, Miss Wellesley-Colley passed away.  However, new owner of 22, Mr. Stephen Little, decided to keep the color of the door since repainting would cause an even greater stir than when Miss Wellesley-Colley first defied the authorities.  So it’s still yellow.  Tour guides enjoy pointing out the now-famous door.  And somewhere Miss Wellesley-Colley must be smiling!

View from the front lawn of Royal Crescent in Bath -- one of England's finest examples of Georgian architecture

View from the front lawn of Royal Crescent in Bath — one of England’s finest examples of Georgian architecture

Elegantly curved -- the Royal Crescent in Bath, England

Elegantly curved — the Royal Crescent in Bath, England — with mostly white doors!

–Rusha and Bert

For more information:  Check out “A clash of colour in the Crescent!” by Richard Wyatt.

For more Postcards from England:

Markets at Bath

Windows at Selfridges

Boots by the Door

Hamleys Toy Store

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

 

 

 

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Postcards from England: Christmas 2016 — The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

 

Giving us the royal treatment at The Royal Crescent!

Giving us the royal treatment at The Royal Crescent!

Dear Readers,

Since our driver in the Bath area had an established rapport with The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa in Bath, he afforded us the opportunity to enter this venerable establishment to get a glimpse of its stately Georgian decor and elegant Christmas trimmings.  We were greeted by the most proper staff (stahf, as they say) and allowed to peruse the lobby and hallways of this beautifully appointed establishment. If the downstairs exudes tasteful luxury and fine furnishings, we can only imagine how fine a stay in any of their forty-five rooms and suites would be.

Here’s to the holidays — at The Royal Crescent in Bath (Bahth, as we learned to say)!

–Bert and Rusha

 

For more Postcards from England, click below.

Markets in Bath

Windows at Selfridges

Boots by the Door

Hamleys Toy Store

 

Posted in England, Postcards from England: Christmas 2016, Travel | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Postcards from England: Christmas 2016 – Hamleys Toy Store

Dear Readers,

It’s Saturday, and Hamleys in London is bustling with shoppers.  And to add to the excitement — demos and wowsers of all kinds.  From magic erasable boards to flying airplanes, boomerangs, and bubbles. When it all came down to The Purchase, though, we brought home an old fave — Paddington Bear!

Ah, shopping in London,

–Rusha and Bert

For more postcards from England, click here:

Markets in Bath

Windows at Selfridges

Boots by the Door

 

 

Posted in England, Postcards from England: Christmas 2016, Travel | Tagged , , | 11 Comments