With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, you may be planning a romantic soirée or a peaceful evening for one with that Macallan Reserve you’ve been saving. Whichever kind of night you choose – and we’re not judging – our team have picked out their essential items from The Rake Atelier which will ensure you’re dressed to impress (even if it is just for your labrador).
This looks a bit disjointed as a selection, but there is logic to it, and it is a chronological logic. The first rule of sex: don’t smell. Pankhurst is the best barbershop in London and also has the best grooming products. The Head to Toe shampoo is very good for cleaning and also the lime and bay rum scent (yet to be bottled but should be) means there is no additional need for cologne. Shoes are really important on a date; sexy, sleek Oxfords like Gaziano & Girling’s here go perfectly with jeans, flannels or chinos and as well as being striking shoes, will make it look like you made an effort. And finally, underestimate good underwear at your peril. Hamilton & Hare has made a genuinely good looking pair of boxers – this navy model is that can’t-go-wrong pair that is worth buying.
Don’t settle. Yes, a Valentine’s meal is all well and good, but do you really want to be sitting in a room with thirty other couples eating pleasant-but-overpriced-food from a limited set menu, with slow-jams playing in the background? No, you don’t. Be a good rake and take her/him on a jaunt to somewhere actually special – a beach house on the coast, or a remote mansion in the country, perhaps. For this you’ll obviously need an attractive overnight bag, from Bennett Winch, some driving gloves for the sports car, some flowers (we don’t sell those), and a knitted polo shirt – neither too smart nor too casual.
I’m of the rather sentimental belief that Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be about much more than giving time and thought to someone significant – and what better way to do that than by sharing a good meal and even better conversation. It goes without saying that one should look their best – no matter if said date is with an old or new flame – and that starts with grooming. Thomas Clipper‘s set comes with everything from a pre-shave oil to a weighted stainless steel razor, and has a story behind it that can be relayed if conversation runs dry. A light spritz of Floris‘ Honey Oud Eau De Parfum shows subtle sophistication, and a simple gesture, like holding out an umbrella in the event of a sudden downpour, is the kind of considered display that gets remembered.
If she hasn’t already, your date will likely be taking your T-shirt off for you… because it’s so soft she will want to keep it herself. A new set of socks is essential: one pair for this date and then a pair for every date to follow. Imagine the shame of old worn socks when you have to take your shoes off, resulting in a situation that will forever be known (behind your back) as ‘toe-gate’ among her girlfriends. These navy suede trainers are smart but also casual enough, and you won’t get weird comments about your shoes. I know women and they don’t always ‘get’ shoes.
Whether this is your fifth date or your fiftieth, there’s no excuse for not making the effort. If you want to get – and keep – your date’s attention, you’d better be the best-dressed guy in the room. A good suit or tailored jacket is a powerful tool you have at your disposal. Avoid looking like you’ve come straight from the office (even if you have) with a Prince of Wales or Glen check, and finish it off with some personal accessories and sexy shoes.
I’m all for Valentine’s Day. It’s a lovely occasion if you just so happen to be in a relationship. However, I’m not, so there’s no chance I’ll be going out for dinner – or anything for that matter – on the 14th. Instead, I’m going to kick back at home with the love of my life Hector, my loyal and lovely labrador, wearing navy silk pyjamas and burgundy suede Marphy loafers from Rubinacci. They’ll look fantastic with a red hip flask that’s filled with something potent, even if my dog is the only one to see me.
It would serve you well to carefully consider your accessories and err on the side of caution when embarking on Valentine’s Day date night attire. Your date will undoubtedly scan you from head to toe, so fix your hairstyle firmly in place with some Patricks finishing paste for a striking first impression. A statement piece of jewellery, like this Deakin & Francis sterling silver signet ring, can also double as an intriguing conversation starter, and investing in a pair of Sutor Mantellassi brown leather Derbies to conclude your ensemble will give you that extra boost of confidence.
Personally, my kind of date night doesn’t involve a pretentious restaurant where the maître d’ looks you up and down before deciding if you’re welcome. I prefer something a lot more casual such as a good authentic Italian restaurant and as such, my date’s dress should follow suit. Crafted from locally-sourced yet luxurious moleskin, this navy bomber jacket from Private White V.C. gives the impression of a man with an effortless knack for style, no matter how long he really spent choosing his ensemble. Match with a long sleeve polo shirt and some smart suede sneakers to channel James Dean’s air of cool and maybe then you’ll steal a pizza my heart.