The Honest Blogger

The term ‘Influencer’ is thrown around so easily and in my opinion…I hate it. Influencer seems too much like you’re getting your moneys worth out of a reader that is browsing your heavily sponsored content, after all, influencer, in marketing speak means ‘a person or group that has the ability to influence the behaviour or opinions of others’ which to me is a little bit tacky. I myself am a blogger and content creator…nothing I do is trying to influence readers and quite frankly my blog doesn't often pay me at all.

With influence comes value and with some brands paying tens of thousands to ‘big influencers’ to simply snap an Instagram picture with their product, it’s no wonder so many bloggers are trying to gain influencer status.

Unfortunately, I believe this is where the true value of bloggers is lost and it’s all down to one word…bots.

Sadly platforms such as Instagram are yet to block bots from liking and commenting on pictures on a user's behalf. If you’re not familiar with a bot, put simply you can ask it to like all photos that are published with certain hashtags. Some ‘influencers’ use this to its full potential, growing their audience by liking all manner of pictures (seriously, from sausages to knitting, it's pretty laughable), all because they might feature a hashtag such as #lifestyle or #mensstyle. It’s such a poor way of running a social media account and shows lack of understanding of best practice, sadly for the honest blogger it means some colleagues are commanding high prices for sponsored work…all because their sly social tactics have gained them 40k followers.

It’s a riddle to me how brands don’t work this out, picking an influencer that has gained 30,000 followers that are of no worth whatsoever is surely worse than working with a content creator that has 1,000 followers that engage regularly? It will ensure better ROI, better impact and importantly, better engagement rates. It’s a real shame that brands see numbers as the way forward when true, engaging content is what the internet is craving right now…it’s about time brands started to look a little deeper at how many influencers use these techniques to gain followers,   and also to have a little browse of the account before sending the collaboration email.

On the most part, the blogging community is made up of honest, creative and individual creators, something I love to see as a creator myself. Sadly the industry is so overrun with people wanting to get rich quick, get a verified social media account and have their 15 minutes of fame that they don’t focus on the now.

This isn't me slating, people do what they’ve got to do and I have no qualms with people making money off their blogs, I myself have been paid for content…not that it blurs my views or opinions because as you’ll know if you read the blog regularly, my honesty is pretty clear (not going to apologise). I just wish some creators were more honest, with some, I feel like we see so much of what they’re paid to do and say that we’ve lost the true person behind the account. That’s such a shame to me.

Catching Up With: Oliver Cheshire

Oliver Cheshire is owning the menswear scene right now, there's not a single FROW he hasn't graced and is a hot favourite for mens lifestyle mags. You probably know him as the face of M&S but I wanted to delve deeper in to Oli's style, inspiration and top tips for you aspiring models. I caught up with Oliver to get an update on what he's up to right now.

Oliver Cheshire | Marks & Spencer Autograph | Sam Squire UK Male fashion blogger
Oliver Cheshire | Marks & Spencers Autograph | Sam Squire UK Male fashion blogger

How would you best describe your overall look?
 
My style is a variety of lots of different things. I love the preppy look, but I still have a soft spot for leather jackets and rock 'n' roll Chelsea boots with black jeans. At the moment bomber jackets are everywhere and I love them, I wore one to the Brits recently, I think you can wear them with almost anything. I also grew up around a lot of sportswear-based fashion which is massively on trend and wearable, as well as very functional in today's fast paced society.

Oliver Cheshire Style | M&S Autograph | Sam Squire UK Male Fashion blogger

What do you think it takes to become a successful model?
 
You need to feel comfortable with yourself and the way you look in front of the camera, you also need to be able to listen and take direction well. Personality plays a big part too, and obviously you need to keep in shape, you don’t want to be too slim or too muscly as your body and face are your tools. I also think determination and resilience are also key, it can take a lot of knock backs and no’s before you finally get your break, and you can’t ever give up.

How long does it take you to get ready for a red carpet appearance, what’s the process?
 
It takes me about 30 minutes to get ready that's including the shower hair and moisturiser. The thing that takes the longest is picking my outfit and making sure it is tailored to perfection. The key to grooming in my eyes is less is more, find what hairstyle suits you and find creams that suit your skin and stick to them.

Have you ever had a style disaster? Tell me about it…
 
Sometimes I look back at shirts I've worn in the past and think Oh No what was I thinking when they're too loud. Also I've had a few style disasters when I've tried to pull off trends and they haven't really worked for me or they were just awful in the first place but I thought they were cool at the time.

Who is your ultimate style icon?
 
David Beckham has always been a style icon of mine. I was a 90s kid and when I was younger he was everywhere. He took risks with his fashion and that is something I loved, he wasn’t scared to try new things and he managed to set trends at the same time. Now he is older he knows what suits him and he sticks to it.

What would you say is a must-have style essential that every man should own?
 
I think everyman should own a good quality white crew neck t-shirt because it will go with everything you own. It has to be high quality cotton though, so it feels good against your skin and doesn’t get ruined in the washing machine.

What is the one trend you’d never rock?
 
Being on photo shoots, I've pretty much been dressed in most trends, but there are a few I personally wouldn't dress myself in for days out, such as, socks and sandals or flared trousers. But hey, never say never.

Oliver Cheshire | M&S Autograph | Sam Squire Uk male fashion blogger

What does casual style look like in the world of Cheshire?
 
I love casualwear, there has been such a lean towards the smart casual trend recently with sports luxe and athleisure trends. I love to mix casual pieces with something more formal – i.e. mixing a tracksuit with a smart pea coat or a tux with a pair of trainers. Autograph menswear is based around smart casual dressing, with a big sports luxe influence. In the summer collection short suits are introduced to create a new look with a focus on style, texture and detail.

What’s your one ultimate style tip for men the world over to help them look photoshoot ready?
 
The fit of the clothes is key on any photoshoot, they are often pinned back by a stylist. It's also a good idea to get a good night’s sleep before your shoot so you don't have puffy eyes on set.

What’s your all-time favourite piece from Marks & Spencer’s Autograph collections?
 
My all-time favourite piece is the Autograph black wool and leather bomber jacket. It is the perfect transitional, layering piece; on colder days I wear it with a roll neck jumper and once it warms up I will style it over a casual crew neck t-shirt.

The new M&S Autograph summer 2016 collection is available online and in stores now. I personally want everything...you can shop the collection by clicking here!

Chilly Kneecaps

So if you can’t tell by my bright red nose…winter has officially arrived. Snow is drifting its way across the country and temperatures are hitting the minuses…so what better time to go an photograph some jeans with the knees ripped out…

Topman Ripped Knee Jeans | Sam Squire UK Male Fashion Blogger

I bang on in every blog post about Topman’s spray-on skinny jeans because A) they are my favourites and B) I am hoping for some free pairs (JOKE, before anyone gets shitty with me…) - spray ons are my go-to, I think I look really weird in jeans that are baggy, I look like I'm trying to be a cool 90’s dude but clearly failed. 

On browsing in my local Topman I came across a section of ripped knee spray-ons and I literally had no idea which ones to buy. I went for the black ones because I like black things to match my soul…plus they pretty much go with everything I wear in my winter wardrobe. They had some different blue shades in the same style which I did contemplate but I just didn't feel brave enough to move away from my staple black jeans. 

Upon buying, I dropped a little Tweet to express my excitement…Topman swiftly replied insinuating these are definitely not for the current weather…clearly I was feeling brave (not drunk) and headed out to get some cool snaps in the chilly weather…the snow had literally just melted and I instantly regretted every choice I had made up to that point….a model’s life, eh! 😏

Topman Ripped Knee Jeans | Sam Squire UK Male Fashion Blogger

These are pretty much my new favourite jeans, I teamed them with a Pull & Bear denim shirt my winter coat from River Island and my Dune chelsea boots which I definitely need more of because even I’m starting to get bored of seeing them in every blog post I do 😬

These jeans are available right over here for £38...I paid £40 in store and now feel I've been robbed £2...

Suit your Size

I’m going to guess you didn't know that in a recent Jacamo survey, 40% of British lads suffer from ‘manxiety’ due to their friends teasing them about their body image and a further 34% of men say that this is added to by not being able to find decent fitting clothes.

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Catching Some Rays

Mallorca literally feels like a distant memory for me…I am back in the UK getting paler by the day thanks to the British ‘summer’ - for the past couple of months I have had a wicked collab going with Vision Express and there’s still loads more to come from that so keep your eyes peeled. Today though I thought I would show you another pair of specs I got from them at the start of the summer!

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Gone Swimming 🏊🏽

As you guys will know from my social media activity, I’ve been well and truly sunning up a storm on the beautiful island of Mallorca. Before I headed away, the lovely folks from Marks & Spencer reached out and offered to send me a pair of David Gandy’s hugely popular swim shorts he designed for M&S’s in-house brand, Autograph. 

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Cocktail Club: Bloody Jack

It’s Saturday we’re all super chilled and you know exactly what that means…time for another Cocktail Club recipe! Today’s is called the Bloody Jack, it’s a really quick and simple recipe with hardly any ingredients needed so if your cupboards are bare it isn't going to ruin your night of cocktail fun. 

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Watch Out!

You guys know how in to my watches I am, seriously I have spent a pretty fortune on wrist fashion over the past few years, I literally don’t want to total up the amount I have spent because that could  and will drive me in to a breakdown.

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I Shoes You

I am a lover of style in general but as you’ll know from reading my other blog posts, I really bang on about having a good few pairs of shoes. You could have literally THE most on-point outfit going on but mate if your shoes suck then no one will be paying attention to how well dressed you are. Here’s my top three pairs of shoes for your to grab online right now! 👞

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In This Month’s…Men’s Fitness

Welcome to a brand new segment!! As you know I struck up a deal with magazine.co.uk and they kindly hit me up with a few 12 month magazine subscriptions…how kind are they?! Each month I get these mags so I thought ‘Heck, Sam what a fantastic opportunity to write about, create more blog content and NEVER run out of ideas’ so, in today’s blog post I’ll be telling you three things you’ll find in Men’s Fitness the Summer Edition. 

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What's In My Suitcase

So I went away at the weekend and recorded a quick 'What's in my suitcase' vlog - the lighting is a bit poor but hopefully you'l forgive me and have a watch of my first ever vlog! Don't forget to head over to YouTube to subscribe. 

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