Partly thanks to male solidarity at January’s Golden Globes awards, where Hollywood’s women lent weight to the Time’s Up protest wearing black, the traditional dinner suit and bow tie is well and truly back in favour. For some, a welcome return after too many years of roll-neck laziness. For most, an eye-roller; a necessary evil come the party season (or even worse, a summer wedding with pretentious dress code). But there are easy ways to get you looking like a king, rather than an emperor (penguin), and that starts with the obvious: invest in a dinner suit, never rent. If you’ve admitted it’s an eternal bugbear, but argue it’s too seldom to justify the cost, just consider how long a tailored outfit will last! Go for a closed back without vents for the sleekest silhouette, complemented by a smooth grosgrain-silk shawl lapel. Slim, tapered trousers with a plain hem are a must – no turn-ups. And that goes for the shirt collar too, as wings are for white tie only. Lastly, the bow tie: there are some great online tutorials, so there’s no excuse for a clip-on. But, should the prospect of tying your own have you sweating enough, a pre-tied bow from Charvet or Tom Ford is also acceptable: just messy enough to have everyone fooled.
Forget about the cool kids and their smashed avocado on sourdough: the classiest breakfast known to woman is eggs Benedict. If you get it right the morning after, you’ll earn serious brekkie points – not only because it’s delicious and indulgent, but it’s also pretty hard to get right. Why? That damned hollandaise of course. We all have our imperfect, occasionally triumphant means of poaching eggs, and the meat can range from parma ham to honeyroast breadcrumbed, so each to their own, as long as it comes on a perfectly toasted half of bagel. But still, that hollandaise… Well: dice 250g fridge-cold butter into a pan with four egg yolks with a couple of tablespoons of cold water. Start stirring on a very low heat, until it all starts melting into itself, then switch up a gear to outright whisking. As soon as all the butter has melted, turn up the heat, keep whisking, season, add a squeeze of lemon juice and some tarragon leaves for added fanciness. You old smoothie, you!