Ah, men and and fashion - poor old chaps, I feel for you, I really do.
It isn't easy is it? You are chastised for sticking to the good old, safety-in-numbers code (shirt and tie combos) and are positively hung out to dry if you do dare to "experiment".
This leaves most of you flailing around like a gaggle of geese somewhere on the periphery. I know few men who would give the runway looks a blast (and those I do, only because I'm "in fashion"). All that is really needed is a little common sense (I'm saying nothing, boys) and some pre-programmed knowledge. For every way a man can dress up, there's a better/cooler way to dress down.
You see, the battle between traditional fare and modernism shouldn't exist. The rules are rather simple: stick to refined, well-put-together, polished tailoring - and the progressive stuff will start to form by itself.
Take this season's spring/summer trends - the "dandy" (sounds like a nightmare for those who like to think testosterone) is everywhere. Yet most of you would prefer to squirm in your (very manly) boots.
However, try and rethink things a little: less of the logical and more of the explorational; more John F Kennedy chilling in Cap Ferrat than some snake-hipped hipster. Opt for a tightly (but not overly) fitted suit in an oatmeal-brown and pair with a denim dress shirt for some extra-cool points. Shoes should always be brown leather, and ditch the normal tie for a slim-fitted woollen tie.
Camouflage has been on the radar for some time now, but for 2013, it's moving away from the classic macho combat print and entering a new finer, elegant, digitally manipulated print specifically seen on lighter fabrics such as fine cotton and linens. Hothouse florals are huge for summer and, despite the initial horrific images of middle-aged barbeque chefs with bowling ball bellies, there are some rather beautiful variations. Raf Simons included the dizzying prints on light, cotton summer coats while Balenciaga engineered digital florals in red and black, inspired by the avant-garde Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Christopher Kane's collaboration with J Brand also included roses that were painted over with big, bold brush strokes.
For those who are positively wincing at the thought of flowers in full bloom, the 1950s American sportswear trend may well tick the box. Think baseball shirts, buttery soft, boxy shorts and dark denim jeans. Look to 3.1 Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang for inspiration and opt for a wide stripe to get ahead of the game. The slip-on sneaker has also made a comeback and would even pass with the right suit.
Sharp, sleek, popular with the ladies, fashion forward? Well, keep it close to your chest, for there is nothing worse than a poser. It sounds fairly obvious but always have a fitting. Your jacket's shoulder pads should square with your shoulders and the length of your trousers should hit midway between the top of your shoe and the top of your shoe sole. In short, to heck with the bells and whistles, chaps. Keep things understated and sharp. If you have second thoughts about something it is normally your subconscious throwing you a bone, so think twice before heading out the door.
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