Fashion notes: Get your guy to embrace new trends
Father’s Day is fast approaching, which brings up a rather dreaded topic: buying clothes for guys. Whether you’re a partner, daughter or sister, you probably have experience with shopping-mall struggles involving male companions. You know, those moments when you spot a divinely tailored blazer or pair of loafers in your favourite colour combination in a store window, and think: “He has to have that.” Most of the time, though, the enthusiasm isn’t mutual, and our pleadings are met with staunch refusals or, if we’re lucky, nonchalant nods and blasé shrugs.
Sometimes we might come off too strong in our passion-for-fashion-driven requests for our men to renovate their dressing habits. They often already have some preconceived notions of the industry. Male models, in their minds, are associated with lanky, feminine figures, eyeliner and the avant-garde – way out of most men’s comfort zones.
Granted, runway trends are rather difficult for the average male to take on, and most men will find the majority of them too extreme to copy. While fashion editors might applaud Yohji Yamamoto for his revolutionary culottes-style suit trousers in his autumn/winter collection for instance, most men will cringe at the idea of trying on a pair.
More broad, easily achievable style themes currently leading the menswear market are sporty-minimalist tailoring and down-to-earth plaids and denims, along with – as much as I hate to admit it – big, scruffy beards.
When shopping with guys, start off with the basics. For summer, denim shirts and light ombre effects give off soothing vibes and take off some of the edge of masculinity, without doing away with it altogether. Pastels can really give youth to a man’s look, too, as seen in the spring/summer collections of Lou Dalton and Kenzo, though it often takes quite a bit of convincing before you can walk away with a salmon-pink or lemon-yellow men’s shirt in hand. And once bought, it may grow stale in the back of his wardrobe without frequent reminding and not-so-gentle pushing to wear it. The farthest you may get is him settling for a pair of mint-green swim shorts for the pool.
Don’t bother having the “flowers aren’t just for women” debate with any man – it’s a waste of your time, unless he’s unusually open-minded. Instead of forcing him to wear floral prints and being responsible for miserable moods, suggest less-feminine botanicals and leafy jungle patterns, which are more reminiscent of manly safaris than womanly gardens. If he’s up for wearing a floral tie or T-shirt, though, that’s terrific. Some guys just have a knack for picking out stylish prints, and can carry them with ease and confidence.
Bombers and varsity-style jackets have been around for a few seasons, but still hold the hot factor – throw one on him, if he’s agreeable, and it will instantly uplift his look. As well, deep hues such as oxblood and navy blue hold elegance and charisma, especially in outerwear, as shown in the autumn/winter collection of Valentino.
A final word of warning – never force him to wear something he’s not comfortable with. His uneasiness will show through the clothes, and he’ll just look awkward. Then you’ll look awkward, too. So to avoid a whole lot of awkwardness, remain patient and encouraging, and introduce him to your favourite menswear trends in small, painless doses.