Men’s fashion is the gentle rolling hills of England, to the women’s fashion landscape of Himalayan extremes.
Put simply, us boys need not be glued to the rafts of photos that stream out of fashion week’s never ending shows. The A/W collections of the big men’s fashion houses are not all that different from last year, with subtle tweaks here and there. Each month I will seek entwine bits gleaned from the shows with those set-in-stone fashion rules that we men are lucky to have as guardian angels.
This month I am going to address jackets. Not the type purchased from Millets in various garish shades and made of materials to which naked flames are a real danger, but the classic English two-button jacket which can be worn with anything from a shirt and tie, to a T-shirt.
This brings me to my first set in stone rule: jackets with how ever many buttons, and this includes three-quarter length coats, should never have the bottom button done-up. This year, as always, it is the cut of a jacket that matters we are lucky to live in a country that understands jackets and suits like no other, a quick field trip to Paul Smith in our very own cherished Nottingham will reveal all. Jackets and suits, like jeans no longer need to be as skinny, although a tailored look is key. “Tailored look” means, and I suppose this is another rule, however much you like an item of clothing, if it doesn’t fit your body shape then do not buy it. Essentially no-one wants to evoke those childhood memories of wearing clothes that you look like you need to grow into, or even more disastrously you look like you’ve grown out of.
Dress code tip: There is nothing worse than looking like your understanding of smart-casual stretches no further than a pair of jeans and the pinstripe jacket from your Next suit. Smart casual is an essential, as we become a smarter nation, an inexorable rise from the dark days of the shell suited 80’s. Material-wise men’s fashion is very much in a renaissance period, so stick to the classics, herringbone, hounds-tooth, dare I say it velvet are best, something that is distinct from a suit.
If all else fails – I’ll leave you with my rule of thumb as quoted from Muhammad Ali, “I don’t follow fashion so much as I try to find clothes that make me look good”.
By Guy Rathbone