This is one of my all time outerwear favourites: the Pea Vest. Reminiscent of the iconic peacoat with the double breasted closure and wide lapel, and throwing in the mix a puffed vest model it’s been one of the most heavily rotated pieces on my wardrobe as of lately. A perfect match for the houndstooth elbow patches on the cardigan.
Wool pea vest by Tonello, cashmere houndstooth elbow patched cardigan by Annapurna 5+1, striped dress shirt by Paul Smith, selvedge denim by Our Legacy, tasseled loafers by Lottusse and watch by Rolex.
Styling and model: Miguel Vieira
Photography: Rita Lino
A stellar influence
It seems that outer space and the vastness of the universe are becoming an inspiration for designers this year. N.A.S.A. inspired materials and galactic prints have been making an appearance on several runways, mostly as statement pieces with visually strong patterns and fabrics.
The latter are the foundation of this futuristic look: high tech fabrics in silvery and greyish tones, with special treatments and finishing to give them that extra edge and space vibe. Although the global aesthetic is, at the very least, unusual, I’m excited to see the results of incorporating these items into more traditional attires. On this note, Sir Paul Smith has once again outdone himself…here are some of his looks for the year.
Bold technical fabrics
Star printed trousers
Galaxy map prints
A flowering trend…
Although I’ve mentioned florals before, I still hadn’t had the chance to fully address this much hyped pattern. Every other day, some new garment or accessory makes its way into the spotlight simply by sporting this nature inspired print. The sheer fact that its popularity is growing, while struggling with social, cultural and gender-based ill-formed preconceptions, is not only proof that men are more conscious about their style but that this pattern is a resilient one. As with all bold prints, the chances of getting it wrong are proportional to the risks you’re willing to take.
Whereas concepts such as scale, fit, proportion and color matching should be ever present on your attire, when going for more ambitious combinations they become a necessity. For me, the most crucial aspect to successfully pull it off is coordinating the scale of the pattern with that of the item itself, bearing in mind that larger items are harder to work with. When in doubt start by incorporating small notes such as scarves, pocket squares or ties and slowly work your way up the chain.
This shirt by Paul Smith was the result of an impulsive purchase a few years back, which remained stored away in my wardrobe for quite a while…now, it’s one of my Summer statement pieces. Besides the outstanding color scheme, I love its versatility which allows for interesting casual looks as well as adding a twist to more classic ones. Here I went for a relaxed, put together look aimed at toning things down by making use of pieces in complementing solid colors.
Organic cotton floral print dress shirt by Paul Smith, purple organic cotton crewneck tee by H&M, slate creased trousers by Boglioli, brown crepe sole boat shoes by Buttero, watch by Gucci, silver string by Goti (hidden).
Por Vocação AW11 Looks
Por Vocação just released their looks for AW11, featuring items from the likes of Paul Smith, Martin Margiela, Our Legacy, Acne and Band of Outsiders, along with a healthy dose of irony as the shoot took place on a sunny beach scenario.
There’s no denying that our mood is strongly influenced by the weather, be it in a positive or negative manner. Usually, when waking up to a sun-shiny day, you brighten up, put a smile on your face and feel an urge to dress accordingly: no wonder color makes an appearance this time of the year…
This look is all about celebrating those days through color and bold pieces. The thing I love the most about it, besides the color scheme and refined, yet relaxed feel, is the fact that it blends several statement items in a balanced, sophisticated outcome. When going for louder items such as this multicolored stripe shirt, I usually advise caution and toning the rest of the outfit down a notch; however, if you’re willing to risk it, adding yet another strong piece to the mix may elevate a look to the next level.
Although the idea of mixing stripes and polka dots may seem daunting at first, the matching tones and differentiated scale of the patterns work perfectly together. To smooth things down, a two button navy unstructured sportscoat with a twist: the peak lapel, adding an Italian vibe. Light, fitted and presenting brilliant details such as the satin applications on the flap pockets, this has definitely become one of my favourites. Rolled up white jeans and suede espadrilles further emphasize the summery, relaxed feel.
Two button unstructured navy cotton/silk peak lapel sportscoat by Adam Kimmel (S - tailored), multicolored dress shirt by Paul Smith (M), white slim fit jeans by Massimo Dutti (31x32), suede espadrilles by n.d.c., polka dot silk tie by Vicri, glasses by Prada.
If asked to, I believe I wouldn’t be able to pick just one favourite shirt among those I own, but this custom contrast club collar would definitely make it on to the top 5. There’s a certain unique elegance (and versatility) surrounding that rounded collar: although some might argue it begs to be paired with fancy neckwear, be it a tie or a bow, it can easily overlook them for a differentiated buttoned up sans tie look. Moreover, if you’ve been wanting to sport that brand new collar pin, there are few shirts out there as suited for it as this one. One aspect to keep in mind though, is that this model is supposed to be worn buttoned…much like double breasted jackets.
I’ve been sporting it often recently and similar models in different colors and patterns have already made their way into my wishlist. As with every shirt, fabric plays a very important role regarding the suitability and formality attributed to it: a finer fabric will reward you with an exotic dress shirt, whereas oxford cloth makes them the perfect match for that special pair of worn out jeans. This look combines several striking items, such as the checked navy peacoat, houndstooth elbow patched cardigan and the shirt itself, but they all blend in together as none is overwhelming. The emphasis is on the small details: hues darken as you approach the outer layers (light blue, grey, navy), tones are complementing among pieces (tie and patches) and the silver tie bar just adds that extra flare…
Checked navy wool peacoat by Paul Smith, grey wool/cashmere cardigan with houndstooth elbow patches by Annapurna 5+1, custom made light blue contrast club collar shirt by Gentleman, Levi’s 511 slim fitting jeans (tailored), Portuguese boots, vintage brown knit tie, vintage brown braided leather belt, silver tie bar by Tie Rack.
A pinch of ethnicity #2
On this entry I’ll leave you with a few pics of the embroidered tunic I mentioned earlier. When I asked my brother to keep an eye out for them, I must say I had envisioned something different: a basic tunic in solid colors whose hemline would sit at the thighs, allowing for interesting plays with length. The thing about creating expectations and visual images in our minds, is that the element of surprise may backfire when the time comes.
Thankfully this wasn’t the case: besides knowing me well, my brother also has great taste. He got me an olive green cotton tunic with orange embroidered detailing on the front: definitely a bold piece. However, it poses the perfect opportunity to add visual interest to a look, by mixing vibrant colors and unusual design.
The minute I laid my eyes on it, I immediately pictured it paired with a shirt, blazer or even a tie. What I love about these pieces is that they’re usually a great way to make you think outside the box, challenging you to develop your creative side and come up with ways to make them work. Here, I used it as an overshirt, trying to oppose its relaxed nature with a more put together look: it’s amazing how a classic combo of khaki pants, white shirt and loafers is given a whole new life.
Olive green Moroccan tunic, white slim fit dress shirt by Paul Smith (S), khaki cotton trousers by Osklen (tailored - 40), brown distressed penny loafers by Lottusse (8.5), vintage braided belt, watch by Gucci.
The low V-neck sweater
One of the most important aspects when it comes to knitwear, besides fabric and cut, is the shape of the collar. Among all the available options, the v-neck sweater is probably the most elegant and versatile of the bunch, being easily dressed up or down as you pair it with a tee or a shirt and tie. Make no mistake, not all V-necks are created equal, and within the spectrum you’re offered several variations: higher, lower, wider…
A higher stance V is the most common type, but I’d like to express my love for the low V-neck sweater. In colder months when layering is a necessity, and walking out the door with nothing but a shirt under your jacket will most likely turn you into a popsicle, this is one of my favourite pieces. Its lower and wider stance allows you to portray the shirt+jacket ensemble (while keeping warm) as it’s easily concealed by your outerwear. Plus, if you’re a fan of neckwear, few other pieces allow you to show just the right amount of shirt and tie, while keeping them perfectly framed.
When looking for this type of sweater I believe it’s best to go with thicker fabrics, with some shape to them, as very lightweight, thin fabrics may end up looking loose and baggy, depriving them of the elegance and framing assets. Scottish brand Lyle & Scott offers some great options in outstanding quality wools which are definitely worth checking. Here, I paired mine with a navy peacoat and a shirt+tie combination, stressing the aforementioned framing effect and drawing attention towards the tie. Also, this is the kind of Winter day when you should throw on your white jeans: sunny and freezing cold.
Navy melange peacoat by Paul Smith, greyish blue low v-neck sweater by Lyle & Scott, striped dress shirt by Carolina Herrera, white slim fitting jeans by Massimo Dutti, brown brogues by Henry James Shoes, sunglasses by Ray Ban (aviators), vintage tie, argyle socks by Calzedonia.
Check the label
Ever since I can remember, Italy has been a synonym of high end fashion and impeccably dressed men and women. Hearing about Milan (e.g.) immediately takes us to fashion shows, couture, and all the associated visual imagery of outstandingly dressed figurines, the likes of those featured daily on renowned fashion websites and blogs. It comes as no surprise that the label “Made in Italy” became an assurance of quality worldwide, with many designers taking their productions to the country to reap the advantages of not only the label, but also the talent and craftsmanship of experienced professionals. However, this kind of recognition comes at a (usually steep) price…
In the quest for lower production costs, China has become a force to reckon with when it comes to the textile industry, assuming a leading role in manufacturing for several renowned brands…Once known for its extremely affordable (and somewhat inexperienced) workforce, this reality is slowly changing as a result of its major growing economy, which has forced designers to look for the best quality/cost compromise.
Thus, Portugal joins the picture, paving a strong return to the international fashion scene. With strong roots in the textile and shoe industries, Portuguese manufacturers deliver high end quality and “know how” at affordable prices, becoming the choice for brands such as Paul Smith, Neil Barrett, Our Legacy, etc. I’ve been witnessing this evolution not only by observing international brands’ positions, but also by talking to local manufacturers who have seen their exportation numbers go up the roof. More and more “Made in Portugal” is a stamp of approval for consumers, ensuring they’re purchasing outstanding items carrying an entire history of tradition and manufacturing excellence. I’m both excited and proud to see an international bet in the Portuguese market, and I can only hope that this momentum encourages the appearance of new national brands.
Next time you’re out shopping check the label, you might be surprised….
Paul Smith Mainline
n.d.c. made by hand