Urban Menswear Myths #4
When it comes to outerwear, choosing among the myriad of available options may be intimidating at times. Apart from the so called “traditional” models which we all should have in our closets, there are alternatives for everyone out there: heavyweight versions for those who like to sport nothing more than a shirt under it, or lighter ones for the layering adepts. No matter which group you fall into, you need to get your basics covered, starting with classics in neutral shades such as navy or black. I’m a supporter of color, but when it comes to investing considerable amounts (outerwear doesn’t come cheap), you want to have a few all rounders. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that neutrals are the only way to go, especially if basics are no longer an issue and you’re looking for a new addition to spice things up.
To those of you on the next level, aiming to step away from the outerwear comfort zone, there are two paths: go for bold design or experience with color/pattern. As I’m not the biggest fan of overly designed items, I’ll address the colorway. The first thing to bear in mind is that the visual impact is proportional to the size of the garment itself, which colorwise, poses a challenge as few other pieces pack such a punch as jackets/coats. So, the choice of color is crucial: a safe bet on not so usual colors would be camel or hunter green, whereas if you really want to stand out, neon like shades such as yellow, orange or royal blue are the way to go.
If you throw pattern into the mix, the task of finding the perfect piece becomes all the more difficult, but the outcome may be that more exciting. Achieving a balance between both is the key to success, but requires a keen eye, so when in doubt go with solid colored fabrics. Experiencing with bold outerwear is not for the faint of heart, but when you get the hang of it you’ll have a hard time going back to classics.
Urban Menswear Myths #2
It’s usually accepted that a gentleman should stick to a particular color palette, comprised of classic shades and refraining from overly bold items and accessories. Although this perception of the overall ensemble is slowly falling into oblivion, one item in particular has been breaking boundaries and rapidly assuming the spotlight when it comes to introducing color and pattern into an outfit: the sock.
As with so many other elements in menswear, it’s assumed that socks should only be purchased in a variety of solid hues of black, blue, grey and brown. In strictly formal, corporate environments, any kind of subtle alteration is often looked upon sideways, making it all the more easier and somewhat safer, to stick to those basics and avoid unnecessary risks and attention. Make no mistake, even within this range there’s a fiery debate on how socks should match other elements, namely the shoe or the trouser.
However, as the definition of formal is changing by the day, allowing us to present slight glimpses of personality through our attires, be it in the form of a colorful tie, pocket square, cufflink or even socks, now is the time to do so. Sporting a slightly flashier solid or patterned version, should not be faced as provocative, but rather as a strong dash of character. If done right, it’s a perfect way to add visual interest and the right amount of edge to any look. Just don’t go overboard and stay away from childish prints or motifs, but don’t be afraid to show some color; especially with more casual outfits…roll those cuffs and show them socks! Contrasting ankles are a great way to step it up a notch.
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.