I’m all in for gloves right now…
Urban Menswear Myths #6
The birth of baby 7 billion was hugely hyped around the globe with media of all sorts covering the story incessantly. In a world continuously growing at such a pace, the struggle for individuality is one that takes place on all levels. As one of the ultimate forms of self expression, personal style is often a conscious statement about how one perceives himself and decides on the image to present the world. When that mental representation clashes with what is social accepted or imposed, say in a working environment, there’s an inherent repulsive reaction towards those criteria.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one with friends who hold a grudge against suiting up simply because they’re required to do so on a daily basis. While some might argue that it’s an uncomfortable attire, the most common underlying cause is the fact they feel that on top of looking like everybody else, they have been deprived of their freedom of expression and individuality. Allow me to disagree…formal doesn’t have to be boring nor make you look like a clone. Sure, you’ll be wearing a suit like many other men out there, but it’s nothing unlike sporting a pair of jeans: how many people do you come across wearing similar or even the same model as you?
With the amount of offerings in the current market, dressing up can perfectly portray your personality as much as any other look. Assuring an appropriate fit assumes a leading role, but besides it the possibilities are endless: playful inner linings, collar detailings, patterned fabrics, color combinations and last but not least accessories. All these are powerful allies when it comes to setting you apart from the rest of the pack.
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.
One of the most underated and often obliviated pieces which comprised men’s wardrobes of old is definitely the hat. What was originally a mandatory complement to a gentleman’s attire, has currently become a taboo item for most men.
Seen strictly as a Summer piece for its functional aspect, due to the scorching heat we’ve been progressively experiencing, the hat’s glamorous and confident nature is at risk of being lost for good. Easily traded by its casual counterpart, the cap, the sight of a luxurious hat perfectly complementing a sharp attire is becoming increasingly hard to behold. Even more so, since it’s usually associated with older gentlemen and not something young men should try. Thankfully there are a few exceptions to the rule, be it older men to whom the hat has become a defining trait or younger men who have come to embrace it.
I, for one, have always been fascinated with them and ironically, my lack in the hair department posed the perfect excuse to purchase a few. Now, as with most accessories, a hat is one definitely worth investing in…ditch the 5$ beachside sale straw version and go for a quality one. Choosing between the variety of models out there is not to be taken lightly (porkpie, fedoras, bowler, trilby…) and the choice should reflect your facial anatomy. This is one of those times when listening to the salesman might be invaluable, provided he/she is a professional and knows about the subject, which is usually the case in specialized hat stores.
Fine hats might cost you up to to 500€ (if you go for handmade panamas) but there are more affordable alternatives out there in the 100-200€ range. Borsalino is definitely one brand to look for, but several others are already dishing viable alternatives: Paul Smith, Lock & Co., Barbisio, to name a few…Also, do consider a wool/cashmere version for the upcoming season, it just adds elegance and a gentlemanly feel to your attire.
Borsalino’s offerings in the season’s shades: camel and burgundy