Street wear is in. It’s not really such big news anymore.
But, as with any style moment – be it double denim, coloured dress shoes or retro sneakers – they are some who catch wind of the trend, stock up on the latest gear, and when putting it all together, sadly get it wrong.
Despite the casual coolness that street wear implies, it can be difficult to pull-off such a youthy look – without looking like a wanna-be teen in the process. Let’s take a look at what it takes to be ‘street chic’ – avoiding any chance an outfit double-up with a fashionable fourteen-year-old.
Breaking It Down
Street chic is exactly how it sounds: the surf/skate/hip-hop elements of American youth culture mixed with the finesse of luxury, quality brands. To make each street look work, material is important. Combine synthetic fibres (think satins, neoprenes and nylons) with natural cashmere, cotton and woollen fabrics; creating texture in the outfits.
Then, retain clean lines and correct fit. Street clothing may be less structured and more relaxed than tailored pieces, but proper fit is paramount – avoiding saggy bottoms and baggy tops. Finally, look to the finer details, like leather caps, silk scarves and tech-savvy watches to give street wear that final boost. It’s about going from ‘eek’ to ‘chic’ – in one smooth move.
Nothing says ‘chic’ like monochrome. Going solid black with pops of white is a foolproof look for luxury street, instantly dressing-up the combination of jogger pants and a contrast-sleeved bomber jacket.
The tonal look is all about piecing the outfit as one uniformed hue, and then adding points of difference such metallic zips, contrast fabrics (like leather backpacks on cotton or neoprene jackets) and even letting sneakers carry a slight pattern or print.
Otherwise, if the bulk of your outfit it darkly colour-blocked, sneakers in a candy red are a chic option, provided everything else is pared-back in detail.
Look High & Low
Luxury street wear calls for a mastery of mixing formal and casual pieces. There’s nothing chic about thongs (flip flops to our American readers), trackies and a crinkly white tee. So learning to blend the smart with the traditionally not-so, is paramount. Start by selecting your outerwear.
In summer, a lightweight parka or wind cheater is best, as is a linen blazer or cotton trench. Always worn open, layer the jacket or blazer over a tee and add cotton chinos, rolled at the hem.
In winter, go for a woollen mac or cashmere over coat with sweeping, wide lapels. Then chuck on a button-down shirt and woollen trousers, but cuffed at the ankle to retain the street look. At all times pair the styles with more casual, retro sneakers or clean, minimal joggers in white – depending just how chic you need to be.
Like you would a smartphone, it’s time to update your current 2-D patterns and head on over to the real deal digital prints. These fashion graphics aren’t your average Breton stripe or polka dot; more a sophisticated pattern or print that projects a story onto the cotton.
The images are often life-inspired and detailed, and sometimes look futuristic or molecular in appearance because of their intricacy. Far more ‘adult’ than a typical print, work these illustrations into shirts or tees and then let the rest of the outfit be monochrome.
Print Below The Belt
A flow on from digital prints, all-over patterns on trousers are one of the best ways to rock a street chic look – with a difference. Most lads feel confident enough to sport a racing stripe up the side of joggers or track pants but go one step further. Play around with micro-printed bottoms, either as shorts or trousers.
Like any outfit, foolproof ‘street chic’ involves letting that one piece of clothing carry the print, surrounded by a bomber jacket in satiny, nylon and an Aran knit sweater with bumpy cables that give back great texture to a look. The more outlandish among you might pull out the colourful retro sneakers here, matching hues from the trouser. Otherwise, keep it simple and opt for a neutral-coloured knit or suede trainer – coinciding with the wool in your jumper.
Shoes Are Supreme
Sneakers are really the only footwear option for looking ‘street’. And the ‘chic’ part follows swiftly in toe when you invest in a luxury pair. Nothing gym-ready is at all suitable here, so take a look at the 20 best sneakers for men in 2015 for a little inspiration. Then, consider if you’re more the hi or low-cut kind of ‘chic’, and abide by the sneaker ethos: white for dressy, retro for quirky and fun, and block coloured for the brave.
Above all, keep the kicks clean (as you would your very own mouth). Then, let the super suave sneakers do all the talking.