Fashion independence is something we take for granted. After World War II, our forefathers redefined expectations of what it meant to dress as a modern man, leading to many iconic men’s wear movements (and some not-so brilliant ones).
Making the most of our style liberties, it’s time to push the fashion boundaries once more, breaking ideas that box-in men’s wear still – for some. Here are seven small yet powerful style updates to play around with this season. The best part? You’re not required to buy a thing.
#1 Roll With It
Proving more than a fleeting trend, rolling the cuff of a trouser or jean should be common style practice for men nowadays. The DIY crop creates an instant tapering at the ankle without forgoing the roomier fit up top – a silhouette that men’s casual bottoms (especially chinos) are taking on this season in rebellion against the skinny jean.
Just be sure not to roll more than two-three inches and keep the roll relatively thin in the beginning as you fold the cuff upward. Play around with neatness too; the cuff roll shouldn’t look too ‘planned’. Style should appear easy and effortless – even if this means spending some time in the beginning, perfecting that this-just-happened roll.
#2 Lose The Socks
In keeping with the ankle theme, going sockless (or appearing that way) is a fresh look for the warmer months. Boots aside, the no socks look works with most footwear – loafers, sneakers, brogues and even the dressier monk shoes.
Obviously, it’s a casual approach to styling but works brilliantly with soft tailoring. Keep it dapper with a relaxed blazer, cotton shirt, chinos and leather lace-ups – sans socks.
Or opt for sockettes/socklets to keep the feet feeling fresh when things really heat up; ensuring none of the mini-sock is showing for an on point Pitti Uomo reference.
#3 Button It Up
Going against the airiness of the first two style updates, a collared shirt turns dapper when buttoned-up to neck. Dubbed the ‘air tie’ by some, buttoning a casual shirt all the way up to the collar – and not wearing a tie at all – is a fresher approach to shirting, as most men continue with the same-old open-neck look, sans tie.
A fully buttoned-up white dress shirt creates a super-clean, minimalist aesthetic, and looks especially crisp under a well-tailored suit jacket. Or, if you’re more the short sleeve kind, a buttoned up shirt creates a more formal aesthetic – taking the top into smart casual territory for summer with khaki chinos and a leather belt.
#4 Tuck It In
Playing around with the shirt tuck is an easy way to change a regular look. Tucking a plain t-shirt into relaxed fit chinos or pleated trousers is more common for men this season and the Marlon Brando-esque aesthetic is a great way to take an everyday look and make it more classic.
Polo shirts tucked into tailored shorts create a preppy accent too. Or if want instant summer, take a lightweight cotton button down instead and pair it – open necked – with a leather belted slim fit denim in mid blue. Loafers or boat shoes complete the look.
#5 Shoe Swap
There isn’t a single piece of footwear that’s hotter than the sneaker right now. Going beyond the gym, team up the trainer with more refined pieces – a relaxed cotton suit – keeping the silhouette of the sneaker lean and low, opting for white or black for a cool minimalism with a basic t-shirt under the jacket.
Another brutish switch? Wearing boots with shorts. This play-up is riskier and fashions the leaner gent. Make sure the boots aren’t too punk – sticking to leather Derby, desert or hiker style types, in black or earthy suede. Team them with chino shorts or a jersey cotton variety under a simple tee – letting the newly arranged footwear be the style statement here.
#6 Trouser Drop
If your denim game is not yet on-point, start looking to tailored and trim types, like the jeans were made for you. That sorted, the blazer-jean combination is top priority. Dropping your chinos or woollen trousers for a slim-fit, mid-blue pair is an immediate style update – ideal for casual Fridays and the weekend.
Just ensure the denim is clean – think raw and dark or vintage blue, and not overly distressed. And keep the blazer soft-shouldered and comfortable; riding easily over the denim which in itself is an casual item.
#7 Traditional Add-Ons
While jacket proportions and suit cuts have changed over the years, those half a century ago accessories will get you far today. We’re talking the little things modernity has tried to stifle: lapel pins, tie clips and neckerchiefs.
From the boutonniere to pin, adding a decoration to the lapel of a sports jacket, blazer or suit coat adds personalised interest to a typical navy or grey jacket. In summer time, a neckerchief is an old-world way of freshening up a tie-less open necked shirt too – giving off a European vibe.
Jazzing up the shirt cuff is easy too, dusting off those mother of pearl cufflinks you bought for a ‘special occasion’ and wearing them with your three-piece work suit. No one ever got told off for looking too dapper, now did they?
The above style updates should be played around with, adjusting the finer details with other pieces of clothing that you own.
If the new look conflicts with your personal or professional style, try reworking certain elements to fit in with your taste and immediate environment. Otherwise, ditch it and stick to traditions.
The key is being open to learning and trying new things – finding looks that work for you and your lifestyle – not dressing awkwardly and looking like someone you’re not.