Things start to get a little unhinged this time of year. The season’s changed and designers and brands alike are discounting current lines. New temperatures and cheap luxury items means men are looking to unlikely fashion items – ones we might not consider buying had not the thermometer changed and the price tag dropped.
Sending out the call to the style brave, here are 6 crazy but cool fashion items actually worth buying. Some are ‘woah’ for their colourful print, others are an unusual texture or fit, while others are just massive statements: only ever seen on style bloggers and fashionistos.
The kimono has come a long way since the 5th century AD. In its original form, the Japanese cloak was influenced by Han Chinese clothing. But the Edo period (1603–1867 AD) saw the sleeves lengthen and the belt widen, evolving to the shape and drape we know it today.
As Japanese brands increase their menswear presence and simultaneously divulge hidden garment techniques (indigo dyeing and selvedge denim), the kimono style in 2016 offers men an ornate yet wearable alternative to a blazer, jacket or overcoat.
Keep the kimono in a muted colour palette (nothing floral or dragon-ish) like the Eyes & Sins kimono pictured. Utility style cues such as chunky zipper details, front pockets and heavy canvas cloth fabrics are key updates on the Kimono silhouette. It’s the perfect smart casual jacket with a workwear edge: loose, unstructured fit that makes it easy to wear and move about in.
The best part? Waterproofing and breathable fabrics make the old-school kimono refreshingly modern and functional.
#2 Embroidered Denim
Charmed by ‘it creative director’ Alessandro Michele – and his penchant for romantic prints and softer silhouettes – menswear is going gaga from Gucci. Gardenia embroidery is a new take on graphics this season. And there’s not a more striking way to portray the flamboyant than to plant bulbs, let them flower and watch the odd bumble bee or butterfly flutter on in.
Add into mix wild animals and rugged shearling lining, and this Italian-made denim jacket from Gucci is a head-turning piece. The washed out denim retains the trucker masculinity, and should be coupled with dark denim jeans and a neutral-coloured t-shirt or button down.
It’s a noisy piece of work, so keep all other items mute. Still too feminine? A textured beanie and a groomed short beard will inject some lumberjack ruggedness. Now, where’s that axe?
#3 Knitted Polo
Gucci’s feminising of the Seventies foray, which is oh-so big in menswear right now, gets the disco flick with brands reigniting our Saturday Night Fever, without the need for bell-bottoms and rocking the afro (though the latter is pretty cool).
Shimmy on in the knitted polo shirt. The summer shirt – in a sweater-esque fabric – is an ironic pairing. But the breathable ribbed cotton or raised wool, gives the James Bond-by-the-sea polo, a real retro awakening, leaving you looking smart.
The cuffed short-sleeve and hem keep the silhouette neat, even if the torso and chest remains more billowed. Wear it buttoned to the neck with a leather perfecto, just like the Zara polo pictured, or collar open and splayed, paired with navy chinos or tailored shorts and boat shoes or espadrilles. Now, you’re riviera-ready.
#4 Statement Chain
Things are getting more bling. While bracelets were the shining jewel in the crown of men’s accessories last season, necklaces – shorter lengths – are a bold, yet worthy jewellery move.
Two types are dominating: culturally-inspired necklaces made rich with a blend of metals and stones (think South American turquoise gems and vintage silver). The other is a finer chain with small or no pendant attached, adding interest to a plain sweater or t-shirt. James Tanner offers smart silver chains with minimal pendant detail.
Still, if you’re feeling neck-shy, opt for a classic signet ring or more manageable cuff. Every little bit of bling counts this season.
#5 Man Tote
The tote bag is both large enough for a gym kit, and simple enough for a suave suit, making it one of the most totes-amaze leather goods for men this season.
Conceived in the Forties by US brand LL Bean as a way to transport ice, today’s tote comes in masculine monochrome, made from durable canvas or buttery leather – or both, as is the construction of Troubadour totes.
Other more heritage versions come in denim (very Japanese), while the geometric print tote, in blocks of saccharine-hues, is ideal for the jauntiest jetsetter among us, purely leisure with this bag. If it’s strictly business, however, a luxurious pebble-grain is what you’re after.
And in a corporate cool blue, brown or black, letting the hardware – chunky zips – and finishing – embossed edging – do the style talking.
#6 Ottoman Suit
The most outlandlish style feat to conquer this season in printed tailoring. And it goes beyond herringbone, dogtooth and windowpane check. A brilliant way to introduce a little (or a lot) more colour into your wardrobe, Ikat and kilim custom print separates (taken from the rugs of the Ottoman era) are perfect summer items.
Made from pure cotton – ideal for warm weather and casual tailoring – team the jacket with a crisp short sleeve shirt and a same-scale print in fern or geo-print, for the same eye-catching effect. Otherwise, swap out the jacket and add a denim blazer, the blue softening the print hysteria.
Keep this look away from the office and pair with clean-cut sneakers and colourful socks drawing on one of the colours from your suit.