Underscoring the move toward a bolder male wardrobe, bold prints are the need-it-now item to inject some va-va-voom into minimal or neutral outfits this season. Just in time for the seasonal change, prints are ripe for the picking: florals (obvs), animal prints, and the more classic checks and stripes are print trends leaving their mark on your favourite men’s fashion pieces.
“Florals are always a must in spring,”says Thai Nguyen, senior stylist at Topman. Plus, they make for some much need colour and vibrancy in the winter. “This season, polka dots, stripes and old fashion florals are key prints for men,” adds Nguyen. “But lean more toward pastels and muted tones for a quieter vibe,” adds Nguyen.
This season’s print mantra? “Think 1950s by the seaside.”
Where To Print It
Shirts, shorts and shoes are all getting the bold print treatment. So, learning how to wear the bold print trend — what fellow fashion items best accompany the pattern and colour — in a variety of smart and casual scenarios is essential style savoir-faire for standing out in the crowd. And, for all the right reasons.
“Don’t be scared to work in your own individual style, and have fun playing around with different patterns and new colour ways,” says Nguyen. Here’s how, Mr Floral.
By design, printed shirts are a lot more casual than their dress shirt counterparts. But, that doesn’t mean you should shun the joining of a leopard print shirt with tailored black jeans or a neon hibiscus shirt tucked into formal trousers. In fact, get it right, and the combination is all the more impressive.
And, the bold print shirt even extends to tailoring, as long as the suit is soft in construction to embrace the playful, dressed down feel of the loud pattern. “Look to plain suiting,” suggests Nguyen. “The shirt is the hero piece.” A black base colour in the shirt retains a certain formality with prints. And stick to navy, beige and grey — neutrals, really — for suit colour options.
Print leg wear provides the chance to make a real statement. Soliciting your bottom half as the spot for wardrobe brilliance is the perfect alternative to an everybody-does-it jacket or shirt. The same rules apply: make the print the focal point of your look, hushing the rest of your outfit
“Keep it basic up top,” says Nguyen. White cotton shirts cannot be overlooked. The other important aspect? Matching your printed trouser to your footwear. Simple is best. So, look to footwear every man should own. “A casual sneaker, dress shoe and sandal will work well.”
The bomber jacket is one of the hottest men’s style piece to own in 2016 — in any season, all social occasions and even to the office. So, it makes perfect sense for the trend heavyweight to collide with fashion fellow — bold prints. Enter the souvenir jacket. It dates back to the post-WWII years when American soldiers stationed in Japan commissioned these ornate, hand-made jackets as a souvenir of their time stationed abroad.
Fast-forward fifty-odd years, and not much of the satin-y, nylon jacket has changed: a mixture of east and west iconography such as eagles, tigers and cherry blossoms, as well as Japanese lettering.
Making the most out of the heritage sensibility jeans are a surefire way to rock the bomber right. “Try denim for the day,” says Nguyen. “After dark, a tailored trouser is nice with an optional collared shirt or simply a plain t-shirt.” Steve McQueen would be proud.
Before the idea imprints into your brain, you shouldn’t really consider wearing head-to-toe prints – à la suits or separates. Instead, let a subtly printed blazer provide the statement — nothing too look-at-me, unless it’s spring race day or fancy dress.
“Only the bold should opt for a co-ord,” says Nguyen. Otherwise, consider your go-with-everything bottom options — blue jeans, trousers or even tailored shorts. Or another pant classic. “Try pairing the printed blazer back, with some nice, pressed chinos.” Add in some tan brogues or a rich oxblood loafer, especially in there are red tones in your blazer.
More the shy style guy? Bold prints are still for you, thanks to accessories. With tailoring, neckerchiefs or a pocket square inject vibrancy, while the rest of your look is sleepy, yet chic. And old faithful — socks, as well as shoes and even a t-shirt (when layered by a jacket or blazer) prove easy ways to incorporate prints.
“Don’t be scared to work in your own individual style, and have fun playing around with different patterns and new colour ways,” suggests Nguyen.
Textural prints and dark coloured patterns are safer still, and can lift a monochrome outfit, even for minimalists.
“Printed accessories are key pieces to complete the outfit,” says Nguyen. Just make sure to keep the patterns on scale — and stick with one type of floral, resisting the need to mix paisley with hibiscus. “Above all, the little additions make any plain suit stand out.”