I said at the start of the week that I would be producing a look book to coincide with the latest textured layering trend, so here it is. I have picked velvet as the main source of the look book, just because it seemed the hardest fabric to use in order to create a true fashion look, and I wanted to challenge myself in order to see if I could convince a few of you that you can rock this and successfully.
Obviously velvet is a really extravagant fabric that a lot of males would not know how to pull off. If you get this item wrong then it will literally KILL your outfit in an instant, and you will come across as a guy who just lost his way from the local smoking lounge and/or country club. Get it right though and you have done what 99% of the male population didn’t think was possible, and so in an instant you become eye-catching and a man who knows how to dress. You see this is the problem with a fabric like velvet, because it can look truly amazing; fashion forward, luxurious, oozes style and chic… but a lot of males are scared of trying it out in case they get it wrong. This gives us an advantage straight away when we want to stand out, as we are going to treat this item today LIKE ANY OTHER BLAZER – and pull it off! ;)
This is one KEY rule to fashion in my eyes. If you start to over analyse everything that you wear and think that you have to wear something differently just because it is cut different or made of a different fabric, then you are going to complicate your outfit and come across as uncomfortable and maybe even “try hard”. This is definitely not the vibe we want to give off, even sub-consciously… so start thinking and treating items you wouldn’t normally wear the same as something your already have in your wardrobe. It will help your personal style immensely and it took me a while to work out this key rule when I first started looking to develop my personal style.
For this look book today we are going to use one velvet item… the blazer. I have generally used my favourite black version and we should be able to produce four great looks: fashion forward and edgy, catwalk, eccentric and formal. Hopefully by the end of this article I will have convinced that you are capable of pulling any item off, no matter how scared you might be at first. Luxurious fabrics and textures are bang on trend right now, and if you pull it off, you will look like a superstar.
Celebrities in Velvet
Here are a few examples of celebrities rocking the velvet blazer, and not just within a suit. I must say before we go any further that you can wear a full suit and substitute in a velvet blazer easily in order to stand out within a formal environment. Look how effortless and easy Will Smith makes it look below – teaming a beautiful black velvet blazer with a charcoal/grey suit and waistcoat. Excellent.
Outfit 1 – Fashion Forward and Edgy
So firstly we have our on trend and fashion forward look. This is one that the younger crowd can get involved in and rock on casual days. Here we take probably my favourite velvet item I have seen this season – the black velvet fitted blazer – and mix it with some true fashion staples that everyone should have in their wardrobe. I went with a brand new skull graphic print tee from All Saints which nods toward the rocker vibe and then team it with a lightweight grey hoodie that will contrast well against the deep black of the blazer. Here we let the hood fall out the back over the top of the blazer, really bringing this look down into a more casual vibe.
You can see how I have treated the blazer in this outfit like any other… matched it with a graphic tee and hoody and it will still look amazing, plus not be too in your face. It just WORKS within the whole look and doesn’t stick out. It just becomes a great textured focal point. Team this with some slim dark jeans by Nudie and standard white mid cut Superga’s and you are good to go. Fashion doesn’t need to be hard, so let’s stop over complicating things. I have added one of my favourite pairs of cut off gloves by All Saints because I think it again adds an edge and they will blend in well with the black blazer sleeves.
Outfit 2 – Eccentric Fashion Forward
Now this is a look that requires confidence, but it can be pulled off easily and it will make you definitely stand out without being over the top. It sort of has a Dandy feel but brought bang up to date. It has eccentric touches all the way through the top half, whilst we neutralise this using the lower half of the outfit. So firstly I picked out a great paisley shirt in a great tone with black subtle detailing. This really is a kind of artist/poet look but in a way we can all pull off. So then I matched the shirt with a true black Tootal scarf, as they are really lightweight and using amazing silk fabrics that just adds another texture to the outfit as a whole. The black and grey here similar enough to co-ordinate, but are different tones so that there in an amazing contrast when paired together.
Due to this true monochrome combination of shirt and scarf, it means we can throw on the deep red velvet blazer to make this outfit come alive. The red will contrast so well against the dark shirt and scarf, meaning it becomes a true focal point. We haven’t gone over the top here, but we have managed to match some amazing prints, textures and colours really effectively.
The bottom half I have completely neutralised by picked some great slim fit black jeans and a pair of black brogues that are bang on trend. By keeping the bottom half so dark, this outfit goes from “look at me” to just being subtly eccentric but still really stylish. I added the white leather slim belt for one more dive into the eccentric and it really ‘pops’ against the dark jeans. Again this is a look you need real confidence for, but again if you pull it off you are going to end up looking like a total star.
Outfit 3 – Catwalk Inspired
This look was inspired by the top pictures (above) from D&G’s Spring/Summer 2010 catwalk preview. As you can see, velvet looks like it is going to continue right into spring next year, and it just gives us another idea about how we can rock it. I have again taken my favourite black velvet blazer and this time paired it with a grey/charcoal chambray (light cotton denim) shirt. The model at the top has gone with lighter blue denim shirt and jeans, but I think that is because these are the Spring lines which calls for a little lighter washes. The grey matches the black blazer really well, and allows us to put in another velvet item… the bow tie. If you are not feeling the bow tie, you could go with a velvet black tie that are available, or choose not to wear one at all. I wanted to copy the catwalk photo above and I know that a black slim tie looks great with the shirt above because I own it myself.
The bottom half we have again gone for a slightly darker wash to match the top half, but still kept the distressed feel to the jeans. Worker wear is big right now so this hits the trend whilst still looking great. We then add our second focal point to this outfit by adding some brown leather boots. These really stand out in comparison to everything else being quite dark, and hit the worker wear trend that the lower half leans towards. I picked a distressed pair of brown leather boots because again we wanted to go for that textured layering look we described in Wednesday’s article. Finish off with a coordinated slim brown belt to match boots.
Outfit 4 – Formal
So here we have our formal outfit. I wanted to stay away from just throwing on a suit and velvet blazer so this time used the black velvet blazer with another velvet item… the waistcoat. These coordinate well and can be broken up by using a simple white formal shirt. It also means that when you take your jacket off you will still have some great texture and extravagance in your look. Match with a black skinny tie to add a fashion edge, but also to keep the whole top half very formal and chic.
For the lower half we kept it simple but really went for a contrast with some great grey chambray skinny trousers by Topman. This will make the colours of the black pop (my favourite word today it seems!) more in the top half of the outfit, whilst still keeping the whole look very sharp. I put in my favourite Chelsea boots of the season by Ted Baker because they are a thing of beauty and right on trend. This is a true formal look which is very much brought fashion forward by slim fitting everything and using different textures all the way through. If you are at a relaxed formal event, drinks or even the office party I can pretty much guarantee no one will be wearing an outfit like this even though it has a similar feel to standard formal looks. It’s all in the details baby.