Look Book Introduction
So today I have another instalment of the look book series for you, and we are going to base it around another Spring/Summer essential… chinos. Now last year I was really pushing and advocating the use of chinos within your outfits, but when we produced the look book for it we were mainly concentrating on Autumn/Winter trends and layering. Using chinos in the Spring/Summer period is very different, with more emphasis on lighter layers and of course a whole host of different trends to hit.
I have already given you the run down on the Americana and Nautical trends and how to pull them off using simple timeless basics you may already own and hopefully we will continue this today whilst also introducing you to some new pieces you might like to add to your wardrobe this year. By the time we have finished our lookbook series, you should have a variety of outfits you can throw on at the drop of a hat for ANY feasible situation. You can tailor each look to your personal style and substitute items out where you wish. The important thing is for you to learn what works and why, so you can make these substitutions yourself.
First I am going to quickly explain why I think the chinos have become essential. If you read this site regularly (and especially my articles) you will of noticed that I am really invested in trying to expand and develop my own personal style. It is important to me that I am always trying new things and looking for ways to push myself further (this is true within my whole personal life) and I want to encourage you all to do the same. There is nothing satisfying about being just another guy on the street and fashion is a great way of expressing yourself and setting yourself apart from all the other “off the shelf” males walking down your local high street.
I must stress that I do not encourage everyone to go out wearing “wacky” clothes or every bright colour they can find so people notice them. I mean being subtly different to 90% of the male population will set you apart, and by opening your mind to new pieces of clothing it means you can find this differential. Of course you then need to know how to put it all together so you are not the aforementioned crazy guy, but that is what we are here for ;).
Chinos are an amazing place to start. 9 out of 10 guys walking around your local city at the weekend will be wearing jeans within their casual outfits because they are safe and comfortable and easy to create outfits with. But if you are that one other guy rocking chinos and pulling it off, who do you think is going to come across as the most stylish and confident male? That was a rhetorical question don’t worry.
The great thing about chinos this year is that the premium designers AND high street have now started to release hundreds of chino styles in as many fits and colours as you would find jeans. In fact, I have seen more coloured chinos this season than I ever have jeans. It also means if you are experimenting you do not have to stray too far from the safety of your jeans. There are plenty of beautiful black, grey, navy and bold blue coloured chinos this season you can use to separate yourself from the jeans crowd, but they should boost your confidence levels because they are a near straight substitution to what you would normally wear.
The other important point to note this year about chinos is that they are definitely going to be the basis for most of the major trends you come across; Nautical, French Riviera, Americana and even the colour trends that are developing look best when created using chinos. So I think this is THE perfect time to invest in one or two pairs. Below are just a few examples of what is available right now:
Like last time I have been searching through Lookbook.nu, as well as some recent magazine editorials for some chino outfit inspiration shots. Below are some of the best and most varied outfits I could find. Hopefully one of them will appeal to your personal tastes:
Can’t forget credits so images came from one or more of these sources: GQ Magazine, Details Magazine, Lookbook.nu, Zara Campaign, H&M Campaign.
The Chino Look Book
So as always I have tried to get inspiration from editorials, advertising campaigns and real males for the looks we are going to recreate today. Below are the four looks we are aiming for:
Look 1 – Everyday Summer Casual
This first look came from a male who posted his photo to Lookbook.nu. What I love about this look is that it is probably SO close to what a lot of our readers would normally wear. There is nothing outrageous or items you couldn’t pull off… just a true casual summer look. There are a few differences that would make you stand out from the typical male though:
- Black Chinos: To the naked eye these look like black jeans but I love the fact he hasn’t just reached for the denim. These work particularly well with the surrounding colour coordination and also allows the hem to be rolled quite easily and give you that extra fashion forward detailing within your outfit.
- Deck shoes: As featured as an essential on site last week and throughout the nautical look book, these are different to plain canvas trainers and/or hi-tops and just pulls the whole outfit up a notch. The bottom half of this outfit is really tailored and slick, and this clashes well with the relaxed nature of the top half.
- Straw Trilby: I mentioned this item in the nautical look book and a summer hat is a great way of showing confidence in your style whilst setting you apart from the masses as well. I love the straw/woven trilby’s and fedoras that are available right now and these will last right through Spring/Summer.
So what else do we need? Well a simple plain white tee is a must, and I love the v-neck variety which I like to call the You should all have at least one of these in your wardrobe after Matt Allison’s essentials article. The next item to throw on is the checked shirt. Now because the bottom half is so dark and plain it means you can pick ANY colour here to go with the black chinos. You can also pick short sleeve OR long sleeve dependant on the weather and what you already possess in your wardrobe. Feel free to leave it open and casual with the sleeves rolled on hot days, whilst if you need to smarten it up a touch button it right up to the top, tuck it in and add a great belt. Finish the look off with your personal choice of sunglasses that fit your face shape. I have used the Rayban Wayfarers because it’s Hollywood A-Listers choice of eyewear and just adds a little more to that nautical influence that the deck shoes give.
Look 2 – Street/Preppy
I love this look again because it is simple but also touches on a style we don’t feature as much as we probably should… street. What I mean by that is by using the ever so slightly oversized shirt left untucked, bright bold watch and the fitted cap we have quite a street style top half. However, this contrasts beautifully with the much more preppy bottom half of rolled grey chinos, and white leather deck shoes.
Clashing of styles when done correctly looks amazing and I think this guy has pulled it off beautifully, it is an outfit I could definitely see Kanye West or Pharell rocking. You do not have to be gangster or scruffy to have that street, skater or even hip hop influence, you just need to pick key items which nod to it and match them with items that exudes your personal style. The geek specs are also an amazing touch which pulls the top and bottom halves together.
A note about the colour tones: Here the guy has used quite a neutral bottom half which coordinates really well together being as white and grey are both monochrome. I like the boldness of the pink shirt which always looks great contrasted against grey (or black) and is a colour that a lot of males shy away from. For me though a colour like pink just oozes confidence and masculinity if you get it right. For the geek specs you can keep them neutral again in a black or even white frame to tie in the bottom half with the top half. For typical street style the colours used are generally very bold and there are a lot of patterns and geometric print, hence you can get away with the brightest watch you can find and also a hat which can completely clash against everything else if you like. Feel free to go crazy and express yourself because the rest of the outfit is so well coordinated, you will get away with it.
Look 3 – Bold Coloured Chinos
These bottom look book images which have come from either the H&M, Topman or Zara recent Spring/Summer campaign. I couldn’t find them again after I saved them so I should give all those great high street companies a shout out.
You should always remember that Spring and particularly Summer are generally hot months and so you need to keep your outfits simple. You can’t throw layer after layer on as you will become hot and uncomfortable. You want to look great, but you don’t want to feel awkward or be conscious of your sweat patches etc. A way of getting around this is to use bold striking colours that provide the focal point of the outfit and make you stand out against the crowd. In this outfit we are concentrating on the 2 bottom left images above. Both of these use pink or red shades of chinos to achieve their look and both show that you do not need to over complicate things to pull off a great fashion forward outfit.
How many people walking down your high street would you expect to see wearing pink or red chinos this Spring/Summer? 1 of 20? 1 of 50? 1 of 100?! I imagine if you live outside of London then you are looking at the top end of that scale. So using just one item of clothing is going to set you apart from every other male, whilst still having your outfit look great. You can see that the stylist has done an amazing job creating these outfits using beautiful bold colours which coordinate well and are SO simple to recreate. This is the reason I use real life images in the look books now because I want to show you new items you may never of considered can work.
The items you need:
So a bold chino in pastel pink or red is the place to start.
Plain Tee or Top
So next we just keep the tee or top ever so simple in a white colour (perfect for summer) which will coordinate with the chinos whilst also letting them stay the focal point of the whole outfit.
So we are in England and maybe we do need a jacket or layering for the colder nights or if the weather changes in an instance. You can see they have used a bold navy in the photo above to coordinate with pink, whilst keeping it in a grey tone for matching with red. Both work extremely well in a contrast with the bottom half. If you think about it further and reversed the top and bottom colours, these outfits would definitely be something you might already choose to wear I.E. grey jeans with a red tee or navy trousers with a pink shirt.
UPDATE: So how hard would you think it would be to find good matches to the 2 jackets shown? The answer for those that haven’t guessed would be really hard. I have put 3 examples below which come in similar colour tones but unfortunately you may need to take a browse around online or on your local high street if you want a perfect match. I would love a light grey leather jacket and they are specifically rare at the moment:
Like I mentioned in outfit 2, pink and grey work really well together and so these lace up grey leather shoes are amazing. You do not have to opt for shoes though, how about a simple white canvas trainer or leather deck shoe? Both of these would take nothing away from the outfit whilst still coordinating with all the other colours used.
Hopefully you can see that even though this is such a simple look, it will give you the edge over other males who do not have the confidence to pull colours like this off. Even if you lost the jacket and just used footwear, chinos and plain tee, you would still stand out against everyone else on a hot summers day.
Look 4 – Relaxed Formal
Again for our last look we are going to use a bold colour chino, but due to it being pastel blue, it might be more suitable or attainable for some of your tastes. This look oozes French Riviera and a bit of Nautical as well, which just goes to show how all these trends tie in with each other and should allow you to build a versatile wardrobe for any occasion that is always on trend.
I have to admit this is probably my favourite look of them all but I am a sucker for tailoring and relaxed formal styles. For the bottom half we have picked up the pastel blue chinos (trend colour) and given the trouser hem a couple of rolls in order to bring the outfit down a notch and nod towards the nautical trend. They have paired them with the grey lace ups again whilst leaving the socks at home. Grey and blue coordinate and contrast really well so this completes our lower half nicely. By using plain dark shoes they have also allowed the focus to remain on the bold coloured chinos.
The top half is kept really simple but sharp and tailored. A crisp white shirt and a light grey blazer is all that is needed to round out the outfit and look how well the colours contrast against the pale blue whilst still coordinating with the darker grey shoes. I love this outfit for day and night events all the way through Spring and Summer. Trouser leg hem rolled, blazer sleeves pushed up and a few top buttons loosened for the day, whilst for the night you can add a tie or simply do everything up as it should be to smarten the look.