Yesterday, in the first part of this mini series concerning key textures for this autumn/winter, we detailed how men’s fashion is going to have a love affair with texture in the coming months. Major fashion houses and high street retailers alike are releasing a plethora of materials and textures for you to integrate into your outfits and personal style. We also mentioned how mixing and matching textures within your looks can take them to the next level by adding detailing, focal points and depth to your layering.
The key textures covered yesterday were: Tweed, Velvet, Faux Fur and Shearling.
For the second part of our breakdown, I will be introducing to you to 4 more key textures that deserve a place in your wardrobe for the coming season.
The Chunky Knit
You can add an overall feeling of texture to your look by incorporating chunky knit styles into your choice of knitwear. Hermes did this to great effect during their autumn/winter Paris Fashion Week show where they showcased their fantastic chunky cable knit, roll neck jumpers in bright turquoise and striking mustard [look book bottom centre]. Their use of texture coupled with interesting colour choices really made the knitwear stand out.
On the high street, Topman and French Connection have released chunky oversized cardigans and knit jumpers with cable knit detailing. H&M have also featured chunky oversized knitwear in their A/W 2011 look book along with ribbed, chunky snoods in thick wool. Zara has released waffle knit jumpers in earthy tones with contrasting elbow patches, with the interesting texture of the waffle knit also adopted by River Island in autumnal orange.
Although it may be thought of as a pretty basic fashion item – do not underestimate the power or the textural reach of a chunky cable knit. In fact, Esquire Magazine included the cable knit in their top 50 items no man should be without this winter. See Ben’s full write-up of the cable knit jumper here.
Chunky Knit Look Book
Pattern – Fair Isle
Another way of adding an illusion of texture to your outfit is through the use of pattern. One of the most popular pattern choices currently is the Fair Isle knit, which offers fantastic versatility due to the range of colours, patterns and styles available – from round neck and v-neck, to roll neck and even sleeveless tank tops for the ultimate ‘geek chic’ look.
At London Fashion Week A/W 2011, Christopher Shannon included oversized Peruvian print knitwear in his collection and Fair Isle knits are available all over the high street in a range of colours. H&M and River Island both feature Fair Isle knit jumpers and socks in their A/W 2011 look books in brightly coloured patterns, whilst All Saints offer a more toned down version of Fair Isle in their traditional muted tones of black, white and grey.
Fair Isle Look Book
Mini Pattern Trend – Flecked/Mottled Fabric
Texture is also created in current collections through the use of flecked and mottled fabrics along with mixed wool garments – where two different colours of wool have been used to create a mish-mash of colour and texture.
The James Long London Fashion Week show featured flecked wool trousers, whilst recent advertising campaigns from Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger have used these techniques to great textural effect. For the everyday male, this is an effortless way of adding some intrigue and detailing to your typical knitwear pieces.
There was a recent article in the Independent which foresaw the resurgence of corduroy as the go-to fabric for autumn/winter 2011 – and it seems this prediction has been on the money. At London Fashion Week, E Tautz anchored the majority of his looks with a pair of slim-cut, navy corduroy trousers, and on the high street, River Island have featured corduroy trousers in their ‘Modern Heritage’ look book along with a corduroy, faux-fur lined trapper hat. In addition, GQ online also recently ran a feature on the 7 best pairs of cords to walk you into winter 2011.
The fundamental property of corduroy is its durability, making it the perfect fabric for autumn/winter. Corduroy also acts as a great alternative to denim, which has saturated the trouser market for so long, whilst it also fully supports some of the current most popular trends such as ‘countryside heritage’, ‘ivy league’ and ‘preppy’.
Another interesting feature of corduroy is that so many different variations of texture exist depending on the size and spacing of the cord, and multiple bold hues and colours are available, much like chinos. However, corduroy trousers will add texture and depth where chinos simply cannot, meaning they are the perfect substitute for those mornings where your outfit needs that extra lift to take it to the next level.
My tip would be to always opt for slimmer-cut styles in needle cord rather than going for the bulkier elephant cord, in order to create a sharper, more gentlemanly look.
See Robin advocating the current corduroy trend, right here on FashionBeans.
Corduroy Look Book
It is no exaggeration that quilted jackets are everywhere right now – they have flooded the high street and also inundated high fashion designer collections. Giorgio Armani featured quilted jackets at Milan Fashion Week and Burberry Prorsum showcased quilted puffa-style coats with exposed shearling lining. On the high street, quilted garments are pretty much everywhere, with H&M in particular featuring quilted parkas and gilets heavily in their A/W 2011 look book.
The quilted jacket fully supports the heritage, traditional countryside trend which is so popular right now, but it is one of those garments that is really polarising opinion. This was shown on FashionBeans recently when Will Colman (and various FashionBeans readers) discussed whether the quilted jacket represented a garment suffering from style overload.
Personally, when this trend first began to take shape, I really wanted to ‘quilt up’ and get involved, but as their appeal increased and they became more and more readily available, I began to see them as common rather than popular. In the end that deterred me from buying one and becoming a quilted sheep, following the crowd.
Unfortunately, because there are so many cheaper versions of the quilted jacket readily available across high street ranges country-wide, I think this has devalued the impact a quilted jacket can have on an outfit. However, by sticking to classic quilted jackets from well-established brands such as Barbour, the look can still be pulled off without looking common or cheap.
I also believe that there is salvation with the quilted gilet, which appears to be slightly less common than the quilted jacket. From a practical point of view, the quilted gilet keeps the core of the body warm but also allows more freedom of movement of the arms. From a sartorial point of view, I think the best quilted gilets are those with a more classic, British countryside touch; perhaps using tweed or herringbone fabrics paired with corduroy or waxed patches and shoulder yokes.
The other option for those looking to incorporate subtle quilted touches within their outfits this season would be through the use of accessories. As mentioned yesterday, the trapper hat is set to really take off this year, and there are versions available with quilting and faux fur or shearling detailing – combining two key trends in one statement piece. Bags have also been given the quilted treatment, with shoppers and totes in particular adopting the trend in order to provide some depth and interest to an otherwise plain accessory.
Quilting Look Book
Clearly an emphasis on texture in collections from high fashion designers and high street retailers is proving to be a big hit this season. The use of texture adds an additional facet to an individual’s outfit, and offers an alternative to colour when aiming to stand out and dress yourself in a more unique way.
A key way of creating an interesting textural effect is through the use of layering different fabrics and textures – for example, try layering a fitted tweed blazer over a denim shirt and a wool mix tie; or wearing a quilted gilet over a cable knit jumper with a tweed granddad cap.
The high street is also currently awash with garments which mix different textures and fabrics within a single garment – for example, corduroy jackets with exposed shearling lining, mixed wool chunky knits with leather and corduroy elbow patches or quilted jackets with waxed shoulder yoke. The textures compliment each other well to create interesting visual statement pieces and by now I think we should of all realised that the importance of texture in the autumn/winter season should not be underestimated.
But now it is time for your view. So, from the 8 key textures we have previewed over the past two days:
- How many do you have in your wardrobe currently?
- Are you going to be adding any to your wardrobe for autumn/winter?
- Are there any that you just WILL NOT consider? And if so, why?
- What is your favourite texture out of the 8 we have showcased?
- What are your favourite texture/material combinations?
Let us know in the comments below…