“The positives of summer number greatly. It’s a season that aligns itself with sun, sand and skimpy clothes (the latter often occupied by our female parallels). Summer has all the nuances for opposing seasons to be jealous of.
The male image is one that relies on never putting a foot wrong while avoiding appearing smug when others do – even when it’s to your benefit. The scope for perennial damage to your image has never been greater because men are sitting up and taking note. They’re reading fashion magazines, they’re learning to preen and they’re learning to snobbishly snub.”
Alex Woodhall – Summer Fashion Mistakes Part 1.
Last time we brought to you our top summer fashion mistakes. Today the baton has been passed to you guys, our readers; as we delve into your comments and draw up a second hit list full of sartorial slip-ups, fashion follies and pet peeves that are causing controversy this summer. My alliteration is getting progressively worse which tells me it’s time to get stuck into the serious stuff; so without further ado here is a second round of failures as chosen by you.
The Mistake: ¾ Length Tracksuit Trousers
Commenter Ben was thrown into a “sartorial based rage” at the thought of these modern-day monstrosities. Describing them as “the scourge of many Englishman’s wardrobe”, this is a statement we here at FashionBeans are very much inclined to agree with. The fine sir claims, “no self-respecting man should be seen dead in these”, so how do we solve these?
For most, tracksuit bottoms are the epitome of ‘chav’ culture. They carry all the negative perceptions with little of the sporting heritage. It would be difficult to say the stigma attached to them is wholly unwarranted.
Tracksuit bottoms should serve only two purposes in a man’s life: As a guise when pretending you’re going to do exercise and, on the odd occasion, exercise.
To be blunt, one can only expect that visible white sports socks, a provocative lewd t-shirt and a pot full of hair gel are likely to be in attendance when the quarters make a public appearance.
The solution to this summer disaster comes courtesy of our very own editor-in-chief Ben Herbert. Ben’s advice to overcome these frankly awful excuses for trousers is “a great pair of chinos with a couple of turn ups”. Using breathable materials for your trousers such as lightweight cotton and linen will also help you stay cooler (and look MUCH cooler) than a pair of three quarter lengths would.
Alternatively a good pair of tailored shorts is the way to go for those of you who aren’t afraid to flash a little more leg than the modest amount a turn up allows. Shorts, as a generic term, do not encompass sweat shorts – definitely leave these for the gym or again, the guise of.
The Mistake: Plastic Flip-Flops
FashionBeaner ‘Col’ was understandably disappointed these didn’t make the first list. Being a former wearer of these toe thongs, Col has been on both sides of the fence of this summer slip and of course there is no substitute for experience.
“I was, until a couple of years ago, a content wearer of these unflattering and uninspired items of footwear. Then I realised (a) how 90% of men walking around (I live in Portsmouth, on the coast, which seems to mean abundance) match them with baggy shorts and (b) that there aren’t many sounds more irritating than the constant slap-slap-slap of a piece of plastic against someone’s bare heel.”
Col certainly didn’t flip-flop his words. The slapping sound, lacklustre design and the sheer number of them on show makes them really a bit of a cop-out when it comes to summer footwear. Did we mention they’re irritating?
If all that is yet to turn you off flip-flops; how about potential health risks? Research suggests that flip-flops can alter the way you walk possibly leading to short term sole, heel and calf problems. Sprained ankles and shin splints are also a danger when flip-flops are your wrongly made choice. How tangible these risks are is certainly up for debate, health and safety seems to be attached to pretty much anything today, but take in terms of your style rep – they’re detrimental!
Flip-flops are not about to fall into the fashion abyss. Sadly. We are likely to see them adorning misguided feet for a long time to come. Horrifically. What’s keeping them around is a lack of knowledge in the alternative. Beach shoes do not have to be awful, and plasticy, and rubbery, and did we mention annoying? A big part of S/S trends for this year is a deconstructed sole. Espadrilles and soft loafer can be a big step forward in your footwear entourage.
And if you really just can’t leave the flip flops behind – why not keep your whole wardrobe that little bit more refined by investing in some leather strap flip-flops? These will keep your feet feeling cooler in the heat, but the leather will add just that little bit extra to a style that is so over-used and thrown on with no consideration whatsoever.
The Mistake: Tight T-Shirts
Reader Ed put forward his list of top summer fashion mistakes although there were few complaints about his suggestions.
“Camo shorts with clashing polo shirts, white trainers and gelled up hair, T-shirts that fit too tight, plimsolls that, from the way they curl up like bananas at the front, are quite evidently too big. Sandals worn by any man in any way, tank tops, matching outfits from TOPMAN, generic high street graphic/slogan/humour t-shirts. Anything faded/acid washed/ripped or with any kind of tassels for adjustment attached.”
Out of that quite comprehensive list, one that I couldn’t help but give a mention to was “t-shirts that fit too tight”. I have seen this in abundance since the sun came out, the jackets came off and the gym was working overtime.
Whether the t-shirt in question is made from a body hugging material or is just simply a size too small it will do little for you. In case you were under any delusion, it rarely gives the appearance of a Spartan figure. The fact of the matter is that fit is crucial to achieve any success with your look and LYCRA should be left solely for the gym.
Avoiding an ill fit goes a long way to improving your overall appearance. No matter how much you love that old faithful t-shirt, if it no longer fits then it’s time to let it go and find a replacement. It’s somewhat like marriage. Actually no, we won’t go there.
It’s key to know your measurement. Many t-shirts work off your chest size, so start with that. If you find your t-shirts becoming a bit overtly snug, dig for the tape, you’ll be shopping for new, better fitting replacements before you know it.
Here are a few picks you definitely won’t want to be taking back to the store.
The Mistake: Excess Cologne
This gem was proposed by our Assistant Editor, Luke Todd, he offered it up as his summer detestable.
“The latitude of fashion detestables is far and wide. Untucked dress shirts, clunky square-toe shoes, excess cologne, comb over’s are a given, too many prints – or too many pints for that matter – go along way to doing little for us. It is arguable that only a man engaged in a primitive war dance would be seen with his phone clipped to his belt.”
Spritzing too much cologne is a common and easy mistake to make in the summer. While you may be able to get away with one or two extra sprays in the colder seasons, as the weather warms your fragrance is going to become that much more noticeable – not always a good thing.
Cologne should serve the purpose of enticing people in and wanting to smell more of your delicious summer fragrance, not drive them away with an overpowering scent.
Getting a lighter smelling fragrance for summer is essential; you’re more pungent winter one will not win over any hearts, minds or noses during the summer highs.
The second obvious step is to limit the number of sprays to your body’s own ‘hot spots’. These are where your body produces the most heat, improving the longevity of your fragrance. Common spots used are the wrists and back of the neck. Avoid rubbing the cologne into your skin – this reduces the strength.
The Debateable Mistake: Military Boots & Shorts
First brought to the table by commenter Andrew, the pairing of military boots and shorts roused somewhat of a debate.
Military boots in general have gained quite a bit of infamy in the past season with the ‘TOPMAN teen’ and One Direction labels becoming a constant taint on their reputation.
With the spring summer biker trend being tipped heavily, military boots were expected to play a more important role in our wardrobes than in previous summer seasons. The trend however has never really got going, and the practicality behind pairing shorts with boots in the heat of summer has created an air of scepticism around the combination.
The Debate: Against
“Military boots with shorts just makes everything look too out of proportion for me. There’s something that oozes style for me when a statement piece like military boots blends in somehow, garnering attention but not in a brash more teenage appropriate way (i.e. with a cuffed jean or chino as opposed to with shorts or with jeans tucked into them One Direction style).”
Andrew’s reasoning behind his disdain for the combo is a view I’m sure many others share and one I can personally sympathise with.
The combination has also been described as a bit of an oxymoron especially on the brighter summer days. The military boot has an overall wintery appearance and can look incredibly out of place when the temperature reaches into the twenties.
The Debate: For
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but military boots with shorts actually look good. It’s been one of the most popular combinations at fashion week”
Beaner, Remmy, began championing the combination. He put forward evidence of runway calibre, citing the appearance of the pair at numerous fashion weeks. He went on to stress the importance of variation from boat shoes and plimsolls, which have become the cliché of summer footwear; a fact we certainly can’t dispute.
“I think it’s important to have variation (too many summers spent in boat shoes and ‘plims’ have passed for me”
We have been rocking the military boots and shorts quite a lot recently and although on the odd day we find them a little uncomfortable due to the heat, an investment in a pair of good boot socks brings the focus back to style.
The other alternative is to look for shorter, cropped military boots (sitting around ankle length) which are not as sweltering and will adapt much easier to current and future trends. Another consideration would be to opt for a smarter boot styles with detailing such as brogue characteristics.
There we have it, the second and concluding part to this year’s guide to summer fashion mistakes as chosen by the FashionBeaners!
You can let us know more of your destestables, or come to the defence of one already on ours in the comment section below or by taking to twitter @FashionBeans.
- Did your top fashion faux pas make it onto this list?
- Which side of the military boots and shorts debate do you fall on?
- Will you come to the aid of the flip-flop?
- How should we deal with such terrible blunders?