Last summer I attended the music festival Bestival, in the Isle of Wight. I brought back a bundle of memories from that little island. One in particular, which intrigued me to say the least, was the ongoing and obsessive talk of The Maccabees front man, Orlando Weeks. There wasn’t one girl I knew, nor heard amongst the crowd, who didn’t crave to be in the presence of this man. People were describing him as the ‘sexiest musician of 2011’ and that ‘every man should take note of his charm’.
I was expecting big things when The Maccabees came on stage – and not only due to the energetic presence of this prestigious band. At the time, I wasn’t aware of his big, distinctive and powerful voice, or that it was easily on par with his brightly coloured sweaters, charity shop shirts and second hand jewellery. This week, the ‘Front Man Fashion’ series gets caught up in the storm of what is the charming Orlando Weeks.
He bears the persona of a ‘nice guy’, and certainly twists the decades old stereotype of how a leading male musician is expected to look and behave. Behind the shy, almost meek, personality is a strong individual who produces a roaring live performance. You get the feeling that part of the ghost of Ian Curtis is somewhere inside the front man, who moves just as manic and electronic around the stage. The musician says he is heavily influenced by several different sounding artists, including Blondie, David Bowie and The Stone Roses.
ASOS is just one of the major retailer websites to upload a lookbook on the South Londoner, along with countless Indie bloggers devoted to the quirky patterned shirts and the unpopular Reebok classics this man pulls off so brilliantly. When someone comes along and revitalises a seemingly ‘dead’ piece of clothing, it can earn them a lot of respect. This is what Orlando does so well, demonstrating how effective – and attractive – an outfit that consists entirely of casual clothing (and junk that you would find at the bottom of your wardrobe) can look. When combined with the right apparel, of course.
Along with the rest of the band, The Maccabees relocated from their native London and headed down to Brighton, a stronghold for English musicians and artists alike. Accreditation for their work increases by the day, with their third album, Given To The Wild, reaching number one on the UK Album Chart and receiving a whole host of critical acclaim – much like the previous albums belonging to this five-piece. Both The Maccabees and Orlando himself are gaining well earned recognition for music and choice of clothing.
The Maccabees have a song called ‘About your Dress’, and a sentence in the lyrics states: “You stood out like a sore thumb, the most beautiful sore thumb I’d ever seen.” Whether Orlando was referring to himself or not is unknown, but with the lookbook images showcased below I believe many would agree he secretly was.
If you were to click on the ‘new in’ section of fashion retailers with a younger target audience – such as Urban Outfitters, ASOS or Topman for example – you can begin to understand where these fashion outlets gain inspiration; with a hefty selection of their attire seen draped on Orlando below, being looked upon as a serious fashion icon for both male and female says a great deal about your influence on current street style looks and trends.
Wearing an adidas sports jacket along with an exquisite Ralph Lauren shirt may sound peculiar. But the mixture of both – with the right colours – can look terrific and is conveniently suitable for a number of occasions. Contrasting and clashing styles is something that cannot fail to get you noticed, so try experimenting with pieces from opposite spectrum’s within your own wardrobe and see what brand new looks you can come up with.
Take note of the vast amounts of blue Orlando wears, the colour suits him tremendously; figuring out which colours suit you best is an essential step in harnessing the full potential of your wardrobe.
Do remember to tuck that shirt in.
Heading into your local Oxfam or British Red Cross, with the mentality of finding big brands at miniature prices, can be a lot harder than you anticipated. If you’re losing hope, keep searching, there’s plenty of gear to be found.
If you are one of the fortunate in finding that bargain shirt, Orlando provides a terrific example as to what jeans and accessories accompany vintage threads best. The musician has a penchant for wearing the shirts fully buttoned with long sleeves, or with rolled sleeves almost all the way up to the shoulders.
Remember that purposely oversizing (or if you find a bargain in a size just above your norm) your shirts and tees can also help embody that relaxed, effortless and ‘retro’ approach to dressing – especially when counter balanced with more fitted chinos or jeans.
If you are not a fan of vintage, or you just don’t have access to quality charity shops in your area, there are a whole host of items which can be purchased these days that are specifically designed to recreate a vintage aesthetic. Look for soft washed cotton, oversized pieces, faded denim and throw-back styles:
There is method to this madness. Simply pick out a fitted, smaller shaped shirt, preferably in a lighter colour. Next, throw on a looser fitted shirt, ensuring the outer shirt is both longer in length and darker in colour than the first.
Like the first look, tucking in the inside shirt makes the second shirt represent a jacket. The two-shirt look is handy for the present spring months where the weather can be unpredictable.
Tip: If you are not comfortable in two shirts, why not try a polo underneath a shirt or perhaps something with a Granddad collar?
Last month the singer unveiled his side-project, ‘Young Colossus’, a solo album complete with a whole new voice, which many Maccabees fan will be longing to both listen and compare. Whether or not his outstanding fashion sense will also take a new direction is yet to be answered. Right now, whatever he decides to put on in the morning has an effortless approach not all musicians can pull off with ease.
To be born with an incredible voice, a bright future and an army of fashion fans places him high up in the pecking order of current front men.