Following on from my last article on printed shirts, I decided it’s important that we don’t neglect accessories.
With today’s high streets being filled with similar retailers and closely followed trends, separation and individualism through the use of accessories is key. Subtle accessorising can help neutralise bold colours and can also be used as a separation between specific pieces. On the other hand, printed accessories can bring a sense of boldness and confidence to a look.
With summer fast approaching, it’s also important that we stick to the idea that less is more. The summer season is a time to wear less, but adding an individual touch should be apparent all year round.
Here on FashionBeans, we’ve covered the importance of accessories and paying attention to detailing on various occasions; but today, we’re narrowing it down to specific detailing with printed accessories.
For those not comfortable with the dominant printed clothing trend we are seeing for SS12, accessories could be the perfect alternative – neckwear, bags, headwear, socks, pocket squares and even sunglasses (remember, most will already have a tortoiseshell pair) all lend themselves nicely to a good print.
A well considered printed accessory can transform a look from something quite dull to something exciting and full of life. Like printed clothing, they can be worn either as a statement or in a subtle manner.
For example: A grey toned paisley pocket square and tie can be added to a classic black suit/white shirt combination, creating a subtle touch of print. The suit will still dominate the attention you get, but the printed accessories will add a new element to the look. On the other hand, a bold coloured patterned scarf can be made the focal point of the exact same outfit by making it the top layer and draping it over your neck, drawing attention to the accessory rather than the suit.
As the ‘rules’ have relaxed slightly in menswear over recent years, there is much more room to experiment. With the widest range of prints and patterns we have ever seen available this year, there is scope to mix a variety of patterns and colours within one outfit. This is an advanced technique – and not one for the faint-hearted – but there is nothing to stop you combining a paisley pocket square with a striped tie AND some bold socks (which pick out a colour in the tie or pocket square).
The key thing to avoid here though is over accessorising. This is a dangerous path and can leave you looking like you’ve tried too hard; on the other hand, get the balance right and you will create a statement that sets you apart from the crowd – for all the right reasons.
For those still unsure of prints and patterns, wearing a printed accessory subtly could be a step in new and more confident direction for your personal style. Most of us will approach new things with trepidation; by integrating something as simple as a printed pocket square or scarf into your everyday looks, over time it will become much more natural for you to integrate further printed or patterned pieces. It can be a gradual process, but the development of an individual identity will help take every outfit you create to the next level.
Subtle prints will usually incorporate muted colours, which often compliment each other. A colour palette of monochrome grey, white and black works particularly well and won’t draw too much attention, whilst if you want to integrate some colour, navy, olive green and burgundy are a refined and restrained choice.
Here’s some images of guys wearing printed accessories in a subtle manner:
Based on the lookbook above, I have picked out some key principles that will help you wear a printed accessory subtly:
Of course, you can make much more of a statement with an accessory if you desire, which can really help to separate yourself from the crowd. In this case you should be looking at prints in striking colour combinations. Bold yellows, greens, pinks and oranges will make nearly any item stand out, especially when paired with more neutral surrounding pieces.
Here’s some images of guys wearing printed accessories as a statement:
So again, let’s pick out some key points and concepts:
So we’ve touched on ways to utilise printed accessories, but what are the key styles for the upcoming season?
The obvious choices are pocket squares, neckerchiefs and lightweight scarves, but don’t limit yourself to these – nearly every other accessory you can think of is viable this year. SS12 is allowing us to put headwear to use in creating a statement; printed flat caps and trilby hats are both available on the market right now. On the flip side, you can also purchase subtler versions of these. For instance, opting for a plain trilby or fedora that has printed detailing on the band.
Socks can offer great variation to any look. Prints with lighter tones can be used to add a subtle touch of colour whereas bolder prints can be used to create more of a statement. Varying how high you cuff your trouser leg will make the world of difference to an outfit – show more of the print or less of the print depending on your comfort level.
The opportunities really are endless, and printed accessories are perfect for adding an individual touch to our summer looks. Here’s a selection accessories available, featuring some of the best prints for the current SS12 season:
So there we have it! Feel free to experiment with printed accessories this season and don’t be afraid of colour. Use them to compliment your outfits, and decide whether you want to use printed accessories to create a statement or to add a subtle touch of character to a look.
What are your thoughts on printed accessories? Would you rather develop prints into your looks through clothing?
Let us know in the comments below.
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