Street Style Round-up: October 2012

Last Saturday in Coventry Primark I found a pair of green socks with a pattern of foxes on them. It was a great moment – one of those moments where an uncomfortable half hour spent rummaging through racks is rewarded with an amazing find. Needless to say, these are now my favourite socks. Who cares that a man skydived from the edge of space when you have quirky socks?

The interesting thing about these socks, is that I could wear them with a suit. In fact, I could wear them in a variety of formal contexts. Even casually, I like pairing them with chinos, a button down shirt and a chunky cardigan.

When formal or minimalistic fashions are analysed, it’s easy to look directly at them – not at what they could become. This month the idea that simplicity and complexity can be contrasted within an outfit has begun to take over the way I dress. Each outfit in this roundup, therefore, provides either an opportunity for contrast or does it already.

Street Style – Around The Web

Street Style From Around The Web - October 2012

Look 1 (Left)

Photo Found: On Tumblr

I’ve covered one-colour outfits before, and I still think they’re a great idea. The skill of creating an arresting look without variations in colour is a useful one, and as well as giving your wardrobe a new diversity it also teaches you a great deal about texture and layering.

For example, the waffle knit jumper is essential to the depth of this outfit – without it the contrast between the pea coat and the inner layer would be nonexistent. Similarly, wearing the pea coat open has created a silhouette which is much more dynamic than would otherwise be the case. Only using one colour forces a renewed awareness of the other aspects of an outfit that can make or break it.

Once you’ve mastered the mono, however, the potential for contrast of a one colour outfit is immense. We can start to see this with the contrasting white soles – the slight variation has more impact because it is done subtly.

To take that concept further, adding a bright yellow plastic watch would have taken this outfit in another direction: towards one based on contrast, rather than simplicity. It’s not necessarily a better option, but it’s important to remember more variation is available. No-one wants to look the same all the time.

Inspired By Clothing:

  • River Island Cable JumperRiver Island Cable Jumper
  • Allsaints Shetland Placket Crew JumperAllsaints Shetland Placket Crew Jumper
  • Allsaints Frith Pea CoatAllsaints Frith Pea Coat
  • Burberry London Slim-fit Wool-blend PeacoatBurberry London Slim-fit Wool-blend Peacoat
  • Reiss Linden T Formal Trousers NavyReiss Linden T Formal Trousers Navy
  • Topman Malcolm Lace ShoesTopman Malcolm Lace Shoes
Look 2 (Center):

Photo By: Coggles Street Style

This is one of those outfits which does every single thing exactly as it should be done. Each item fits perfectly and is suited to its context, and they are put together expertly as well.

Notice how a muted palette of blue and greens is just as effective as a patterned knit in creating seasonal colour, and how an outfit with five components can be complex without being overly self-conscious.

If we were to adapt it to contain some of the contrast we have talked about, I would suggest a patterned belt. They are a superb accessory for contrasting with everything you wear, due to their position between the top and bottom half of an outfit. In fact, were I to recommend you look into buying a single item as a result of this article, it would be a patterned belt.

Inspired By Clothing:

  • Topman Dark Grey Crew Neck T-shirtTopman Dark Grey Crew Neck T-shirt
  • Band Of OutsidersBand Of Outsiders
  • Paul Smith Double-breasted Wool BlazerPaul Smith Double-breasted Wool Blazer
  • Reiss Maine 2 Brushed Twill Trousers BlueReiss Maine 2 Brushed Twill Trousers Blue
  • H By Hudson Tiska Tassel LoafersH By Hudson Tiska Tassel Loafers
  • Kg By Kurt Geiger Arden Washed LoafersKg By Kurt Geiger Arden Washed Loafers
Look 3 (Right):

Photo By: Coggles Street Style

I usually go all sycophantic at least once in a street style article. I warn you – that time is now.

If you hadn’t guessed, it’s the scarf. He wears a patterned scarf underneath a speckled jumper, and it works perfectly. The ingenuity it shows is remarkable, and reminds me that the goal of contrast is impact.

Sometimes, stepping away from the ‘norm’ creates impact – if we wanted to get technical we could say it defamiliarises the rest of the outfit. Because of the scarf detail we see anew how good those shoes are, how good the jumper is, how well those trousers fit (skinny, but not fertility-endangering).

We appreciate everything else a bit more because of the effect on contrast. That is why it’s worth making the effort to simultaneously create an element of complexity and an element of simplicity within an outfit.

Inspired By Clothing:

  • Oliver Spencer Elbow-patch Lambswool-blend SweaterOliver Spencer Elbow-patch Lambswool-blend Sweater
  • Alexander Wang Waffle-knit Crew Neck SweaterAlexander Wang Waffle-knit Crew Neck Sweater
  • Denim & Supply By Ralph Lauren Fairisle ScarfDenim & Supply By Ralph Lauren Fairisle Scarf
  • Asos Skinny ChinoAsos Skinny Chino
  • Bottega Veneta Square-frame Acetate Optical GlassesBottega Veneta Square-frame Acetate Optical Glasses
  • Grenson Archie Tan BroguesGrenson Archie Tan Brogues
FashionBeans Street Style

FashionBeans Street Style - October 2012

Simone Marchetti (Left):

Photo By: Eleonora Carisi for Naples Street Style (http://www.naplestreetstyle.it)

Slightly more monochromatic than the last, this outfit is based less on colour and more on the contrast we identified between complex and simple. By merging two trends: varsity jackets and camouflage jackets, there is an intense topicality to the look.

Combine that with an explicitly simple t-shirt, trousers and shoes combination and the idea of contrast is applied beautifully.

Inspired By Clothing:

  • American Apparel Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirtAmerican Apparel Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirt
  • Bellfield Camo Bomber JacketBellfield Camo Bomber Jacket
  • Reclaimed Vintage Padded Ma1 JacketReclaimed Vintage Padded Ma1 Jacket
  • Reiss Hammer Cotton Indigo Jeans IndigoReiss Hammer Cotton Indigo Jeans Indigo
  • Comme Des Garcons Ipad HolderComme Des Garcons Ipad Holder
  • H By Hudson Jesset Black ShoesH By Hudson Jesset Black Shoes
Calum (Right):

Photo By: Another Garcon (http://anothergarcon.blogspot.co.uk/)

Heritage is an concept often bandied about with little regard for what it actually means. This is what it actually means…

It is an approach which draws on the history of sub-cultures, art, music and diversity as well as a sense of inheritance – and produces from those resources a rich and emotive look.

With one glance, heritage is recognisable here. There is only one reason why you would add a more complex element to this outfit: Because doing so would show how a basic contrast exists between actual heritage, and the trends we live with on a day to day basis. Opting for a leather tote instead of his satchel/messenger bag would show the difference between the two, and to some extent reconcile them.

Inspired By Clothing:

  • Gitman Vintage G406 Blue Vintage Button Down ShirtGitman Vintage G406 Blue Vintage Button Down Shirt
  • Penfield Olive Cord Collar Banks BlazerPenfield Olive Cord Collar Banks Blazer
  • Barbour Bedale JacketBarbour Bedale Jacket
  • Topman Blue Acid Wash Stretch Skinny JeansTopman Blue Acid Wash Stretch Skinny Jeans
  • Asos Double Buckle SatchelAsos Double Buckle Satchel
  • H By Hudson Brown Dip Dyed Leather Smyth BootsH By Hudson Brown Dip Dyed Leather Smyth Boots
Conclusion

I will wear my socks everywhere, because they’re amazing, and make me happier as soon as I even contemplate them. However, they join a long line of items I’ve bought specifically for their potential as a contrast to the general simplicity of my staple clothing.

Look at this contrast as an alternative approach, rather than one which has to replace something else. You can still be trend-led, you can still be vintage, you can still be oversized, you can still be complex – all you have to do is contrast!

So, what items do you find useful for contrasting?

Do you think that dividing an outfit between simple and complex is a good idea, or should you follow one influence? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.