Introduction

When it comes to fashion, menswear is one of the few areas where we gents have complete control. From the major fashion houses/designers right down to the individual customer, we can now select pieces that have had a male opinion dominate at every single point in our pursuit of style perfection.

However, we can sometimes get it wrong. Men (myself included) too often get stuck in a rut, play it too safely or miss the mark altogether, and a little female opinion is becoming increasingly essential. That informed pair of shoes or on trend accessory can make all the difference when obtaining that second glance from a hot girl in the pub, and the fairer sex has a lot to say when it comes to menswear.

It’s easy to ask your girlfriend/mother/sister for a style critique, but will they ever be completely honest with you? Believe it or not, your sartorial judgement may not be all that accurate. Although at times brutal and particular, the ladies in my own life have given me plenty of advice in relation to my wardrobe and here at FashionBeans, we’re passing on these golden nuggets of knowledge to benefit our kind worldwide.

So pin back your ears and take note as we breakdown five spring/summer menswear essentials from a girl’s eye view…

1. Marl Sweaters – Martha, 22, Fashion Assistant

With a background in the fickle world of fashion, my friend Martha proudly claims: “I love a decent piece of grey marl – a Sunspel sweater is always reliable and that one piece can make a man look like they know something about style.”

Here at FashionBeans, we’re constantly pushing the benefits of luxury knitwear – it really is a wardrobe essential. Though the sun may be shining now, British climes are temperamental and you might find yourself reaching for that jumper in mere moments.

A wide range of marled knitwear is available on the current market, from funnel and v-necks to thick cable knits, so you are bound to find something that will integrate seamlessly into your wardrobe. Throw a marl knit over a collared shirt/polo for a classic combination that will never go out of style.

Marl sweatshirts are another great option for those that prefer a more relaxed style or are fans of sports luxe. The subtle speckled/flecked patterning of a marl piece will add a sense of texture and character to your look naturally, allowing for easy, effortless style – just pull on and go.

Keen to offer more advice to our kind, I’m told it’s “cooler to be plain and not follow trends than be a slave to them and look out of place and too try hard.” Take heed fellas: over-thinking outfits and blindly purchasing the ‘next big thing’ is a sartorial sin in the fairer sex’s eyes.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Marl Sweaters and Sweatshirts

h&m ss13ramsey ss12zara spring 2013river island holloway road ss13matalan ss13original penguin aw13allsaints ss137 diamonds ss13pull & bear heritage ss13
Key Pieces
  • Allsaints Sprint Crew SweaterAllsaints Sprint Crew Sweater
  • Topman Black Marl Night And Day SweatshirtTopman Black Marl Night And Day Sweatshirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Marled SweaterPolo Ralph Lauren Marled Sweater
  • Brave Soul Marl JumperBrave Soul Marl Jumper
  • Dean Grey Marl Crew SweatDean Grey Marl Crew Sweat
  • Asos Sweatshirt With Crew NeckAsos Sweatshirt With Crew Neck
  • Easy Shoulder Patch JumperEasy Shoulder Patch Jumper
  • Saturdays Surf Nyc Bowery Loopback Cotton-jersey SweatshirtSaturdays Surf Nyc Bowery Loopback Cotton-jersey Sweatshirt
  • Sunspel Loopback-cotton SweatshirtSunspel Loopback-cotton Sweatshirt
2. Navy Tailoring – Helen, 23, PR Executive

After an influx of sharp seasonal garments, along with blue becoming THE major colour trend for SS13, many men have been steered in the direction of strong navy tailoring. Described as “confident, but more casual than black,” Helen recommends a semi-smart approach to crafting the perfect outfit.

A navy blazer is a timeless wardrobe essential that can be dressed up or down for any occasion. If you already own a wool version then why not consider something in a seasonally-appropriate material such as linen or cotton? Not only will these fabrics keep you cool and sweat-free during the summer months, they communicate a more relaxed vibe that would be appropriate for a first date or evening drinks after work.

In terms of legwear, these days simple denims no longer cut the mustard as clean lines and strong silhouettes take centre stage. Structured navy trousers or chinos set the foundations of a sharp look. Contrast the smarter bottom half with smart-casual pieces on your top half to strike your perfect balance.

Any other pointers? “Never with pinstripes,” we’re advised, “they’re unbelievably banker w*nker and nobody wants a badly-dressed Liverpool Street city boy as a first date.” Noted.

Lookbook Inspiration

Smart-Casual Navy Tailoring Outfit Inspiration

zara aw12massimo dutti april 2013zara spring 2013he by mango september 2012he by mango summer 2013he by mango summer 2013de fursac ss13sanahunt ss13comodo square ss13
Key Pieces
  • Topman Navy Textured Skinny BlazerTopman Navy Textured Skinny Blazer
  • Allsaints Suke JacketAllsaints Suke Jacket
  • He By Mango Flecked Tailored BlazerHe By Mango Flecked Tailored Blazer
  • Scotch & Soda BlazerScotch & Soda Blazer
  • Topman Premium Navy Flannel Skinny TrousersTopman Premium Navy Flannel Skinny Trousers
  • Burton Navy Cotton BlazerBurton Navy Cotton Blazer
  • Reiss Prominent T Unstructured Trousers NavyReiss Prominent T Unstructured Trousers Navy
  • Dr. Denim Dark Blue Haywood Skinny ChinosDr. Denim Dark Blue Haywood Skinny Chinos
  • Tailored Essential Twill TrousersTailored Essential Twill Trousers
3. Digital Print Trainers – Katie, 24, Administrator

On the flip-side of the smartness coin, Katie from Bristol is all about guys with an urban-inspired look.

She particularly loves the wide range of statement trainers that have flooded the market recently: “I like the mix-up of guys wearing a more forward print without worrying about femininity. Anything pushed by Adidas and Nike is going to be a hit and I can see this trend getting bigger and better over summer.”

Late 1980s and early 1990s references have become extremely prominent within menswear in recent years and if this season is anything to go by, that tide shows no sign of change. Pair your perfect sneaks with acid wash jeans and an oversized tee for a strong, simple look – digital print footwear will provide the statement.

Key Pieces
  • Asos Plimsolls With Leopard PrintAsos Plimsolls With Leopard Print
  • Vans Doren Trainers In Parrot PrintVans Doren Trainers In Parrot Print
  • Nikeblazer Mid Decon Black Sail PrintNikeblazer Mid Decon Black Sail Print
  • Converse All Star Ox Hypa PrintConverse All Star Ox Hypa Print
  • Adidas Originals Mens Sub Blue Match Play SneakersAdidas Originals Mens Sub Blue Match Play Sneakers
  • Converse Jack Purcell CamoConverse Jack Purcell Camo
  • Jimmy Choo Belgravia Camouflage-print Ponyskin High Top SneakersJimmy Choo Belgravia Camouflage-print Ponyskin High Top Sneakers
  • Asos Trainers With PrintAsos Trainers With Print
  • Adidasdecade Hi W Bliss Pink BonesAdidasdecade Hi W Bliss Pink Bones
4. The Classic Mac – Jade, 27, Teacher

“Nothing is cooler than a guy in a mac,” I’m strongly informed. “It hits all the right notes without looking like a guy’s tried too hard (which is terrible when that happens, by the way).”

Arguably, the most quintessentially British garment takes the spotlight in our list of seasonal staples, so inject your look with a touch of heritage prestige.

Paying those extra few pounds really will work wonders with this piece. Premium quality and a strong, tailored cut comes at a cost and although the Burberry price tag is likely to bankrupt most for a good few months, there are plenty of mid- to high-end alternatives that are kinder on the wallet. Bear in mind that a mac is classed as timeless for a reason – it should be considered an investment piece that you will get continued, daily wear out of for many years to come.

Navy and beige versions are classics but black can look a little too office-centric, so avoid at all costs. For a more in-depth look at this spring/summer staple, make sure you read our guide to the lightweight mac.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Mac Lookbook

massimo dutti February 2013farrell clothing ss13burberry black label ss13jaeger ss13zara spring 2013burberry brit ss13el burgues ss13gant rugger pre fall 2013ti for men ss13
Key Pieces
  • Reiss Ranch Cotton Single Breasted Coat ApricotReiss Ranch Cotton Single Breasted Coat Apricot
  • Asos MacAsos Mac
  • Topman Peter Werth Arden Raincoat Topman Peter Werth Arden Raincoat
  • Mac JacketMac Jacket
  • Paul Smith Jeans Mac In Waterproof CottonPaul Smith Jeans Mac In Waterproof Cotton
  • He By Mango Leather Tabs TrenchHe By Mango Leather Tabs Trench
  • Classic Collar Lightweight Mac With Stormwear™Classic Collar Lightweight Mac With Stormwear™
  • Margaret Howell Packable Cotton Rain CoatMargaret Howell Packable Cotton Rain Coat
  • Mackintosh Dunoon Handmade Bonded-cotton Rain CoatMackintosh Dunoon Handmade Bonded-cotton Rain Coat
Bomber Jackets – Sophie, 23, Events Officer

“If you look like an East End 1990s gangster then I’m game,” Sophie from London tells me. “Bomber jackets are such an easy addition; on-trend and still masculine.”

There’s no doubt this old school silhouette is one of the biggest trends for SS13, and whether you opt for a plain or patterned version, they’re going to be on the radar for quite some time.

Highlights on the current market include the ASOS x Puma collaborative version and the wide range of both cotton and leather styles that AllSaints are stocking. Thankfully, the variety between high street and designer is huge and there’s bound to be something to suit all budgets.

Simple, smooth and a subtle statement maker, it’s become a daily go-to of my own wardrobe. For those looking for inspiration on how to wear, check out our recent guide to the trend here.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Bomber Jacket Lookbook

river island ss13topman denim ss13he by mango ss13louis vuitton pre fall 2013allsaints ss13reiss ss13gant rugger aw13h&m ss13valentino ss13
Key Pieces
  • Topman Blue Cross Print Bomber JacketTopman Blue Cross Print Bomber Jacket
  • Asos Bomber JacketAsos Bomber Jacket
  • Asos Black X Puma Ombre JacketAsos Black X Puma Ombre Jacket
  • Allsaints Kogan Bomber JacketAllsaints Kogan Bomber Jacket
  • Allsaints Mandino Bomber JacketAllsaints Mandino Bomber Jacket
  • Topman Black Leather Bomber JacketTopman Black Leather Bomber Jacket
  • Reiss Rocky Rib Bomber StoneReiss Rocky Rib Bomber Stone
  • Ps By Paul Smith Cotton-blend Bomber JacketPs By Paul Smith Cotton-blend Bomber Jacket
  • Nn.07 Franklin Loopback Cotton-blend JacketNn.07 Franklin Loopback Cotton-blend Jacket
Final Word

Fashion advice from our female counterparts is always handy and although it’s nice to have control of menswear, a more delicate touch is most welcome. So spare a thought for what your girl mate, partner or that-woman-at-the-bar-that-keeps-looking-over thinks when contemplating your next purchase; it could be the catalyst of many a joyful situation.

As we look to turn ‘Girl’s Eye View’ into a regular series, we want to know what other subjects you would like to hear a female opinion on. Maybe how to dress for a first date/night out? Or perhaps you have a specific query about grooming or hairstyles?

Let us know your suggestions in the comments section…