It’s been a patchy summer, and whilst the clouds aren’t parting for any man, menswear has been quietly sizzling with a very European heat. This season, FashionBeans looks towards the 24-hour raves and warehouse parties of one of the most diverse cities on the continent: Berlin. Combining an acid house style with coveted effortlessness, we could all learn a thing or two from the German capital of cool.
Leave the sharp tailoring at the door (a rare phrase for us sartorialists) as your wardrobe takes on the grunge. Think street art, impossibly long nightclub stints and even more impossible bouncers: in Berlin, if you don’t look the part, you’re simply not getting in.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Gatsby fever currently gripping the high street, then you too can look towards the land of beer and bratwurst for a stylistic upgrade. It’s surprisingly simpler than you think.
Get The Look
Before we start, take a look at the images below for an idea (albeit a clean-cut version) of the aesthetic we are seeking to create today:
1. The Jacket
Our German cousins enjoy freezing winters and boiling summers (envy), so versatility is at the heart of every jacket. A brilliant foundation upon which to craft your continental ensemble, think rugged and think punk. Anyone in a tailored number would look rather out of place drinking on the Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz.
Biker leathers or bomber jackets are ideal here, as are reclaimed army surplus apparel and anything that can be effortlessly dressed down.
During summer, we aim for plenty of nights out (or at least I do), and there’s nothing worse than a clumpy jacket as you clumsily navigate a dance floor. The German ethos is supposedly geared around efficiency, so choose something with an edge that isn’t too cumbersome. Studs, leather detailing and industrial embellishments are all welcome.
- Allsaints Ishida Leather Biker Jacket
- Asos Leather Biker Jacket
- Tapestry Bomber Jacket
- Cheap Monday Jaden Bomber Jacket
- Vintage Customised Marble Swedish Work Jacket
- Allsaints Kogan Bomber Jacket
- Topman Blue Acid Wash Denim Western Jacket
- Topman Comune Bryant Camo Jacket
- Schott G1 Shearling-collar Leather Bomber Jacket
2. The Top
Generally speaking, think oversized. Anyone lucky enough to possess a slender figure (my youthful litheness is quickly becoming a distant memory) will benefit massively here. A simple white, grey or black t-shirt will suffice and luckily enough, you can get discount options for as little as £1.50 on the high street. What’s more Berlin than paying as little as possible for your apparel?
If the humble tee isn’t for you, don’t fear – there are plenty of other options. A lightweight, loose fitting shirt is a viable alternative, but stick to monochrome to avoid detracting from the jacket. With the top button fastened, you could accessorise with collar pins and tips for an on trend spin.
Furthermore, feel free to experiment with thrifted tops from seasons long gone – old brands, advertisements and even promotional gear from the 1980s can add a coveted vintage feel.
- Topman Black Long Sleeve Smart Shirt
- Topman White And Black Long Sleeve Smart Shirt
- Allsaints Handro Vest
- Allsaints Boulman Vest
- Easy Essential V Neck T-shirt
- He By Mango V-neckline T-shirt
- Alexander Mcqueen Skull-print Cotton T-shirt
- 55dsl T-shirt 10:55 Limited Edition Ramon Maiden Tattoo Girl
- Denim & Supply Rl Antique Paisley Tee
3. The Jeans
Slim fit or skinny, the choice is yours. Increasingly, we’re seeing a shift away from the pencil-legged hipsters of Shoreditch and Dalston to a looser, yet still close fitting model.
It seems the straight leg is here to stay, so you and the old proverbials can breathe a sigh of relief. This cut is perfect for skinnier guys not wanting to accentuate their weight (or lack thereof) whilst simultaneously benefiting larger gentlemen by balancing their proportions – it’s an idiot proof formula.
Try to stick to a simpler colour. Light blue can brighten up an otherwise all-black outfit whilst varying shades of grey can offer a tonal alternative to monochrome.
Distressed denim is most welcome – just avoid any novelty gimmicks or fleeting trends. I hold the firm belief that staples such as jeans should not be tampered with in any way; Navajo print pockets, cuffed ankles and ‘statement’ embellishments immediately make your clothing less of an investment, and more disposable.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule though – tastes do vary and exceptions do exist. Take the humble acid wash, for example: Berlin to the very core and a clever 1980s reference in any look. Experiment with different textures and detailing to strike your perfect balance between classic and statement.
If you’re lucky enough to experience some hot weather this season (a man can only hope), go for straight leg denim shorts, again in black or grey. You’re much more likely to get a better deal on a second hand pair, and even the likes of Urban Outfitters and Ragged Priest offer reconstituted vintage. Better yet, if you have an old pair of denims lying around, get out the scissors and make the alteration yourself.
- Topman Black Stretch Skinny Jeans
- He By Mango Alex Slim-fit Black Jeans
- He By Mango Tim Slim-fit Light Grey Jeans
- Allsaints Senso Iggy Jeans
- Cheap Monday Tight Favourite Jeans
- Givenchy Slim-fit Washed-denim Jeans
- Topman Black Raw Edge Denim Shorts
- Cheap Monday Washed Black Five Pocket Shorts
- Allsaints Asahi Damascus Shorts
4. The Shoes
Heavy duty, black, boots: the three essential elements of East Berlin footwear. Of course, the obvious choice screams ‘Dr. Martens’ but feel free to invest in something equally as industrial.
The Chelsea boot can look awesome with jeans or shorts, if you’re lucky enough to have a bit of muscle on your calf, and are versatile enough to work with most other looks you might try.
Again, thick leather clodhoppers aren’t the most summery of footwear, so you can soften this aesthetic with Converse, black Vans or – if you’re bold enough – the new Birkenstock craze that has gripped fashion-forward menswear addicts.
Take your pick, but don’t over-think it – overdressed just isn’t the typical Berlin look.
- Asos Desert Boots In Suede
- Dr Martens Drury Boots
- Topman Dr Martens Original 8 Boots
- Topman Dr Martens Original Shoes
- Allsaints Range Boot
- Asos Chelsea Boots With Zip
- Vans Authentic Plimsolls
- Mens Converse As Hi Trainers
- Common Projects Track Leather And Suede Sneakers
So, where do we don such an ensemble? Well, despite the strict requirements, your German-inspired outfit is endlessly versatile. Thanks to a focus upon effortlessness, a cheeky midweek pint or the big Friday night out will be one of your best dressed yet.
To make things even more appealing, it won’t look as if you’ve even tried all that hard (regardless of how many hours you’ve spent crafting your outfit). Ruffle up your hair, loosen that quiff and look like you couldn’t care less.
Styling yourself for summer shouldn’t be a struggle, and we can take plenty of inspiration from the German capital. You might not have the energy to tackle a twelve hour warehouse rave, but at least you’ll look every inch the party professional.