Resident style consultant and founder of men’s style blog The Chic Geek, Marcus Jaye answers the latest batch of reader’s questions in this month’s FashionBeans Q&A…
Back To School (With A Buzzcut?)
“Next year, I’ll be training to become a teacher, but I also plan on opting for a buzzcut hairstyle – do you think these two plans can dovetail? If yes, then how should I style myself?
At the moment, my day-to-day workwear consists of a dark suit, penny loafers and a beige or navy trench coat. Do you think I would need to rejig my wardrobe in order to accommodate this change in hairstyle?”
Anon, via contact form.
Still thinking? That means it’s ripe for a comeback, with our own in-house stylist recommending it as a key hairstyle for spring/summer 2015.
The buzzcut’s greatest boon is its versatility, working well with pretty much every style and environment. And it’s decidedly low maintenance for those early school mornings, too.
Two things you should bear in mind before actually committing to the cut though, is that you’ll need to continue getting buzzed regularly (every couple of weeks, or shave at home) to keep it looking sharp, and that short buzzcuts (grade 1-2) tend to look best on those men with square faces and strong jaw lines.
If this doesn’t apply to you, never fear – by adjusting the length left on top or clipper grade used, this classic cut is able to adapt to almost every face type. Just ask your stylist or barber for their honest advice before taking the plunge.
Alternatively, consider the French crop: another timeless, low maintenance cut, which gives off a slightly softer overall appearance.
Buzz Cut & French Crop Lookbook
When it comes to your wardrobe, there’s no real reason why you can’t carry on wearing what you already do.
If you find that a full suit is a little too formal for the classroom, then I’d suggest sticking with smart-casual separates that can be mixed and matched to produce professional yet approachable looks on a daily basis.
Think Oxford shirts layered under crew/V-neck jumpers with slim-fit trousers or chinos in neutral colours such as black, white, grey, navy and beige, finished with your trusty navy trench or a relaxed sport coat:
The Bulking Man’s Wardrobe
“I started lifting weights in October 2013 with a real dedication to dieting and training, but after suffering a case of tendinitis and broken wrists, I lost the 10kg of muscle I had gained. Now, I’m planning on bulking up again, followed by a cut and then another bulk and so on.
My question is: since my weight and size are going to change over the next few years, how should I go about buying clothes?”
Julien, via contact form.
You might be swimming in those regular-fit jeans and that short-sleeved shirt might not fit quite right at the moment, but as you say, things are bound to change. Wardrobe maintenance is key here – invest in some sealed clothes boxes or bags, like these from John Lewis, and as you bulk and cut, keep those pieces that you know work well for either stage stored safely away, ready to break out when the time is right:
If you’re going to take a serious approach to storage and maintenance, it’s also important to adjust your mindset when it comes to purchasing. Rather than buying trend pieces that will likely have fallen out of fashion by the time your next cut or bulk rolls round, you should invest in timeless and classic styles that you know will stand the test of time. Read our guide to building a capsule wardrobe for more information on this subject.
Key Pieces For Muscular Men
For those awkward in-between stages, it’s important to purchase items that have the ability to adapt with fluctuations in your body shape. Here are a few quick tips on what to look out for:
- T-shirts, Henleys, polo shirts and knits (try ribbed jumpers) with a little stretch are ideal for muscular men and will feel comfortable whether you’re cutting or still feeling the pump from your last session.
- Similarly, many brands now produce jeans with a small proportion of elastane in their composition, which are ideal for those with above average thigh circumferences.
- No matter how big your legs, steer clear of baggy or relaxed fits. Straight- and tapered-cut legwear will accommodate increased thigh bulk while maintaining a sharper overall silhouette.
- Lightweight bomber jackets and unstructured blazers make excellent top layers and will mould to your body as it fluctuates.
Down the line, once you’re nearing your goal physique, there are a number of lines on the current market that earn rave reviews from athletic and muscular guys, including Thomas Pink’s Athletic Fit shirts, T.M.Lewin’s regular- and slim-fit shirts, Charles Tyrwhitt’s classic- and slim-fit shirts, J.Crew’s Crosby tailoring range, Levi’s new 501s CT Tapered Fit Jeans, and Gap’s New Khaki straight-fit chinos.
- T.m.lewin Regular Fit Plain Blue End-on-end Shirt
- Thomas Pink Rock Plain Athletic Fit Button Cuff Shirt
- Charles Tyrwhitt White Twill Classic Fit Shirt
- He By Mango Stretch Cotton Polo Shirt
- Gap The New Khaki Straight Fit
- Levis 501 Ct Tapered Jeans In Celebration
- River Island Grey Cotton Ribbed Long Sleeve Jumper
- Hanro Stretch-cotton T-shirt
- Saturdays Surf Nyc Cotton Bomber Jacket
The £600 Overhaul
“I’m currently trying to reinvent my style and I was wondering, if you had around £600 to completely overhaul your wardrobe, how would you suggest spending it?
John, via contact form.
What you need is a capsule wardrobe complete with the most up-to-date and contemporary items in each clothing category. Easier said than done, but then that’s what I’m here for.
These are the things you are going to need: a pair of jeans, a navy blazer, a pair of smart trousers or chinos (adjust to your lifestyle), a lightweight jacket, a couple of shirts, some knitwear, a few tees, a polo shirt, a pair of trainers and a pair of smart shoes.
Restrict your choice of styles to a core colour palette of classic, versatile colours like white, navy, grey, sand and black. This means that everything will work with everything else. Easy! Also, go for minimal branding and simple, streamlined shapes – nothing too experimental.
A few pointers for the individual pieces:
- Look for slim-cut jeans in a plain dark indigo wash.
- Your smart trousers/chinos should be cut slim and regular length (not cropped).
- Jacket-wise, go for a zipped bomber in a dark colour.
- Shirts should be versatile Oxford button-downs.
- Knitwear should be crew or V-neck (though stay with the former unless you’re sure the latter works for you and the rest of your capsule wardrobe). I always opt for wool, by the way, as it holds it shape and colour better.
- Trainers should be a plain white style and not look too sporty or technical, while shoes should be round-toed in either black or brown, no contrasting soles.
- T-shirts should be well-fitting crew necks in a range of neutral hues.
- The polo should be a classic white pique cotton style with no obvious branding.
- Your navy blazer should be a timeless two-button, notch lapel style. Get it tailored to ensure it fits you perfectly.
By covering these core bases, you can rest assured that anything else you add to your new wardrobe will fit on this framework.
The lookbook below showcases a variety of outfits that can be created using simple, neutral pieces that fit well. Whether smart or casual, summer or winter, a true capsule wardrobe will adapt to any occasion or season effortlessly:
- American Apparel Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-shirt
- Gap Stretch Crew T-shirt
- He By Mango Embossed-trim Pique Polo Shirt
- Gap Modern Oxford Solid Shirt
- Uniqlo Men Easy Care Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt
- Asos Slim Fit Blazer With Mock Horn Buttons
- Silver Grey Merino Crew Neck Jumper
- Next Black Bomber Jacket
- Uniqlo Men Slim Fit Straight Stretch Selvedge Jeans
- John Lewis Lumsden Straight Leg Chinos
- Asos Derby Shoes In Leather
- Aldo Amede Leather Trainers
Dinner Jackets A Cut Above
“Can you recommend a dinner jacket for around £400-£500, preferably with a shawl collar?”
Thomas, via contact form.
Charles Tyrwhitt also has this well-cut version, which is now conveniently on sale at half its original price (£200):
The Neckerchief Conundrum
“Are neckerchiefs as fashionable in 2015 as they were in 2014?”
Gregory, via contact form.
Try wearing them tied tight, fisherman-style under a jumper, or more loosely knotted with an open-neck shirt for something more Riviera-inspired.
River Island currently stocks a good selection of printed bandanas priced between £5-£8 that would work well if you’re dipping your toes into the trend.
Pantones For The Pale
“Which colour shorts should I wear if my legs are very pale? I’ve read quite a few articles on the subject and a few contradict themselves.”
Mike, via contact form.
That said, there are a few colours that complement pale complexions better than others – try shades of blue (from sky to navy), camel and emerald green:
If you fancy taking the edge off your pasty pins in a safe and healthy way, self-tanning specialist St. Tropez has a new Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion. You simply shower as normal, get out and before drying off, apply the lotion while you’re still wet. Leave for three minutes and hop back in the shower to rinse it off.
The tan gradually develops over the course of the day, and after about three showers/days, you should hit your optimal colour:
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