Resident style consultant and founder of men’s style blog The Chic Geek, Marcus Jaye answers the latest batch of readers’ questions in this month’s FashionBeans Q&A…
What’s Your Pleather?
“I know you guys tend to promote the use of faux fur over real fur on moral grounds, but what about leather? Where would I be able to find quality pleather menswear?”
Tyler, via contact form.
Choosing pleather over real leather is now more of an ethics- or aesthetics-based choice, rather than a purely financial one.
Take, for example, newly launched cult Japanese brand The Fourness, who are producing a masterfully constructed PU leather jacket for autumn/winter 2015 that’s set to retail for just under a thousand pounds – if that doesn’t prove pleather’s style credentials, we don’t know what does.
Anyway, back to the here and now, I don’t know of one particular brand that specialises in stylish pleather (potentially a gap in the market), but there are a few designs from big name brands and retailers to look out for this season.
Swedish label Cheap Monday has this classic biker silhouette for £100, which would look on point worn with a pair of slim or skinny jeans and a well-cut T-shirt:
Alternatively, for something that manages to tone down that tell-tale pleather shine, go for a textured style like this one from Topman (£85):
Most high street stores and affordable brands now sell pleather jackets, but it pays to be discerning when choosing pleather over leather – you want it to look unique, rather than like a subpar quality imitation.
Leather/Pleather Jacket Lookbook Inspiration
Below you will find some lookbook imagery to help inspire your own outfits, once you have invested. Note: it shows a mix of genuine leather and pleather products.
Jacket & T-Shirt Layering
“I like to wear a navy bomber jacket or shawl cardigan over a white or grey T-shirt but when I wear a navy or black T-shirt instead, I realise I don’t really have anything to layer over them.
Can you recommend any key colours or particular pieces that I could wear over my navy or black T-shirts?”
Will, via contact form.
Personally, I think your navy bomber would look perfectly fine over the darker colours you mentioned. Why? Because when layered over a navy T-shirt, you could use your jacket to pull off a head-to-toe navy tonal look. Also, on the whole black with navy issue, we’re sticking to our guns – there’s nothing wrong with wearing the two together.
That said, there are colours which some would argue would work better over your navy and black T-shirts (grey, beige and shades of white, for instance) but that would mean buying several jackets or knits just to suit your tees.
If going down this route, our recommendation would be a beige or grey shawl neck cardigan, which will complement all of your neutral tees and can be used year-round, and perhaps an off-white/cream lightweight blazer or bomber jacket for the warmer months, depending on whether you prefer to dress up or down.
Navy & Black T-Shirt Layering
A Smart-Casual Jacket
“I have a navy wool blazer, navy cotton unstructured sport coat, navy lined blazer and navy Harrington jacket. What should I invest in next for a smart-casual jacket for spring, summer and early autumn?
My budget is £150 maximum and I’d like to wear the jacket with dark denim, button-down Oxford shirts and plain colour polo shirts.”
Rudolph, via contact form.
Trust me, when buttoned up, a denim jacket looks really fresh and has something (Marlon) Brando about it. You can wear it with your jeans and a white polo for an on-trend double denim effect or dress it up with your Oxford shirts and slim trousers/chinos for something slightly smarter.
Alternatively, you could consider a mechanic or trucker jacket – like this one from Jigsaw, which comes in a slightly relaxed fit and is crafted from premium wool and cotton twill.
It’s similar to a denim jacket in its chest pocket detailing but has more of a workerwear feel over all. And it comes in bang on budget too, at £149:
Denim/Worker Jacket Lookbook Inspiration
Office-Appropriate Summer Wear
“Which high street retailer is packing the best office-appropriate tailored shorts and short-sleeved shirts this summer?”
Lee, via contact form.
Keep it clean and simple on the shirting front – consider this subtly printed ‘Stark’ design. When buying a short-sleeved work shirt, find one you could wear with a formal tie, even if you don’t actually plan to – that’s the style you want, not an open-collar Hawaiian number.
And watch how many of those buttons you undo – there’s little to be said for mirroring Simon Cowell’s style in the office.
A Quality Laptop Bag
“Can you recommend a high quality, stylish bag to fit my 15″ laptop and a few textbooks?”
Tom, via contact form.
This Piccadilly leather style from Brooks England is one of the most elegant backpacks I’ve seen, managing to deftly straddle the divide between traditional and modern. The front body fastening is a nice detail and because it’s made from high quality vegetable tanned leather, it will only improve with age.
It’s priced at the higher end of the market but – when compared to designer bags – offers great value for money:
That said, if the need to carry textbooks means you’re shopping on a student’s budget, it’s only right that we include a more affordable option.
ASOS are currently stocking this sleek black leather backpack, priced at £65, which is not only timeless and practical, but also extremely versatile – it would work just as well with tailoring as it does sportswear:
Affordable Printed Swim Shorts
“Can you recommend a pair of quality printed swim shorts for under £50? Nothing too garish, mind.”
Steve, via Twitter
Boardies’ shorts are about £45 a pop and come in lots of fun 1980s-style prints – I’m a fan of the ‘Disco Ball’ and ‘Paisley’ designs:
Any burning style questions you’re eager to get off your chest?
Drop your questions in the comments section below, submit them via our dedicated contact form, or tweet us your queries using #FBQA.