Alternative Style Inspiration

Recently, I’ve started to broaden my horizons when it comes to the places I take inspiration from. Whether it’s listening to genres of music I’m unfamiliar with when looking for ideas on song writing or reading more books translated from foreign languages, I find it really helps to get the creative juices flowing and consider options you had yet to think of.

The same can be said for the way I approach my personal style, too. Not only have I begun to source inspiration from my natural surroundings (I’m currently alternating between urban monochromes and the colours the leaves turn) and stolen plenty of ideas from women’s fashion, but I’ve also begun delving into my childhood memories.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with all of three things: video games, superheroes and climbing as many trees as possible. Seeing as I’m not too familiar with video games these days (I got a guitar when I was fifteen and immediately lost interest in my PS2) and I’ve already incorporated trees into my personal style, I thought I’d delve into the murky world of superheroes to see if there was any styling tips and techniques I could learn from them…

Superhero Style – Avengers Edition

Those of you out there that have, or used to have, even a fleeting interest in superheroes will already know that there are LOADS of them about. Like, seriously, far too many to do any justice, really.

So, for the first of what I hope to be a handful of instalments, I thought I’d limit my field of vision to a small group – and where better to start than Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: The Avengers.

Yeah, yeah, I know they’ve changed their line-up more times than the Sugababes over the years, so for the sake of simplicity let’s just stick to the one everyone will be most familiar with – the team from the film. I can literally hear the sighs of disappointment from comic-book fanboys already…

Captain America

The unofficial leader of The Avengers who has no real powers aside from being at the peak of human potential and reminding me of my granddad because he always bangs on about “the good old days”.

Although his costume has gone through many variations, highlighting the importance of style reinvention, the palette of red, white and blue has always stayed the same. And that is exactly where the inspiration for your own outfits can be found.

Sure, you run the risk of looking like a walking Union Jack, but the trick to combining two strong primary colours like red and blue is to make sure you vary the hue they are in. For example, why not try a navy suit with a pink shirt? All you’ve done there is made one colour darker and the other lighter.

Alternatively, combine classic dark raw jeans and a blue Oxford shirt with a red Harrington jacket for the perfect late autumn/early spring outfit. As long as you remember to change the hue of at least one of those colours, and use white to anchor your look, there’s no reason why you can’t go all-out patriot – all day, every day.

Lookbook Inspiration: Red, White & Blue

Men's Red, White and Blue Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

farah aw13m&s best of british aw13angelo nardelli ss13Suitsupply aw13David Mayer Naman aw13David Mayer Naman ss13Kent & Curwen aw11club monaco aw12debenhams ss13burton aw12drykorn ss13boohoo aw13
Iron Man

Uses a flying metal suit to beat the cr*p out of bad guys and pull a serious amount of women – what’s not to like?

However, red and yellow are notoriously hard to pair together because of their positions in the colour wheel. They’re the least appealing of the contrasting colour combinations available to you, so we’re going to simply say (for the moment) don’t try this at home and instead focus on the power of the suit.

Honestly guys, you will never look better than when you’re wearing one. It has the ability to hide the most unflattering parts of your body whilst emphasising broad shoulders, a small waist and that highly desirable V-shape – regardless of whether you actually have any of those things or not.

Plus, you’ve already sorted out 75 per cent of your outfit. All that’s left to choose is a suitable shirt and tie combination and your footwear. Easy.

Even if you don’t work in a business or corporate world, they are still an excellent option. Thanks to contemporary brands like Tiger of Sweden and Suitsupply, there are now a wide range of suits that have a more casual feel to them (due to their minimal lining and natural shoulders), which look just as great paired with knitwear and t-shirts as they do a shirt and tie.

As any man of true style will tell you, it’s always better to overdress for the occasion than underdress for it.

Lookbook Inspiration: Casual & Formal Suiting

he by mango aw13ramsey aw13m&s aw13reiss aw13comodo square ss13boss hugo boss aw13smalto aw13m&s best of british aw13Todd Snyder ss14ami ss14debenhams aw13angelo nardelli aw13
Key Autumn/Winter Suiting
  • River Island Purple Slim Suit JacketRiver Island Purple Slim Suit Jacket
  • Topman Dark Green Tonic Skinny SuitTopman Dark Green Tonic Skinny Suit
  • Reiss Belgravia Textured Blazer RoseReiss Belgravia Textured Blazer Rose
  • River Island Brown Skinny Suit JacketRiver Island Brown Skinny Suit Jacket
  • River Island Navy Check Skinny Suit JacketRiver Island Navy Check Skinny Suit Jacket
  • Reiss Gatsby B Pick Stitch BlazerReiss Gatsby B Pick Stitch Blazer
  • Topman Premium Biscotti Check Heritage Three Piece SuitTopman Premium Biscotti Check Heritage Three Piece Suit
  • Topman Premium Grey Herringbone SuitTopman Premium Grey Herringbone Suit
  • Valentino Grey Prince Of Wales Check Wool SuitValentino Grey Prince Of Wales Check Wool Suit
  • Asos Skinny Fit Suit In Charcoal FleckAsos Skinny Fit Suit In Charcoal Fleck
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit In Brown CheckAsos Slim Fit Suit In Brown Check
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit In Grey Herringbone FinishAsos Slim Fit Suit In Grey Herringbone Finish
The Hulk

An uncontrollable rage monster that destroys everything around it as soon as someone accidentally bumps into him and spills his drink at the bar. Yes, that is a description of me after too much ‘fighty juice’ (read: vodka), but it also applies to The Hulk as well.

Yet aside from a valuable lesson on the importance of stress relief, let us also consider the colour purple. Still completely underrated in the world of menswear, it’s an extremely versatile hue, especially in lighter shades like violet and lavender.

The ideal partner to grey and navy, it is the colour I always recommend guys look into when they say that they are getting sick of using blue, brown and pink with their neutral coloured clothing.

Seriously, try it in a shirt, trouser or knit to find out just how versatile it can be.

Lookbook Inspiration: Purple

J Lindeberg aw13burton ss13day birger at mikkelsen aw11etro aw12sisley aw12network aw13customellow aw13gaudi aw12sanahunt ss13Armand Basi aw13burton ss13burton ss13
Key Pieces
  • Asos Merino Crew Neck JumperAsos Merino Crew Neck Jumper
  • Asos Smart Shirt With Button Down Collar In Mini Grid CheckAsos Smart Shirt With Button Down Collar In Mini Grid Check
  • Levis Line 8 Jeans 511 Slim Fit Purple 3d WashLevis Line 8 Jeans 511 Slim Fit Purple 3d Wash
  • Richard James Brushed Cotton-twill ShirtRichard James Brushed Cotton-twill Shirt
  • Topman Purple Waffle JumperTopman Purple Waffle Jumper
  • River Island Purple Marl Crew Neck T-shirtRiver Island Purple Marl Crew Neck T-shirt
  • Tall Cashmere V-neck SweaterTall Cashmere V-neck Sweater
  • Topman Purple Marl Roll Neck JumperTopman Purple Marl Roll Neck Jumper
  • Topman Purple Vintage Slim ChinosTopman Purple Vintage Slim Chinos
  • Topman Vito Way BlazerTopman Vito Way Blazer
  • Turnbull & Asser Contrast-edge Silk Pocket SquareTurnbull & Asser Contrast-edge Silk Pocket Square
  • Asos Woven ScarfAsos Woven Scarf

Absolutely no lesson to be learned here I’m afraid. Don’t wear anything Thor wears unless you’re about to go to a Game of Thrones marathon at a mate’s house or you actually are the God of Thunder.

Oh yeah, and join a gym. Then read our fitness articles – you’d be surprised how helpful staying shape will be when it comes to finding clothes that fit.

Black Widow & Hawkeye

Ah yes, another example of just how cool and on trend black-on-black-on-black is becoming within men’s style.

However, my suggestion would to be to stay away from the skin tight Lycra and vary the textures you use when creating an all black ensemble. For example, look to combine different yet complementing fabrics such as leather, wool and flannel in winter.

The other great thing about this approach to dressing is how easy it is to add a shot of colour. Hats, gloves or shoes can be used as statement accents because black is the perfect blank canvas for experimenting with colour and patterns, especially when it already comprises 90 per cent of your look.

Lookbook Inspiration: The All-Black Outfit

Men's All Black Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

allsaints aw12zara man september 2012river island aw12edwin aw13zara man september 2012allsaints aw12reiss aw13allsaints aw13simons aw13belstaff pre aw13river island aw13allsaints aw13
Key Pieces
  • Allsaints Remus Funnel Neck SweaterAllsaints Remus Funnel Neck Sweater
  • New Look Jumper With PatchesNew Look Jumper With Patches
  • Allsaints Rok Crew JumperAllsaints Rok Crew Jumper
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer With Pu LapelAsos Slim Fit Blazer With Pu Lapel
  • Topman Black Textured CardiganTopman Black Textured Cardigan
  • Topman Black Grey Gingham Long Sleeve Smart ShirtTopman Black Grey Gingham Long Sleeve Smart Shirt
  • Reiss 1971 Defender Bomber With Leather Sleeves BlackReiss 1971 Defender Bomber With Leather Sleeves Black
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Black Alex JeansHe By Mango Slim-fit Black Alex Jeans
  • Allsaints Fade Leather Biker JacketAllsaints Fade Leather Biker Jacket
  • River Island Leather Quilted GlovesRiver Island Leather Quilted Gloves
  • Brioni Knitted Silk TieBrioni Knitted Silk Tie
  • Topman Black Vintage Plain BracesTopman Black Vintage Plain Braces
Final Word

So there you have it, a brief rundown of the lessons I’ve learned after a quick dip into my fondest childhood memories.

When it comes to creating and developing your own personal style, being inspired by your past and the experiences that have made you the person you are today is important and can really help define the unique way that you dress yourself.

This is just one of the ways I do it, but as always I’m interested in hearing what you have to say. What influences do you incorporate from your earlier years in the way you dress now? Which superhero would you like to see covered next? Were there any other lessons I could have learned from The Avengers?

Let me know in the comments section…

Matt Allinson