Hands up: anyone who hasn’t looked at a runway show and thought, WTF? If a six-foot-four Scandinavian Adonis can’t pull off Rick Owens’ glory hole trousers, how on earth can we average men? Even when such trends trickle down to the high street, they can present all sorts of problems – we’re either too short, too fat or just too sane to even launch an attempt.
But tricky clothing shouldn’t be discounted entirely (unless it is actually glory hole trousers). As guys take more wardrobe risks, we spoke to style experts about how to steer such pieces from wacky to wearable. And the solutions are much easier than you’d think.
Cargo trousers: once military uniform, now an on-trend essential in many a man’s kit. But despite the recent surge, they still cause boyband-triggered Vietnam flashbacks nationwide.
“The solution is in the fit,” says Luke McDonald, associate stylist at men’s personal shopping service Thread. “Make sure your cargo trousers don’t pool or bunch around the ankle – a slimline shape should sit just above your shoes and will flatter most physiques.”
In addition, to make sure your style doesn’t go MIA, McDonald suggests flanking cargo trousers with simple staples such as cable-knit jumpers, desert boots and plain T-shirts in earthy hues or darker neutrals such as black and navy.
- Next Laundered Cargos
- New Look Light Grey Cargo Trousers
- Broome – Garment Dyed Cargo Pants Relaxed Slim Fit
- River Island Black Slim Fit Cargo Trousers
- Jean Shop Gene Slim-fit Cotton-twill Cargo Trousers
- Todd Snyder Infantry Herringbone Cotton Cargo Trousers
Technical rainwear is usually a terrifying reminder of sopping wet school trips and dry-as-a-bone Geography teachers, with most pieces falling firmly into the nerdwear remit.
“Wearing technical rainwear is a problem because it often looks like you’re wearing exactly that,” says Mr Porter style director Olie Arnold. “Traditionally-speaking, they’re not the most stylish of pieces, with boxy and unfitted shapes more associated with the great outdoors.”
But it isn’t all bad: “Brands are now placing technology from active sportswear within more stylish designs,” adds Arnold. “Look out for Nike Lab and Loro Piana – both offer pieces that have more in common with a blazer, which suits just as well over a suit as it does with jeans or sneakers.”
- Topman Stone Parka Coat
- Rains Four Pocket Jacket Blue
- Herno Laminar Slim-fit Gore-tex Paclite Shell Raincoat
- Nike Nikelab Acg Convertible Gore-tex Down Jacket
- Loro Piana Blue Voyager Storm System Shell Blazer
- Acronym J50-s High-density Gabardine Climashield Bomber Jacket Raf Green
Joggers as part of an everyday, or even a tailored, look is something that has been on the menswear radar from several seasons now, so you’d think we’d have got the hang of it. But as Tom Courcey, editor at menswear etailer The Idle Man, points out – the wrong cut, fabric or colour can banish a whole look back to the weights bench.
“Since joggers are usually worn around the house, they need to be styled in a polished way,” he says. “Many men take loungewear outdoors without remembering that they’re still head-to-toe in loungewear.”
The solution is to choose the right separates elsewhere: “Opt for a slimmer, fitted pair in grey marl or black – a cuffed ankle will also result in a smarter silhouette,” adds Courcey. “Then team with a white tee, structured bomber and minimal leather kicks for a look more off-duty than straight-out-of-bed.”
- He By Mango Plush-cotton Jogging Trousers
- Reiss Alistar Jersey Sweatpants Navy
- Save Khaki French Terry Sweat Pant Grey Heather
- Club Monaco Loopback Cotton-jersey Sweatpants
- Suitsupply Navy Sweatpants
- Uniqlo Men Dry Stretch Sweat Pants
No longer the sole preserve of stroppy teenagers, you only need to look as far as the recent menswear shows to see that hoodies are back on the menswear map. Why, then, is it still so easy to look like a Linkin Park fan?
“Hoodies are a popular choice thanks to maximum ease and comfort,” says Kasia Katner, lead stylist at Thread. “But that can often result in an unpolished getup.”
Just follow Katner’s advice and keep the rest of your outfit smart and your colour palette simple: “A grey hoodie will sit with every other colour in your wardrobe. Pair it with navy chinos, a crisp white tee and minimal trainers, and you’ll create a look that is neither too mosh pit nor gym bunny.”
- E. Tautz Cashmere Fine Knit Hoodie
- Suitsupply Light Brown Hoodie
- John Lewis Made In Italy Premium Cashmere Hoodie
- Reiss Fountain Cotton Zip Hoodie Grey
- Club Monaco Slim-fit Loopback Cotton-jersey Zip-up Hoodie
- Burberry Fleece-back Cotton-blend Jersey Zip-up Hoodie
‘Graphic tee’ is an umbrella term for a multitude of printed tops. So naturally, it has its fair share of pitfalls.
“Avoid anything too topical, especially when it concerns slogans,” says Giles Farnham, head of River Island’s Style Studio. “Your ironic tee may get a few likes on social media, but it’ll be a pretty short-lived investment.”
A ‘Female Body Inspector’ gag is a shortcut to eating lunch alone, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t stylish ways to pull of a print. “A reworked band tee is an easy piece to wear with off-duty separates. Or, if you prefer a bigger statement, try a baroque or floral print in a muted colour,” adds Farnham.
- Allsaints Smock Camo Crew T-shirt
- Asos Velvet T-shirt In Premium With All Over Floral Print
- Metallica Inside Out T-shirt
- Zara Skull T-shirt
- He By Mango Printed Cotton T-shirt
- Etro Floral-print Cotton T-shirt
Clothing rails, much like our thighs, have been suffocated by skinny jeans in recent seasons. While we don’t see them going anywhere soon, peak-skinny is giving rise to something at the opposite end of the spectrum: the wide-leg trouser.
“Many people now favour comfort over constricted styles,” explains James Jee, head of menswear at Jaeger. “But not all wider shapes are fair game – beware of the flare.”
To get in on the emerging trend without going full Saturday Night Fever, Jee suggests opting for a straighter cut instead. “Just be wary of proportions – an ideal cut should boast more volume in the waist and hip, with a slight taper towards the ankle.”
Due to the wider leg being your statement, there’s little need for vibrancy, print or volume elsewhere, so keep your surrounding pieces muted and well-fitted so it doesn’t look like you’re dressed head-to-toe in your dad’s hand-me-downs.
- Asos Straight Chinos
- Lee Jeans Brooklyn Straight Fit One Wash Stretch
- Topman Premium Grey Wool Blend Straight Leg Chinos
- Topman Navy Wide Leg Cropped Fit Trousers
- Acne Studios Van Denim Jeans
- J.crew Wallace & Barnes Wide-leg Cotton-drill Chinos
If you prefer to tap Gucci’s Alessandro Michele over Tom Ford, chances are you sit at the bolder end of the menswear spectrum. But get it wrong and you’re likely to look more like your nan’s lampshade.
“Patterned suits have been popular at special events and weddings over recent years,” says Jee. “But they can often overload on print or colour.”
As Jee points out, patterned doesn’t have to mean turning into Liberace. “A tonal check weave or shadow windowpane is a quieter way to wear a printed suit. But if you insist on a bolder look, keep other parts of the outfit simple – plain shirt, leather Oxford lace-ups and no belt. Let the print speak for itself.”
- Zara Polka Dot Suit Blazer
- Noose & Monkey Super Skinny Green Suit In Tartan With Stretch
- River Island Black Camo Skinny Suit Jacket
- Topman Black And White Twisted Check Skinny Fit Suit
- Ted Baker Ellis Floral Jacquard Blazer
- River Island Ecru Checked Skinny Suit Jacket
Baseball’s biggest export after foam fingers hit a home run in 2016, but there are still a few things to consider before stepping up to the plate.
“Baseball caps can often look shabby or too casual,” says Farnham. It makes sense considering the headwear’s sportswear heritage. Unless you’re pitch side, leave branding on the bench and don’t forget to consider everything from face shape, to occasion and the rest of your look.
“To smarten up, wear a plain style atop clean, smart pieces. An unstructured blazer with a white Oxford shirt and tailored cargoes can ooze laid-back Williamsburg style.”
- He By Mango Wool-blend Cap
- A.p.c. Classic Baseball Cap
- Ami Canvas Cap Beige
- Olaf Hussein Olaf Cap
- Reigning Champ 6-panel Cap Olive
- Save Khaki Wool Hopsack Cap Navy
Not just to make the boys wink, Pantone’s Colour Of The Year 2016 was seen everywhere from restaurant tablecloths to Drake music videos. Alas, that didn’t make it any easier to wear.
“Pink has historically been a tricky colour for men,” says Reiss head of design, Alex Field. “After all, it’s traditionally been aligned with women.”
But don’t revert back to black just yet: “Pink is an easy way to brighten your wardrobe, especially when paired with darker shades – preferably navy. Let pink take focus on just one item, and team with classic dark pieces elsewhere,” adds Field.
- Next Long Sleeve Polo
- Reiss Steer Slim-fit Shirt Pink
- Topman Topman Premium Pink Padded Bomber Jacket
- Zara Plain Sweater
- Oliver Spencer Envelope Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- Next Stretch Chinos
From football hooligans to Fred Perry, the humble polo shirt has been appropriated by subcultures and sports stars alike, with varying degrees of success.
“Polo shirts can look staid and sensible, veering between dad’s golf wardrobe and 1990s school uniform, making them a tricky piece to wear,” says ASOS menswear editor Luke Raymond.
Spending that little bit extra, however, can pay dividends as it opens up options for pairing the tennis staple with both smart and casual pieces. “Invest in quality, specifically merino or cashmere knits or a pricier cotton mix. From there, style block-colour shapes with straight-cut denim or tuck into a single-pleat formal trouser,” adds Raymond.