9 Taboo Menswear Pieces You Can Actually Wear

The world of fashion is known for breaking rules. Sometimes, it even breaks its own. Black is now readily seen alongside blue; tweed is for town as well as country; and double denim gets a unanimous thumbs up from the style cognoscenti.

This ebb and flow of acceptability has seen many once-banished pieces make like the prodigal son, welcomed back onto runways with open arms. These are the items you should regret ejecting from your wardrobe – and swiftly replace.


The city boy’s power pattern wasn’t always taboo. Favoured by menswear OGs like Cary Grant and Clark Gable, the pinstripe’s adoption in the 1980s by a certain breed of bonus-snorting banker meant sartorial banishment when the bubble burst.

Now, pinstripes have re-emerged at the hands of designers like Ralph Lauren and Italy’s Lardini, as well as across the high street, thankfully without the padded shoulders or chest-covering lapels.

Update yours by minding the gap – a thicker chalkstripe is less intense than its slimmer brother – or by applying it to dressed-down pieces such as blouson jackets or drawstring-waist trousers. In any case, keep the rest of your outfit muted. That means no shirts with contrast collars.

The Best Pinstripes For Men

mango man Pinstripe bomber jacket - click to buyH&M Grandad shirt Regular Fit - click to buyELEVENTY pinstripe blazer - click to buytopman Pinstripe Cropped Smart Joggers - click to buy

Bucket Hats

It long seemed that wide-eyed ravers and deep sea trawlermen had sunk the bucket hat’s fashion fortunes, but then in stepped skate brands like Stussy and Palace, and suddenly Madchester’s favourite headwear had been given the kiss of life.

Fast forward to the present day and even high-end names like Moncler and Acne are now giving the hat their own spin, showing that nothing in fashion ever truly kicks the bucket.

Our advice? Avoid garish prints that will jar with smarter pieces. Instead, look for a plain version that can be worn with a laid-back shirt. Oh, and don’t actually wear it on a boat.

The Best Bucket Hats For Men

TOPMAN DESIGN Denim Bucket Hat - click to buyzara MELANGE RAIN HAT - click to buyDickies Addison bucket hat - click to buyENGINEERED GARMENTS BUCKET HAT - click to buy

Cargo Trousers

The death knell sounded for cargo trousers around the time Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst pitched up in versions that could double up as a functional tent.

But after a deserved time out in the menswear hinterland, designers like Brunello Cucinelli and Ami have re-introduced iterations that are slim and preppy enough to fit into everyday looks.

Pair with a button-down shirt, knitted tie and blazer for an alternative to chinos, or dress down with a sweatshirt. Just keep the pockets empty to avoid that rap-rock silhouette.

The Best Cargo Trousers For Men

river island tapered cargo trousers - click to buymango man Cotton cargo trousers - click to buyJ.CREW Cotton-Ripstop Cargo Trousers - click to buyBRUNELLO CUCINELLI Stretch-Cotton Cargo Trousers - click to buy

‘Ugly’ Trainers

Minimalist trainers have had their moment, and while they’re not disappearing anytime soon, it’s maximalism that is currently flexing its muscles.

Alongside joggers, the athleisure trend has seen the rise of busy, bulbous footwear styles, with reissues of OG chunky trainers Nike’s Air Max 95 and Reebok’s Insta Pump Fury, as well as the soaring popularity of the Balenciaga Triple S and Prada Cloudbust.

Not one for dressing down your suit, you’re best top-to-toeing the sportswear line with a tailored tracksuit, or steering Yeezy with black, stacked denim.

The Best Ugly Trainers For Men



Corduroy has a struck an unlikely, err, chord with the fashion crowd. The old-school stuff has graduated from covering substitute teachers to become a favourite of Pitti Uomo’s best-dressed, and it’s largely thanks to the return of 1970s style.

The key to not looking like a visiting professor is to realise that the tough AF fabric is solely used on dishwater brown suits, so try it on everything from shirts, to trucker jackets and even baseball caps (just, not all at once).

Equally important is the wale – the distance between the ridges. The bigger the gap, the warmer the material, and the squarer your look. Stay fine to, well, stay fine.

The Best Corduroy For Men

John Lewis Stretch Cord Tailored Blazer - click to buyzara CORDUROY JACKET - click to buyM&S COLLECTION Tailored Fit Cotton Rich Corduroy Trousers - click to buymango Corduroy cap - click to buy


Florals made a comeback quite some summers ago, but the fact they are still going strong and continue to be important in the success of several collections earns them a place on this list.

Like sandals, this particular print had to overcome an association with femininity before they could bloom in menswear. But guys have realised not only is it okay to smell like flowers — some of the best fragrances of all time use notes like iris and lavender — it’s okay to wear them, too.

If you’re not ready to wear a rainbow-coloured Hawaiian shirt, opt for more subdued patterns on a dark, masculine background such as navy or black, or wear them on layering pieces like shirts that can be toned down with a jacket. We be-leaf in you.

The Best Floral Fashion For Men

mango Regular-fit floral print shirt - click to buyreiss DERMONT FLORAL PRINTED SHIRT - click to buyFAHERTY Slim-Fit Indigo-Dyed Printed Shorts - click to buyBlue Floral Jacquard Tie - click to buy


Not even Nostradamus could have predicted that the bum bag would one day rise up and spread through fashion like an aggressive rash. But it happened.

Often renamed waist or cross-body bags — because who actually wants to wear something named after the lower half of one’s anatomy? — these dorky carriers have received stylish co-signs from tastemakers like A$AP Rocky and Jared Leto.

The reason for their Lazarus-like resurrection? Practicality. Sling one around your hips or across your chest to cart your kit around without weighing your pockets down.

The Best Bumbags For Men

MI-PAC Cross Body Bag - click to buyEsprit Nylon Bumbag with Multi Pockets - click to buyherschel Tour Hip Pack - click to buyeastpak Springer Stitch Dot - click to buy

Short-Sleeve Shirts

Finishing off a pair of neatly cut chinos with a short-sleeve shirt was once the fashion equivalent of cooking the perfect steak then getting your dog to do its business on top.

But in the words of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changin'”. Or, have changed, because in recent seasons bicep-skimming button ups have gone from fashion black sheep to baller menswear move.

When going sans sleeve, remember to nail the fit. Too tight and you’ll look like you’re itching to talk about bicep curls. Too loose and you’ll look like Derek from IT. And no one wants to look like Derek from IT. Sorry, Derek.

The Best Short-Sleeved Shirts For Men

reiss JORDIE MICRO FLORAL PRINT SHORT SLEEVED SHIRT - click to buytopman Burgundy Short Sleeve Revere Shirt - click to buyNN07 Miyagi Camp-Collar Printed Cotton Shirt - click to buyriver island Grey stripe revere shirt - click to buy

Baggy Jeans

Get ready to get hit with a whole load of nostalgia, because baggy jeans are back in all their nineties-inspired Kriss Kross glory. Okay, maybe not that baggy.

Just as guys came round to the idea of pouring themselves into jeans small enough for a schoolchild, designers began to flip-flop, turning out styles you could fit the whole class in.

But bigger isn’t always better. As with tailoring, err to wide and you run the risk of looking sloppy. So opt from straight or relaxed-leg cuts rather than anything with a 40-inch hem, and keep your top half in proportion to avoid looking like a walking Weeble Wobble.

The Best Relaxed Jeans For Men

EDWIN ED-71 SLIM STRAIGHT JEAN - click to buyLevi's 501 Original Straight Jeans - click to buyH&M Slim Straight Jeans - click to buygap Soft Wear Jeans in Straight Fit - click to buy

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