Archives for category: trends

Today I’ve witnessed something I normally experience in person. There was a rather handsome young man on the tube who clearly had a clue about how to dress. A nice check shirt, a gorgeous cardie, nice pair of skinny chinos… and a perfect bow tie that (excuse the unintended pun) tied everything in for a perfect preppy look.

I’m known for wearing bow ties on a regular basis, although the summer weather wasn’t right for it and therefore I haven’t for a couple of months, but whenever I do I have to endure the most astounding stares from people in the street, ranging from plainly gobsmacked to fully disgusted, from sneeringly amused to downright outraged.

Why???

For heaven’s sake, it’s only a bow tie! Those looks should be saved for pedophiles, rapists or terrorists. I’m only wearing a bloody bow tie, people, get over it!

Isn’t it amazing how much people will repel any possible new fashion trend as something absolutely ridiculous/offensive/outrageous. Even though bow ties have been around for a number of decades, if not centuries, it’s been only recently that they came back in fashion (though I admit I already had a small collection in my second drawer). I remember when ¾ length trousers were first seen on the Prada catwalk in the early 2000’s, and then could be seen in the high street, although only in few, very brave outlets. I embraced the new look immediately and bought a pair as soon as my limited finances could afford me one. And then the piss-taking at work started. ‘Did your flat get flooded Massimo?’ ‘Aw, you’re wearing your little brother’s trousers? Sweet!’ ‘I think you forgot a bit in the wardrobe this morning’. And so on. And on. And on.

Fast forward a season later and every male employee in the company was wearing one. How unnerving. And of course as it often happens that made me go off them immediately: sorry for sounding snobbish, but I simply can’t wear something that everybody else is wearing. For me fashion is about making you look unique and individual, not about mixing in the flock. But of course that’s exactly what most people think or feel like. Should you see just a little bit more bow-ties in the street and in a matter of weeks you’d see even the outdoorsy-mountaineering-sporty guy in the office wearing one (possibly made out of fleece…).

So today the fetching guy in the tube looked blissfully unaware of the variety of bad stares around him (apart from mine, that is) as he kept his eyes on his book, although I’m pretty sure somebody so self-assured must have known what was going on around him and simply not giving a flying straw about it.

So in support, tomorrow I’ll be wearing one of mine. Question is, which one? The grey vintage Pierre Cardin one? The knitted blue one? The monochrome houndstooth one? The brown/blue paisley one? The…

My dear friends NS and PB got married last week end. We spent a beautiful day in a Kent refurbished barn and we all enjoyed the moving ceremony and were blessed by a warm-ish, half sunny last day of summer, one of the very few ones in a season that was otherwise cold, gray and rainy like a 3-month long late March day.

One of the guests was the designer Ben De Lisi, personal friend of the bride and who also had designed her wedding dress. To be perfectly honest he was (apart from me and W, of course) one of the very few well-dressed men around, as weddings are always populated by women who are delighted to have the occasion to dress up and show off their latest buys, and men who clearly look like they’ve just taken their suits out of naphtaline and look completely ill at ease in them and would rather be wearing shorts and flip-flops and head down the pub. Ben had a nice light brown (but darker than beige) suit with a very handsome combination of white on navy blue polka dot tie and a belt with stripes of the same colours. The only weird detail was his footwear as his shoes would have fitted better an orthopaedically-challenged school boy. But with such a summery (although not completely sure right for a wedding) look, the perfect detail was the rim of his trousers turned up and showing naked ankles.

One can say that this has been the summer of the ankles for men (I refuse to use the horrid term mankles that could be found on any fashion magazine in the last six months), as the Thom Browne look has finally seeped through to the masses. And I must say it’s a trend that I find rather fetching. And even sexy.

Without exagerating with turn ups that show half calves, and exclusively worn with slim-legged trousers, this affectation adds a dandy-esque accent that can make your outfit immediately less serious and boring, but without becoming a comical overstatement. It shows braveness, but also lightness of touch.

I’ve been sporting it all summer around Soho, and even though it did make a few pairs of eyes stare, I know this is one of those trends that will look daring at first and absolutely normal once they get sported en masse by anybody (which is in fact when things get boring). I like it so much that, come autumn (well, it kind of has already) I won’t drop it . I plan to invest in interesting, bold and strongly patterned socks instead.

My very stylish colleague IMC said something quite revealing the other day. He’s been wearing lots of blue lately and he especially likes stripes, so I’ve seen him sporting Breton stripes for a few months now. All of a sudden Breton stripes are everywhere and he was almost spooked out: “My God, I didn’t know I was so avant-garde!”.

The fact is that the Breton stripe was all over the catwalk at the last S/S shows and it’s been an unusually quick trend to appear in every shop. It normally takes at least a year, if not two or three, for big haute couture trends to percolate down to the high street (think of houndstooth coats, chunky-knit cardigans etc), but I guess this is such a classic, something that somehow has always been around, that it was easy for clothes manufacturers to simply up their stocks and flog this look everywhere and so promptly.

And yes, I do love it, it’s a very elegant and summery pattern, with very a very strong fashion feel as it immediately reminds you of Coco Chanel or Jean-Paul Gaultier (whose sailor T-shirt is such a signature of his that it even ended up on the packaging of his perfumes).

But I have a genetic resistance to follow ubiquitous trends. As soon as I spot something more than twice on a single Tube journey, that’s it for me. I just believe that fashion is something that should make us unique. And although of course trends are important, and I am always on the look out for new interesting ones to experiment with, I’d rather not follow the flock but try to have a more individual look. Many people do just the opposite, as they need the validation of their peers in order to try something new (which, by definition, won’t be new anymore). But that’s just boring for me. Where’s the fun in that?

So instead, I decided to invest in a gorgeous blue gingham blazer. I like the Breton stripe, but I am absolutely in love with gingham, which I think is the freshest, lightest, most youthful and cheerful pattern one can wear in spring and summer. I already have a black gingham tie and a lovely shirt with gingham inserts, but I wanted a piece of clothing that could make a bolder statement. This Feraud seersucker jacket just had my name written on it when I spotted it on the rack. And only 2 minutes later it was leaving the shop with me. Some people might find it a bit too bold, but hey, that’s the fun part, innit?