Listen up lads

Spotlight on men's fashion

JUSTINE JAMIESON
Last updated 15:50 20/07/2012

I love that most Kiwi guys are really starting to look at fashion trends and - shock-horror - they are starting to shop, rather than depend on their girlfriend or wife to do it for them.

Luckily for guys, men's fashion travels at a snail's pace compared with women's, meaning their clothes can stay in the wardrobe for longer, so they can afford to spend a little more for quality.

In many years of retail I noticed guys will usually go for one shop for cold season and one shop for the warm seasons (like tearing off a plaster; do it all at once and it doesn't hurt as much, right?).

They are in and out fast and are always after an absolute bargain.

Note to blokes: A bargain isn't always the best option; go for quality over quantity, choose clothing that will be durable for a couple of seasons. Some guys keep their clothes longer than others. I'm not saying this is a bad thing but some take it to the next level (that is, they can't bring themselves to discard clothes with holes in them; or that are faded, shrunk or baggy.)

If this sounds familiar it may be time to go shopping (especially with underwear, chuck the mouldy-oldies out guys!)

Casual

This is probably a look our Nelson guys do most. It never ceases to amaze me how Kiwi blokes can wear shorts or stubbies in winter - cover those pins up, it makes me shiver just looking at you.

A huge part of the casual look is jeans. My pet hate is jean hems that fray at the back; I have seen some that have ripped almost to the calf muscle.

It is $15-$25 at a tailors to get your pants taken up and most jean stores will get it done for you if you ask.

It will increase the life of your jeans and looks so much tidier.

When taking up jeans, never pin them yourself and make sure you have a soft fold at the front of the ankle, otherwise your jeans are going to look too short.

The skinnier the jean the longer the leg looks, large guys or guys with big quad muscles should stay away from skinny jeans. Opt for a more relaxed or straight fit.

If you just love this style, go for dark colours and once on dampen tight parts with water to stretch out the cotton.

Skinny or narrow-fitted jeans are definitely on-trend with lots of coloured styles available or for winter choose a nice dark shade.

Chinos (soft cotton pants) are everywhere too. Preferred colours are mustard, burgundy, tan or grey and look great with boots or trendy sneakers.

Plaid is big in shirts, some in thick flannel in earthy tones or brighter colours.

T-shirts will never go out of fashion. This season choose solid colour tees with funky prints on the front. A new trend is the asymmetric hem, meaning at the back the hemline is dropped over the buttocks. Navajo geometric-patterned fabric is also big this season.

Layering is key with all looks mentioned. Layer: jackets with V-neck jerseys, a shirt and jeans or a cardigan, shirt, tee and chinos or jeans. Hoods look great under blazers or longer mid-thigh coats/jackets.

Model Tom Heaphy Hair by Jessica Barnes from Donna James Hair LRG beanie from Fresh $40.99 Industrie shirt from Sidecar $99 Comune tee from Fresh $59.99 ilabb.com jeans from Urban Beach $159.99 WeSC cardi from Sidecar $159 Gram Shoes from Sidecar $199

 

Semi-dressy

Dressed to impress, this is an office look/may pop to the pub for one (of course) type of look.

Grey is big for suiting this season along with deep blue, and a three-piece suit is a great look.

Make sure the waistcoat is the same colour as the rest of the suit and the pant is narrow. This look looks great without a tie and you can lose the blazer while inside.

Colours that are big for shirts are light purple, to use a masculine description (in other words, shhhh, lilac or lavender), and also shades of grey or blue.

Plaid, checks and stripes are still in for this season's shirts.

As for suiting, stay away from a strong pinstripe.

Belts should match shoes and the in colours this season are tan, deep chocolate and black. Shoes have an elongated toe, or for a super-trendy look, opt for brogues.

Dark or coloured denim looks great with an open blazer, shirt and V-neck jersey or cardigan. Mid-length woollen jackets are a sophisticated look and should be in every man's wardrobe as this is an investment and doesn't look like fading out any time soon.

 

Model Tom Heaphy Hair by Jessica Barnes from Donna James Hair Yd pant from The Rock Box $129.99 Yd vest from The Rock Box $89.99 Yd jacket from The Rock Box $249.99 Yd shirt from The Rock Box $119.99 Scarf from The Rock Box $49.99 Belt from Gustaves $69 Stool from Hunter Furniture.

 

Dressy

I don't think there is any lady that doesn't go weak at the knees when it comes to seeing a man in a well-fitted, sexy suit. With my tutoring from well-known Christchurch tailor Mark V Roosmalen, I know firsthand how much construction is put in the body of a quality suit and how important it is to get the right fit - as I have painstakingly made them myself.

When choosing a suit, first things first. The overall silhouette of a suit is designed to create a wide shoulder and narrow waist. When your arms are by your side a suit sleeve should end just before the wrist bone and the shirt when buttoned should be 0.5 inches (1.27 centimetres) below the suit jacket, just touching the top of your palm.

The shoulder pads of the jacket should be square with your shoulder and roll just off the shoulder bone. If they drop or leave dents in the cloth it is too big. Always ask for help when choosing a suit. The guys at Gustaves Menswear and Nelson Tailors are especially happy to help.

Choose a quality wool fabric - try scrunching it with your hand. A quality weave should fall back into place without wrinkling. As for the trends in suiting this year, grey or navy is the new black with minimal pattern, for example, fine almost non-existent plaid or pinstripe, in a thin silhouette, with a thin lapel.

Most suits nowadays have two buttons. If there are three, the bottom one is just for tradition and design and should be left undone at all times.

As for double-breasted, they were originally designed to hide a belly and this design is slowly coming back in although not in the 80s-90s boxy shape, but more fitted at the waist.

When matching a tie and shirt the trend is mixing patterns. The tie and shirt can be the same colour or pattern but shouldn't have the same depth of pattern. For instance, if you have a small plaid-design shirt then the tie should have a larger plaid pattern - and be sure to pick up the main colour in the shirt.

Plaid is huge this season in shirts and a thinner tie is preferable. Solid colour is plentiful too. As for the length of the tie, the tip should just hit the belt buckle. For dressy occasions, opt for a polished dark-shade elongated shoe or brogue.

Model Tom Heaphy Hair by Jessica Barnes from Donna James Hair Wayward Heir fine wool charcoal suit from Gustaves $648 Wayward Heir cotton shirt suit from Gustaves $129 Studio Italia silk tie from Gustaves $69 Pocket handkerchief from Gustaves $25 Windsor Smith Shoes from Taylors We Love Shoes $179.90 Parisian belt from Gustaves $69.99 Citizen watch from Ian Wills Jewellers $699

 

Last word

Always keep your masculinity, but I do believe you should experiment with colour and pattern this season and next. To choose the right colour hold the colour up to your face, and if it automatically makes you look pale, opt for a different shade or colour completely.

Where some of you may be a wee way off wearing a "man bag" or lilac shirt, try to be more what we call metrosexual, because now you can feel comfortable experimenting with trends and it isn't a reflection on your sexuality. Remember, clothes maketh the man.

- Nelson

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