Tuesday 20 March 2018

The style rules that every man really needs to know

As London Fashion Week kicks off, stylist Niamh O’Rourke gives her essential tips for the modern male

Niamh O'Rourke

It's the film the fashion world has been breathless anticipating. And legendary Gucci designer Tom Ford didn't disappoint with his debut as a director.

A Single Man is a visual feast, beautifully shot and featuring an impeccably styled Colin Firth. His character may be in the throes of despair but he certainly wears a crisp white shirt well

Set in the 1960s, A Single Man, which is in cinemas now, is bound to be as influential on men's fashion as the extraordinary stylish drama Mad Men, which takes place during the same era - a golden age for men's fashion.

A word of warning, though boys. You have probably got used to your better half extolling the sartorial virtues of MM's Don Draper, with his slim-cut check suits, crisp shirts and narrow ties. Now you'd better prepare yourself for a real dressing down when you bring her to see Colin in all his glory.

But we've got a little help for you. Regardless of the latest trends there are still three key rules for the stylish man. Whether you're a street chic blogger who prides themselves on being ahead of the curve or a refined gent who appreciates a little luxury, sartorial salvation is in the detail.

Rule number one -- consider your choice of shoes carefully, they say a lot about who you are.

Secondly, it's worth investing in tailoring. Suiting is all about the fit, fabric and finish. You need to be patient in your search and be prepared to stretch the budget. A well cut suit will play a key role in your wardrobe so don't underestimate its payback.

Finally, rough and ready or slick and sharp, grooming is important so give your skin, hair and nails a little TLC.

Now that the basics are in order, what does menswear have to offer us for Spring /Summer 2010?

Double breasted jacket

According to Paul O'Connor, the menswear buying director for Brown Thomas, the double-breasted jacket or the 'DB' is this season's key piece. That said they're not for everyone and you need to have a trim tum to pull this one off.

In place of the usual six or four-button version, this season's is a very low, two-buttoned offering. The shape is soft and the cut is short. To wear it well, team with a basic T-shirt or fine knit and a slim-fitting chino or jean.

Carrot leg chino

There's something a little disconcerting about using a vegetable to describe a garment, but this is the term that's doing the rounds; the 'carrot' leg silhouette.

Basically it's a slim-fitting, tapered trouser. Good in denim, but great as a chino, this looks super cool with a rolled-up end for a knowing nod to the '50s.

Dark indigo denim

When it comes to jeans, dark indigo are the way to go. Swedish label Acne does a great slim silhouette while Paul Smith's offerings are perfect for a more classic cut.


This street chic trend is here to stay. From the high-end Dsquared and D&G to the more accessible Topman and French Connection, the check shirt is fitting very comfortably into the '50s revival.

Go for a country'n'western feel with popper buttoning and piped trim. Alternatively, Gordon Richardson, Topman design director advises a short-sleeved hooded version to keep the look fresh.

Checks are not to be limited to the canvas of a shirt. Suits and jackets in everything from Prince of Wales to houndstooth and gingham are all fair game.


This season, grey is the hue of choice. A light silvery tone to be precise. Mix with dark colours and discrete textures for an understated vibe. Alternatively, this neutral colour works perfectly with pastels.

If you have a phobia of colour, introduce it into your wardrobe gradually in the form of a lightweight scarf, shirt, pocket handkerchief or subtle trim.


Thick-framed glasses

Accessories are paramount when it comes to putting an individual twist on any look.

If you see yourself as cool enough to carry off any trend that comes your way, then a pair of heavy horn-rimmed glasses will establish your confidence.

These have been knocking around on the noses of the cool kids for quite a while now, but with Colin Firth sporting his very retro pair in A Single Man, you'll realise this trend is just about to take off.

In terms of sunglasses, it's the season of the classic shape, particularly aviators.


The ubiquitous brogue can be either comfortingly classic or boldly retro, depending on the style you choose.

If you want to keep it classic, go for a traditional shape like a pair of Church's or Tricker's, both are quintessentially English brands steeped in craftsmanship.

If you want to go down the more flamboyant road, go for a bright colour or two-tone option. This solid piece of footwear will be the lynchpin of your wardrobe.

Luxury holdall 'v' shopper

Always a talking point, the manbag can be a point of consternation. According to Gordon Richardson, "the luxury holdall will finish off any look".

This doesn't mean you need to go out and spend a fortune on a calfskin version by Etro but it does mean that it's a far cry from your gym kit bag.

Asos has a great selection for under €40 that play the part perfectly. For a more contemporary look, Paul O'Connor suggests the shopper, a tote shape that every level of label from Prada to Acne is a fan of.

Classic alternatives

If trends play no more of a part in your wardrobe than a blue glitter shoe, then check out the following timeless pieces to keep your look polished.

Dark indigo jean: This is a smart version of a casual classic that is a great multi-tasker. Avoid bootcut and go for a classic straight leg like those by Paul Smith.

Brogue: You can never go wrong with a classic brogue. Opt for muted tones and a rounded toe.

Suit: An impeccably tailored suit will take you places. Try Canali for a classic broad fit or Prada or Paul Smith for something more slimline.

Trench or Mac: A belted trench like the Burberry classic in stone or camel is the perfect Spring overcoat.

Crisp shirt complete with cufflinks and collar bones: Try Thomas Pink on Dublin's Dawson street for a vast selection.

Irish Independent

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