Athleisure has been the dominant trend in both men's and women's fashion for the last few years. But let's be honest - for men, it's more a mood than a reality. It's too casual for work, and too styled for downtime.
Athleisure, for many men, tends to manifest more as a general relaxing of their look; a softening of the lines between what they will wear to the office and what they will wear outside of work. It's this in-between look that Brown Thomas has captured in their editorial on our pages this week.
"The idea was to have a little bit of softer tailoring, a little bit of weekend wear, mixed with something you might wear to occasions - weddings, racing, whatever you might be doing in the summer," explains Brown Thomas Menswear Buying Manager Stephen Burnett.
There is a real shift towards a more sophisticated look, he adds. "There's a little bit more of an emphasis back on tailoring, but obviously not in a traditional, two-piece navy-suit kind of way. It's a lot softer."
There are several brands in the store's formal room which provide what Burnett describes as a softer, relaxed Italian tailoring. "I don't want to call it the formal side, but it's the smarter side," he says. It feels like a good fit for the average Irish male; a realistic way to approach the general blurring of lines in fashion, where streetwear is increasingly influencing everything we wear.
"In the majority of workplaces, you can't turn up in a tracksuit," Stephen reflects. "So it's bridging that gap that men often find quite hard. Soft linen jackets with not much construction on the shoulder, not to be worn with a shirt and tie, but with a lightweight crew-neck knit or even a T-shirt."
He points out that if you look to trends in fashion, everything is loosening up, moving away from the very fitted, skinny shape. "It's definitely breathable. That's going to suit the Irish market, because I feel they're a little bit more comfortable with relaxed tailored trousers, and certainly a more roomy jacket," Stephen says.
For this season's key pieces, Stephen identifies a two-button linen-mix blazer, to be worn with drawstring tailored trousers, a lightweight mac, and some non-chunky, light knitwear that can be worn as layer. All the pieces happen to be in tune with current trends, but will also count as timeless building blocks in a wardrobe. Which are exactly the kind of clothes we want to buy right now.
Photography by Polina Vinogradova
Styling by Darren Feeney
Words by Liadan Hynes