Monday, August 19, 2013

Men’s Fashion Trend: Biker Jackets


Based on the recent heatwave we have been experiencing here in the UK, you may think me slightly insane to even contemplate broaching the subject of jackets and layers.

However, being well-versed in the subject of the British summertime, rest assured that the hot weather will not last. The annual promise of a phantom Indian summer aside, you’re probably going to be thankful for an extra layer come mid-August.

And this season’s silhouette of choice for the transitional summer to autumn period is the biker jacket.

The Biker Jacket

Biker jackets rose to prominence as a symbol of rebellious subculture following the Second World War and were glamorised by film stars such as Marlon Brando and James Dean in cult classics such as The Wild One and Rebel Without A Cause.

The jacket went on to epitomise the tough-guy image of a generation of bikers and greasers, and has remained embedded in modern fashion culture as a staple piece that continuously makes its mark, season after season.

On The Runways: SS13

The majority of the biker jackets featured at the global SS13 fashion weeks were largely traditional and didn’t stray too far from the timeless silhouette and signature cut.

Ralph Lauren, Dsquared2 and Calvin Klein were huge advocates of this traditionalist approach, featuring classic biker jackets in black and brown leather complete with stereotypical asymmetric zip fastening:

The Biker Jacket On SS13 Runways At Ralph Lauren, Dsquared2 and Calvin Klein Collection

Key Show: Belstaff

One brand worth particular mention is Belstaff. Motorcycle racing is at the heart of the company’s heritage, so it is not surprising that the biker jacket continues to be a big hitter for the brand. Unsurprisingly, Belstaff featured several traditional versions in various colours – including black, brown and a beautifully soft charcoal grey.

Interestingly, Belstaff also threw a few curve balls into their showcase – taking the stereotypical biker jacket and updating it through choice of material, colour and cut.

For example, the collection featured a knitted, woollen biker jacket, which offered an interesting tactile approach to the trend. In addition, the brand included a yellow suede version with beige stripe detailing, and a slightly longer version in soft brown that played with the standard, cropped cut.

Nevertheless, the highlight of the Belstaff showcase was a soft grey biker with multi-zip detailing, epaulettes and belted waist, which came in a slim, tailored cut – it’s a style that retains the underlying ethos of rebellion, but applies it in a sophisticated manner:

Belstaff Biker Jackets SS13

Modernising The Style

Other brands explored modern twists on the biker jacket trend in different ways. Directional detailing was used by Ermenegildo Zegna, with subtle yet effective perforations all over the jacket, whilst John Richmond utilised cut-out detailing to update the styles in his collection.

Similarly, external detailing was applied to the shoulders and sleeves of biker jackets by other designers in order to make them stand out from the crowd. Balmain emphasised shoulders and sleeves with ribbed stitching, John Richmond applied fish scale clipping to the sleeves and Diesel Black Gold included embroidered leather detail on the sleeves:

Biker Jackets On SS13 Runways at Zegna, Balmain, John Richmond & Diesel Black Gold

Alternative Colours

An easy way to separate your biker jacket from the crowd is to utilise colour, and several designer collections chose to go down this route.

Philip Lim 3.1 opted for white, Elie Tahari went for soft grey, Belstaff included a khaki green version and Iceberg pushed on trend navy blue. Meanwhile, Kenzo and Paul Smith offered an even bolder take on the trend by featuring biker jackets in bold, bright hues of yellow and orange, respectively:

Biker Jackets On SS13 Runways at Philip Lim, Elie Tahari, Belstaff, Iceberg, Paul Smith and Kenzo

The Fashion Press

Looking to the fashion press, it is clear that the biker jacket has been a prominent, running theme since SS12.

In March 2012, Esquire magazine ran a feature on SS12 jackets which saw British actor Alfie Allen sporting a blue leather biker jacket by Emporio Armani. Fast-forward to September and the magazine published an AW12 feature with Aaron Taylor-Johnson wearing a Hermes biker jacket in soft yet durable wool.

Similarly, Shortlist magazine has labelled the biker jacket as a must-own for SS13 and has recently published an article that uses the 1970s film Easy Rider as a source of inspiration. The article in question incorporated various designer pieces, including a traditional leather jacket by R13, a brown leather/suede biker jacket with shearling lining by Roberto Cavalli, and a brown leather biker jacket by Schott.

Shortlist went on to report that Yves Saint Laurent featured biker jackets in thicker, warmer fabrics for AW13, whilst the magazine also featured the biker silhouette in a preview piece for SS14 – proving that the style is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Biker Jacket Lookbook
debenhams aw13zara man august 2012h&m ss13allsaints aw13allsaints ss13belstaff ss14marc jacobs ss13paul & joe ss13balmain ss14the kooples ss12the kooples ss13allsaints aw12

Current Styles

Turning our attention to the biker jackets currently available on the market, it seems there is something for everyone. For those feeling a little flush, or looking for a true signature/investment piece, Mr Porter has a wide range of designer versions – from Schott’s traditional James Dean-esque black leather biker jacket to a cream leather version with front zip detailing by Maison Martin Margiela.

Similarly, Matches is stocking a burgundy leather jacket by McQ by Alexander McQueen and a cotton, leather and tweed panelled biker jacket in black, grey and white by Balenciaga.

For those with tighter budget constraints, several high street retailers are offering more cost-effective styles. Topman in particular have a plethora of leather and leather-look biker jackets to choose from, whilst ASOS’ in house line continues to produce affordable options each and every season:

  • Asos Leather Biker JacketAsos Leather Biker Jacket
  • Dsquared2 Mens Cotton Perfecto JacketDsquared2 Mens Cotton Perfecto Jacket
  • Reclaimed Vintage Leather Biker JacketReclaimed Vintage Leather Biker Jacket
  • Biker-style Lined Leather Blouson Jacket With PocketsBiker-style Lined Leather Blouson Jacket With Pockets
  • Topman Black Leather Biker Jacket Topman Black Leather Biker Jacket
  • Eleven Paris Grey Jersey Biker JacketEleven Paris Grey Jersey Biker Jacket
  • Allsaints Level Leather Biker JacketAllsaints Level Leather Biker Jacket
  • Topman Charcoal Leather Biker JacketTopman Charcoal Leather Biker Jacket
  • Allsaints Cargo Biker Leather JacketAllsaints Cargo Biker Leather Jacket
  • River Island Green And Black Contrast Panel Leather JacketRiver Island Green And Black Contrast Panel Leather Jacket
  • River Island Black Jersey Sleeve Hooded Biker JacketRiver Island Black Jersey Sleeve Hooded Biker Jacket
  • Schott Perfecto Vintage Oiled-leather Motorcycle JacketSchott Perfecto Vintage Oiled-leather Motorcycle Jacket
  • Belstaff S Icon Blouson Waxed-cotton JacketBelstaff S Icon Blouson Waxed-cotton Jacket
  • Richard Nicoll Wool Melton Biker Jacket 164849Richard Nicoll Wool Melton Biker Jacket 164849
  • Balenciaga Tweed And Leather Biker Jacket 132162Balenciaga Tweed And Leather Biker Jacket 132162

Final Word

It seems you cannot go wrong with a biker silhouette for the transitional period between summer and autumn this year.

The biker jacket is such a classic and versatile style that it will always remain a constant within the industry, yet its flame only looks set to burn brighter in seasons to come – cementing its status as a true investment piece.

But, as always, we want to hear your thoughts: is the biker jacket a piece that you already champion? Or is it a key silhouette that you will be looking to purchase in the months to come? Will you opt for timeless leather or something more contemporary?

Trend Detailing: Contrast Sleeves


As a style-conscious gent, you will be well aware of the trend-led nature of the fashion industry. Each season designers pedal ‘new’ key pieces and specific looks that go on to influence what is stocked at high street retailers and, ultimately, what we wear (within reason).

Although the importance of a versatile, classic capsule wardrobe cannot be underestimated, trends are important as they help breathe new life into your wardrobe, ensure your style does not become stagnant and can even encourage you to experiment and evolve your look.

However, not every trend is in your face or touted as the ‘next big thing’. Certain styles, colours and accessories are slow burners that build up a presence within the industry over time, until you suddenly realise they are everywhere.

Suede shoes, lapel pins and round-framed eyewear are some recent underground trends that have steadily risen to prominence over the past couple of seasons, and the latest one, which began picking up steam during AW12, appears to be contrast sleeve detailing.
The Contrast Sleeve

During AW12, fabric blocking and statement outwear were touted as two major trends within menswear, although neither really took off as expected. Fabric blocking was the next logical progression from colour-blocking, a major trend during SS12, combining the textures traditionally seen throughout the colder months with the visual appeal of distinct sections that offered a way to effortlessly stand out from the crowd, without the need to layer.

Statement outerwear, on the other hand, typically came in two forms: bold coloured coats, or jackets with contrasting suede/leather sleeves. Again, the mix of textures and distinct sections offered something different to your traditional overcoats and leather jackets.

Even though these trends didn’t exactly set the industry on fire – perhaps they were a step too far for the majority of men – the concept of contrast sleeve detailing continued to develop as we progressed into SS13. Offering men a sure-fire way to individualise their look with ease, especially during the warmer months when multiple layers are not always practical, a couple of key pieces could be just what your current wardrobe has been crying out for.

Lookbook Inspiration

Below you will find campaigns from this season and next that feature the contrast sleeve:

Men's Contrast Sleeve Clothing
allsaints ss13allsaints ss13allsaints ss13pull & bear ss13lacoste ss13gant rugger aw13river island aw13river island aw13tommy hilfiger sportswear aw13zara man aw12river island aw13river island holloway road aw13

Contrast Sleeve Outerwear

Fabric blocking and statement outerwear will be pushed harder this year by both fashion houses and the high street, becoming huge trends for AW13 – check out River Island’s AW13 lookbook and our London Collections: MEN trend preview for confirmation. With this in mind, contrast sleeve outerwear is the best place to start if you are looking for a standout piece that will become a trademark of your personal style.

Suede and leather mix outerwear looks particularly great due to the combination of luxury materials. Both materials also age beautifully, becoming softer and developing character, ensuring that your jacket will look even better in years to come.

For those that desire a trend piece which will get them noticed, consider contrast sleeves that are bold and/or colourful. A mix of vibrant colours or prints cannot fail to make you stand out from the crowd, although the longevity of this style is questionable and therefore you should consider wisely how much you spend.

Those in search of a more timeless or refined style should gravitate towards tonal combinations – think black/grey/charcoal palettes, or tonal blue/grey. The subtle difference in hue will be enough to differentiate the body from the sleeves, and these styles are more likely to remain appropriate long term. Alternatively, look for a piece that creates a contrast through textures rather than colour, such as a black suede body with black quilted sleeves.

Key Silhouette: The Bomber Jacket

The bomber jacket is THE outerwear silhouette for SS13, yet it is a style that can work nearly all year round. A transitional season essential, a well considered bomber will take you through the early stages of spring through to the start of winter.
This season we have spotted a plethora of bomber styles featuring contrast sleeves. This detailing has also been combined with the industry’s current penchant for print, with multiple versions available that feature printed or patterned sleeves/body – an interesting twist but one that is likely to only stay relevant for the remainder of 2013:

Contrast Sleeve Tops

Contrast sleeves are starting to appear on everything from shirts and knitwear to t-shirts and polos for SS13.

With layering often impractical on hot days, a contrast sleeve t-shirt or polo can add something extra to your look without any additional effort. Combined with a pair of tailored shorts and some loafers, it will provide a welcome twist to a high summer daytime outfit. The same goes for short-sleeved shirts, which are currently experiencing a moment (another example of a slow developing trend).

Formal shirts are an option for working environments or events that would allow such pieces. A white version with black contrast sleeves would give the appearance of a traditional work shirt when layered underneath your blazer – and transform into a truly unexpected aesthetic once revealed.

Classic baseball-type jerseys and raglan sleeve sweatshirts have long adopted contrast sleeve detailing, making them a worthwhile addition to your casual wardrobe. They are offered by everyone from Topman and American Apparel to premium brands such as Rag & Bone and Our Legacy.

Building on the current bomber trend for printed/patterned sleeves, this technique has also been applied to t-shirts. Whether block-coloured bodies are combined with patterned sleeves or multiple prints are utilised, these t-shirts offer an affordable way to separate your casual style from the masses this season, and can be transitioned into layering pieces as we progress into AW13:

  • Topman Contrast Short Sleeve ShirtTopman Contrast Short Sleeve Shirt
  • American Apparel Poly-cotton 3/4 Sleeve Baseball Placket TAmerican Apparel Poly-cotton 3/4 Sleeve Baseball Placket T
  • Asos Crew Neck Jumper With Contrast SleevesAsos Crew Neck Jumper With Contrast Sleeves
  • Allsaints Kazama ShirtAllsaints Kazama Shirt
  • Topman Navy Contrast Scale Print Long Sleeve Smart ShirtTopman Navy Contrast Scale Print Long Sleeve Smart Shirt
  • Carven Contrast Sleeve Shirt 146496Carven Contrast Sleeve Shirt 146496
  • Bellfield T-shirt With Contrast PanelBellfield T-shirt With Contrast Panel
  • Nn.07 Mens Mile T-shirtNn.07 Mens Mile T-shirt
  • Asos T-shirt With Printed Stripe SleeveAsos T-shirt With Printed Stripe Sleeve
  • Asos Cable Jumper With Jersey ArmsAsos Cable Jumper With Jersey Arms
  • Asos Polo With Oxford PocketAsos Polo With Oxford Pocket
  • River Island Power Jumper In Colour BlockRiver Island Power Jumper In Colour Block
  • Topman Contrast Raglan Sleeve SweatshirtTopman Contrast Raglan Sleeve Sweatshirt
  • Alexander Wang Contrast-sleeve Cotton ShirtAlexander Wang Contrast-sleeve Cotton Shirt
  • Etro Pattern-front Wool And Silk-blend SweaterEtro Pattern-front Wool And Silk-blend Sweater


Final Word

So there we have it, a detailing trend that only looks set to continue to build in popularity as the days get colder and the nights draw in.

Not all trends have to be revolutionary concepts, and something as subtle as a tonal contrast sleeve can be enough to individualise your look in a subtle and effortless manner.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Men's Fashion Tips for a More Creative Look

Nothing beats a well-dressed man. If you wish to look stunning and classy for your everyday look, then you might want to consider some of these men's fashion tips.

Be Natural

We all want to wear fashionable clothes but before you even don a new style, make sure you don't look like everyone else. You can always be fashionable without being a copycat. If you wish to put on that creative look, make sure you know how to complement your attire with accessories. Be yourself and don't be afraid to try new styles and designs.

Learn to Mix and Match

According to fashion experts, wearing the same style day after day can be a bit boring. When it comes to creating new looks, people tend to be very creative. You may be wearing the same shirt day in and day out but you can surely turn your usual attire into a more sophisticated look. Don't hesitate to incorporate unique pieces or accessories into your daily attire. Just make sure your outfit will reflect who you really are.

Take the Risk

Remember that fashion is not just all about looking good. It is important that you also feel good about yourself while wearing unique and fashionable outfits. Don't try to be fashionable just because you want people to appreciate you. More than anything else, you must feel naturally good in order for you to radiate true comfort and style.

Shop for Different Styles and Designs

Make sure you have a wide variety of styles in your closet. With various designs, you can actually explore and find out which style perfectly fits your personality. Mix and match various designs but make sure you don't look overdressed.

Don't Forget to Workout

According to experts, ladies are more drawn to guys with nice chests and broad shoulders. Well, if you think you can't achieve such ideal physique, then you are totally wrong. Nowadays, there are many ways for you to build some muscles on your arms and stomach. You can always go on a healthy diet or enroll yourself in a weight loss program.

You don't necessarily have to stay in the gym the whole day because a 30-minute exercise can help you burn more calories and achieve a great and healthy body. Before you even go on any strict diet, make sure you consult your doctor first for any risks you might run into.

The Longevity Of Men's Fashion

It may feel as though it is only recently that menswear and mens designer fashion has really become popular but did you know that since the early 1920's; dedicated, world renowned designers have been creating some of the most loved items of clothing?

Menswear has always been a debatable subject, with one side arguing that men should be the atypical guys and wear anything that feels good and makes them look 'like a real man' whilst the other side now debate that society, celebrities and even the women in our life have made it so that we have no choice but to conform and bow down to the style gods.

Whatever side of the fence you sit on, there is no denying that some of the best of the best designers are those specialising in mens clothing. In fact forget women's designers, it is the menswear designers who have been the lasting revolutionaries!

Like all fashion, mens fashion has gradually evolved overtime but in comparison to the relative 'newbie' women's designers there are some menswear specialists that have been around for over seven decades. Eton, the creators of the world renowned, breathtaking quality Eton shirts was first established in 1928 but today still operate with the same ethos and belief and quality in craftsmanship that has made Eton the leading name in mens shirts.

There are also many menswear companies 'young' in comparison to Eton that have, in spite of their juvenility; become synonymous with mens fashion. Vilebrequin, established in 1971 has become the ultimate symbol of luxury mens swimwear whilst Oliver Sweeney; creators of the admired Oliver Sweeney shoes have, since 1989 ensured mens footwear gain the status of quality that women's footwear dominates.

The fact of the matter is that, although men have only recently begun to take time and consideration in their appearance, a push that many believe has occurred since male celebrities have become the metrosexuals who take time and care over their appearance, mens designer fashion has been present for decades.

Whether or not we have only just begun to appreciate mens fashion; it cannot be denied that mens fashion is a market that has been around for quite some time. From the suits of the 1920's to the leather jackets of the 1980's; mens designers are revolutionaries who have changed the way we think and the way we dress forever.

For those who were convinced that mens fashion has only presented itself since stars like David Beckham set the bar and to those who think men were unconcerned and have and should only be wearing what they need to they should really think again. Mens fashion has been present for as long as can be remembered and if you ask me; those designers are indeed, real revolutionaries.

Considerable Aspects in Men's Fashion Preferences

In scrutinizing fashion, we must understand that this is a practice with temporal and spatial variations. Men's fashion, in particular, differs so much in every temporal period and in every region. Fashion may also represent a period's preferences and logic, and a people's culture or their drifting away from it.

Therefore, we cannot say which fashion is actually "in" and which is "out" considering the subjectivity of the topic. Various fashion genres have also emerged that it is difficult to simply categorize fashion according to sexes.

It is a common notion that men's fashion can be less complex than women's. In my point of view, men's fashion sense also requires an intricate amount of effort, although their key considerations could be different from that of the other sex. While women commonly search for fashion ventures which will suit their aesthetic needs, some men prefer to look at fashion in a practical manner.

One aspect that most men consider is the material and the quality of the clothing or accessory that they are using. Men prefer things that do not degrade instantly or only after a few uses, which is why they would favor stores or boutiques that sport good quality and durable materials of which the products are made.
Durability is not the only concern in this aspect but, consequently, the aesthetic quality of the material. Good quality materials do not fade or stretch out easily and can therefore look good even after many uses and washes.

Men would also become conscious about the actual purpose of a particular detail or accessory before deciding to use it. This is probably why a man wearing polo with exaggerated ruffles on it is not a common site.

Wrist watches are among the most favored accessories basically because of their ability to tell time. From the classic leather or gold band, many other novelty designs have developed and have caught the attention of "fashionable" men.

Sunglasses are also accessories that actually serve a purpose while making one look trendy. When men are going for a formal look, the traditional tux, and bows/ties are always welcome.

Some men also take time to coordinate their fashion choices with their physical appearance and other pieces of clothing or accessories. There are standard rules in the concept of coordination which are quite easy to follow once you get started, like which colors, size, or shape can effectively emphasize the body part or facial feature that you want to show off; or which clothing type can make your built seem lean. Knowing this also helps men to decide which clothing/accessories they should add in to their wardrobes.

Men's Fashion Styles That Women Absolutely Hate

Men and women have different fashion sense, and that's the norm of course, but sometimes we need to take a cue from each other. Most men, for example, are known to have lousy taste when it comes to their fashion choices. That's why they would be able to benefit tremendously from some real tips and advice from women.
There are choices of style and clothing for men that are totally frowned upon by the opposite sex. It would come in handy to know about these fashion violations especially if your aim in trying to be fashionable is to attract females in the first place.

Here are just some men's fashion styles that women hate:

Socks and Sandals- There is never a good reason to wear socks with sandals. Socks are meant for shoes and closed footwear and sandals are meant for bare feet. Pairing these two together goes against their very nature.

Wearing them makes you look like a fool and women would rightfully think that you have no sense of fashion at all.

Mesh Shirt- Try to think of ways where wearing a mesh shirt can be considered to be hot. If you can think of any situation then that means you have an absolutely horrible fashion sense and that you have been committing equally horrid fashion crimes all your life. Try to rethink your whole idea of fashion.

Fanny Packs- Admittedly, the idea for the fanny pack is quite a good one, especially for a practical fellow who'd like everything handy. It's kind of like Batman's Utility Belt. Unfortunately, wearing a fanny pack in reality is a bad idea and could make you look like a total dork.

Skinny Jeans- This is one of the instances where we would see the vast difference between men's and women's fashion. Girls wearing skinny jeans is simply hot. The tighter the jeans, the better.
When a guy wears skinny jeans, it never looks right. It especially looks odd when we see the guy struggling to move around since the pants are obviously way too tight for what is considered comfortable.

Short Shorts- Do we have to explain this? Grown men walking around wearing short shorts is not something that we want to see in our normal waking lives. Hairy fat legs is a little but more than we can take.
There is really no situation that would justify that. Even the most intense weather is not good enough.

Logos Everywhere- Some guys are just way too drawn by the power of logos. They wear anything that has a huge logo emblazoned on it. Somehow, that makes them feel trendy and classy
It gets worse when you buy everything from the same brand. Even product endorsers don't wear everything from the same company.

Sideways Baseball Cap- The wearing of a baseball cap is already questionable when you are not engaged in any sport or any activity that requires you to have sun protection. Wearing it sideways is just the height of being crass. You should never wear it that way.