Fashion: Real men wear lemon

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The Independent Culture
YOU'D THINK designing men's casual clothes would be the job you got at the fashion house before you were promoted to photocopying. On the face of it, there doesn't seem to be much leeway for creativity. Most men I know are happy with a T-shirt, shirt, jumper, jeans; muted, darkish colours; maybe some stripes or a zip occasionally. Something they can buy with the satisfaction of knowing that, come what trends may, they can keep it as long as they like, or at least until their girlfriend puts it on the bonfire. But, alas, the young British male is about to be wrenched out of his complacency.

In an effort to make us look more stylish, the people responsible for this spring's fashions seem to have adopted what we in the business call the Stuff Your Aunt Gets You For Christmas principle. You may know of it. It's the law which demands that, however specific you are when you ask your aunt to buy you a

particular garment, she will always manage to get one vital detail wrong. There's an element of it in the clothing in these photos. For instance: yes, those trousers are nice, auntie, but bright green? For pounds 150? Did you keep the receipt? Or: yes, it's a lovely comfy sweater, auntie, but won't people be able to, you know, see my nipples through it?

Having said that, there's nothing outright ludicrous about these garments. Women might actually like to see you wearing them - as long as you've got the body of a male model. And that's what's so dangerous. Next thing you know, lemony-yellow is the new black, and every man has a see-through jumper in his cupboard. And you know what that means: aerobics, diets, Sweet'n'Low, guilty cravings for chocolate ... (If you don't believe me, look at our model. He's in a restaurant, and yet there is no food in any of the pictures.) Don't let it happen, brothers. Stay unstylish as long as you can - or suffer the consequences. !

Above: ochre cotton crew-neck sweater, pounds 169, by Nicole Farhi, 158 New Bond St, W1 (enq: 0171 499 8368); cotton chinos, pounds 50, and boots, pounds 90, both from French Connection branches nationwide (enq: 0171 399 7200)

Below: cream cotton ribbed sweater, pounds 55, from Jigsaw Menswear branches nationwide (enq: 0171 499 2521); bright green trousers, pounds 150, by John Rocha, from selected House of Fraser stores nationwide (enq: 0171 734 0123)

This page: cream chunky-knit cotton sweater, pounds 65, from Jigsaw Menswear, as before; bright yellow short-sleeved T-shirt, pounds 30, by John Rocha Jeans; wool pinstrip wide-legged trousers, pounds 180, by John Rocha; cream slip-on shoes, to order by Oliver Sweeney for John Rocha, all as before

Above: olive sheer-knit crew-neck sweater, pounds 55, from Jigsaw Menswear, as before

WORDS BY NICHOLAS BARBER

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JANINE WILKS

STYLING BY DAVID HAYES

GROOMING BY CHARLIE PICHON USING AVEDA PRODUCTS

MODEL: DANIEL COUPE AT STORM

SHOT ON LOCATION AT WAGAMAMA SOHO, LONDON W1 (0171 292 0990)

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