Men's fashion: One of a kind

Casual doesn't have to mean chinos. Don't run with the pack this autumn - chill out, loosen up and slip into something fleecy. Next week, we highlight the latest looks for the office

When it comes to getting dressed, men are like sheep. He knows if he is well-dressed if the fellow sitting next to him at the bar is wearing the identical kit. It's all very simple really - just three steps: blue shirt; chinos; deck shoes. For men up and down the country, these three items of clothing have become a uniform. It has something to do with safety in numbers. It doesn't take a great leap of the imagination, however, to stray from the pack. Menswear shops from Leeds to Leigh-on-Sea have been exploring other possibilities for some time now. Casual clothes does not have to mean Dockers (the American "Friday wear" company that is the biggest seller in the States is determined to win the battle of the chino).

So just what are the alternatives? Sophia Neophitou, who put together the clothes on these pages, did some investigation into men's "leisure wear" as they call it in the US. She came up with a wardrobe that is both hip and relaxed, both cool and casual.

"The best alternative to chinos is a pair of comfortable, wide trousers," Neophitou says. "I chose a pair from Phat Farm, but Jigsaw and Burro have good shapes too. Be careful if you have short legs, though." In that case, you should go for narrower legs and avoid pleats at all costs. Those flat- front trousers from your schooldays are just the thing. Combat trousers are another good alternative. Gap's "cargo pants" are somewhere between combats and chinos and are a good buy at pounds 38.

If you are a sweatpant addict, you might be coaxed into trying a pair of Burro's trousers made of fleece. At Marks & Spencer, fleece is big news. It is warm and comfortable - positively cosy. Once used solely for mountain-climbing gear and active sportswear, fleece has become an essential part of every designer's collection. M&S tracksuit bottoms are pounds 27. Once you've slipped into a pair you may find them so comfortable you never want to be de-fleeced, so the company has also produced fleece pyjamas and a matching dressing gown you can pop on at night.

At Burro, the fleece is boiled. "We call it intelligent fleece," says Judith Tolley, who works for the company. Boiling it apparently gives it an extra edge, which is what menswear is all about right now. Thinking men like to have an "edge". And to prove it, the Burro customer is buying the wide-leg fleece trousers with a matching zip jacket to wear as a winter suit. It's more formal than a tracksuit but nowhere near as stiff as the tailored variety.

Buying a new outfit is a bit like decorating your home. Once you've painted the walls, you find you need to change the curtains and put a new coat of varnish on the floorboards. A new pair of trousers invariably means a new pair of shoes. And you can chuck out those deck shoes right now. Instead, you can't go wrong with a pair of Clark's Cornish pasties (so traditional they are a modern classic); or take a look at the range by Mallorcan company, Camper. For the past couple of years, the Camper shop in Covent Garden has been a well-kept secret among the fashion know-alls. Now branches are popping up all over the place. There's one in Bond Street and another in Brompton Cross, as well as stockists up and down the country. Camper is quietly getting on with the job of revolutionising men's foot-wear with strange hybrids of highly technical walking boots, running shoes and old-fashioned football boots.

So loosen up, shake a leg and take a look in the mirror. If you look just like all your friends, plan a day of shopping. These pages should give you a few ideas.

TAMSIN BLANCHARD

Previous page: red hat, pounds 36, by Kangol, from House of Fraser stores nationwide (enq: 0171 487 4888); grey hooded top, pounds 75, grey body warmer, pounds 95, both by The Edge, from Jigsaw Menswear, 27-29 Brook Street, W1, 28- 32 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow (enq: 0171 499 2521); T-shirt, pounds 95, Anglomania, Vivienne Westwood, from Worlds End, 430 King's Road, SW10 (enq: 0171 352 6551) and 2a St, Mary Street, Manchester (enq: 0161 835 2121)

Right and above: grey T-shirt with red sleeves, pounds 45, by YMC, from Liberty, Regent Street, W1 (enq: 0171 734 1234) and Brother 2 Brother, 202 West Street, Sheffield (enq: 01142 754 296); blue short-sleeved shirt, pounds 30, by Carhartt, 56 Neal Street, WC2 (enq: 0171 379 4165); denim trousers, pounds 75, by Burro, 19a Floral Street, WC2 (enq: 0171 240 5120) and John Anthony, Unit 4, Omega Centre, Upper Bristol Road, Bath

Right: navy hooded fleece jumper, pounds 149, by Helmut Lang, from Liberty, as before, and Harvey Nichols, 107-111 Briggate, Leeds (enq: 0113 204 8888); grey fleece trousers, pounds 70, by Burro, as before; brown leather Pelotas trainers, pounds 76, by Camper, 35 Brompton Road, SW3 (enq: 0171 584 5439)

Above: black nylon top, pounds 75, by Burro, as before; denim combat trousers, pounds 60, by G-Star (enq: 0171 371 9890), from American Classics, Endell Street, WC2 and A2, 9 Ethel Street, Birmingham

Denim trousers, pounds 75, by Burro, as before; cream suede shoes, pounds 55, by Clarks, Regent Street, W1 (enq: 0990 785 886)

Above: red hat, pounds 36, by Kangol, as before; grey hooded top, pounds 75, grey body warmer, pounds 95, both by The Edge, as before; grey fly T-shirt, pounds 40, by YMC, as before; grey trousers, pounds 75, by Phat Farm, from Browns Focus, 38-39 South Molton Street, W1 (enq: 0171 629 0666)

Left: black jacket, pounds 655, by Junya Watanbe, from Liberty, as before; black trousers, pounds 85, by Burro, as before; black hat, pounds 60, by YMC, as before

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARC VAN LENGEN

STYLING BY SOPHIA NEOPHITOU

STYLING ASSISTANT: HOLLY WOOD; HAIR: TAKU AT PREMIER; MODEL: JO AT SELECT

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Tate Modern chief Chris Dercon, who will be leaving to run a Berlin theatre company
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Tasos: 'I rarely refuse an offer to be photographed'
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Girls on the verge of a nervous breakdown: Florence Pugh and Maisie Williams star in 'The Falling'
Film
Arts and Entertainment
Legendary charm: Clive Owen and Keira Knightley in 2004’s ‘King Arthur’
FilmGuy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle the legend
Arts and Entertainment
Corporate affair: The sitcom has become a satire of corporate culture in general

TV review

Broadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: There are some impressive performances by Claire Skinner and Lorraine Ashbourne in Inside No. 9, Nana's Party spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Glastonbury's pyramid stage

Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair

Arts and Entertainment
Ewan McGregor looks set to play Lumiere in the Beauty and the Beast live action remake

Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie feels the lack of food on The Island with Bear Grylls

TV

The Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts and Entertainment
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, in a scene from Avengers: Age Of Ultron
filmReview: A great cast with truly spectacular special effects - but is Ultron a worthy adversaries for our superheroes? spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Ince performing in 2006
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Beth (played by Jo Joyner) in BBC1's Ordinary Lies
tvReview: There’s bound to be a second series, but it needs to be braver spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the presenters of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Harold Ramis' original Groundhog Day film, released in 1993

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
    Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

    Escape from Everest base camp

    Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
    Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

    What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

    Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
    Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

    Gossip girl comes of age

    Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
    Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

    Goat cuisine

    It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
    14 best coat hooks

    Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

    Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?