Your new-season shopping list: Menswear essentials

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Print, pastel and Fifties references – menswear takes on a new and dynamic aspect for spring, says Lee Holmes

Pastels

Colour abounds again this summer. But gone are the vibrant jewel hues of 2011, replaced with sun bleached pastels.

This, of course, is enough to fill most of us with dread. And understandably so – who in their right mind wants to look like an extra from Miami Vice or, depending on your fancy, The Golden Girls.

In the world of high fashion though both Mugler and Versace gave us pastels galore, sometimes from head to toe. Be warned that great men, both fictional and real, have tried and failed when they've taken this route. Even F Scott Fitzgerald's sartorially elegant anti-hero Jay Gatsby failed to pull of a pastel pink suit, looking plain gaudy and faintly ridiculous when he wore it. In the real world steer clear of this type of folly. The simplest option is to invest in a good pair of pastel shorts or chinos, Ralph Lauren or J Crew. Roll them at the cuff and wear with grey socks.

Shirts

Fifties fashion doesn't have to begin and end on Madison Avenue – a less buttoned-up way of dressing has been quietly bubbling away for a season or two now. And so it's the turn of the rebellious Teddy Boy to have his moment in the sun. Marni's high neck, loose-collared shirts are experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Tuck them into trousers or jeans and accessorise with a narrow leather belt. If you have the hair for it, meanwhile, finish the look by coiffing locks into an eye-catching pompadour. Use your combing skills to good effect: Elvis in his prime should be your yardstick. Too much height and you risk aping the wily mistress that the style was named after.

Waterproof

Waterproof jackets are perfectly designed for the UK, where even in summer there's always the potential for a downpour. Weather aside, this is also a textbook jacket for urban living. Rolled and folded, it takes up minimal space in your bag – perhaps that's why British labels have always been such champions of this unassuming garment. From Folk to Margaret Howell, those who have reinvented the waterproof are impressive. Christopher Raeburn, winner of the Emerging Menswear Category at the British fashion awards, consolidates this long standing love affair with eye-popping reds and greens for spring.

Red White & Blue

The nautical stripe is a tried and tested style for summer, usually in horizontal navy and white. However, this season at Dries Van Noten and Alexander McQueen, white and blue stripes, together with red, make for a refreshing take on this trend. Maybe it's Olympics fervour, or perhaps it's to do with our very own diamond Queen and her jubilee, but looking patriotic has never been so easy. Don't be too brazen though: stripes should be confined to the top half of the body only. Top to toe Union Jack colours will blend in with the bunting.

Shoes

Shoes come in all shapes and styles for spring, with the ubiquitous deck shoe set to make a predictably seasonal appearance. Less obvious is the return of the brothel creeper. As with many a successful menswear staple, this style of shoe has its origins in the Second World War. Worn by soldiers stationed in North Africa, its thick sole was comfortable and hard-wearing, with its very sponginess ensuring silence underfoot when sneaking up on the enemy. In civilian life too this has proved useful. Legend has it that anyone wearing a pair of these shoes could move deftly from illegal drinking den to brothel, without as much as a squeak. By the 1950s the shoe was an indispensable part of the Teddy Boy look. But a pair from Burberry Prorsum are given a 1970s twist with the cork sole.

Navajo

Navajo-inspired patterns made a fairly large splash in menswear last summer and the ripple effect is very much in evidence. But it's the smaller details that have the most impact in your everyday wardrobe. A beaded rucksack is a well-considered nod.

Prints

Those Teddy Boys weren't all about quiffed hair and brothel creepers. Back in their colourful Fifties heyday, prints – especially Hawaiian – were a weekend staple of the dapper man's wardrobe. And this season there's a feast of showy patterns and prints to choose from.

It makes a welcome change from that most overused and ubiquitous of men's wardrobe staples, the lumberjack checked shirt. The floral print flourishes at Prada in particular, make this season a veritable hothouse of colour and pattern. Some of the best prints may also be found at Givenchy, where creative director Riccardo Tisci's beautiful bird of paradise prints dominated the catwalk. Eye-catching as they may be, these designs are only for the brave-hearted male, but Italian label Marni's monochromatic flower print T-shirts are a masterclass in more restrained yet dramatic blooms.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Sport
England’s opening goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew
FootballEngland must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Sport
Wigan Athletic’s back-of-the shirt sponsor Premier Range has pulled out due to Malky Mackay’s arrival
Football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

    Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

    Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

    £30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

    Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

    Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

    Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

    Day In a Page

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines