Real shopping: Style Police - Men in black

You can blame Tom Ford at Gucci for the fact that colours are taboo in this autumn's wardrobe for the well-dressed male, says JAMES SHERWOOD

Style Police had the mother of all hangovers after the FHM Menswear awards this week. It wasn't the red wine with vodka stinger chasers. And nor was it the loud thud of host Gail Porter's jokes limping helplessly towards the emergency exit. No, what struck Style Police forcibly was the massed ranks of black- clad men suited and booted for the menswear awards of the year.

This season, women get to wear colours more exotic than the hothouse in Kew Gardens. Men, meanwhile, will not be seduced by colour for autumn/winter 99. And amen to that.

As the various movers, shakers and loungers of the British menswear industry demonstrated at the FHM Awards, the black suit and cashmere sweater uniform is hotter than Adam Rickitts' underpants.

We all wake up after a particularly wild party with a list of apologies longer than the Domesday Book and the Bible put together. Well, we owe an apology to Gucci's Tom Ford. Instead of praising you enormously like we should, Tom, Style Police has all too often had a giggle at Mr Ford's expense. But Tom Ford is essentially the inventor of contemporary menswear's sharp urban uniform: single-breasted black jacket and cigarette-slim flat front pants, luxe black cashmere sweater or crisp white shirt open to the abs, silver-tab black leather Gucci belt, black leather loafers or side-zipped black leather ankle boots.

"So what else is new?" I hear you drawl. "Is that the best that we can do for the boys in Y2K?" Well, in a word, yes. Every woman you've ever tried to schmooze will tell you every man looks cute in a black tuxedo. That's why even the man with a face like a robber's dog can cop off at a black tie ball.

The black suit, monotone top and sharp accessories are the contemporary urban man's answer to black tie. Tom Ford's simple message for men is neat, groomed, luxe and restrained, and nobody does it better.

The two powerhouse designer menswear labels, Gucci and Prada, have done more than you know for British menswear. Practically every international designer worth his Malibu mansion has launched a diffusion range: a cheaper, more accessible line such as Prada Sport, Helmut Lang Jeans or CK1.

So God bless the British high street because they've been inspired to raise their game. If designers can reach down with diffusion lines, ergo high street stores can aim high with an elite collection of special pieces a little bit pricier than mainline.

These quality "Infusion Lines" by the high street stores will bring British menswear into Y2K. Principles for Men launches "Collection" on 1 September in selected stores. Collection is an inspired, interpretation of Gucci's luxe contemporary menswear uniform. It is the Style Police discovery of 1999.

How to wear it

Monotone is a simple but deceptively strict story to put together. Wearing black, white and grey is as soothingly repetitive as Ravel's Bolero. But if you get just one element wrong it will stand out like a duck whistle at the crescendo of the aforementioned music.

Cheap works for white pieces like the classic M&S tight white tee or a classic Gap white shirt. But the black and grey cornerstones of the winter wardrobe have to be luxe, luxe, luxe. The black single breasted jacket is looking correct again after a couple of seasons in remission. Ditto the charcoal grey flat front pant. The accessories have to be beautifully maintained and all black.

Where to buy it

Everything, and we mean everything, you need for autumn/winter is waiting behind minimalist smoked glass divides in Principles for Men Collection stores.

You have to have the basic black fine wool suit with a little bit of lycra in the weave to give it Nineties stretch. You have to have the wool and cashmere flat front charcoal or black pants (pounds 50). Collection's black leather Harrington zip front jacket is a steal for pounds 175.

Now Style Police expects numerous bottles of Jack Daniels flooding the office in grateful thanks for discovering what certainly must be the buy of the year: Collection's black or charcoal grey 100 per cent cashmere V- neck sweater which weighs in at pounds 60. You want more? Try the Gucciesque silver tab black leather belt for pounds 18.

Finally, with the obscenely huge savings you've just made by shopping at Collection, Style Police now wants you to go to Gucci and treat yourself to a shiny new pair of black leather loafers. Go on. You need them because you're weak.

Address book

Gucci: 0171 629 2716.

Principles For Men Collection: 0800 731 8286.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
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 General

    Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

    Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

    Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

    £70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - SQL Server, T-SQL

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Data Analyst (SQL Server, T-SQL, data)

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst...

    Day In a Page

    Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

    Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
    General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

    All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

    The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
    How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

    How Etsy became a crafty little earner

    The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
    Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

    King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

    Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

    Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

    The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
    Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

    Don't fear the artichoke

    Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
    11 best men's socks

    11 best men's socks

    Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
    Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

    Paul Scholes column

    Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
    Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
    London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

    Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

    Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

    Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

    Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
    Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

    Khorasan is back in Syria

    America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
    General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

    On the campaign trail with Ukip

    Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
    Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

    Expect a rush on men's tights

    Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
    Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

    In the driving seat: Peter Kay

    Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road