There is an overwhelming jealousy I sometimes feel when I know I’ve had to get up an extra half hour early than my male contemporaries just to find an outfit that is socially acceptable. While he can throw on a tee shirt and jeans and look perfectly on-style.
However, would I want it on the other end of the spectrum? Where shopping would consist of looking at shirts, trousers and shoes. No handbags, tights, headscarves, jewellery, make-up. I think not. That’s why I’ve decided to pay homage to my favourite male style pioneers. You have to admit it’s pretty impressive to become a style icon with such a limited spectrum of clothing.
Another bit of appreciation male style icons deserve is their bravery. Simply by donning on any slightly quirkier item, the standard lad risks their mates mocking them mercilessly and/or questioning their sexuality. So I find anything slightly more unusual or unique, decidedly charming on a lad and feel they deserve some appreciation for their efforts. In order to do so I’ve identified a few male style icons who should be up there in the fashion hall of fame. This would be easy if I simply listed some male designers for their fashion contributions, however I’ve decided to note the more everyday style bloke (as everyday as a celebrity can be).
My first male icon is Paul Weller. His most iconic look is the mod-style buttoned to the top polo shirt. This mod-look has entered into twenty first century fashion as a favourite for many modern style-conscious guys and even girls. Which just goes to show how timeless Wellers look is. Another of Wellers looks is the tailored suit with pinstriped shirt or blazer and skinny fit trousers. I’m always a fan of a dapper looking bloke and Weller manages to make the suit rock and roll with skinny tailoring, winkle-picker shoes and his complementary trademark haircut.
Not only has he styled a range for Ben Sherman, Weller’s most recent fashion endeavour is designing a range for Liam Gallagher’s clothing range, Pretty Green. The styles in the range are in typical, high collar Weller style. And personally I would trust Weller’s style far more than Liam Gallagher’s. But maybe that’s just me. (Also, I’d like some credit for resisting any form of Style Council related pun)
My next fashion-God is Will Smith. Ok just give me a chance because if you’re my age than Will Smith suggests a lanky guy with asymmetrical hair, sporting neon harem shape trousers, gaudy Nike high tops and a would-look-camp-if-it-wasn’t-worn-in-the-nineties basketball vest.
However, as we all grow out of such things, so has Mr Smith. Contrary to nineties Will, he has adopted a look which is persistently smart down to the very last detail.
While his consistent look is often a suit, it isn’t just any suit. Smith sports well-tailored suits in statement prints such as all-over tweed or a bright blue blazer in order to update the suit to match his personality. Rather than just donning on a three-piece he adds a waistcoat, cufflinks, sunglasses and even a touch of not-too-bling designer man-jewellery to polish his look.
While my first two icons were perhaps more on the sophisticated end of the style spectrum, perhaps it’s worth a look at some more relaxed male styles. When I say relaxed, I of course mean the incredibly well thought-out, intricately planned style which is all mastered in order to achieve a just rolled out of bed look. What I definitely don’t mean is male Ugg boots. Ever.
One perhaps unlikely, but still one of my favourite male style icons is Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords. His look is unintentionally cool which is what makes it even cooler. Does that make sense? Anyway McKenzie’s look is on the surface fairly typical, printed jumpers and skinny jeans with converse. But it’s the quirky edge that makes it brilliant. His famous school-style sweaters with any number of random animals brandished on the front are highly sought after by style-conscious males. If it’s not animal-print then his seventies style bright knitted jumpers make him one of the kings of retro-style. What is so good about McKenzie’s style is that he is a fairly typical looking guy, he isn’t overly macho and accepts this by wearing a more quirky almost androgynous style. So perhaps what I find most attractive about his style is that I would be happy wearing any of his amazing jumpers myself.
McKenzie’s smart-style also incorporates this casual edge with open buttoned shirts and loose-hanging ties. Please allow me to back-track on myself when I said I like a dapper-looking guy because this, almost lazy wearing of a suit works pretty well too.
Another guy whose wardrobe I wouldn’t have minded raiding would be Kurt Cobain. The obvious king of grunge style, he brought practical warm casuals into the fashion-consciousness, probably without even considering it.
The layering’s of Cobain’s look generally incorporated a striped t-shirt, plaid flannel shirt and knitted cardigan. Although this may have been an attempt to stay warm in chilly Seattle, it contributed massively to the grunge fashion movement. Moving away from garish eighties structured style into don’t-give-a-damn casuals, Cobain’s style remains imitated and probably will be for a long time to come.
So hats off to the guys who do make an effort, even with a limited range of male attire. And yes I did choose the male style icons on my list for their style and not cause I have a thing for most of them. Well maybe it was a bit of both.