I’ve always been inspired by men’s fashion. Effortless style comes more naturally for men, who, much more often than women, look more undone than uptight whatever they wear. And I think it’s because they perfectly understand the meaning of less is more, because they know the importance of a garment’s fit and quality, and because their style evolves around a few key staples.
But, somehow, my constant impression over the last few years has been that men are beginning to forget the rules that makes them so enviable by women. They seem to forget that fit is everything in men’s wear and they are adopting a universal uniform of low waist and tight trousers and jeans and slim fit shirts and t-shirts (they are not for everyone!) that only makes them look ridiculous. Men also seem to have gone crazy for scarves. I have nothing against wool scarves, I think they beautifully complete a look in winter time, but to wear a scarf every time of year, in any size, colour, fabric or pattern? There are very few men besides Cary Grant who can look good, masculine with a scarf or neckerchief on, and I can’t think of any right now, except for Jude Law maybe.
Colour is another department I am not keen in seeing men experiment in. There was a men’s pink knitted sweater in the Burberry Resort 2013 collection that I can not get out of my mind. It shocked me. But it was not necessarily the colour (after all, a soft pink polo tee, shirt or even pullover are very classic after all), but the design. The cut and colour put together just didn’t feel right for a men’s garment. The next thing I did was to look up photos of Steve McQueen and Alain Delon, two symbols of masculine style, to reassure me what men’s style really is about. It wouldn’t hurt if men looked up to them from time to time.
Steve McQueen was an expert at dressing down, looking exceptionally cool, eluding a clear-cut masculinity. He looked stylish in simple cotton t-shirts or roll-neck pullovers, denim and sneakers. Or Alain Delon, with his as refined as it can be relaxed attitude, always looking nonchalant, whether immaculately tailored or in leisure attire. With his rolled shirt sleeves to keep from looking stuffy, leather loafers worn sockless or V-neck sweaters with the sleeves pulled up a little, he embodies the essence of French style. Their secret was that they wore only what fit them as a glove. They weren’t afraid to replicate a garment, a look, a colour. Why do we find it so hard to believe that simplicity goes hand in hand with style?
photos: 1-Steve McQueen photographed by John Dominis at this home in Palm Springs, Life-Time magazine / 2,3-unknown