Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Preppy is back, says Mr Porter

But hang on – when did it ever go away? It seems unlikely that anyone who grew up in Ireland in the 1990s or early noughties will ever be able to look at a pair of deck shoes without assuming …

Mon, Mar 28, 2011, 14:30

   

But hang on – when did it ever go away?

It seems unlikely that anyone who grew up in Ireland in the 1990s or early noughties will ever be able to look at a pair of deck shoes without assuming certain things about the wearer. Private schools, surf lessons, UCD, Abercrombie, Ross O’Carroll Kelly (without seeing the satire), Lillies Bordello.

Can we now look upon preppy as a positive fashion step for men, or should we be encouraging our “lads” to step away from the Dubes and towards a more considered – and perhaps less uptight – way of dressing?

If Mr Porter is to be believed, preppy is the next frontier for menswear, and the upmarket website – brother site of Net-a-Porter – is here to show you the way. Single-breasted blazers, pressed-front chinos and soft-brushed suede loafers vie for space beside pastel-coloured shirts and slim-fit tailored trousers (by Burberry, no less) in their list of spring picks.

It’s all very Sartorialist, but how would your boyfriend, boss or brother fare in it? White trousers, anyone? Orange cropped, perhaps?

Despite the drama, there are definitely ways of incorporating this into the most casual of looks, without going the whole hog and sporting turned-up trousers with loafers and no socks. Try a single-breasted blazer, like this one from APC, and team it with a T-shirt and a pair of straight-legged jeans. (A note, fellas: if you’re wearing your jeans with shoes, make them suede. Nothing shouts out “shopping by mother” more than shiny leather kicks teamed with denim.)

Another cute accent from Mr Porter is a pair of coloured silk knots by Brooks Brothers – a kind of old-fashioned new way to do cufflinks. Very sweet, and the colour selection is almost mouth-watering. It’s a great way, too, of adding colour to an otherwise staid outfit – but make sure your shirt sleeves are double cuffed before investing, lest you end up with a set of silk knots and nowhere to put them.

The thing about fashion – and this is more important for men than for women, as women have thousands of magazines to teach them this lesson – is that, when a magazine or website announces a new trend, the suggestion isn’t that you rush out and purchase the entire look, head to toe. Instead, you can incorporate accents into your own style as a way of updating it, not to mention showing the world and its mother that you’re “with it”. What could be better?