Blue is the colour
A COMMON complaint when it comes to menswear is that there isn’t enough variety (with the exception of T-shirts, which we’ve omitted here because, frankly, you’re spoiled for choice).
While women can pick from skirts, dresses, shorts and jeans (not to mention the wide array of hybrid items: jegging, skort and so on), men’s wardrobes are often limited to smart-casual – think jeans, chinos, T-shirts and short-sleeved shirts – and formal – the odd suit, ties and, if they’re very daring, a cravat. So what can you do to liven up a wardrobe that is, for a large proportion of men out there, akin to a social uniform?
Don’t worry – we’re not going to suggest you start wearing pyjama shorts and shirts, such as those shown at Topman’s autumn/winter show; nor are we here to recommend huge deviations from what has become a comfortable, if slightly jaded, norm.
Blue is, in fact, for the male of the species. At birth, baby boys are swaddled in blue clothes; as you grow up, you are presented with blue runners, blue dungarees and blue peaked caps.
Blue jeans are an ode to relaxed Americana, while blue denim shirts are still seen as being a little bit “Deep South”: for blond, blue-eyed, cornfed boys.
These items take the idea of the traditional boys’ blue and exaggerate it.
From a light sky blue we have moved to cobalt; these items can be mixed and matched with more muted tones of navy, black, white and beige for a pop of colour that will be noticed, but, crucially, won’t draw too much attention.
Swap out your beige chinos for Gucci’s bright blue; take off your everyday navy sweater and try out Tommy Hilfiger’s baby blue knit for size.
They say a change is as good as a rest – but boys, we like you just the way you are, so try not to change too much.
What does your underwear say about you?
IF DAVID BECKHAM’S cotton boxers for HM are anything to go by (right), Beckham is an uptight individual who does very little sitting down and favours his boxers with added sound effects of the crunching variety.
What you wear underneath your cobalt blue chinos may not say a lot about you, but it will give a certain impression – and there are several rules of thumb worth taking into consideration from the get-go.
Designer labels are all well and good – although arguments about the quality will fall on deaf ears. How much quality does one need in one’s underwear, after all? But wearing boxers with “Calvin Klein” emblazoned on the waistband is just not okay, unless you’re Marky Mark and it’s 1990 again.
It’s important to wash your briefs every time you wear them. Yes, even if you only had them on for a few hours while you went to the cinema. Why? Because they’re small, you can fit approximately 50 pairs of them in each wash cycle, and they rest against your genitals, where it is warm and (we hear) often humid. We’re sorry we had to spell it out.
Lastly, all of that washing will lead to wear and tear. If your underwear has a hole in it, bin it. If it has faded in colour to a drab grey, bin it. If the elastic is coming away from the waistband, bin it. So what kind of pants should you be wearing in the first place?
Although Dolce Gabbana ads would have you believe that men in briefs work out harder, get better haircuts and always get the girl, there is something just a bit “little boy lost” about this particular underwear choice. We hear they are advisable for “training” as they are snug. Topman and American Apparel do a great range of coloured briefs with a slightly longer leg, that may just trick the eye if you take them off quick enough.
These are the most popular choice of the younger generation, according to some slightly dodgy research carried out by the internet; they are snug, offering support, but not snug enough to give the impression of an uptight-about-one’s-pants personality. Most brands and designers do a wide range of tight boxers in an array of colours and fabrics, and you can get packs of five in Penneys and Dunnes. Nobody will know the difference.
There is a certain adorable childishness about loose boxers – mostly because they are reminiscent of being a teenager and misspending hours of youth watching Will Smith as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on repeat on Network 2 (as it was then called). Now, they are considered slightly old-fashioned – not to mention the fact that you might like some support in your crotch region.
But that, my friend, is between you and your trousers.
Star buy: Chanel Allure
Homme Sport Eau Extreme (€58), at Brown Thomas