‘I was a tomboy when I was little, and when I was about ten years old, playing with boys, I noticed how their clothes behaved as they ran around: shirt-tails came out, collars became looser. It appealed to me. Boy’s clothes aren’t compromised- if you’re a girl playing and your skirt blows up, it’s embarrassing- and they seemed very stylish to me. My style was heavily influenced by punk, as well as by early Chanel and YSL. Even now, when I am looking for something to wear, that Seventies style and the punk thing- irreverent and subversive- always inspire me. I wouldn’t say my look is androgynous. It depends on how you wear it. I saw a picture of Phoebe Philo in a shirt and tie, and she looked totally feminine. Some girls look good in boy’s clothes. It’s very comforting knowing that these outfits suit you, as they are such fun to wear.’
Bella Freud, fashion designer, style icon and daughter of artist Lucien Freud, speaks to Harpers Bazaar, 2010
There is a huge amount of history behind our wardrobes. In Icons of Men’s Style, style writer Josh Sims guides through the beginnings of the most classic menswear items. Including the famous, such as the Breton top, Lumberjack shirt and leather biker jacket, to the everyday, like boxer shorts and t-shirts, to the unexpected, such as Hawaiian shirts, fountain pens and luxury lighters. Sims tell us the stories of their design, the brands that championed them and the pop culture icons who wore them. Putting Duffle coats, Khakis and watches into perspective, Sims opens up a new way of looking at what we wear, highlighting how these items have shaped the way men -and women- dress today.
Seven chapters focus on the key items within outerwear, trousers, shoes, underwear, tailoring, shirts and sweaters, and accessories. The book is full of wonderful images showing menswear items in their original design, modern day versions and style and pop culture icons from the 20th century wearing them. I loved the original advertisements for Levi’s denim jackets and Lacoste polo shirts, and the editorial photography of Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Salvador Dali.
You really will learn things you didn’t know before with this book; it is the ‘what’s what’ and ‘who’s who’ of men’s fashion. I never knew that Nathan Clark first spotted the iconic desert boot while serving in World War 2 in Burma, on British soldiers who had the boot specially made for them in the Old Bazaar in Cairo. Who knew brogues were originally used by Irish and Scottish agricultural workers in the 16th Century, because the characteristic Brogueing perforations allowed the shoes to fully dry after being in boggy ground all day? Seeing desert boots and brogues on the feet of Florence Welch and Alexa Chung really emphasises the timeless appeal and versatility of these classic styles, and how they continue to be reinterpreted generation after generation.
Icons of Men’s Style is your go-to book for in-depth context and endless inspiration on men’s fashion. I loved it not only as a reference book and for its wonderful illustrations and photographs, but also for making me really think about where what I wear comes from. My Topshop parka coat began as a cold-weather issue garment during World War 2. My Converse trainers were once used for physical training in the army during World War 2. My grey American Apparel sweatshirt first found popularity during the 1920s, when sportswear entered the fashion sphere. Icons of Men’s Style perfectly balances substance and style, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Buy the book here
For the winter issue of Metal magazine stylist Emma Tempest presents some great grunge-inspired looks. I absolutely love the patchwork jeans and over-sized plaid shirt worn as a skirt, which are such nineties throw-backs.
Photos: Metal magazine
I am a major fan of Whistles. The brand never fails on producing quality classics with trend-led twists every season. Their first ever Cruise collection is beginning to drop into stores, a wonderful collection of sharp tailoring, playful sweaters and spring jackets, featuring tropical prints and resort stripes. Just what you need to start your spring/summer wardrobe. I love this monochrome wide-leg jumpsuit which exudes the glamour of the 1920s, which is set to be a key trend throughout 2012.
These suits are perfection: this denim wide-leg trouser suit and coral tapered peg trouser suit are both inextricably cool, while I just love the jet black jacquard pin-spot short suit.
Meanwhile, these sweaters are the business. The coral and pistachio green stripes are fresh and bold, while the crew neck garter stitch sweater in three coloured yarns (yellow, beige and black) is bound to prove itself a hard worker this spring.
I love the idea of these spring parka jackets. Let’s face it, British spring and summers are a lot colder and much wetter than we may like to think. I love the white waterproof style, while the faded denim with white fur collar is the most ideal transitional jacket.
See more of the collection here
Look back at their A/W 11/12 collection here
Don’t you just love the British high street? Never failing to provide fashion and value, Peacocks has been on our high street since 1884. This monochrome polka dot with contrast collar, placket and cuffs is part of their new Peacocks Preview collection, called Girl Meets Boy. Inspired by the Spring 2012 catwalk looks and classic menswear styles, the range also offers boyfriend jackets, Peter Pan collar shirts and play-suits.
Shop Peacocks and view the collection here
I love these images by photographer Chadwick Tyler. The moody, dark and weathered setting is ideal for the haphazard, playful styling of men’s plaid shirts, dungarees and retro baseball jackets for a look which captures the essence of 90s grunge.
Photography: Chadwick Tyler
Jacket: Joseph at Coggles.com