In the relative calm of Golden Week I have taken the opportunity to have a bit of an experiment with my personal look for this rapidly warming Spring / Summer. The goal was to get my head round what to do with the lower half of the male ensemble, the same question that many key designers were asking with their own S/S 2011 collections and one that they arguably have only just answered in their A/W. Luckily that gives my plenty of time to attempt to get it right with what I already own before I throw any money around when it actually starts hitting the shops later this year.
Continue reading for a good look at what is floating my boat this season and my influences for the next. I am really glad that I got caught up in a slightly more experimental mood and I hope I can convince you all to give a different silhouette a go.
Like most people having seen male skirts for many years, I always appreciated them on models, but never felt personally moved to give them a go myself. But it was J.W. Anderson’s take that changed my mind, made it feel accesible and most importantly: very masculine.
That was my inspiration to go out, pick up a vintage pleated long skirt and give it a go. I paired it with Whoop De Doo boots, Fuga leggings, BPN drapes, Vice Fairy t-shirt (unlikely I know) and a studded leather jacket from the collection.
I am pleased with how it came out and hopefully like the A.W. Anderson it did not feel remotely feminine. Still I am glad I added the leather jacket to keep it vaguely in most people’s masculinity comfort zone.
Relaxing on a rare trip to the beach (I am built for the city).
In the details I wanted to highlight the slightly cultish aspect to wearing a robe – so a good mix of organics was definitely the order of the day.
Elsewhere I have enjoyed Julius’ current, more conventional take on the lower body:
With this, by virtue of the irregular construction and stiffness of the fabric this industrial skirt feels very masculine and balances the lower body wonderfully.
However I could not help but think that there is still room for progression in unconventional layers on the top half of the body. Well there is always time to give it all a try…
Rick Owens is obviously another huge influence with this kind of box layering and skirts:
Oddly enough this is really a step out of my comfort zone for me. Maybe it is the length and stiffness of the leather skirt, but this really feels that bit too feminine for me right now. Perhaps if it had a slit up the leg it would stop it from being such an exaggerated a-line construction.
On the other hand I am completely sold on bringing down layers from the top half of the body to bottom (and Julius did this very well as well). In particular the exaggerated hanging element makes for a great presence as you walk and I have already seen a couple of heavy leather takes on this that up the durability stakes into practicality.
The other alternative was offered by my absolute fashion idol – Gareth Pugh:
Rather than a skirt you could always use flowing wide-legged trousers (and there a plenty of wallet friendly alternatives to choose from here – although I do love these).
I really love the idea of sheer over leggings and if you simplify the upper body it keeps the overall silhouette distinctly masculine.
My approach to all that was to take Gareth Pugh structured leather top and use that as a discrete layer under a studded leather jacket (my masculine earthing device!) by Makin Jan Ma and a skirted pair of shorts by Black Peace Now for Men.
Me having fun being a tourist for a day!
No doubt this is a look that is going to take quite a bit of polishing before it is ready for prime time, but I am really pleased to be pushing my comfort zone and being able to do something new. Throughout JFW lions share of the key designers have given a nod towards the skirt this season and I can’t help but feel that its time has finally come. For affordable current options Black Peace Now for Men has a lot of accesible looks to choose from and outside of that you might well be stuck hunting through other gothic brands looking for something unisex. On the other hand Mens 109 can always be relied on to follow the popular trends (particularly Julius) so keep your eye there to see what they bring to a wider audience.
Till then I advise you all to go outside your comfort zone and give a new trend a go. Only by wearing it can you exercise your fashion vote and change the norm. Do let me know how you get on and I will see you next time.
BONUS: My style inspiration photo that has been sitting on my desktop for the last month (Classic Gareth Pugh).
Exquisite, and so glad he is bringing these influences to his male line.