If you like your fashion to be forward-facing, we're willing to bet that your sartorial choices have, on occasion, been met with bafflement, ridicule and even hostility from your mates. It's not easy being a menswear trailblazer – and it's often incredibly difficult to walk the line between donning something brave but bang on trend – and just looking like a bit of a cretin.
Whether you like to make bold sartorial choices or take a more creative approach to your accoutrements, for every individual who gets it just right, there are dozens who fall face first from fashion grace, and look just plain ridiculous. To ensure you get the balance right, we've put together a few essential tips for brave dressing which doesn't make you look a prize plum.
1. Take the catwalk with a pinch of saltIf your fashion influences are taken straight from the most recent catwalk shows this season, a word of warning. While haute couture may look awe-inspiring on the runway, IRL it's a different story. Fashion at it's most elevated level is all about exaggeration. It's the looks we distil from these raw, unadulterated “looks” that translates into street style and wearable fashion for the real world.
You may think a 24ft tartan scarf which wraps all the way up to your eyebrows is a strong look (and you'd be right), but a pared back version will prove much more socially acceptable and prevent you straying into looking plain silly. Think of catwalk fashion from high end designers as squash. It's a high power shot of flavour, but to make it palatable it needs to be diluted. Abide by this rule and you can start looking cutting edge but not like a complete noodle.
2. Do “you”No matter what sartorial style you favour, as long as the look is “you”, you'll probably get away with it – especially if you have a thick skin and understanding friends. When you can't wear a garment with confidence is typically when experimental fashion goes wrong. While some gents look top drawer in immaculately tailored baby pink suits over moss green knitwear and culottes, the vast, vast majority do not have the confidence or the authenticity to pull it off. If you love it and you feel good in it – go for it. If you feel like you're dressing up as something you're not, it's going to show and everyone is going to feel awkward.
3. A little goes a long wayIn the world of womenswear Coco Chanel once said: “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.”. This is just as true for gentlemen who favour more individual, playful fashion. When you're excited about clothes and accessories, it's easy to get carried away and forget that “less is more”, especially when unique style is concerned. If you enjoy dressing with a bit of panache and individuality, chances are even your basics have a certain flair. Going “all the way”, therefore, can look overwhelming, so try to limit your look and simplify where possible to enjoy unique style which doesn't look just plain daft.
Do you or any of your mates like to dress with a bit of fashion flair? Have you ever had a negative reaction? Have your say in our Facebook group.