Honey, I shrunk my wardrobe! One thing that struck me at the recent LFWM was how many guys were wearing clothes that were too small for them. Straining buttons on shirts and cardigans, and muffin tops above waistbands: we’re suppose to be the ones setting the examples and getting it right.
Left - Bursting at the seams! The Incredible Hulk doing want many shirts are trying to do
Men's fashion week brings out guys’ Sunday Best and they make that extra effort to set out their sartorial stall and make a statement. Worryingly, with many of these items being 'fitted', they don’t leave much leeway if you put on a bit of weight, haven’t got the body fat of a cucumber anymore, or your washing machine takes your clothes down a size or two.
The problem with fitted clothes is there is no cushion: they have to fit perfectly. Get a size too small or something shrinks in the wash and it’s a very fine line between fitted and too tight. It’s started to look a bit immature, especially when you add skinny lapels and trousers. It’s all a bit ‘prom’.
There’s no major rush to ditch skinny, but just don’t buy anymore. You’ll thank me. It’s going out the door with sleeve tattoos, neon-orange tans and arctic white teeth. This is a ChicGeek heads up.
Right - These need a warning sign. Do not buy these or anything that looks like these
The death of skinny has been coming for a while and we’ve had a few false starts, but it’s over. It’s time for loose, oversized and even ill-fitting. Who would have thunk it?!
The skinny look can be traced to various influences including Hedi Slimane’s original Dior Homme, Thom Browne’s shrunken asethetic and the trend for men to work out, look lean and show off their bodies. It’s been coming, growing and peaking over the last 20 years or so.
If you want new jeans, and you don’t want to go all out fashion 'Dad Jean' - see more here - then go for a loose, straight leg. Admittedly, jeans aren't currently that fashionable: they've been replaced by tracksuit bottoms and casual trousers. But, jeans always make a return and when they do, they won't be skinny.
As for all those other fitted items, we’ve all grown used to that puffed out chest feeling and the pull of the fitted shirt and it made us feel good, especially the admiring glances from others. But, it just doesn’t feel very fresh or modern anymore. It also doesn't feel very mature and it’s time to grow up. From Towie to Ex On The Beach to Love Island, skinny is being associated with one type of guy. And, while usually attractive, their clothes puts them all on show and leaves little to the imagination. The new look will be something more modest, sophisticated, more comfortable and, maybe, even something you can bend down in!
The Crystal Maze Jumpsuit
The all-in-one becomes a style adventure as the jumpsuit, finally, makes into men's wardrobes. Think of it as a cost saver, as you get a top and bottom in one.
From Left - Rochas, Prada, Prada, Lanvin,
Below - From Left - Ralph Lauren, Facetasm, Ami, Cerruti1881
The shirt is back! -you heard it here first - so that also means the collar is too. Wear it messy and open.
From Left - Prada, Marni, Wooyoungmi, Valentino
This trend followed on from London - here
Left - Prada
The Soviet Shoulder
Forget the Cold War, it's all about the cold shoulder for SS18. Think big and high. More hunched than hench!
From Left - Prada, Thom Browne, Rick Owens, Paul Smith
Below Left - Balenciaga, Wooyoungmi, Dries van Noten
Return of the Tie
We've seen the shirt - above - is back, so it only seems fitting that the neck tie makes a reappearance.
From Left - Marni, Marni, Kenzo, SSS World Corp
From Below - Paul Smith, Wooyoungmi, Fendi, Antonio Marras
The less it matches the better.
Left - Marni, Sacai
They make you taller & thinner? Where do I sign?!
Left - Marni, Balmain, Etudes, Haider Ackermann
Below Left - Paul Smith, Cerruti 1881, Ami
Long & loose. Just don't call it 'long-line'!
From Left - Thom Browne, Alexander McQueen, Dries van Noten, Officine Generale
Florals on Mephedrone!
Below - Kenzo, Ami, DSquared2
Long Short Sleeves
It's all part of the larger-than-life, oversized trend of trying to make your polo shirt sleeves touch your wrists.
From Left - Balenciaga, Balenciaga, DSquared2, MSGM, Neil Barrett
I recently went to Berlin, for their fashion week, which is dominated by two trade shows, Seek and Premium. I know Berlin is the city of the young hipster wanker and far from the bourgeois idea of fashion. Always has been. But, watching a young guy in adidas trackie bottoms, an old tour T-shirt tucked in and a fake looking GG monogrammed Gucci hat, it’s pretty clear that fashion, ATM, is looking like ‘cool crap’.
Pioneered here, but spreading: it’s about found, second-hand, vintage, charity and everything that is the opposite about looking expensive and ‘designery’.
Left 'Pensive Crap' at Seek in Berlin - Cap - J Crew, Sunglasses - Vintage Gucci, Top - Umbro
It’s been coming a while, and it’s something the fashion industry struggles with, because making something shiny and new is what they are used to. Plus, why buy something brand new when you want it to look old?
It’s about mass produced old items looking old. This isn’t the Gucci idea of decadent vintage. That’s over.
I know Italian brands have been doing ‘pre-distressed’ for donkey’s, and it’s always looked a bit crap. Ripped jeans, anybody? But, it was interesting to see brands, such as Pony and Valsport, doing options of trainers looking like you’ve been wearing them for months.
Right - Pony distressed for SS18
Even if you buy something new, you style it in a way which looks old and not cared about. Maybe that’s why we’re seeing collaborations such as Louis Vuitton and Supreme in order for these brands to look less expensive, even though the prices say something else.
Some brands only know how to do new and this is leading to people raiding wardrobes and rediscovering things they used to wear or asking parents for their old sportswear. Hoping they've hoarded it.
Menswear is really experimenting in this area and the worry of looking bad is over, as that’s really the point. It’s about looking like an America tourist from 1985 or a post-Soviet Russian, aping western brands, circa 1994.
Could be a hard sell, or no sell at all, and this certainly won’t help the struggling fashion industry.
Below - Valsport SS18 worn look, Never too old for Vetements SS18
You’ve probably realised I’m a bit obsessed with Fila Vintage right now. I can't get enough of their faithful and authentic recreations of their 70s and 80s archive. I was sporting one of their striped T-shirts, like the one Bjorn Borg is wearing, pictured left, at the ponds on Hampstead Heath over the weekend and one of the fellow swimmers said I looked like the 118 guy! Yes! This is definitely the look you should be going for!
With Wimbledon starting this week, it’s time to get involved with the short short and get your inspiration from two of the most iconic of tennis stars. A favourite of the Bjorn Borg/McEnroe era, the white short short is the go to for the man who wants to give his thighs a little bit of breathing space.
Fila has been reselling these shorts for a few years now, but it feels so right. Perfect for holiday, it shows you don't take yourself too seriously in a Wes Anderson type sports outfit way. The headband is optional. #legsout
Below - Fila Vintage - MK2 Settanta Shorts - £39 from www.80scasualclassics.co.uk
I think we all know how competitive it is at the lower end of the clothing market. But, it was an e-mail, a few weeks ago, from Marks & Spencer that really summed up where we are. It was announcing their new range of men’s ‘Quick Dry Swim Shorts’, all pretty standard for this time of year, but it was the price that caught my eye. A bargain £10! This is cheaper than Topman, cheaper than River Island and even New Look. It’s certainly cheap for M&S and, then, you realise all the retailers are busy racing to the bottom.
What this means is, in order for those companies to make money, they need to shift a hell of a lot of product. British retailers are currently playing a game of poker, holding their hand i.e. keeping prices low, waiting for their competitors to fold.
Left - Pep&Co at Poundland SS17
But, if this game wasn’t tough enough, new competition is entering the market which will only increase pressure on those margins and unsustainable volumes.
For example, Poundland has entered the clothing market. Their in-house brand, Pep&Co, launched into stores in March this year.
They've already opened over 50 Poundland shop-in-shops with another 50 or so planned for the second half of 2017. The chain, which was bought by the South African group Steinhoff International, expects to put Pep&Co clothing outlets in up to 200 of its 850 stores over the longer term.
Pep&Co was founded by Andy Bond, who once ran Asda’s George clothing label, with backing from the South African tycoon and Steinhoff shareholder Christo Wiese.
The first shop opened in Kettering, Northamptonshire, in July 2015 and the chain opened its first 50 stores in less than two months.
If people are wearing Poundland, it means they aren’t wearing another brand. This isn’t about sneering at this end of the market, it’s about wondering who will go out of business first. It's unsustainable.
The market is saturated and these business models only work if you can order huge volumes and shift it fast.
This is new competition for all the supermarket brands plus Peacocks and Primark and traditional high-street retailers like M&S and Debenhams are more keenly pricing their offering. Add discount brands such as TK Maxx and the neverending discounts and sales and you have an environment that is harder to make profit in.
Consumers are being squeezed with higher inflation and low wages and are generally satisfied with cheaper clothes. They can't or don't want to pay more.
Then add the internet, with Boohoo offering bargain fashion-led clothing and websites such as EverythingFivePounds, where everything is, literally, five pounds, and you have the perfect storm to implode some of the giants of the British high-street. Arcadia, the owner of Topman, is already seeing revenues fall and Topman is looking increasingly expensive against the competition.
In this game of pound wars poker, who will run out of chips and fold first?
Left - Louis Vuitton? No, Everythingfivepounds - £5
Tom Ford introduces this woody marine oud fragrance as part of his ‘Private Blend’ collection with key ingredients including salty seaweed, pink peppercorn, oud blend, styrax, ambergris accord, and fir balsam.
TheChicGeek says, “This is really boozy. The smoked wood gives it an overwhelming whisky feeling and is a reminder of how wooden barrels flavour whiskies in their ageing process.
Tom Ford is well known for his ouds, particularly the cult Oud Wood, and they give his fragrances the richness and depth those paying the money want. This is as masculine as cradling a cut-crystal tumbler with scotch on the rocks wearing a shirt open to the navel. So, it’s very Tom Ford!
The only thing I would say about Tom Ford is I feel they are releasing too many fragrances. They need to slow down the releases to keep the prestige, exclusivity and allow consumers time to appreciate and focus on quality new fragrances like this one.”
Left - Tom Ford - Oud Minérale - 50ml - £155
Established in 2012, Lqd is a proudly Australian brand and a collection of superb and effective skincare solutions ‘designed specifically by men for mankind’. The Lqd range is targeted towards men who care about their appearance, with products that address common skincare concerns, such as dryness, redness, breakouts, and ageing. Lqd understands men’s skin, and has built a loyal following across the fitness-focused community— it is not merely women’s skincare, repacked and marketed to men.
Left - Fresh from Australia Lqd - Liquid - Skincare
Melbourne-based founders and life partners Anthony McDonough and Chris Glebatsas are the living, breathing embodiment of the brand, impressive physical ambassadors who both embrace a holistic lifestyle philosophy built around three pillars: Diet, Training and Skincare.
McDonough originally trained as an organic chemist, and applies a no-nonsense practicality to Lqd’s innovative product line-up. “If you’re anything like me, you’re active.” he says, “and when you train hard, you shower often, so you need products to remove the sweat and grime of life that aren’t too harsh, with the ability to replenish the balance of oils in your skin. I searched the world to find products that lived up to this and after 20 years of not finding what I needed, I created Lqd to fill that void.”
TheChicGeek says, “LQD - Liquid - Skin Care launched with great fanfare during the recent London Men’s Fashion Week - LFWM. Fresh from Australia and said to be the biggest selling grooming brand in Sephora - that’s a big deal - I was interested to see what it had in store.
On first glance, on the branding and packaging, I thought this was in the ‘affordable’ category, but with Face Wash at £30 and Moisturiser at £45, this is ‘prestige or premium.
I tried the Face Wash, Eye product, ‘Calm’ moisturiser and ‘Hydrate’ moisturiser. They also have a Blemish product, Shave and a Face Scrub.
Overall, these products are good and feel like quality. The face wash is a nice, thick consistency yet light and gentle. I presumed the ‘calm’ moisturiser was for after shaving and is a decent everyday moisturiser. I couldn’t tell any difference between the two moisturisers and was disappointed from an Australian company there wasn't any UV protection.
Left - The Eye product looking a little bit like a bottle of poppers?!
The negative I have is the branding and packaging. It doesn't look prestige and the logo feels a bit 90s sex education show - remember Margi Clarke?! - the Blemish and Eye products even look like bottles of poppers. I feel it needs more maturity.
It’s also a shame it doesn't feel more Australian especially considering the modern, outdoors/gym focussed start to this brand and something which Australia does well.”
Available exclusively at Harrods and directly from www.Lqd.co.uk
There’s Nobis-ness like snow business! Well, actually there is. Known for its technical winter parkas and a relative newcomer to the world of luxury outdoors, this Canadian brand was founded just over a decade ago. Nobis - meaning latin for ‘us’ - was founded by Robin Yates, a keen huntsman and personally involved in testing all new jackets, material and details, regularly sleeping out on frozen lakes and riding skidoos across the tundra in Nobis jackets.
But, while its signature maybe its fur-trimmed winter coats, Nobis also do more lightweight and waterproof options for this time of year.
The standout, for this season, and what I'm most excited about is the handsome ‘Porter’. ‘Embrace’ membrane fabrics ensure waterproofing, windproofing and breathability, while zipped underarm vents, super-strength magnetic fastenings and seam-sealed construction ensure you stay warm and dry.
The adjustable hood has a moulded in-peak wire to stop it flapping about and is perfect for when those British days become downpours and you want something reliable, understated and stylish.
Left & Below - Nobis - The Porter - £450
I’d heard of his surname, obvs, but I didn’t know the man behind the brand until he died recently and I read an obituary on the flight over to the recent Pitti Uomo. Jack O’Neill’s life is a fascinating story of the birth of surfing and how it came to influence 20th century style and grew to become a huge, billion dollar industry.
Left - Jack started to wear his eye patch in the 1970s after his surfboard hit his eye
“I just wanted to surf longer”, was the inspiration for the eye patch-wearing surfing pioneer who helped to invent the wetsuit.
Before the advent of the wetsuit, O’Neill and his fellow surfers had been braving the Pacific by wearing long underwear or sweaters coated with oily sealant, or by stuffing flexible polyvinyl chloride into their swimming trunks.
He was turning blue from ocean temperatures that even on balmy summer afternoons might barely flirt with 60 degrees.
O’Neill’s wetsuit discovery came about after he moved with his wife to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach neighbourhood in the early 1950s.
“All my friends said, ‘O’Neill, you will sell to five friends on the beach and then you will be out of business,’” he would remark, according to his family.
By one account, a friend, Harry Hind, told him about a compound that had been developed by DuPont about two decades earlier for foam rubber life vests. By another account,O’Neill said a light went off when he examined the rubber undercoating on the carpet of a DC-3 commercial airliner.
Whatever the inspiration, he began developing suits for surfing and bodysurfing, originally covering just the torso. They were not waterproof, however. Rather, the suit trapped a thin layer of water, warmed by body heat, between the neoprene and the skin.
In San Francisco he opened one of the area’s first surf shops, but in 1959 moved his growing family 75 miles (120km) south to Santa Cruz, where he opened his second shop to cater to the city’s growing surf scene.
By 1960 Mr. O’Neill was laminating an elastic nylon jersey lining to the neoprene foam to prevent it from tearing, and to make it easier to put on. He made his first full-length model within a decade.
He began wearing a black eye patch after his surfboard hit his left eye while riding a wave in the 1970s.
By the 1980s, O’Neill had become the world’s largest recreation wetsuit designer and manufacturer and the O’Neill surf brand had reached Australia, Europe and Japan.
While surfing brands have taken a hit during this century, the name is known the world over for an escapist lifestyle that is continually referenced and returned to. There's something very romantic and healthy about the early Californian surf culture and it's worth noting this pioneer lived to the ripe old age of 94 despite the amount of UV rays he was exposed to.
Straight from the dry cleaners, the trend for boxfresh, cellophane wrapped and pristine fashion hit its zenith at the recent Paris shows.
Make like your granny's sofa and add a clear coat for SS18. Perfect for public transport!
From Left - Balenciaga SS18, Ports 1961 Resort 2018, Balenciaga SS18