FashionBeans Q+A: Readers’ Questions – August 2015
Resident style consultant and founder of men’s style blogThe Chic Geek, Marcus Jaye answers your questions – from ways to stop the crotch of your jeans from exploding to how to wear boots with shorts.
The AW15 Essential
“What would you say is the key piece for autumn and why?”
Josh, via contact form
This autumn/winter’s key piece for men has to be the shearling, or sheepskin, jacket. Numerous leading designers and brands showed a variation on this classic outerwear piece – from the capacious at Topman Design to the brightly coloured at Richard James.
The best I saw during January’s London Collections: Men showcase were from Coach’s debut menswear collection. And turns out they have the price tag to match – you’re looking at over £2,000 for one of its shearling coats.
If that level of investment simply isn’t feasible for you (join the club), I’d suggest scouring vintage and retro stores, as well as online consignment sites, for alternatives. If you’re in store and have the opportunity, make sure you inspect thoroughly before parting with your cash. A smell test wouldn’t hurt either, as these coats tend to soak up that very special vintage shop odour.
As for style, you’ll want something that is generously cut – that is the reason for wearing furry animal skins after all – but which doesn’t swamp you. If you’re on the taller side, you can opt for a longer coat but you’ll probably get more wear out of a classic bomber silhouette.
Given the wonders of modern-day central heating, we don’t actually need to wear jackets as warming as shearling anymore, so I’d suggest layering a simple lightweight knit or T-shirt underneath to stop you from spontaneously combusting. Team with slim or skinny denim and a pair of boots to extend the rugged effect.
Going forward, we’re sure to see high street and mid-priced brands produce their own shearling jackets (Reiss, River Island and AllSaints included some superb versions in their respective AW15 lookbooks), offering more affordable options that are within financial reach for the average guy.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the best luxury versions available on the current market, below.
- J.Crew Wallace & Barnes Sherpa-collar Italian Leather G-1 Flight Jacket
- Belstaff New Falmouth Leather Biker Jacket
- Mcq Alexander Mcqueen Shearling Biker Jacket
- Acne Studios Abel Shearling-trimmed Leather Bomber Jacket
- Tomas Maier Shearling Bomber Jacket
- Belstaff Ashworth Shearling-trimmed Suede Biker Jacket
Stretch Denim SOS
“I like to wear stretch jeans but find that their crotch wears through very quickly. Are there any ways I can prevent them wearing through? Or if not, what type of denim would last the longest?”
Derick, via Twitter
Due to the fact that stretch denim is often thinner than raw denim and tends to come in a leg-hugging fit, it’s bound to wear through faster than other types.
The solution? Well, you have a few options:
A) Buy cheap and often. Picking up several inexpensive pairs of jeans allows for more rotation in your wardrobe, meaning your stretch denim won’t wear out as fast.
Of course, we all know the best place to buy affordable, high quality denim – Uniqlo – but I’m also going to highlight American Eagle, which has stores in Westfield White City, Stratford, Bluewater and a pop-up on Old Street roundabout for London residents, while readers outside the capital (or UK for that matter) can shop online at .
The brand offers 18 fits and 69 different washes at prices from £25, so you’re bound to find something that suits your personal style and build.
B) Try something that’s built for purpose. The hardest wearing denim with stretch is designed for activity, i.e. cycling.
Take premium cycle clothing brand Rapha, for example, which offers a straight-leg jean in a specialist Italian-milled denim made from nylon, cotton and Elastane. It’s hard-wearing, stain-resistant and fast-drying.
Tougher than regular stretch styles, Rapha’s jeans also conveniently feature offset inseams to prevent chafing.
C) Switch to sturdier raw denim. It won’t give you the same sweatpant-level comfort but, after a bit of wear, it’ll start to mould to your shape and won’t deteriorate anywhere near as fast as stretch styles.
The Boots & Shorts Conundrum
“Is it acceptable to wear boots with shorts? If so, what kind of combinations would you suggest?”
Greg, via contact form
Boots can be worn with shorts but you need to stick to certain styles and almost always wear sans sock, whether it’s ankle or invisible socks that you prefer.
For casual and streetwear-inspired looks (say, with denim or athletic shorts), try a pair of classic Converse Chuck Taylors or minimal leather hi-tops – just don’t, in the case of the latter, have the tongue sticking out boyband-style.
Alternatively, for something a little more polished but still summer-ready, try some suede desert boots, which will team easily with both tailored and chino shorts.
If you’re going to wear chunkier boots (think Red Wings or hiking styles), then look to combine with a more rugged chino short, and consider adding thick hiking socks as a buffer between your leg and the boot. Wear them pushed or rolled down so that they’re just peeking out over the top.
Trainers For Training
“I’m in the market for a new pair of trainers. I plan to use them for exercising but I still want them to look good; what would you suggest for less than £75?”
Jon, via contact form
The retro style running trainer isn’t going anywhere soon, so it should be your first port of call. I’ve exercised in the classic 574 from New Balance before and they perform extremely well.
Pick up a luxe suede pair in a neutral colourway for ultimate versatility.
For something a little less ubiquitous, take advantage of lesser-known footwear brand Walsh’s summer sale. Its made-in-Britain Ensign model is available from just £50 (originally £100) and was initially created for the Bolton Harriers to compete in the 1981 New York Marathon, so it’s built to perform.
Coming in a plethora of colour combinations, each is finished with subtle vintage-inspired details – I particularly love the gold branding on the back. Plus, I bet none of your mates are wearing English trainers.
Note: If your training’s more lifting weights than running laps, then swap running shoes for Converse Chuck Taylors; the style’s flat rubber-soled design lends itself to heavy lifting by allowing you to properly plant your feet on the floor. Ideal for those monster leg sessions.
A Jacket For Between Seasons
“Can you recommend a stylish rain jacket that’s lightweight enough for late summer and early autumn (max. £100)?”
Ben, via Twitter
Try British brand Puffa, which offers (£65) in a range of striking colourways. Made from smooth, water-resistant fabric, it’s equipped with plenty of functional pockets, a drawstring hood and storm flap at the back.
For something lighter and shorter, look to French label K-Way. The brand’s signature style, Claude, is a quality pac-a-mac available in a veritable rainbow of hues, each priced around £55.
Great for popping in your bag or pocket when you’re not wearing it.
Getting In On The Jewellery Game
“I’ve never worn jewellery other than a watch because I’m not sure if it suits me. How would you advise I start out? I have fair skin, light brown hair and my style is smart-casual on my downtime (blazers, chinos etc.).”
Less is more is definitely true of men wearing jewellery. I’d suggest you start out by trialling one piece a few times and see how you feel. You can wear most things with your colouring so consider a timeless leather bracelet or metal cuff, masculine silver/titanium ring or a subtle pendant necklace.
You’re obviously testing the waters here so don’t spend too much yet; steer toward more affordable brands like Miansai or even high street retailers until you know you’re ready to take your jewellery up a notch.
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