Men are no longer content to be overshadowed when it comes to fashion. As James Bay releases his fashion collection for Topman, Stephanie Smith highlights the new luxe elegance and points out what to look out for.
The devil is definitely in the detail as embellishment, luxe textures, rich colour and print characterise a new era of sophistication for menswear.
First texture, which sees velvet and corduroy tailoring bring a tactile opulence to the new season. Think Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. If you’re feeling retro bold and groovy, invest in a slim-fitting corduroy suit in navy or olive green. You are also allowed to wear corduroy trousers and a jumper without feeling like a 1970s geography teacher. For an off-duty look, team with your leather biker for a rock star edge.
And on the subject of rock stars, British singer-songwriter, and two- time Brit Award winner, James Bay brings his rock ’n’ roll aesthetic to Topman next week when he launches a 13-piece collection for the men’s fashion brand.
The man with the hat says: “I’ve taken inspiration from performing live and the way I dress on tour. Many of the details I have focused on are also based on my own original drawings and sketches.”
Embellishment and pattern are key with this new collection, which will launch online and in selected stores on August 17. A black denim jacket has an embroidered illustration of two interlocked hands, inspired by Bay’s album Chaos and the Calm, and lyrics taken from his song Incomplete.
Then there is what is described as “evening and performance attire”, including a jacquard evening suit using Bay’s fingerprint to create an all-over abstract print, plus a sequinned bomber and skinny jeans with embroidered side panels.
Topman creative director Gordon Richardson says the brand likes to collaborate with personalities outside the world of fashion, “as it challenges our perceptions”. Prices range from £25 for a tee to £200 for the embroidered biker jacket and the silk bomber.
Meanwhile, in keeping with the Sixties-meets-Seventies theme for menswear, roll-necks are pretty much everywhere this coming season, from fine knits to chunky pieces, in a variety of rather chic shades.
A cashmere or merino roll-neck in camel, navy or black is an essential to wear with suiting, and look out for a slouchy, chunky sweater to wear at weekends with your jeans.
Head-to-toe camel is the luxe tonal look of the season, so find cord trousers, chinos, jackets, knits and coats in the shade. If you start to feel like a biscuit, pair with navy as a sleek contrast shade.
As with womenswear, forest greens are bringing a rich but understated sophistication to new season fashion, alongside luxe navy, with both shades featuring in suiting and tailoring, and also in relaxed athleisure pieces.
If you want to go bright and bold, orange is the colour to try this autumn, so look for coats, trousers and blazers in the shade, or simply use it to add an accent to navy and black (for example, an orange tee under a navy suit or with black jeans and a biker). Look out for silk, too – a key investment for the coming season is an intricately patterned silk shirt, perhaps in an opulent paisley, as your party and special occasion go-to.
Shapes are at first glance unusual and unexpected, with some trousers taking on a 1930s, elegant look, tapered and ankle cropped, to pair with sleek blazers and neat collared shirts. Turn up your jeans and chinos and try the new slimline but skimming and tapered leg fit.
Don’t be afraid to mix patterns, for example, a tonal tartan check suit with silk paisley shirt, or try clashing tweeds. A waistcoat will be your best friend over the winter to wear with work, special and off-duty looks, so invest in ones you like the look of as soon as you see them. This is not the season to hold back.