We might love our beau to bits but that doesn’t mean we necessarily like the way he dresses. And to be fair, his apparent lack of interest in fashion may be just because he doesn’t know where to begin. We talk to Katie Bain, Fashion Curator at Off the Rails and Industry Consultant to find out just what you can do to get your man to dress better.
Katie has a wealth of experience from working within the fashion industry over the past thirteen years. Katie’s most recent role, spanning over six years, was at the forefront of British Fashion leading the designer showcasing department at the British Fashion Council. Katie worked very closely to put together the first menswear committee, to generate sponsorship funding support and to launch Men’s Day at the end of the London Fashion Week schedule. After three years of nurturing and development within the men’s arena Katie subsequently worked with the committee and Dylan Jones to launch the first ‘London Collections Men’ a three day menswear fashion week showcase scheduled within the Menswear International Show Calendar.
Here she reveals just what it takes to get a well-dressed man…
One thing I often hear from my friends is how much they love their man in every way yet if there’s one thing that they could change its how he dresses. They wish he would lose the hoodie and tight jeans and trade in his old sneakers for something a little more dapper.
It’s a job you’ll want to put some thought into – after all imagine if somebody told you that you that you should sharpen up your style. Not easy to take, this directness will not work. It is something that you need to give time, thought and planning into over a period of time. You need to be strategic and gentle otherwise this could majorly back fire. You don’t want to change him. You just want to support him to find his style and ultimately look and feel great about himself.
If this is something that rings home, then here’s some key pointers to get your man on the right track:
He probably has memories of being dragged along shopping by his mother, against his own will, to store upon store. Don’t treat him like a child and be over dominating. If you issue orders this is only likely to provoke a child like response. Avoid turning into his mother!
Don’t criticize. Men like to feel like they are the ones in control. Telling him he has a bad sense of style is not going to engage him; it’s only going to push him away and will backfire badly.
COMPLIMENTS GO A LONG WAY
You are his woman. You are attracted to him and he is attracted to you, which is your greatest strength. He wants to look good for you. So rather than telling him what he should wear; tell him what he looks great in, and what suits him.
MAKE IT FUN
Take him somewhere fun and engaging to shop rather than traipsing around dull malls, boutiques or department stores. New men’s shopping event which I have curated, Off The Rails, is the perfect one stop shop for your man– it’s a clear edit of brands, great deals and offers (men love deals), engaging to meet the brands and understand where the stuff is made (knowledge always adds interest), some affordable art to look at (change of scenery from clothes for a moment), a barbershop (he can kill two birds with one stone and get his hair cut), a scrummy burger bar (fuel is key to keep the un rational over hungry male at bay) plus a bar area serving everything from craft beers, short cocktails to beefy wines (to bring out his adventurous side).
THE ART OF GIFTING
If none of the above works, then you have no choice but to shop for him – bring home a few pieces that you know will suit him. Don’t go too over adventurous at first you need to strike a balance of his current style and what you think he’d look good in. Find things that will suit him rather than going down the fashionista route.
Trends and Advice
At Off The Rails we have a personal styling and shopping suite. An extra input of advice from the experts or another male that’s educated in this arena and know how’s to handle a mans ego could be the perfect step if you’re having trouble doing this yourself.
Here your guy can see current trends, get a session in what suits him and his ideal colour palette to give that extra bit of guidance.
Grooming is key
Your man is never going to carry off his new style if he’s still rocking that dodgy out of date haircut or straggly beard. At Off The Rails we have partnered with Murdock London Barbers & Grooming salon for the very quick and easy tidy up on the go. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the hairdressers that scares him in fear of looking like a boy band member- these guys are old school barbers that are the masters of a nifty masculine tidy up.
The right jeans
Men spend a lot of time in denim so its important that it fits well. Go high quality (cheap high st jeans will lose their shape overnight), simple (avoid large buckles, oversized pockets and anything too fussy or that looks bulky- not a good look) and most importantly find the perfect fit that suits his shape.
Off The Rails: we have a full denim offer from a number of brands including By Way of Natural Selection, J Lindeberg, Duel Denim, Waven.
The perfect shirt
No matter what his shape ensure that you find the well fitting shirt, a wardrobe staple that’s going to smarten up a pair of jeans instantly for that smart-casual look day to day or be the perfect finish to his suit.
Off The Rails: You can go fully made to measure from tailors such as Mr Start, John Kruger, Richard Anderson through to the more casual day shirt offer from Julius Errol Flynn, Brutus.
Show his abs, look at his shape and see where his best features are – if his chest is built go V neck, if he’s got great arms go for a round neck. Go slim fit but not spray on. Never a good look.
Off The Rails: For the best T Shirts try Alternative Apparell, Mr Start, Smyth-Wykes, Leo Joseph.
Add some colour and pattern to the knits
If he’s a strong personality this should be reflected in his clothes. You don’t want to go down the xmas jumper route but think simple patterns and a splash of colour especially in knits to brighten up a winter look.
Off The Rails: Lyle & Scott x Jonathan Saunders has just launched a runway collection of styles at affordable price exclusive to us, Notch London focus on more delicate weaves, Peter Werth for the more classic colours.
The power suit & tailored coat
Nothing looks better on a guy than the perfect fitting suit- and tailored overcoat. It instantly transforms him. If you can afford to then you must go made to measure or fully bespoke. If you are on a budget then try and find a deal on an off the peg suit in the sale and get this fitted.
Off The Rails: Mr Start, Kent & Curwen, Richard Anderson, Harry Stedman.
Brighten it up with accessories
If your man is too safe to delve into colour or print you can always add a bit of fun with some great accessories from a colourful pocket chief or bow tie to bright socks or a patterned scarf.
Off The Rails: Pocket chief range from Pocketchief, Ties, bowties & tie clips from Marwood, Fun socks from London Sock Co or Archer & Peynton, Scarves from Edition Scotland.
Shoes, shoes, shoes
There’s nothing worse on a man than ill-fitting ugly shoes. It’s important that he has at least three pairs of good shoes in his wardrobe rather than one pair that get worn to death. He should have a pair for special occasions, weddings etc, a smart pair of brogues or monk straps that can be worn day to night, and a more causal pair of softer souled shoes for everyday.
Off The Rails: Oliver Sweeney for fun classics, Hudson for causal day shoes, Bobbies for colorful loafers or easy winter classics, OHW? more sports-lux inspired, Angelo Van Mol for the adventurous wearer and Barker for classic Brogues.
Bags of style
If your man needs to carry a briefcase or bag to work with him day to day then you want to ensure that he’s got something slick. In most cases men don’t justify spending much money on a bag like women justify these days so you need to either purchase him one as a gift or find a really something stylish that’s affordable.
Off The Rails: For a classic British leather satchel, hold all, backpack or day bag try Jas MB, for a selection of tweed or slick minimal leather try Cherchbi and for something more modern try Cote et Ciel.
That perfect outerwear
In the winter we spend most of our time in outerwear so its key to have a couple of options that are practical and comfortable yet stylish. Steer clear of the old school sports brands that are bulky and brand label driven and make him look like he’s stepped out of a mountaineering tour. Instead there are a selection of newer brands that are more Scandinavian inspired – minimal, not over branded, non bulky and very practical which he’ll love.
Off The Rails: Try Parka London for a range of Parkas, Stutterheim for minimal rainwear, Hancock for great overcoats using innovative waterproof fabrics.
Sunglasses & opticals
The devil’s in the detail. He’s never going to look smart if he has old dodgy glasses or cheap sunnies he’s picked up from a market in Thailand. There are so many sunglasses and opticals brands in the market now with great frame selections and bespoke service if he needs lenses.
Off The Rails: For the full bespoke opticals for under £120 try Cubbitts, for the cooler more fashion savvy try Linda Farrow (think every actor and musician you know and this is their brand of choice), Finlay & co for something more English gentleman with a quirk – they focus on wood effect frames.
New menswear lifestyle event, Off The Rails is taking place from 30th October – 2nd November at the Old Truman Brewery. Tickets cost £10 per person or £12 for two people. For more info and to purchase tickets head to Offtherailsldn.com