It's London Men's Fashion Week this week. To be more accurate it's London Collections: Men, a three day festival of haute couture which finished on Tuesday. London is apparently the centre of the global menswear industry, a creative hotbed of fashion and design. It's passed me by.
I have no sense of style or fashion. I don't go out to buy the latest thing, nor do I have another half to nudge my wardrobe. I'm happy wearing the same old stuff, anything safely comfortable, because I can never work out if something new will look good. I still wear the same clothes to work as I did ten years ago, replaced as necessary, replaced like for like as far as possible. I am in serious need of Geezer's Male Fashion Mailbag.
Shoes (a): If I've got this right, the in-thing at the moment is colourful trainers. Bright colours, pastels, anything with a splash of red, anything to be noticed. Sometimes even patterned, and very often in some soft fabric that looks like it'd disintegrate if you stepped in a puddle. I have two pairs of trainers that pass the cool brand test, one in semi-pristine condition, the other past their best. But they're such dull colours, a navy blue and a black, because I always play safe footwear-wise, and 2013 does anything but. Shoes (b): If I've got this right, the in-thing at the moment is brogues. Probably has been for years, apart from that period a while back where it was de rigueur for your toes to taper to a sharp infeasible point. I have one pair of smart shoes, in clompy black, in exactly the same style I've worn all century. I don't get this need to replace such a staple item purely because fashion dictates. But if passers by do judge a man by his shoes, I fear I'm epic fail. Your mailbag comments
Trousers (a): If I've got this right, the in-thing at the moment is colourful trousers. They started off maroon, then diversified into beige and tan almost-red. Autumn colours, I'd say, or the kind of shades that desperately unhip upper class Dads from the shires used to wear. Out of Jermyn Street, and onto the thighs of the hip and youthful. I can't wear those, surely, they'd look stupid. I'm from the jeans generation, in nice safe indigo blue, although I fear their days are numbered as the young embrace sartorial variety. Trousers (b): If I've got this right, the in-thing at the moment is turned-up trouser bottoms. An inch or maybe two, turned up defiantly to reveal a bit of boot or shoe. Men are deliberately buying trousers that are too long for them, which can only mean they think this trend's here to stay (or else they purchased them through online shopping and can't be bothered to send the offending garments back). Trousers (c): If I've got this right, the in-thing at the moment is tight leg-hugging trousers. The sort of thing that almost looks sprayed on, revealing muscle definition (assuming you have any), which must be hell to squeeze into. I've always gone for anything described as "regular fit", something with circulation space, never anything physically ostentatious. Your mailbag comments
Upperwear: If I've got this right, I have no idea what the in-thing is above the waist at the moment. I scan what passers by are wearing, be that jackets, t-shirts or whatever, but no coherent patterns present themselves. Maybe that's a seasonal thing, in that if the weather doesn't know what it's doing, neither does anyone else. When I go out socially I have real trouble trying to work out what to wear on top, in case it's fallen out of favour and I look a dork. It was easy a couple of years ago when check shirts were 'in', it was like the rest of the nation had finally caught up with me. But that moment's passed, and now I fear I look like Man at C&A. Your mailbag comments
Grooming (a): If I've got this right, the in-thing at the moment is punching a big hole in your ear to ram a piece of chunky jewellery in. Tiny studs and demure diamonds are out, in favour of making a physical statement that turns heads. Big metal hoops surrounding a circle of air used to be the preserve of the leftfield, but so many young men now sport this look it's gone almost mainstream. Do they not realise that in a few years when the fashion moves on they'll have to walk around with a loop of flapping flesh that'll look anything but attractive. I couldn't, wouldn't, deform a lobe like that. Grooming (b): If I've got this right, the in-thing for hair at the moment is long and slick on top, and much shorter at the sides. A contrasting style that requires a dollop of product to sweep the upper hair back, and regular trips to the barber to keep the lower hair close cropped. I blame Lewis Smith the gymnast for starting it off, then a nation of copycats followed. It'll be something else by next summer, it always is, but high maintenance is currently where it's at. I could grow mine, I still have a full head, but I'm a play safe kind of guy, so I leave peacockery to the rest of you. Your mailbag comments
What's on this weekend? Spring Into Summer Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 May
40 free guided London walks. Purley Festival Friday 29 - Sunday 5 June
Bunting week, below Croydon. E17 Art Trail Sat 30th May - Sun 14th June
250 arty Walthamstow things.