November 30, 2016
Style Essentials: High End, High Street
For anyone like me who happens to be a few years north of 30, navigating the high-street can be a tricky business. So often when we weave in and out of the weekend shoppers will we see kids with haircuts we never knew existed, colours so bright sunglasses are required on rainy days and logos that make little or no sense emblazoned on t-shirts, sweaters and hoodies of all shapes and sizes.
It is easy to find yourself entwined within this youthful maelstrom, the outsider looking in and wondering, what it is you should be wearing as every high-street store tries to sell you the next best thing?
The trouble with the Great British high-street is the stores that stick out are the ones aimed at trying to lure those young whipper snappers while the shops appealing to someone not looking for the latest trend but some timeless classics, often find themselves lost due to their more refined manner.
However, delve a little deeper and peer above the high-street parapet and you shall soon discover there are a number of high-street chains currently offering a wonderful array of clothes that, while a little more expensive than brands such as Topman, River Island, Urban Outfitters et al, offer clothes which will give you kudos not only in the office but also down the pub.
Streetwear may seem to be the buzzword right now amongst the fashion press but for those with a more discerning eye, there is a small but ever growing movement of young men who are looking for something a little more timeless. It still, however, retains a sense that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to the world of fashion and looking sharp.
From roll neck jumpers and overcoats, slim fitting trousers, baseball caps and sweaters in fashionable colours such as camel, burgundy and dark green, there is a growing band of men and high street stores who are merging the elements of streetwear into a more sophisticated way of dressing.
All of these elements and the clothes in question have existed in menswear under one guise or another for years but it has taken the modern man and modern business to throw them into one big melting pot of fashion.
Wanting to be fashionable but not wanting to dress like an eighteen year old can sometimes be a hard trick to pull off. Thankfully, however, the high street has realised that it is not only an audience under 25 who want to look good.
Here are three great high street stores who are producing clothes that are attentive to the needs of the fashionable gent who just so happens not to be in his late teens or early twenties…
Chances are if your wife or girlfriend likes clothes as much as you do, you’ll have been dragged around Whistles on a numerous occasions, this season however, with the launch of the Whistles menswear range, us gents can potter about until our hearts content and maybe make the lady wait on us for a change.
From leather bomber jackets to royal blue beanie hats, the new menswear range caters for men who want to cross the smart casual divide, adding some class to an outfit that still retains a sense of youthfulness.
Another store which will be familiar amongst your ladies, COS have been doing a fine line in elegant, minimal menswear since 2007. Sharp, slender silhouettes, a wonderful colour palette (think burnt oranges, rich greens and an array of blues, reds and yellows) and clothes that will ensure you never step out of the house looking anything other than dapper, this big brother to H&M (COS are owned by the Swedish retail giants) is perfect for all your wardrobe essentials.
Possibly the most recognisable of the three brands, Reiss have been dressing the dapper gent since 1971. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a suit off-the-peg – they now offer a great tailoring service too – a fine knit sweater or a well crafted casual shirt.
Reiss offers an excellent range of menswear for the man who is looking for something to fit neatly between the smart / casual divide. And if you are looking for something with a little more exuberance, check out their 1971 range for some great prints and fashionable cuts.
A Final Note
There comes a time in a man’s life when we must face the fact that youth shall not always be on our side and subsequently the clothes we wear change over time. That being said, the advent of age is not an excuse to stop caring but an opportunity to amend our wardrobe and evolve into a new self.
Fashion continually changes and while the pace may become a little too much for some of us (the internet is only hastening it’s momentum) there are brands such as Whistles, COS and Reiss who afford us the chance to keep abreast of the now without looking like we have been dressed by our teenage selves.