Tag Archives: Ralph Lauren

Pink defines the modern man

Apart from the fact that Lisa Burnbach stated in her bible from 1980, The Official Preppy Handbook, that “…The classic shirt is the Brooks Brothers button-down all-cotton oxford cloth shirt. Pink is the most famous color, and it is widely supposed that no one except Brooks has ever been able to achieve that perfect pink or that perfect roll to the collar…” I have always loved pink on leisure and dress shirts, polos, shorts. There has often been discussions amongst the non-pink wearing community that it is simply unmanly, childish, girly. But it isn’t. It is a traditional colour worn by generations of males, if from a somewhat selective and narrow walk of society, and all denigratory comments should be held back promptly. The toff reputation isn’t necessarily true either, but that is something which seems harder to kill off. However, I must say I find it fascinating that a shirt colour can generate such a big divide amid the shirt wearers in general.

After having read an article the other day on the subject of why some men wear pink shirts and some refuses to, it got me thinking. Why do I wear it? Is it simply because I like it? Is it because it defines me? Is it as a social status marker? Is it because I want to go against the general stream of boring clothes-wearers and therefore define my self by wearing pink? Or is it all of the above?
Probably. It is most likely a mixture. When I look into my wardrobe I can see at least a fifth of my shirts and polos’ (and that, dear readers, is quite a substantial number of shirts) being either entirely pink, checkered with different colours or striped. And for me I gather the most important thing about wearing pink is that it looks good. No more, no less. If you are beautifully tanned in the summer, apart from white hardly any other colour is more likely to enhance your tan in an amazing way.

In the autumn, the most stunning colour combinations can be created with a dash of pink. It makes your outfit look interesting, stylish, thought through and intelligently chosen if done right.

Pink simply is the best alternative to black. I won’t say it’s the new black, because it isn’t and never will be, but it is a colour which should be worn with respect and maybe an ounce of cockiness. Regardless of which signals you think it sends out to your friends and colleagues, make it send the signals you want it to send. Make it a personal statement without being fake.

And as mentioned above, pink worn in the summer simply can’t go wrong if you have a bit of a tan to sport.



Filed under Bespoke, British Fashion, Culture, GANT, Gents Fashion, Hackett, Pink Shirts, Preppy Look, Ralph Lauren, University Look

Modern tie wear

I’m a sucker for ties. I know it’s a rather appalling turn of phrase, but it’s the best way to sum up my love for something quite a lot of gents find a nuisance.

I understand that many men find it uncomfortable and strangling, but come on guys, give it a proper chance. A good looking tie, none of these novelty “funny” ones though. Anyone who manages to see what’s so funny about them? Please let me know. I’ve tried to understand but just never will.

There are so many ways to wear a tie today: with a jacket, under a nice hoodie with a good shirt, under a lambs wool crewneck, tightly and neatly done up in a double Windsor or loosely arrogant with a touch of style and prepyness. The opportunities are endless.

The only thing that matters is, as always, that it’s a good quality tie. It doesn’t need to be ludicrously expensive, but it needs to be good looking and of a high quality wove. Otherwise it just looks like you’re trying too hard. Which you, if you’ve bought a cheap H&M one, probably are.

The whole point of wearing a tie is that it gives an extra dash of colour and flair to an outfit that otherwise might just have been seen as nice. Wearing a tie is a statement, a way of saying “hey, I actually care and I dare make a statement with what I’m wearing”. Of course it will look great with a bespoke suit and a well chosen shirt and tie. That’s a given. However, the joy comes when you wear it with jeans and a nice jacket or something along those lines. A bit of imagination and chutzpah won’t harm in these uncertain times. Wouldn’t you agree? Still, I’m not a big fan of plain one-coloured ties. They have a tendency to look a bit bland, regardless of the colour. Better then to chose a simple design in basic colour combinations. It makes them go with so much more and the combinations with different outfits will be virtually endless. The double bar design is classic, easy to combine and works really well with most outfits: from the most leisure to the three-piece suit via the preppy university look. As stated above, the combinations can be endless if the garments, and in particular the tie, is chosen with care. Nothing is so frustrating, and unnecessary, as having a tie which can only be worn with one specific shirt under a specific jumper. At least that’s my view.

So gents, I implore you to start wearing ties more regularly for work, for leisure or just for fun. I know the tradition of wearing ties at the office have changed radically over the last decades, in some countries more than others. But isn’t there still the joy of looking good? Wearing a tie can be a way to get a job over another competitor, to get promoted over sloppier looking colleagues. It’s a way to show that you are daring, and that you are a man. A gentleman.

Be proud and your own individual and take the risk when you’re off to the office tomorrow: wear a tie.


Filed under British Fashion, GANT, Gents Fashion, Hackett, London, Preppy Look, Ralph Lauren, Ties

Preppy in Dutch?

In the January issue of the Dutch edition of Esquire there was as always a lot of great reading on offer. There were however as if a secret “preppy theme” was introduced to the reader, but cunningly hidden between the pages. It wasn’t a special issue on The Preppy Look, it was just heavy on Gant, Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Steppin’ Out, Hackett, McGregor, A&F, Jack Wills and, well, you name the brand and it was there. The issue even had a little “Preppy guide” and a Q&A with Gant’s creative director Bob Andrews. And it all got me thinking; why is preppy back in fashion? Or is it?

There are sociological studies and theories on the subject explaining that when we hit a recession we tend to look towards glamorous but not too glamorous fashion trends, and I guess the preppy look is perfect for that. Deeply rooted in the North Eastern part of the United States and its Ivy-league universities and private preparatory schools for the privileged and the upper middle-classes, it gives an air of security, tradition and style without being overly fashionista.

The preppy look aspires to be Yale, Princeton, the British Oxbridge style. Even though you might not have had the luck, or the money, to be a student there you can get a whiff of the flair and the smell of the libraries with wearing the club blazers and the college tie. You get the sense that you’re not being part of the slutty porno fashion roaming our streets. If you excuse my French.

However, can’t it just be that a smart, modern and comfortable style talks to us because it is still in a way classic? Not all of us need, or can, wear a Savile Row suit to work, and then the preppy way is more convenient, but still stylish. You always feel well dressed. Because, honestly, washed out hoodies, t-shirts with funny messages and ill-fitting jeans shouldn’t be worn by any man older than 18 years of age. It simply is embarrassing and disgraceful. You can possibly get away with wearing a baseball cap if it’s worn well and looks dashing, but please don’t wear it if it was the only one you found at the stalls along the beach. It will inevitably look ludicrous. Sorry.

Having written all the above, I’m still not sure why preppy is so popular. Maybe it’s a combination of the two? The Worlds economic downturn is forcing us to look backwards to verify that the time-honoured tradition of the intellectual temples of knowledge is where we all hail from, but its uniforms aren’t as dusty and ill-fitting as they once were. Today we combine tweed and college ties with baggy jeans and boots to get that “authentic” preppy look of I-really-don’t-care-about-how–I-look-but-it-still-takes-me-two-hours-to-get-ready-in-the-morning. And the better fit and more boho chic preppy is what seems to be 2011.

So, if you haven’t already got a good quality oxford cotton button-down shirt, a crewneck sweater, chinos, boat shoes and some nice socks to compliment the outfit, my advice is to go out and get it now. If you’re lucky there might still be some amazing quality stuff left in the sales of the big flagship stores. Cause, honestly, fake preppy just isn’t preppy at all.


Filed under GANT, Gents Fashion, Hackett, Preppy Look, Ralph Lauren, Socks