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The spring style myths you can ignore

The spring style myths you can ignore

Men’s fashion has always been obsessed with rules. “If you read an old-school guide to menswear, there’ll be things like ‘No brown shoes to weddings’, ‘No white after Labour day’,” says Thread stylist Freddie Kemp. “It’s very archaic.”

We were always taught in schools that the difference between legends and myths is that legends have a kernel of truth to them. In menswear, the difference is that style legends become so by ignoring those myths to which everyone else clings. Especially because most of them were invented in more class-obsessed times, by those who’d inherited their wealth rather than earned it, to separate their old money from the new. We like to think we’ve moved on a bit since then.

In fact, when the world’s wealthiest men wear hoodies to work and trainers can cost more than a pair of handmade leather shoes, the old rules don’t feel quite so important. Just one of the reasons that this trio of style myths is worth ignoring.

They say: You shouldn’t mix your prints

We say: You shouldn’t mix the wrong prints

The myth: You can’t wear different patterns or prints in the same outfit because it’ll clash and come across as messy. “It’s one of those old-fashioned rules,” says Freddie. “It’s often ignored, but is actually quite hard to do without being garish.”

Why you can bust it: Aside from anything else, mixing prints can look great. “It’s one those rules that people tend to take as all or nothing,” says Freddie. By which he means, people either avoid mixing prints altogether or they go overboard. “Some men think that if you pile on enough prints, people will assume you know what you’re talking about when it comes to fashion.”

How to bust it: “Whenever you’re mixing patterns, it’s always worth being considerate of the colours and size of the shapes,” says Freddie. For instance, we’ve mixed checks and stripes. It’s an easy way to dip your toe into the trend because both patterns are made up of straight lines, so it gives a natural coherence to your look.

Allow one of the patterns to be the focus (here it’s the stripes), so that the eye isn’t being drawn to too many places at once. Pick out a colour in one of the patterns and echo it in the other. As Freddie points out, “the stripey top is complemented by the colours of the jacket.” Stick to two patterns if you’re unsure and keep the outfit for tonal for ease.

Lastly, stick to upper-body pieces like shirt and jackets, which are innately easier to wear patterned than trousers. After all, when was the last time you pulled off tartan trews?

They say: You can’t wear nubuck in the rain

We say: You can, if you do a bit of prep

The myth: Suede and nubuck stain when they get wet. So you can’t wear them until it’s high summer with zero chance of rain, lest it be ruined forever.

Why you can bust it: Because suede protector exists. “Treat your suede and nubuck, especially footwear, so that you can wear it in different conditions,” says Freddie. “Guys tend to shy away from these types of fabrics for the reason that they’re a bit impractical, but they’re worth the effort. They look great, the texture feels brilliant, and it makes for a mid-weight jacket that’s perfect when it’s not too hot and not too cold.” If you’re still worried, just get an umbrella.

How to bust it: Nubuck is leather’s less shiny cousin and, as such, an easy way to add texture to your outfit. Team a nubuck jacket with jeans or chinos – nothing too formal. For a classic vibe, stick to shades of brown or maybe a burgundy. 

They say: White denim is just for summer

We say: White denim works all-year

The myth: Though they’re a holiday favourite, white jeans tend to stay in your wardrobe back home, unless there’s a heatwave. “People consider it a style risk because it’s not the menswear default,” says Freddie. “On a practical level, it’s also quite a dangerous choice because it can get dirty or stained easily.”

Why you can bust it: Dressier than your standard blue jeans, white denim goes with all your smart-casual classics such as button-down shirts, polos, and blazers. Sure, they’re tougher to wear when it’s snowing, but come spring’s first warmish day, they let you make a clean break from your winter wardrobe.

How to bust it: First of all, you have to make peace with the fact that they will get a little dirty. But that just makes them look lived-in. Wear your white jeans with everything except a white shirt (unless you’re a yoga teacher). Steer clear of rips and decorative details if you’re after a classic pair that you can wear to the office.

Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Mark Sanders
Styling: Freddie Kemp