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What goes with what

Four style risks to take in 2019

Four style risks to take in 2019

It’s 2019. What are you going to do differently? Are you going to start making your own sourdough, cycling to work, or…maybe just try wearing hiking boots with jeans? We know which one seems easiest to us.

According to Thread stylist Freddie Kemp, taking a style risk is part of the fun of getting dressed day in, day out. Like any other risk you take, it’s about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone – only this time, it’s with clothes and how you present yourself.

“A style risk is always going to require a bit of consideration,” says Freddie. “There’s no point just buying a flashy pair of trainers – what are you going to wear those with? I’d suggest you take your time to figure out what’s right for you. If you’re bored of what you’re wearing and you want to take a risk, then it’s still important to be within the realm of your style.”

Not sure where to start? Then consult your stylist. “We’re here to help guys dress better and feel better,” says Freddie, “so that in the end, the reward will be worth the risk.”

Contrast two colours

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘a pop of colour’, and maybe you’re aware that adding such a thing to an outfit can help make it more impactful. But what about taking that a bit further?

“Guys often think that when it comes to colour, just adding one is enough,” says Freddie. “But it’s a new year. If you got some real motivation to try something different, then going for two bright colours is a great way to push yourself.”

If you’re not sure which colours work together, or you’re worried you’ll end up looking like a sports mascot, then look at colours you find together in nature. “For example, greens and reds are big favourites in the winter colour palette,” says Freddie. “Each season, you’re bound to find a couple of things that work for you.”

Go bold with outerwear

“We’re hoping by now that most guys have experienced throwing in a little bit of colour to their outfits,” says Freddie. “This particular ‘risk’ is about creating the standout look with a bright jacket.”

The problem, as Freddie sees it, is that most men tend to stick to neutral colours when it comes to coats. You can see the logic: outerwear is an investment and by picking a neutral colour, you can get more wear out of it.

“So think of this bold-coloured coat as being secondary to your classic grey overcoat or navy mac. When you want to take a risk, this is the one.”

And if you’re still not sure about wearing such a vivid garment, then at least with a jacket you can take it off easily enough when you get indoors.

Incorporate sportswear

In Freddie’s experience, guys tend to default to smart-casual. Think shirt and chinos. To step out of that rut, try adding a few sportswear elements into your outfit.

“Sportswear has the historic connotations of being slouchy,” he says. “And it is, if you’re wearing loose joggers and a team-branded sweatshirt. But it’s evolved so much over the last five years. It’s a more refined feel, rather than traditional sportswear. So don’t try this with your usual gym gear. Instead it’s about investing in a new style.”

The key is sporty details on clothes that have enough tailored features to feel smart. Dip your toe into the trend by pairing drawstring chinos with colourful trainers and a fleece. “It might not be something you’d think to put together,” says Freddie, “but it’s a good risk to take because menswear is very casual at the moment. Tailoring isn’t on too many radars, so this is a way to keep things stylish while looking contemporary.”

Update your brogue boots to hiking boots

“This is our most trend-driven suggestion for a style risk,” says Freddie. Not that this trend doesn’t have practical benefits too – when it’s cold and wet, boots made for climbing mountains are always handy. Even if you’re only making your way up some slippery steps.

“This amazing pair of hiking boots looks great in an smart-casual outfit as well as a really outdoorsy look,” says Freddie. “It goes to show how versatile garments are becoming. A lot of menswear stems from functional items and then adapting them to make them more wearable for everyday.”

How much of a risk is it? Well, it shouldn’t feel that daunting. Hiking boots are part of a rugged style that’s very popular right now (think heavy denim, flannel shirts and utility jackets). Plus, the shoe easily translates into anything short of a suit.

“Just don’t go to an outdoors shop and buy a full-on hiking boot,” says Freddie. You want a pair that look like a gentleman explorer from the 1920s might have worn them – leather, metal D-rings, no neon or Gore-tex. “Look to more traditional shoe brands instead; that’s where you’ll find versions that don’t only work up a mountain.”


Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Freddie Kemp