Men’s Fashion: How To Use Accessories

For too long it has often been thought that fashion accessories are exclusively the choice of women or, in severe scenarios, overdressed and attention seeking men. It is, however, quite simple for a sophisticated gentleman to add a few flourishes and extra touches to his outfit that will neither negate the entire look he is trying to achieve nor looking too bawdry. When used correctly, a well-chosen finishing touch can add to a man’s elegant style. On the other hand, when done wrong male’s accessories can accentuate just how badly dressed the wearer is – Chris Brown is a great example of a bad dresser whose fondness for sweatbands, jewellery and a whole host of other unsuitable additions manage to make him consistently one of the most sartorially challenged men in mainstream culture. Subtlety, class and simplicity are the key and a few small touches can make all the difference.

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One almost archaic item, which is bordering on the obsolete, which can spruce up male outfits with an extra degree of class is the pocket square. Although it has declined in recent years, the simple addition of a handkerchief or piece of cloth in the top pocket of a suit can really add a large degree of elegance to an outfit and can add class to a suit in lieu of a tie. First popularised in the Golden Age of Hollywood, an era which was coincidentally the Golden Age of men’s fashion, these simple addition can pop whole outfits in a suave fashion. So, for example, a man wearing a white shirt with a black blazer can easily move away from the monochrome look with the addition of a brightly coloured pocket square to add contrast – a bright hue of red is a classic look as are simple patterned prints. When worn in combination with a coloured jacket or a tweed one, it is also worth looking for patterns which match and compliment rather than clashing with the rest of the designs style. Available for cheap on both Ebay and at vintage stores, these are a simple way of upgrading whole outfits.

The Golden Age of Hollywood is a fantastic place to look for style inspiration and to pick up tips from men who knew how to dress like real men. Whilst stars such as Cary Grant, James Stewart, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart all favoured a masculine look they were not afraid to experiment with accessories to add to their sophisticated and classic appearance. Although suspender braces should be worn with caution, they do not go with every look, there are a huge range of tips we can pick up from this era. Watches are a fantastic addition to any man’s arm and add an unspeakable class if the item is subtle and refined. Leather belts, much less showy than the ones that are on display in contemporary fashion, can be used as an integral item to break up an ensemble and the addition of an outdoor hat, such as a trilby, can all be implemented into an outfit (trilbies or similar headwear, however, should never be worn indoors).

A final consideration is more of a finishing touch than it is an accessory, and that is the use of socks within an outfit. In a similar style to the ladies fashion of colour blocking, men’s socks can be used, in context with men’s shoes, to add pizzazz and extra spice to an outfit adding flashed of colour to a look. Patterned socks in complimenting colours can also liven up an outfit but, whereas zigzags and paisley are to be recommended, novelty or slogan socks are a big no.

Kieron casey is a fashion writer who blogs regularly for a number of fashion sites including Love Your Shoes

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