The onset of Spring and Summer have inspired the topic for this blog - floral patterns in gentlemen’s clothing. If you attended a social event over the last weekend, you may have been struck by the fact that several ladies in your acquaintance are sporting their flowery summer frocks. In women’s fashion, flowers and sunshine seem as timeless a match as strawberries and cream.
But what about men’s attire? This is, after all, the 21st Century. Are we really stuck in that old-fashioned mode of thinking that allows women to be bold and funky and fun with the colours and patterns of their clothing, while the rules of masculinity demand austere monotones in clothing even at this most colourful time of year?
Of course not. Ever since Hawaiian shirts unceremoniously imposed themselves on our collective sensibilities, floral prints have been a perfectly valid part of male casual style (remember Bermuda shorts, anyone?). Which is great for a pool party or beach bar on holiday. But what about formalwear? Can you really pull off flowers with a tailored suit?
Again we are compelled to say, of course, only this time in the affirmative. Because, in our view, there is very little that you cannot incorporate into formal men’s fashion, as long as you do it with taste and restraint. So here’s how to make floral work for you with your spring summer look.
The floral tie
If you want to explore botanical options in your look, a flowery tie is your starter for ten. Floral print ties are nothing new in the gentleman’s fashion toolkit and give you a great introduction to potential and the pitfalls of going floral. The truth is, some flowery ties look awful, so learning how to make one work for you is a good foundation from which to explore further. As a rule of thumb, pair floral ties with otherwise muted, plain suits to create a focal point. Dark blues and reds can work if you are careful to colour match the print on the tie, but charcoals, blacks and browns are safest. Stick to a plain white shirt, and err on the skinny side with the width of your tie.
The floral shirt
The fact is, the modern gent doesn’t always want to be a wallflower (excuse the pun) brooding in an understated black-and-white suit. He wants to express himself, he wants to be noticed, he wants the vibrancy of his personality to shine through outwardly in what he wears. Shirts have become a well-tried route to making a bold statement with a formal suit, and there aren’t many statements bolder than a floral print. As guardians of taste, we feel compelled to suggest that it takes a certain je ne sais quoi to pull off a Hawaiian shirt with a suit. When it comes to matching a shirt to your suit and still looking great, a two-tone, single image print is more than enough to add some flair without wandering into the realms of cabaret or fancy dress. We love Liberty prints as they are the champions when it comes to shirts and linings.
Finally, once you are really confident with your nose for an eye-catching floral design - and if you are on coffee-and-doughnut terms with your tailor - you can start to experiment with adding floral detailing to your suit itself. Lapels seem to be an in-vogue location for adding a little flowery trimming to your jacket, but it could also be the cuffs, around your pockets, or even something as simple as your blazer buttons. While the whole point of going floral might be to make a statement, less really can be more in this regard - it’s the small little details that will make people really focus on what you are wearing and how fabulous you look.
Ready to take the next step? Well why not book an appointment to discuss all things floral and beyond for your next bespoke suit. And don’t forget the coffee and doughnuts.