Dog-day fashion

Ah, how I almost long for the good old days - back when fashion shows provided plenty of those 'You expect me to wear that?' moments.

Those were the days when male models paraded down catwalks trying their best to sell us on the notion of wearing capes with masks and kilts.

While there were a few such moments at the recent European shows (flared silk chinos and murses – a clutch bag for men) and last summer's shows (rubber monokinis, floral shorts and sheer lace shirts), the most outrageous accessory sent down the runway here in Australia at the recent Men's shows at Melbourne fashion week was an English Bulldog.

That's not to say it wasn't fun. Melbourne's Docklands hosted over 300,000 people who lived and breathed fashion and mixed with the press, the bloggers, vloggers and self-appointed Twitterarti.

With three runway shows a day, pop-up stores, parties and plenty of people dressing with the aim to impress there was a lot to take in.

But this year I was there for return of men's fashion to the main runways; The Designer Award winners from Sydney; Song For The Mute, Jack London's off-site show, and finally the much hyped men's runway extravaganza on Thursday night complete with supermodel Helena Christensen.

What was presented was all very respectable and safe (if not a little same-same from designer to designer).

I could go on about the tailored jackets from Jack London and Arthur Galan AG, the pea coat, (every designer seemed to have their version of last year's Burberry jacket), to the double breasted suits by Joe Farage, (yay the skinny suit is done with), the chunky knit cable cardigans from Vanishing Elephant (that I still say are for grandads), and the fact that you can expect to see more checks, more argyle, more velvet (Autonomy) and plenty of burnt reds and orange in stores.

But let's just say that it'll be a fight between the American preppy (slim chinos and braces), the Madmen TV series-influenced look and the Elvis 50s rebel look (leather pants and jackets) to see who wins out this winter.

I could also go on about the fact that I can't see most guys feeling comfortable in slim fit ankle-length drop crotch track-suit style pants known as meggings (mens' leggings) or wearing their suit pants tucked into their boots; nor do I see many cold enough days here in OZ where a snood (a cross between a hood and a scarf) would get much use.

The fact is most of what was shown was perfectly wearable and whether age-appropriate will be up to the individual guy to decide (though we all know that catwalks are a bit like dressing rooms in stores – sometimes what looks great there doesn't look as good when you get home).

But what stood out the most was the return of the wash board abs as the opened shirt-look made a less-than welcome appearance outside summer.

Of course perfect bodies on male models is a given – after all, that's how they get their jobs.

But while I'm a respectable size 32, my physique is not really beach-ready if you get my drift. For this reason I have always appreciated that winter is the time I don't have to walk about my shirts flapping open for all the world to see.

I can't imagine many other guys pulling any trend that expects them to reveal more than their personality during the colder months either.

Perhaps we should give up the shopping this winter and head to the gym instead.

Are you a slave to catwalk fashion - and do you plan to brave the cold and bare all this winter?

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