Getting the nod of approval from your dinner guests is easy when you dust off your Penfolds 2008 Special Bin 620. But would you get the same ovation if you chose your best clothes based on your knowledge of what is cool and sophisticated - and not mainstream - in the world of fashion?
Understanding which menswear designers are going to bring out your inner cool takes interest and commitment to witnessing them walk through the baptism of retail fire, which can make or break a designer's dream.
Here are five Australian menswear designers that are all highly acclaimed in their own right. They understand the intricacies of elite garment construction and bring a harmonious, refined architectural design to enhancing the wearer's frame.
If your personal look is minimal whilst understatedly complex, then Kiaya Daniels' relaxed sophistication should be on your shopping list. After graduating from the Fashion Design Studio in 2013, Daniels debuted her menswear label of the same name at The Innovators showcase the following year.
The collection was immediately noticed, with coverage in top glossy magazines. Designed for the Australian market, Daniels' collections reinterpret masculinity, balancing innovation with considered wearability.
Built upon refined minimalist architectural design combined with classic construction, HAN is now internationally recognised. Strongly rooted in performance and longevity, HAN (aka creative director Khim Hang) further explores detailing, design inspiration and creativity.
In turn, this has led him to work with super-stylist Margaret Zhang to move the collection into a stunning runway enthronement – think an asymmetrical shirt hem, or pinstripes with a twist.
For a long time Jayson Brunsdon wanted to enter the world of menswear after successful years of highly sought-after womenswear. His debut menswear collection revolved around a series of dinner blazers in rich brocades, injecting elegance and chivalry into a French mix of velvets, denims and rose-printed shirts.
Brunsdon also added a warm colour palette and a very brave selection of French lace to line the chest of panelled shirts. With his invention of the Garcons shorts, the debut collection can be mixed throughout the seasons and won't allow you to go anywhere without compliments.
Song for the Mute
The latest collection from this duo of designers is so fine, even the frayed hems on the lapels of the stunning overcoats look like a fashion illustration floating in mid-air. Dynamic and sublime artistry is used with the finest natural fibres.
One long-time fan of Song for the Mute, musician Lupe Fiasco, so adores the brand that he flew to Sydney to lead an army of men down the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2014. Sought-after menswear critique and model Nick Wooster says the collection is the most unique he has seen from Australia.
Having already achieved plenty of coverage in independent niche fashion titles, you may already know of this dynamic duo. In a short period of time they have generated international exposure by winning the Australian Woolmark prize, The Tiffany Designer Award and GQ Magazine's Designer of the Year.
Strateas Carlucci is also the first Australian men's designer to present at the invitation-only Paris Fashion Week. Each piece created by Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci includes interesting fabrics, master craftsmanship and sublime structures.
The science behind their work is intense, with a strong sense of classical influence through sharp cuts and considered construction with the use of high-tech fabrics. In the future their garments will likely become collector's items - just like your bottle of Grange.
What are your favourite Australian men's brands to wear? Let us know in the comments.
Extensive experience within retail trend analysis companies has earned Louise Edmonds street cred in the luxury menswear sector. The founder of MenStylePower.com utilises her passion and understanding of fashion to deliver a fresh, edgy take on men's style.