A leather onesie, leopard print, fur collars, a leather suit, and some fluorescent neoprene pants. Despite what you may be thinking, this is not the setting for the latest instalment of poorly written erotica. This is in fact a list of the current trends that have come from the most recent men's autumn winter collections in Europe.
In comparison, my own winter wardrobe is about as exciting as dry toast. A simple selection of jumpers or pullovers, two jackets and maybe three pairs of pants that live on a rotation basis, all in black, white and a thousand shades of grey. And not because I think I look particularly good in these colours, but because I'm a little hesitant when it comes to taking up anything considered "on trend".
You see, trends can be a tricky business, and a business that can be very easy to get wrong – too much of one thing here, too little of another thing there, and the next thing you know you look like you've spent the afternoon playing dress-up with Nicki Minaj. However, do it right and you'll manage to not only look continually fresh, but you'll own some timeless items that can be busted out for a few good years.
But this year, I promised myself that come winter I would actually break out of my comfort zone and purchase some clothing that would have my wardrobe looking less like a 1990s remake of an Ingmar Bergman film and more like a grown man living in 2013. This also meant finding out what some of the top trends of the season would be. Thankfully, this wasn't as hard as I feared and could be summed up in three easy points, none of which contained even a hint of a leather onesie. And yes, I was slightly disappointed.
The focus for menswear this winter is apparently to add a dash of colour, be it to your suit or your weekend gear. “It's all about accessorising with colour,” declares David Jones' Jenna Dinicola. “Whether it's with a plum scarf, graphic woollen knit or a great pair of cobalt chinos. Military greens and burgundy shades are a versatile part of any wardrobe for men this season and are a welcome change from black.” Try Australian labels such as Vanishing Elephant and Jac+Jack – both have released winter ranges that are providing men a great mix of colours in both shirts and pants that will make sure you're not blending in to the surroundings.
Last year saw a big resurgence in the cardigan. These were cute at the time but are really best left for your nephew. Instead, invest in a decent coat. Something like a simple trench coat, as it is versatile enough for a weekday or the weekend. The additional warmth factors are obvious, but the layering effect is also something that men are slowly starting to learn has its own benefits style-wise, giving an outfit a little extra texture and depth. A good coat should give you extra shape at the shoulders without being too boxy in the body. This might sound like a contradiction, but trial and error is the only way to get the fit right. Arthur Galan and Weathered have some perfect options for the average budget. If you are keen on splurging-slash-investing, woollen maestro Ermenegildo Zegna and Armani have both released a range of more – shall we say – luxe options.
An array of patterns were sent down the runway this season. Some were subtle and some resembled the test pattern on the television. Suits, coats, shirts, right down to the socks, were all done in tartan, check and houndstooth, and even the old-school Prince of Wales plaid had a resurgence. Whilst the average male might be rather hesitant about investing in an outfit that could have him looking like a checkerboard, a good compromise is using the print as an accessory, or better yet, as a blazer. Admittedly a slightly preppy look and maybe not suited for every occasion, blazers are still a stylish and functional way to lift the tone of an outfit and can be busted out with a pair of chinos and white shirt in lieu of the more traditional suit. Both Herringbone and Paul Smith, known for their smart use of patterns, have released a range of blazers that are well tailored and flattering to most shapes. Also, keep an eye out for traditional prints such as tweed. This adds a hint of sophistication to any outfit.
What trends have you spotted for men this winter?