When it comes to dressing to get noticed, there are only fine nuances between turning heads and turning stomachs. We get it, everyone wants to be admired or sought after, but there’s a very thin line between garnering the good sort of attention, and yearning for ANY attention. The latter smacks of try-hardism and desperation, of superficiality and shallowness – not characteristics you necessarily want to be advertising.
The former, however, is borne out of respect and admiration, maybe even a soupçon of healthy envy. The mistake most guys make is thinking like a peacock. There’s certainly some evolutionary merit to ‘peacocking’ but conflating it with ostentation is getting it all backwards.
Instead, you want to stand out for your prowess in styling a look that is confident without being cringy. Thankfully, there are a few statement pieces that can help you do exactly that…
Checks were originally designed to be worn by the staff of Highland estates to delineate the various families, so in a sense they exist precisely to stand out. When used in conjunction with a voluminous classic silhouette such as an overcoat, checks – even the most subtle in design and colour – can punch above their proverbial weight.
Even monochromatic plaids, such as tonal grey Prince of Wales check, can catch the eye, but when you incorporate a subtle colour into the weave you’ve got a true statement piece on your shoulders.
You can dial the volume up further with vibrant checks too, of course, just make sure to keep the rest of your outfit subdued to avoid the whole thing becoming too noisy.
Multicoloured Retro Runners
The trend for retro runners shows no sign of tailing off, with the likes of New Balance, Nike, Adidas and Reebok being joined by a new breed of brands such as Axel Arigato and Zespa.
The juxtaposition of a contemporary outfit bookended with retro kicks is bold, but when said kicks are vibrant with colour, you’ve got a combination that will run and run.
Bold Colour Hoodie
The addition of a bright and vibrant hoodie in your wardrobe is not exactly groundbreaking, but it’s how you wear it that will make you stand out. Young stylish Parisians seem to have been nailing this look for years: take one bright coloured hoodie and layer it beneath a beautifully tailored, dark overcoat, with the hood peeking out of the back.
The combination of the hoodie’s streetwear credentials combined with the tailored classicism of a sleek wool coat is a beautiful thing, and the bigger and bolder the contrast, the better.
Whether it’s a heritage flight jacket silhouette or a more contemporary blouson shape, the shearling jacket doesn’t need bold colours or eye-catching patterns to make a statement.
Naturally bulky thanks to that thick dense pile of curly wool, and beautifully tactile owing to the buttery-soft nap of the leather hide, it’s a ‘look at me’ piece if there ever was one. Typically tan with a creamy shearling collar, it’s not gaudy or embellished, but it screams money.
Technical jackets like the windbreaker have become hugely popular in recent years as the performance genre on the whole has ridden the streetwear wave. Its roots though are firmly preppy and that’s how it should be worn (vintage images of JFK sailing in one are a good place to start looking for inspo).
Often designed with panels of contrasting block colours, it’s a great lightweight piece to layer over a polo shirt or tee, finished with chinos or jeans and retro kicks. The wow factor is all in the technical cloth, which, being nylon, typically has a shine to it.
For some great iterations, check out Gucci’s extensive collection of windbreakers, which includes an excellent collaboration with The North Face.
Sunglasses are themselves a great head-turner, but drop in some coloured lenses and you up the statement level. Covering up your eyes triggers an innately curious response among onlookers, so the bolder the frames the better.
Besides finding shapes that fit your face type, strong angular frames with coloured lenses pack plenty of attention-grabbing style. Eyewear brands such as Mykita, Jacques Mari Mage, Cutler & Gross and Gentle Monster will be right up your street.
Rose pink or dark green tinted lenses add that essential element of personality, too.
Although pastel tones are a softer, watered-down version of their full-blooded counterparts, apply them to a summer suit and you suddenly turn traditional tailoring into something much more contemporary and exciting.
With its slubby textural quality, linen is without doubt the best fabric to go with when rocking pastel tones. It has a beautiful natural drape that takes dye extremely well and gives the suit a much softer and more relaxed finish.
Back in the days of the Silk Road this lustrous natural fibre was the preserve of the rich and powerful, and was typically worn to advertise one’s social status. Nothing much has changed in 500 years.
Silk shirts had something of a bad rep, thanks to some admittedly terrible creations injecting some sleaze into the 1980s, but more recently brands such as Casablanca have completely restyled it using fun contemporary graphic treatments and loose, relaxed silhouettes.
They’re the perfect way to add some glamour to a summer party look. If you’re looking to make an entrance, nobody ever forgets the guy in the silk shirt.
Black Leather Jacket
From the iconic Perfecto that Marlon Brando wore in seminal 1953 flick The Wild One, to slick minimalist leather blousons, black leather jackets are statement pieces of outerwear that perfectly combine masculinity, luxury and artisanal craftsmanship.
In its various silhouettes, the leather jacket has been appropriated by just about every subculture we can name, owing to its inherent rebelliousness. Whether you opt for a Perfecto, cafe racer or smart contemporary blouson, you know you’re getting plenty of style bang for your buck.
While the big luxury houses all create great leather jackets (Saint Laurent and Dunhill being right up there with the best), be sure to check out the smaller leather specialists such as Cromford Leather. If bikes and motorcycling heritage is your thing, you can’t go wrong with Belstaff.
Once the preserve of American collegiate jocks, the varsity jacket was used to denote one’s sporting prowess, but has since become an icon of modern Americana, appropriated by all of the major fashion houses. It’s not hard to understand why – the masculine flight jacket silhouette combined with the contrast block colours and subtle graphics details make for a great piece of retro-inspired streetwear that garners attention wherever it goes.
Bold colours on a backdrop of most commonly a wool-blend felt (but also elevated leather versions too), the varsity is a functional piece of winter kit, too. Check out the styles by the likes of Axel Arigato, Rhude, Jeff Hamilton, Off-White, Burberry and Undercover for great iterations of this classic.
It’s amazing what a little tinkering with your silhouette can do when it comes to standing out from the crowd. In a sea of standard tapered trousers, a wide leg is positively exotic and completely changes the dynamic of a look, helping to cinch your waist and create a juxtaposition between your top and bottom halves.
Keep the colour palette muted and let the voluminous shape do all the hard work. You can find great value-for-money cotton styles at brands such as Wax London and COS, or if you feel like going deeper into your pockets, check out the likes of Rick Owens, Celine Homme and Acne Studios.