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Mastering the short trousers trend

Short trousers, that not only expose the ankle but also a big part of the shin have become a favourite with those Maltese men, who want to look on trend. Although we’re definitely a fan of the look, admittedly, it’s a hard one to pull off, especially if you’re short, stocky, or both.  Yet, you needn’t roll down the turn-ups just yet. Here’s how to wear short trousers regardless of your height or size.

The secret to mastering a look is to first understand its impact on your silhouette. Does it affect how tall or short you look? Does it emphasise certain parts or features of your body? Our legs appear longer or shorter, depending on the length and width of the trousers worn. This in turn affects how tall or short we look, as well as how slim or wide.

A shorter trouser leg will inevitably make one’s legs appear shorter, which on a taller man can help to minimise the difference in size between the upper and lower body halves, effectively rendering the silhouette more balanced.

However, shorter men cannot afford to have their legs appear shorter, which is why the short trousers look often ends up looking far from flattering. Here, the aim should be to counter the effect of visually shorter legs and consequently, appearing shorter. Limiting your choice of short trousers to those that reach not higher than just above the ankle is a good starting point.

Second, you want to avoid tops and bottoms in contrasting colours as these will visually divide your silhouette into two small halves, when what you need is one long silhouette. For this, nothing beats monochrome outfits but similar colours can also work well while also rendering an outfit more interesting.

Your choice of shoes can also affect how short or tall your legs appear. For best results, opt for shoes in a neutral tone – nothing too bulky nor too fancy. Ultimately, you want to keep the focus on your upper body, namely your face.

Another undesired consequence of shorter trousers is that they emphasise width, making legs appear wider. This is actually a good thing for men with skinny or slender legs but not so flattering on those with muscular or chunky legs. A skinny fit is a ‘no-go’ here but neither is a loose fit. The best option are slim fit trousers which leave enough room not to be too revealing of size and shape but not wide enough to further cut off from the needed visual height.

Final note

Trends can help a man keep his look fresh and stylish but need to be adapted to one’s physique rather than simply copied. With short trousers, the trick is to minimise the reduction in visual height and avoid one’s legs from appearing too stocky.

 

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How to wear white linen trousers

When it’s unbearably hot, nothing beats a pair of linen trousers for comfort. Yet, despite how great they feel and how quintessentially summery white is as a colour, white linen trousers are seen as a mature man’s favourite, making it hard to see how they could be a suitable option for men who want a modern look. However, a bit of styling and coordination with the right pieces can turn white linen trousers from a dated option into a timeless piece, and here’s how.

So as to maximise comfort, linen trousers typically come in a relaxed fit, which allows plenty of room for air to circulate. As comfortable as that might be, a loose fit is somewhat old-fashioned. For a modern look, roll up the trousers, just enough to expose part or all of the ankle. Keep it neat by aiming for a narrow turn-up that doesn’t look too bulky, as to make the lower legs appear too heavy. The trick is to make this an accent and not the focal point of your outfit.

Equally important is what you coordinate your white linen trousers with. Their loose fit can easily make your outfit look too relaxed, especially if worn with a loose-fitting shirt. To keep your outfit looking sleek, aim for balance by combining your trousers with slightly more structured pieces, such as a waistcoat or sport coat. However, avoid very structured or corporate-looking pieces, as these will contrast too much with the flowing texture of the linen trousers.

If you’d rather keep layers to the bare minimum, opt for a slim-fit shirt (not form-hugging) with a semi-stiff collar, for that bit of structure. Tunics are best avoided. For a more elegant (think cocktail party) look, wear the shirt tucked in but with the sleeves rolled up. So as to complement the soft texture of your outfit, consider belts in suede or woven cotton – polished leather will look too harsh and formal in comparison.

Similarly, light and casual shoes, such as stylish trainers or canvas shoes will work well. If it’s a dressier look you’re after, a pair of brogues, especially in suede, will also make a great match. Because of the trousers’ loose fit, loafers won’t work. They’ll just make your feet look too narrow. So as to keep the outfit looking light and fresh, black shoes seem inappropriate, as do socks.

Ultimately, white linen trousers will always result in a laid-back look – it just doesn’t have to be ‘midnight walk on the beach’ laid-back.

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Combining coloured trousers with other colours

For so long, men’s trousers were only available in neutral colours with at most, a subtle pattern that distinguishes a trendy pair from a classical one. Nowadays, men have a much wider range of colours to choose from, some bright, some muted. However, neutral colours remain by far most men’s preferred choice, mainly because of the ease with which they can be combined with other colours. Trousers in non-traditional colours, such as red, yellow, green, and turquoise pose too much of a conundrum for those unsure of their colour-combination skills. Yet, such colours are actually very simple to combine. Here’s how.

Neutral colours

Combining neutral colours with your brighter trousers is always your safest bet. Going for another strong colour is almost certain to result in a clash of colour, that will make the outfit look disjointed. In case you’re not too sure if beige, grey, or navy will work well just go for white. That’s one colour that definitely blends well with any other. You needn’t stick to solid colours though. As long as the background is in a neutral colour, a patterned top will work just as well, especially if the pattern includes a hint of the trousers’ colour. It gives continuity to the outfit, without making it look too coordinated. This also applies to accessories e.g. pocket squares.

Contrast 

The monochrome look does not work well with trousers in brighter colours. They need tops in a lighter/darker colour to tone down the intensity of the colour. This is why neutral colours work so well with such trousers, as they keep the outfit looking balanced. However, other colours can also be combined, as long as there is some contrast between the lower and upper halves of the outfit.

Below are some colour options that I find work well with trousers in non-traditional colours. They are not the only combinations that work but are merely intended to illustrate the points above and help you get started. 

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Shorts – the right fit and length

 

Shorts offer some welcome relief against the cruel temperatures typical of the Maltese summer, making them a definite favourite for the season. Comfortable as they might be, it’s easier to look poorly dressed in shorts, than in trousers. Whilst this is often a result of what they are worn with, it’s also the result of the wrong choice of fit and length.

As for length, whereas the trend is for shorts that barely reach mid-thigh, the truth is most men are not comfortable exposing so much of their legs. On the other hand, shorts that reach below the knee are rarely flattering. By covering most part of the legs, they make them appear too short compared to the rest of the body, giving the impression one is always about to trip. The ideal length is just above the knee, with the option of going for slightly higher or lower in order to visually balance the legs’ length in proportion to the upper body.

Final word

It’s easy to assume that all shorts will keep you cooler. That is far from true. Of course fit and length play a major part in how effective a pair of shorts is in keeping you feeling comfortable in the heat. However, equally important is the choice of fabric. Thick or synthetic fabrics will make it unbearably hot. Hence, it’s always important to opt for cotton or linen and check the fabric’s thickness for comfort.

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The rolled up trousers guide for short men

Trouser cut

Rolled up trousers work best on slimmer cuts, such as bootleg or slim fit but not skinny cuts, which would give a very feminine look. The trouser cut should follow the natural width of the legs, visually creating the illusion of one continuous line all along the length of the leg including the covered and exposed parts. On a wider cut, the rolled up end will result in too strong a contrast between the width of the trousers and that of the exposed leg thus, drawing the eye only towards the (shortened) length of the trousers. Low waisted cuts will also visually shorten the legs as they give the illusion that the legs start from the trousers’ waistline.

Bulk 

Pin rolls shouldn’t look too chunky, which is usually the result of too many folded layers or very thick fabric. Whilst turn-ups can give an extra dose of style to an outfit, being located too far down, they should never be the centre-piece. People should be focusing on your face, not your legs/feet. Therefore, trousers should never be too long as this will inevitably lead to more layers to fold.

Trouser length 

How long you wear your trousers will also have a visual effect on your height. Rolled up trousersusually reach just above the ankle or slightly lower. However, men’s trouser lengths are getting shorter meaning your trousers can even be worn up to mid to lower shin, especially if complemented with a pair of boots in the same colour as the trousers and socks, allowing for the legs to look longer.

 Colour combinations

 In fact, for short men to carry off pin rolls, the focus shouldn’t be limited to the trousers themselves but also to how the other pieces affect one’s silhouette. Monochrome is considered perfect for looking taller as it avoids that break-up of the silhouette into a top and bottom half. Therefore, it should make turn-ups safer.

However, monochrome can be a bit boring, not to say restrictive, especially given the limited range of colours that most men would feel comfortable wearing from head to toe. Hence, it’s OK to opt for varying yet, similar colours – a tonal look. You still don’t want too much of a strong contrast and always keep lighter tones on top as the other way round makes the top appear heavier. 

I would also suggest to keep the belt minimal in a way that it blends in with the trousers’ colour, making it hardly noticeable. This prevents it from creating too strong a horizontal line that breaks the silhouette. 

Top layers 

In addition to combining colours wisely, how your top layers fit, as well as their length also affects how short/tall you appear. Stick to shirts, tops, and/or jackets in your size which in combination with the trousers’ cut will keep your silhouette balanced (size-wise), as opposed to top-heavy. Just as you can make your legs appear longer by avoiding low-waist cuts, by keeping your tops to just below the waist, you keep more of your lower half exposed.

Rolled-up trousers and shoes combinations

Rolled-up trousers must be worn with the right shoes and my idea of the right shoes are those which keep your feet looking narrow but not necessarily longer. You want shoes that keep your feet looking proportional to the rest of your body whilst visually elongating the legs. Bulky shoes do the exact opposite. Moccasins, loafers, sandals with vertical straps, chukka and Chelsea boots, as well as Converse all look great with pin rolls even on short guys. Just as you’d avoid too much contrast between your trousers and tops, combine colours that give your lower half a flowing look. This can be achieved by opting for similar trouser and shoe colours, or which at least blend effortlessly with one another.

Final word 

I know how fashion trends seem to be set with only tall men in mind and how disappointing it can be when the end-result is not what you hoped for. With these tips, I’m hoping you’ll be able to keep looking great and confident when wearing turn-ups. Just remember that the trick is to compensate by keeping the eye drawn vertically, thus creating the illusion of height.

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Choosing a swimsuit for your height and body shape

What would summer be without days relaxing on the beach or by a pool? Quite frankly, unbearable, which is why there is no other piece of summer clothing more essential than the swimsuit. When looking for a swimsuit, you want one that is first and foremost comfortable but just as important is how it makes you look. Here are some basic tips on how to find a swimsuit for your height and body shape.

Long swimsuits reduce visual height, making them more appropriate for men with long legs. Their height affords a bit of length, such as that of board shorts, which reach just above the knee, without making the person look short.

In the case of very tall men, a long swimsuit will help balance the disproportion in size between torso and legs. 

Nevertheless, a suit that exceeds knee-length should always be considered as to long to be stylish or comfortable.

 The short man

 Since long swimsuits reduce visual height, on a short man, they will result in the legs appearing proportionately much shorter than the torso. The shorter height of the person will also emphasise the length of the suit.

Thus, what the short man should aim for, is a suit that does not exceed mid-thigh level. It can also give the illusion of longer legs.

That’s a length that’s shorter than what some men are used to and consequently, what they’re comfortable with, making the choice of fit especially important. 

The skinny man

With a smaller physique, the skinny man needs a slightly loose-fitting swimsuit that can add a bit of volume to the silhouette, without appearing overwhelming.

In addition to a slightly loose fit, horizontal stripes and contrast detail can also add volume. In proportion to the physique, patterns should be in a small scale, as large motifs will look overpowering.

 The big man 

In order to balance the size of this physique, a loose-fitting swimsuit is the chubby man’s most flattering option, at least in terms of style. An elastic waistband or tie cords are essential to keep the suit from sliding, although the best option against this are the tight-fitting square-cut shorts. Their tight fit prevents them from sliding and exposing that unsightly plumber’s crack.  

Rather than horizontal stripes, vertical or diagonal will look best, as these have a slimming effect. In addition, pattern sizes should be on the larger scale in proportion to that of the physique. 

The athletic man 

All styles will look good on this physique, as long as the visual effect of a swimsuit’s length on one’s height is taken into consideration.  

Colour 

Colour and motif are very much a personal choice. However, it’s also worthy to keep in mind where and in whose company a swimsuit will be worn. Is a suit in a bright colour and featuring a fun pattern the best option to wear to a pool-side barbecue with colleagues? Maybe not! 

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I once worked at a place where my toilet breaks were timed – yes, such places do exist. That is where the type of trouser fly became an issue – one I had never really thought much about before. When all I had were two minutes, wasting one of them undoing the buttons of my fly was something I could not afford, making the zip front the only convenient option. Now whilst the type of closure may not always be the determining factor in your choice of trousers, all men have a preference for either one or the other – meaning both have their advantages. 

Some historical background

The button fly is the original type of closure used in trousers, including the earliest models of jeans. It was only in 1913 that the ‘clasp locker’, as the modern zip was called at the time was invented, having taken some twenty years to develop. Initially, its use was mainly for closing boots and tobacco pouches, eventually being used in clothing (for leather jackets) in 1925. 

Until recently, the zip was the undisputed preferred type of closure. As the discerning consumer became more drawn to styles that carried a more authentic look, the button fly made its comeback and seems like it’s here to stay.

Zip or buttons – a comparison

Functionality is a crucial factor in our choice of clothing and this is what I would say is what the zip versus buttons debate is really all about. In terms of ease of use, the zip wins hands down. In fact, the central message of a 1930s marketing campaign for children’s wear featuring the zip was how easy it is to use, even by children – so easy they could get dressed by themselves. Undoing buttons obviously takes much longer and requires more effort, at least till the buttonholes loosen up. Some buttons, especially on tighter jeans require strong fingers to fasten – and patience.

So why on earth, when the pace of life is taking on heart-pounding speed is the button fly still an option? Well, mainly because apart from ease of use, it has more advantages than the zip. Unlike the zip, buttons do not break or get stuck and if they’re damaged, they can easily be repaired/replaced. A broken zip will render your trousers unwearable and is not always replaceable, especially in the case of jeans. Consequently, if you’re looking for durability, the button fly is the better option.

Durability is also a serious concern when it comes to preserving the state of your most prized manly rubies. As the comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said, “That is one place on my wardrobe I do not need sharp interlocking metal teeth”.

Moreover, fade fanatics will only consider the button fly. This due to the colouration this creates on the fly, making it more aesthetically appealing. This is caused by the bulk of the buttons as ultimately, a button fly is also bulkier than its flatter alternative. 

This is also important to keep in mind, especially in relation to the trousers’ fit. OK, a bit of bulk can look flattering, as long as everything else doesn’t look squashed. Therefore, a button fly goes best on looser fitting trousers, whereas on slim-fitting models, a zip fly is your best option. 

Final word 

Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the zip or button fly, or simply have your preference but it doesn’t really affect your choice of trousers, there are pros and cons to consider for both options. At the end of the day, what matters most is which of these is most important to you. So, which one will it be?