Floral prints in spring might seem like an obvious fashion trend for women’s clothing, but in menswear that has never quite been the case. However, it’s hard to deny there isn’t a bloom- excuse the pun- of botanical patterns emerging this spring.
Designer brands like Humor, Cuckoo’s Nest and high-end Versace have been advocating floral designs for longer than most others and are recognized for their forward-thinking and eccentric characteristics, but a change in attitudes sees the likes of Ralph Lauren and Hugo BOSS– usually noted for a timeless style- join these diverse labels to incorporate the quirky print onto their latest collections. The stigma attached to such styles of being considered feminine has prevented it from earning widespread popularity in the past but that notion seems firmly consigned to history as it makes its way into the everyday young male’s wardrobe.
From high-end to high-street, the florals are evident across the full spectrum of menswear this season and it is one trend which has been absent since a heyday in the seventies and early eighties during the era of flower power. There’s a sense of retro appeal to a look like this- think of cool style icons such as Al Pacino in Scarface rather than your 60 year-old uncle or a stereotypical American tourist though.
The main outlet to exhibit this trend in an everyday outfit has been t-shirts and shirts in recent times, with a wide variety available in both. But it hasn’t remained exclusive to these mediums and you’ll just as likely see botanically inspired designs on outerwear, shoes or accessories these days, proving its influence is stretching. Check out Y3’s new range which features a host of floral printed garments including: flip flops, plimsolls, shorts, t-shirts and zip-ups and others.
But how on earth do you pull the look off without looking like a walking-talking flowerbed?
Thomas Merrigan, blogger at Oxbloodandwolf.wordpress.com, said: “Florals have seen a strong comeback this year but they take some guts to pull off.
Avoid partnering with other prints, opt for solid colours from the pattern for any accompanying garments. Try layering a floral shirt under a sweater, or add it with accessories, such as plimsolls or a cap.”
The question of “Can any man wear floral prints?” remains a bone of contention for some but those with doubts should consider the Guardian’s recent comments on the subject: “With dark blooms and twisted stems taking root at Gucci, Prada, Saint Laurent, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Dries Van Noten, it’s a trend that looks a lot tougher than you might think.”
Naturally it is quite a bold trend and if you can’t face the attention-grabbing nature of the print you can still use techniques such as layering to wear it much more subtly. If you’re wearing a floral printed t-shirt, shirt or jumper, try dull the impact by wearing a block coloured bomber jacket over the top or simply make sure the rest of the outfit is constructed of dark hues.
The print’s stereotypically light and delicate nature has been replaced by a stonger, edgier image which has led to the coining of terms such as “Aloha Noir” to describe the new rebellious image and the masculine transformation it seems to have undergone.
According to Shane Kurup of fashionbeans.com:
“The Hawaiian shirt has suffered a barrage of bad press for decades. The original floral garment for men was the invention of Japanese and Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs of 1930s Hawaii, who began stitching sections of old kimonos together to create colourful and eye-catching garments for tourists. However, as fashion is a fickle master, it was only a matter of time before the Aloha shirt made a glorious come back.”
Get the look:
In the summer the print will be particularly effective for use on short sleeve shirts, ideal for pairing with sandals and chinos, or in more formal instances some loafers.