The new modesty? Club collar shirt from Unconditional.
After a long week I shunned the chance to go out and instead chose a quiet night in. In addition to catching up with a few podcasts I had a copy of Elle Collections to keep me company. You might question why I would admit to this on the pages of the blog but I'm not ashamed by it. I rather enjoyed my quiet Friday night. Now, of course this guide for Autumn Winter 2010 but I was struck by the publications diverse mix of season summation. Most biannual guides purely focus on the goings on of the catwalk by using cut outs and little else. Elle Collections manages to bring the collections and trends to life in a way that is sorely lacking in similar men's fashion publications. In addition to beautiful imagery the issue is bursting with inspiring, well written text. I could bore some of you with extracts from Germaine Greer's piece The New Age or with nuggets from both sides of the fence on the Fur Debate but it is the Five Things we love feature that really left a lasting impression on me, Mark Hooper's suggestion of Modesty in particular...
Modesty. Less flesh, more clothes, demure is the new sexy.
"In the grand scheme of things, it's probably a good thing that the British are no longer considered a nation of prudes and stiff-laced Victorian killjoys. But sometimes (usually as I'm surveying the war zone of binge drinking vulgarians on the high street of a weekend), I can't help thinking we've lost something along the way.
Like it or not, modesty is part of our national physche. Understatement is what we do best, from our tongue in cheek humour to our inclination towards tolerance over extremism. It might be something to do with the weather, we're literally mild by nature. And it used to translate to our dress sense as well. Even Beau Brummel, the archetypal 19th century dandy, preached the value of good style over peacock fashion, famously declaring of a person whose dress sense caused heads to turn, 'Then he is not well dressed.'"
Modesty as loved by Mark Hooper (editor of Electric!).
Hooper went on to describe that Brummel would have approved of this season's womenswear collections, where modesty and purism were the most buzzwords - most notably with Phoebe Philo's designs for Celine (If I were a woman I would long for Celine, hell I long for Celine as it is!). Of course, the wonderful world of menswear has always been the more conservative. Where extremes are measured in cuff lengths. The details make the difference. With the whirlwinds of fashion weeks though it can be quite easy to forget. This concept of modest but well dressed is something I will explore further this season and next. What's wrong with being a little stiff laced?