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Men in full bloom

Published : Jan 15, 2016, 10:59 pm IST
Updated : Jan 15, 2016, 10:59 pm IST

If you study or follow fashion closely, you will bump into several surprising facts like this one: Until the 1800s, men, not just women, sported floral designs and botanical prints.

fashion 1_0.jpg
 fashion 1_0.jpg

If you study or follow fashion closely, you will bump into several surprising facts like this one: Until the 1800s, men, not just women, sported floral designs and botanical prints. But the practice ended with the industrial age when men felt obliged to suit themselves in dark colours. Then, coinciding with the flower power movement of the 1960s, young men on an alternative bent bought vintage Hawaiian shirts and had them tailored to fit snugly over their rolled-up blue jeans. Hippies wore tie-dyed fabrics and flower prints. Then, as quickly as it arose, the floral trend retreated. And we all were left wondering, “Where have all the flowers gone ” But fortunately, Earth’s very own spring style statement — the sap flows, the soil parts and the green shafts bursting into life — have inspired fashion makers especially in the power suiting category this season.

What makes this direction different from the all-over digital print trend that has only just receded “Well, in the best examples, there is only a certain sombreness of tone in the prints themselves. There is nothing cheerful or brash about these flowers. Think of painterly blooms full of brooding detail reminiscent of Flemish masters such as Jan Brueghel the Elder rather than the neat, small-scale prints of traditional men’s summer shirts,” says designer Arjun Saluja of Rishta.

Something else which is saving you from looking like you’re wearing chintz curtains is that the trend is being fused with sportswear — sweatshirts in particular where details such as ribbing on cuffs and waistbands offsets the floweriness, reining it in to something more wearable. Designer Paresh Lamba says, “Yes, a big floral print makes a bold statement but when framed in an easy-going, familiar shape such as a sweatshirt, bomber jacket or simple T-shirt, it is made less challenging especially when presented with plain contrast sleeves or finishing. It is infinitely more modern than that summer party staple, the floral shirt, and is a more streamlined alternative to the classic Hawaiian. There is a long history of men wearing flowers and horticultural prints and this is a refreshing update on that story.”

“Start small,” advises designer DiyaRajvvir. “The neck tie has always been the spring board for more adventurous prints and colours in fashion. This is a great way to experiment without a huge expense or going too far outside of your comfort zone. Update a suit or blazer with a pop of colour and interesting print. You can also add this in fun and subtle ways like botanical printed socks, a kerchief or the band around a cap. If you like it, maybe you’re ready for the next level. One of the elements that makes this trend so elegant is the dark background. This creates a colour anchor and adds to the sophistication and drama of the print. Start with a floral-print button-down top. With an over-sized floral print, you’ll find that you’ll have several colours within the print to coordinate your look. Select one or two colours to work with. Look for colours already in your wardrobe to integrate into your style smoother. Put a solid-coloured, coordinating T-shirt underneath the printed top. Top it off with a blazer and slacks in the colour palette that you just created. To bring the colour and print to the exterior of the outfit, add a kerchief to the pocket. A folded tie, a scarf or swatch of material will work as a makeshift kerchief. Or you can add a flower to the lapel. The more the contrast between the kerchief and blazer the better. This will help the colour stand out and tie it back to the botanical print of the top.”