Floral prints are blossoming in menswear this fall
BY ALEX MIGDAL, EDMONTON JOURNAL AUGUST 19, 2013
That men's dress shirt you're eyeing from afar may seem colourful, but take a few steps closer and you're likely to unearth a blossoming floral print.
Avoid the urge to treat them like pesky weeds, though. Long considered a staple of women's fashion, florals are quickly sprouting up in menswear. And these aren't the overgrown pink petals that flooded your grandmother's wardrobe. Men can now opt for a more understated look, says Chad Helm, co-owner of Edmonton's The Helm (10125 104th St.).
"Men's floral does seem to have a masculine tone to it," he says. "The patterns that you see in men's clothing tend to be smaller - neat patterns, as we call them. Micropatterns are easier to wear."
The Helm boasts one of the city's most prominent fashion green thumbs, selling floralpatterned dress shirts, ties, bow ties, pocket squares and socks. These don't resemble harsh runway looks, though; Tom Ford's upcoming spring collection, for instance, features splashes of large, bright flowers on glossy pants and jackets.
The store's collection is considerably toned down, featuring flowers so small that they initially look like patterns. These looks offer versatility for the everyday man, Helm says.
"For day-to-day dressing, you don't want floral pants with the opposite patterned floral shirt and a bright pink jacket," he says. "A lot of guys wear hints of it. A guy will wear a floral shirt paired up with a nice blue jacket or with some kind of cotton sport jacket for summer. If you're going to wear it, you don't have to go crazy with it."
Some men may perceive floral as a threat to their masculinity, but Helm says that's becoming less of a concern as menswear shies away from traditional stripes and patterns. He compares floral to the pink trend of the early 2000s, considered trendy and cutting-edge at the time. Nowadays, Helm says everyday businessmen will walk into his store sporting a pink shirt.
Men's floral could soon see a similar evolution, and is expected to flourish this fall. Look out for retro floral patterns with a psychedelic edge and modernized Hawaiian prints (swap Tommy Bahama with black-and-white elegance). Hats, belts, suits and socks with floral prints will also be fair game this fall and spring.
Christy Stevenson, owner of Refinery Clothing Co. (14263 23rd Ave.), says floral accents on cuffs and lapels especially appeal to men with a budding interest in the trend. "We wouldn't do full-on floral, but the flashes - men are very, very attracted to that," she says.
Stevenson carries a select number of floral dress shirts for pops of colour in her store. That's because the middleaged demographic tends to stick to muted colours such as navy, black and grey, she says.
"When they see floral, they're drawn to it. But the chances of them actually picking a floral shirt over a shirt that they can wear to work and go out in are rare."
For the more conservative man, Stevenson says floral ties are the perfect way to spruce
up an average business look. Paisley is also an appropriate replacement that Stevenson predicts will be a hot commodity this fall.
"The younger generation is embracing floral, though, and they don't care," she says. "In Edmonton, it's really a tough sell. But you will always get that guy who wants to stand out in a crowd."