It is rare that I applaud fashion. Style is far more important to me than trend, and it is to that Pantheon of style icons that I pay homage. As Oscar Wilde once said,“fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” It is that unappealing temporary charm that puts me off fashion; that risk of buying something which will be worthless in half a year. I am never a slave to fashion.
However, fashion has its moments. They are rare and fleeting, but they are there. Once in a while it learns to provide practical style which will last from season to season, year to year. One particular autumn and winter trend has been the Americana look; checks and plaids, sport shirts, corduroy and cosy thick weave scarves. “Nothing” you may cry, “that hasn’t been in GAP for the last ten years!” Perhaps you are right. Perhaps there is nothing that revolutionary about the look, but does there need to be? It’s just something that fits so very well with the cold season. Cosy materials, patterns echoing a bright practicality, and accessories galore make the look thoroughly appropriate for the coming months.
Plaid and denim
One of the most comforting things about this look is that you can relax in the clothing without fear. It is a very casual look and the less contrived and the more ‘lived-in’ the outcome the better. Denim does not have to be skinny, dark and straight. In fact, the best denim to wear with this urban cowboy uniform is washed, old looking denim. The dark and shiny Dior Homme jeans are not appropriate – the plaid and denim man has to look like he cares less about the fineness of threads and more about unswept leaves on the driveway.
Boots and coats
Plaid shirts and college-style blazers and cord jackets are very charming in a New England way. However, the key to the outback dandy’s image is the lack of formality. Lapels begone! Big chunky coats are a central part of this look. Hacking jackets and duffel coats offset the hick charm of plaid and check and keep the palette under control; their versatility allows for multiple layering.
Footwear should be carefully considered also. The urban cowboy has no need for Wellington boots, but practical shoes and boots with a Commando sole do work well and are very comfortable for cold winter days. They also help to promote the casual weekender appeal of the look.
Scarves and hats
Scarves for this look are big and chunky. No skinny scarves or delicate silk here. A man needs a scarf that looks almost childlike in its naivety. Huge weave, snake-like creations and tartan are the key trends for scarves. If wearing tartan, avoid wearing with too many checked or plaid items – overkill would be a shame.
Hats are important for the urban cowboy. He likes to be outside, it reminds him of being at home on the range, and he needs some practical headgear to keep his ears warm. Beanies, woodsman caps and driving hats are the order of the day. Nothing too elaborate, just a little nod to design by incorporating a houndstooth or check pattern.