The rake

    the modern voice of classic elegance

    StyleDecember 2017

    How to Wear Green

    Why more verdant sartorial pastures offer a breath of fresh air – and how to pull of the colour of nature, growth, freshness and fertility.

    captionMad Men's Don Draper wears a bottle green single-breasted suit with a white pocket handkerchief, Omega Seamaster DeVille and striped silk tie in Season 6.

    If an aphorism packs rhythm and rhyme, it’s almost certainly worth dismissing (lack of rhythm and rhyme fully intended there). A friend in need can often, if we’re honest, be a thorn in a chap’s proverbial, and anyone who still thinks ‘I’ comes before ‘E’, except after ‘C’ has clearly never considered the science of species, or felt weird seizing a feisty foreigner.

    But nowhere are these cod-poetic maxims more trite than in the realm of menswear. “No brown in town” – even if we take ‘town’ to mean the inner sanctums of the world’s financial districts – has long since slipped into obsolescence. But perhaps the worst offender of them all is, “Blue and green should never be seen” – a dictate that, one must assume, was cooked up by some retired caravan insurance underwriter for whom chromatic exuberance was limited to poppies and party hats.

    “We’ve noticed a real upturn in customers ordering green tweed for a casual city look, often pairing the jacket with blue jeans,” confirms Colin Heywood, Anderson & Sheppard’s Bespoke Shop Manager. “Green tweed has always been a mainstay for sporting activities in the country but there is such an array of colours and design options that it can sit perfectly in an urban setting too. Whether worn with a traditional shirt and tie or classic knits, the green tweed coat can offer so many options in town or for that weekend retreat. Brown shoes whether suede or leather are a must…”

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    Rubinacci’s olive green alpaca single breasted blazer also harmonises beautifully with smarter jeans, not to mention flannel or heavy cotton drill trousers, while if one wants to invert the green-atop-jeans chromatic formula, New & Lingwood’s moleskin trousers or Rubinacci’s casual fustian cotton ones worn with a blue coat or blazer offer the same eye-catching congruence.

    It is perhaps because of the strong connotations of utility that military clothing has the masculine connotations Dixon refers to: something not lost on the mods of the early and mid-60s, who discovered that they could pick up US military issue fishtail parkas – which were not only practical for wearing on their pimped up Vespas and Lambrettas, but also protected their abundantly side-vented zoot suits from grease and dirt – from army surplus shops for next to nothing. More elegant modern iterations of perhaps the most iconic green garment in pop culture history include Private White V.C’s green brushed cotton twill Jeep coat, while Rubancci’s military green Manny pleated cotton trousers – inspired by those worn by Nepalese soldiers who served in the British Army – will also bring a spot of combat chic to a man’s wardrobe.

     

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    As for complementary clobber, there was quite a bit of green floating round when it came to accessories in the Spring/Summer 2018 collections (not least various flourishes in minty pistachio), suggesting that even the odd flash of nature’s most abundant hue is timely. Ties such as Drake’s in green and navy herringbone, or in green-heavy paisley such as the English company’s green and teal madder silk one, bring a verdurous touch to an otherwise sober ensemble.

    Even green footwear is as valid an option as any for the contemporary flâneur: not least thanks to patination gaining such a strong footing across the style spectrum. The likes of Berluti and Corthay’s in-house brush-smiths are doing excellent work with all their classic shapes, while Norman Vilalta’s patinated Pebble Grain leather derby is perfect for injecting some rock and roll into one’s formal(ish) ensembles. Loafers offer an entirely new avenue for ‘going green’ in the non-eco sense: a pair of green Marphy Jute tassel loafers (again, it’s our friends at Rubinacci) or Belsire’s Brando Woven leather loafer both being excellent ways to disprove that vacuous ‘blue and green’ adage from the ground up.

    All of which goes to show that green – perhaps not the first colour on the spectrum a man thinks of when thinking about sprucing up his arsenal of urban regalia – offers freshness, versatility and increased dressing options in spades. Besides, what better way for a man to express his burgeoning capacity for sartorial expression than a colour which, thanks to our biological programming to seek life and sustenance, is perceived more acutely by humans than any other on the spectrum?

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    Ways to wear…

    The Rake, How To Wear Green, Street Style, Jamie Ferguson

    Left: A wax jacket and peaked cap look equally at home in country and urban scenarios over a denim shirt and corduroy trousers. Centre: A double-breasted overcoat is formal and functional in defeating cold weather, brought to life in a leaf-green colour. Right: A suit cut in textured grey-green wool is professional and versatile, finished with a colourful scarf. Photos by Jamie Ferguson.

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