Winter is coming and that is indeed a happy thought for those who now get a chance to pull out their layers. The suits as always will be on display. But what may change is how they are embellished. This coming season, the look will be retro steam-punk; think of it as grunge with classical undertones. Two popular accessories I envisage will be the harbingers of this look: the bow tie and the boots, especially in combination.
Yes, I couldn’t have chosen two more contrasted possibilities. The bow tie possibly went out of style decades ago, perhaps last seen at some public school graduation ball in the English countryside, or now to be spotted fledgling on stage somewhere in Vegas. Sure it makes a regal ‘red carpet’ appearance now and then – Grammys’, Academy’s, charity galas – but it stands far displaced from its commoner setting where it was a quotidian article of adornment rather than a standout accessory.
This year, as retro rises again bow ties will become popular and one will feel less of an anomaly wearing it to a party. The good thing about a bow tie is that you can pair it with a pair of jeans and a jacket and still look cool; putting on a tie instead in this get-up makes you look like you are trying too hard. While it would be ideal to tie one yourself, it is acceptable to wear a clip-on one. The trouble is that it shows. You can always tell a handmade knot from a pre-knotted one, the layers and flourish just aren’t there in the latter. But for a start it will do fine.
On to the boot; nothing dainty and delicate about them. Make them chunky and bold, let the laces dangle (leather laces would be a notch up), let them be ankle-high and then fold down the top if you can and want to. The idea is to put a stomp in your step. Do not pair with boot-cut trousers and jeans solely; even slim cuts can fit boot-tops but anything in the range of skinny would be a tough call.
The best part about boots are the added inches and for someone as vertically challenged as me, that is always a welcome bonus. The already-tall ones may even opt for a trench to complete the look; and why not, there’s something to be said for the revivalist-messiah silhouette that has its points.
Best places to scout for a bow tie would be any of the popular men’s brands: Thomas Pink, Paul Smith, Armani, or even Zara and the Tie Rack. For boots, Dr. Martens are classics and always good, as also are Cats and Timberlands. Avoid the big fashion brands which make those neat slender boots that look like they were made for a ‘Dancing on Ice’ episode. Those just aren’t rugged-looking enough for this season. And the only time a man is justified in wearing UGGs is when he is nuts-deep in Antarctic snow and dying of frostbite to the tenders. Otherwise you should never own a pair, or flaunt one openly; they are like Crocs for winters and that just says it all.