Mademoiselle Chanel once famously said that you should look in the mirror before you leave the house and remove the last accessory you put on. Well she didn’t make menswear and anyway I only trust one Mademoiselle when it comes to fashion… I think men should do the opposite. Have a look in the mirror and think about adding something. Less isn’t always more.
Accessories are much underused by men. Indie boys have been wearing pin badges for years now and that’s a fine place to start. They can showcase your favourite band or turn plain clothes or shirts into something a bit more you. But there’s so much more to it than that. I assume a lot of men find anything other than a badge a little too feminine, or too much like a brooch. It doesn’t have to be like that.
Raf Simons makes some amazing brooches for men. Years ago, in his ongoing Peter Saville obsession he made small brushed steel reproductions of Joy Division 7 inch covers. I own a Raf Simons brooch that is starkly architectural, sharp lines, twisted steel, everything you could interpret as being masculine poured into this most feminine of accessories.
The best thing about a brooch is its usability. You can revamp every conceivable piece of clothing into something new with a choice badge. A cheap plain jumper can look instantly luxe if you put the right badge on it. I’ve had a recent fashion epiphany in the form of tweed. My normal badges don’t quite cut it. Then I discovered cameos and miniatures. It might seem a bit ‘Antiques Roadshow’ but cameos are beautiful and you can pick them up in markets and charity shops really cheap. Below is a miniature I picked up for under ten pounds. The woman pictured looks slightly pissed off which amuses me all day when I wear it. Who was she? What’s she so angry about? There are other badges and brooches specifically for men that no-one seems to know about. Knife badges with beautiful scabbards and intricate chains are truly a mans accessory.
A brief word on bows – they’re not just for girls. While the high street might have obliterated the bow-tie trend, I’m not prepared to let go just yet. Regular bow ties are too hard to fit into everyday life, you need a shirt, v-neck possibly a blazer, its too much. Loulou Loves You made me some special bows badges, in gorgeous black silk that I can put on anything…even a t-shirt.
Now that we’ve established less isn’t more, lets talk about more. When a button badge isn’t enough – go big. I have some hilariously large Star Wars badges I bought at a comic convention. Not everyone’s cup of tea but if I have Luke Skywalker on my chest I don’t care what you think. To be more esoteric Wonderleague make some amazing John Waters badges. My favourite is the Edith Massey one pictured below with some of my other favourites. Your egg delivery man will love how it looks on you….
Words and photos – Warren Beckett