See what trends are emerging from the urban jungles of our metropolis.
Sandwiched between the indie-pop of the 1960’s and the cheesy Disco at the end of the 1970’s, a movement blossomed in the North of the country that moved to the sound of high-tempo American soul music. ‘Northern Soul’, as it was coined, became a beacon for energetic dancing in clubs such as the ‘Wigan Casino’ and the ‘Blackpool Mecca’. Wigan Casino was voted the best discotheque in the world by Billboard Magazine in 1978, beating the legendary New York club, Studio 54.
2013 sees the release of a new film, Northern Soul, by Elaine Constantine that celebrates this amazing time and gives us an excuse to revisit the style and look of the time.
Left – Elaine Constantine's new film – 'Northern Soul'
For men, the style was usually tight-fitting, knitted tops in sober 1970’s colours, badges sewn on to vests and wide, flared trousers. It was part mod, part sportswear, due to the hours of exaggerated dance movements. Here are TheChicGeek’s picks of the best brands and items using Northern Soul as a starting point;
The classic Merc ‘Sta-Press’ trouser is a cropped rendering of "stay pressed”. Looking smart for longer, these trousers don’t need to be ironed. These were the archetypal Mod trouser of the 60s and still look great today, as the shape for trousers has returned to slim or skinny fit. Just don’t expert to be able to do the splits while dancing in them!
Right - Merc - Jesse Knitted Polo W1 Collection - £65, Winston Sta Trouser - £60
Slightly more Skinhead than Northern Soul, ChicGeek disclaimer! - all groups crossed over in various guises throughout the decade, Brutus and Dr. Martens have collaborated for a second season on this ‘Trimfit’ shirt. Each yellow and red ginham shirt includes a perfectly pressed handkerchief which pays homage to the ‘suedeheads’ of the 1960’s and their fanatical approach to pin sharp dressing. Northern Soul guys favoured short-sleeved shirts due to how excessively hot they got while dancing.
Left - Brutus ‘Trimfit’ x Dr Martens Shirt - £50
Knitted short-sleeved tops allowed for ease of movement while staying fitted and accentuating the body. This one from Pretty Green will fit snug to your body and is perfect for all your modern Northern Soul acrobatics!
Below - Pretty Green – Red Tipped Knitted Polo - £65
Northern Soul guys often carried a bag containing a change of clothes, because many of the big nights lasted well into the next morning and things would start to get a little fragrant! This barrel shape is a classic from Fred Perry that hasn’t changed since then.
Above - Fred Perry – Classic Barrel Bag - £55
Left - A Northern Soul image from Ben Sherman’s 50th Anniversary Book – See more here
Left - Penguin – ‘Earl’ Vest - £20
Below - Ben Sherman Plectrum – Polo Canyon Sunset - £80
The fashion for rucksacks has become bigger than a fad and they are now a permanent part of the men's bag landscape. We've put this down to sports, particularly cycling, where guys needed to carry things while keeping their hands free. But, one trend among rucksacks this season is the bigger and squarer, the better. Here we look at the best examples of this new trend and how they fit into your everyday life;
The Active Backpack
Give us something with style that you could wear in a hurricane and we’re in. This one from American brand Chrome is basically tidal-wave-proof and has pockets inside for all your important items like your wallet and laptop. We’re suckers for simplistic work-wear design and that’s why we love this bag: a transitional piece that works well in your work wardrobe as well as for casual. We really like the roll top design for added weatherproofing and security. Whilst the clips inject relaxed sports-wear into your wardrobe, balanced by its simple and chic design.
Above - Chrome - 'District' - $110
The Business Backpack
Balancing modernity with notions of classic design, this is definitely one for 'The Apprentice' among you. Made from beautiful brown leather and with its double carry handle option, you can wear it as a backpack or hold it like a briefcase when you have those all-important meetings. Never compromising function, the backpack measures 15” high, 18” across and 7” deep, meaning ample room for your gym kit, lunch, laptop and umbrella: everything in one bag. Ensuring your outfit remains stylish, simple and professional.
Right - Dr. Martens - Leather Rucksack - £155
The Casual Backpack
The fashion world has looked to Scandinavia for years now for pure and refined design. RAINS is no exception; with functionality at its core, we instantly fell for their entire collection. However, this bag in particular has been the bag. Made from completely waterproof Polyurethane, which gives it its flexible, soft neoprene look, the fabric locks the world out and protects your belongings inside.
Above - RAINS - Rucksack - £55
The sunshine is on its way, hopefully, so it's time for a wardrobe refresh. We're scoured online store Zalando for the perfect pieces to update your wardrobe and take you through this transitional time and into summer. Here's what TheChicGeek choose and why;
"This subtle floral print almost looks like leopard print from a distance. The button-down Oxford collar keeps it neat and the cooling cotton makes it perfect for summer with the sleeves rolled up to show off your guns!"
Left - French Connection - Pinking Floral Shirt - £45
"Camouflage is a massive trend this season. This T-shirt has a washed/aged feeling with a bold contrast pocket. Perfect with a pair of shorts and under a hoody".
Below - Jack & Jones - Anton Print Camo T-Shirt - £17
"Designer Roberto Cavalli knows how to do 'look-at-me' dressing. This kaleidoscope pattern shirt is perfect for a warm summer evening. A touch of lycra gives it stretch and a better fit to your body".
Left - Just Cavalli - Patterned Short-sleeve Shirt - £175
Below - KG by Kurt Geiger - Sorrento Boat Shoes - £85
"If anybody asks, tell them it's Missoni! This round-neck flecked knit is great for spring days under tailoring or with shorts for cooler summer nights".
Farah - Ashby Sweater - £60
Velvet is perennially touted as an Autumn/Winter fabric. Usually coming in the same boring range of colours and shapes, it can end up looking a bit fuddy-duddy if worn in the wrong way. So, what's new? Well, trust Christopher Bailey of Burberry Prorsum to make it younger and more contemporary.
The shape is slim but it's also about the mix, don't be afraid to wear differing colours of velvet jacket and trousers. As shown on the Burberry Prorsum catwalk (left), jewel like colours of various blues, greens and browns were mixed together. To make this work, stick to the same tonal ranges and keep things fitted. The high-street has some great inexpensive jackets and vintage stores are always a great place to find hardly worn velvet tailoring.
Below - Boden - Velvet Jacket - £149