at Milan Men's Fashion Week last week, the biggest story from the runway was colour. From eye-popping reds and orange at Jil Sander, cool blues and pistachios at Prada, and lemons and reds at Burberry, the catwalks were awash with cocktail brights, with head-to-toe pinks and cobalt blues coming through at Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. So could this be the time Irish men finally bring some long-awaited sunshine into their wardrobes?
"Irish men are never going to do the Hoxton hipster thing," says Alan Kelly from leading designer menswear outfitters Gentleman Please in Blackrock, Co Dublin. "You can forget three-quarter-length trousers and micro shorts, but a splash of colour is an easy one to do. Blues, purples and reds have been great sellers for us this season."
When Kelly dresses his customers he tries to coax them out of their comfort zone and try something a little bit fashion-forward. "Start with a shot of colourful tee-shirt underneath a jumper and build from there. Slim-cut chinos with a green jumper, or a roaring red tee-shirt with dark denim look great on men of any age and suit Irish complexions. Definitely Irish guys are taking to it more and more, but there will always be a little bit of conservatism there."
Big sellers for Kelly this season are John Smedly jumpers (which come in a rainbow palette of colours), Holland Esquire coats and jackets (they have a flash of colourful lining), and jumpers by Irish knitwear designer Edmund McNulty (at €300 a pop these aren't cheap but have a certain cult status among customers).
The high street is also awash with paintbox colours for this season with shops such as Jack Wills and Hackett (both off Grafton Street, Dublin) particularly embracing the mood.
But if you don't want to go down the designer route try River Island, Pepe, Reiss and Topman for flashes of brightness. At Zara the classic 'Pique' shirt in pink and blue is now on sale at half price for €19.99. Happy springtime!
* We're loving cheap wardrobee updates
This satin colour block dress from New Look won't break the bank at €34.99 but it will help you feel like you're sallying forth into 2011 the right way, fashion-wise.
* We're lusting after the tillie
Mulberry's latest 'It' satchel is cooler than the Alexa, with an understated masculine style. Arriving into Brown Thomas in the next few weeeks, but be warned: you won't get much change out of €1,000
* We're not sure about Palazzo pants
We get it that their revival is only natural in this '70s-obsessed season. But there's just too much billowing action going on for them to be really chic.
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